Summary: Message 28 in our journey through John's gospel expanding the admonition to love one another. This message supplements the command by looking more closely at 1 Corinthians 13.
A comparison of our love with the love of Jesus revealed in 1 Corinthians 13
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
John 13 begins a series of vital lessons Jesus taught his disciples during the last week of his ministry on earth. Nearly every principle necessary to become a fruitful follower of Jesus rests among these five chapters of the Bible.
Lesson One - Forgive like Jesus
Lesson Two - Love like Jesus
Jesus issued a specific commandment that when followed would demonstrate the authenticity of their commitment to Him.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Here Jesus elevates love to its highest ideal. Continually love one another just like I love you and will continue to love you. It is new in the sense that this kind of love is rare if not an absent among men since the fall of man. The demonstration of this divine level of mutual love stands as a most significant identifying characteristic of genuine followers of Christ.
"By this(mutual love) all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:31-35
The most effective power for evangelism today has never changed since the beginning of the church -- the power of genuine love. What effectively and eternally impacts a selfish culture is the demonstration of genuine selfless love and undeniable unity with God and each other that cannot be duplicated apart from the God of love and unity. Christians demonstrating this Trinitarian community capture the attention of the world.
Only one definition of love captures its essence – God is love. Wherever you see God manifested, you see love in action. Wherever you see love in action, you see God demonstrated. When those made in God’s image once again demonstrate the love of the one whose image they represent, those in a love-starved-world take notice.
Before the fall, man’s natural relational bent was selfless giving and ministry. Since the fall, that selfless giving and ministry to others deteriorated into a life of selfish grabbing and manipulation for self. Only the King can restore us to a life that operates according to the royal law of love. Only he can reboot the system to its original settings.
None of us care to admit that we don’t really genuinely love God or others but ourselves. I believe that until we honestly compare our pitiful attempts to love in the flesh to the glorious masterpiece so clearly demonstrated by God in the Bible, we will continue to miss true joy and divine fullness in life and continue our failure to significantly impact in our world.
Today I want to pick up again in 1 Corinthians 13 where Paul provides a portrait of love that should increase our understanding both what genuine love IS and what love DOES.
Paul employs six demonstrations of ministry to others that can be done without love.
I speak eloquently and even perhaps supernaturally.
I have prophecy
I have all knowledge
I have all faith so as to remove mountains
I give at a point in my life all my possessions to feed the poor
I give up my body to be burned
“but do not continually demonstrate, have, possess, or enjoy love”
It becomes only an irritating sound to the people who hear.
I become of no eternal significance. (I am nothing)
I personally gain nothing in terms of eternal value or reward.
Working Definition of Love
Biblical love is a divinely driven decision to pursue community with God and others and demonstrate that desire by selfless care and service that significantly touches the one being loved.
Three Dimensions of Love Genuine love
Love begins with a DESIRE to meaningfully connect with people that stimulates a DECSION to pursue meaningful connection and ends in DEEDS that promote community.
God’s core desire to restore connection with us was so strong that it stimulated a decision to do something about it that ended in the plan of redemption and the sacrifice of His own Son. Genuine love has to do with the passion for, and the pursuit and practice of community. Love has to do with meaningful relationship. Therefore, most of the portraits we find of love focus on practicing the things that build meaningful relationships and avoiding the things that block meaningful relationships. Here in 1 Corinthians, like a beautiful fragrant and delicate rose, Paul portrays the nature and power of love by describing a rose with fourteen unique two-sided pedals.
NOTE: All the verbs used here to describe love are present tense verbs indicating continuous action or practice or a lifestyle.
It is interesting to reflect on to whom this chapter was written.
Paul pens the most significant chapter on love to a collection of carnal Christians in need of it most. I think Paul provides only a representative list reflecting what this divine love is and does.