Love: The Goal of Our Discipleship
If you have been to more than one wedding and paid attention you have heard this passage read as part of the ceremony…
This passage isn’t about marriage…it’s about church community, The Body of Christ!
We are to love all kinds of people in the ways that are described in this part of Paul’s letter to the Church of Corinth. NOT JUST SPOUSES!
Loving others is our lives work as followers of Jesus Christ
If we are Jesus’ disciples, we prove it by how we love people.
This is the goal of our discipleship: To love others more like Jesus Christ loves us
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
So let’s learn about love, from the creator of love: The Triune God!
1st Corinthians 13
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
- This feat would be a pinnacle: intellectually & spiritually, but without love…
- When I don’t live from love, all anyone hears is the noise of my lack of love
- I can accomplish SO much in this world, but without truly loving others: NOISE
If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.
- To be given insight into all that God is and wills…heady stuff
- To believe in the fullness of who God is so fully that you have boundless faith…
- Without love you would not have total Godly insight or the fullness of faith…
- We cannot know & relate to God well without actively practicing loving others
If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
- Giving away your stuff, putting yourself in harms way… makes you look good
- But true gain is only found in relationships that grow in God’s way of love
- All the sacrifice in the world without the right heart = Zilch!
Obviously love is pretty important in God’s economy…
To be a Disciple of Christ is literally to learn to grow in love by His power.
So what is ‘God’s Way of Love’? What are the actions and attitudes of real love?
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
- Series of descriptions of actions & motives that are both positive & negative
- Opposites help us understand because we see our current condition
- We can see how we should be and how we shouldn’t be
It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
- This is about how much we value ‘God Defined Justice’
- How do we know the Truth? What defines truth? The Media or The Scriptures?
- Because love is all about others & is motivated by unselfish concerns it
- NEVER Gives Up or Loses faith!
- ALWAYS Is Hopeful & Endures!
Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
- This is another expression of the primacy of love to God’s eternal plan
- Other gifts are helpful now
Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
- The time of perfection: Eternity with God (AKA Heaven)
- We will have no use for earthly spiritual gifts while living in the heavenly realm
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
- Back to the idea of ‘Spiritual Maturity’ being the natural course of Christian life
- You are meant to be immature at some point, but from there you should grow
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
- What we understand by God’s grace, is not very clear (God has His reasons)
- In Eternity we will understand everything God wants us to know perfectly
- God knows what we understand, and that is what we are accountable for
- We do well to keep growing in things we know God values…back to LOVE
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
- Let us ‘Store up Treasures in Heaven’ that will last forever!
- By storing them I mean let’s purpose to grow in them: Faith & Hope
- But even more than Faith & Hope, might we purpose to grow in LOVE?
How shall we do this? Let us begin @ The Cross
Christ’s sacrifice was the ultimate expression of God’s Love !
It does not demand it’s own way…
Mark 14: 35&36
He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” He cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
In what ways do you have potential to be ‘unloving’ while trying to serve the Lord?
How self aware are you of how you treat people?
Based on this criteria, how well do you love?
How might you intentionally plan to love people based on God’s standards?
What is your motivation, your WHY for growing in love?
God’s kind of Love is Found in:
All of these lead to: Spiritual Maturity…The Goal of our discipleship
Growing Spiritually means growing in love!