1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (MSG) – If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love is the essential ingredient that makes things fruitful in this life of discipleship – in our prayers, our family relationships, our working, our making decisions, our pursuit of justice, our fighting, for the first step and the last, and all the other areas of discipleship we have covered. Without love we are nothing, we gain nothing. Let God’s love fill every part of our magnificent obsession lives together.
Let’s build our lives on Jesus’ love as we sing “Build My Life” by Housefires (Click here).
Let’s Pray: Lord Jesus, we build our lives- who we are before you and also how we interact with others – on your love. May we walk in this most excellent way in all we do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
John 13:34-35 – A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
“What would it take for unbelievers to say this again? What would it take for them to marvel at how deep our love is for one another? Nothing less than the sacrificial love of God on display again and again as we choose to die to ourselves and bury our age-old excuses for remaining in separate camps…and living anew as One…One Church…One Blood.” [John Perkins, One Blood, 171]
Loving one another is how we show ourselves to be Jesus’ disciples, that we are walking in his way. Jesus defines this love for us – “as I have loved you”. Hear Jesus’ command today afresh and put it into practice – ask Jesus who you can love today and how. May our love deepen for one another in our church.
Let’s worship to “No Longer I” by Matt Redman (Click here).
Let’s pray with John Perkins [One Blood, 171]:““Lord Jesus, teach us what it means to love like you love. Cause us to become uncomfortable with surface level friendships. Help us to yearn and hunger for deep fellowship that is real and can be seen and that will light the way for those who are in darkness… Lord, make us one.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Romans 5:5b – … God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
“‘Will you forgive me?’ And I could not…I could only hate him. And then I took…one of these boundless resources, Romans 5:5…and I said ‘Thank you, Jesus, that you have brought into my heart God’s love through the Holy Spirit who is given to me. And thank you, Father, that your love is stronger than my hatred and unforgiveness.’ That same moment I was free and I could say ‘brother, give me your hand’…And it was as if I felt God’s love stream through my arms. You never touch so, the ocean of God’s love, as that you forgive your enemies.” [Corrie ten Boom]
God’s love is stronger than our hurts, hatred and unforgiveness. We have ready access to that love because it has already been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit – poured out! Not just a measure, but in fullness. Is there hurt and unforgiveness in your heart towards someone? Take hold of Romans 5:5 today and allow God’s love to flow freely to heal and forgive.
Let’s continue to respond as we sing “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan (Click here).
Let’s Pray: Father, thank you for your strong love poured out into my heart. Help me to experience the fullness of it through forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
“Something about His being willing to die on the cross for me, in spite of my sin and my unworthiness…well, if you think about that long enough, it will change you. It will force you to get outside yourself and ask if you are willing to love others the same way.” [John Perkins, One Blood, Kindle 162]
The greatest injustice in this world is our rejection of God who created us out of love, and for life with him. His response to that injustice, to our sin against him, was to love us by dying on the cross and reconciling us to himself. His love has triumphed over our sin! Let’s think about that “long enough” today and be changed by his love for us. God has brought us into new life with him where we also get to love others in the same way, letting love triumph over sin and injustice.
Let’s rejoice in his love for us as we sing “My heart is overwhelmed” by Hillsong (Click here).
Let’s Pray: Lord Jesus, thank you that your love has triumphed over my rejection and sin and unworthiness, making me your very own. Help me to behold your love at the cross today until I am changed, willing to love others in the same way you have loved me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 Corinthians 13:13 – And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
“[Love] is the way of the new age that has been ushered in with the appearance of the Messiah…Love is the way of existence in the heavenlies. As this breaks into the present in Christ, his people, filled with the Spirit of Christ, are to take on this way of existence and develop a life where love guides their approach to all things. Of course this will immediately be seen in how they live and speak and think.” [Paul D. Gardner, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, 1 Corinthians, Kindle 17,500]
“Love is that quality which distinctively stamps the life of heaven, where regard and respect for the other dominates the character of life with God…” [Anthony C. Thiselton, NIGTC, First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1035].
Paul makes clear in 1 Cor 13 what is of supreme importance in this life – love. It is the way of heaven that we get to live in here and now!
In thankfulness, let’s sing “To My Knees” by Hillsong (Click here).
Let’s Pray: Jesus, thank you for this life of love you have given us and are teaching us to live. Help us to speak, walk, and think more fluently in it, walking increasingly in your kingdom ways here and now. In Jesus’ name, Amen.