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1 Corinthians 13 – Love

September 20th, 2010

This is a popular and beautiful chapter, but we mustn’t forget that it is also a useful and practical chapter – meant to change and prepare us and help us understand the character of Jesus.

1. Love rescues us from futility

  • Love gives us meaning
  • We fill our life with things – career, relationships, entertainment – to cover the emptiness we feel deep inside and give us some kind of meaning. We construct our own meaning.
  • In this passage, Paul is deconstructing some things that the Corinthians have built to give their lives meaning and importance – e.g. spiritual gifts, impressive talents, etc. They were impressed with the wrong things.
  • Without love, all of these “impressive” things are nothing. Even generous giving and devout religion is nothing without love.
  • Paul is talking about motives – why we do what we do, rather than just what we do. This is exactly what Jesus was concerned with.
  • There is even the danger of raising our kids to do the “right” things regardless of the motives, teaching them effectively to do things to impress people rather from a genuine heart.

2. Real love is a miracle

  • The definition of love is shockingly unlike what we are naturally like.
  • The parable of the Pharisee and the sinner praying – the sinner was the one counted as righteous because he acknowledged how far short he fell, and there was hope for him because of that. This is how we are to be – aware of our desperate need of mercy and help, not making excuses for how we are already “nice” and “good”.
  • This passage is a description of Jesus who never failed at love.
  • Jesus scored 100% on every point of love, and that was transferred to us in exchange for our sin! All of Jesus’ goodness is given to us a free gift – this is the wonder of the gospel! It changes everything, changes how we live – we are transformed by His love.
  • Luke 7:47 – the woman knew she was forgiven much, and so she loved much.
  • We love God and love others because we understand how loved we are.

3. God has made it possible

  • God makes love possible.
  • Paul reminds the Corinthians that spiritual gifts are temporal. He wants to get to the motives of why they want spiritual gifts, and wants them to gain perspective of what’s really important. The gifts are there to serve something greater.
  • Faith, hope and love are the most important things – and love is the greatest. We see Jesus dimly now but one day we will see Him face-to-face – so we rely on faith and hope now in order to love on earth, but in heaven we won’t need faith or hope. Love, however, is everlasting and will be in heaven for all eternity.
  • When we don’t love others it is because we don’t trust in it – we don’t have faith that someone has our back when we put others first, and we don’t trust in the promise of the outcome or that Christ is all-sufficient for us.
  • In order to love we need to first be filled with God, satisfied in Him.
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