"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" The Greatest Of These Is Love (13:13) INTRODUCTION 1. In his discourse on spiritual gifts, Paul praised the value of love... a. Introducing it as "a more excellent way" - 1Co 12:31 b. Emphasizing its necessity along with any ability or service we might have - 1Co 13:1-3 c. Explaining its abiding superiority over spiritual gifts
- 1Co 13:8 2. He even praised its value over faith and hope... a. Abiding virtues in of themselves - 1Co 13:13a b. Yet love is "the greatest of these" virtues - 1Co 13:13b [Why is love so highly valued by Paul? And if it is such a great virtue, how should we manifest in our lives? These questions I wish to address in this study, first by summarizing...] I. THE GREATNESS OF LOVE A. LOVE MOTIVATED GOD TO SAVE US... 1. Out of love for the world, God gave His Son
- Jn 3:16-17; 1Jn 4:9-10 2. The magnitude of God's love is seen when we consider that it was expressed while we were yet sinners - Ro 5:6-8 B. LOVE MOTIVATED CHRIST TO DIE FOR US... 1. The Father's love toward the Son motivated the Son to love us - Jn 15:9 2. Such love then motivated Christ to die for us
- Jn 15:13; Ep 5:2 C. LOVE MOTIVATES US TO LIVE FOR CHRIST... 1. The love of Christ compelled Paul to live for Him - 2Co 5:14-15 2. Paul's life of faith was thus influenced by Christ's love for him - Ga 2:20 D. LOVE MOTIVATES US TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER... 1. The love of Christ should inspire us to love one another
- Jn 13:34 2. The love of God should likewise move us to love one another - 1Jn 4:11 [Love can and should be a very powerful, motivating force in our lives. We have seen how it prompted God and Christ to express their love for us. The greatness of love can also be seen in how we should express it in our lives...] II. THE EXPRESSION OF LOVE A. TOWARD GOD AND CHRIST... 1. By keeping the commandments of God and Christ
- Jn 14:15,21,23-24; 15:10,14 2. By loving our brethren in Christ - Jn 15:12; 1Jn 4:20-21 -- Great is God's love toward us; shall we not love God with great zeal in return? B. TOWARD OUR BRETHREN... 1. By helping them when they are in physical need - 1Jn 3:16-18 a. Providing as we have ability and opportunity b. Loving them in deed and in truth 2. By helping them when they are in spiritual need - 1Pe 4:8; Ja 5:19-20 a. Bringing them back to the Lord b. Loving them with a truly fervent love 3. By setting the example in loving God and keeping His commandments - 1Jn 5:2 a. If we truly love one another, we will encourage them by providing a good example b. Only then can we really know that we love the children of God -- Does our example express a proper measure of love toward our brethren? C. TOWARD OUR ENEMIES... 1. Remember that God loved us while we were still "enemies"
- Ro 5:6-10 a. While we were "ungodly" b. While we were "sinners" 2. As children of God, we are to be like our Heavenly Father
- Mt 5:44-48 a. Loving our enemies b. Blessing those who curse us c. Doing good to those who hate us d. Praying for those who spitefully use us and persecute us 3. Just as Jesus and Stephen did toward their persecutors
- Lk 23:34; Ac 7:60 -- Loving the unlovable and ungrateful is the highest expression of love! CONCLUSION 1. The apostle Paul had experienced the greatness of God's love... a. In his own conversion, for which he was thankful - 1Ti 1:12-16 b. In enduring persecution, which gave him great hope - Ro 8:35-39 2. We too have experienced the greatness of God's love... a. In our own conversion...are we thankful? b. In our daily living...presuming that we are walking in love! Love is indeed the greatest of virtues. When properly understood and manifested in our lives, it serves as the basis for our faith and hope! "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." - 1Co 13:13 Have your responded to the love of God by obeying the gospel of Christ? Are you walking in love, as Christ has loved us and given Himself for us (Ep 5:2)...?