“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV)
We are acquainted with human love. We revel in the human love of parents. We delight in the love of classmates, friends and relatives. But their love is fickle and falls far short of the standards of love as set forth in I Cor. 13, the love chapter of the Bible.
I Cor. 13 :1-13 is an exposition defining the love of Christ. The richest, highest possible attainments in a church are useless without true Christian love. Verse 1, The oratory of men is useless in a church or life without true love.
LOVE IS ESSENTIAL-I Cor. 13:2
Love is more essential than prophecy. The Bible is full of prophecies but combined they are not as great as love. Prophecy covers the whole range of eternity from creation to the end of Revelation. Prophecy is excellent, but it is useless without love.
Love is more essential than mysteries. This includes the whole range of the unknown: Trinity, Incarnation, Election, etc. A knowledge so great that could understand all these is useless without love.
Love is more essential than knowledge. This includes the whole range of possible learning: schools, universities and college degrees. These are all wonderful IF they are accompanied by love, the dynamic of life.
Love is more essential than faith-the whole range of the inward devotional life of a man. Faith as a grain of mustard seed would be wonderful, but useless without love. Without love, man is nothing. He is a nonentity, a nobody, a minus quantity.
LOVE IS GENEROUS – I Cor. 13:3
Giving without love is useless. To give with a harsh spirit is useless.
God manifested His love by giving. The gift of Christ to man was bathed in love.
Utmost possible sacrifices of property are useless if the action is not governed and immersed in love.
Utmost possible sacrifices of one’s person (martyrdom) is useless without being impregnated with HIS love, divine love, the love of God. This I believe is the most outstanding quality of love.
True love says, I love you and will go through fire, sorrow and trouble for you. True love is able to endure suffering and yet remain sweet and kind.
The Christian pathway is one of suffering, yet the Christian learns to love.
Through suffering his Christian character matures and deepens. Love that turns to hate overnight was mere human love or perhaps only infatuation. This is well illustrated in the story in II Sam. 13:15.
True love involved a Calvary. God loved us so much that His great love could find expression in nothing less than the suffering of Calvary.
LOVE IS NOT-I Cor. 13 :4b-6a
Envious. “love envieth not” True love does not envy success, gifts, talents and possessions of others.
Boastful. “vaunteth not itself.” It does not show off, It maintains humility.
Conceited. “is not puffed up.” True love always prefers the other one to self.
Rude. “doth not behave itself unseemly.” It is never coarse or offensive. True love is courteous at all times.
Selfish. “seeketh not her own.” Love sacrifices and gives generously.
Irritable. “is not easily provoked.” True love is not touchy. It absorbs much.
Censorious. “thinketh no evil.” It is not critical, reproving, carping, nagging, suspicious or blaming.
Sin loving. “rejoiceth not in iniquity.” True love hates and abominates sin.
LOVE IS – 1 Cor. 13 :6b-8a
Truthful. “rejoiceth in the truth.” Love delights to tell the truth.
Lovers are not afraid to confide their weaknesses to their partners for mutual benefit.
Sustaining. “beareth all things.” True love does not collapse under strain, emotional, mental or physical.
Trusting. “believeth all things.” True love thinks good motives (not suspicious).
Hopeful. “hopeth all things.” True love always expects the best.
Enduring. “endureth all things.” It endures through time, deception and even death.
Successful. “Love never faileth.” This is true because Rom. 8 :28 is true.
LOVE IS ETERNAL-I Cor. 13:8b-12
Love will outlive prophecy. Prophecies will fail.
Love will outlive tongues. Tongues too will cease one day.
Love will outlive knowledge. Knowledge will vanish away.
God is LOVE. I John 4:16. Love is an attribute of the Almighty. Heaven and earth may pass away but love will abide. Love is eternal.
When manhood comes, verses 9-12, we put away childish things for the adult things.
We put away the fleeting things of youth for the mature knowledge of adulthood.
LOVE IS SUPREME-I Cor. 13 :13
Love is greater than faith. Salvation is wrapped up in faith, yet love is far superior. Love was the motive and power undergirding salvation.
Love is greater than hope. Rom. 8:24, “For we are saved by hope.”
Heaven is so different from earth for it is controlled by love.
Christ, the One who indwells us desires that daily we should manifest this love.
The world is dying for a little bit of love. Let us share His love with others.
A story illustrating the fact of I Cor. 13:13.
A mother loved her wayward son who was charged with a horrible murder.
Her faith was shaken when he frankly confessed the gruesome details.
Hope remained to the last for a pardon for her son.
After the execution her faith and hope were gone, but love remained.
He was still her boy and she loved him just the same.
This is the love of Christ that constrains us to serve Him day by day.