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Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

A Time to Love

Intro.

1.  There is a time to love, Eccl. 3:8.

2.  Love is the “more excellent way”, 1 Cor. 12:31; 13:1-13:
  a.  The first and great command,
Matt. 22:37-28.
  b.  We must love each other for God to accept our love,
1 Jno. 4:20-21.
  c.   Love is an essential part of obeying the truth,
1 Pet. 1:22.
  d.  We must “put on love” to bind together the body of Christ,
Col. 3:14.
3. 
1 Cor. 13: Division and carnal thinking in Corinth grew out of a failure to understand love and to live in love toward each other, Eph. 5:2.

 

I.  THE MOTIVES OF LOVE, 1 Cor. 13:1-3.
  A.  Love is Decision of the Will that must Motivate every Action of Our Life,
13:1-3; cf. Gal. 5:6.

    1.  Emotional attraction and pleasure is not agape.

      a.  We do not know love through sinful actions, Jno. 3:16.  

      b.  Agape is seeking the highest good of another; “unconquerable benevolence, undefeatable goodwill.”
    2.  Using miraculous spiritual gifts without love gives it a shallow, hollow ring; it is nothing but a loud noise with no real essence.
    3.  The Corinthian problem: Using tongue-speaking without anyone who could understand and without an interpreter to give the meaning – USELESS! Not acting out of love.
    4.  Miraculous spiritual gifts were worthless without motive of love.
  B.  We Must Stop Merely Saying We Love, We Must Start Showing We Love,
1 Jno. 3:16-18; Eph. 3:17-19. Sacrifice, service and spiritual growth are only beneficial when our deeds are driven by love for: God (Matt. 22:37-38; Jno. 14:15); neighbors (Matt. 22:39); brethren (Rom. 12:9-10); family (Eph. 6:1-4); enemies (Matt. 5:44).

 

II.  THE CHARACTERISTICS OF LOVE, 1 Cor. 13:4-7.
  A. Love is Active (verbs used to designate what love is like).

-v. 4-
    1.  Longsuffering: long-tempered; does not hastily retaliate when wronged by another (a heart that is longsuffering, Col. 3:12).
    2.  Kind: Good, mellow (not caustic, bitter,
Lk. 5:39), Eph. 4:32.
    3.  
Does not envy: “heated hatred”, “the feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others” (Vine), 1 Pet. 2:1. (Bitter resentment toward others’ good)

    4.  Does not brag (parade itself): Arrogance of speech, to boast (self-display), wounding others, causing unrest, discord, 1 Ths. 4:11.
    5.  Is not puffed up: an inflated opinion of one’s own importance; love is not conceited and arrogant,
Rom. 12:16.

-v. 5-
    6.  Is not rude: Love doesn’t behave disgracefully, dishonorably or indecently; Mannerly and decent, cf. 2 Cor. 8:21.
    7.  Is not selfish (does not seek its own): Love looks out for things of others instead of itself,
Phil. 2:4.
    8.  Is not provoked: Love is not irritated, it does not go around with a chip on its shoulder, cf.
Eph. 4:31.
    9.  Thinks no evil: Love does not keep a running account of offenses with a view toward revenge; does not dwell on offenses against it,
Eph. 4:32.

-v. 6-
  10.  Does not rejoice in iniquity: Love cannot find pleasure in sin. Sin grieves love and tries to overcome it, cf. Eph. 5:11; 1 Pet. 4:8.
  11.  Rejoices in the truth: Absolute truth, gospel truth; Love takes joy in the truth of God,
Eph. 4:15.

-v. 7-
  12.  Bears all things: Love is able to bear whatever troubles come upon it, cf. Gal. 6:2. Protect, preserve
  13.  Believes all things: Not suspicious, believes the best of others, grants the benefit of the doubt in the absence of evidence. Contrast with
1 Tim. 6:4. (Does not mean love is gullible.)
  14.  Hopes all things: Love hopes for the best in others even when the evidence leads one to believe otherwise, cf.
Phil. 1:15-18.
  15.  Endures all things: Steadfast endurance, the Christian who has love perseveres in whatever circumstances life brings,
Jas. 1:12.

 

III. THE PERMANENCE OF LOVE, 1 Cor. 13:8-13.

    -(Here is the superiority of love over the miraculous spiritual gifts.)
  A.  Love Never Fails (ceases, rendered inactive),
13:8.
    1.  Transitory nature of m. gifts v. the permanency of love,
13:8-12.
      a.  
13:8: Love never ceases - in contrast to the miraculous spiritual gifts which would (did) cease (12:8-10).
      b.  
13:9-10: The manner in which God revealed Himself to man using spiritual gifts; Partial revelation v. complete revelation
      c.  
13:11-12: Partial and complete knowledge illustrated with 1) childhood v. adulthood, and 2) mirror v. face to face.
    2.  Now abide faith, hope, love; Love is the foundation of all.

 

 

Conclusion
    We must understand love and live in it or our Christianity is worthless!