Summary: The expected outcome of this sermon is first get people to see that love is a demonstration not a feeling and then actually demonstrate it.

1 Corinthians

The Most Excellent Way

1 Corinthians 13

June 1, 2003


A. [Love from a Kid’s Point of View, Citation: "What Is Love—From a Kid’s Point of View," LightSinger, (accessed 3-14-02)]

What is love, from a kid’s point of view?

"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love."

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth."

"Love is when someone hurts you, and you get so mad, but you don’t yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings."

"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay."

"Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."

"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."

"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."

"You really shouldn’t say ’I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."

B. Today we come to the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, which has come to be known as the love chapter of the Bible.

C. [read text]

I. Love is more excellent than self-centeredness.

1 Corinthians 13:4-6 (NIV), Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

A. Love is a commandment.

Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV), Jesus replied: "’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’

B. Love is a decision.

C. Love is action.

II. Love is more excellent than Spiritual Gifts.

Tongues (1, 8)

Prophecy (2, 8-10)

Knowledge (2, 9, 12)

Faith (2, 11-12--when we have the gift of faith, we talk differently)

Giving (3)

Martyrdom (3)

III. Love is more excellent than Spirituality.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV), And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

(Paul was telling the Corinthians that they could have all the spirituality of having lots of faith and love, but love is more excellent.)

A. Faith will be replaced by sight.

B. Hope will become reality.

C. Love will always remain.

IV. Spiritual Gifts are a demonstration of love.

(Most people preach this text at weddings and funerals and that is fine, but we should not forget that 13 comes between 12 and 14.

We must put this chapter in its proper context in the middle of chapters 12 & 14.

Paul is trying to get the Corinthians to use their spiritual gifts correctly.

They were being selfish with their gifts and did not understand that love should be the motivation behind them.)

A. Spiritual Gifts are demonstrations of our love for people.

B. Spiritual Gifts are demonstrations of our love for God.

C. Spiritual Gifts are demonstrations of obedience.

John 14:15 (NIV), "If you love me, you will obey what I command.

James 2:18-19 (NIV), But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.


A. Paul has shown us the most excellent way.

1. The greatest thing in all my life loves God!

2. The greatest thing in all my life is serving God!

B. And so my question for us today is: What kind of church is Somerset?

1. [Illustration]

There is a story about a man who was walking down the street.

He passed a used-book store, and in the window he saw a book with the title How to Hug.

He was taken by the title and, being of a somewhat romantic nature, went in to buy the book.

To his chagrin, he discovered that it was the seventh volume of an encyclopedia and covered the subjects “how” to “hug.”

Everyone knows that the church is a place where love ought to be manifested, and many people have come to church hoping to find a demonstration of love—only to discover an encyclopedia on theology.

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