Paul is speaking by way of letter to the Corinthian Church. The Corinthian Church is a very dynamic Church in the Spiritual gifts. The Corinthian Church is a Pentecostal Church. It is a Church on fire, on the move in Spiritual gifts. At the Corinthian Church you have Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, you have, miracles, gifts of healing, gifts of tongues. And yet, Paul says to the Corinthian Church out of all of the giftedness there is still a more excellent way.
Paul says to the Church that there is nothing wrong with desiring Spiritual gifts. There is nothing wrong with this great movement. But there is still something more that we should desire, that our work should find its foundation in love. 1 Corinthians 13: 1-2, we find though I speak with tongues without love it doesn’t mean a thing. Though I prophecy without love it doesn’t mean a thing. Even though I may give and give greatly if my giving is not because of my love for Jesus, than my giving is in vain, we give we love an all that we do is an expression of our love for him. Do it because you love him. There is not a better reason; there is not a better motivation than love. If you are motivated by love than what you do connects you with God because, “God is love” John 4:8.
If your motivation is love than its going to prosper it’s going to flourish. Whatever God is involved in flourishes. Whatever God does is perfectly done. Whatever God stamps with his approval prospers. And so, if our work is to be a work that God ordains, than it must be a work of love. We must hold love up above everything and know that all of these gifts are tools to be used in expressing love to others. All of our gifts, all of our material wealth, it all comes from the father as an expression of his love. Every material thing we have, every gift we have it comes from God. The gift itself says to me that Jesus loves me it communicates the love of God. And so it is; that in all of our giving in all our doing and whatever our gift might be whatever our place might be in the body of Christ or in the world in which we have been called to serve, our motivation and our reason must be because of our love for Jesus. Do it because you love him. This is the criterion this is the true test of the Church today. Our doing must be out of love. This is the true criterion for anything. The true test for any program is love.
We look at the very nature of charity. We see that charity is love and love has in it an enduring quality. When Paul points to greatness he looks at love. When Paul contemplates heaven he thinks on love. When Paul thinks of the highest summit that he aspires to reach he is thinking on love.
Paul begins to describe love he gives us a picture of what love really is. He says” love suffers long,” 1 Corinthians 13:4, love as in it the quality to suffer. True greatness as in it the ability to suffer. Great things have been born out of suffering. Great men and women are made and conditioned through the things they suffer. The true trademark of greatness is the trails and testing that speak of what every man and woman is made of. The things you suffer they point to who you really are. “Love suffers long” the true test of anything that is real is in its ability to persevere, to go through. A house stands on a foundation that is made of cement and steel a foundation that will stand the storms and the tests of time. If we make love the foundation of all that we do than what we do will last. It will not only last for this day but for centuries that are yet to come, if we build upon love.
I challenge you today to walk in love, to speak in love, to live in love, to work in love. If you do that, you will persevere through the hardships of life. If you do that after the storm as passed you’ll find yourself yet standing, because you have build upon the rock of Jesus. In Jesus there is perfect love, in Jesus there is love that the world is searching for. In Jesus, he is the love that sustains us. He is the love that gives us the power to persevere through all things. Love suffers long and is kind. Love is full of kindness, Love is full of mercy. Love is patience.
We see what love is, now let us look at what love is not. Love does not envy. Love is not puffed up. Love is humble. Love is lowly. If we look at love, we see that love has the ability to work with others. Love is the all encompassing virtue that comes to our aide when we are brought into relationship with others. Oh yes, you know how much love is in your heart when you are in relationship with another. If there is anything that brings us in contact with others it is love. Anything that separates us from others, it is the lack of love. It is the very nature of love to draw us together, Jeremiah 31:3 “with lovingkindness have I drawn thee”. There is something very attractive about love. There is not a greater witness that we can bear to the city or the world in which we live than the witness of love, the miracle of love.
Love is not selfish, love has no envy in it. There is something about two or three people together you always have the possibility for envy. I’m not talking about two or three thousand but I’m talking about just two or three together, you always have the possibility for strife. You always have the opportunity for the enemy to show up in envy, strife, vain glory, these things work to divide us. These things work to separate us even though you may be a great prophet, or teacher. Signs and wonders working through your ministry an all the giftedness to speck, if we fail to walk in love, the seeds of discord, of envy, strife an division will destroy us; will destroy us rather we are great or small.
But if we let love have its free course. Love has the ability to hold us together. Love is the foundation upon which we build, we erect our lives upon. Love brings us together. Anything that is not love will divide, tear us down. Anything that is not love will not survive the storms of life.
Love suffers long and is not selfish. It is certain that in love there is a power unlike anything man as ever known. We find that even though we have wars love is the only power that will bring peace. Men they stop warring because sooner or later somebody gets a casualty so great that they say “enough of this.” It’s only after so much death and so much killing that man sees the futility of war, and out of that futility he awakens to the fact that only death comes out of war but life comes out of peace. Life comes out of forgiveness. Life is the way of love. War and destruction is the way of death. Men over the ages have learned from there wars and for that reason wars have ceased. The wars that are yet to come, out of those wars man will learn again that peace is the way of life. For that reason men come to the table to make peace. Love, love, love is the way, there is no other way.
Out of all of our doing, do it for Jesus. Do it because you love him. There is not a greater reason; to be motivated to do good works, than love for Jesus. For the writer says” love will never fail”. 1 Corinthian 13:8 tells us that no matter what our earthly activity may be in this world one day it will pass away. It will give way to something greater. In love there is always something greater because love is the eternal quality of God that he has brought by his son Jesus, by the spirit of Jesus to come and dwell in our hearts. And he shears with us this eternal love. Out of this love we can dream and aspire to be greater. Out of this love we can have hope that one day men will war no more. Out of this love we can have a vision that says we can overcome any storm. Out of this love we know that one day we shall be like him. Out of this love we live we move and have our being.
I challenge you out of the glory of this love, out of the power of this love. 1 Corinthian 13: 11 we find that this love will cause us to move into true maturity, into divine things, into a life of power that we’ve never known before. This love will shape, guide and mature us. This love is the foundation to build our lives upon.