Summary: This sermon gives 5 reasons that God considers love to be supreme above all other desirable characteristics in the Christian life.
November 17, 2002 I Corinthians 13:8-13
¡§The supremacy of Love¡¨
In the book, ¡§Children¡¦s Letters to God: The New Collection¡¨, a little girl named, Nan, writes this letter: ¡§Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family and I have trouble loving them!¡¨ Love is never easy. But it is absolutely necessary. It is the glue that holds all of us together in the body of Christ. It motivates us to work together and use our differences as a way to make us stronger rather than to tear us apart. It causes us to focus on one another and our world rather than on ourselves and the fulfillment of our own personal desires.
We have been talking about God¡¦s kind of love for the last two weeks. Two weeks ago, we talked about substitutes for love ¡V things that we put in place of real love. They include words, spiritual activity, and sacrificial giving. And we learned that without love, all of these are futile. We say nothing, we are nothing, and we gain nothing if we attempt to do anything for God without love. Then, last week, we talked about the substance of God¡¦s love. We saw that it is active, decisive, it behaves in a certain way, and it can best be understood by looking at the character and actions of Jesus.
This morning, we are going to finish our examination of this beautiful chapter. We¡¦re going to look at 5 reasons that God considers love to be supreme above all other desirable characteristics in the Christian life.
1. Love is supreme because it never leaves us. (vs. 8)
On Christmas morning, the focus of a child¡¦s attention is on the gifts that they receive. In that moment on Christmas morning, those gifts are the most important things in their lives. Nothing is more important than them and those gifts even though many of those gifts will be broken by the end of the day, more by the end of the week, and all will be forgotten by the end of the year. They are temporary. At that moment, the children don¡¦t care about grandma, mom or dad who gave them those gifts. And they certainly don¡¦t care about loving their sisters and brothers at that time. Gifts can make you very selfish.
God has given us many gifts too. We have spent time talking about them and their role in the church over the last month or so. Of all God¡¦s gifts, the greatest is love. One reason is that love never fails.
That¡¦s what Paul says here in vs. 8. The word that is translated ¡§fails¡¨ is ¡§used of a flower or leaf that falls to the ground, withers and decays.¡¨ ¡V MacArthur, p. 358 Ben and I were studying about trees for a science quiz the other day. We learned the difference between evergreen trees and deciduous trees. Deciduous trees are the trees that were so beautiful with the fall colors a couple of weeks ago. Their leaves change colors in the fall, they wither and they die, and they fall. Evergreens on the other hand remain green all year long regardless of the circumstances that surround them. That is the character of love. It never falls; it never ends; it is permanent regardless of the circumstances that surround it.