Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13


Love is something many people search for but have a hard time understanding and an even harder time demonstrating to others. 1 Corinthians 13 is the famous Love Chapter of the Bible. It has been read at many weddings and it is often quoted as an ideal to strive for. And you may think you’ve heard it a gazillion times.

But this morning, we are going to try to take all of the valentine’s flowers and candy out of this passage and read it in its proper context. It’s smack dab in the middle of Paul’s teaching about spiritual gifts and how we should treat each other in the church. Turn with me in God’s Word to 1 Corinthians 13.


We are continuing our series in 1 Corinthians called Living in Light of Eternity. We’ve hear the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Corinth about some very serious problems they were dealing with like divisions, fighting, sexual morality, marriage, and singleness. And now it’s using our spiritual gifts, and the need for everything to be done in love. He will end by giving them encouragement about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our future resurrection as believers.

That’s where the series title “Living in Light of Eternity” comes from. With our view of eternity, knowing that our souls will go on forever and ever, knowing that God will judge our behavior, and knowing that His Son Jesus died so that we can spend eternity with God – how should we think, live, and act today?

‌The city of Corinth was a key seaport city in the Roman Empire’s trade route. Like many other wealthy crossroads cities, it had a reputation for immorality, religious diversity and corruption. A lot like our culture today. As we read this letter to another group of Christians in another church from another century, let’s watch for principles or teachings that apply to our church community right here in Dunkirk.

The Focus of chapters 11-14 are on the gathering of the church. What our purpose is and how we should treat each other.

Gifts without Love are Meaningless

Using spiritual gifts without love for others makes it all about showing off your own powers or gifts. It’s about drawing the attention to yourself, gaining prestige or power. God could care less about your efforts if you do not love and serve others with your gifts. That is what the gifts are really all about.

Remember again the importance of context when we read and interpret God’s Word. If you pluck this chapter out of 1 Corinthians and ignore the chapters before and after it, you would get a nice poem about live with some strange examples of unusual spiritual gifts. BUT, if you read it understanding that Paul was in the middle of correcting the Corinthians about their misuse of spiritual gifts, especially the sign gifts which were meant to convince unbelievers that the apostles were legit, then it starts to make more sense. Are you with me?

What is Love?

Patient and kind

Does not envy or boast

Not arrogant or rude

Does not insist on its own way

Not irritable or resentful

Does not rejoice at wrong doing

Rejoices with truth

Bears all things

Believes all things

Hopes all things

Endures all things

Love never ends

God’s Grace Endures

The final verse contains three elements of God’s boundless grace towards his creation: faith, hope and love. The miraculous spiritual gifts you are so focused on will not last very long. They all ended with the apostles.

But God’s gifts of faith, hope, and love will abide. They will still be here. They will endure and last. Paul is telling the Corinthians to focus on these gifts instead of showy spiritual gifts, which for us have already passed away.

But the greatest is love. If you were going to ask God to give you more of any of the gifts, love is the best one to ask for. Jesus said the new commandment I’m giving you is love. Because when you love each other, unbelievers will know you are really my followers. Real, unselfish, unconditional, love is what the world really needs. They need to know God’s love in sending His Son Jesus Christ to be the Savior.

Take Aways

Do you serve others in the church, others in the family out of love or out of compulsion and duty?

As I read the descriptions of God’s kind of love, are you guilty of having very self-centered, self-focused relationships?

Are you in a relationship where the other person doesn’t love you these ways? Pray and humbly talk about these issues.

If things are really bad, and your spouse just doesn’t want to hear any of this; it may be time to come in for counseling together.

Good News! – God loves You!

If you have never accepted that God loves you and His love for you will never end, this is a really great day! You can confess your sins, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who loved you so much that he was willing to give up his own life, so you could be forgiven, have peace with God, and have eternal life forever. Come talk to me if you are ready to accept God’s perfect love.

Romans 5:8 says,  God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That is real love that never ends.