1 Corinthians 13:1-13
How to Study the Bible -
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT - Love
Good evening and welcome to our nightly Bible devotional. Let’s start off with a little quiz. Are you ready? What is the most important command in the Bible? All give you a hint: It sums up the whole law and the prophets. So is it:
A: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only?
B: Do not commit murder?
C: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’ and love your neighbor as yourself.
D: Do not pass “GO”. Do not collect $200.00
If you said, “C: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ and love your neighbor as yourself” then you are correct. It is found in De 6:5; Le 19:18; Mt 22:37-40; Mk 12:29-31; Lk 10:27; Ro 13:9; Ga 5:14; and Ja 2:8.
The greatest command is to love. Love is an important theme throughout the Bible.
So if love is the greatest command why is it so hard for us to do. Well, friends, sin and selfishness has caused us problems. Let me explain.
There are many words for love in the Greek language that was used in Jesus’ day. Philia is the love of a deep friendship. Eros is the love of sexual passion. Ludus is a playful love. Pragma is the longstanding love. Philautia is the love of one’s self. And Agape is a deep love that is often explained as being Godly or divine.
The first five words are words that could be described as fleshly or physical love. We may think of others when we use them but we are also getting something out of the exchange. These types of love are often influenced by emotional or situational changes. They are like shifting sand.
But the love that God wants us to produce is Agape. Agape love is a selfless love that puts the needs of others first. This is a love that you extended to all people, whether family members or distant strangers. Agape was later translated into Latin as caritas, which is the origin of our word “charity.” C.S. Lewis referred to it as “gift love,” the highest form of Christian love. It is a strong universal love. It is the way that God loves us to the most powerful degree of giving His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us. That is why Agape is called “divine love”. It is absolute love that never changes.
Agape love is the first slice of the fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. This Agape is the kind of love that we as Christians are supposed to extend to everyone. It takes God’s spirit working in us to produce this kind of love. The flesh only knows how to love self. But the spirit knows how to selflessly give love to others… even our enemies, those that have hurt us, those who have done us wrong.
Let me read a description of this kind of love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
We love this way because God first loved us and gave his Son for us. Romans 5:6-8 says, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is how we know what this Agape love is all about. We experienced God giving it to us so that we can give it to others. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.”
Let’s go produce some fruit. Let’s go and love others.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Father Above, Thank you for this glorious day in which to praise you. Thank you for your love which you demonstrated by giving us your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross so that we may have eternal life. Help us to be filled with your Agape love. Help us to produce that kind of fruit in the world today that needs it so badly. It is in Jesus' name we pray. AMEN!
I hope you will join us tomorrow night at 6pm. God bless you and have a great night.