Randy’s sermon series on 1 Corinthians 13.
I recently did a 4-week series on 1 Corinthians 13. Each week we read the chapter in a different translation: NKJV, NASB, NLT, and The Message.
Interestingly, the end of 1 Corinthians 12 says this: “But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.” And after chapter 13, Paul transitions to other areas. But here’s his transition: “Let love be your highest goal!” Love is foundational. We must never forget that!
Here’s a brief recap of the four messages …
1. Love Matters (if we’re not loving others, we’re just making noise!)
Love is important. Jesus gave us the Great Commandment, love God and love people. But it’s hard work, isn’t it? But it’s also important. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13.35).
This message came primarily from the first few verses of 1 Corinthians 13 where Paul says that even if I can do all kinds of amazing things, but don’t love others, it doesn’t matter! Love matters.
Choose to love your “loved ones,” the “difficult ones,” and the “strangers” (least/lost/lonely). We, as followers of Jesus, will be known by our love (or lack thereof). The impact we have on our community depends on how we love others! Love matters.
2. Love Impacts (it impacts you and everyone around you!)
This message came primarily from the second section of 1 Corinthians 13 where Paul attempts to describe love. “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
That kind of love impacts you, and everyone around you! God’s love shaped God’s actions (seen in the sending of his son), and it certainly has impacted us!
Exercise your heart. Let love guide your actions. Pray for God’s help. Choose to love people every day.
3. Love Lasts (so keep everything in perspective!)
It’s easy to be so task-driven that we neglect people. We must value relationships. Again, love matters. “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples,” Jesus said.
“Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.” (See also Romans 8.35-39.)
Take time now for a check-up. Check your vitals. Got a pulse? What makes your heart beat? Who are the most important people in your life? Where does God rank? Family? Friends? People who don’t know Christ’s love? What are the next actions that you need to work on to restore good health?
4. Love Grows (so do everything you can to cultivate it!)
The closing words of 1 Corinthians 13 (in The Message) say this: “When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.”
I want to change the world! I want to make an impact. To impact the world, I believe I must become a gardener. Jesus said his Father is the gardener. Jesus instructed his disciples to pray for more workers (i.e. farmers) for the harvest. Jesus talked a lot about planting seeds.
To cultivate means “to foster the growth of,” and even “to make friends with.” Who’s cultivating you? And, who are you cultivating? A Chinese proverb says, “If you’re planting for a year, plant grain; if you’re planting for a decade, plant trees; if you’re planting for a century, plant people.”
Let’s love God and people, and see what amazing garden will grow in our part of the world!