1 Corinthians 13:1-13
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.”
Maybe that sounds a little like your marriage. Hopefully your friends don’t talk to you that way. Or maybe its that other way, maybe your like Lucy?Maybe you feel that way right now. Loving the world in general isn’t that difficult; loving the people around us can be a major challenge.
In 1 Corinthians 13, we find one of the most beautiful and familiar chapters in the Bible. This chapter is typically read at weddings and anniversary celebrations. It has even been set to music. But it is often misused and misquoted.
“Love is not a Feeling, it is an Act of your Will” – Don Francisco
1) Love is an Action In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul argues that love is an Action, not an emotion.
The kind of love Paul will talk about is seen, experienced, and demonstrated. This is contrary to our culture that honors personal feelings above almost everything. The love the Paul discusses in 1 Corinthians 13 is a movement, it is a passion in your to give this type of love to your friends, spouse, family.
2) Our culture overly honors personal feelings: “We do what we want because we feel like it, and if we don’t feel like it, we don’t do it.”
But as I study this passage, I am struck by the complete absence of any stress on personal feelings. Hence, if love is an action, not an emotion, we need to study what God has to say about love.
3) Marriages, Friendships & Lives Together need to be built on Love! Take today’s message and apply to where ever you need help. We need to apply it to our marriages, children, friendships and to all people we love. Love has to be in every part of You. Me. and We.
Testimony Derrick Carr, Oakland Raider Quarterback
Okay let’s talk about Three Distinctions of Love
1) Love is the Heart of Our Gifts (13:1-3)
1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
In these three verses,
a. Paul mentions 5 Spiritual Gifts in these Verses:
- Speak all the languages you Want ! (Unknown Languages)
- Stand before the Word and make it Shine all the time! (Prophecy)
- Possess a deep understanding of the Word of God! (Knowledge)
- Trust God for great things even in Tough Times! (Faith)
- Give your Wealth and Body to the Poor ! (Giving)
2) Yet without love: I say nothing, I am nothing, and I gain nothing.
C. Love is Expressed in Action (13:4-7)
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. I Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is a word that can only be properly defined in terms of action, attitude, and behavior. Paul has no room for abstract, theoretical definitions; instead, he wants us to know what love looks like when we see it. Thus, he paints 15 separate portraits of love, in the space of 4 short verses. Paul uses fifteen verbs, all of which have “love” as their subject.
Okay, can I get a TIME OUT!! When you go to a new doctor or dentist for the first time, they give you this big list of questions. About 50 questions…have you had a heart attack, when was your last surgery, do you smoke, what medications are you on…and you answer them all. Well I would like the next 15 ideas to be a check in like that…give your self a check-up! We know that Revelation chapter 2 and 3 are a Spiritual Check-Up, well today we are learning how 1 Corinthians 13 is a Relational Check-Up.
1) Love is patient . The Greek language has several words for “patience.” One signifies patience with circumstances while another is used only in reference to patience with people.
The Lord knows we need both kinds of patience, but it is this second word that is found here. The KJV renders this word “long-suffering.”
Paul seems to be saying that love doesn’t have a short fuse. It doesn’t lose its temper easily. A person who exercises agape love does not lose patience with people. Love never says, “I’ll give you just one more chance.” Love is patient.
2) Love is kind. Kindness is also caring when someone is in need or hurt Love is kind, but often tough. Kindness also means saying no if it helps someone
Paul followed the two positive expressions of love with eight verbs that indicate how love does not behave.
3) Love is not jealous. Jealousy implies being displeased with the success of others. Yet, true love desires the success of others. That is a major issue in marriage. Are you jealous of your spouse? Want to start to fix that…pray for your spouse…and jealousy and love cannot exist in the same heart.
4) Love is not Boastful. The root word for “brag” in Greek is very picturesque and is closest to our English word, “wind-bag.” Love is not an egotistical blowhard. Love is not big-headed but big-hearted. This means the more loving you become, the less boasting you need to do. The greater your spiritual gifts, the less prone you should be to brag.
When you and I brag, we are demonstrating our insecurity and spiritual immaturity. Paul states that bragging is the converse of biblical love. Hence, we should pursue Christ so that we will be humble before Him and others.
5) Love is not Proud. Pride disrespects others and carries a distain for others. God calls us to serve others and be gracious toward them.
6) Love is not Rude.There are some Christians who seem to take delight in being blunt, justifying it on the grounds of honesty. They will say, “I’m just telling it like it is.” There is a graciousness in love which never forgets that courtesy, tact, and politeness are lovely.
7) Love does Demand its Own Way. Love is the very antithesis of insisting upon one’s own rights. Love is not possessive, demanding, stubborn, or dominating. Love does not talk too much but listens much. Love does not insist on its own way. It is always willing to defer to others.
8) Love is not Irritable. Refuses to give into emotional outbursts, be provoked by petty annoyances, or to let someone else control them.
Do you know people who are so quick to take offense that you have to handle them with kid gloves? You try to avoid talking to them and when you can avoid it no longer, you carefully measure every word you say to make sure that you say exactly what you mean. That kind of person knows nothing of agape love, for love is not touchy.
9) Love keeps no Record of Being Wronged. Paul uses the normal word here for bookkeeping. Love does not keep a ledger of evil deeds. Love doesn’t hang on to reminders of wrongs. Who are you keeping a book on? Are there some ledgers you need to go home and toss in the fireplace?
10) Love does not Rejoice about Injustice. One of the reasons I detest watching the news is that the bulk of stories concern people’s misfortunes and misdeeds. There is something in our human nature which causes our attention to be drawn to murder trials, FBI probes, natural disasters, and human tragedies. Love is not like that. Love takes no joy in evil of any kind. Love is righteous.
Now, after eight sobering negatives come five glorious positives:
11) Love rejoices with the truth. Truth and love go together like hand in glove. Truth must make our love discriminating, and love must make our truth compassionate and forgiving. If our actions are in accord with agape love, we will always welcome biblical truth, never resist it.
12) Love never Gives Up. The phrase “bears all things” comes from a Greek word meaning to cover something. It is related to the word for roof—a covering that offers protection from the hostile elements. 1 Peter 4:8 says that love covers a multitude of sins. Love Doesn’t give up on people: rather it bears up, keeps up, protects others.
(Okay cover your ears if your closed to change) There are two very relevant applications: First, love doesn’t nitpick. It doesn’t point out every flaw of the ones you love. Second, love doesn’t criticize in public. rather it covers up sin.
13) Love never loses Faith. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt, to believe the Best about people. To trust what they say.
I do not tire of repeating that people tend to become what we believe them to be. They either live up to or down to your expectations.
- If you treat a man as trustworthy, he will strive to prove himself worthy of your trust.
- If you tell a child, “Take a big swing. You can hit that ball,” he’ll go to the plate and swing like Babe Ruth.
- If you treat your wife as if she is the most beautiful woman in the world, she will be transformed before your very eyes.
- That’s what Jesus did. To vacillating Simon, He said, “You are a rock.” To a prostitute, He said, “Your sins are forgiven.” To a woman caught in adultery, He said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
- It is the simple power of believing the best and not the worst about people.
14) Love is Always Hopeful. Love refuses to take failure as final, either in oneself or in someone else. Love never gives up on people. Love has a positive forward look.
15) Love endures all things. The word “endures” is a military term that means to hold a position at all costs, even unto death, whatever it takes. Through the noise of battle comes one final command: “Stand your ground, men. And if necessary, die well.” So love holds fast to people it loves. It perseveres. It never gives up on anyone. Love won’t stop loving, even in the face of rejection.
So which ones do you need to work on, which did you check or circle…how was your check up
D. Love is an eternal gift (13:8-13)
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
1) Paul teaches the temporary nature of the spiritual gifts and the eternal nature of love.
2) How will you grow in your love for Others ? (John 15)
- Love God, in Loving God we learn to love Others!
- Love those Nearest to You: spouse, children, friends.
- Love the world around you. Reach out to the Lost.