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Summary: True Love is not a religious experience, as some Christians want to convince us. Love is part of our Nature and we need to cultivate it in order to have a real relationship with God. Without love life has no meaning.

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True Love is not a religious experience, as some Christians want to convince us. Love is part of our Nature and we need to cultivate it in order to have a real relationship with God. Without love life has no meaning. Today we will learn what God has to say about it. Let's start at 1 Corinthians 13...

Paul ends chapter 12 by saying: And now I will show you the most excellent way.

No matter how gifted you are – no matter how successful in ministry – no matter how close to God – there is one overarching principal that should guide everything we do. Otherwise anything you do for the Lord is a waste of time.

1 Corinthians 13

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

That, of course is love. 1Corinthians 13 is one of the most famous passages of Scripture. It's quoted as weddings routinely. So much so that it begins to sound like the trite phrases of a Hallmark card. "What the world needs now is love sweet love" as if just saying the word "love" is all that's needed.

I. THE IMPORTANCE OF LOVE IN OUR LIVES

Is love is more important than any spiritual gift? I have read and listen to many messages telling me to ignore the Spiritual Gifts because love is more important than anything. What about if I say that you should love your children and ignore your husband because they are the most important thing in your life? Would that make sense? Yet many people loose their marriage because as they give priority to someone, they ignore important areas of their lives.

In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul defines for us what agape means. He does it in terms of what it is and what it is not. There are 8 things it does, 8 things it does not do.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

The 8 things love is:

Patient, Kind, Rejoices in truth, Protects, Trusts, Hopes, Perseveres, Never fails.

The 8 things love is not:

Envy, Boasting, Pride, Rudeness, Self-seeking, Anger, holding grudges, delighting in evil.

II. SHOWING LOVE IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES

Love is an action – but it's not fireworks display

Let's not make the mistake that the Corinthians and, for that matter, the Pharisees, made. Showing love means an attitude and actions – but love is more often a very quiet, unobtrusive affair. We don't need to broadcast the depth of our love and the amount of our selflessness to the whole world.

Don't expect fireworks to go off as you show and grow in love. But do expect lives to begin to grow and heal and change – that's the pay off.

I would like to tell you that Biblical love may be observed through the natural display of the 8 things this passage talks about. Perhaps you will not display all eight at the same time but eventually they have to be there. There is a lot of talk about love and Church people know the sentence "the greatest of these is love" but they fail to show actions that correspond to these words.

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