The Perfect Love -2 | 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Perfect love! We started a message on the subject the perfect love and in fact that love is greatest thing in the world.

before we get into that,

Joke

I heard the story of a preacher, who was probably greeting people at the door after worship one Sunday. As one of them left, he shook the minister’s hand, and said, ‘Thanks for the message. I would have to say that you are smarter than Einstein.” Beaming with pride the minister said, “Why, thank you, brother!” As the week went by, the minister began to think about the man’s compliment. The more he thought, the more he became baffled as to why anyone would deem him smarter than Einstein.

The next Sunday, he asked the church member about the previous Sunday’s compliment. The minister asked: “Exactly what did you mean that I must be smarter than Einstein?” The man replied, “Well, brother, they say that Einstein was so smart that only ten people in the world could understand him, but you’re even smarter because no one can understand you!”

So, let’s get back to what we were continuing on, message on the perfect love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 

Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Peter 4:8 

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

When the Bible wants to define God, when God wants to define Himself: 

1 John 4:8

God is love. Love is the character of God. Paul said in Romans 13:10 Love is the fulfillment of the law.

We have already seen in this series the importance of the perfect love and then we moved on to the practice of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Certainly, there have been many definitions of love and many people who have written books, songs and poems about love throughout the ages. However, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 has the most complete description of the perfect love ever penned

And this is God’s own personal definition of a perfect love. It is the agape love, self-sacrificial love. It’s important that you put your life up against these principles and say, “This is me” or “This is not me.” That’s only important.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs; 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. We looked at the first three: Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not jealous. Let’s move on:

4.The perfect love does not boast.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love does not boast.

Boasting is baseless chatter that elevates oneself. This is a showoff person. This is the one who always has something to say and he is a know-all person. Love is not always shooting of its mouth about its own accomplishments or showing off ones accomplishments.

Joke

At a World Conference, the heads of all countries were boasting about their technical advancement. So they all decided that each country should show an engineering feat to the world. In a few days, the USA made a hollow tube of fiberglass, 1 mm in diameter. It was then sent to Russia. First, the Russians put a conducting wire in the tube. then it was sent to Japan. The Japanese, to prove their superiority, bored a hole through the wire. Finally, it was sent to India. but it came back without any apparent change. “Well, what have you done?” asked everybody. “Look here,” said the Indian, putting the wire under a microscope. Clearly visible were the words “Made in India.”

Joke

An Indian and an American were boasting about how large their country was. The American said, “If I board a bullet train in Texas in the morning even that night I would be in Texas. That is how large my state is, and then the Indian said, “We could do the same thing in India. If I board a train in Kerala in the morning, I would still be in Kerala in the midnight. Indian trains are as slow.”

1 Corinthians 13:4

It does not envy, it does not boast. Envy is wanting something that other people have and bragging is making people want what you have. Making other people jealous is a sin.

Illustration

Hence, you know how it works. Somebody is telling a marvelous story about some accomplishment and you’re listening and dying until they get done so you can say, “Well, if you think that’s something, let me tell you about what I did,” and off you go. And a third party chimes in and by then you’re very uninterested in the whole thing. But the idea of bragging is to make somebody else feel like you are superior to them. That comes naturally to people.

However, perfect love never brags. It never blows its own horn.

Proverbs 27:1-2

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.

You know, the Corinthian’s problem at this point was that they were a bunch of spiritual showoffs. and what was lacking is basically the perfect love.

1 Corinthians 14:26-30

 26What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God. 29Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 

What if this morning everybody who had the gift of teaching, all of a sudden started teaching? all just starts up, “I have a few points that I would like to make,” “Well, I have a point that I would like to make,” and then a few decides to sing a solo, four or five solos. And just then a unbeliever walks in and thinks, all are mad– and he would be right. 

1 Corinthians 14:33 

For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

1 Corinthians 14:40

But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way. 

Listen, when you and I open our mouths, it ought to be about Jesus Christ, rather being it about us. If anybody in this world had anything to brag about, Jesus fit the qualification, but He never did. so, f you study the gospel of John, in the book that presents His deity, yet many times Jesus backs away and almost disclaims anything. Listen to what He says. 

John 12:49 

For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.

So, how many of us can come to the end of one day and say, “God, I have not spoken of myself”? but only the perfect love can save us from boasting.

Joke

Once three guys were boasting about the amount of control they have over their wives after getting drunk. So, one of them said my wife never says no to me, and then the second one says my wife always says yes to me. After a while one of the first two turns to the third and says, “Well, what about you, what sort of control do you have over your wife?” then the third fellow says “I’ll tell you. For sure i was drunk just the other night, and my wife came to me on her hands and knees.” The first two guys were amazed. “What happened then” They asked?, He told them that she said, “get out from under the bed and fight like a man.”

James 4:16 

You boast and brag. All such boasting is evil.

5. Love is not proud.

1 Corinthians 13:4 

Love is not proud.

1 Corinthians 13:4

Love is not puffed up.

Illustration

Muhammad Ali, the great wrestler was known for his pride. Once he was on an airplane and he would often say, “I’m the greatest.” The air-hostess looked at him and saw he didn’t have his seat-belt fastened. She said to him, “Mr. Ali, you’ll have to fasten your seat-belt.” Ali responded, “Superman don’t need seat-belt.” The hostess then replied, “Superman don’t need airplane either.”

When Paul said to the Corinthians, “Love is not proud,” he was really telling them that they were proud in many ways, and one with perfect love would not do so.

They were Proud of their knowledge. 

1 Corinthians 4:18 

Some of you are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. 

The church at Corinth was founded by Paul on his 2nd missionary journey (Acts 18), but now they are telling that there is no need for Paul to come to us, we know everything. They says, We’ve had Paul, we’ve had Apollos, and we’ve had Cephas and all of these are teachers and what do we need? He has nothing new to tell us. We know all theology and we have all knowledge hence, Our knowledge is supreme.

Certainly they were puffed up about their knowledge and they were puffed up about their supposed spiritual state. and we see Paul telling them in 1 Corinthians 5 that it was he who taught them, and he sent Apollos to teach them and how proud they have become of their knowledge.

And it was clear contrast to perfect love.

1 Corinthians 4:6

Not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. Paul says, “You better take a biblical evaluation of yourself and stop being puffed up.” You feel you have achieved something.

1 Corinthians 4:7

For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? In fact you have nothing to boast about because you knowledge is a gift from God. You are still thinking something higher of yourself than you ought to think.

Paul is getting sarcastic here: 1 Corinthians 4:8

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have become kings- and that without us! How I wish that you really had become kings so that we might be kings with you!

Somebody said, “Empty vessels make the most noise.” Here they were bragging about their supposed spiritual state and the fact of the matter was they were in gross, gross carnality. which obviously is not a sign of the perfect love.

1 Corinthians 5:1

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. There is sexual sin among you and such as is not even named among the heathen that somebody has his father’s wife” – incest. And what’s your attitude? 

1 Corinthians 5:2 

And you are proud! Shouldn’t you have rather filled with grief? You’re even conceited about your sexual accomplishments.

1 Corinthians 8:1

We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

Basically, they were puffed up about their biblical knowledge. They were puffed up about their sexual accomplishments, were puffed up about their supposed spiritual status, They were puffed up about the certain teachers they followed, also they were proud the spiritual gifts they had, and they were using them to dominate and to lord it over other people.

While, the perfect love is not puffed up. You know why? Because pride says, “I’m better than you and I want everybody to know all about me,” and love says, “I wish I could know all about you.”

Illustration

As we know, William Carey was one of the greatest missionaries who ever lived, and who translated parts of the Bible into 34 different languages. however, William Carey began his life as a shoe repairman, a cobbler, fixing shoes. so, when he came to India as a missionary, he was immediately despised by everybody because India for centuries had been locked in a very stringent caste system where shoemakers (chamars) had absolutely no respect.

Then, once at a dinner party, a snob that was there and he had the idea of humiliating Carey. He said loudly, “I suppose, Mr. Carey, that you once worked as a shoemaker?” “Oh no, your lordship,” said William Carey, “not a shoemaker, only a shoe repairman.” He wouldn’t even claim that he made shoes if he only repaired them.

Proverbs tells us a lot about pride and bragging

All pride does is start fights. Humility has never started a fight yet. Humble people haven’t got anything to argue about. They give.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride brings him low

All pride does is start fights. Humility has never started a fight yet. Humble people haven’t got anything to argue about. They give.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride brings him low

The perfect Love is not big-headed rather, the Perfect love is big-hearted. John the Baptist comes along, similarly he’s been the hero, he’s been the great prophet, he’s been out in the wilderness, and the multitudes have been coming to him day after day, masses of people, and he stands up one day and he looks at Jesus Christ and he says: 

John 3:30 He must become greater; I must become less. The sooner you forget about John the Baptist, the better I’m going to like it.

Illustration

Once there was a great composer in Italy by the name of Moscanni. He was a very proud man. The story goes that he one time was asked to conduct with another more famous and more accomplished composer in Italy. He was to conduct a concert and he met with the organizers and he said, “I will do this one with proviso, you pay me more than the other conductor who was Toscanini. Pay me more than Toscanini,” and he signed the contract and they agreed to it.

Therefore, after the concert was over, they gave him one lira, Toscanini did it for nothing. What a commentary on the misery of a proud man? Nobody left to dedicate anything to him. How lonely is that world? So, if you want to isolate yourself, that’s the way to do it, just convince yourself that you’re better than everybody else, more important than everybody else, become a proud person.

6. The perfect love is not rude.

1 Corinthians 13:5 It is not rude.

The verb here means “to behave in an unbecoming manner.” Poor manners, rudeness. Poor manners and rudeness is saying this: “I will do what I want whether you like it or not.”

When I was a little kid, my mom used to say to me – all the time she used to say to me – “Eat from one side of the plate and don’t spill outside the plate. My parents taught me how to eat with hands, the right use of fingers in eating.” I used to think, “Well, who cares if I spill some food? or eat anyhow I want, or if my whole hand is full of food and I lick my fingers? As long as food gets in and I am healthy it is okay.”

However, as I grew up I remember eating with somebody who had all these negative qualities. And I realized that my eating habits had nothing to do with my health, it had something to do with how much other folks could enjoy their time at the table. Because see, it’s a little thing that says: “Look, your happiness matters to me so, I want to do what makes you happy.”

Illustration

Do you know once a married couple got a divorce on the basis of the fact that he was rude to his wife? thata’s the strangest thing you ever heard about. You know what? She went to court and claimed that – he burped all the time. You say, “That’s a joke.” It’s not a joke. And the judge said, in essence, the judge actually granted an annulment on the basis that it was apparent the man did not love the woman or he would have been more considerate of her than to burp all the time. Finally she actually got an annulment. Now, for some of you that are looking for a way out, there it is. Start burping.!!

What the idea is, does he have disciplined behavior?. This is a person, a man or a woman, who has no ability to discipline his behavior with others in mind. because he’s just rude and out of place and overbearing and totally self-centered. We are so rude in our behavior, in traffic, we cut each other’s talk. This is unbecoming of love. Not at all the perfect love we talking about.

The Corinthians

There couldn’t have been a better definition of the Corinthians. They were so rude, for example, they came to the love feast and ate all their food before the people who had none got there. They overindulged. Their behavior at the Lord’s Supper was so bad they kept drinking the cup. Women had overstepped the authority placed to them before God.

And everybody is shouting out, everybody’s talking, everybody’s trying to get the prominence and nobody is considering at all about the other. And when you do that, there’s no love there.The perfect love is never rude because love is always lost in how does it affects somebody else.

I just want to remind you of one incident how Jesus dealt with rudeness in His life and showed the perfect love instead. In Luke 7, Jesus protected a lady from rudeness.

Luke 7:36a

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him. A Pharisee named Simon asked Jesus to dinner at his house, and he had some other people there and so Jesus went

Luke 7:36b

So he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.

Luke 7:37-38 

37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabastar jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Here’s a prostitute, weeping and wiping Jesus’ feet and putting ointment on them.

Luke 7:39 

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet (He still does not know who Jesus is), he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is – that she is a sinner.” 

Luke 7:40 

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. Isn’t that interesting? He never even opened his mouth and Jesus knew his thoughts.

Luke 7:41-50  

41“Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 

45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Jesus shielded

So, what’s the story teaching? Here was a woman who entered a Pharisee’s home, and certainly the first response of that Pharisee would have been rude, arrogance, and scorn to that woman. “What are you doing in here, you filthy, sinning woman? Out!” And there, Jesus shielded the woman from scorn and the arrogance, rudeness, and the indifference of the Pharisee and instead Jesus loved the woman, forgave the woman, and Jesus redeemed the woman.

The perfect love is never rude. And it isn’t just a matter of whether you’re rude to a believer but love is never even rude to an unbeliever. I’ve seen some Christians who don’t smoke who were so rude to a non-Christian who did that they would never have had an opportunity to communicate something about Christ.

You know, one of the things I believe that Christianity very often has to pay the price for is just plain rudeness to unbelieving people. Mostly we are just often very rude and thoughtless to people. but in contrast the Perfect Love is not rude. And a good place to be is at home when you begin to practice this.

Illustration

Max Lucado tells the story of a time when he was flying. Apparently numerous flights had just been cancelled and Max came looking for a ticket. “Are there any seats left?” He asked. And the ticket agent just starred at the screen and sighed, “I’m afraid there are no more seats in coach. We are going to have to bump you up to first class, if you don’t mind.” So Max boarded the plane and nestled down in first class with the wide seats with the extra leg room. He was not only going home, he was going home in style! He leaned back in his chair, and closed his eyes, but then he heard a man loudly say, “Hey! Hey! Lady!”

So as Max opened his eyes, he saw a short man two rows in front of him in first class standing, he spoke rudely with an awful tone of voice. The man said, “How does a guy get an extra pillow around here? and what about my drink? Don’t you know my wife and I paid an extra to fly first-class.! therefore, I’m accustomed to better attention, I want some service!”

Max’s believe of not only heading home, but heading home in style.

Max writes, “It’s not like the flight attendants had nothing to do, to mind you. There was the simple matter of making sure the doors were closed and the overhead bins were shut so this already-hour-late flight could take off. You’d think a fellow could wait on his pillow and drink. Not this guy. After all, as we all knew, he had paid extra to fly first-class!” 

Max continued, “Which may explain the difference between his behavior and mine. I’m not always a good example, but that night I was a poster child for courtesy, for you wouldn’t hearing me grumble. And i wasn’t even complaining, No demands from the window seat in row four, but rather i was just happy to be on board. Mr. Got-to-Have-It-Now may have paid for his place, but not me. Mine was a free gift.” “And it wasn’t the first. God gave me one long before the airlines did. Talk about an upgrade! Not just coach to first class but, how about sinner to saint, or hell bent to heaven bound, confused to clarified, and guilty to justified? If anyone has been bumped up, I have. I’m not only heading home, but i’m heading home in style and I didn’t pay a cent. Nor have any of God’s children.”

Conclusion

Therefore, ask oneself, Am I walking in the perfect love? Am I boastful, proud, and arrogant?

well, Let’s commit ourselves to practice this agape love, the perfect love in our society and in our relationships. and as a result, imagine what this world that would be? and What a home that would be? where there is the perfect love in every word and every deed.

Let’s pray.