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Summary: Our society confuses LOVE and LUST. Unlike lust, God’s kind of love is directed toward others, not inward toward ourselves. This kind of love goes against our natural inclinations. It is natural to love them that love us, but it is supernatural to love th

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Opening illustration: 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 you’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.

Let us turn in our Bibles to 1 Corinthians 13: 4 -7 and see how it can apply to our lives for making that transformation so that the lives of others can be touched by the love of Christ flowing through our lives.

Introduction: Our society confuses LOVE and LUST. Unlike lust, God’s kind of love is directed toward others, not inward toward ourselves. It is utterly unselfish. This kind of love goes against our natural inclinations. It is possible to practice this love only if God helps us set aside our own desires and instincts, so that we can give love while expecting nothing in return. Thus the more we become like Christ, the more love we will show to others. In fact this passage does not show any kind of emotion or sentiments but exhibits in action as to what love entails.

What is the ‘Essence of Love?’

1. The IS in love [v. 4]:

(a) Long-suffering ~ Endures slights and wrongs patiently and long, and returns a kindly spirit. It is "slow to anger" (Psa_103:8). Christ, "when he was reviled, reviled not again" (1Pe_2:23). "The fruit of the Spirit is long-suffering" (Gal_5:22). See also Rom_2:4, and 2Co_6:6.

(b) Kind ~ the positive side. Extending good to others. Compare with love’s features here those of the “wisdom from above” (James 3:17).

© Opposes Jealousy ~ How miserable is that envy which is made unhappy by the good fortune of another. Cain is an example. Love excludes it. A mother does not envy her child.

(d) Doesn’t show off ~ in words, even of gifts which it really possesses; an indirect rebuke of those at Corinth who used the gift of tongues for mere display. Does not ostentatiously boast of superiority, nor is it inflated.

(e) Doesn’t have a Wind about themselves ~ with party zeal, as some at Corinth were (1Co_4:6).

2. The NO’S in love [v. 5]:

(a) Behaving Rudely ~ Isn’t discourteously and in a way to shock good manners or morals.

(b) Selfish ~ does not inordinately desire nor seek its own praise, or honor, or profit, or pleasure. Indeed self-love, in some degree, is natural to all men, enters into their very constitution.

© Provoked ~ does not fly into a rage, but keeps the temper under control.

(d) Thinking Evil ~ the idea of the Revision is that love does not keep a record of evil rendered so as to return it.

3. The THINGS in love [vs. 6 – 7]:

(a) Doesn’t rejoice in Iniquity ~ Instead of rejoicing, is filled with sadness by wrong doing of any kind, but does …

(b) Rejoices in the Truth ~ every thing that is opposite to falsehood and irreligion. Those who are filled with the love of God and man rejoice in the propagation and extension of Divine truth - in the spread of true faith, by which alone peace and good will can be diffused throughout the earth. Bringing forth its proper fruit, holiness of heart and life. Good in general is its glory and joy, wherever diffused in the entire world.

© Bears all things ~ Bears up in spite of all things evil, and is not overcome. This is the idea of "bearing." Love bears up against the tide of evil, as the rock against the waves.

(d) Believes all things ~ Is not distrustful and suspicious.

(e) Hopes all things ~ Is hopeful instead of despondent, and hopes for the best. How hard for the loving mother to give up hope for her recreant son!

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