Godly Love

When I was a youngster my mother allowed me to make my first batch of cookies, by myself, without direct supervision.  She was at work, I could read the recipe,  it was an electric stove, my older siblings were at home, she figured if I had any questions or problems, I would ask my sisters.

I decided to make chocolate chip cookies.  Everything went just fine, except for one little problem.  I had never heard of measuring spoons.  The recipe said something about a teaspoon of salt.  I looked in the silverware drawer, figured that the small spoons that we placed on the table were tablespoons, so the larger spoons must be the teaspoons.

My cookies turned out a little on the salty side.

It’s important to get the ingredients right.

The primary ingredient in a Christian life is love; love for God and love for people.  God tells us in His Word what He means by love for people.

I. The Importance of Love

I Corinthians 13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 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. 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.

Tongues, spiritual gifts, knowledge, miracles, without love they would mean very little.  Love is the most important quality we can develop in our lives.

II.  The Traits of Love verses 4-7

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

We should use this list to do a self-evaluation.  There are almost certainly areas  in our lives that could use improvement.  When I was young, I often got the “I” grade in school, standing for “improvement needed”.  As I grew older I did better and better in school.  I think that we can say that as a student, I improved.  If we are aware of the areas in our life that need improvement, we can seek to improve them.

III.  The Fulfillment of Love  verses 8-13

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

When we are in heaven we will no longer need faith.  We will be in the very presence of God.  We will no longer need hope.  What more could we possibly hope for ourselves?  We will still have love.  Love for God, and love for the people of God.  These things are eternal.

IV.  The Source of Love

While it is important that we do a self-evaluation and determine what areas of our life need improvement to more accurately display the love of God.  It is even more important that we realize that the source of this kind of love is God Himself.  As the Spirit of God works within us, it helps to produce the fruit of the Spirit.  (That could be a different sermon.)  For today, we realize that it is by God’s Spirit, that true godly love is developed in our lives.

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