Summary: The qualities of love needed in the church.
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE…
Introduction: This chapter is among the most famous chapters in the Bible. It has been used extensively at weddings and as an exposition of romantic love. The reality of this passage is that is part of a message by Paul to the church at Corinth about spiritual gifts. It has direct reference to the demonstration of love as the fruit of the spirit in the treatment of fellow believers within the community of faith. Paul describes in these verses the qualities of true Christian charity that the Corinthians lacked. Let us consider these qualities.
I. LOVE IS PATIENT AND KIND
A. Verse 4a "Charity suffers long, and is kind;
B. 1 Corinthians 1:10-11 "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you."
C. Love is patient with people. The word used for patience always refers to being patient with people not with circumstances. – Barclay
D. Love is courteous and sensitive to those who have offended.
E. True Christian love is demonstrated by not harboring resentment, anger, or the desire for revenge no matter the evil and injury done by a person or the neglect and ignoring done by a fellow believer.
F. Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you."
G. "Forgiveness is the fragrance that the flower leaves on the heel of the one who crushed it." - Mark Twain.
H. Disturbers are to be rebuked, the low-spirited to be encouraged, the infirm to be supported, objectors confuted, the treacherous guarded against, the unskilled taught, the lazy aroused, the contentious restrained, the haughty repressed, litigants pacified, the poor relieved, the oppressed liberated, the good approved, the evil borne with, and all are to be loved. - Aurelius Augustine, Leadership, v. 10, # 4
II. LOVE IS NOT SELF-CENTERED OR EGOTISTICAL
A. Verse 4b “Charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up,"
B. Christian love is not jealous, is not restful toward others because of what they have in the way of talents, gifts, abilities, possessions, positions or popularity.
C. Likewise Christian love is not boastful bragging, seeking recognition, or act as though one is better than others. Rather it is humble and modest.
D. 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you."
E. Romans 12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."
F. Philippians 2:3 "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
G. An admirer once asked Leonard Bernstein, celebrated orchestra conductor, what was the hardest instrument to play. He replied without hesitation: "Second fiddle. I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm or second French horn or second flute, now that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony.” – copied
H. Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self worth. Each of us has something to give that no one else has. – Elizabeth O’Conner
III. LOVE CONDUCTS ITSELF PROPERLY
A. Verse 5a "Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked…”
B. Christian love is not rude, unmannerly, or indecent. It does not act in a disgraceful manner or insist on its own way. It is not easily angered or exasperated when it does not get its own way.
C. 1 Corinthians 3:3-4 "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?"
D. The secret of every discord in Christian homes and communities and churches is that we seek our own way and our own glory. - Alan Redpath, Leadership, Vol. 3, no. 2.