The Greatest Is Love
The New Covenant with God is Simple – If we Die to self we Gain.
· Philippians 1:21 – For me to live is Christ to Die is Gain
· 1 Cor 15:22 - For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
· 1 Cor 15:31 - I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
But what does dieing to self mean spiritually, and what does Paul mean that he dies daily?
· Galatians 5:24-25 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.
· Galatians 2:20-21 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
· Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
· Romans 13:14 clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
· We are no longer slaves to sin - Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
In other words - This essence of the Christian life, is to deny self the
1) sins of the flesh,
2) lust of the eyes, and the
3) pride of life.
- The Bible says we must decrease so that He may increase.
- It is to die to self daily take & up our cross and follow Christ
- To be clothed in Christ so that we might have his refuge and strength
- To walk In Christ that we might be the
o light in the darkness –
o that preservative of salt in a world of decay –
o and that we might replace legalism with Love (2 Cor 5:17).
Before we look at 1 Cor 13 – lets back up to 1 Cor 12:24 (The chapter breaks are not part of the Bible and this section setup tonight’s verse in 13).
- 1 Cor. 12:24This chapter is primarily describing the gifts of each member and how we are all part of one body with Jesus as the head.
- 1 Cor 12:25 – Hate the Game not the player.
o I need to pause here before I go any further to make sure you get this.
We often talk about how even Hitler could be saved by Grace, because we all fall short.
§ We talk about how by God’s perfect standard not one of us is righteous.
§ We praise God for loving us despite our iniquities and transgressions ….and then we condemn our own brothers in sisters in Christ without evening knowing we are doing it by creating our own measuring stick.
- Example -
o Remember the Pharisees arguing over how some thought we must be circumcised to belong to God. In other words we had to do something in the flesh to receive His Love and Grace.
o What about eating food – many thought, some still do, that what we eat has something to do with our relationship with Christ.
o What about music? There are still churches today that don’t believe in any music at all – and many right here in the south are still scared of rock and roll.
Most churches have “grown out of these,” immature notions of Grace. (Paul calls it – being children, or babes in Christ – still drinking milk as a baby, and not ready for the as a man mature in their understanding.
But Satan’s tricky. – He looks to turn Love into Law by tricking us to exchange celebration for expectation.
- Remember how Satan payed with Words to Get Adam and Eve to eat of the Tree.
'You surely will not die,' the serpent said to the woman. 'For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'" - Genesis 3:4-5
Satan uses good to keep the pious and away from God. (We know better than to choose evil).
- Adam and Eve – walked in the garden and had no outside distraction, so Satan had to use good to distract them from God.
- Let me show you how this same trick gets us today without us even knowing it.
o Coming to Church is a fantastic celebration of Jesus – and I love spending time with the Lord and His children but….
- Do we ever hear things such as:
o “While everyone else is watching football we are singing for the Lord”
o Or brag about how “ Some only go to church 1 day a week and I go3, 4, or more times….
Be careful my brothers and sisters – This is a slippery slope of turning celebration into expectation - and Love back into Law.
We could have said – I am blessed to come here so many times to celebrate but we didn’t.
- & Mathew 15:18 - what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
This is the opposite of what Jesus Teaches, and when you hear those quotes you must pray for the person who has been lead by the deceiver back into bondage.
God’s word tells us that “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
- Playing God brought fire down on Lot, a flood around Noah, and destruction to Babel. We see the Corinthians doing it in the 1st century, and we see the church in America doing again today.
We must be careful not to fall into this deception.
Looking at the NIV version for a minute, 1 Cor 13 says:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love is Patient – have you ever been aggravated or even annoyed at your brother – spouse etc?
· James 1:19 19 …, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
· Proverbs 17:27-28 - 27 He that hath knowledge spareth his words…28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise
Love is Kind – It is better to be Kind then to be right.
· Proverbs 29:9 9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest
· 1 Per 3:9 – Let’s not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit.
Ø Love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
o Proverbs 21:4 - Haughty eyes and a proud heart, are the lamp of the wicked, and a sin.
o Mark 7:23 - "All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."
Ø Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking
o Philippians 2:3 - 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Ø Love is not easily angered,
o Proverbs 16:32 32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty.
Ø Love keeps no record of wrongs.
o Yet we forgive and then many carry the scars with us.
[But]8 Charity (or Love – True Love) never fails:
· 1 Pet 4:8 = 8 above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity, or Love, shall cover the multitude of sins.
· Without True Love:
o prophecies, - shall fail;
o tongues- will cease;
o knowledge - shall vanish away.
- Let’s strive to be kind more than right.
- But here is a point that we over look – We are all Babes in Christ at times.
Isiah 55:8 - For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
But – mature Christians no longer sit in the high chair as the babes do, and our words and deeds should also reflect this more mature discernment.
- In other words, “Our feet reflect our seat” ……at the table.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
· When we get to heaven – we will be made complete – and will be able to laugh at how silly we are but until then.
o Romans 14:13 13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
· When It comes to Dress, Deeds, Doctrines or Denominations, look back on Paul.
o Titus 3:9 9 …avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
In Conclusion Paul writes -
For now abideth faith, hope, and Love, …; but the greatest of these… is Love.