All Roads Lead to Jesus - I Corinthians

1 Corinthians – Jesus is the Powerful Love of God
Reading: I Corinthians 13

Some 50 years ago the Beatles ever-enduring words rang out over the AM radio bandwidth and onto black and white TV’s everywhere, “All you need is love.” What a message the world needed to hear at the moment! Love could solve all of the world’s problems and all of our personal problems. If we would just put down our weapons and our thoughts of vengeance we could live in harmony.

Their message is both true and not true. It is true in this sense; true love is the greatest hope we have for rescue. It is the greatest of faith, hope, and love. The truest love the world has ever known manifested itself in Christ who laid down his life for those who hated him so that those who hated him could be saved from the things that were killing them. This kind of true love casts out all doubts and fear that might overcome us in the darkest moments of our lives. This love lasts where all other love ends. It is true that all we need is love when that love is the powerful love of God manifests in Christ.

The Beatles were not singing about this perfect love. They were singing about the imperfect love that we all share with one another as human beings. The way in which we love is stained with sin, selfishness, and records of wrong. We do our best, but we always fall short. In this sense, we need more than love. We need redemption.

The church in Corinth was planted right in the middle of hedonistic madness. Paul never seemed to plant churches where the work was easy. He planted strategically. He was always looking for a way to plant a church that would allow the Gospel to spread quickly. Corinth was one of those places. It was a hip city with loose sexual mores and a “be-anything-you-want-to-be” attitude. To be a Corinthian was to worship what or who you wanted. Eat what you want. Drink what you want. Believe what you want.

The church in Corinth was full of people who were taught to live like a Corinthian their entire life. So the entire letter to the Corinthians is full of instruction on how the powerful love of God changes us in our attitudes toward life, relationships, money, sex, food, the church, and to God Himself. The only love we were capable of before the powerful love of God in Christ was a defective love that ultimately hurt ourselves and others. Now, through Christ, we have experienced a new patient and selfless love that keeps no record of wrong rejoices in truth and bears the burdens of others.

The love God has for us in Christ is the reason why we love others and is the impetus for how we love others. The kind of love that it took to save us from our sin and misery is the same kind of love that we show others who would otherwise make us sinful and miserable.

In Corinth, everyone was looking out for themselves. This selfish me-first attitude reared its ugly head during worship. No one listened to anyone as they talked over one another. The Lord’s Supper was a complete mess as the rich people drank all of the wine and ate all of the bread so that the poor people at the back of the line missed out entirely on the Sacrament. People were getting drunk, sleeping with other church members that they weren’t married to, and continuing in the sin they had learned since birth.

In response, Paul tells the church in Corinth that they are acting like children who have not experienced the powerful love of God in Christ. He says, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now, we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

In the previous verses, Paul wrote his famous passage on love, “Love is patient and kind…love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” In a sense, Paul was saying, "All we need is love." The love we need is the truest love there ever was. And when we have this love we start to mature, we grow up and we look toward the prize that God has given us in Christ. The love we have now is only a dim reflection of what is to come.

We need the truest and purest love. This true love is what compelled our God to offer His Son as a sin offering so that we could offer ourselves as living sacrifices. Jesus is this powerful love of Christ that will never end. Jesus is this love that bears all things. Jesus is this love that is patient until the end and kind to those who were otherwise unkind.

This love transformed selfish hedonists into self-sacrificing and joyful people who pursued Jesus.

When Paul described the true definition of love he was fixing the eyes of the Corinthians on Jesus. Jesus’ powerful love is our only true hope for true change in our lives and in this world.

No Comments