Love is an Action Word

Bible Book: 1 Corinthians  13
Subject: Love; Christian Living
Introduction

The context of this chapter and passage has to do with spiritual gifts. Paul is used by the Holy Spirit to show the need for spiritual graces to minister their spiritual gifts. Chapter 12 tells of God’s rich endowment of the gifts to His people; Chapter 13 tells of God’s energy imparted in our lives, which makes it possible for us to use the gifts for His glory; Chapter 14 gives God’s instructions for the exercise of the gifts.

It has been said that the only thing that will be rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ is:

1. That which was motivated by God’s love.

2. That which was empowered by God’s Spirit.

3. That which was done only for God’s glory.

Chapter 13 is inspired by God to show us that the only way to safeguard and rightly use our spiritual gifts is by administering them in the love of God. It is in this chapter that we see love declared, love defined, and love described. “Love” is the word agape; it is from this word that we get our English word agony. It means the actual absorption of every part of our being in one great passion. It is used often in relation to God. (John 3:16) The word has little to do with mere emotion; it indicates love which deliberately, by an act of will, chooses its object, and through thick or thin, regardless of the attractiveness of the object concerned, goes on loving continually, eternally. Love speaks of complete self-denial. To love in this way means never thinking of ourselves at all; the self-life does not enter into the picture. It is always used when the will is involved rather than the emotions.

When Chapter 13:4-7 describes love, every statement is applicable to the Lord Jesus Christ. Love is the one thing, though, that is completely indestructible, while other things pass away, love lasts. It is not dependent on anything outside of itself; it is not affected by the worthiness or unworthiness of the one it loves. The Greeks elevated what a man knew (his intellect), the Romans worshiped what a man could do (his power), but Paul stressed what a man is (his character). The pinnacle of spiritual development is to love God with the total being and to love one’s neighbor as himself.

The Bible’s description of Love is that:

1. Anticipates New Joys.

2. Magnifies Forgiveness.

3. Releases the Power of His Spirit in Us.

4. Edifies (Builds) Our Marriages.

5. Promotes Others.

6. Enriches All That It Touches.

7. Endures While Others Fail.

Song of Solomon 8:7

“Many waters cannot quench love,

Nor can the floods drown it.

If a man would give for love

All the wealth of his house,

It would be utterly despised.

The Shulamite'S BROTHERS”

1 Corinthians 13 is not human love that originates in our nature, but love which comes from the heart of God and is supernatural in origin.

It is important to begin with the end in mind as your last words will be a reflection of what in life was important to you. As a follower of Jesus Christ, your expressions will probably include God’s faithfulness, love of family, and gratitude for your salvation. You will not be thinking about how much money you can make, the next deal around the corner, or more stuff to accumulate. Your main focus will be your loving Heavenly Father, your caring family, and heaven. Last words represent lasting priorities. James Dobson said, “Who you love, who loves you, will you spend eternity with them.”

I. THE SUPREMACY OF LOVE

The supreme characteristic that God demands of His people is love.

A. Serving Without Love Is Noise  1

Using hyperbole, Paul exaggerates to limits of the imagination. Simply put, were we able to have the ability to speak with the skill and eloquence of the greatest means, even with angelic eloquence we would only become a noisy gong or a clanging symbol if we did not have love.

B. Serving Without Love Is Nothing 2-3

Verse 2  - The power behind what we say and what we do is our motive. If our motive is self-interest, praise, promotion, or advantage of any sort, no matter how orthodox, without the motivation of love, in God’s sight we are only causing a lot of commotion.

Verse 2a  - “Prophecy” – the power to declare the things of God, the power to interpret life, the power to bring the word of heaven to bear upon earth, the power to bring eternity into time.

Oratory may command admiration, but only love can reach the heart.

ILLUSTRATION: Balaam (Prophet) no love for God or the people, betrayed his prophetic office.

Verse 2b - “understand all mysteries” – the secrets, the deeper things of God. Refers to truths which we could never know without the special revelation of God; discernment of spiritual things; understanding God’s secrets.

“knowledge” – understanding Scripture; is intelligence in the truth.

William Barclay said, “Only a knowledge whose cold detachment has been kindled by the fire of love can really save me.”

It is easier to be orthodox than to be loving, and easier to be active in church works than to be loving.

ILLUSTRATION: 

CAIAPHIS the HIGH PRIEST

He had discernment, he knew that one must be slain for the nation, but without love became leader among those who crucified the Lord of glory.

ILLUSTRATION: JUDAS ISCARIOT

He had knowledge, all that he could acquire in 3 years at Jesus’ feet, no love, he betrayed the Lord.

Love is an ACTION verb!

A love that reached out to those who did not deserve it.

A love that forgives people.

A love that knows how to start over.

A love that sacrificed itself for others.

A love that meant caring.

While it may be hard to define love, it is easy to recognize it by the way it acts.

This love of God has power to literally transfer all human life.

Verse 3 - Speaks of an Improper Motivation

The motive is more important than the sacrifice.

The passage deals with Stewardship and Sacrifice.

Stewardship - “Give” – means to dole out in small quantities and signifies a long term, systematic program of giving away everything one possesses. Speaks of   unheard of generosity. Yet, only love qualifies giving to be spiritual.

Sacrifice – being burned alive; no matter how much a person may suffer because of his Christian service and testimony, he has no spiritual gain if his witness and works are not initiated in love.

II. THE SURVEY OF LOVE  4-7

A. THE CONTROL OF LOVE  4-6

1. ENVY

Jealousy; meanness of soul

Proverbs 27:4

“Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent,

But who is able to stand before jealousy?”

Jealousy has a viciousness shared by no other sin.

2. PARADES ITSELF

Show-off; boastfulness; superiority complex; bragger. Jealousy puts one down, bragging builds us up. Bragging puts ourselves first.

3. PUFFED UP

Pride or arrogant. It is an inflated idea of one’s own importance.

Proverbs 8:13

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;

Pride and arrogance and the evil way

And the perverse mouth I hate.”

Proverbs 11:2

“When pride comes, then comes shame;

But with the humble is wisdom.”

Proverbs 16:18

“Pride goes before destruction,

And a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Arrogance is big-headed.

Love is big-hearted.

4. DOES NOT BEHAVE RUDELY

Love has good manners; not blunt or rude; gracelessly, brutal. It stems from lovelessness, does not care about others feelings.

5. DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN

Not selfish

1 Corinthians 10:24: “Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being.”

Thinks of privileges, not responsibilities

Philippians 2:2-4: “fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

6. IS NOT PROVOKED

Not touchy or sensitive, not irritated.

7. THINKS NO EVIL (Does Not

Rejoice In Iniquity)

Accounting word, ledger. Does not store in memory the wrong, consulted whenever needed.

No pleasure in anything that’s wrong; does not desire to hear something derogatory about someone else.

Proverbs 24:17-18: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.”

Romans 4:8: “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin."

B. The Construction Of Love  4, 6-7

1. SUFFERS LONG

A long fuse, long-tempered, patient.

2. KIND

Mild attitude toward others; not critical.

3. REJOICES IN THE TRUTH

Truth prevails; rather hear good news.

4. BEARS ALL THINGS

Sensitive, does not mean that love condones the sins of others, rather, love covers them from public view. Does not drag into the light.

5. BELIEVES ALL THINGS

Sees the bright side; it believes the best in people.

6. HOPES ALL THINGS

Is not suspicious, believes the best; never ceases to hope.

7. ENDURES ALL THINGS

Always leads to victory, bears everything with triumphant fortitude; not passive obligation, but holy joy.

III. THE STEADFASTNESS OF LOVE  8-13

A. The Gifts  8-12

Verse 8 - absolute permanency

Vereses 9-12  completion; temporary

Verse - 10 “perfect” – the eternal heavenly state, love will last for eternity.

Verses - 11-12  Gifts are elementary

B. The Greatest  13

Love outlasts gifts and graces; supremacy

Love Promotes others.

Love Energizes faith and hope.

Love Edifies our homes, marriages and churches.

Love Enriches all that it touches.

Love Endures while gifts fail.