Summary: Paul stated that love is greater than faith and hope. He explained the uselessness of gifts, knowledge, faith, benevolence, and sacrifices without the first fruit of the spirit, which is love. This sermon examines the importance of love according to Paul
The Importance of Love
1 Corinthians 13: 1-13
INTRO: Paul stated that love is greater that faith and hope. He explained the uselessness of gifts, knowledge, faith, benevolence, and sacrifices without the first fruit, which is love (Galatians 5:12). It is said that Paul in this chapter “rises on the wings of inspiration to the most sunlit heights of Christian eloquence.”
I. IT IS MORE IMPORTANT TO HAVE LOVE THAN TO SPEAK WITH TONGUES OF MEN AND OF ANGELS.
A. Paul taught that tongues of men (eloquence) and tongues of angels (spiritual tongues) are subordinate to love.
B. Paul was not demeaning speaking in earthly and heavenly languages. Tongues, or languages, are important means of communication-earthly languages for earthly communication and heavenly languages for heavenly communication.
C. Without love, Paul said, “I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1Corinthians 13:1), which means all tongues or all talk is useless love is also present. It is all noise, just fuss and feathers, unless its underlying basis and motive is love.
D. Paul was actually saying that if one does not have love, despite the other things, he is a lot of noise, clatter, and clamor, with no worthwhile spiritual depth. But tongues of men and angels seasoned with love render musical sounds of melody and meaning.
II. LOVE OUTWEIGHS THE GIFT OF PROPHECY, UNDERSTANDING ALL MYSTERIES AND LALL KNOWLEDGE, AND HAVING ALL FAITH.
A. The carnal, the unspiritual, would never agree with Paul on his evaluation.
B. Some would revel on the possession of the gift of prophecy.
C. Others would put great value on understanding all mysteries.
D. Some would put having all faith at the top of the list.
E. But Paul, the humble man that he was, said, “I choose love, because without it I am nothing.” No expression could involve a more forcible rebuke to intellectual and Spiritual pride.
III. LOVE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT BENEVOLENCE AND MARTYRDOM.
A. Paul said if he bestowed all his goods to feed the poor and did not have love, it would profit him nothing
B. Paul was not discounting feeding the poor. Hw would readily agree that Christians ought to help the unfortunate.
C. Neither was he discrediting self-sacrifice and extreme devotion to this great cause.
D. In sacrifice he was at the top of the list in his day. But Paul was convinced that doing all of this would be profitless without love.
E. Some would ask; why did Paul put such great value, such high priority on love? Verses 4 through 8 give us the answer.
1. Love suffers long. It “suffers long” under provocation and injury. It endures evil. It is patient toward others. It is long-suffering toward others, though mistreated. Unsanctified suffering is usually morbid; it broods over ills and magnifies afflictions. But sanctified suffering does not destroy or hinder love’s kindness or tenderness.
2. Love is kind. It does good. It confers blessing. It is never hateful, mean, or arrogant. It is kind not only to the loveable, but also to the unlovable!
3. Love envies not. It does not envy the possessions, positions, or popularity of others. It does not become jealous of the endowments or success of others. It recognizes that “God hath set the members…in the body, as it hath pleased him.” (1 Corinthians 12:18)
4. Love vaunts not itself. It does not make a foolish display of its supposed self-importance, lake a swaggering braggart. It does not show off. It does not do its alms before men to be seen of them. (Matthew 6:1)
5. Love is not puffed up. This statement has been rendered “does not swagger.” It is not inflated or swollen with self-conceit and vanity. It is not proud because of wealth, ability, or accomplishments. Paul warned all “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” (Romans 12:3)
6. Love does not behave itself unseemly. Rudeness, vulgarity, selfishness, and discourteousness, are alien from Christian love. Someone said, “Noble manners are fruits of noble minds.”
8. Love is not easily provoked. It is not irritable. It is not soon disturbed or easily angered. Neither is it quick-tempered, nor are its words hasty.
9. Love thinks no evil. It governs its thoughts. It masters and triumphs over the mind to bring “into capacity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). It is not resentful or mindful of wrongs. It does not give way to revenge. It will not go on a crusade to hunt and rake out the faults of others. It does not suspect without proof or give bad opinions of others.