Summary: A sermona about the supremacy of love.
“What Gives Life Meaning?: These 3 Remain”
I like the way Eugene Peterson has written this in The Message: “[Right Now] we don’t see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.
But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright!
We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!”
How many of you feel as if you are “squinting in a fog,” not seeing “things clearly”?
There can be no doubt that life is complicated, dangerous, mysterious.
It sometimes seems as if we are just running around in circles, only to find ourselves in the same place where we started.
Just when it seems that things are getting better, that the world is finally “growing up a bit,” we have someone shooting up a movie theater, a mall, or a group of innocent, young, defenseless children.
Just when it seems as if we are becoming more mature, racism and prejudice rears its ugly face again…
…reminding us that we have a long way to go.
Just when we think we may have finally arrived, we say something thoughtless or mean to our spouse, to a friend, to another church member.
Just when we think we are really being “great Christians” we find ourselves annoyed by a homeless person asking for food, we find that our hearts are hardened toward the suffering of others, or we are not as generous as we thought we were.
The Church in Corinth had gotten to a point where some of the members felt as if their ability to speak in tongues, or prophesy meant that they had somehow “made it.”
But they were missing the most important thing in the entire universe.
They thought they had it all, but in reality—they had nothing.
And that is the way it is with all of us.
Rich, poor, white, black, American or African—we are truly “bankrupt without love.”
Love is the one thing that “never dies.”
Love has no equal as a spiritual gift.
Love has no equal…period!!!
But as for tongues, they will end.
As for understanding; it will be brought to an end.
Because, right now, no matter how impressive we can be in our “religiosity” whatever “we say about God is always incomplete.”
Again, we don’t see things clearly.
We live in a broken world.
Our innocence is lost.
Our relationship with God is blurred.
Our knowledge is lacking.
Sin has corrupted our nature.
We have become violent, full of pride, vengeful, corrupt people.
And all this mess, all this sin makes it impossible for us to see God face to face.
Even when Jesus was walking this earth, His disciples, although they believed in Him…
…although He brought hope into their lives…
…although they had left everything to follow Him…
…they still did not understand Him.
He was always having to correct them.
He had to explain His parables and teachings in extremely simple language, and still, they often didn’t “get it.”
And when Jesus died on the Cross, even though He had told them many times that this had to happen and that He would be raised from the dead…
…when Jesus died on the Cross His disciples thought that His movement was over.
They were shocked with unbelief when Christ rose from the dead!!!
He had to appear to them, over and over again.
And even when He did appear to them, they often didn’t recognize Him until He outright told them Who He was!!!
Thomas even had to feel the nail marks on His hands.
Then, right before Jesus Ascended back to heaven, the disciples asked Him, “Lord are you going to restore your kingdom to Israel now?”
And it took visions and proofs from the Holy Spirit to convince the Apostles that Jesus died for the whole world, not just for the Israelites.
And the Apostle Paul had to write many, many letters explaining over and over again that “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for you are all are one in Christ Jesus.”
There were fights in churches about who was “in” and who was “out.”
And there still are.
We still haven’t arrived.
Think of the arguments over the mode of baptism which separates denominations…
…even though the mode is never clearly defined in Scripture.
Or how about speaking in tongues?
Some denominations think that you can’t be “saved” if you don’t speak in tongues.
There is no place in the Bible that even comes close to affirming that statement.
Other denominations claim that we are not supposed to have music in worship.
The Psalms are filled with musical instruments.
There is no such talk about the evils of the piano, or harp or guitar or whatever in Scripture!!!