Love is Not…Part 2

Sermon Summary

This message continues an examination of what Paul says love is not. Because it is sometimes difficult to say exactly what love is, it is helpful to indicate what love is not. In this study we find that love is not rude, is not self-seeking and is not easily angered. We will explore why love is not these things and some steps we can take to avoid these kinds of behaviors which are not consistent with genuine love.

Community Group Discussion Guide
1. The last two weeks we've discussed what love is not. Just for starters, what are some things that come to your mind when you think of what love is not?

2. Rudeness seems to contradict love in every way. When I experience rudeness I truly feel sad for the rude person because I would hate to live with that kind of discontent. Maybe a rude person acts the way they do because they've not experienced the kindness of Genuine love. Discuss this thought, and then how we might show them a new way through our response to their rudeness.

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

3. Why is it so hard for a person who is always looking out for themselves to act lovingly towards others? Discuss the steps found in Philippians 2:3-4 which will insulate a person from a self-seeking attitude?

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

4. Have you ever known someone who is easily angered and even when it's an insignificant issue? Discuss why genuine love is slow to become angry. The following verses reflect God's great example in this regard...

Psalm 103:8-14 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

Love is Not…Part 2

"I know the night won't last, Your word will come to pass. My heart will sing Your praise again, Jesus You're still enough."
Love is Patient. God has been patient with you, are you willing to be patient with God? He's not going to fail you, but you've got to hold on to His hand, and listen to His Spirit's guidance. This is especially true when it comes to the topic of love. This morning we will explore in more detail what love is by discussing what love is not. Let's pray and ask God to teach us and to let us know He won't fail us!!
Prayer.

Let's jump right into our text for today. 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.

Well, there you have it, another list of what love is not. As I said last week, sometimes it's easier to explain what love is not than what it is. But when we explain what love is not we are really explaining what love is. Last week we discovered that love is not envious, boastful or prideful! Paul goes on to say love is not...

Love is Not…Rude!

Let's look at the definition of the word rude.

rude ro͞od/ adjective
1. offensively impolite or ill-mannered.

Offensively impolite or ill-mannered! Folks this is definitely what love is not!! I've known married couples who thought it was cute to be offensively impolite or ill-mannered in a joking way with their spouse when around other folks. The cut downs, put downs, criticisms, digs, barbs, and the like may evoke laughter from those standing around, but it will do no good for your relationship. People will justify these kind of behaviors and say, but that's just us. But I want to tell you that love is not rude. In fact I love looking at the way different translations have put this. Here's a few...

"Love does not behave itself unseemly." KJV
"Love does not act improperly." HCSB
"Love does not act unbecomingly." NASB
"Love is not ill-mannered." GNT
"Love does not dishonor others." NIV 2011

So we could say the opposite of rude is courteous, polite, well-mannered, and honorable. So genuine love, Agape (God-like love), is not rude, but courteous, polite, well-mannered, and it honors those it loves. A husband should speak words of honor when speaking of his wife and the same should be true of a wife when speaking of her husband. You might say, "but they're not living in such a way that I can honestly say those kinds of things." To which I would say, "Okay, then don't say anything at all! Pray for them and encourage them to become the man or woman of God they need to become." Let me share this with you.

You would be surprised by the results if you encouraged the positive things, however small, you saw in a person! They might appreciate your affirmation so much they would begin to do better in other areas because the desire for your approval would exceed any personal gains to the contrary!

Henry Drummond, in his small, but very beautiful book, titled, "The Greatest Thing In The World," put it this way...

"Courtesy is said to be love in little things. And the one secret of politeness is to love. Love cannot behave itself unseemly. You can put the most untutored person into the highest society, and if they have a reservoir of love in their heart, they will not behave themselves unseemly."

Maybe one of the best things we could do is pray what the Psalmist prayed...

Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

And if you want to know what would be pleasing to God in this regard we would do well to heed the advice of Paul in two different passages, which you will hear again in this series...

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

And this passage, which we've already seen in this series of messages because it's so vital to genuine love, and you will see it again next week…

Galatians 5:22-23 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.

Dr. Jeff Nave, one of the professors of counseling at The New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and who is Chaplain to our police officers, and who we are privileged to have as a member of our staff, you'll hear from him at our Blue Service, he uses all the force of his PHD, and theological prowess to say…get ready this is deep...

"Just be nice!"

Seriously, that's a powerful statement. Just be nice! Now I know some of you guys just got the elbow jab. Ladies, just be nice!
This leads us to the second point of our message today...

Love is Not…Self-seeking!

Let's look at the definition of self-seeking...

Self-seeking - noun
1. the seeking of one's own interest or selfish ends.
 
Self-seeking - adjective
2. given to or characterized by self-seeking; selfish.

I don't want people to ever have to use that adjective when describing me. How about you? Why? I don't want to motivated by selfishness. Because love is not self-seeking! In fact there are also several ways to translate this part of the verse as well.

It does not insist on its own way! ESV
It is not self-serving! NET
Love isn't selfish. CEV
It does not look out for its own interests. NIRV

The problem is this: Self-seeking is what many times motivates the world. Not in every situation, mind you! There are people in the world who are not Christian, yet live more like Christ than some Christians I've met. But, it has been my experience, that without the help of The Holy Spirit of Jesus, people tend to be quite self-serving.

So if love is not self-seeking, we need to find out what the opposite of self-seeking is. I'm thinking the opposite of self-seeking is simply unselfishness! And what would be a good definition of unselfishness?

un·sel·fish ənˈselfiSH/
adjective: unselfish
willing to put the needs or wishes of others before one's own.

And how in the world do we do this? God's Word gives us a step by step way to do this in Philippians 2:3-4...

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Step 1
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit!

And why do we do nothing out of self his ambition or vain conceit? Because...

Love is Patient
Love is Kind
Love is not Envious
Love is not Boastful
Love is not Prideful
Love is not Rude

Step 2
In humility consider others better than yourselves!

Once again I would like to quote Henry Drummond in his classic little book published in 1870...

"Humility--to put a seal upon your lips and forget what you have done. After you have been kind, after love has stolen forth into the world and done it's beautiful work, go back into the shade again and say nothing about it. Love hides from even itself. Love waives even self-satisfaction. 'Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.'"

Step 3
Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others!

Did you notice, Paul didn't say we never look to our own interest, but not only to our own interest. Two reasons for this. To look only to our own interest and not the interest of others would be totally self-serving and selfish. However, to totally ignore ones own needs could render someone incapable of helping others. It's like the instructions you receive on an airplane. First put your oxygen mask on. Then you will be capable of helping the person next to you. That's why the Scripture says we are love others as we love ourselves. If you don't love yourself you will be incapable of loving others. And, as I said last week, I'm not talking about a prideful, I'm better than everyone else, kind of self love. I'm talking about a healthy, God-given respect for the fact that you are a special creation of God.  

I absolutely love the way God's Word puts this in Galatians 5:13-15...

Galatians 5:13-15 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

And this leads us to our final point for today...

Love is Not…Easily Angered!

Ok, I'm not going to ask you to raise your hands if you have an issue with being easily angered. Whew! Right?
Some of the things I'm going to tell you might surprise you, but I will explain. Once again we will explore the definition of anger...

an·ger ˈaNGɡər/noun
noun: anger; plural noun: angers 1. a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility.

Angered: fill (someone) with anger; provoke anger in.

Love is not easily angered, annoyed, displeased or hostile because...

Love is Patient
Love is Kind
Love is not Envious
Love is not Boastful
Love is not Prideful
Love is not Rude
Love is not Self-seeking

When a person is easily angered then there may be a problem with one or all of the above. The root of anger is usually selfish in nature. Especially if it is easily angered. Let me give you just a little bit of God's wisdom on this topic...

James 1:19-22 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

The opposite of a bad temper is a good temperament and the steps towards having a good temperament are found in those verses. Here they are...

Be quick to listen!
Be slow to speak!
Be slow to become angry!
Get rid of all moral filth and evil!
Humbly accept God's Word!
Do not merely listen, do what it says!

You might ask the question, "Does God practice what He preaches?" Yes He does. I don't know about you, but I'm amazed this old world is still standing. I'm amazed at God's patience! I'm amazed at His persistence to still reach out to a stubborn and rebellious people, and His patience with me! Wow! He is my example and my inspiration to be slow to anger. The Psalmist put it this way...

Psalm 103:8-14 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

And then this verse in 2 Peter...

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Love is slow to become angry, but that does' mean that love never gets angry. It does! You say, wait, love gets angry? Yes it does. When love sees someone it cares about deeply, being hurt it may cause what some have called righteous anger, or righteous indignation. It's an anger that is motivated by the desire to protect, to shield, to rescue, to help and deliver a person from harm. It is a righteousness that is angered by the things that anger God. Not self-righteous anger! Not anger that comes from our own selfish motivations, but an anger that is placed in us by God because He wants us to be motivated by love to help those who are being hurt by injustice, wickedness, self-destructive behavior, and the lies and deceptions of Satan.

It's not always possible to help the other person and that in itself can lead to anger. It's really hard when you see someone hurting themselves or being hurt by someone else, and you can't do anything about it. It maybe that they don't want the help, or it may be a distance thing, or a legal thing, or some other circumstance. But we can pray for them and be there for them when the door opens.
So let me put it this way…Love is not easily angered when someone hurts us, or irritates us, or doesn't do exactly what we want when and how we want! Love is able to overlook a personal offense because the relationship is way too important to give up over an infraction, or a past failure, even if it was a serious mistake. We're going to talk about that next week. I hope you will not miss.

Someone may be saying, but wait, don't just end there. Give me an assignment. Okay. You guys and gals are the best students ever! Asking for an assignment. Here we go…

Micah 6:8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Do that and you will be slow to be angry and when you do get angry, it won't be selfish in nature, it will be motivated by your desire to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God, because love is not rude, self-seeking, or easily angered.

Let's pray!