Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Most Excellent Way

This past Sunday evening at Trinity Baptist Church in Burlington I spoke about the excellence of love from 1 Corinthians 13. Christian love is something that is produced our hearts by the Holy Spirit. It is a work of divine grace that we are responsible to cultivate and develop. Love is important for many reasons including making the gospel attractive to others. There are many in our day who attended Christian churches in the past but do so no longer because of bad experiences they have had with people in those churches. This is a shame and something we should work to remedy. Furthermore, in our zeal for truth and for a right understanding of the scriptures, we can sometimes be harsh and argumentative and forget that we are dealing with people who need to be treated with respect even though we may differ with them. Correct doctrine is very important but truth that is life-changing comes mediated through one who has been broken and put back together again by the grace and mercy of God.

Love is "the most excellent way" (1 Corinthians 12:31b). It is the one thing we must not be without for without it we are nothing and we gain nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Love is not sentimental mush, but it can be described in practical terms and it is most wonderfully illustrated in the Lord Jesus Christ himself (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). Love will last when other gifts have passed away. It is greater than the gifts of prophecy and tongues and knowledge. All of these are part of the present age and serve a purpose here and now, but when this age has run its course and eternity dawns and we see the Lord face to face, all that will remain is faith, hope and love -- but even then, in that eternal day -- the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:8-13). The truth spoken in love is powerful.

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