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Gifts in Perspective: The Way of Excellence

Notes & Transcripts

Gifts in Perspective: The Way of Excellence

1Corinthians 13                      June 1, 2003

 

Scripture Reading:

Introduction:

Chgo. Trib.: Phone Calls to God, 5/29/03

(gross misunderstanding of access to God)

What is the definition of a spiritual gift?

A spiritual gift is that particular anointing of God upon a natural ability that redeems it from its fallen limitations and elevates it to a supernatural ability for his purpose and glory. This reversal of Eden’s curse now gives real joy in the accomplishments of the gift rather than frustration.

Operating outside of one’s gifts can bring discouragement and discontent. Using one’s gifts outside of God’s guidelines can also bring discouragement and discontent. When we use our gifts outside the guideline of love we fall into the competition and comparison that come from pride. Without love, the fallenness of Eden re-emerges to hinder our supernatural ability. Our gifts then become a liability rather than a liberation. Love is the oil of our relationship to God and one another. Without oil, friction will bring the machine to a halt. Love is the oil of Christian accomplishment and community.

What love is not --- (it is not a spiritual gift but a command).

Spiritual gifts used without love are a liability.

In the discussion about spiritual gifts there is something greater than the gifts themselves (except for salvation itself as the most fundamental of spiritual gifts), and that is how to use them.

All spiritual gifts must be in subjection to a decision to use them in love.

Love is a decision – not a spiritual gift.

The giving of the first spiritual gift was because of the decision by Christ to love.

Recall that Satan, that fallen angel that became our arch-enemy, was the most gifted of all God’s creation, but he chose not to love.

Now he uses his gifts to destroy, not to build up the kingdom of Christ.

Love is the greatest commandment that orders the application of the greatest gift from which all other gifts flow.

Love is the title of the User’s Manual that governs the use of spiritual gifts.

Big Question:

What must we understand about love in the application of spiritual gifts?

The application of love gives meaning and effectiveness to our words.

The application of love gives meaning and effectiveness to our lives.

The application of love gives meaning and effectiveness to our service.

The definition of love gives breadth and depth to its importance.

The endurance of love gives us true perspective on the value of spiritual gifts.

The superiority of love gives us true perspective on spiritual maturity.

The knowledge of love gives us the greatest knowledge of God.

The Necessity of Love (vv. 31-3)

          Love is the superior and necessary way.

          Without love, gifts are worthless.

I.       Cycle One

          A.      Narrative (v. 1)

          B.      Implication

The application of love gives meaning and effectiveness to our words.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

The way of Christianity is found in love.

It is not found in the noise of heightened spirituality.

II.      Cycle Two

          A.      Narrative (v. 2)

          B.      Implication

The application of love gives meaning and effectiveness to our lives.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

The way of Christianity is found in love.

It is not found in power trips of knowledge or faith.

III.    Cycle Three

          A.      Narrative (v. 3)

          B.      Implication

The application of love gives meaning and effectiveness to our service.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

The way of Christianity is found in love.

It is not found in self-exalting martyrdom.

The Character of Love (vv. 4-7)

          Love is the essential character of the Christian.

          Love is concerned to give itself, not assert itself.

IV.    Cycle Four

 

          A.      Narrative (vv. 4-7)

          B.      Implication

The definition of love gives breadth and depth to its importance.

          C.      Illustration

The importance of love is a matter of life and death.

 

Chgo. Trib. 5/28/03 on “air attack” aluminum ball bat.

          D.      Application

The Permanence of Love (vv. 8-13)

          Love is of an enduring nature.

          Gifts are merely temporal whereas love is eternally pre-eminent.

V.      Cycle Five

          A.      Narrative (vv. 8-10)

          B.      Implication

The endurance of love gives us true perspective on the value of spiritual gifts.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Spiritual gifts are impermanent (v. 8), incomplete (v. 9), and imperfect (v. 10).

VI.    Cycle Six

          A.      Narrative (vv. 11-12)

          B.      Implication

The superiority of love gives us true perspective on spiritual maturity.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Spiritual gifts are preliminary (v. 11) and representative (v. 12).

VII.   Cycle Seven

          A.      Narrative (v. 13)

          B.      Implication

The knowledge of love gives us the greatest knowledge of God.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Love is both now and forever (v. 13). The true sense of this is to “abide”.

Menei (remain) is present active indicative in the sense of remaining in place in anticipation of a future event. That future event is the fullness of Christ.

Conclusion:

Big Answer:

What must we understand about love in the application of spiritual gifts?

The application of love gives meaning and effectiveness to our words.

The application of love gives meaning and effectiveness to our lives.

The application of love gives meaning and effectiveness to our service.

The definition of love gives breadth and depth to its importance.

The endurance of love gives us true perspective on the value of spiritual gifts.

The superiority of love gives us true perspective on spiritual maturity.

The knowledge of love gives us the greatest knowledge of God.

Timeless Truth:

Love is not a spiritual gift; it is the greatest commandment that governs all that is of God.

Illustration: video “The Homecoming” by www.WorshipFilms.com.

Without love, God is not evident. Without love, the gifts of Christ are rejected, abused, disrespected and misapplied.

It is the love of God that gave gifts to men. Without love, the gifts of God are inoperable.

Our spiritual gifts must be used in love, but they cannot make God love us more. That is why love is the most excellent way. It puts the gifts of God in perspective. We cannot earn his love – only respond to it – in love.

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