Pray We and Our Children Will Love as Jesus Called Us to Love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes on Sunday, August 19, 2018 for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH
Corrie Ten Boom in the book, Reflections of god’s Glory (page 69), wrote, “In Africa a man came to a meeting with bandaged hands. I asked him how he had been injured. He said, “My neighbor’s straw roof was on fire; I helped him to put it out and that’s how my hands were burned.
“Later I heard the whole story. The neighbor hated him and had set his roof on fire while his wife and children were asleep in the hut. They were in great danger. Fortunately, he was able to put out the fire in his house on time. But sparks flew over to the roof of the man who had set the house on fire and his house started to burn. There was no hate in the heart of this Christian; there was love for his enemy and he did everything he could to put out the fire in his neighbor’s house. That is how his own hands were burned.”
Today, I want to talk about prayer and love. I want to challenge you to pray that we love in a 1 Corinthians 13 way. Over the past few years I have been convicted to add 1 Corinthians 13 to my prayer list. Do you have a prayer list? Do you have a Scripture prayer list?
My theme today is:
Pray We and Our Children Will Love as Jesus Called Us to Love
We could use many different passages to talk about loving as Jesus called us to love. In fact, I have been convicted to pray different passages. I have been convicted to pray that myself and my descendants love God and love our neighbor and that we recognize even our enemy is our neighbor from Luke 10:25-37.
However, today I wish to talk about 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Let’s read that passage:
1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
- The Scripture passage begins “Love is…”
- Paul begins to write about love.
- In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul wrote about Spiritual gifts. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul wrote about the Theology of Spiritual Gifts. In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul writes about the motivation behind Spiritual Gifts and then in 1 Corinthians 14 Paul wrote about the use of Spiritual Gifts.
- We use this passage at weddings and there is nothing wrong with that. But this passage was written to a church dealing with divisions. In 1 Corinthians 1:10 we see Paul’s thesis for the letter to Corinth: Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.
- The church at Corinth had great divisions. So, to site a few examples, they were divided by knowledge(1 Corinthians 1:27-31). They were divided over food sacrificed to idols(1 Corinthians chapters 8-10). They were divided over communion and worship(1 Corinthians chapter 11). They were even divided over spiritual gifts(1 Corinthians chapters 12-14). So, here in chapter 13 Paul writes about love. Paul could have put this love section after chapter 7 when he had written about marriage, but he chose to write about love here dealing with the church and spiritual gifts.
- If we want to pray that our descendants love as Jesus calls us to love, we must pray this passage.
- This passage uses the Greek word Agape to define love. Agape is a self-sacrificing type of love.They had 4 different words to describe love in Greek. Some times we make a big deal of them, but I had one Bible Scholar say that by the first century it is likely they all meant the same thing to most people.
- Sometimes we may think we just want our children to love everyone. That is true, but do not forget, we must first love God and desire and pray that our children love God. There are a lot of people who are very loving to everyone, but NOT loving to God. In fact, they love to the point of condoning sin and that is disrespecting to God.
- We must be tolerant and love self-sacrificing, but that does not mean we condone sinful behaviors.
- So, let’s more about love.
What is love, from a kid’s point of view?
“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.”
“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
“Love is when someone hurts you, and you get so mad, but you don’t yell at them because you know it would hurt their feelings.”
“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is okay.”
“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.”
“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.”
“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.”
“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.”
“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”
- How does God define love in this passage?
- Love is Patient:
- Notice that these are examples of Christ’s character.
- Patient means long suffering…or love suffers long.
- Think about this for a second, what does it mean to be patient? Now, most of us can easily think of what it means when we are not patient, right? Or, actually, I could easily say that I know what it looks like when I am not patient. When I am not patient I end up irritated and agitated, I end up yelling at those around me. I end up thinking bad thoughts.
- Those are all descriptive of not being patient, right?
- Love is patient. Do you ever try to solve arguments without patients? It doesn’t work too well, does it? No and it will not.
- Love is Kind: The Bible says that “Love is Kind.”
- The Scriptures say in Phil. 2:3-4: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
- This has the idea of helping or assisting.
- We must pray that our descendants live out this passage, being kind.
- This means we must pray that we live this passage.
- Love does not jealous. This carries the idea of being envious. This has the idea of being zealous over someone in a bad sense.
- I do not need to park here. This is straight forward right. We probably all battle this, but where can we get if we are all always thinking about what someone else has, right?
- Don’t compare what you know about yourself, which is everything, with the little bit that you know about someone else.
- Now apply this, write down one way you have been envious.
- Love does not brag.
- What good is it to brag?
- What good comes out of this?
- Love is not arrogant: and this goes along with the previous. Proverbs 16:16:
Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.
- Love does not act unbecomingly.
- This has been defined as follows: To behave in an ugly, indecent, unseemly or unbecoming manner. 
- Love does not seek its own.
- Love is not provoked: There may be days, right? But, anger would be passed down to the children, and we do not want that, do we?
Jay Kesler, president of Taylor University, told about a state trooper who was awarded an “Outstanding Trooper” award.
Kesler, who attended the same church as the trooper, said to him, “The governor said that in 15 years as a trooper, you haven’t once roughed up a drunk or used excessive force on anyone. How can you be a state trooper for 15 years, dealing with the kind of stuff you deal with, and have that happen?”
“Well, I guess two things,” the trooper responded. “First, if I am called to break up a fight at a tavern, I never say to myself, There’s a drunk. I always say to myself, There’s a man—someone’s husband, someone’s son, someone’s neighbor—who got drunk. So I always try to think of him as a man, not a crime.
“Secondly, the Bible says that a soft answer turns away wrath. So whenever I walk up to the window of an automobile, I always speak a little lower than the person I’m speaking to.”
- Love does not take into account a wrong suffered:
- What good is this?
- What good does this do?
- Whatdoes this model?
- Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth…:
Apologist, author, and speaker Josh McDowell writes:
Tolerance says, “You must approve of what I do.” Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will love you, even when your behavior offends me.”
Tolerance says, “You must agree with me.” Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will tell you the truth, because I am convinced ‘the truth will set you free.'”
Tolerance says, “You must allow me to have my way.” Love responds, “I must do something harder: I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk.”
Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks. Tolerance glorifies division; love seeks unity. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything.
- Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I find this to be a great breakdown for these few verses.
- Love never fails…Verse 8 says (literally) that love never falls to the ground which means that it is never defeated or that it never falls. (Witherington 270)
We want our children and grandchildren to live out the Scriptures, right?
Then we must make sure we are praying the Scriptures for them.
Every time you read the Bible, pause at passage like this and many others and pray them.
Author Ken Sande gives an example of how loving actions can communicate forgiveness:
Loving actions can do much more than change your feelings; they can also communicate in unmistakable terms the reality of your forgiveness and your commitment to reconciliation.
Thomas Edison apparently understood this principle. When he and his staff were developing the incandescent light bulb, it took hundreds of hours to manufacture a single bulb. One day, after finishing a bulb, he handed it to a young errand boy and asked him to take it upstairs to the testing room. As the boy turned and started up the stairs, he stumbled and fell, and the bulb shattered on the steps. Instead of rebuking the boy, Edison reassured him and then turned to his staff and told them to start working on another bulb. When it was completed several days later, Edison demonstrated the reality of his forgiveness in the most powerful way possible. He walked over to the same boy, handed him the bulb, and said, “Please take this up to the testing room.” Imagine how that boy must have felt. He knew that he didn’t deserve to be trusted with this responsibility again. Yet, here it was, being offered to him again as though nothing had ever happened. Nothing could have restored this boy to the team more clearly, more quickly, or more fully.
Do you know Jesus? Luke 9:23
God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)
Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)
Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)
Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)
Dr. Michael Rydelnik, Open Line radio show. I am not sure when I heard this.
What Is Love—From a Kid’s Point of View, LightSinger, (accessed 3-14-02); submitted by Jerry De Luca, Montreal West, Quebec
Jay Kesler, from message “Families That Succeed,” delivered on Focus on the Family Ministries; submitted by Van Morris
Brett Kays, Brownstown, Michigan; source: Josh McDowell, Focus on the Family Magazine (August 1999)
Ken Sande, The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide To Resolving Personal Conflict (Baker Books, 1997); submitted by: Van Morris, Mt Washington, Kentucky