How important is love to me

 1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-3  LOVE IS INDISPENSABLE.

“But the Greatest of These …

The most important element in the Christian life is love, but what  many people think is love is really not the highest form of love at all. It is either eros, a feeling inspired by something attractive in its object, or philia, a sense of comradeship and friendship. These sentiments can sustain a relationship for awhile and may even bring a degree of  happiness, but if we desire abundant and abiding joy in our walk with the Lord and our relationships with each other we need agape, God’s kind of love. Agape does not grasp after what it can get, but pursues only what it can give, and it keeps giving even when it gets nothing in return.

John 21:15

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (Agapao) thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (Phileo)thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

John 21:16

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (Agapao) thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love (Phileo) thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:17

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest (Phileo) thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest (Phileo) thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love (Phileo) thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

 

We have to have it.  Love is not an option.

Our ministry is with people.  We can be saved but out lives not count because there is no love.  In 1 Cor 13 love is not defined, but it is described by the manifestations in our lives.  What it produces.

1.   1 Cor 12:32.  What is the more excellent way?  The way of love.

2.   1 Cor 13:1-3.

A.      Verse 1 – though I

Verse 2 – though I      if I could……..But have not love

Verse 3 – though I

It is possible to be in the ministry, to have great gifts, to know the Word, to give your life but HAVE NOT LOVE.

B.  We have substitutes for love.

Great gifts, abilities, the things we do, our giving, even our lives.

We can use our gifts but if love is missing we have nothing.  These

things are good but they are no substitute for the real thing, LOVE

 

C.  WHAT IS THE RESULT.

A.  Verse 1.  “I am become”  =  I was something before, but because of something a change has come.

NIV, “I am only”

B.  Verse 2.  “I am nothing” =  lack of abiding, John 15

NIV, “I am nothing”

J.B.Phillips “I amount to nothing at all”

C.  Verse 3. “it profiteth me nothing  = result of all our labour

NOTHING. NIV, “I gain nothing” J.B.Phillips “I achieve precisely nothing”

GOD’S MOTIVE FOR MINISTRY IS LOVE.

VERSE 1.  Without love our COMMUNICATION is  ineffective

VERSE 2.  Without love our SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING is incomplete.

VERSE 3.  Without love our SACRIFICIAL GIVING is insufficient

All our years of labour amount to nothing and achieve precisely nothing, if not motivated by love.  This should stop me in my tracks and get me to evaluate the question, what am I motivated by?  What is the motive and characteristic of my life?

There is only one thing God is going to reward and that is LOVE.

  1. 2.      1 CORINTHIANS 1: 4-7.  LOVE IS ACTIVE. Love is a verb and it is described by action

1 Cor 13 isolates the evidences, the product, the manifestations of love in the life of a believer.

Notice 14 characteristics.  In SEVEN PAIRS, chosen by Paul and shows how he applied them directly to the situation at Corinth.  They also apply to the situation here at——-?

14 characteristics in seven pairs 2 – 8 – 4

Two positive

Eight negative

Four as a summary, to show us how to act in each situation.

TWO POSITIVE.

LOVE IS PATIENT  – Love suffereth long.  This is a passive quality, it is not something you do.

(Love suffereth long)  It is something you are.  Long tempered.   It conveys the idea of the capacity to be injured without paying back.

 It is long-tempered, slow to anger, slow to take offence, slow to  become resentful. True love causes us to bear  patiently with our loved  ones when they wrong us, offend us, nag us, or criticize us. It is slow   to assert itself or to retaliate in self-defence.  The one who loves is  willing to be a doormat if necessary, to love without retaliation, self-pity, or sarcastic retorts.

LOVE IS KIND

Love is kind or love is friendly.  This is an active quality.  The person who is injured acts with kindness and goodness to the person who has injured them.

This is the positive side of the first principle. Patience refrains from  reacting to provocation, while kindness finds  constructive ways of doing good for the ones we love no matter how they have acted. Kindness is showing appreciation for little things we like and saying so with sincere commendation.

EIGHT NEGATIVE              They seem to come together in pairs

LOVE IS NOT  – Love envieth not. love does not envy.  Not envious.  Does

JEALOUS  –  not boil over because of the success of another.  Reacts

(Love does not envy)   with thankfulness.  If we do not react like this we begin to:-  brag.

Love is not jealous; it is not in competition,  or is it hurt when it comes out second best.

LOVE DOES NOT –  love vaunteth not itself.  Love does not boast.  If we are

BRAG  –  jealous of another then we will begin to boast about our own

accomplishments, our importance.  We will start to brag.  Be a windbag.

(Love does not.  Love is not out to impress or gain applause. Boast)

LOVE IS NOT – Love is not puffed up, arrogant and conceited.  Superior.  Blown up with its
ARROGANT, PROUD – own  importance.  When we have done something right we feel proud.  (Love is not puffed up)   What would they do without me.  Love is Indispensable, I AM NOT. If I am puffed up with my own importance I will behave unseemly.

LOVE  IS NOT RUDE – Love does not behave itself unseemly  Even if I think

(NOT ACT  others do.  I will not behave inappropriately. (not the UNBECOMINGLY) right shape).

Love is never unmannerly, but always acts courteously and politely. When we truly love, we make the effort to do little things that show how much we care.

LOVE IS NOT – Love seeketh not its own.  Does not seek its own interests.

SELF SEEKING – It is thoughtful of others.  Does not use its liberty to the detriment of others.  Love does not seek to build me up, but It seeks to build others up.

Here is the very essence of unselfish love, the absence of all  self-seeking. Love does not insist on  its own way or on its own rights.  All of us tend to believe that we have certain inalienable rights: the right to be appreciated, the right to have certain things our way, the right to enjoy certain personal comforts, the right to have our needs met.

If this is not true of me then I will be irritated by others.

LOVE IS NOT – Love is not easily provoked.  Not touchy, or easily angered.

IRRITATED – It is neither touchy nor irritable.  It has surrendered all its rights for the one it loves.  Does not wear its feelings on its sleeve

Not easily is not temperamental angered, or provoked.

LOVE THINKETH – love thinketh no evil.  Does not keep a record, an account

NO EVIL – of wrongs.  No write up.  No computer memory recall.

Keeps no record. Especially of wrongs against us. No trophies of  gathered  hurts of wrongs

Love does not dwell on the wrongs it has suffered from the object of its love. Neither does it magnify human faults. Love forgives and  forgets; it doesn’t hold grudges or tabulate grievances!   Have you  ever thought back and enumerated the many times you have been  wronged? We are particularly inclined to do this when we are building a case for a good argument. But that is not love.

LOVE REJOICETH – Love rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth.

NOT IN –  The truth sets us free.   Truth and righteousness are

EVIL (INIQUITY), BUT  – constructive.  Have you never felt pleasure in the sin

REJOICETH IN –  or misfortune of another?  It can make us feel good when

THE TRUTH  – Others are having a rough time.

This statement alludes to that sinister satisfaction which we sometimes  feel when someone who has injured us is caught doing something wrong.  “He only got what he deserved” is our heartless reaction. The verse may also refer to those occasions when we gloat over the  shortcomings of our colleagues in a selfish attempt to vindicate ourselves. For example, we may still be smarting over some critical  word spoken by a colleague when suddenly they do something obviously wrong. We capitalize on the situation with some comment  like, “See; you’re not so perfect either!” Love does not rejoice when  wrong is done, but when truth and right prevail.

FOUR by way of SUMMARY.

LOVE BEARETH –  Love supports, it protects.  Love reaches out and lifts up.

ALL THINGS.

(IT always protects)       The word translated “bear” means iterally “to cover, to pass over in silence, to keep confidential.” Love does not  broadcast the faults of its object, It does not belittle the one it professes to love by exposing his shortcomings and failures in the presence of other  people.

LOVE BELIEVETH – Love takes a positive view.  It trusts one another.  It

ALL THINGS –  believes the Lord in another brother.  It believes the best.

(always trusts)  – It believes that other people have good intentions.

This does not mean that love is  gullible, but that it is beyond suspicion, doubt, and mistrust.

LOVE HOPETH  –  Two things inspire hope, the grace of God and the power of

ALL THINGS. – God. (1 Thess 1:3).

Love does not magnify problems in order to justify quitting. Love never gives up hope, never despairs. It just keeps on going.

 

LOVE ENDURETH  –  Love perseveres, this takes us right back to where we

ALL THINGS –  started in verse four.  Love keeps on. Perseveres.  Love is action.  Loyal fortitude, moral fiber.  The man under grace has no liberty to quit.

If there is no action there is no love.

The concept is that of sustaining an assault. Love weathers every  storm of suffering or persecution. It   takes every blow and still  keeps coming back for more—cheerfully!

Love never fails.

“Love never fails.” It never falls to pieces, never collapses, never  terminates.   As long as the Spirit of God is in control of our lives, He just keeps on producing love and we keep on displaying it! If we ever stop, we will know that the Spirit of God   is no longer in control, for His love never ends.

1.3.      WHAT IS THE RESULT?

Verses 4-7 are God’s blueprint for us.  Let us take it as our blueprint for this next year, lets work and grow in love.

If we know we are committed to loving each other we will cope with opposition from outside and tension on the inside.

THERE ARE FOUR WAYS WE CAN REACT TO THIS.

1.  REALISM.  A true evaluation of myself, but seeing love as the answer.

2.  ACTION.  Action is the glue that keeps us together, verse 4, be patient and friendly

3.  REALITY.  A genuine love from the heart but not just outward action. I can do the right thing out of duty but my heart attitude can be wrong.

4.  EXPECTANCY. This will work miracles amongst us.  Psalm 5:3

A Guide to Culture

1  Corinthians 13

If I speak with the tongue of a national, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I wear the national dress
And understand the culture and all forms of etiquette,
And if I copy all mannerisms so that I could pass for a national
But have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor,
and if I spend my energy without reserve,
But have not love, I gain nothing.
Love endures long hours of language study
And is kind to those who mock his accent;
Love does not envy those who stayed home;
Love does not exalt his home culture,
Is not proud of his national superiority,
Does not boast about the way we do it back home,
Does not seek his own ways,
Is not easily provoked into telling about the beauty of his home country,
Does not think evil about this culture;
Love bears all criticism about his home culture,
Believes all good things about this new culture,
Confidently anticipates being at home in this place,
Endures all inconveniences.

Love never fails.
But where there is cultural anthropology, it will fail;
where there is contextualization, it will lead to syncretism;
Where there is linguistics, it will change.

For we know only part of the culture
And we minister to only part.
But when Christ is reproduced in this culture,
Then our inadequacies will be insignificant.

When I was in America I spoke as an American,
I understood as an American,
I thought as an American;
But when I left America I put away American things.

Now we adapt to this culture awkwardly;
But He will live in it intimately.
Now I speak with a strange accent,
But He will speak to the heart.

And now these three remain:
Cultural adaptation, language study and love.
But the greatest of these is LOVE.