Love Is Not…Part1

Sermon Summary

This message is part of a series on Paul's 13th Chapter of 1 Corinthians. This chapter is known as the love chapter. So far we've discovered the motivation behind genuine love and that love is patient and kind. This message begins the look at what love is not. So why does Paul only say two things about what love is, patient and kind, and then go into a rant about what love is not? Maybe it's because it is so hard to describe what love is, but it is easy to describe what love is not! He's not finished with what love is, but he must tell his readers what love is not. And we cannot ignore this because what love is not helps us understand what love is! In this message we discover the reasons true love is not envious, boastful, or prideful.

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Why do you think it is sometimes easier to describe what something is not rather than what it is?

2. What are some of the reasons envy has such devastating side effects and is one of the main things love is not? It makes a person...?

Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

3. So if thinking someone else is better than you or has more than you causes you to become envious, how does the opposite extreme of thinking you're better than everyone else effect your ability to live a life of love? Paul said love is not boastful or proud, and the Psalmist said the following...

Psalm 10:4-7 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.”
His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.

4. The opposite of being boastful and prideful is humility. These two statements were made about what humility can do for us:

With humility we have the wisdom to set our pride aside and cry out for God!

With humility we have the wisdom to set our pride aside to give and receive love from others!

Discuss these two statements and why they are so important for living a life of love.

James 4:6-10 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Full Sermon Notes

Love is Not…Part 1

Introduction

"You're a good, good Father
It's who You are…
I'm loved by You
It's who I am…"

That's such a cool way of putting things! God is a good, good Father, who the Bible tells us is the very essence of love, and because we know He loves us that tells us who we are! Who are we? We are human beings loved by the God of love and that makes us pretty special. And I don't mean that in a bragging kind of way, or a prideful kind of way! When I say we're special, it's not because we're so good, it's because God is so good and for some reason He chooses to love us and that is really, really special. And when we accept that fact, it brings confidence into our lives! The confidence to live our lives knowing that if God loves us, God will also take care of us and guide us! He will show us how to love. He will show us what love is and what love is not and help us to live in love. Let's pray and ask God to continue to teach us the truth about love!

Prayer.

Okay, let's read our text again today. By the end of this series, maybe some of you will have memorized 1 Corinthians 13. Let's begin again with verse 1...

1 Corinthians 13:1-5 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. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

So why does Paul only say two things about what love is, patient and kind, and then go into a rant about what love is not? Maybe it's because it is so hard to describe what love is, but it is easy to describe what love is not! He's not finished with what love is, but he must tell his readers what love is not. And we cannot ignore this because what love is not helps us understand what love is!

Love is Not Envious

In order to understand what love is not, we must understand the meaning of the words that Paul says love is not!  So let's look at the meaning of the word envy.

      Envy: painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage

Love is not envious because of it's motivation! True love is motivated by the object of it's love! Because true love is motivated by the object of it's love, then true love wants what's best for that person! Instead of being hurt by another person's good fortune, we rejoice with them. Paul will say this in verse 6...

1 Corinthians 13:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

True love is motivated by what is good for the other person and so it doesn't do things with an eye to personal gain. It's not motivated by how it can get what the other person has, or has achieved! In other words, true love is excited when another person does good, when they get a promotion, when they succeed, when they win an award! If you struggle with envy, something is not right! In fact, God's Word has this to say in the book of Proverbs...

Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Why does it say that envy rots the bones? Our motivations in life effect our physical well being. When a person is envious, they are, as the definition stated, resentful and in emotional pain over the fact that someone else has a perceived advantage! This can destroy your physical and your emotional health. Envy has side effects like, disappointment, discouragement, dissatisfaction, and anger! But the writer of Proverbs said that envy rots the bones. Again, what does this mean. Well, I think it means that a person who is envious is filled with other, not so good things, and all of these things effect their spiritual and physical well being. Jesus listed envy in a list of things that make a person unclean on the inside and affect the way they act on the outside. These things are not love! Listen...

Mark 7:20-23 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’ ”

What do all of these things have in common? Selfishness! They are all the opposite of love. These are things that motivate a person to act in unloving ways towards another person, and are based on self being in control rather than God! These are things that destroy relationships and ultimately destroy life. James put it this way...

James 3:14-16 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

So I think it's clearly evident where envy originates and that it is never motivated by true love. Envy and selfish ambition causes us to be takers rather than givers. The opposite of envious is generous! God wants us to be givers not takers and the only way for that to happen is for us to get a new heart. The only way to be free from the evil of envy is to let God change the desires of your heart! Here's a good prayer for all of us...

Psalm 51:9-12 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Asking for forgiveness and a new heart, and submitting to the presence of The Holy Spirit will cause you to think twice before allowing envy to be a part of your life, because love is not envious!
Paul then gives us another "Love is not…"
He says...

Love is Not Boastful

So let's examine the definition of the word boastful...

boast·ful ˈbōs(t)fəl/
adjective: showing excessive pride and self-satisfaction in one's achievements, possessions, or abilities.

Excessive pride and self-satisfaction in one's own achievements, possessions, or abilities. How hard is it to have a good, solid relationship with someone who thinks they've gotten where they are without the help of anybody else? How hard is it to be around someone who is always bragging about all the stuff they've accumulated or how smart and talented they are? Why is love not boastful? Once again it has to do with motivation. Love is motivated by the object of its love, so it is not focused on self but on others! True love would rather brag on the object of their love! This is especially true of a follower of Christ! Why? Because we understand that we have no righteousness of our own and if it weren't for the willingness of Jesus to take our place and pay for our sin, we would be doomed, lost, without hope, destitute, and permanently broken! Paul put it this way to the Galatians...

Galatians 6:14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Paul had some great reasons to boast, but his love for God and the great mercy he had been shown in Jesus Christ caused Him to only boast in his weaknesses. You might think this sounds crazy, but it was because Paul knew he could not overcome his weaknesses without his dependence upon Jesus and The Holy Spirit, that he bragged only on Jesus and not himself. Listen...

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations,  
there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions,  
in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I know what I'm about to say is going to be hard for some of you to receive, but I'm going to say it anyway because we all need to understand this. We are so concerned with being comfortable and not suffering and many times that is the focus of our prayers…"Take this thorn away! Get me out of these tough situations, take away the struggle!"

But God is more concerned with our character than our comfort! He is more concerned that we learn to trust in Him, to love Him, and to rely on Him, than for us to have it easy! It's not that God wants us to be miserable, but He knows the path to true love, true peace and true contentment will not come until we learn to humble ourselves in utter dependence upon Him!

The only way for that to happen is when we understand that...

Love is Not Proud

Okay, let's look at the definition of the word pride...

pride prīd/
noun: pride
1. a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements

Now we know that not all pride is bad. There is a good kind of pride. Like being proud of your work so that you do a good job, or being proud of your kids or grandkids when they achieve or do something really special! That's okay and can be a result of love. But the pride that is not love, is the pride that thinks it needs no one else and falsely believes it got where it is on its own.

It's a selfish, arrogant pride that refuses to humble itself before God or anybody else. Just as the opposite of envious is generous, the opposite of pride is humility. So when Paul said love is not boastful or proud, he was in essence saying that love is humble. Why is humility such an important part of love? That's a good question and one that we will finish our message by exploring.  

The reason humility is such an important part of love is that:

Without humility pride will tell us we have no need for God!

Psalm 10:4-7 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies.
He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.”
His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.

So without humility we will not admit we need anything from God and we won't seek Him! The prideful person thinks they are so smart and they feel they'll do just fine without Him. They falsely believe everyone looks upon them with great admiration and honor but the truth is, in the world, it's dog eat dog, so they're only big stuff in their own eyes.

And if you want to know why love is not prideful, look again at what selfish pride is full of...

Psalm 10:7His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.

And head the warning and the wisdom of the writer of Proverbs…

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

So with pride comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. What kind of wisdom comes with humility?

With humility we have the wisdom to set our pride aside and cry out for God!

James 4:6-10 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Why in the world would James tell people to grieve, mourn and wail? Why would he say to change laughter to mourning and joy to gloom? The reason is this: He's talking to sinners, double-minded, envious, prideful, boastful, people whose wickedness had led them straight into the hands of Satan and his evil plans to destroy their lives by keeping them from the love of God, and the God of love! They needed to grieve the condition of their souls and their lives. They needed to mourn what sin had taken from them. It was no laughing matter! And their false sense of joy needed to become the gloom of conviction so they would be motivated to turn from the deception and false love of the world to the true love of God which flows from His mercy and forgiveness. And there's one other really big reason humility is so important to love...

With humility we have the wisdom to set our pride aside to give and receive love from others!

Never forget that Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God, but the second was to love your fellowman! John, wrote powerfully about this in 1 John. I hope at Northshore Church, we will never allow envy to take our eyes off Jesus, and that if we boast we will only boast about Jesus, and that we will give up our foolish pride and be humble enough to live the following words...

1 John 4:16-5:4 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment,
because in this world we are like him.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us.
If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.
For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.
This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Let's pray!!