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Summary: This series examines the fifteen characteristics of love found in I Cor. 13:4-7.

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Would you agree, small details can be very important? Consider the following examples. If you and your family are leaving on a dream vacation to Hawaii, it is important that you remember to carry your tickets. If you and your friends are leaving on a Gulf fishing trip, it is important that you remember to fill the gas tanks in your boat. If you have the oil changed in your car, it is important that the attendant tighten the oil plug. I want to address an area of our lives where there needs to be more detail, our love life. We use this word a lot. We tell our loved ones we love them. We tell fellow church members we love them. We tell our children we love them. Our society uses love to describe the sexual experience. However, words can be empty of meaning. Words without substance are meaningless. It is essential that we give attention to the finer points of love. Ladies, how would you feel if your husband or boy friend told you every day that he loved you but never expressed it in other ways.

Joke: This would be like the couple I heard about. They had been married thirty years when the wife complained that her husband never expressed his love to her. The man said “I told you thirty years ago that I loved you and if I change my mind I will let you know.”

Ladies, do you not want a little detail in your love life? Would not flowers help? Would not a nice romantic evening help? Love is the big theme in the month of February. Valentine’s Day is stuck in the center of the month. During the month of February I want to preach a series entitled the “Finer Points of Love.” This series is taken from I Cor. 13:4-7. I want to take these fifteen qualities, analyze, illustrate, and explain them individually during the month of February. Let’s get started.

Quality number 1: Love suffers long. Love is patient with the other person.

The word long suffering could be translated “long spirited.” The Greek word (makrothumein, GSN3114) used in the New Testament always describes patience with people and not patience with circumstances. It describes the man who is slow to anger and it is used to describe God’s relationship with men. In our dealings with men we must exercise the same patience God exercises with us. (William Barclay commentary on I Corinthians 13)

When we exercise the finer points of love we learn to be patient with other people. We learn to be long suffering with them. Sometimes this is not easy. As a young preacher boy I had my first major experience with a difficult person. This man was mean spirited. This man would do things that hurt other people in the church. I would go to him and address issues. After those meetings I would go home feeling good about my efforts. However, in a short period of time the same thing would repeat itself. I never did see that man change. I later realized there were steps that could and should be taken with such people. However, my point is, it is not easy to be patient. At such times we should pray for the grace of God.

A. We must learn to be patient with people in the church.


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