1 Cor. 13 A more excellent way .


Intro: There is nothing better than walking in the door of your house to the smell of fresh baked cookies or Brownies / Good Roast

A)Aroma is sweet – fills the air w/ expectation / excitement


B) A few weeks ago – Came home smell of death – Amy warned me –

1)   Mom cooking something – not good – Bad meat – smelt like Cow droppings – Horrid


C) Well we have been discussing the Person & work of the HS – 14th study

1)   Last 5 or 6 weeks on the gifts


D) Gifts functioning in the body the way that God intended – Nothing Sweeter – Great aroma in the Church

1)   When they are not – Aroma is foul – uninviting –


E) Well here in 1 Cor.13 Paul tells us what the secret ingredient is for that sweet Aroma – LOVE – READ V.1-13


1 Cor. 13 is one of the most well known passages in all of the Bible

A)    Many studies have been given / books written / songs created/ often sung at weddings /


B)    It is indeed a clear description of the love of our Lord & savior Jesus Christ./  It is indeed a GREAT STUDY !!!!!!!!


G. Campbell Morgan said that examining this chapter is like dissecting a flower to understand it.  If you tear it apart too much, you lose the beauty.  Redpath said one could get a spiritual suntan from the warmth of this Chapt.


However what many people often forget is the context in which this Ch. Is placed in the Bible . Most studies fail to observe that .

A) As a mere study on the on the Love of God it seems that a better place for this Ch.

1)   Might be Gal. 5 right after then description of the fruit of Spirit!


B)    Placed right after Paul’s exhortation to walk in the Spirit – for surely you can not come close to experience these attributes w/ out Spirit’s Power !


C)    Another fitting place – Right after Jn. 3:16 – For God so Loved …..

1) Now here is a description of that Love !!!!


D)   But those are not the places that the H.S. chose to place this Chapt.


E)    Instead the H.S. puts this description of the Love of God – smack dab in the middle of His discussion on the gifts of the Spirit / function in body.


We have looked at the gifts Defined in Ch.12 / Their place & function in Ch.14  / Ch. 12 v.31 But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.


A)See The Corinthians were enamored with spiritual gifts, particularly the gift of tongues.  


B) But what Paul reminds them of is the gifts are meaningless without love.  

1)    Without love, a person may speak with the gift of tongues, but it is as meaningless as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 


C) You can have all the gifts in the world – No Love -  NOITHING – MEANINGLESS

 1) Love for God / Love for others -   Essence of Christianity  / everything summed up in that


“Love tempers the power and enablings of spiritual gifts from pure force and spiritual ability into caring accomplishment.”



So my purpose in seeking gifts / in desiring to be used / in reaching out is all to be out of a response to the love of God.

A)Not to be seen / IMPORTANT / in the “ IN  CROWD” / Strokes feeling like satisfying my need to be useful!!!




C) Love is to be the main Characteristic of any ministry -  Not Worship team / how well studied / how good at this or that –

2  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3       And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.


It is not that the gifts are nothing - or that others cannot be profited somewhat. It means that I am not profited and I am nothing.

A)It's ironic that those who seek power and recognition in the operation of the gifts in fact profit nothing with God,


B)while those who desire nothing but the edification of others and the glory of God are the ones who are in fact exalted.


C) PROPHECY – Proclaim the Word – Preaching – No love

1)   Empty -  G.L. Story – B. Ball – another Pastor



Great WISDOM & KNOWLEDGE – Insights are us !!!

1Cor. 8 Knowledge puffs up / Love Builds up

A)   I know a guy – great teacher – great insights – never made it as a Pastor – No Shepherds heart / Doesn’t like People


B)God is not impressed by our tongues / our preaching / knowledge / our faith -   He is impressed by our love

GREAT FAITH ….MTS  Paul, quoting the idea of Jesus, refers to faith which could remove mountains (Matthew 17:20). 

A)What an amazing thing it would be have faith which could work the impossible!  Yet, even that faith makes us nothing if it is without love.


 A man with faith can move great mountains; but he will set them down right in the path of somebody else – or right on somebody else - if he doesn’t have love!


B)    Interesting that another thing that this seems to be saying is that it is possible to exercise spiritual gifts

1) Possible to function in the Body – Possible to even take great leaps of faith & see results


C)    But be totally in the wrong & VOID as far as any heavenly reward goes – because the MOTIVATION WASN’T LOVE


Bestow my goods to feed the Poor / body burned

A)Many Christians believe the Christian life is all about sacrifice.  Sacrificing your money, your life, for the cause of Jesus Christ. 


B) Sacrifice is important, but w/out love it is useless.  It profits me nothing.

   Duty vs Devotion


C)Each thing described in 1 Cor 13:1-3 is a good thing.  Tongues are good.  Prophecy and knowledge and faith are good.  Sacrifice is good.

1)    But love is so valuable, so important, that apart from it, every other good thing is useless. 


What Kind of love ?

A)Paul is using the Greek word agape.  The ancient Greeks had four different words we translate love. 


B)It is important to understand the difference between the words, and why the apostle Paul chose the Greek word agape here.

 1st Eros was one word for love.  It described, as we might guess from the word itself, erotic love.  It refers to sexual love.


A)2nd Storge was the second word for love.  It refers to family love, the kind of love there is between a parent and child, or between family members in general.


B)3rd Philia is the third word for love.  It speaks of a brotherly friendship and affection.  It is the love of deep friendship and partnership. 

 1) It might be described as the highest love of which man, without God’s help, is capable of.


C) 4th  Agape is the fourth word for love.  It is a love that loves without changing. UNCONDOTIONAL - 

1)   It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting



D)It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing.  It is love that loves even when it is rejected. 

1)  It gives because it loves, it does not love in order to receive. 




A)Paul is shinning Agape through a prism & we see 15 different colors

      Each ray gives a diff. facet of God's Agape love /


B)The focus is not so much on what love is / but what love does/ doesn't do


B)That is Because Agape is active / not passive ! Action words not esoteric concepts – Touchable / relatable / Understandable

1) It doesn't just feel kind it does kind things / feel patient - is patient!


1JO 3:18      My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, 

    but in deed and in truth.-  That's Agape


Begins w/ Two things love DOES : longsuffering and kind.

 Love suffers long and is kind.

A)Love suffers long: Love will endure a long time.  It is the heart shown in God, when it is said of the Lord,


 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).


B) If God’s love is in us, we will be longsuffering to those who annoy us and hurt us.


The ancient preacher John Chrysostem said this is the word used of the man who is wronged, and who easily has the power to avenge himself, but will not do it out of mercy and patience. 


Love suffers long & is Kind-  Kindness is the counter part to patience


KINDNESS IN GRK – Speaks of that which is useful / serving & gracious

A)    Instead of being impatient – patient & seeking to see how I can serve others


B)    Love is seen in acts of KINDNESS


4b-6) Eight things love is not: not envious, not proud, not arrogant, not rude, not cliquish, not touchy, not suspicious, not happy with evil.

A)Love does not envy: Envy is one of the least productive and most damaging of all sins.  It accomplishes nothing, except to hurt. 


B)Love keeps its distance from envy, and does not resent it when someone else is promoted or blessed. 

1)   Adam Clarke describes the heart which does not envy: “They are ever willing that others should be preferred before them.”


C)   Is envy a small sin?  Envy murdered Abel (Genesis 4:3-8).  Envy enslaved Joseph (Genesis 37:11, 28). 

1)   Envy put Jesus on the cross: For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy (Matthew 27:18).




A)   Hey look at me / draw attention to self -  Musicians


B)   I’m doing such & such




To be puffed up is to be arrogant and self-focused. 

A)It speaks of someone who has a “big head.”  Love doesn’t get it’s head swelled, it focuses on the needs of others.


B) Both to parade itself and to be puffed up are simply rooted in pride. 

1)   Love is Humble


ii. William Carey is thought by many to be the founder of the modern missionary movement.  Christians all over the world know who he was and honor him.  He came from a humble place; he was a shoe repairman when God called him to reach the world.  Once, when Carey was at a dinner party, a snobbish lord tried to insult him by saying very loudly, “Mr. Carey, I hear you once were a shoemaker!  Carey replied, “No, your lordship, not a shoemaker, only a cobbler!”  Today, the name of William Carey is remembered, but nobody remembers who that snobbish lord was!  His love showed itself in not having a big head about himself.



A)   Not short w/ others / not obnoxious – Considerate polite





A)   Huge Problem – what is in it for me ATTITUDE


B) Love says give myself away – spent on others

1)   Love understands better give than receive


D)   Paul communicates the same idea in Romans 12:10: in honor giving preference to one another.  Also, Philippians 2:4 carries the same thought: Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 


E)   This is being like Jesus in a most basic way, being an others-centered person instead of a self-centered person.


F) “Love is never satisfied but in the welfare, comfort, and salvation of all.  That man is no Christian who is solicitous for his own happiness alone; and cares not how the world goes, so that himself be comfortable.” (Clarke)



Love is not Provoked -  given to outburst of anger


 A boy once asked, "Dad, how do wars begin?"

   "Well, take the First World War," said his father. "That got started when Germany invaded Belgium."   Immediately his wife interrupted him:

"Tell the boy the truth. It began because somebody was murdered."


The husband drew himself up with an air of superiority and snapped back, "Are you answering the question, or am I?" Turning her back upon him in a huff, the wife walked out of the room and slammed the door as hard as she could.


When the dishes stopped rattling in the cupboard, an uneasy silence followed, broken by the son when he said, "Daddy, you don't have to tell me any more; I know now!"



A)   Book keeping term /  “love does not store up the memory of any wrong it has received.”  Love will put away the hurts of the past instead of clinging to them.


B)   Those in body never forget – always keep an account – Blew it / never be used here / never taken seriously

1) Scarlet Letter L  tattooed for head – LOSER


C)   Peter -  He denied the Lord – ( day of Pentecost – don’t let Peter preach )

1) Tell Peter Risen




A)   Seeking to be little / make light / rationalize sin / make excuses


B)   No Love calls a spade a spade / then & only then  - repentance


C)   Because I love you – confront you / Love warns corrects / challenges /

H.S. does in us !!!!!



A)   True AGAPE is based in truth – not mushy feelings ( I love you man )


B) Sometimes the truth hurts


Four more things love is: strong, believing, hopeful, and enduring. Spurgeon calls these four virtues love’s four sweet companions.


Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


All things: we might have hoped Paul would have chosen any phrase but this!  All things encompasses everything! 


A)We can all bear some things, we can all believe some things, we can all hope some things, we can all endure some things.  But God calls us father and deeper into love for Him, for one another, and for a perishing world.


LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS = Cover / support / protect

A)   1 Peter 4: 8  And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."


B)   Interesting that Peter would write that – HE LIVED IT !!!

. “Love does not ask to have an easy life of it: self-love makes that her aim.  Love denies herself, sacrifices herself, that she may win victories for God,  and hers shall be no tinsel crown.” (Spurgeon)




LOVE BELIEVES ALL THINGS = NOT Suspicious or cynical

A)Benefit of the Doubt


LOVE HOPES – : Love has a confidence in the future, not a pessimism.  When hurt, it does not say, “It will be this way for ever, and even get worse.”  It hopes for the best, and it hopes in God.



Love Endures – Hupomeno -   Military term = to hold a position or to conquer

A)   Heb. 12 :3 Joy set before Him Endured the Cross -  ( Jesus didn’t just make it – He conquered the Cross


Love . . . endures all things: Most of us can bear all things, and believe all things, and hope all things, but only for a while! 


The greatness of agape love is it keeps on bearing, believing, and hoping.  It doesn’t give up.  It destroys enemies by turning them into friends.


. Love never fails: Paul is addressing the over-emphasis the Corinthian Christians had on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  He shows they should emphasize love more than the gifts, because the gifts are temporary “containers” of God’s work; love is the work itself.



Everything else is going to vanish away = katargeo = to be rendered in active


A)   Listen in the Millennial reign – Kingdom age / Heaven – no longer a need for tongues prophecy etc. / w/ the Lord – He will speak


C) But Major Characteristic in Kingdom of God will be Love !!!!