Love Is...

Sermon Summary

This message is the second in our series on love. It address two main components of love, patience and kindness. If a person claims to have love for someone but never displays the characteristics of patience and kindness, something is fundamentally flawed with their definition of love! This series of messages is actually a detailed study of Paul's definition of love as found in 1 Corinthians 13. This particular sermon has a beautiful illustration of love's patience and kindness via a video testimony of one of the couples in our church. You'll not want to miss this very inspiring video found in the video cast of this message.

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Okay, let's be honest. How many of you struggle with having patience? Is that lack of patience sometimes with someone you love? Why do you think patience is sometimes so difficult?

2. When I find it hard to be patient with someone I typically focus on their behaviors as the reason. However, the problem could be more on me than on them. That kinda hurts doesn't it? Explain why this is could be true with you as well.

Colossians 3:12-14 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

3. Pastor Larry gave two steps for improving our ability to be kind to others. Read them and their accompanying Scripture and discuss. 

Remember God's Kindness to You!

Titus 3:3-7 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Remember to Walk in the Power of His Holy Spirit!

Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

4. How did the video help you see a picture of Love is patient and kind?


Full Sermon Notes
Love Is...

"My sin was great, Your love was greater!" That pretty much sums it up! Thank You Lord!!! That is why we sing! That's why we have hope! That's why we gather here today to talk about what love is! Let's pray and seek God's wisdom today as we continue our series on the most important topic of love!
Prayer!

Last week we talked about love's motive. We talked about the fact that if we do all kinds of good things, but for the wrong reasons and not because of genuine love, then we have accomplished nothing, and we become nothing more than a noisy cymbal! I don't know about you, but I don't want that to be my legacy. We discovered last week that God's Word tells us "God is Love!" So when we ask the question, "what is love?" we know the first answer is "God is Love," or you could say "Love is...God!" And if we want to know what that looks like we can examine Paul's words to the Corinthians. We find our text for today in 1 Corinthians 13:4a.

The very first part of this verse tells us two very important clues as to what true love looks like, and because God is love, this will also help us to understand Him better! To put this verse in context we'll go ahead and start back at verse 1 of 1 Corinthians chapter 13...

I Corinthians 13:1-4a If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind...

Love is patient, love is kind. Seems simple enough and most of the time we just fly past those two words, but we miss out when we don't stop and meditate, ponder, contemplate, and dig deeper to understand what it means to say love is patient, love is kind. Let's talk about that!

Love is Patient

Why is patience so important to love? Why is it such an important ingredient to love? Well let's look at the definition of the word patient.

Patient: able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious

Okay, I'm just going to say this. How many marriages could be saved just by practicing the definition of this word? Many, if not most!
Let's read the definition of the word patience. It's almost the same, but a little different...

Patience: the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset!

Here's the reason love is patient: love's motivation is not self, it is focused outward towards the object of it's affection! Years ago there was an abstinence program aimed at helping young people understand the importance of waiting until marriage to be involved in sexual activity. It was called True Love Waits! In other words, true love, genuine love, the kind of love that can help make a relationship last a lifetime is willing to accept, tolerate, and respect delays because true love wants the best for the object of it's love! True love would never want to hurt the object of it's love due to a selfish motivation. True love is patient.

It's willing to postpone it's own desires because the desire for the good of the other person in the relationship is priority one!
So young ladies and young men, please listen to this. If someone is pressuring you to become involved in things you know should be reserved for marriage, after there has been the "till death do us part!" commitment, walk away. Their lack of patience shows their lack of true love for you because they are putting their own desires ahead of what is best for you. True loves doesn't do that. They may be really infatuated with you, and think you're super pretty or handsome, but that's not true love. Statistics show physical attraction can carry a relationship, at the most, two years and then it goes bad quick without true love!

I used to build flight cases for musicians. You know the fancy boxes trimmed with metal, fancy corners, like this one. Here's the way you build them. You cut a square piece of 1/4 inch plywood, and then you cut a square piece of the solid colored material, hard like counter top, to match. You put contact cement on both pieces and then when the glue is a bit tacky, you put the two pieces together. But you need to make sure you put them together exactly square, because the glue has become one with the wood and the counter top material and once the glue touches it reunites with itself and the two pieces become one. If you try to pull them apart you will break something! Let me tell you a little talked about secret.

God intended physical intimacy between a man and a woman to be the glue that cements those two people together as companions for life. The Scripture says the two become one flesh! Now you know why divorce is so painful. When two people God joined together for life are separated things get broken. And this is why many young people are hurt so bad when a relationship goes bad. Many times they've already applied the contact cement to the relationship without the commitment of marriage and so they go through the same pain adults go through when they divorce. I know I've spent a lot of time on this, but it's important, and our youth are worth the time!

Something else to remember about patience is this: Patience takes time! And here's something to think about: When you love someone you're willing to spend time on them, for them, and with them! In fact, speaking of young people and especially children, the way they spell love is...

T-I-M-E

The amount of quality time you spend with a child or a young person communicates very strongly how much you really love them. You see, if you say you love them, but rarely spend time with them, it sends a message loud and clear. And it's not just with young people. The same thing is true for adults. If you are married, what message does the way you spend your time send your spouse? The way you spend your time is like sending a text message in all caps. It either screams you love me so much or you don't really have time for me, so you don't really care for me! And it's not just about spending time with someone in the same room. And it's not just about spending a certain amount of time each week. It's about really being there! It's about taking time to be there when someone's struggling, or suffering. It's about taking time with someone when they're learning and need a teacher, or when they've fallen and need someone to pick them up and to help them put the pieces back together. It's about spending time with someone when they've really messed up and maybe even hurt you deeply, and they need to know someone loves them in spite of their weaknesses and failures! God's Word says...

Proverbs 19:11 A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Now you might be tempted to say, but why should I show love by being patient with someone who has wronged me and hurt me? Let me just say this, I'm not encouraging anyone to stay in a relationship where there is physical abuse, just never stop praying for them. What I am saying is this: We need to be patient to love people because God has been patient to love us. Listen to the Psalmist...

Psalm 86:15-16 But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant.

If God has been compassionate and gracious, and slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness to you, how can you not at least attempt to do the same thing for those around you? Raymond Bryan Brown, in the Broadman Commentary put it this way...

"Patience is gentle strength that has staying power. It is not insensitivity but sensitivity to others that bears with them in the midst of difficulty. Patience is not weakness but strength that emerges under stress. It is capacity to accept strain!"

When you truly love someone you are willing to bear the burden that comes with being patient to love them. Love is patient. But, let's face it. Our culture does not teach patience! We live in a world where instant gratification is a god! We are taught that we deserve everything right now! "Don't wait another day. Get what you want today!" Very few people save for anything, they borrow for everything so they can have it right now! But here's a truth you must know: When it comes to love, impatience can hurt you and others. If you get impatient, you can make poor relationship decisions, and if you are impatient with others it may make it very hard for the relationship to thrive! Paul some wisdom on this patience thing in Colossians 3:12...

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

There's that patience thing again. I want to give you one of the most powerful illustrations of how love is patient and how God blesses those who wait upon Him. I have been given permission to share the following details with you. We have a precious couple in our church that have become dear friends. I met them around thirteen years ago, right around the time they got married. I met George Tassin in the garden department at Lowe's where he works. We had a great conversation and I invited him to church. He told me his wife to be was from the Hammond area but they would be living over here and would be looking for a church home. The rest of that story is history! What does this have to do with patience? Be patient, I'm getting to that!

George and Carrie have been married almost 13 years. Congrats! George and Carrie wanted to have children but were unable. However, the desire to be parents never left their hearts. For 7 long years that desire remained unfulfilled. But George and Carrie remained patiently in love with each other and with God! Some, in their situation have just walked away from the marriage! But not these two. Listen to their story...

(You can view the video on our website via the video cast.)

I believe the following verse applies...

Isaiah 30:18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice.

Blessed are all who wait for him!

Anybody out there every get impatient with God? You don't have to raise your hand, but think about that. How many times have we said Lord, I need you to fix this, and I want it done right now! Oh, and please?"

Ok, our final point for the day! Love is patient, but it is also kind!

Love is Kind

If you claim to be patient, but you aren't kind, then your love is not the genuine love God desires you to have! In the same way, if you claim to love someone but have little or no patience with them, and if you say you love someone but you have no kindness in your heart towards them, something is fundamentally wrong with your definition of love. Genuine love is kind! There have been parents who've told their kids, "I don't have to be nice to you, or kind to you, I show you my love by providing you a roof over your head and food on your plate!" Folks, Agape love, remember, that's the Greek word for God-like love, Agape love tells us to be kind. I'm not saying that a parent should never be stern, or speak with conviction when they need to, but genuine love, Godly love, seeks to be kind whenever possible. And for heaven's sake, husbands and wives, a little kindness could go a long, long ways in making your marriage strong, vibrant, and beautiful! And a little bit of kindness could make all the difference in your work place. To tell you the truth, without patience and kindness, words of love are nothing more than a resounding gong, or a clanging symbol and if you don't have patience and kindness even your actions of so-called love become worthless! I'm not trying to be unkind here, but you've got to know the truth!
 
You might say, "But Pastor Larry, I'm just not a kind person. I tell it like it is! I don't sugar coat things. I'm brutally honest!" I would say that's not honesty, that's brutality! If you're not a kind person, then I would give you a few steps towards becoming a kinder person. And let me just say this, if you think kindness is weakness, you are so wrong. It's the strong man or woman who can show kindness even in the face of adversity! Okay, here's the steps to becoming a kind person!

Remember God's Kindness to You!

Titus 3:3-7 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.
We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

And speaking of The Holy Spirit...

Remember to Walk in the Power of His Holy Spirit!

Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

When you seek to live by the Spirit and to keep in step with the Spirit, you will understand that love is patient and love is kind!
Let's pray!