Summary: This is from a series on Attitudes I did. I got a lot of ideas form a book by James MacDonald entitled Lord Change My Attitude.
LIFE IS AN ATTITUDE – PICK A GOOD ONE
A Perfect Combination
Sunday February 25, 2007
A. As we begin this discussion today of this next attitude I want to take a moment to remind you of what we are striving to see happen in our lives through this series. We are looking at both bad and good attitudes. Last week the bad attitude, that attitude we want to replace is the attitude of criticism. So how do we do that? Well as I said early on in this series we will not remove these attitudes by more hard work. What that means is that we are not to be spending our time thinking about how we can remove a critical attitude. Think about this for a minute, what happens if I say to you “Don’t think about having a nice piece of chocolate cake.” “Let’s all right now stop thinking about eating some chocolate cake.” What just happened? I just made you think about what I told you not tot think about. If I really want you to stop thinking about eating chocolate cake then what I have to do is replace that thought with something else. This is what we are striving to do when it comes to changing our attitudes. I don’t want you to be thinking about having a critical attitude I want you to begin thinking about the attitude that will replace criticism so that requires me to point you in a new direction.
1. What is the attitude that needs to fill the void left by criticism? Actually Jesus told us what it was and he told us that it was the most important thing in this world. We find it in Matthew 22:36-38 NIV "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 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.’ We like to say here at Cornerstone that, “A Great Commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will build a Great Church.” If you will notice our emphasis for building a great church begins first with loving God and loving each other before we are able to begin reaching the world. We understand here at Cornerstone that if we cannot learn to truly love each other within the four walls of this building we will never be able to love those outside these walls and therefore the Great Commission will not be accomplished by us.
2. We talked about this briefly last week but it needs to be repeated again today. When we talk about the attitude of complaining what we are referring to is negative talk about situations or circumstances, but when we speak of criticism we are referring to negative talk about people. So it seems to make obvious sense that if we want to remove criticism we need to do so by replacing it with the attitude of love towards others.
Trans. What we have been doing through this series as we begin is to define each of these attitudes so that we understand what it is that we need to remove or what we need to add. What Paul does here in these first three verses of 1 Corinthians is to tell us what love is by telling is what love is not.
I. LOVE IS …
I have studied these verses many times and in fact last year we were going through these verses in another series, but in my studies this time I discovered something that I for some reason had missed all the other times I studied this. I think we are all aware that in the Greek language which is the language the ancient Hebrew manuscripts were translated into before they got translated into English that the word love had three meanings. One translation was “Eros” which is where we get our word erotic. Eros referred to passion and was usually equated with sexual attraction. The other word commonly used was “Philio” which referred to friendship. That’s why Philadelphia is referred to as “The City of Brotherly Love”. The word that Paul used here is another word we are now familiar with which is “agape”. It is commonly used in the New Testament but here is what I never saw, it was not a commonly used word during the time of Christ. In fact it never was used until after Christ had died and was resurrected. The apostles and disciples who wrote the New Testament had to find another word to describe the love that Christ had shown to us and it had to be a word that transcended what people normally thought of when they thought of love. So the word “agape” was chosen.