The Explanation of Love (The Emptiness of Serving Without Love — 2)

lov-2¶ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal (1 Cor. 13:1, NKJV).

Paul’s overriding theme in 1 Cor. 13:1-3 is that serving God and other people without love is empty and useless.

Explanation of Love. “Love” translates the Greek, agapen, from agape, which is defined as “concern, interest” (Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament, s. v. αγαπην, in Bible Windows CD); “to have love for someone or something, based on sincere appreciation and high regard” (Greek-English Lexicon, s. v. αγαπην); “placing a high value upon some person or thing, or of receiving them with favour” (Warnach, SacVb 518, Horst Balz and Gerhard Schneider, eds., Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, n. p.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990 in PC Study Bible V.5 CD, Seattle: Biblesoft Inc.,1988-2007)

While I was driving some friends home one day, they thanked me

for my kindness. I asked, “Do you know the difference between kindness and loving kindness?” “What?” they replied. I said, “I bring you home. That’s kindness. But if I bring you home and buy bread and coke along the way, and give it to you, that is loving kindness.”

Love involves 2 things—a concern and an object of your concern. You have to be deeply concerned and interested in others in the Body of Christ. That includes sincerely appreciating some people whom you might not like. You have to value them highly. You have to receive them with favor. You do not love somebody because that somebody loves you. You love because you seek the good of that somebody. You seek to “do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10, NKJV).

Paul is not talking here about your romantic love for your girlfriend or boyfriend, or your husband or wife. He’s talking about building the body of Christ with your spiritual gifts. And in doing so, you are to be driven by this kind of love—agape love.

Permissions: You may copy/paste or distribute this post in part or in whole, provided that you do not change the words or word order or charge a fee beyond the cost of copying or distributing.  However, should you use it as your sermon, this writer will not charge a fee, so long as you will share with him one-half of your honorarium. (Just kidding)

Disclaimer:  I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due.  If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention.  Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.

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Loving While Serving (A Valentine Message)

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.

lov-11 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.

Permissions: You may copy/paste or distribute this post in part or in whole, provided that you do not change the words or word order or charge a fee beyond the cost of copying or distributing.  However, should you use it as your sermon, this writer will not charge a fee, so long as you will share with him one-half of your honorarium. (Just kidding)

Disclaimer:  I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due.  If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention.  Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.