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The Greatest of These is Love (2)

The Greatest of These is Love  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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While Paul recognizes the importance of the spiritual gifts and their place in the Christian’s life, he tells that there is something superior to these gifts. Without love all other gifts have little value.

Notes & Transcripts

The Greatest of These is Love

Have students to talk about what love is and give some examples

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal

Africa Bible Commentary 13:1–13: The Supremacy of Love

Without love, Paul insists, no quality, however spectacular, whether it is an endowment of spiritual gifts or religious zeal, is of any value (13:1–3). This includes being able to speak in the tongues of men and of angels. Unless this spectacular ability to speak in known and unknown languages, earthly and heavenly, is accompanied by selfless, self-sacrificial love, it is worth no more than the boom of a gong or the clang of a cymbal (13:1). Gongs and cymbals were used in pagan worship, and so Paul may be saying that without love, tongues are no better than pagan worship.

The most marvelous eloquence without love is nothing in the world but a noisy bell.
Dr. Scroggie says it like this: “Language without love is noise without melody.”
“McGee says it like this: “Chatter without charity is sound without soul.”
Love gives meaning and depth and reality, and it makes eloquence meaningful.” (J Vernon McGee)

2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

(J Vernon McGee)
Africa Bible Commentary 13:1–13: The Supremacy of Love

The same applies to the gift of prophecy and to understanding all mysteries, and all knowledge as well as the gifts of faith that can move mountains (a common proverbial phrase used to describe a faith that overcomes great difficulties and accomplishes amazing things) (13:2)

The first verse was speaking of love as it comes from the heart. This is from the mind, love as an act of the intellect. Knowledge alone is not sufficient. Love must be added to that knowledge. Understanding alone is not enough. Love must be added to that understanding.
There is a knowledge of the Bible and an understanding of the truths of the Bible but a lack of love. How terrible to find churches filled with gossip, bitterness, and hatred! Along with knowledge there must be love.
There is a knowledge of the Bible and an understanding of the truths of the Bible but a lack of love. How terrible to find churches filled with gossip, bitterness, and hatred! Along with knowledge there must be love.
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Galatians 5:22 NIV84
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Believer’s Bible Commentary E. Concerning the Gifts of the Spirit and Their Use in the Church (Chaps. 12–14)

13:3 If the apostle gave all his goods to feed the poor, or even gave his body to be burned, these valiant acts would not profit him unless they were done in a spirit of love. If he were merely trying to attract attention to himself and seek a name for himself, then his display of virtue would be valueless.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

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The Holy Spirit fills believers with the love of God

Romans 5:5 NIV84
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
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The Holy Spirit enables believers to live with one another in love

Ephesians 4:2–3 NIV84
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
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The gift of the Holy Spirit results in practical love

Acts 4:31–35 NIV84
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

Love is essential in the exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit

1 Corinthians 13:1–13 NIV84
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. 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. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 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. 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. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
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