1 CORINTHIANS 13 - LOVE Print E-mail


1 Corinthians – Chapter 13 - Love

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Sunday Evening Service, March 18, 2013, the Year of Our Lord


12:31:  Covet earnestly the best gifts; and yet I show to you a more excellent way.

13:1:  Though I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not love, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”


Beyond all this (the gifts and offices), I am showing you a way, (a way to reach the highest goal, and to achieve the noblest ambition).   Love surpasses the richest spiritual endowments.


More important than the gifts of the Spirit is the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Gal. 5:22).  The harmony of nine graces which make up a mature Christian character and provide conclusive evidence of the Spirit’s indwelling presence.  First among those graces is love---the Divine Love which has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. (Rom. 5:5).  And hope makes us not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”


God’s love for man is displayed in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 5:8) “But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”


This is now reproduced in our attitude toward him and toward one another.  It is not the Greek word agape in itself that has this force; it is the fact that the love described is Divine Love.   This is God’s Love.  We cannot get there from the realm of the soul.  Divine Love is only accessible by the Holy Spirit into the heart of God to receive His heart for His people.


13:1:  “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels”. This is a reference to the supernatural endowment of tongues and the speech of angels.  Paul says, even if I command this power but have not love, I am no better than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.


13:2:  If I have prophetic powers:”---If I have prophetic powers which includes gift of prophecy backed by supernatural power, which is a higher gift than tongues, but which nevertheless is valueless without love.  And understand all mysteries and all knowledge:  so as to have insight into the mind and purpose of God.  The secret and hidden wisdom of God transcends all other forms of mystery and knowledge precisely because it is an unfolding of the love of God:  ‘Wisdom is a mystery/of bleeding love unfolded’ (C. Wesley).  “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains” – but even with such a gift as this, if I have not love, I am nothing.”


13:3:  “If I give away all I have:  literally – if I turn all my property into morsels of food—though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor--- “if I deliver my body to be burned: Like the three Hebrews who “yielded up their bodies (Dan. 3:28) and the martyrs under Antiochus of whom similar language is used. 


The charitable disposal of one’s property or the acceptance of martyrdom might indeed spring from love, but Paul implies that if such actions spring from any other motive, even that of religious obligation, they are valueless in God’s sight and bring no gain to those who perform them.   


13: 4-5:  Love is patient and kind:” Love in verses 4-7 describes a character which is ruled by love.  The character of Christ is here portrayed; we may go farther and say that God is here portrayed, since “God is love”.  Naturally, then, these statements must be true of those of whose hearts the love of God has taken possession.  The “patience” and “kindness” of which Paul speaks are included along with “love” in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.  Love is not jealous or boastful:  The word boastful denotes empty bragging.  It is not so different from the “arrogance” which is mentioned next as incompatible with love.  Paul criticized that inflated spirit earlier in 4:6 “”that you might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that none of you be puffed up one against another.”


8:1: “Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge.  Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.


Love is not …rude:  Love does not behave improperly or in an affected manner.


Love does not insist on its own way:  or seek its own interests. Love is not irritable—is not provoked to anger.  We are to stir up one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24).  “Love is not resentful”.  Love does not reckon up evil with a view to paying the offender back in his own coin.  Love does not plot evil.   (Rom. 17:17: “Recompense to no man evil for evil.  Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”


13:6: “Love does not rejoice at wrong.”  In true love there can be no room for spite.  Love rejoices in the right”---“in the truth”.


13:7: “Love bears all things; this presumably means something different from endures all things at the end of the verse, although the verbs are similar.


1 Peter 4:8: “And above all things have fervent love among your selves; for love will cover a multitude of sins”


Love believes all things, hopes all things”:  Love is always eager to believe the best and put the most favorable light on ambiguous actions and speech.  It hopes against hope, and is always ready to give an offender a second change and to forgive him seventy times seven’.” (Mt. 18:22)


13:8: “Love never ends: literally “never fails”.  Love does not belong to this age only, but reigns in the eternal order.  All love that depends on a material factor passes away with the passing of that factor; love that has no such dependence never passes away.  The gifts of the Spirit—prophecies…,tongues…,knowledge… will pass away for they are but temporary manifestations of the Spirit designed to minister to the Body of Christ and prepare the Bride of Christ to rule and reign with him through all eternity.


The Holy Spirit gives the gifts and the Offices for the perfection of the church and to save the lost.  News flash—the gifts are not to magnify the vessel through whom the Holy Spirit is moving.


The Corinthian church was prone to take undue pride in their knowledge and thus was of no value isolated from love.  The highest knowledge, the knowledge of God in Christ is far from passing away.  This knowledge will attain transcendent perfection in the age to come.


13: 9-10:  In this present age which is soon to be superseded, “our knowledge is imperfect, and our prophecy is imperfect.  “But when the perfect comes, then that which is in part shall be done away.”   When the perfect comes and the consummation is realized for which the sons of God at present long eagerly, the imperfect will pass away.


The Spirit is the pledge of the eternal heritage into which believers will enter.  The present phase of our existence is to that coming perfection as childhood is to maturity.  The mind and practice in which a grown man has given up childish ways.  The Corinthians must recognize that the things to which they attached paramount importance were transient and learn to set the highest value on the things that endure forever.


Another figure of speech point to the contrast between present and future knowledge is the contrast between seeing a dim and distorted reflection in a metal mirror and seeing the direct reality.  Although the figure of the mirror probably refers to the analogy of Moses.  Yahweh says of Moses: “With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in dark speech, and he beholds the form of the Lord.”


But then, says Paul, we shall see “face to face”.


Now leaving figures of speech behind, Paul declares this his present partial and imperfect knowledge will give way to knowledge so perfect that then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.


13:13: So faith, hope, love abide, these three:  Faith here is not the special gift of 12:9; 13:3, but the common response of all the people of God to his saving grace.  Paul’s argument would have been satisfied with the conclusion that love abides; however, he makes a distinction between the three.  Whatever form faith and hope may take, love remains unchanged in its nature even when it attains perfection; therefore the greatest of these is love.


14:1:  “Make love your aim:” Now he resumes his discussion of spiritual gifts.


“earnestly desire the spiritual gifts:’


“This Agape love penetrates every situation involving the believer; it is the beginning of every consideration and the end of all considerations.  This is why it starts in Genesis, and it ends in Revelation.  It encompasses the Pauline doctrine of 1 Corinthians 13 and the doctrine of Peter in 11 Peter 1:5-7.  Love becomes the golden thread woven at first in God’s dealing with man and used to bind the heart of His Son to His Bride.


In order to be a bride, we have to know something about Him the rest of the world doesn’t know.


  1. Jesus is King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Our High Priest, Chief Shepherd, The Bishop of the Church and the Apostle of our Faith.
  2. He is willing to share it.
  3. He is never selfish.
  4. He spares no expense for our comfort.
  5. He wants to share in intimacy.
  6. He shares His dreams, and mission.


Abundance is part of the blessing of His love.  He can’t love without giving.

Lovers are givers.

We who are lovers look for opportunities to give.  Our Lord is the greatest Lover of all.  He gave his life for our sins that we might spend eternity in the Heart of God.  He wants to give to us good gifts.


Pastor John Sielski posted a vision this past week.


“Suddenly His Wounds Became Words”


“I had another vision awhile ago.  I was standing behind the Cross.  Jesus was hanging upon the Cross.  As I looked, I noticed an engraving, an inscription, upon the back sides and throughout the lengths of both cross-beams of the Cross.  Upon the vertical beam were the words, “You shall love the Lord Your God with All Your Heat and All Your Soul, and with all Your Mind and with All Your Strength.


Upon the horizontal beam were the words, “You shall love Your neighbor as Yourself.”  Then, the spirit carried me out from behind the Cross, under and around Jesus’ right side.  I looked up and noticed Jesus’ wounds in His body, how deep they were, and how many they were…from all of the beating and scourging.  Suddenly, as I was looking upon Jesus’ wounds in His physical body, His wounds rearranged themselves in such a way as to form or spell words.


As the times before, I felt the witness of the Spirit speaking expressly in my heart that, although Jesus Christ was the Word made Flesh; most do not yet fully discern or understand that the Specific Word made Flesh, was actually “All the Law an the Prophets”, “…made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”  Where the cross-beams intersected was simply found the word, “…love.” (Vision given to Pastor John Sielski).  




Preached by:  Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Scripture from K.J.V. Bibliography:  The Four Loves by:  C.S. Lewis, Lovett’s Lights on 1 Corinthians by C. S. Lovett, Solomon’s Secret by C. R. Oliver; Sermon, The More Excellent Way, preached by Carolyn Sissom, Feb. 14, 2010; Vision, “Suddenly the Wounds Became Words, given to Pastor John Sielski.



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