Conclusion: The Greatest Of These

You're reading JESUS: LESSONS IN LOVE, by Eric Elder, featuring thirty inspiring devotionals based on the greatest "lover" of all time, Jesus Christ. Also available in paperback and eBook formats in our bookstore for a donation of any size!

You’re reading JESUS: LESSONS IN LOVE, by Eric Elder, featuring thirty inspiring devotionals based on the greatest “lover” of all time, Jesus Christ. Also available in paperback and eBook formats in our bookstore for a donation of any size!

Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 

Today we’ve come to the end of our study of the book of Matthew.  I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to love God, love others, and love ourselves more by seeing how Jesus did each of those things.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned about love from the life of Jesus, one from each of Matthew’s 28 chapters:

1) Those who have been forgiven much love much 

2) Love starts by seeing others as God sees them 

3) Love continues by seeing how much God loves people even before they were born 

4) Love sometimes requires that we call people to repent from things that are destroying them 

5) We’re called to love everyone, even our enemies 

6) We’re called to make sure our motives are right, by sometimes doing loving acts in secret 

7) The Golden Rule is still golden: God wants us to do to others as we would have them do to us 

8) We can love others by praying for their healing 

9) We can love others by bringing them to Jesus 

10) We can let God’s perfect love drive out our fears 

11) We can love others by helping them through their doubts 

12) Love requires us to do right, even when threatened 

13) People sometimes respond better to our loving words when spoken in parables 

14) Love is balanced between prayer and action 

15) Love often requires persistence 

16) Love often requires dying to our own desires 

17) Love often requires asking for more faith to see the lives of our friends changed 

18) Love forgives 

19) Love gives 

20) Love serves 

21) Love follows through 

22) Our success in life is not determined by how long we live, but by how much we love 

23) Our love for God’s Word should be directly related to our love for God’s people 

24) When tempted to let our love grow cold, we must determine to love others more 

25) Love is prepared 

26) Love is lavish 

27) Love is sacrificial 

28) Love goes to the ends of the earth 

There’s a lot we can learn from reading the Bible.  There’s a lot we can learn from praying.  But in the end, all of our reading and praying won’t matter unless we express what we’ve learned in love.  Theology matters, but only to the extent that it influences our ability to love.

I love the way Oliver Thomas puts it:  “Authentic religion is not a theology test.  It’s a love test.”

If what we learn doesn’t influence what we do, all of our learning is in vain.

The Apostle Paul expressed it well when he wrote:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not 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 have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-4). 

Paul continues his passage on love by giving one of the most useful summaries of love found not only in the whole Bible, but perhaps in all the writings of the world.  He continues:

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, 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” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). 

Paul concludes his famous passage on love by expressing the greatest things God looks for in a person, the greatest measure of every one of our lives.  The same words that I’d like to conclude with as well:

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Prayer: Father, help me to keep love at the forefront of everything else I do in life.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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