This is a Valentine message which I gave to GGCF-East Capitol last Sunday, February 8, 2 days before my birthday. It is the first of a 3-part sermon series on “Loving While Serving,” this Love Month of February.
Warren Wiersbe wrote, “It was Jonathan Swift, the satirical author of Gulliver’s Travels, who said, ‘We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.’ . . . The main evidence of maturity in the Christian life is a growing love for God and for God’s people, as well as a love for lost souls.” (Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, n. p.: Chariot Victor Publishing, 1989 in PC Study Bible V.5 CD, Seattle: Biblesoft Inc.,1988-2007)
Have you heard sentimental sermons about love using 1 Corinthians 13? However, Paul is not writing here about love per se. He talks about love in connection with the problems of the Corinthian church. What problems? There was division in the church—one party was for Paul, the other for Apollos (1 Cor. 3). There was immorality in the church, in which one member was living with his stepmother (1 Cor. 5). They abused the gift of tongues, just like many do today (1 Cor. 14). They came for Lord’s supper with selfish hearts, some getting drunk, and others neglecting to share the food with others (1 Cor. 11). They were strong on the gifts, but weak on the graces. They served without love for the building up of the body of Christ.
This chapter is sandwiched between chapter 12 and 14, which talks about spiritual gifts. The last verse of chapter 12 actually introduces chapter 13. Paul wrote, “But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way” (1 Cor. 12:31, NKJV). The excellent way is to use their gifts with an attitude of love for others.
The main theme of the apostle in chapter 13 is that Love should be the Controlling Attitude in Serving Others and the Lord. The purpose of spiritual gifts is to build up people in the Body of Christ. Paul taught that love should control the way we serve others in the body.
That’s why my question for you today is, How high is your LQ (Love Quotient)? What is your LQ today? Paul gives us 3 characteristics of Loving While Serving in chapter 13. In our next post, we will look into the first feature–the Emptiness of Serving Without Love.
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