Well, the first double has come and gone, and I'm still processing, but deeply encouraged by the God-life, community-buy-in, creative color and people growth
that it brought with it. There are few things like a community responding to God's leading together in faith! It's always better together. In the words of the Beatles, 'we get by with a little help from our friends.'
Talking of friends, I've loved preparing the series with a little help from my friends. Some of those friends are here in the church with us and they're going to be co-teaching with me. Others are no longer alive. One of those 'friends' is John Calvin. His 1546 commentary has been incredibly helpful to me. Surprisingly readable. In those times any book needed a benefactor. Calvin’s was Lord Burgundy,and in his intro letter thanking his benefactor, he says,“I am so confident of the quality of my work that I want to warn you when you read it not to get carried away ion your affection for me!” I’m not as confident as Calvin but I’m pretty sure you’re going to find this series helpful,whether you are watching from afar, or up close in the community. (we now have sermon series up on vimeo!)
John Stott said that our culture blinds deafens and dopes us, and I think that is particularly true when it comes to the word Love. It's been corrupted and cheapened by our culture. We use the same word love for the way we feel about our dog, our iphone, our wife/husband, our God and our favorite taco stand.(sometimes in that order!) 1 Corinthinas 13 serves as a beautiful catalyst in helping us to re-imagine love. Love is patient, love is kind, it is not easily angered, it does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth...love never fails."
It's a stunning piece of poetry. It is virtually impossible to live up to though, because it describes the way that God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit love one another. Love is the language of the Tri-Une God. God has many attributes, but the whole essence of his character is distilled into 3 words:God is love.
This passage is like a lens through which we view God. His character comes into sharp focused definition. God is not only loving to Himself. He is loving to His creation. The most often quoted self – description of God is ‘The Lord, the Lord, the gracious and compassionate one , slow to anger and abounding in love.” The most powerful demonstration of his loving nature was to give his only Son. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved explained it simply and profoundly. “This is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and gave his only Son for us."
But the passage is not merely a description of God that we admire. It serves as a lens through which we view our lives as Christ followers.. “Follow the way of love” is how Paul lands the love passage. Make no mistake, Love is poetic and romantic and we want to celebrate that. But its far more than an emotion or a sentiment. I often hear people say, ‘I’m just not feeling it.” Biblical love is most truly tested when we’re not feeling it. The last time I checked, no father ever felt like giving His innocent, only son to die at the hands guilty men.
So, we're going to spend a bit of time looking at how Paul embodies this gutsy, practical love to the church in Corinth, and how with God's help, we can re-imagine, and follow through with the same love. After all, its convincing proof to a watching world.
"By this shall all men know that you're my disciples, that you love one another."