Summary: A Message on Christian Love. Expanded outline.
THE MOST IMPORTANT INGREDIENT
This is a chapter we are all familiar with. I have preached on it before. I read a good portion of it in Dan & Elizabeth’s wedding yesterday. You’ve heard it.
But it is also a chapter that is often taken out of context. From this letter of Paul’s to the Christians, the church in Corinth, we know that Paul loved the believers in that city. In the beginning of chapter 1 Paul says he thanks the Lord for those people, every time he thinks about them. We know that God blessed the church in Corinth. The people there had all kinds of spiritual gifts. But, the church also had problems.
There were divisions in the church. The people had divided themselves into different groups. Many of the people were selfish, self-centered, and self-pleasing. Some of the folks thought they were more spiritual than the others because of the spiritual gifts they had, or some such thing. There was immorality in the church, and some of the people who thought themselves the most spiritual were in fact, the most immature. They were spiritual babies who never grew up.
So Paul wrote them this letter to help address some of the problems they were having in the church. In chapter 12 of this book Paul talked about the Body of Christ and through him, God has told us that we all have a part in the Body. We are all important to God and in the church. ** Turn to somebody and tell him, “You’re important to the church.” Tell somebody, “You’re important to me.”
In chapter 14 of this book, Paul is going to bust some people’s chops. He’s going to tell it like it is. But, between the 2 chapters Paul pauses to share chapter 13, the love chapter.
Does this chapter deal with the home? Yes. Does this chapter address how spouses are supposed to treat each other? Without a doubt. But, it was originally written to point out how Christians are to treat each other. It was primarily written to talk about how church folk are to behave. You see my friend, love is to be the spirit with which we do everything.
A bird is meant to fly in the air. Fish operate best in the water, and Christians are to operate in and with a spirit of love.
LOVE IS MOST IMPORTANT
v1 Great speaking
Knowledge – learning & understanding
Faith – Trust God in everything
Charity – Serving, feeding, ministering to others
Not worth a truckload to toenail clippings if you do it without love.
> John 13:35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
I. WHAT LOVE DOES
1. Love is Patient – v4
It takes a long time before fuming & breaking into flames. Love doesn’t retaliate. Love’s patience is the ability to be inconvenienced by a person over & over again without getting angry.
One of Abraham Lincoln’s earliest political enemies was Edwin M. Stanton. He called Lincoln a “low cunning clown” and “the original gorilla”. “It was ridiculous for people to go to Africa to see a gorilla,” he would say, “when they could find one easily in Springfield, ILL.” Lincoln never responded to the slander, but when, as president, he needed a secretary of war, he chose Stanton. When his surprised friends asked why, Lincoln replied, “Because he is the best man.” Years later, as the slain president’s body lay in state, Stanton looked into the coffin and said through his tears, “There lies the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen.” His anger was finally broken by Lincoln’s long-suffering, nonretaliatory spirit.
2. Love is Kind – v4
Love acts kindly. A little girl prayed, “Dear God, please make all the bad people good and all the good people nice.” Evidently she had met some good people who did not act kindly.
Patience will take anything from other people, kindness will give anything to other people.
* The hard environment of an evil world give love almost unlimited opportunity to exercise that sort of kindness.
Kindness starts at home.
3. Love Rejoices in the Truth – v6
Even love cannot rejoice when truth is denied.
Wrong description of God. …
Love is kind, but it doesn’t compromise the truth.
4. Love Bears all Things – v7
> Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions.
When one of our children does something wrong, we try to put the best face on it. They didn’t understand, they aren’t usually like that, etc. When someone else does something wrong, “Isn’t that just like them?”