A More Excellent Way
1 Cor. 13
February, 24 2019
- Without love, all of the gifts are meaningless – they are useless unless they are motivated by love.
- If using the gifts that God gives is motivated by a desire for recognition, a desire for one-upmanship, a desire to prove how spiritual we are, then we’ve already lost and already missed the point.
- When used from a motive of love, the gifts are a powerful witness to the love of God among us.
Main Point: Diligently pursue love as you await Christ’s appearing.
I. The Superiority and Necessity of Love (verses 1-3)
- We can have the most amazing gift in the world, but if it is not exercised in love, then it amounts to nothing
- Love is indispensable in the use of spiritual gifts!
II. What Love Looks Like (verses 4-7)
- So now Paul begins to describe what love looks like practically. It’s not as much defined as it is described
- Love is a Decision, An Act of Will
- Love is not, at its base, sentimental
- We so often talk of love in terms of sentiment, emotion, etc
- Here Paul describes love as decisions that we willfully make with our mind and heart.
- Love is patient
- Love is kind
- It does not envy or boast
- Love does not boast nor is arrogant
- It is not rude
- It does not insist on its own way
- It is not irritable or resentful
- It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth
- Love bears ALL things, believes ALL things, hopes ALL things, endures ALL things
III. The Gifts are Temporary Provisions, Until the Perfect Comes (verses 8-13)
- When “the perfect” arrives, Jesus Christ in the fullness, then we shall know fully.
- Gifts like prophecy and tongues and knowledge will become obsolete, because we’ll at that time know fully.
- There, in heaven, this infinite fountain of love, this eternal Three in One… this glorious God is manifested, and shines forth, in full glory, in beams of love. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yes, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may swim with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be flooded with love!” – Jonathan Edwards
- Overwhelmed by this call of love? Keep your eyes on the Father!
- God has equipped us with the Holy Spirit for these things
- And He helps us to love like this.
- This way of love is a way of life for the Christian
- It is the way of Christ, and it is the only way for the Christian to meaningfully employ their gifts by the power of the Spirit
- After all, in Galatians 5, what is the number 1 listed fruit of the Spirit?
- “For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…” Gal. 5:22
Questions For Discussion/Application:
- Re-read the text, 1 Cor. 13. What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
- Why was Paul so concerned in this section on spiritual gifts, to stress, the priority of love?
- When it comes to spiritual gifts or giftedness, what things does the contemporary church tend to emphasize over and above love?
- Consider each aspect of love highlighted in verses 4-7. What does it mean to be patient, kind etc…?
- Perhaps take time to pray, that God would help us individually and corporately to exemplify Christ-like life in our use of the spiritual gifts and in all of life.