An Excellent Church is a Loving Church – 1 Corinthians 13

By Jeremy Johnston on November 13, 2011
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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


  1. 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”


  1. Love is the LAW of Christ

John 15:9-17

  • 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


    1. Love completes your joy

John 15:9-17

  • v. 11-12
  • cf. 1 Co 13: no joy in impatience, no joy in anger, etc


    1. Love is the ultimate Testimony of Christ at work in His world


John 13:34-35

  • 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

John 17

  • 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


  1. How should we love in the church?


Three things to note about LOVE:

  1.  LOVE is an action: it requires effort/will/perseverance
  2.  LOVE involves other people—cannot be a loving hermit
  3.  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…”


  1. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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

  1.  it is not up to you to “make him pay”
  2.  it is not up to you to right the wrong done to you

–   compare Christ on the Cross


  1. 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…)


  1. 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”


  1. vv. 8-13
    1. Faith: belief in the Lord
    2. Hope: wait on the Lord


  1. Love: delight in the Lord and delight is His church (body)




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

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