Summary: Message on 1Corinthians 13.

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“The Greatest of These”

February 16, 2003 (1Corinthians 13:1-13)

ILL: Ole and Olga lived on a farm in Iowa. Olga was starved for affection. Ole never gave her any signs of love, and Olga’s need to be appreciated went unfulfilled. At her wit’s end, Olga blurted out, "Ole, why don’t you ever tell me that you love me?" Ole stoically responded, "Olga, when we were married I told you that I loved you, and if I ever change my mind, I’ll let you know."

That is not enough. Daily we need to express our love for one another just as God does for us daily in His Son, Jesus Christ. Love is new each day.

--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 323.

ILL: A man in his middle years was on a Caribbean cruise. On the first day out he noticed an attractive woman about his age who smiled at him in a friendly way as he passed her on the deck, which pleased him. That night he managed to get seated at the same table with her for dinner. As the conversation developed, he commented that he had seen her on the deck that day and he had appreciated her friendly smile. When she heard this she smiled and commented, "Well, the reason I smiled was that when I saw you I was immediately struck by your strong resemblance to my third husband."

At this he perked up his ears and said, "Oh, how many times have you been married?"

She looked down at her plate, smiled demurely, and answered, "Twice."

--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 290.

ILL: There once was a very popular song, "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing." The experience of some is that love is a many splintered thing.

Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

ILL: Husbands who kiss their wives every morning before leaving for work usually live five years longer than those who do not. A kissing husband has fewer automobile accidents, loses up to 50 percent less time from work because of illness, and earns 20-30 percent more than a nonkissing husband. No statistics were available for benefits to kissing wives. Perhaps along with special rates for nonsmokers and nondrinkers, there’ll soon be a special policy for kissers.

--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 340.

The Corinthian church had an abundance of spiritual gifts operating in the church. They were like kids with new toys. Although they had the spiritual gifts to do the work of the ministry, they did not have the spiritual grace of love in which to perform the ministry. The result was a decadent church. The gifts of the Spirit without the grace of love are like holiday trinkets: they are only useful when in season.

Spiritual gifts seasoned with love are highly effective, but gifts without love are showy and shallow.

BI – “Love is the greatest quality we can possess because it best resembles the character of God in His relationship with us.”

Let me share two things with you about the greatest quality that we can possess.

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