Gospel for a Messy Church – Part 8 The thread that ties “Kingdom Wisdom” together I Corinthians 13:1-13 June 18th, 2017
I. The MOST EXCELLENT way… (12:31)
A. ὑπερβολή – Literally “HYPERBOLE”. (2 Cor. 4:7,17; Gal. 1:13)
B. ὁδός – The WAY. (Jn 14:6)
C. The way to live out KINGDOM WISDOM. (12:31-13:13)
The end of chapter 12 (verse 31) goes thematically with chapter 13, so we will use it as an introduction to what Paul is saying in this possibly “most famous” of all Scriptures. Chapter 13 is all about love. Paul is not moving away from the idea of Kingdom wisdom to a new topic… he is just letting us know that Kingdom Wisdom only comes through love. It’s the thread that ties it all together.
1. How do you see I Cor. 13 in light of the overall message that Paul is writing to this church in Corinth? What is the purpose of chapter 13?
2. What does it mean to live out the way of love? When is it difficult?
II. Love makes the KINGDOM go ROUND. (13:1-13)
A. The IMPORTANCE of LOVE. (v.1-3; I Jn. 4:8)
B. The DEFINING of LOVE. (v.4-7; I Jn. 3:16-18)
C. Where LOVE LEADS us. (v.8-13; Mt. 22:37-39)
Everyone’s talking about love. The Beatles said, “Love is all you need”. Tennyson said “Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.” And some people say, “Love makes the world go round.” Paul makes it clear that love is the central act of the Kingdom of God, and those who live by the Kingdom’s wisdom, live in love.
3. I Jn 4:8 says that if we don’t love, we don’t know God. What are the implications of that verse? Can unloving people claim to have a relationship with God?
4. What part of I Cor. 13 is most meaningful to you personally? Why is that?
5. When has loved been hard to define for you? What situations have you struggled to live out love in? What made it a challenge?
6. Why does say what he does in v.11 and 12? How does this relate to love?
III. LIVING the most excellent WAY… (v.8-13; Col. 3:14; I Cor. 16:14)
A. Love sees CLEARLY, yet STILL loves. (I Pet. 4:8)
B. Love SACRIFICES for the OTHER. (Rom 5:8; Jn 15:13)
C. Comes from BEYOND us, yet flows THROUGH us. (I Jn 4:16,19)
D. Love is SEED and the FRUIT of Kingdom Wisdom. (v.12-13; I Jn 3:16)
E. Love TRANSFORMS and FILLS us. (Eph. 3:16-19)
Paul is showing the Corinthians “the most excellent way” because learning to be loved by God and to love those around us is the most sure way to live out kingdom wisdom in a messy church. We talk about love all the time, but true love is powerful. It is seen in God’s love for humanity…and when seen…it transforms all who experience it.
7. How does love respond to evil that is done to it? What does that look like?
8. When has God taught you how to love someone? What was that process like?
9. What does it mean that love is both the seed and the fruit of Kingdom Wisdom?
10.Is love really the answer? Is knowing the love of God enough to “fill us to the measure with all the fullness of God”?