Summary: Today, as we study chapter 13 of I Corinthians, we will discover the 3 reasons that Paul gives as to WHY, "the way of love", IS the most excellent way.
"THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY"
TEXT: I CORINTHIANS 13
"A NEW COMMND I GIVE YOU; LOVE ONE ANOTHER
AS I HAVE LOVED YOU SO YOU MUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
BY THIS ALL MEN WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES
IF YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER" -- JOHN 13:34,35
"DEAR FRIENFDS, LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER
FOR LOVE COMES FROM GOD
EVERYONE WHO LOVES HAS BEEB BORN OF GOD AND KNOPWS GOD
WHOEVER DIOES NOT LOVE DOES NOT KNOW GOD
BECAASUE GOD IS LOVE.." -- I JOHN 4:7,8
"IF ANYONE SAYS, `I LOVE GOD’ YET HATES HIS BROTHER
HE IS A LIAR
FOR ANYONE WHO DOES NOT LOVE HIS BROTHER WHO HE HAS SEEN
CANNOT LOVE GOD WHO HE HAS NOT SEEN.
HE HAS GIVNE US THIS COMMND
WHO EVER LOVES GOD MUST ALSO LOVE HIS BROTHER." -- I JOHN 4:20,21
Years ago back when I was a teenager, a song came out that went like this, "what the world needs now, is love sweet love that’s the only thing that there’s just too little of." The song then went on /to list a lot of different things that we do not need anymore of; and then it came back to the chorus which told it’s listeners what it was that the world really needed, "and the world needed love, sweet love", because that was the one thing that there was just too little of in the world.
If you were to study the book of I Corinthians it would become readily apparent that love was exactly what the Church in Corinth was lacking, and that love was what the Church in Corinth so desperately needed. The Church in Corinth needed was love, agape love and that was the one thing that there was just to little of.
Paul up to this point in his letter has spent a great deal of time, discussing the divisions that were within the Church. In chapters 11-14 Paul addresses some of the problems that were causing divisions in the church. It is within this discussion, in chapter 13, sandwich between chapter 12 and 14 that Paul gives the church in Corinth the solution to their problem of division. In Chapter 13 of I Corinthians Paul talks about love.
This chapter is a favorite chapter of many people and has been read at many weddings. And it really is, a beautiful text to hear at a wedding. There is no other writing in all of literature that I know of, that is as expressive and yet brief and to the point as to what love is.
Paul however, did not write this so that people would have something to read at weddings or so that we would have a handy definition of "love", Rather Paul included this in his letter in order to give the solution to the problems of division, that was running rampant in the Church of Corinth.
In chapter 12 (which we will study in detail tonight) Paul confronted the problem that the church in Corinth had with spiritual gifts, everybody thought they were the most important, the most special part of the church. Everyone wanted to be greater than everyone else, and they were eager to do anything and to go any way to get there.
Paul in chapter 13 is basically telling the Christians in Corinth "slow down ,don’t be so busy, relax and don’t be in such a hurry, running here and there, to prove that you are better than everyone else. Just sit back and let me show you a more excellent way."