The Most Excellent Way
1 Corinthians 13:1
The Most Excellent Way
(1 Cor 13)
The centerpiece of Christian virtues is God’s kind of love
The AGAPE way!
Primarily an action and not a feeling
- - an unconditional commitment
- - a promise never broken
1. Agape (love) is more important than even the greater gifts because love is eternal (13:1-8a).
Love trumps your favourite gift, the greater gifts, and the most costly charity.
Love is not a spiritual gift; it is fruit of the Spirit and it superintends the use of impactful gifts. (Gal 5:22)
“In love we take God’s side, share his outlook and implement his designs; and we treat our neighbours as we know God has treated us (see Rom 15:1-7)” (Martin)
How loving are you…? WHAT’S YOUR LQ?
- Patient – put up with anything
- Kind – give anything
- Not envious – cheer everyone
- Not boastful – make others feel bigger
- Not proud – full of Spirit; not yourself (1 Cor. 4:6-8)
- Not rude – care for everything
- Not self-seeking – me second, third…
- Not easily angered – low boiling point
- No record of wrongs – love allows unloving another chance
- No delighting in evil – hoping everyone does right
- Rejoice in the truth – love limited by truth
- Bear all things – keep messes to a minimum
- Believe all things – optimistic toward people
- Hope all things – believe broken can become whole
- Endure all things – love doesn’t give up no matter what
2. On the other hand, gifts are imperfect and temporary, exercised by the imperfect within the temporary (13:8b-12).
- Be careful that you don’t boycott the value of gifts exercised by those whose love and giftedness is imperfect.
- We know in part
- When I was a child
- Be careful and cautious to not elevate the imperfection of exercising gifts above the perfection of Scripture.
- A poor reflection
- We see face to book!
- Be aware that the perfect and permanent are on the way when Christ returns.
- When the perfect comes, the imperfect disappears
- We will see face to face!
3. When the imperfect disappears and the perfect comes, faith hope and love will remain. (13:13).
- Love although imperfectly represented, does not end – nor do faith and hope (belief in Jesus; enduring anticipation of good things)
- Love is greatest because unlike faith and hope, it is the nature of God himself – God is love.