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1 Corinthians 13

There are ingredients that are essential to baking. We need flour to make muffins. Sydney, my daughter, often has to remind me to include all of the other ingredients. My Gram forgot a few ingredients in her wacky cake! It was about 1/2″ thick but Grandpa always ate it without complaining.

As we read our scripture this morning, LOVE is the main ingredient. Paul put the divine dimension of God’s love into the picture when he established Christian love as the essential ingredient for human life! Paul, through his writings, knew the virtues of eloquence, prophecy, sacrifice, knowledge, and compassion, but he says that these have little significance unless they are endured with LOVE!

So where do we find love? Everywhere, but in order to truly feel it, we need to receive the gift of love from God. To give love, we need to be able to receive love! Love is a gift to be received from God…through a relationship with Jesus!

Imagine a love with no strings attached! No expectations. No conditions. What would that look like? We get a glimpse of this kind of love during the most painful and unjust nights in history-the night that Jesus was betrayed. When Jesus was facing imminent death, Peter denied ever having known him. “That guy over there? Nope! Never heard of Him!” Not once, not twice, but three times! If anyone had reason to hold a grudge, it was Jesus. He would have every right to be livid, disappointed, angry, and vengeful. And when Jesus was faced with the unthinkable betrayal, he did the unthinkable: He prayed for Peter, even when he was being betrayed.

Bertrand Arthur William Russell (1872-1970) was a British philosopher, logician, essayist, and social critic best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy,  He wrote ” the fact of the matter is, if we want a stable life, there is a very simple, old-fashioned way of attaining it…and I  am almost afraid to say it because many may smile or smirk but it is love-Christian love and compassion.”

A church with LOVE: is Christian Love, which we have here. I read a great quote about love a few months ago. The quote came from a sermon preached by Dr. Haddon Robinson. Toward the end of his sermon, Dr. Robinson said this: “Love is that thing which, if a church has it, it doesn’t really need much else, and if it doesn’t have it, whatever else it has doesn’t matter very much.”

Paul starts by telling us that love is essential to the life of a church. Secondly, in verses 4-6, he describes to us what love is and what it does. “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

So many people, when they come to the end of their lives, regret all the time and energy they spent on things that mean absolutely nothing to them on their deathbeds. Some people accumulate great possessions and money. Some people spend their lives trying to be a success in all that they do. Some people live for the good opinion of others. Their greatest desire is to impress others,  to be popular, and well liked. But in the end, Paul would say to us, none of that is going to last; it’s all going to pass away.

What will last? Only three things, says Paul-FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE-and the greatest of these is LOVE! Let us end on this thought. Unless we know God’s love, we cannot really know love in the human dimension. Unless we have accepted God’s love, we can’t accept love as a task to be done here on earth.(Hugs!) Love makes all the difference and understanding its power, through God, is life changing. This week, make the time to find out how powerful it can be!