Pre-Lent • Sermon • Submitted
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1 Cor 13:1-13
1 Cor 13:1-13
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, this last week we observed Valentine’s Day, a day which is dedicated to love, and often people will look to this passage and think that since that is what they are thinking of, that must be what the Scriptures are speaking of. This is where we must be on our guard, for this is a good passage and we would hate for the meaning here to be lost.
Why does Paul Speak about Love?
Their Church was in conflict.
There was great turmoil and problems in the church in Corinth. They were split 5 differents ways and there was in fighting and people were claiming that they were better Christians because they had better spiritual gifts than others, it was a mess in short, and not at all how the Body of Christ is to act. So despite all the gifts they were praising, they forgt.
They were lacking love the fruit of faith.
For we love because God first loved us, love flows out of the Christian heart towards their neighbor, and it binds the body of Christ together, for we are God’s children, and God is love. But they had gotten all wrong.
They thought the weeds were fruit.
The Church was a mess, they had no idea what Love looked like and so Paul lays out for them what love is, what is does and what it does not do, and it is important for us to learn it as well.
What is Love?
Patient and Kind: It is not quick to wrath, but waits for the weak
Hotheaded and arrogant people can do nothing but judge and condemn others while insisting that they are always in the right. Love waits for the unrighteous and the weak to catch up and is friendly to all.
Doesn’t Envy or Boast: It is not jealous of others riches or gifts.
To see what our neighbor has and begrudge them their riches, their food, their cars, instead of giving thanks that God has blessed them.
Not Arrogant or Rude: Yields to no one, but wants everyone to obey them.
When people do not listen to them or give them what they want, they rage, pout acting like children instead of men or women.
Is not self-serving: looks to benefit others.
Love looks outward towards the neighbor, the whole idea of love yourself first is selfish instead of looking to benefit your neighbor.
Not Irritable nor Counting Wrongs: The Loveless can tolerate nothing.
If they were wronged by any, they do not forget it, but they plant that hatred in their heart and tend to that plant for years. They worry about how people regard them, and it is never enough.
Doesn’t Rejoice in Wrong-doing: Either in personal sins or the failings of others.
We see this when they look for the worst in people, and when they see the failings of others, this makes them feel better about their own weakness and failings. This is what sits in the heart of Gossips.
Rejoices in Truth: delighting when a person does what is right.
Rather Love rejoices when a person does what is right, if it means that we suffer loss. When the truth is spoken even if that truth is spoken to us, we must say, I don’t enjoy it, but I’m glad there is someone who stays the course, when I stray.
Bears All Things: This means every weakness, failing, and imperfection in our neighbor.
It is compassionate and regards everyone as good no matter how weak or foolish they might be. Whereas the arrogant, the proud will always find something to criticize.
Believes All Things: It expects no evil from a neighbor.
It looks for the good in every one instead of anticipating evil from their hearts. Yes this means it makes mistakes especially when people do commit evil, but it bears this knowing that God himself is love.
Hopes All Things: No matter how evil, we hope for the best.
Love does not give up on your neighbor, even when they fall into evil it continues to hope for something better out of them.
Endures All Things: No loss is too great.
For we have a rich God who is able to provide for our every need. The loveless, cannot bear any loss and if their word is not true, they hate them all the more.
Never Ends: The world, and false saints grow weary by ingratitude.
It does not give up, it continues to grow in their hearts for their fellow man, much as the love of a parent is for their child even when they fall away.
His Law is Love
The sum of the commandments is love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.
We must be careful when we hear the word love, for in that context it is not Gospel, but Law. We like the word Love, but if we turn Law into Gospel we will be in a real mess. Because Love
This is what God demanded of us.
What I have just described above, you are to practice, and do without failing. For the Law condemns all those who do not do it. It doesn’t matter your excuses or your reasons, God has spoken. The Church in Corinth needed this Law as they were biting and devouring one another and had no room for love. When we look at what Love is supposed to see, we are no different. We can blame the media which inflames us to hate leaders, we can blame the failings of our neighbors which make it hard for us, but that does not change the Law and what God demands. For God himself is Love, and if you do not have this love you are not of God.
That’s a heavy truth, but we must remember the Law was not meant to save us, the Law was meant to show us our sin, and that we need to repent. So repent of your lovelessness, confess it as the sin it is, but do not despair, for
It's the Law that Jesus came to fulfill.
He fulfilled it for your sake, because you could not. Now this is when the Word Love becomes a Gospel Word, when it is
Jesus’ Love For You
Consider how Christ loved you.
If we think love is just a simple feeling, it means little, but look at this list, with me. Look at how he fulfilled each one, thinking of you.
[Go through List]
What motivated Christ there upon the Cross, was Love. Love that even reached out a man condemned to die and forgave his sins and promised him a place in his heavenly kingdom.
He has made you lovely.
Paul talks about this in Ephesians, by the washing of water with the word He Washed away your all your blemishes, your imperfections, your weaknesses, all your sins, and made you lovely. We saw that happen this morning in the Baptism, God claimed another as his child.
The love of God was poured into your heart, for we had none of it, but He wanted us to belong to him, to be his people, and so when we were loveless, He loved us and saved us.
It is that love that he has given us, that is meant to overflow to our neighbor, for just as he did not withhold his love from you, don’t withhold love from your them.
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, that is what this passage is about, it isn’t about romantic or dating love, but it shows what the Law means, when it says Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself. It reveals that we all need to repent, and return here to the font, to the cross, and to the table, where God out of love washes our hearts clean, for the sake of his Son, and nourishes so that same love that saved us, might be shared with others. In Jesus name. Amen.