Preparation for Worship
Last week we began our study of this famous text, the most beautiful and in-depth reflection on love in the entire Bible. That says something significant, especially when Jesus himself said that the entire Law is summed up in the single command to love. If the entire duty of humanity can be comprehended in the single command to love, then surely 1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most important chapters we could ever study, memorize, and meditate upon.
In our second sermon on this text in this series, we’ll do a deep dive into the qualities of love that Paul names in verses 4-7. There are 16 different descriptions of love that Paul employs. Each of them is what I like to call a “supernatural habit.” They are supernatural because all of these attributes of love are a product of the converting and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit within us, who pours out the love of God into our hearts (Romans 5:5). These things are simply not natural to us, and without a deep experience of God’s love in Christ we will get nowhere with love. On the other hand, these descriptions of love are habits that can be practiced. When Paul says “Love is patient,” he is not talking about a quality of temperament that comes easily to some people and not to others. He literally says “Love suffers long,” meaning that love chooses to stay put even under great provocation and when it wants to hit eject. So all of these aspects of love are supernaturally birthed but must be worked on diligently all of our lives.
Last Sunday, I mentioned that one thing that holds all of these qualities of love in common is that each of them requires death. Specifically, death to self and its demands. I’ll continue that thought this week, but we’ll especially look at how Jesus demonstrated the most astounding love as he literally walked into death for us. In preparation for worship, I encourage you to meditate on each of these 16 descriptions of love, considering what might need to die in you to practice it, and also how Jesus has demonstrated this kind of love for you.
Love so amazing so divine
demands our life our soul our all.
Our weekly worship guide can be found here.
1 Corinthians 13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.