Summary: The unfailing nature of love.
“The Invincibility of Love”
1 Corinthians 13:8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
There was this preacher who was an avid golfer. Every chance he got, he could be found out on the golf course swinging away. It was an obsession. One particularly picture perfect Sunday, a great day for golfing, not a cloud in the sky, perfect temperature and the sun shining put the preacher into a quandary as to what to do. His urge to play got the better of him so he called his associate pastor, told him he was sick, loaded up the car, and drove to a golf course three hours away where he was sure there would be no to recognize him. Happily he began to play the course.
An angel up above was watching the preacher and was quite upset so he went to the Lord and said, “Look at that preacher, he should be punished for what he is doing, and the Lord nodded in agreement.
The preacher teed up is ball on the first hole, took a swing and hit a mammoth drive of over 300 yards which bounced on the green and went right into the cup for a hole-in-one. As you can imagine the preacher was amazed and excited but the angel was really confused. He turned to the Lord and said, “Begging your pardon Lord, but I thought you were going to punish him.”
The Lord smiled and said, “Think about it—who is he going to tell?”
I. The value of love
A. Revelatory gifts without love are valueless
B. Remarkable faith without love is valueless
C. Radical benevolence or martyrdom is valueless
II. The virtues of love
In verses 4-7 Paul gives us an analysis of the subject he has introduced at the end of chapter 12:31 He proceeds to analyze the “excellent way.”
A. Love is patient with people v. 4
B. Love is kind and looks to do a good turn v. 4b.
C. Love suppresses evil v. 4c
D. Love is not inflated with its own importance v. 4d
E. Love is not boorish, rude, coarse, and discourteous v. 5a
F. Love resists self-promotion v. 5b
G. Love exercises self control v. 5c
H. Love does not think the worst, jump to conclusions, imparts wrong motives etc v. 5d
I. Love eschews evil and embraces good v. 6
J. Love bears the burdens of others, believes the promises of God, hopes for the best and perseveres v. 7
III. The victory of love
A. Love’s capability
In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, "Do not waste your time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less."
Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. "I do not only want to get rid of him, I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me."
Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan "Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe you love him. After you've convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that your're getting a divorce. That will really hurt him." With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, "Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!" And she did it with enthusiasm. Acting "as if." For two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, sharing. When she didn't return, Crane called. "Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?"
"Divorce?" she exclaimed. "Never! I discovered I really do love him." Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as often repeated deeds.
J. Allan Petersen.
B. Love’s consistency
I recently heard a preacher speaking of his efforts to counsel a man who was having marital trouble. He said to the man, “The Bible says husbands love your wives. “But I do not love her anymore he replied.” Then love her as your sister in the Lord. “But I don’t think she is saved he said.” Then love her as your neighbor. “He replied that he didn’t have any intention of being her neighbor.” Finally the preacher said “Then love her as your enemy!”