OceanSide church of Christ

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The Greatest of these is Love (1)
by: Dalton Gilreath

I.              Introduction

A.   The first Corinthian letter is written to Christians who had made a mess of things

                                          i.    They had allowed public sin to go unchecked (ch 5)

                                        ii.    They were suing one another (ch 6)

                                       iii.    They were struggling in marriage (ch 7)

                                       iv.    They were misleading the “weaker” brother (ch 8)

B.   In chapter thirteen Paul gives them the solution to clean up all their messes

                                          i.    It is sandwiched in the middle of a discussion on spiritual gifts

1.    They were arrogant with their gifts and were not motivated by love (14:12, 18-19)

2.    They needed to use their gifts to edify the whole body and not promote themselves (12:7, 21, 25)

                                        ii.    Notice Paul didn’t discourage using their gifts, but encouraged using them the right way  (12:31, 14:1)

II.            Importance

A.   God made no hesitation in ranking love above all other commands

                                          i.    In fact, the importance of loving is equal to the importance of knowing God (1 John 4:8)

                                        ii.    Jesus even called loving God the first and great commandment (Matt 22:36-40)

1.    Everything I do flows from this first command

2.    Even loving my neighbor, the second command, is governed by my love for God

3.    I treat man the way I do not because of who they are, but because of who God is

B.   Love is the first characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22)

                                          i.    Paul also says to put on things like forgiveness, mercy, and kindness but says above all of them is love (Col 3:12-14)

                                        ii.    Of course, in 1 Corinthians 13 Paul says the greatest is love (v13)

III.           Outline of Chapter 13

A.   Priority of love (1-3)

B.   Pieces of love (4-8a)

C.   Permanency of love (8b-12)

D.   Preeminence of love (13)

IV.          Priority of love

A.   Speaking in tongues or using any spiritual gift without being motivated by love makes it all for nought (13:1)

                                          i.    Notice Paul says even if they spoke in the tongues of angels it would mean nothing

                                        ii.    They were speaking in tongues to receive recognition not out of love

B.   Consider a man who knew all things, could answer any Bible question, and could move mountains with miraculous faith (13:2)

                                          i.    We would think he must be the most spiritual man to ever walk the Earth

                                        ii.    But if he didn’t have love, God would see him as nothing

C.   Consider someone who gave everything they owned (13:3)

                                          i.    Without love that incredible offering was for nothing

                                        ii.    Paul even says someone can be burned for not denying Christ and still be lost if they didn’t do it out of love for God

V.           The conclusion to part 1 of this series is that “Life – Love = Nothing”