THE GREATEST OF THESE

The Greatest of TheseTHE GREATEST OF THESE

1 JOHN 4:17-21
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

1 COR 13
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 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, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake 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 through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

Love, I believe, did not come easy for the Apostle Paul outside of Christ. The hands that wrote the love chapter of first Corinthians were first stained with Christian blood.

Having said that, consider what a monumental idea it is to call ANY characteristic of Christianity “the greatest.” That’s what I want to draw your attention to, “the greatest of these.”

I. THE GREAT CONTRASTS – I COR. 13:1-3
A. LOVE VERSUS
1. LOVE V/S TONGUES – VS 1
2. LOVE V/S PROPHECY – VS 2
3. LOVE V/S UNDERSTANDING – VS 2
4. LOVE V/S KNOWLEDGE – VS 2
5. LOVE V/S ALL FAITH – VS 2
– “ALL FAITH”
– MOVE MOUNTAINS, ETC.
– POWER OF LOVE IS PRETTY IMPRESSIVE
6. LOVE V/S BENEVOLENCE – VS 3
7. LOVE V/S MARTYRDOM – VS 3
B. WHY?
1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF TONGUES, FAITH, ETC.
2. SHOULDN’T THESE THINGS LEAD TO GOD?
3. SHOULD’T THESE THINGS OPEN US UP TO GOD’S GREAT LOVE?

II. THE GREAT SPECTRUM – 1 COR. 13:4-6
* MUCH LIKE LIGHT THROUGH A PRISM, PAUL PASSES LOVE THROUGH THE EXPLANATION OF THE SPIRIT & DISPLAYS A FULL SPECTRUM OF INGREDIENTS!*
A. INGREDIENTS:
1. PATIENCE – SUFFERS LONG
2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2. KINDNESS – IS KIND
* EVER NOTICED THE KINDNESS OF CHRIST
* DOING KIND THINGS ALWAYS FOR OTHERS
3. GENEROSITY – ENVIETH NOT
Matthew 27:18 (KJV)
18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
4. HUMILITY – VAUNTETH NOT, NOT PUFFED UP
5. DECENCY – NOT BEHAVING UNSEEMLY
6. UNSELFISHNESS – SEEKS NOT ITS OWN
Philippians 2:4 (KJV)
4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Romans 12:10 (KJV)
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
7. GENTLENESS – NOT EASILY PROVOKED
* LIKE MOSES WHO WAS PROVOKED & STRUCK THE ROCK THE SECOND TIME
* GOOD TEMPERED!
8. HOLINESS – THINKS NO EVIL
9. TRUTHFULNESS – REJOICES NOT IN INIQUITY / REJOICES IN TRUTH

III. THE GREAT DEFENSE – 1 COR. 13:7-13
A. “ALL THINGS”
*ANYTHING BUT THIS!
* WE CAN ALL BEAR SOME THINGS!
* WE CAN ALL ENDURE SOME THINGS!
* BUT NOT ALL THINGS!!!!!
* SPURGEON CALLED THESE “LOVE’S SWEET COMPANIONS”
1. BEARS ALL THINGS
* LOVE IS STRONG
2. BELIEVES ALL THINGS
* LOVE IS BELIEVING
3. HOPES ALL THINGS
* LOVE IS HOPEFUL
4. ENDURES ALL THINGS
* LOVE IS ENDURING

B. “ALWAYS”
1. “NEVER FAILS”!!!!

1 John 4:8 (KJV)
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

1 Peter 4:8 (KJV)
8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Romans 13:10 (KJV)
10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or just plain ridiculous!