This sermon explores the challenges that the gospel of Jesus Christ brought to the ancient city of Philippi when Paul shared it there 2,000 years ago. When the gospel enters a culture, it will challenge the spiritual, material, and political values of the people of that culture. Also, when the gospel pushes up against the values of the culture, the culture will push back!
We’ve just begun a new series from the book of Acts, chapters 16-17. I’m going to explore some of the effects and lessons to be learned when Christians are faithful in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with those around them. We’ll be studying the entry of the Gospel into the cities of Philippi, Thessaloniki, Berea, Athens, and Corinth. Hope you can join the tour!
Three Contrasts of Love in Worship
I. THE FIRST CONTRAST OF LOVE: Love and the Spiritual Gifts 8-10
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
A. Spiritual Gifts are only temporary 8
B. Spiritual Gifts are only partial 9
C. In eternity, there will be no need for prophecy or knowledge 10
Application: Love exceeds the greatest spiritual gifts in its completeness and its durability.
II. THE SECOND CONTRAST OF LOVE: Love and Spiritual Growth 11-12
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
A. Our child-like pre-occupation with the here and now must give way to mature communication and thought. 11
B. Spiritual Growth finds its completion not in continued intellectual growth, but in finally seeing the Lord Jesus face-to-face. 12
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
Application: Love is the end-point of Christian growth.
III. THE THIRD CONTRAST OF LOVE: Faith, Hope and Love 13
13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
A. Faith remains strong 13a
Faith = the deliberate placement of one’s TRUST and BELIEF in God and His Word,and not our mere perceptions and thoughts.
B. Hope remains strong 13b
Hope = The combination of confident expectation of a future event along with the desire for that event = Desire + Expectation = Hope
C. Love not only remains strong, but is the strongest currency of heaven. 13c
Love = The desire and effort that others would find blessing and shalom.
Application: While faith, hope, and love are the currency of heaven—love it the greatest of the three.
Big Idea: Only a church that loves can become a church that genuinely worships God. How can we learn to love like that?
Illustration: In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor—ACT as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.”
Love will NOT elbow in and act up…
Love will NEVER “look out for number one”
Love will NOT act touchy or thin-skinned…
Love will NOT open a running tab on other people’s sins and failures…
Love will NOT hide a grin when others fall flat or trip–but will openly rejoice when anybody does well…