(1 Cor 13:13 NIV) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
We have covered the 20 characteristics of God’s love found in 1 Corinthians 13.
- Paul closed out the 12th chapter with a statement that set the stage for the supremacy of God’s love.
- Paul, after going into such detail about spiritual gifts and the composition of the Body of Christ in chapter 12, closed out the chapter by saying, “But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.”
I felt led to point out this morning that Paul not only led us into this chapter by exalting love, but he closed the chapter the same way.
- Paul concluded that the major facets of Christianity can be summed up into faith, hope, and love.
- Furthermore, Paul made it clear that the greatest of the three is love.
The word greatest in the text means exactly what you think it means.
- Love is superior to any other quality of Christianity.
- Being an usher, singing in the choir, or wearing a clergy collar; means nothing to God if you do not operate in love.
- Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and having pity on the poor; means nothing to God if you are not doing it because of love.
- Preaching on Sunday morning, teaching on Wednesday night, and even knocking on doors on Saturday afternoons; means nothing to God if you are not compelled with love towards those that you are seeking to minister to.
God is love (1 John 4:8) and operating in His love is:
1. The greatest requirement
2. The highest goal
3. The ultimate achievement
1. Check your heart to ensure you are growing in God’s Love.
a. Who are you (really)?
b. Is who you really are close to who God is?
2. Check your motives to ensure that you are doing what you do out of Love.
a. Why do you do what you do?
b. Do you do it because you love God, or because you want to impress people?
(1 Cor 13:6 AMP) It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
To rejoice: simply put, is to experience joy; an intense feeling of happiness.
- Love does not break out into this intense feeling of happiness over the misfortune of another.
- Have you every met someone who loved to see others fail or hurt?
- These people are simply not walking in the love of God.
- Christians should not take the opportunity to celebrate the fact that others are going through tough times. As a matter of fact, we should sympathize with and show compassion towards those who are “going through.”
- We should seek to be a blessing and not a burden.
Jesus had an intense meeting with a family that he loved in John chapter 11. Mary and Martha were crying because their brother (Lazarus) was dead and he had been dead for four days. They sent word to Jesus while Lazarus was still alive. Jesus got there and would later raise Lazarus from the dead, but before He did, He encountered a hurting family. What did He do when He met with the family that was grieving? What did He do when He saw their tears? Did He break out into a dance and celebrate the fact that they were hurting? Of course not! The Bible says, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).
- He cried with them.
- He shared their feelings.
- He shared their pain.
- Why? Because He was operating in the love of God.
(Romans 12:4,5 CEV) A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use. That’s how it is with us. There are many of us, but we each are part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another.
(1 Corinthians 12:26 CEV) If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will be happy.
(Romans 12:15 AMP) Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others' joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others' grief].
1. Be considerate. Put yourself in their situation.
2. Celebrate with others when they are celebrating, but also be compassionate towards those who are hurting.
3. Never take pleasure in other’s pain; but rather seek to be a blessing while they are down.
(1Co 13:5 AMP) It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own.
- The modern day translations for the word rude tell us that being rude is: to act in an offensive manner; to be abruptly and unpleasantly forceful; to be discourteous, coarse, or vulgar.
- In the original language of our text, to be rude means to become easily provoked or irritated.
- Love is not these things.
Love is not rude. The Message Bible says that it “doesn’t fly off the handle.” Love doesn’t seek to offend, but rather to reconcile. Love doesn’t seek to cause offense, but rather to share with others while operating in harmony.
When you develop in God’s Love you:
#1: Share the Gospel without offending others
- spirituality is not a license to offend
- winning the argument without winning a soul
#2: Communicate possibly contentious thoughts without causing offense
- you learn how to confront in love and harmony
#3: Take control of your emotions and you don’t allow them to control you
- high tolerance for people
Are you rude towards others? Are you easily provoked or irritated? Do you cause others to be offended? If so, then repent this morning and ask God to allow His love and His light to be perfected in you this day and this week.
Major points I want to make this week:
1. Jesus is ALIVE!
2. If the Resurrection is not true, we don’t have Christianity.
3. We can GO because He CAME!
4. We can OVERCOME because He OVERCAME!
1. Jesus is ALIVE!
(Mark 16:1-6 NIV) When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Solome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young many dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
a. This is the truth that changes everything.
b. Jesus is the only historical religious figure who is still alive!
c. You can be a Muslim without ever meeting Muhammad, you can be a Buddhist without ever meeting Buddha, but if you are going to be a Christ, you have to meet Jesus the Christ for yourself!
2. If the Resurrection is not true, we don’t have Christianity
(1 Cor 15:12-14,20) But tell me this-since we preach that Christ rose from the dead, why are some of you saying there will be no resurrection of the dead? For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless… But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.
a. This is the most important event in History.
b. Jesus conquered death so that we could do the same.
c. We shall LIVE FOREVER!
3. We can GO because He CAME! (The Great Commission)
(Mat 28:18-20) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
a. Jesus gained ALL POWER and based upon that, He told us to GO!
b. We don’t have to be afraid, but we MUST share the Gospel with the LOST!
4. We can OVERCOME because He OVERCAME!
a. Jesus overcame satan.
b. Jesus took the sting out of death.
c. Jesus now offers us everlasting and abundant life!
Two major points I want to make this week:
- You can’t do any of what we have taught this month if you don’t know who you are.
- You won’t know who you are until you know who Jesus is!
(Mat 16:13-19 KJV) When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Simon discerned Jesus’ true identity:
- Jesus asked who others identified Him to be
- Other misidentified Jesus to be either: John the Baptist, Jeremiah, Isaiah, or one of the prophets
- He then wanted to know is His disciples could properly identify Him
- The question was posed to all 12
- Only one (Simon) received the answer
- The answer came by revelation (not flesh and blood)
By identifying Jesus’ true identity, Simon found his own (Peter):
- You ID’d me, so let me now ID you
- Simon, You are Peter
- When you find Jesus you are able to find yourself
- When you find yourself you will be able to discover your purpose
- You don’t come up with your purpose, you discover it
- When you discover your purpose you will receive incremental vision
- When you walk in accordance with God-given vision you will experience divine provision and favor
We live in a world where everything is constantly changing. The economy changes (we are all aware of that right now), the weather changes, people change, we change, everyone changes… but through it all God is the only constant. Sure, we are all busy, but have you slowed down long enough to realize that God is still trying to get your attention and that He can still make a difference in your life.
After 2,000 years, JESUS is STILL the ANSWER!
(John 14:24b NIV) These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.
Jesus said, “These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.“ Basically, Jesus was explaining how He was a conduit through which the Father spoke. He was the container, but the Father was the content. Jesus was our ultimate example and He was used on the earth to manifest the Glory of God.
So what does this mean to you? Alot, but let’s just look at two things:
1. Manufacturer vs. Distributor: Just as Jesus did not manufacturer His words, neither are we required to, as it relates to ministry. Have you ever come in contact with someone who really needed Jesus, but you did not know what to say? Have you ever seen someone you really needed encouragement, but you could not find the words? The blessing is in the fact that you don’t have to come up with the words to say. God has given us, as Born-Again believers, His precious Holy Spirit. We can pray and ask the Holy Spirit to use us as He used Jesus – to bless others through us. We are not the Manufacturers, but rather the Distributors of God’s Word and God’s Grace. Is there someone in your office today that needs a few words from God? Is there someone in your family that’s needs a word of encouragement? Pray and ask God to manufacture a blessing so you can distribute it to them!
2. Author vs. Orator: When you pray and God manufacturers the words to say and you distribute them to His people for His glory, leave it at that. If they don’t receive it, they are not denying you, they are denying Christ. You are not the Author, but rather just the Orator. They are not your words and you don’t have a heaven or hell to put anyone in anyway. Simple say what God told you to say and move on. Allow God, who is the Author, to do the Work, behind His Words! So don’t be afraid to be used as the Orator for the Author, if they reject the Words, they are rejecting God.
Finally, this is the “The Power of the Pipe!” Picture yourself as a pipe connected to God. He is the source of water. Water in this illustration is the blessing. As you allow God to use you, He wets the people through YOU! God has the water, but He needs the pipes to channel His blessing on the earth. Are you willing to be used as a Pipe today? Oh Yeah! One last thing about this pipe. The Power of the Pipe is that the water cannot pass through the Pipe, without the Pipe getting wet! When God blesses others through you, you also get blessed. Are you ready to get wet?