Love Is Positively Not Negative--
Dan Lightfoot 1431
I Cor. 13:5
Read 1 Cor. 13.
A. Our new year's resolution is to keep the main thing the main thing.
1. The first 2 commandments are loving God and neighbor.
2. Love fulfills all the law & the prophets.
3. So what is this thing called Love?
B. I Cor. 13 is the blueprint for love.
1. But Paul didn't write it to be analyzed or dealt with in a technical fashion. He wrote it to reach into our hearts. ... for people like me: who are still building & growing & struggling to become like Christ.
2. He wrote it so we might be able to express the life that Jesus lived…a life that loves even when people are ruthless, hateful, & deserving of being behind bars.
3. A.T. Robertson: "It is a pity to dissect this gem or pull to pieces the fragments of this rose petal by petal. Paul's language here calls for little comment, for it is the language of the heart."
a. I need my heart warmed more than I need my head filled with facts.
b. As we look at v. 5 lets be aware that we are not here as much to be informed, as to be changed.
c. & perhaps there is a part of the blueprint that you have not seen before that will help you in the process of building.
C. Beginning in v. 4 Paul gives us 15 ingredients of love.
1. Let's do a little exercise. Lay everything down. Rest comfortably. Close your eyes. Bow your head.
2. Reflect back over the past year. Ask yourself: "Was this present in my life consistently?"
3. Read: Hear your name when I say 'love':
Love is patient, love is kind. Love is never envious nor boils over with jealousy, love is not boastful or vainglorious, love does not display itself haughtily. 5Love is not conceited, arrogant, inflated with pride. Love is not rude (or unmannerly), Love does not act unbecomingly. Love does not insist on its own rights, or its own way, for it is not self-seeking. Love is not touchy or fretful or resentful. Love takes no account of evil done against it. Love pays no attention to a suffered wrong. (Think about your life.) Love bears up under anything and everything. Anything & everything that comes its way, it is ever ready to believe the best of every person. Its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances. And love endures everything without weakening.
4. Let the imaginary recording run as your eyes remain closed, and listen to the way you talk. Look at the way you appear.
a. Is love the central theme? Real love? -- Which means seeking the highest good of the other person. & doing what is possible for you to do to meet that need.
D. As you open your eyes, let them fall upon v. 8. Love never fails.
1. doesn't mean that if you love you will never be disappointed…
'fails' means something that falls or collapses or comes to an end or becomes obsolete. It always works.
3. Love never terminates. It can never say, "I don't love you anymore."
4. Some things are temporary. Like the gifts of prophecy or tongues or knowledge. But love is written in permanent ink…
5. Love never fades...
There is always a need to be patient & it will always work ...kind … not be jealous… to not brag… not be arrogant… to be pleasant & act becomingly… to seek the good of others first… to not be provoked (etc.)
6. Let's focus on v. 5
I. Love does not Act Unbecomingly (is not Rude)
A. Aschemoneo means 'out of shape' or 'out of bounds'.
1. It is behavior that doesn't fit. Tasteless behavior. Improper.
2. NIV says 'love is not rude'. Love has good manners.
3. Love is a gentleman. Love is a lady.
4. Our society today honors the rude & crude. Praises the arrogant. Rewards shocking behavior.
a. That's why the jails are full. More policemen than ever. Full court dockets. … schools need security
b. Since 1973 we go thru metal detectors in airports.
B. Love has good manners. Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.
C. Words that say, "I love you."
1. "Please" -- says I'm not assuming, expecting, or demanding anything. I'm requesting, & that leaves you the freedom to respond as you wish.
2. "Thank you" -- That's the quickest way to say you value someone. It says you appreciate what has been done or given.
a. Even when all does not meet your expectations, say it anyway.
b. Be thankful for what you have, not resentful for what you don't.
c. Love says, "Thanks." "In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (I Thes. 5:18).
3. "Excuse me." or "I'm sorry." --
a. I have no right to interrupt, bully my way thru a crowd, or 'bump' into a conversation.
b. When I've stumbled, or interrupted, or bumped someone… etc. -- the right response actually does double duty. It acknowledges an offense, reflecting humility on our part; & it corrects the offense, granting honor to the other person.
c. For mild offenses, these words are confession & restitution…
4. "Can I help you?"
a. Do random acts of kindness….
b. They mean someone cares...
5. "You go first." Words that flow from a servant's heart.
a. Toddler Property Laws:
1-- If I like it, it's mine.
2-- If it's in my hand, it's mine.
3-- If I can take it from you, it's mine.
4-- If I had it awhile ago, it's mine.
5-- If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
6-- If I'm doing something or building ..., all the pieces are mine.
7-- If it looks just like mine, it's mine.
8-- If I think it's mine, it's mine.
b. Selfishness is natural. Letting another go first is a matter of choice. It is love in action.
c. I love the story of the "Titanic". The people who stepped aside to let others into the lifeboats. The musicians who did that, & kept playing to calm the panicked crowd.
d. Love is heroic. Good manners is a way of being heroic every day in a multitude of small ways.
II. Love Does Not Seek Its Own
A. Love gets people's attention for one simple reason: it's dif.! Sticks out in the crowd.
1. When the crowd is pushy -- love is patient.
2. ...cruel -- ...kind. ...jealous -- ...gently trusting.
3. The crowd's envy highlights love's eagerness to trust that God knows best. An arrogant crowd clamors for attention while love seeks to shine the spotlight on another. The crowd belittles the referee while calling attention to its own perfect eyesight and knowledge of the game, while love appreciates him for his effort.
B. When Paul says love does not seek its own, he lifts love yet another notch higher.
1. Love is not selfish -- it has a servant spirit -- & never stops.
2. Jesus is the perfect example. I trust you to know the truth of that.
3. Love knows: Being a servant is not about pleasing the person I'm serving; it's about pleasing God.
III. Love Is Not Provoked -- It has a slow fuse
A. R.W. Emerson said: "It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."
1. It takes a lot to provoke a friend to anger. Because of love.
2. Love refuses to allow the sharp words or hurtful acts of another to find their way into the heart, do their damage, and leave their scars.
3. By cautioning us against it, Paul is saying that unchecked anger can be hazardous to the health of your most cherished relationships.
4. "Be angry, & yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, & do not give the devil an opportunity" (Eph. 4:26-27).
a. If you have a fast fuse, you'll get hammered -- by the devil…
b. The feeling of anger becomes sin when we allow it to escalate, to control us instead of us controlling it.
c. If it keeps burning it shoots up flames of wrath, malice, slander, abusive speech, violence…
d. And those are the things we are to be dead to (Col 3:5 & 7).
5. Remember: "A gentle word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Prov. 15:1)
IV. Love Does Not Take Into Account a Wrong Suffered
A. Article: "Things We Learn From Our Dog"
1. Things like: Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride, etc.
2. Last three were: -- When someone is having a bad day, be silent, stick close by, & nuzzle them gently. -- Avoid biting when a simple growl will do. -- Never hold a grudge.
3. All this is easier said than done, of course… and now Paul lays a heavy one on us. The definition of love is escalating.
B. Love doesn't hold a grudge. Love forgives.
1. Rob. E. Lee held no grudges after the Civil War. Visiting a woman's plantation; she told of all her suffering & losses; burned & broken trees were left to remind her of it all. He placed an arm over her shoulder & said, "Cut them down, dear lady. Cut them down."
2. Love would make a terrible accountant. It can't count.
a. It doesn't need to keep score because it is not intent on "getting even", much less ahead.
b. The real winner is not the one who gets even, but the one who can forgive even when it is not deserved. That's grace unlimited.
c. "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (Eph. 4:32).
1-- Mercy & grace are the two elements of forgiveness…
2 -- May we learn them well.
Make it your daily objective and goal to love as God loves…
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