In 1 Corinthians 12-14 we have Paul’s summary of the importance of spiritual gifts and how they
are to be used in God’s local church. Paul then adds a parenthesis of sorts. He breaks up his
teaching to talk about something that (in his opinion) REALLY matters. In a sense, he says, “this is
really the most important thing in church life, the issue that will cause your ministry to stand or
fall”. I just wanted to take a minute to highlight what Paul says.
His focus turns to love. Without this you have NOTHING, Paul says. The truth is, in discussing our
church’s success we often talk about everything BUT this. We focus on things like gifting,
organization structure, worship styles, etc. If our church ever finds itself in a lull we look for every
reason, other than what Paul states here, to be the root issue.
But Paul sets us straight by making love the cornerstone of all things in a Christian’s walk and in
Church life (as did Jesus). So, my question to you is, “Do you love? And, is Grace Fellowship a loving
Most of the problems in church life occur because we love ourselves far too much. In 1 Corinthians
13 Paul characterizes what love is. He puts flesh on it for us. Please read this passage slowly and
Paul says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a
clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I
have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and
kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not
irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all
things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (ESV)
“Love is patient”
Are you patient with each other? Do you easily jump to judgment and conclusions? Do you give the
Spirit a chance to work in each other’s lives, for God to sanctify?
“Love is kind”
Is your life marked by kindness? Does your life display the love of God even when things aren’t
going your way? God’s loving-kindness was displayed this way to us, in that “while we hated him he
“Love does not envy or boast”
Is your life marked by jealousy? Beware; jealousy will tear a church apart. Do you boast? Are you
braggy? Do you feel a constant need to build yourself up?
“Love is not arrogant or rude”
Common acts of courtesy are important. Be polite. Be courteous of each other’s feelings. Don’t put
your nose in the air. Be humble. Don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought.
“Love does not insist on its own way”
Are you flexible? Is it your way or the highway? Do others have to do things your way or you take
your toys and go home? Community is difficult. Sometimes we have to be willing to bend,
oftentimes making suggestions with the understanding that others may not do what we want.
“Love is not irritable or resentful”
Are you irritable? Do those around you have to walk on eggshells? Are you too emotionally fragile
and too easily frustrated? Are you resentful? Is the list of folks you can hang out with getting
shorter and shorter?
“Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth”
Are you actually happy when others struggle? Or do you rejoice with the truth? Would you give
anything to see others walk with the Lord? Would you even give your own comfort to see this
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”
Be willing to stick with people through hard situations. Don’t walk away. Love demands it. Believe
the best about each other. Don’t be too quick to jump to negative assumptions. Don’t pick each
other apart. Instead, be optimistic that the Spirit will move and change lives. Hope the best. And
above all, persevere with each other. Whatever you do, don’t give up!
A lack of love in God’s church will tear it apart quicker than anything else. On this issue Grace
Fellowship will either stand or fall. As Jesus said, love is the culmination of all the law and the
prophets. God’s people can love because we have been loved. So, it is not ultimately about our
programs, our gifting, or our great marketing strategies. It is love that will make or break us. God
bless you as you earnestly contend for the faith.