Quarter’s Theme: ORDERLINESS IN THE CHURCH
Unit 3: Orderliness In Worship – Unity In Diversity (Lessons 7-9)
LESSON 8 26/4/2015
THE GREATEST GIFT: LOVE
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 223, 244
Devotional Reading: ROMANS 13:8-10
Topic For Adults
THE TYPE OF LOVE GOD DESIRES
Topic For Youths
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIKE AND LOVE
Topic For Intermediates
LOVE GOD AND YOUR NEIGHBOUR
1 COR. 13:1-13
Memory Verse: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal (1 Cor. 13:1) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
The Greatest Is Love
1 Cor. 13:1-13
The subject of love is so important that not only God spoke about it, Jesus and the apostles also spoke about it. Paul expatiated the importance of love over all spiritual gifts by emphasizing the usefulness as well as the limitation of those gifts to the present world. He also compared love with faith and hope, two great virtues that a Christian must possess to be able to access whatever God has for him or her on this planet earth, but concluded that love is the greatest of all these virtues. This means once a Christian has love, with all the godly characteristics of love in operation, he or she could be sure of living a life that is pleasing to God and humanity.
Point of Emphasis: Now abide these three, faith, hope and love, but the greatest is love.
Prayer Point: Lord, help me to operate my gifts and do all things in love.
This lesson is a continuation of last week’s lesson. As regards, spiritual gifts not
all believers may discover theirs and those who discover theirs may not even use them in love. Therefore, Paul, in this week’s lesson, discovers the spiritual endowment that all believers must have and through which they must operate their spiritual gifts, which is love.
NOTES ON THE LESSON
(1) THE SUPERIORITY OF LOVE TO SPIRITUAL GIFTS (1 COR. 13:1-3)
At the conclusion of the preceding chapter, apostle Paul promised to show the Corinthians a more excellent way than that in which they were then proceeding. They were so distracted with contentions, divided by parties, and envious of each other’s gifts, that unity was nearly destroyed. This was a full proof that love of God and man was lacking, and without love their numerous gifts and other graces were nothing in the eyes of God. Having, by his advice and directions, corrected many abuses, and having shown them how in outward things they should walk so as to please God, he now shows them the spirit, temper and disposition in which this should be done, and without which all the rest must be ineffectual.
In order to show the superiority of love over all other gifts, Paul used himself as example by saying that though he speaks with the tongues of men, meaning all the languages which are spoken by men, and of angels, meaning eloquence of speech, but doesn’t have love, or benevolence or good will, he has become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal – The sense is that of a sounding or resounding instrument, making a great noise and yet without vitality; a mere instrument; a base metal that merely makes a sound. This noisy, valueless, empty disposition without vitality would be the power of speaking all languages without love.
He also speaks of the gift of prophecy and understanding of all mysteries, and though he has all faith that could remove mountains, but have not love, he is nothing (v.2). By this, Paul is saying that without love, all the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit would be of no value, and cannot, by all this, secure his salvation. None of these things could be placed before God as a ground of acceptance in the Day of Judgment. Paul also speaks of liberality, such as distributing one’s property to the poor or needy, or going to the extent of laying down his life in the most painful manner for the sake of others, but have not love, all these have no profit to him (v. 3). In essence, love is more valuable and precious than all other spiritual endowment that Christians may pride themselves in. Nothing can take its place, nothing can be connected with salvation without it.
(2) CHARACTERISTICS OF GODLY LOVE (1 COR. 13:4-7)
Paul gave about fifteen characteristics of godly love (i) love suffers long – it has a long mind, to the then of which neither trials, adversities, persecutions, nor provocations, can reach. It suffers all the weakness, ignorance, errors, and infirmities of the children of God and all the malice and wickedness of the children of the world. All these, not merely for a time, but long, without end (v. 4) (ii) love is kind. It is tender and compassionate in itself (iii) Love does not envy, It is not grieved because another possesses a greater portion of earthly, intellectual, or spiritual blessings (iv) Love does not parade itself, meaning that it does not desire to be noticed or applauded, but wished that God may be all in all (v) Love does not puff up. It is not inflated with a sense of its own importance, for it knows it has nothing but what it has received, and that it deserves nothing that it has got. Every man, whose heart is full of the love of God is full of humility.
(vi) Love does not behave rudely. It never acts out of its place or character. It observes due decorum and good manners. It is never rude (vii) Love does not seek its own. It does not desire of its welfare alone, but thinks of others too. There is no Christian who is solicitous for his own happiness alone, and cares not how others fare so that himself alone be comfortable. (viii) Love is not easily provoked, is not irritated. It is not made sour or bitter by the evil action of others. (ix) Love thinks no evil. It never supposes that a good action may have a bad motive. It does not invent or devise any evil, it does not reason on any particular act or word so as to infer evil from it.
(x) Love does not rejoice in iniquity or falsehood, but in the contrary (xi), it rejoices in truth, i.e. everything that is opposite to falsehood. (xii) Love bears all things. It endures all things and situations. A person under the influence of this love never makes the sins, faults, or imperfections of any man the subject of conversation (xiii) Love believes all things. It is ever ready to believe the best of every person (xiv) Love hopes all things when there is no place left for believing good of a person, then love, comes in with its hope and begins immediately to make allowances and excuses as far as a good conscience can permit. (xv) Love endures all things, it bears up under all persecution and mal-treatments from open enemies and professed friends. Do you have love? How many of these features of love do you have and practise in your relationship with others? Think on this.
(3) THE UNFAILING NATURE OF LOVE (1 COR. 13:8-13)
Love never fails because it bears, believes, hopes and endures all things. It is the means of preserving all other gifts. If it is for prophecies, they will fail, a time is coming when tongues or its interpretation will cease, and our present knowledge of any thing is limited, for we only know in part in this present age. But love abides forever. Properly speaking, love includes all the spiritual gifts and they all receive their perfection from it. Love to God and man can never be dispensed with. It is essential to social and religious life. Without it, no communion can be kept up with God, nor can any man have a preparation for eternity without it. Love is not only necessary in this life, but will exist throughout eternity, unlike the spiritual gifts whose usefulness is only limited to this present world.
The apostle indicated the greatness of love over faith and hope in verse 13. Though it is by faith we apprehend spiritual blessings and walk with God and without it we cannot please God, it is by hope we view and expect eternal blessedness, yet love is great, useful and indispensable. Love is greater than faith and hope because it is the fulfilling of the law, but this is never said of faith and hope.
We have seen the superiority, the characteristics and the unfailing nature of love in this lesson, which make love an indispensable virtue that all believers must possess. We need to make every effort to ensure that our love for God and fellow human beings is characterized by all the features of love highlighted in this lesson.
(1) How is love superior to all spiritual gifts?
(2) Explain the terms “sounding brass” and “clanging cymbal”
(3) Mention at least ten characteristics of godly love.
(4) How is it that love cannot fail?
(5) Why is love greater than faith and hope?
LE PLUS GRAND DON
1CO. 13 : 1-13
Le thème de l’amour est tellement important que ce n’est pas Dieu seul qui en parle ; Jésus et les disciples en ont aussi parlé. Paul discourra sur l’importance de l’amour sur tous les dons spirituels en insistant sur l’utilité aussi bien que les limites de ces dons au monde présent. Il compara aussi l’amour à la foi et à l’espérance, deux grandes vertus que doit posséder un chrétien afin d’être capable d’accès à tout ce que Dieu a pour lui/elle sur cette planète terre mais conclut que l’amour est la plus grande de toutes ces vertus. Cela veut dire qu’une fois qu’un chrétien a de l’amour en plus de toutes les caractéristiques pieuses de l’amour en application, il ou elle peut être sûr/sure de mener une vie agréable à Dieu et à l’humanité.
Point essentiel : Maintenant donc ces trois choses demeurent: la foi, l’espérance, la charité; mais la plus grande de ces choses, c’est la charité.
Axe de prière : Seigneur, aide-moi à opérer mes dons et de faire toutes choses dans la charité.