by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: I Corinthians 13:1-8
I. Many passages are used for needlepoint samplers. A popular choice is I Corinthians 13:1-8
A. Have you considered the meaning of the many phrases?
B. We often associate this passage with weddings, but Paul was writing about what love between brethren is like
C. However, it can be applied to many other situations:
1. Husbands and wives
2. Parents for their children
3. God's love for each of us
II. The definition of love
A. Patient (longsuffering, a willingness to wait even through difficult times)
1. The best example is God's longsuffering with mankind - Romans 9:22-24
a. Mankind, as a whole, has not been the most lovable of God’s creation
b. Our rebellion would try anyone’s patience
c. But God puts up with the bad in order to save the good - II Peter 3:9
2. It is not an endless tolerance, but it is a very long one, giving every opportunity to improve.
3. We need to learn from the farmers - James 5:7-11
a. We seek after instant gratification
b. We lost something as our economy moved way from agriculture
c. What is worth having is worth investing time to gain
d. It takes time for people to mature, so invest time in the people you love
4. Not every relation goes smoothly. Even the best relationship will have rocky points
a. Resist being impatient during adversity - James 1:2-4
b. Difficulties are bound to come, but they are also bound to be followed by good times.
c. It is patience that helps us last through the bad times so that we are still together during the good times.
5. Too many relationships ende at the first major disagreement
B. Kind (showing yourself useful, acting benevolently)
1. Christians are to kind and compassionate to each other - Ephesians 4:31-32
2. Kindness is more than an absence of ill-will. It is actively showing your care for another person - Luke 6:35-36
3. Not just the major events, but is shown in the little things you do - Romans 12:9-14
C. Not envious (strong feelings for or against)
1. Envy is an infection that eats away at life and ruins the best moments - Proverbs 14:30
2. Envy is believing that what another person has ought to belong to you
3. Joseph was sold because of his brothers' envy - Acts 7:9
a. They saw that Joseph was getting things that they weren’t getting
4. The Jews envied Paul's ability to draw crowds - Acts 13:44-45
5. Love cannot survive when envy invades the soul - Galatians 5:26
D. Does not vaunt itself (doesn't brag, doesn't boast, doesn't cause envy in others)
1. This is the flip-side of not envying.
2. All boasting is evil - James 4:16
3. We should not think too highly of ourselves - Romans 12:3
E. Not puffed up (not proud)
1. Pride goes before destruction - Proverbs 16:18
2. Like boasting, causes strife - Proverbs 28:25
3. It interferes with solving problems
4. Pride was a problem in the Corinthian church. Paul mentions it frequently - I Corinthians 4:6, 18-19
F. Does not behave unseemly (doesn't act unbecoming, is not rude)
1. Yes, love requires good manners.
2. James 4:11 - Don't speak evil of each other
3. Too many joke about others by putting them down
4. We need to appreciate those we are closest too instead of treating them with contempt
G. Seeks not her own (not looking out for self, not worshiping oneself)
1. Love is for other people, not yourself
2. We have enough people who act as if they are the center of the universe
3. A sign of the decay of society when men are lovers of themselves - II Timothy 3:1-2
4. Others come first - Philippians 2:3-4; I Corinthians 10:24, 33
H. Not easily provoked (not easily provoked or exasperated)
1. When you truly love someone, it should be difficult to become exasperated at the.
a. Unfortunately, you find some who always find fault - Proverbs 25:24
2. Love is willing to overlook the little annoyances that are bound to occur - James 1:19-20
3. When you do get angry, settle the problem quickly - Ephesians 4:26-27
I. Thinks no evil (doesn't take inventory, keeps no record of wrong)
1. In any relationship, there will be missteps. Given time, you are bound to say something or do something you wish you had not done.
2. We must understand and learn to forgive - Luke 17:4
a. Forgiveness is not dependant on how many times a wrong was committed in the past.
b. Each event is to be looked at separately and independently
3. Imagine asking God for forgiveness, only to be told you used up your quota - Colossians 3:12-14
4. To forgive is to let go of the past - Jeremiah 31:34
5. It is not that the memory of the event disappears, but that it no longer matters because it is not brought up
J. Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in truth
1. Do you derive satisfaction to someone stumble? It is wrong, but sometimes we feel a glee when someone we dislike falls on hard times - Proverbs 24:17-18
a. Worse is being happy at the failings of someone we are supposed to love
b. Seeing brethren doing what is right and helpful should fill us with joy - II John 4
2. Our concern should be in the salvation of those we love
3. “If you love me, you would ...” do something that was wrong.
a. Such is not love but self-interest
K. Bears all things (to cover with silence, protects, to roof over)
1. There are going to be times that the person you love injures you.
2. Hopefully the problem is solved and the person forgiven - James 5:20
3. This goes a step further than not keeping records of wrong. We realize that sinning causes guilt and embarrassment
4. To love someone is to help them deal with the consequences of sin after you have forgiven them - Psalms 32:1
5. It does the person no good to further drag them through the mud of their own making - Proverbs 10:12
6. When you love someone, you go through the bad times with them
L. Believes all things (trust, faith)
1. Love is built on a foundation of trust
2. There is an old song "When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman" that illustrates the opposite of this phrase.
a. The writer claimed that you have to watch her every move because you never know when she might cheat on you
b. There was not trust in that relationship
3. There must be trust in each other. We must also be trustworthy.
M. Hopes all things (expects improvement, doesn't despair)
1. Optimism, not pessimism
2. Expect the best and look forward to better times
3. Even if this world disappoints, there is a better place awaiting us - Hebrews 11:13-16; 13:14
N. Endues all things (stands up under loads, remains)
1. Doesn't quit or give up even when life is a burden
2. The righteous is like a tree with plenty of water - Psalms 1:3
a. God's word sustains us through good and bad times
3. The idea "if it doesn't work, we'll just leave" is foreign to the Christian
a. I’ve seen it in marriages and in congregations
b. People stay so long as things go smoothly
4. All parties must work to continue
O. Never fails (won't stop because of bad times or good times)
1. You don’t fall in and out of love.
2. Love endures. Love grows.
III. Note that love takes effort and is often difficult because the one being may not, at the moment, be deserving of love
A. Love isn’t a feeling, it is the work a person puts into a relationship
B. It is why everything else in Christianity is worthless without love