A Time to LoveIntro. 1. There is a time to love, Eccl. 3:8. 2. Love is the “more excellent way”, 1 Cor. 12:31; 13:1-13: a. The first and great command, Matt. 22:37-28. b. We must love each other for God to accept our love, 1 Jno. 4:20-21. c. Love is an essential part of obeying the truth, 1 Pet. 1:22. d. We must “put on love” to bind together the body of Christ, Col. 3:14. 3. 1 Cor. 13: Division and carnal thinking in Corinth grew out of a failure to understand love and to live in love toward each other, Eph. 5:2. I. THE MOTIVES OF LOVE, 1 Cor. 13:1-3. A. Love is Decision of the Will that must Motivate every Action of Our Life, 13:1-3; cf. Gal. 5:6. 1. Emotional attraction and pleasure is not agape. a. We do not know love through sinful actions, Jno. 3:16. b. Agape is seeking the highest good of another; “unconquerable benevolence, undefeatable goodwill.” 2. Using miraculous spiritual gifts without love gives it a shallow, hollow ring; it is nothing but a loud noise with no real essence. 3. The Corinthian problem: Using tongue-speaking without anyone who could understand and without an interpreter to give the meaning – USELESS! Not acting out of love. 4. Miraculous spiritual gifts were worthless without motive of love. B. We Must Stop Merely Saying We Love, We Must Start Showing We Love, 1 Jno. 3:16-18; Eph. 3:17-19. Sacrifice, service and spiritual growth are only beneficial when our deeds are driven by love for: God (Matt. 22:37-38; Jno. 14:15); neighbors (Matt. 22:39); brethren (Rom. 12:9-10); family (Eph. 6:1-4); enemies (Matt. 5:44). II. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF LOVE, 1 Cor. 13:4-7. A. Love is Active (verbs used to designate what love is like). -v. 4- 1. Longsuffering: long-tempered; does not hastily retaliate when wronged by another (a heart that is longsuffering, Col. 3:12). 2. Kind: Good, mellow (not caustic, bitter, Lk. 5:39), Eph. 4:32. 3. Does not envy: “heated hatred”, “the feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others” (Vine), 1 Pet. 2:1. (Bitter resentment toward others’ good) 4. Does not brag (parade itself): Arrogance of speech, to boast (self-display), wounding others, causing unrest, discord, 1 Ths. 4:11. 5. Is not puffed up: an inflated opinion of one’s own importance; love is not conceited and arrogant, Rom. 12:16. -v. 5- 6. Is not rude: Love doesn’t behave disgracefully, dishonorably or indecently; Mannerly and decent, cf. 2 Cor. 8:21. 7. Is not selfish (does not seek its own): Love looks out for things of others instead of itself, Phil. 2:4. 8. Is not provoked: Love is not irritated, it does not go around with a chip on its shoulder, cf. Eph. 4:31. 9. Thinks no evil: Love does not keep a running account of offenses with a view toward revenge; does not dwell on offenses against it, Eph. 4:32. -v. 6- 10. Does not rejoice in iniquity: Love cannot find pleasure in sin. Sin grieves love and tries to overcome it, cf. Eph. 5:11; 1 Pet. 4:8. 11. Rejoices in the truth: Absolute truth, gospel truth; Love takes joy in the truth of God, Eph. 4:15. -v. 7- 12. Bears all things: Love is able to bear whatever troubles come upon it, cf. Gal. 6:2. Protect, preserve 13. Believes all things: Not suspicious, believes the best of others, grants the benefit of the doubt in the absence of evidence. Contrast with 1 Tim. 6:4. (Does not mean love is gullible.) 14. Hopes all things: Love hopes for the best in others even when the evidence leads one to believe otherwise, cf. Phil. 1:15-18. 15. Endures all things: Steadfast endurance, the Christian who has love perseveres in whatever circumstances life brings, Jas. 1:12. III. THE PERMANENCE OF LOVE, 1 Cor. 13:8-13. -(Here is the superiority of love over the miraculous spiritual gifts.) A. Love Never Fails (ceases, rendered inactive), 13:8. 1. Transitory nature of m. gifts v. the permanency of love, 13:8-12. a. 13:8: Love never ceases – in contrast to the miraculous spiritual gifts which would (did) cease (12:8-10). b. 13:9-10: The manner in which God revealed Himself to man using spiritual gifts; Partial revelation v. complete revelation c. 13:11-12: Partial and complete knowledge illustrated with 1) childhood v. adulthood, and 2) mirror v. face to face. 2. Now abide faith, hope, love; Love is the foundation of all. Conclusion We must understand love and live in it or our Christianity is worthless!