Summary: Considering Paul’s description of love, and applying it to our lives.

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1 Corinthians 13:1-8

“The Most Excellent Way”

By: Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA

At a men’s retreat a truck driver told about the change Christ had made in his life, and he was asked to think of some specific way in which he was different.

After a pause, he said: “Well, when I find somebody tailgating my truck, I no longer drive on the shoulder of the road to kick up pebbles and rocks on them.”

How simple but profound is this understanding of what it means to love people in relevant and demonstrable ways!

Karl Menninger once said, “Love cures people—both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.”

In our Epistle Lesson for this morning, Paul deals with some of the practical aspects of the Spirit of Love as it ought to manifest itself within Christians.

He is anxious for the church to follow the supreme way of life; the way that never fails; the way that…

…in the end leads straight to God’s plan for our lives---the way of love!

“Love is patient.”

Christ is patient and kind, and those of us who bear His name and are members of His Church---organic elements in “the body of Christ,” should manifest the same characteristics as Christ when dealing with relationships with other human beings.

Just think how patient Jesus was with his disciples and followers…

…with the multitudes that gathered around him…

…first to praise Him…

…then to curse Him.

How patient Jesus was with the sick and the poor!

How patient Jesus was with Pilate!

How patient Jesus was with those who crucified Him: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

We are to love others as Christ has loved us, and love is patient toward all people.

Love endures all the weaknesses, ignorance, errors, infirmities, stubbornness, and weak faith of the children of God.

Love also endures all the malice and wickedness of the children of the world.

Love suffers all these things, not only for a time or a short season, but also to the end!

Love continues feeding the enemy when he or she is hungry.

If he or she thirsts, love still gives the person a drink!

“Love is kind.”

If someone were to pay us ten cents for every kind word we’ve ever spoken about people, and then take back five cents for every unkind word we’ve ever spoken about people, would we be poor or rich?

Kindness costs no money.

It’s as easy to go around with a smile as it is to go around with a frown.

Kindness is a big step in the Christian aim to “overcome evil with good.”

To pay a visit to someone, to say a kind word of cheer or comfort, to convey friendliness by a handshake…

…well, these are small tokens, perhaps of a loving spirit, but they are symbolic of the very nature and purpose of God.

Moreover, the consequences are incalculable.

When we treat others with kindness we send out into the spiritual and moral atmosphere of the universe in which we live ripples that never exhaust themselves!

Only God can calculate the full consequences.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

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