Summary: The apostle Paul describes what love is in I Corinthians 13. He uses the first 3 verses to show the Priority of Love and then next three verses he shows the properties of Love and ends in verse 7,8 &13 with the Capability of Love
What is Love
Introduction: According to legend there was a third century Christian who lived in Rome named Valentine. He was imprisoned during one of the periodic persecutions against Christians and was sentenced to death. While in prison, Valentine was able to gather violets outside his cell window. He sent them to his loved ones with the message, "Remember your Valentine." After his death he was canonized by the Catholic Church. So now we have "St. Valentine's Day," a day when we send cards to our loved ones asking them to remember us. (sermoncentral- Roddy Chestnut)
Ill. Today is Valentine's day and if this Valentine's Days is like those in the past, over $1 billion was spent on chocolate, $1 billion on cards, and 218 million roses were sold in the pursuit of or in an attempt to demonstrate love.
The Bible tells us that God sent the first Valentine. He showed what true love is. He demonstrated His love for you and me over 2000 years ago when He sent His One and Only Son to pay the price for your sins and mine.
Listen, God didn’t just love you enough to tell you about it. He didn’t just love you enough that He settled for having it written in the clouds by angels in flaming chariots. He didn’t love you enough that He stopped at sending you a love note, or a card, or calling you, He loved you enough that He sent His Son Jesus Christ.
You see, when it came to demonstrating love, FTD was not fragrant enough, Russel Stover was not sweet enough, and Hallmark couldn’t find words eloquent enough to show you. (sermoncentral- Gene Gregory)
That's Gods' love for you. What about your love for others?
Ill. A Peanuts cartoon shows Lucy standing with her arms folded and a stern expression on her face. Charlie Brown pleads, “Lucy, you must be more loving. This world really needs love. You have to let yourself love to make this world a better place.” Lucy angrily whirls around and knocks Charlie Brown to the ground. She screams at him, “Look, Blockhead, the world I love. Its people I can’t stand.”
You may be able to relate to Lucy, this world in general is easy to love but its loving others we have a difficult time with. Paul encountered a dysfunctional church in Corinth that was having similar problems. You might remember the Verizon commercial where the super muscular man is sitting down for an interview and says “makes me wonder what else I don't know.” the interviewer says you know you're supposed to work your lower body also and then you see this huge man with spaghetti sized legs. From the waist up he look like Schwarzenegger but from the waist down he looked like Steve Urkel. The Church in Corinth had problems one of which was that while they had spiritual gifts, they didn't have love – The body didn't match the head. - Paul shows them that without the foundation of love your spiritual gifts are meaningless.
Transition: We hear the word love so much that it almost loses its meaning. Today we are going to find what true love is. In Pauls 13th chapter of I Corinthians known as the Love chapter, Paul shows us what love is, first by showing the Priority of Love, then the Properties of Love, and he end by sharing the Capability of Love
The Priority of Love (v. 1-3)
Paul uses three examples to show the Priority of love. He has just showed the Corinthians how they should use their spiritual gifts but now he begins the 13th chapter by saying 'look, I can speak like the most eloquent poets among men or speak in tongues as beautiful as the angels all day long but if I don't have love, I'm nothing but a banging gong and clanging cymbal. All manner of speech or song is nothing but noise without love.
He says 'Even if I had the gift of prophecy and all the knowledge of the universe and could unlock every mystery that ever existed, or had the faith that could move mountains that Jesus spoke of, all of it is meaningless if I don't have love.
Even if I gave everything I own to the poor and was willing to sacrifice my own body to be burned for Christ, I gain nothing, if I don't have love. We can take everything we have and give it to charity and then throw heads on ISIS's chopping blocks, but if we don't have love in our hearts we are no different than ISIS. There is a case here in Oklahoma where a Muslim man pleaded guilty to beheading a person and wanted to die for his cause in Islam. If we are willing to die for Christ but have hatred instead of love in our hearts we don't gain a single thing for it.