Summary: We may be out of His will but we are never outside of His love

“Surrounded By His Love”

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

& David P. Nolte

We are surrounded by many things of which we many not be aware. There are unseen bacteria, virus, and allergens that make us sick. There are invisible rays of light and unheard sound and radio waves all around us. Angels, both holy and hellish, occupy the unseen spirit world all around us.

But one of the best things to surround us is God, His presence, His power and His permanent love. Linda sang the song by Charly McClain

“Surround me with love, I need you beside me

I want you to hold and hide me,

When this world is closin' in on me.

Surround me with love, Lord and I can make it

What ever comes you, know I can take it

Just as long as you surround me with love.”

But what kind of love? Not the Valentine-ish card, flowers and candy love. Not the carnal, sensuous, erotic love. Not the warm, fuzzy love we may have for a pet.

It is Agape – the intelligent, deliberate, intentional, self-sacrificing good will kind of love; the “God is love” kind of love.

It is best described in this well known and well loved chapter: “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NASB).

Let us consider that the love that surrounds us is


A. Note the goods things Paul listed in verses 1-3. They need supplemental love to be of real value, and any good thing we do apart from love is just going through the motions.

1. Ability to speak languages is just noise unless supplemented by love.

2. Prophetic knowledge of mysteries is nothing without love.

3. Mountain moving faith without love is nothing.

4. Benevolent sacrifice of goods is vain without love.

5. Loveless martyrdom is profitless.

B. God’s love motivates and supplements everything He does.

1. When He disciplines or chastens us it is in love

2. When He withholds from us what we ask for, it is in love.

3. When He delays it is in love

4. When it seems He hides His face it is in love.

C. Unlike God, though, we might do good thing without love

1. To gain men’s praise

2. To put someone under obligation.

3. To show off our pious goodness.

4. To earn salvation.

5. To ease our consience.

D. When it is true that our actions are not supplemented by love, we are like actors in a drama, going through the motions, acting out our role, following a script but all in pretense however well we enact the part. Observe

1. Paul wrote to the Roman church, “Let love be without hypocrisy.” Romans 12:9 (NASB).

2. John wrote, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:18 (NASB).

3. Peter wrote, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22 (NIV).

E. Love added to action means blessing and significance. Suppose a child took a gift to a birthday party but really wanted to keep it for himself. He might say, “Here’s your stupid present. I really wanted to keep it for myself!” Wouldn’t that warm the cockles of Birthday Boy’s heart? But another child gives a gift saying, “I hope you like this because I want you to have a really happy birthday.” Love supplementing the gift makes it special!

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