Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Love is eternally excellent.


I Corinthians 13:8-13

S: Love

C: Love is eternal

Th: Live the Difference


?: How? How do we know?

KW: Explanations

TS: We will find in our study of I Corinthians 13:8-13 four explanations why love is eternally excellent.

The _____ explanation is that…





PA: How is the change to be observed?

Version: ESV

RMBC 10 October 04 AM


ILL Notebook: Love (infinity and beyond)

Ashton, a four-year-old, loves the two movies called “Toy Story,” and particularly the space ranger hero Buzz Lightyear.

Recently in Sunday School, they were learning that God’s love has no limits. At the end of class, the teacher, reviewing the lesson, asked, "So, how much does God love us?"

Quoting Buzz’s big line in the film, Ashton replied, "To infinity and beyond!"

Well, you know, he might have something there, don’t you think?

How about you?

Have you a grasp of the depth and width of agape?

God’s love is truly beyond our understanding.

It is to infinity and beyond.


Last week, we began our study of I Corinthians 13 which is known as the “love chapter.”

And although the emphasis of this portion of the letter is on agape, it is not communicated in the context of romance or marriage as we so often use and apply it.

The context is the church and the using of spiritual gifts during worship.

As we have made note in preceding weeks, the church in Corinth had their eyes on the wrong things.

They had focused their attention on the spiritual gift of tongues, because they considered it a superior gift.

It was, according to them, the language of the angels.

So, in their reasoning, those that were the most spiritual were the ones that had this particular gift.

But Paul doesn’t go for that line of reasoning.

He says that there is something far superior than spiritual gifts.

And so, he admonishes both them and us, that…

1. We are to live the excellent way.

There is an excellent way to live.

It is a righteous way.

It is the way of love.

It is agape.

For just as Peter notes that love covers a multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8), the lack of love causes a multitude of sins.

If we do not show agape, there is going to be a lot of trouble.

Therefore, we need a great love like agape.

We need to live God’s kind of love that is deliberate and unending.


2. Agape never ends.

Love never fails.

At no time will agape ever fall apart and become ineffective.

It will never be abolished.

It will never be defeated.

It will persist even when it is slighted or rejected.

For, it is never used up.

It keeps on coming.

And so, it is beyond comparison.

Therefore, let us put the two thoughts together.

We are to live the excellent way and agape never ends.

This means that…


It is, as one writer put it, the very air of heaven.

Agape is the very air of heaven.

It is the real language of heaven.

And those that do not live this excellent way, are missing kingdom priorities and living.

For, whenever the church has success, whenever we do it right, it will always be because of love.

But to fully understand the reasoning of Paul…

4. We will find in our study of I Corinthians 13:8-13 four explanations why love is eternally excellent.

(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.


I. The first explanation is that OUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS WILL END (8).

1. In the big picture of things, charismata are temporary.

The word charismata is the direct Greek rendering for what we call spiritual gifts.

And as we have noted, the Corinthians were overly concerned with these gifts, especially gifts that were considered greater than others, like tongues and miracles.

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