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.