The Demands of Love

1 Corinthians: "Life Under Grace"   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1–5, ESV)
†CALL TO WORSHIP Psalm 66:1-2, 4
Pastor Austin Prince
Minister: Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give him glorious praise.
Congregation: All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you, we will sing praises to your name!
O Lord our God, who art worthy to be praised and to be had in reverence of all those who are before you; Grant unto us, as we come to you in worship, the gift of thy Holy Spirit, that being cleansed and sanctified we may serve you with gladness, and find our joy in worshipping thy glory.
“Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above”
based on I Tim. 1:15; I Pet. 2:24
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15, ESV)
Minister: Let us confess our sins to our Holy God:
Congregation: Eternal God, you do not change. You have revealed yourself to us in your word. You call us to worship in spirit and in truth. We confess that we often worship not your true self, but who we wish you to be. We often ask you to bless what we do, rather than seeking to do what you bless. We seek concessions when we should be seeking guidance. Forgive us, O God.
Forgive us for selfish and half-hearted worship; worship that tries to shape you into what we want, rather than shaping us into what you want us to be. You have drawn near. Help us to meet you here. Give us love and reverence for you, bowing before your unspeakable majesty, and living for you now and ever, in Christ. Amen.
Minister: This saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, that we might be dead to sin, and alive to all that is good.
By his wounds you have been healed.
You may be seated
Elder Craig Hoffer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
“Your Word Sheds Light Upon My Path”
SERMON 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 // The Demands of Love // Pastor Austin Prince
Almighty God, enter our hearts, and so fill us with your love, that, forsaking all evil desires, we may embrace you, our only good. Show unto us, for your mercies' sake, O Lord our God, what you are unto us. Say unto our souls, "I am your salvation." So speak that we may hear. Our hearts are before you; open our ears; let us hasten after your voice and take hold of you. Amen.
1 Corinthians 13:1–7 ESV
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Turn my heart toward your statures and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; renew my life according to your word.


Love demands sacrifice.
We will either demonstrate love to others by sacrificing ourselves (laying down our wants, our needs, our preferences, etc.), or we will sacrifice others (their wants, needs, and preferences) as we love ourselves.
Love is not just a sentiment with no call to action. The common cliche is right, love is a verb. It cannot be sealed up and unexpressed. It must fly from the heart into the hands and the feet and speech; in the raising of an appreciative eyebrow, or in not raising the furrowed eyebrow of frustration. It cannot survive inside without the oxygen of expression. I often hear the phrase “they know that I love them” in counseling, but very often that is an excuse from someone who won’t express love, or give sacrifice.
But just as love is not merely a sentiment but must be accompanied by action, so also love isn’t just any action. Many efforts can be made which still fall short of love, because love is not a performance, measured a success after a certain number of tasks and duties are completed. Thinking they have proved their love, it’s often that I hear people give a defense of all the things they do for others:
“I clean all day long”
“I keep this house running”
“I give regularly”
“I open my home in hospitality”
“I cook the meals”
“I balance the books”
Etc. Etc.
These things can certainly be a sacrifice. And maybe you’re right, maybe your heart is in the right place. But it’s also easy to be like the men whom Jesus said will cry, “lord, lord, did we not prophesy and cast out demons in your name?”
Love doesn’t even have a scoreboard.
But love always demands a sacrifice.
At least that is how Jesus defines love.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (1 John 3:16, ESV)
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12–13, ESV)
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:10–11, ESV)
Love demands sacrifice.
Now, we usually hear this chapter of scripture in the setting of a wedding or joyous recollections of love, and it should be, but this isn’t Paul rejoicing with the Corinthians in a celebration of their great love for each other. This is Paul having to interject himself and pull this church back to what mattered. This is Paul presiding over the Corinthians in divorce court. The congregation was divided. Some members were putting themselves before others, proud of their gifts, partial to those of high standing, and neglectful of others. Grace was low. Love was low. Instead of bearing with one another and sacrificing for others, they were closer to simply sacrificing each other.
If you remember the very first chapter of First Corinthians, Paul praised them because they were a church that God had richly blessed. He said that “in every way you were enriched in him” and “not lacking in any gifts” (1 Cor. 1:5-7). And as we saw over the past two weeks, they had used those gifts to create ‘the haves and the have nots’ in their church. They really did have wonderful gifts. And not doubt, many people could claim that they had done countless things with their gifts — they serve, they give, no one even notice, but they are always working… But they don’t have love.
And Paul says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1, ESV)
I may be eloquent and accurate, but if I don’t have love all of my efforts to bang on in the name of Christ come off as shrill and exasperating.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:2, ESV)
If I’m a great teacher who just seems to know everything, but it is in my head only and not in my hands — my knowledge is useless. More than useless; it’s damning.
The same goes for those who seem to have great and unmovable faith. They seem bold and courageous and filled with hope, but they don’t have love. They have noting.
And “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3, ESV)
I can be so committed that I’d give away all I had–even face persecution for the truth. I can homeschool or classical school, or read the right books. I can listen to the right teachers and have a stellar record of bible reading. I could adopt children and start an orphanage…But no matter how extreme my efforts or my resolve might be, I have wasted my time and my gifts and my life, gaining nothing without love.
So what does love look like? What kind of sacrifices are we talking about?
The Corinthians congregation was a mess. They were full of pride and infighting; creating hierarchies among the church, casting sidelong glances at those whom they were annoyed with, speaking passive-aggressively. They were volatile - a powder keg that didn’t take much to set them off.
So Paul reminds them of a more excellent way:

A Walk Through Love

Love is patient:
It is the sacrifice of time and inconvenience.
Having a long fuse
It bears with people who are slow. It holds when progress is slow.
Moses asks for God to show Him His glory in Mt. Sinai, and after hiding Moses in the cleft of a rock He passes by and says, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,” (Exodus 34:6, ESV)
Love is kind:
Kindness is proactive
Kindness seeks ways to serve and to give and to bless
It’s the sacrifice of being passive. Instead, kindness is considerate and generous.
There are some things that love does not do
Love does not envy:
We see what others have and can wish that it were taken from them: good marriages, dating, we’ve been trying to get pregnant and can’t but someone else did, new job, they got a raise and they are taking a vacation?!
But love rejoices with those who are blessed
Love doesn’t just wish them well through pursed lips; love rejoices in their blessings.
Love does not boast:
Love doesn’t talk about itself and its accomplishments all the time
It’s the sacrifice of pride. Love puts others first.
If love boasts, it boasts in others. We should praise those around us. We should praise our children and our spouses. We should esteem others without fear that we are reduced or minimized if we aren’t being celebrated.
Love isn’t arrogant:
Love doesn’t pretend that it knows everything. It doesn’t try to assert itself into every conversation and every situation says, “that’s nothing, this one time…”
You don’t have to be the expert on everything
Sometimes conversations with you may be hard because you are not humble. You never ask questions and people don’t like to talk to you.
Love isn’t rude:
Rudeness seeks to offend, often in little things: snide comments (“glad you could show up”), furrowed brows, remarks of criticism , passive-aggression, acting like you don’t care, talking too much, or not saying anything and not greeting anyone.
Love sacrifices the need to express your disapproval. Love is kind, drawing people in.
Love does not insist on its own way:
This is a good thesis to love: it serves through sacrifice. It dies to the self.
“There was a fool, some thought him mad; the more he gave, the more he had” - Bunyan
To love others as we love ourselves.
There are plenty of times in you life with others when you could say, “I wouldn’t do it this way”. But love insist on its preferences. You might not like the way other people parent, or spend their time; you may not like all the choices we make at this church - the songs, meals, events, etc. But love gives grace.
Love is not irritable:
Love isn’t easily annoyed.
You say, “Sometimes I just get frustrated” — You got frustrated? Like it just jumps out and gets you? — maybe it’s just your heart?
Maybe your kids are slow to approach you, or your spouse has drawn away from you because you are volatile. People avoid you.
Love isn’t resentful:
Love doesn’t review sins.
Some of us seem like we hate our spouse
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing:
Love gets no pleasure from someone’s failings.
And love cannot look at sin with approval nor with passivity (jump down to truth)
Love rejoices with the truth:
We have grown shy of the truth. But love rejoices in it.
We are nervous sometimes about the truth. But love rejoices in it.
Love doesn’t ignore a lie, nor cover for a lie, nor deal in lies. Love always tells the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things:
This isn’t saying that love accepts all abuse.
But love doesn’t give up. It holds out hope. It is optimistic, even when it is carrying a lot. Sometimes it’s the only fresh water on dry ground, giving life when all looks lost and dead.
Love isn’t cynical, projecting that faith is gone.


This isn’t a sermon about love that is meant to make you feel guilty. But as we stand back to look at what love demands, we see that we are not like this. To be able to act this way, to lay down our lives in these ways is impossible. That’s why it’s a miracle–the work of The Spirit in us. Because this description of love may not be recognizable in our homes, or in our speech, or in our actions, but it is recognizable in Jesus. Jesus is patient and kind, Jesus does not envy or boast; Jesus is not arrogant or rude. Jesus does not insist on His own way; He is not irritable or resentful. Jesus does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Jesus is the more excellent way.
But we may say, “you just don’t know how hard it is for me. The people in my life are so difficult to love.” May we be reminded that we love because we were first loved by God. That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8).
Even more than sinners–enemies.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:10–11, ESV)
And as those who are to be known by their love, we must abide with Him and He in us. Love is a fruit of Christ’s Spirit in us. We are toast in our homes and in our marriages and in our parenting and in this church and in this task of evangelism if we have not love. But, brothers and sisters, we do have Love (Jesus), with us and guiding us into a more excellent way.
We rejoice in His sacrifice of love. We rejoice that He is with us to help us. We rejoice that He is changing us.
Since this is a new song, Cathy will play the melody one time through before we begin to sing.
“If I Speak a Foreign Tongue”
THE MINISTRY OF THE LORD’S SUPPER Minister: Lift up your hearts!
Congregation: We lift them up to the Lord.
Minister: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Congregation: It is right for us to give thanks and praise!
Declaration of God’s Promises and Words of Institution
Let us hear the story of how this sacrament began. On the night on which Jesus was betrayed, he sat at supper with his disciples. While they were eating, he took a piece of bread, and after giving thanks to God, he broke it and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take, eat. This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
A little while later, he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink of it, do this in remembrance of me.”
So now, following Jesus’ example and command, we take this bread and this cup, the ordinary things of the world, which Christ will use for extraordinary purposes.
CONFESSION OF FAITH Minister: Therefore, we proclaim our faith (confess our faith now together) as signed and sealed in this sacrament. This is what we believe about the work of God:
Congregation: We believe that God - who is merciful, yet perfectly just - sent his Son to assume the nature of man, in order to bear the punishment for the sins of his own, by his most bitter passion and death.
Minister: This is what we believe about the work of Jesus Christ:
Congregation: We believe that Jesus Christ presented himself in our name before his Father, to appease his wrath with full satisfaction, by offering himself on the cross and pouring out his precious blood for the cleansing of our sins, as the prophets had predicted.
Prayer for the Work of the Spirit
Minister: Lord, our God, send your Holy Spirit so that this bread and cup may be for us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. May we and all your saints be united with Christ and remain faithful in hope and love. Gather your whole church, O Lord, into the glory of your kingdom. We pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
Congregation is seated.
Minister: Hear the words of our savior: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Come then, for all is ready.
Congregation: We come not because we ought, but because we may, not because we are righteous, but because we are penitent, not because we are strong, but because we are weak, not because we are whole, but because we are broken.
Take, eat and drink, remember and believe.
“All Creatures of Our God and King”
Let all things their Creator bless,
and worship him in humbleness,
O praise him, alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, three in one,
O praise him, O praise him,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
May the grace of Christ, which daily renews us, and the love of God, which enables us to love all, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, which unites us in one body, make us eager to obey the will of God until we meet again through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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