Here are the talking points from Pastor Ed Allen's sermon on Sunday, November 5, 2017:
Today’s main Scripture: I Corinthians 12:31—13:13
Let’s meditate on love and on why it’s a big deal.
The Connection series started with a discussion about relationships. Relationships are critically important.
The next week we discussed the church. Family connections are important, but they aren’t enough. We need the church. Church is a network of relationships called together by God to follow Christ. It’s not a building.
Today’s scripture, First Corinthians, chapter 13, was written by the Apostle Paul, not about marriage as it is so commonly used today, but to address relationships within the church. Before this, in First Corinthians, chapter 12, Paul discusses spiritual gifts. He reminds us that our gifts aren’t meant to be divisive or competitive.
“I want to show you a more excellent way,” Paul writes in I Corinthians 13:1.
Love is the point. Without love, spiritual gifts are pointless.
Think about this analogy: Love is to connection as _________ is to __________.
Some thoughts? Love is to connection as sawdust is to particle board, or as my native language is to my verbal communication. Love is the way we rightly connect.
Why is this such a Big Deal? Because we are designed to connect through love. Paul says that without love, our spiritual experience is empty. The point of Jesus’ work in my life isn’t to make me more religious—it is to make me more loving. When religion gets in the way of loving, it is empty.
Without love, our attempts to be good—ethical—are pointless.
In our day, our political attitudes are like the Pharisees and Sadducees of Palestine. The Pharisees were critical of the governing powers and the Sadducees promoted tolerance to keep the peace. Then Jesus came in with a radical command: Love is the answer.
The most profound insight from the teaching of Jesus is this: God approaches the world in love.
John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Pastor Tim Keller once told a story about author Dorothy Sayers, a renowned English crime writer. Her main character, amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey, is unhappy and broken. About halfway through her series of detective novels, Sayers introduces a new character, a woman, who falls in love with Lord Peter and heals his broken spirit. This new character is eerily like Sayers. In essence, the author wrote herself into her own series to heal and save her main character!
God writes Himself into our story through Christ to heal and save us because He loves us.
Love is a big, stinkin’ deal.