Summary: The greatest of these is defined and explained in this text. 1- The superiority of love 2- The service of love 3- The steadfastness of love
INTRO.- ILL.- Two friends were discussing the possibility of love. "I thought I was in love three times," one friend says. "How so?" his friend asks.
"Five years ago I deeply cared for a woman who wanted nothing to do with me." "Was that not love?" his friend asks. "No," he replies. "That was obsession. And then two years ago I deeply cared for an attractive woman who didn’t understand me." "Was that not love?"
"No," he replies. "That was lust. And just last year I met a woman aboard a cruise ship to the Caribbean. She was smart, funny, and a great conversationalist. And everywhere I followed her on that boat, I would get this strange sensation in the pit of my stomach."
"Was that not love?" his friend asks. "No," he replies. "That was motion sickness."
We all know what is the greatest thing in the world, don’t we? It’s being at the Super Bowl with the love of your life feeding you popcorn! No, no, we know that love is the greatest thing in the world, according to God’s Word, but it’s even greater than having your loved one beside you, feeding you popcorn anywhere.
Real love, genuine love, giving love is the greatest good in this world.
ILL.- Morrie Schwartz, American educator, said: “The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” This is the idea of learning to love others and be loved by others. And I think this is one thing most people want in life. And if they don’t receive love from one person or in one area of life, they go elsewhere. This is perhaps one reason for so many divorces in America.
This also may be one reason why many of churches are not growing. HOW SO? Well, if people who visit our churches don’t find some love then they may not stick around very long.
ILL.- I told you about Elaine and I visiting a church in Carl Junction, MO, some years. I had known their preacher for over 40 years. He even preached my grandmother’s funeral. When I was a student at Ozark Christian College I learned as much from his sermons as I did at college, so I wanted to go hear him preach again. AND HIS PREACHING DIDN’T DISAPPOINT ME. He is over 70 years of age and was as good as ever.
After leaving the church that day I asked Elaine what she thought. She said, “I don’t want to go back.” What was the problem? The church was not very friendly at all! I think two people greeted us was all.
A lack of loving kindness and loving friendliness will keep many people out of our churches! This should be a lesson to us all. Any time we see a new face in the church we need to be quick to introduce ourselves and befriend these people! The greatest of these is what? Faith? Hope? Or Love?
PROP.- The greatest of these is defined and explained in this text. 1- The superiority of love
2- The service of love
3- The steadfastness of love
I. THE SUPERIORITY OF LOVE
Speaking in the tongues of men could be considered a great feat. Are you bilingual or multilingual or singular? I’m singular.
ILL.- Natalie Portman is a Jewish American actress born in 1981 in Israel. She moved together with her parents to the United States when she was 3 years old. Natalie was first raised in Washington, DC and Connecticut before her family moved to New York in 1990. She was always a bright student who scored straight As. In 2003, she graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. The actress is multilingual. She can speak in English, Hebrew, French, Japanese, German as well as a little Arabic. OH WOW! I have trouble with English, don’t you?
Natalie Portman’s ability to speak in these various languages might “wow” a lot of people, but there is something better or something greater.
And who is one of the greatest orators ever? Or who is one of the greatest preachers ever? Did you ever hear Billy Graham preach in his heyday? His voice, his message and his ability to communicate the gospel message was hard to beat. In fact, he may well be considered one of the greater preachers of our time.
In 1949 Billy Graham had a Crusade in Los Angeles, CA. He called it the Greater Los Angeles Billy Graham Crusade at the "Canvas Cathedral With the Steeple of Light." Graham, then 30, drew 350,000 people over eight weeks to a huge tent at Washington Boulevard and Hill Street. About 3,000 non-believers committed their lives to Christ. And as great a preacher and speaker as Billy Graham was, there is something greater!