Summary: The apostle Paul descirebes love as the key to spiritual maturity.
“The Secret to Spiritual Maturity”
March 11, 2007
Intro: Many Christians have a goal of being “mature” believers.
We have to ask ourselves, “What defines spiritual maturity?” Is it scripture memory, daily devotionals, volunteering at church or is it actually going on the middle school retreat?
1 Corinthians 11-14 is a detailed description of what worship and life should look like for the body of Christ. In this section of scripture Paul talks about spiritual gifts and the way they are to be employed in worship.
In the middle of this section comes one of the most famous passages of scripture. Commonly called the “love chapter” 1 Corinthians 13 is, in my opinion, the blueprint of spiritual maturity.
“If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn’t love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NLT)
The lesson: nothing is of spiritual value absent of love.
When we talk about spiritual maturity, we usually are only talking about a “perception” of maturity. We are usually looking for something that we can measure in a time or length manner.
John Ortberg said that when people ask him about his spiritual walk he usually thinks first and foremost about the frequency and length of his quiet times. But is that an accurate measurement? If it were, the Pharisees, whom Jesus criticized would have been the most spiritually mature people in the world.
The things we think of as maturity are not valuable in the kingdom of God if they are not accompanied by love.
Beautiful words, without love, are merely noise.
Incredible knowledge, without love, is information.
Great sacrifice, without love, is merely exhibitionism.
It is only when we begin operating in anonymity that we truly are acting out of love.
Paul explains that in the corporate body of Christ, love wins.
Some questions to ask to measure our “love walk”:
Are you loving God?
Are you loving other people? All people?
How many relationships with non-Christians have you built into your life this last year?
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. 6 It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)
Love waits. (Puts others needs ahead of our own.)
Love is flexible.
Love has no agenda.
“Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear. 9 Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! 10 But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear.” 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 (NLT)