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1-30-22 “The Most Excellent Way”

“The Most Excellent Way” (1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13)

David Peterson / General

Love / 1 Corinthians 12:27–13:13

Sermon type: Topical-Textual

Proposition: Christianity is more than information, it is a way of life expressed as love, flowing from having personally experienced being loved in the self-sacrifice of Christ.

Introduction

1. “Shing-Lee, Evansville’s first Chinese restaurant, closes this week” Courier & Press (opened in 1971

2. Kung Fu, the television series, depicting a way of life

I. Christianity is a “way” (1 Cor. 12:31)

1. The Corinthians attracted to the knowledge and power found in Christian faith — Paul, Apollos were people of knowledge and power

2. Growth of science in West due to rational nature of Christianity

3. Our church has roots in reaction to overemphasis on the rational

a. Pia desideria by Philipp Jacob Spener 1675

b. Christianity does not consist in knowledge, but in practice, religious disputes carried out in love, theological education is to teach devotional life, sermons are for edification

II. The Way is the way of attaining our end, becoming a mature human (1 Cor. 12:31)

1. “Perfection” (1 Cor. 13:10) τέλος G5465 (telos), end, conclusion, goal — mature

Silva, M., ed. (2014). In New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (Second Edition, Vol. 4, p. 470). Zondervan.

2. Goal of being human love, expressing love, experiencing love

3. Goal of being human is knowing God

III. Love involves choice (1 Cor. 12:11)

1. Otto, love as that which is bred in an animal

2. To be human is to have a choice, this especially comes to bear when the other is unlovely

3. 1 John 4:7 “Let us”, 1 Cor 13:11 “put away childish things”, “this is my Commandment” (John 15:12)

4. How? Paul gave ground earlier in book–”mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16)

5. Philippians 2 sets out that mind, Jesus “remain in my love” (John 15:9)

Family Resemblance

The fruits of the Holy Spirit are, it seems to me, largely fruits of sustained interaction with God. Just as a child picks up traits more or less simply by dwelling in the presence of her parent, so the Christian develops tenderheartedness, compassion, humility, forgiveness, joy, and hope through “the fellowship of the Holy Spirit”–that is, by dwelling in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son. And this means, to a very large extent, living in a community of serious believers.

Source: Robert C. Roberts in The Reformed Journal (Feb. 1987). Christianity Today, Vol. 32, no. 10. cited at preachingtoday.com

Conclusion

Failing at Divorce

A woman came to a lawyer and said, “I want to get a divorce. I really hate my husband, and I want to hurt him. Give me some advice.” In addition to wanting to get the gold and give him the shaft, she was wondering about some other way that she might do him in.

The attorney said, “Look, you’re going to divorce the guy anyway, so for three months don’t criticize him. Speak only well of him. Build him up. Every time he does something nice, commend him for it. Tell him what a great guy he is, and do that for three months. After he thinks that he has your confidence and love, hit him with the news and it will hurt more.”

The woman thought, “I can’t go wrong on this. I’m divorcing the guy anyway. Why should I speak badly about him anymore? I’m going to speak only well of him.”

So, she complimented her husband for everything he did. For three months she told him what a great man he was. You know what happened to that relationship? After three months, they forgot about the divorce and went on a second honeymoon.

Source:

Erwin Lutzer, “Learning to Love,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 99.

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