Discipleship

The greatest of these is Love

Love is the greatest. Photo credit: facefinal.com

Love is the greatest. Photo credit: facefinal.com

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 1Cor. 13:1-8

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1Corinthians 13:13

I.When Gift Stops, Love Remains

Gifts – have a divine purpose; it refers to the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. Its purposes are: a. To edify the church   b. To bring unbelievers to Christ

God is the dispenser of the gifts. He is the same yesterday, today, & forever. He does not change. He is still dispensing and will continue to dispense these gifts according to His will.

Romans 11:29 – “for God’s gifts and His calling are irrevocable”.

However, a time will come when all the gifts will cease. But love will remain. God made a promise that He will be with us to the end of the age and where His presence is available, there is love. Nothing in this world could ever stop His love from manifesting itself and nothing could stop His love from fulfilling His purpose.

II.When one is in “limbo” (confused), love clarifies

WHAT LOVE IS . . .

  1. Truth – [Greek, aletheia] – to un-hide or to reveal.

John 14:6 – Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life”.

Jesus is the embodiment of truth. Before Him, our hearts are exposed. With Him, what is confusing becomes clear.

2.    Patient – [Greek hupomone] – “cheerful endurance”. Contrast with desperation, when one has no other available choice

3.    Kind – [Grk.- chresteoumai] – Serviceable, pleasant, gracious, good

4.    Protects – this kind of love is called “storgy” in Greek.  It denotes the love of mother to her child, or, love between siblings

5. Trust – putting your life into the hands of another, knowing that he or she will not fail you.

Failure or breach of trust may damage the relationship that may take years to repair.

6. Persevere – to persist in spite of obstacles.

Ex. Walls/mountain before us – to test us if we can jump over, go over, or go around it

The key is to ask God to guide us while we face those obstacles in our lives.

7. Hope – a confident expectation which rests upon the promises of God. It is believing that God’s word is true and trustworthy; a confidence that God will do as He has promised.

In all of these things, God’s love provides clarity and puts us into proper perspective.

III.When one is self-centered, love rebukes

WHAT LOVE IS NOT . . .

  1. Envy not – When King Saul heard that David was more popular than him, he became envious.  It is a feeling of displeasure produced by hearing or witnessing the prosperity or advantage of others; envy by nature is evil.

2.    Boast not – The story of the rich man in Luke 12:13-21 is a good example to remind us not to boast about earthly things. Better to boast about the cross of Christ, how God rescued us from darkness, or how God delivered us from danger, sickness, or death.

3.    Proud not – “arrogant”. The Bible always uses this word in evil sense. When you put yourself above others (as if they are inferior). The opposite of humility.

4.    Rude not – offensively impolite or bad mannered; uncivilized. The key to overcome is to hold your tongue. “If you can’t say anything good, keep your mouth shut”.

5.    Self-seeking not – self focus is the anti-thesis of love. It is the opposite of selfless.  The ultimate example is the selfless act of Christ.

6.    Record no wrong – Greek word “logizomai” – an Accounting term – to “impute” Christ’s righteousness into our account. God’s love does not record our sins – as if we did not sin at all. If this how God treat us, how do we treat others?

7.    Delight not in evil – the idea is not to “gloat” over someone’s guilt or misfortune. It is common for people to rejoice when their enemy is found guilty of a crime or caught in sin. That is not love. Because love rejoices in the virtues of others, not in their vices. “Good for him/her” – an ungodly word to say to our enemies when they suffer misfortune.

The world around us is lost. It is sleeping in the dark. What is happening in the world today is only an indication that the day of LORD is near. If we are still sleeping in the light, maybe its about time to wake up. Maybe its about time to revisit our purpose, our mission.

For everyone who has been given much, much will be required. (cf. Luke 12:48)

To be honest, we have received so much love from God. To put into context, think of all the sins that you have committed since the beginning of your life. The good news is, they have been forgiven; at a great cost, but yes, they have been forgiven. Because God loves us more than we can ever love ourselves. If God forgave us our sins, can we not forgive others?

It is only fair that we show this love to others. If love is the essence of Christianity, then Christianity without love is dead. If we cannot, to the very least, show love and compassion to others, then we are in danger of becoming spiritually dead. We may call ourselves Christians, but the question is, can we love others like Christ did?

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”.

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