The Way To Go
1 Cor. 12:31b - 13:13
Feb. 11, 1996
I. The Necessity of Love
Love is the superior and necessary way.
Without love, gifts are worthless.
A. The way of Christianity is found in love.
31* But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
B. It is not found in the noise of heightened spirituality.
1* If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
C. It is not found in power trips of knowledge or faith.
2* 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 have not love, I am nothing.
D. It is not found in self-exalting martyrdom.
3* If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
II. The Character of Love
Love is the essential character of the Christian.
Love is concerned to give itself, not assert itself.
A. Love is:
4* Love is patient, love is kind.
B. Love is not:
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
5* It is not rude,
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.
C. Love always:
7* It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
III. The Permanence of Love
Love is of an enduring nature.
Gifts are merely temporal whereas love is eternally pre-eminent.
A. Gifts are impermanent.
8* Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
B. Gifts are incomplete.
9* For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
C. Gifts are imperfect.
10* but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
D. Gifts are preliminary.
11* When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
E. Gifts are representative.
12* Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
F. But love is both now and forever.
13* And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.