Is God Among You? -- Part Three

 

Yesterday we began to look at the gift of prophecy. Paul contrasts that gift with the gift of tongues in three areas. He says if prophecy is better for the church, if prophecy is better for the individual, and if prophecy is better for unbelievers than speaking in tongues, then you should desire prophecy. In the first place Paul says that prophecy, that is, communicating the Word of God in a clear way, is better than tongues because it helps the church to grow.

Is God Among You? -- Part Two

 

In the midst of these three chapters that lay down the principles we covered yesterday, we find 1 Corinthians 13, the great chapter on love. In times past when I looked at these chapters and tried to analyze them, I found the content of chapter 13 positioned between chapters 12 and 14 to be somewhat of a digression. I did not understand how it fit into the sequence of what he is talking about. I think I do understand that a little better now. What Paul says in chapter 13 is, most certainly, the prelude to what he says in chapter 14.

Is God Among You? -- Part One

 

Every part of the Bible is relevant and helpful. But some parts speak to contemporary problems more than others. The fourteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians is one of those. Someone once asked me a question to which this chapter speaks directly. This person had a friend in a charismatic fellowship who always insisted on speaking in tongues in a disruptive manner and when there was no one to interpret. He asked me what should be done, so I told him what 1 Corinthians 14 teaches.

The Greatest Thing in the World -- Part Five

 

Today we come to the last point in 1 Corinthians 13, which is where Paul has been leading us. He has talked about the importance and nature of love. What he is saying is that if you understand the importance of love and the nature of love, it follows that love never fails. All these other things are going to fail. Prophecies, tongues, knowledge - all these will pass away because these things are partial. But where there is love, love will not pass away. He puts faith, hope, and love together, and, he says, "These three remain." I suppose Paul means that they remain through life and through eternity.

The Greatest Thing in the World -- Part Four

 

1 Corinthians 13 is a portrait of Christ. If you substitute the name of Christ for the word love, it gives us a perfect description of his character. That is why he is so lovely. Jesus Christ is patient. You know what we are like. We produce anything but patience in the reaction of other people, yet Jesus Christ is patient with us. He does not give up. When we sin again and again, when we’re so thick to learn a spiritual lesson, oh, how patient he is!

The Greatest Thing in the World -- Part Three

 

In the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians the Apostle Paul is saying that if we love Christ, we ought to love one another. In dealing with the importance of love, it strikes me that John's tests correspond to three kinds of Christianity that we find in our present day. The first kind of Christianity puts an emphasis on the supernatural gifts. The second kind of Christianity emphasizes knowledge of the mysteries of God, a doctrinal, theological approach. Finally, the third kind of Christianity emphasizes doing good deeds.

The Greatest Thing in the World -- Part Two

 

In the context of the entire book of 1 Corinthians, Paul has repeatedly set love over against the things that the Corinthians thought were most important. He contrasts love with the supernatural gifts. He also contrasts love with the idea of wisdom. In verse 3, Paul contrasts love with doing good deeds, even to the point of becoming a martyr for the sake of something good. He says you can be famous for doing extraordinarily good works, but if you have not love, it profits you nothing.

The Greatest Thing in the World -- Part One

 

During the last half of the nineteenth century, an evangelist by the name of Henry Drummond wrote a sermon called "The Greatest Thing in the World." It was about love. It was based on I Corinthians 13, which is certainly one of the greatest chapters in the Bible. If people know anything about 1 Corinthians, this is probably the chapter that comes to mind. This chapter teaches that love is greater than faith, that love is greater than hope.

Spiritual Gifts -- Part Five

 

There are three applications that I want to make from 1 Corinthians 12. The first is, be content with what you have been given. If you are not content, you are telling God that you know better than he. Therefore, be content with whatever God has given you, because God gave it to you and he knows best.

Spiritual Gifts -- Part Four

 

The illustration of the human body makes some obvious points. The first one is that all of these parts have different functions. The eye sees, but it does not walk. The foot walks, but it does not handle. The hand handles, but it does not think. All parts of the body have different functions, and so do we. That is not a weakness or a failing. It is the way God made it. It is the way God wants it and he wants us to recognize that.

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