by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: I Corinthians 13:4-7
I. Love is a wonderful attitude
A. God is love and we should imitate our Father - I John 4:16
B. But people pervert what love ought to be and use a claim of “love” as a cover for permitting sin
II. Love as an excuse to do wrong
A. Perhaps you have heard the old line where a young man says to his girlfriend: “If you really loved me, you would do it.”
1. It is an idea that sex is love.
2. Love does cause two people to marry and in the realm of marriage sex takes place, but sex and love are not the same thing.
B. Misses the statement in I Corinthians 13:6. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness.
C. Sex outside of marriage is wrong. - I Corinthians 6:15-20
D. True love is keeping God’s commandments - I John 5:3
III. Love as an excuse to permit immorality in others
A. The common argument for homosexual unions is “They really love each other, so how can you stand in the way?”
1. It is used to justify marriages of those who had no right to marry in the first place.
2. Not just homosexual unions, but also people improperly divorced who marry again.
3. “They love each other. You can’t ask them to live apart.”
B. It is really saying, “I want it this way, so stop calling it sin.”
1. Psalms 10:3-4 - Boasting of their evil desires.
2. Yet I Corinthians 13:5 says love “does not act unbecomingly, is not self-seeking”
3. Instead, their glory is in their shameful ways - Philippians 3:17-19
C. Even when a person does not directly participate in a sin, they cannot give approval to those who do participate - Romans 1:32
1. As Israel decayed, they relished the sins they committed - Hosea 4:1-8
a. Notice verse 4 - no one finds fault, no one gives reproof
b. And in verse 8 - they feast on the sins of others
2. People would rather redefine righteousness than to condemn the wicked - Isaiah 5:20-21
IV. Love as an excuse to say there is no punishment
A. People have been saying “A loving God would not send people to hell.”
1. It is so prevalent that some denominations have declared there is no hell.
2. A variation of this same theme is in the arguments against capital punishment.
a. We cannot condemn someone to death for murder.
3. We also see it when people want to forgive someone when they are unrepentant.
B. Their focus is so much on love that they ignore justice.
1. God is both kind and severe - Romans 11:22
2. Wicked living demands punishment - Ezekiel 18:24-29
a. We want God to forgive us when we leave sin behind.
b. Yet, we want God to overlook when we leave righteousness behind.
3. What fairness is there in saying good people go to heaven, and so do the evil?
a. If it doesn’t matter, why be good?
b. Why would God tell us how to live righteously if He doesn’t care?
V. True love serves God
A. When people leave righteousness, they have left love behind - Revelation 2:4-5
B. Love requires obedience - John 14:15
C. Love is shown by our obedience - I John 5:1-3
D. God so loved us that the son of God died for us. How much do you love him?
1. Do you demand that God accept you as you are in your sins?
2. Do you renounce your old life and embrace a pure life with God?