An Excellent Church is a Loving Church – 1 Corinthians 13
Rosedale Baptist Church’s 73rd Anniversary Service
Guest Speaker: Jeremy W. Johnston
1 Corinthians 13 “An Excellent Church is a Loving Church”
What is a healthy Christian church look like?
An excellent, healthy church is characterized by:
– Christ centred
– Bible believing
1 Corinthians 13
– Not often preached on (except at weddings!)
– Yet LOVE is the heart of Christianity
– John 3:16 “for God so loved the world”
– Ironically, Christians are most often accused of being “unloving”
– Hippie: make love not war
– Hollywood: mushy, gushy stuff
– Beatles to Beiber “Love is all you need”
* the church needs to take back LOVE: show the world what love really is, that God is all you need
- Why does love matter so much?
1 Co 12:31b – 13:3—why is love the “most excellent way”?
v. 13— why is love “the greatest”
- Love is the LAW of Christ
- vv. 12, 17: “Love is the LAW of Christ”
- vv. 13, 14: Heart of the gospel is LOVE
- You would not be a Christian if it wasn’t for Christ’s love
- Love completes your joy
- v. 11-12
- cf. 1 Co 13: no joy in impatience, no joy in anger, etc
- Love is the ultimate Testimony of Christ at work in His world
- Love one another: by this all men might know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (NB: Christians loving Christians)—that Christ is truly at work in a believer’s life
- v. 20 —priestly prayer for believers
- v. 21 — oneness in Christ and with each other: “the world may believe” in Christ
– “the final apologetic” Francis Schaeffer—ultimate defence, ultimate testimony of the reality of Christ and His gospel
- How should we love in the church?
Three things to note about LOVE:
- LOVE is an action: it requires effort/will/perseverance
- LOVE involves other people—cannot be a loving hermit
- LOVE often involves unlovable people: e.g., cannot exercise “patience” without something to “try your patience”—e.g., “I would be patient if it wasn’t for X, Y, & Z!”
NB: The Marks of Love are interconnected: envy/self-seeking—e.g., “I deserve such-and-such more than so-and-so…”
- v. 4a—Be patient, be kind
– not every Christian is at the same level of maturity or sanctification: Trust in God’s timing; Teach God’s ways—cannot learn from impatient teachers
- v. 4b—do not envy: Trust in God’s provisions for you
– do not envy other churches: “your” church is really His church
– do not provoke others to envy (by boasting): our attention must be on Christ
- v.5—not rude: put others first, be considerate, be deliberate
– not self-seeking: people aren’t thinking of us as often as we think of ourselves!
– not easily angered / offended “stewing”
– keeps no records of wrongs: FAITH in God’s judgement
- it is not up to you to “make him pay”
- it is not up to you to right the wrong done to you
– compare Christ on the Cross
- v.6—does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth (i.e., “being loving” does not mean Christians tolerate sin!)
– some “churches” only read 1 Co 13
– we need to rejoice and live by the truth, the whole truth
– we should not delight even when someone gets his “comeuppance” / “just desserts” (instead, love always protects…)
- v. 7—always protects: avoid tempting your brothers and sisters to sin!
– always trusts: we do not know the hearts or motives of other people (you are not a mind reader…) God’s Will will be done!
– Always hopes: in God’s Spirit working in people’s lives
– always perseveres: it ain’t over ‘til it’s over
– we are never done loving, never done waiting on the Lord
– cp. “running the race to win”
- vv. 8-13
- Faith: belief in the Lord
- Hope: wait on the Lord
– BOTH WILL CEASE
- Love: delight in the Lord and delight is His church (body)
– WILL NEVER CEASE
Heaven is a love feast.
Love Christ? You will love His body: the church
You will be with these Christians for eternity.
Loving God, loving Christ and his body is a taste of glory: a loving church is a bit of heaven on earth