Summary: In a church where divisions, lawsuits, immorality, incest, abuse, corrupt worship and misuse of spiritual gifts were manifested, this is a good place for a lesson on love.
WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
INTRODUCTION: Look out Tina Turner here I come! For some of you that don’t know the title is that of a Tina Turner song.
How did this chapter get thrown into the mix with spiritual gifts? It is key. It’s not here by accident! In a church where divisions, lawsuits, immorality, incest, abuse, corrupt worship and misuse of spiritual gifts were manifested, this is a good place for a lesson on love. Love was what was lacking. Some who claimed to be superior because they had the gift of tongues needed to hear this. What’s love got to do with it? Everything! It’s the only solution to their problems. It should be the distinguishing mark of the Christian. See John 13:34-35. Paul gives us a masterpiece of a portrait on love.
I. The Value of Love (12:31-13:2)
Every gift is to be exercised in love. If not, it has no value. Love is to be valued more than:
A. Oratory (v.1): “Tongues” = the problem. Eloquent of ecstatic speech is not an indication of spirituality. The mark of spirituality is “love” not “tongues”! Guns make noise but don’t communicate. Just noise without a message.
B. Prophecy (v.2): Dr. Sounding Brass and Rev. Tinkling Cymbal may be able to deliver a breathtaking sermon, but without love it is worthless.
C. Knowledge (v.2): “Mr. PHD” without any “TLC” is useless. The Corinthians had a problem with pride (puffed up). Why? Knowledge. Love minus knowledge = innocence. Knowledge minus love = arrogance!
D. Faith (v.2): Faith is essential, but what good is it if it can remove mountains but not malice.
E. Giving (v.3): One can give without loving but one cannot love without giving.
F. Martyrdom (v.3): Without love, emotionalism, intellectualism, activism, humanitarianism and asceticism are worth nothing!
II. The Virtues of Love (v.4-7)
Paul uses “15” short forceful phrases to give a beautiful description of love. Here is a “model” of Jesus.
A. Patient: Persistent, doesn’t waver. Doesn’t strike back
C. Does Not Envy: Doesn’t begrudge others (gifts).
D. Does Not Boast: Doesn’t parade, show off or brag. Not proud.
E. Not Proud: Not puffed up. Not arrogant. No contempt for others.
F. Not Rude: Not ill mannered but courteous.
G. Not Self-Seeking: Not selfish. Not seeking to advance self.
H. Not Easily Angered: Not irritable or touchy. Not bad tempered.
I. Keeps No Record Of Wrongs: No grudges. No hit list.
J. Rejoices Not In Evil: No delight in evil or exposing others.
K. Rejoices With The Truth: Gladdened by goodness.
L. Bears All Things: Protects.
M. Believes All Things: Not easily deceived. Not basically suspicious.
N. Hopes: Never gives up. Doesn’t despair.
O. Perseveres: Endures.
See how all this fits into the overall context?
III. The Victory of Love (v.7-13)
A. Love Conquers (v.7-8): “Fails” = to fall or come to an end. Gifts will end but love is permanent.
B. Love Completes (v.8-11): “In part” = partial or incomplete. Gifts are for this age to build up the church. When Christ comes (perfect) gifts will no longer be necessary.
C. Love Continues (v.12-13): Gifts help us to grasp some knowledge of God, but now it is inferior to the knowledge we will have when we see Him face to face.
CONCLUSION: Make love the priority!