Power for Living: The Work of the Spirit Today
Work of the Holy Spirit in the Individual - Person – Partner – Power by which we live
We have looked at the importance of the gifts of the Spirit in the church.
We are all different yet we all have our place in the church –
They are many gifts but they our all given by the same Spirit
We must be hungry for the things of God
Today we are going to pursue the most excellent way.
1 Cor 12:31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.
I. The Importance of Love
1 Cor 13:1 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.
1 Cor 13:2 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.
1 Cor 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Look at the contrasts that are drawn here in the this passage
1. Speaking in tongues of men and angels – human and spiritual language
But have not LOVE – I am just making noise
I learned a new chorus while on vacation - bang the cymbal
Then sing “It’s a small world”
Gongs and cymbals – make noise but no melody.
Tongues without love is just noise
The Church becomes beautiful music when the gifts of the Spirit operating in a spirit of love
2. Gift of prophecy - can fathom all mysteries and knowledge – faith to move mountains
Without love – I am nothing
Knowledge without love just puffs up
1 Cor 8:1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
3. If I give everything I have away or offer my body to be burned
Without love I gain nothing in God’s sight
The outward action must have the right motivation
Love transforms the action into something supernatural
Lack of love renders the service useless
Next Paul goes on to Identify what love is…
II. Identifying what love is
1 Cor 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
1 Cor 13:5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
1 Cor 13:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
1 Cor 13:7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Cor 13:8 Love never fails.
In relation to the SAINTS of God -
- Patient – enduring of personal injury without the thought of retaliation.
- It is part of the fruit of the Spirit.
o 2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
- Kind – patience is inward – kindness is outward.
- Does not envy – Jealousy
In relation to SELF
- Does not boast – behave as a braggart, windbag
- Is not proud – arrogance – puffed up – conceited
- Is not rude – does not behave disgracefully, dishonorably, indecently
- Putting oneself ahead of others – what I have to say is more important than what you have to say
Is not self-seeking – insisting on one’s own way or being selfish
In relation to SIN
- Is not easily angered – hypersensitivity or irritability
- Keeps no records of wrongs – love does not maintain a list of personal injuries inflicted by other people in order to repay them
- Does not delight in evil – love is not judgmental with respect to the wrongdoing of others, nor will it self-righteously place on above the wicked
- Rejoices with the truth – joins others in rejoicing in the truth of Christ who is Truth
In relation to Situations
- Always protects – love that throws a cloak of silence over what is displeasing in another person.
- Always trusts – love believes the best, not the worst in others– always give Christians the benefit of the doubt
- Always hopes – love is optimistic that such person will ultimately overcome their deficiencies. Faith in the future
- Always perseveres – Actively enduring circumstances – patience is with other people, perseverance is with circumstances.
Not only is love Important
Not only is love Identified
Now we see that love is Indestructible
III. Love is Indestructible
1 Cor 13.8 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.
1 Cor 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
1 Cor 13:10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
1 Cor 13:11 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.
1 Cor 13:12 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.
Love is permanent
Prophecies – will stop
Tongues will stop
Knowledge will pass away
Love is complete
Childs thoughts are different than adults
We were watching a game show called Match Game
It went something like this: The people knew the Godfather had just walked by because there was ___________ all over the streets.
Lindsey said - fairy dust
We were like what? She said – you know the godfather – like the fairy godmother – so he must have spread fairy dust
When I was a child I thought like a child, reasoned as a child
When I became a man I put childish ways behind me.
The gifts of the spirit are not a sign of maturity.
The gifts of the Spirit operating in a spirit of love are a sign of maturity
1 Cor 13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
Mirrors were made of polished metal
They were imperfect because they had imperfections.
They were imperfect because they showed the reverse of the person or object being seen in it.
But someday we will see face to face.
v. 12 - Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
God knows Paul completely, Paul’s full knowledge of God is in the future.
Knowledge and prophecy are useful as lamps in the darkness, but they will be useless when the eternal Day has dawned.
1 John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
IV. The Invincibility of Love
1 Cor 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Faith in God – trusting in the Lord
Hope – confidence in the future
Love – greatest of all
Faith will one day turn to sight
Hope will be fulfilled when Jesus comes again
Love will last forever and ever.
While we wait – we must be open to the gifts of the spirit.
We must operate the gifts of the Spirit in an attitude of love.
The gifts are important in the church today because perfection has not yet come.
We need to hear from God
We need to know and understand
We need to build one another up
They are essential in the building up to the body of Christ.
And Love is the cement that holds everything together.
What is the source of this love?
It is from God Himself.
He showed his love for us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
The love of which we speak today flows from the cross of Jesus Christ.
His love was sacrificial – He gave up the glories of heaven to die
His love was substitutionary – He took out place – our sin – my sin
His love is substantial - It is enough – nothing can be added to the cross
We don’t add anything to the free gift of Grace.
A story is told of the last pope John Paul. Right after Christmas one year he went to visit the worst prison in Rome. It had been 90 years since a pope had visited a prison.
These were his words. You could not come to me, I came to you.
What a perfect picture of what Jesus did for us.
We were in prison – locked in sin, stubbornness and shame.
We couldn’t get to him no matter how hard we tried.
He came to us.
To save us, to unlock the doors of sins prison and to set us free.
It is this we celebrate at the Lord’s Table Today.