Summary: Paul is saying, "I want to show you the best way to take care of virtually every situation, & that is the way of love." Then he points out that love is more important than four things Christians consider very important. (PowerPoint available - #166)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #166.)
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 13:1 3
ILL. A story was told a few years ago about an actor who was playing the part of Christ in a Passion Play. As he carried the cross up the hill a bystander in the crowd began heckling him, & shouting insults.
Finally, the actor had taken all of it he could take. So he threw down his cross, walked over to the bystander, & punched him.
After the play was over, the director told him, "I know he was a pest, but I have to fire you. We just can't have you behaving this way while playing the part of Jesus." The actor begged, "Please give me one more chance. I can handle it if it happens again." So the director decided to give him another chance.
The next day he was once again carrying his cross up the street. Sure enough, the heckler was back. You could tell that the actor was really trying to control himself, but it was about to get the best of him. He was clinching his fists & grinding his teeth.
Finally, he looked at the heckler & said, "I'll meet you after the resurrection!"
A. You know, sometimes it is hard for those who profess to be Christians to behave like Christians should. We try to carry our crosses, but if someone crosses us, we tend to lose our composure & behave in much the same way the rest of the world behaves.
But the Bible teaches that we are to be people who exercise love in all of our relationships with one another.
Listen to these words, "Be completely humble & gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2). And again, "Make every effort to live in peace with all men & to be holy..." (Hebrews 12:14).
SUM. Now each of these say the same thing. It may be difficult sometimes, & not everybody will be easy to love, but if it is possible, we are to live in peace & harmony with everyone.
PROP. So I'm beginning a series of sermons that will deal with how to get along with other people, & we'll focus on 1 Corinthians 13, the "love chapter" of the Bible.
This morning we'll look at the first 3 verses which Paul begins by saying, "Now I will show you the most excellent way." (1 Corinthians 13:1)
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF LOVE IN OUR LIVES
He is saying, "I want to show you the best way to take care of virtually every situation, & that is the way of love." Then he points out that love is more important than four other things that Christians consider very important.
A. In vs. 1, Paul says that love is more important than spiritual gifts. "If I speak in the tongues of men & of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." (1 Corinthians 13:1)
On the day of Pentecost, when the very first gospel sermon was ever preached, God gave the apostles the special gift of being able to speak in languages that they had never learned so that the people hearing them could understand what was being said.
But here in 1 Corinthians, Paul says that if God gave him the gift of speaking every human language, & even the heavenly language of the angels, but he didn't have love, then he would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. Now what did he mean by that?
ILL. Back in the 1st Century, there was a big gong or cymbal hanging at the entrance of most pagan temples. When people came to worship, they hit them to awaken the pagan gods so they would listen to their prayers.
Here, Paul is saying that even if he were so blessed that he could speak with the greatest of eloquence in every language, but didn't have love, then his life was as useless as this ridiculous act of pounding on a gong to awaken non existent gods.
SUM. You see, love is more important than any spiritual gift.
B. Then in vs. 2 Paul says that love is more important than knowledge. "If I have the gift of prophecy & can fathom all mysteries & all knowledge, ... but have not love, I am nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:2)
Paul says that even if you know it all - if you know everything there is to know about nuclear science, about medicine & philosophy & psychology & every other kind of “ology” - if you know it all, but have not love, then you are nothing at all.