2021-2-14; The Meaning of Love: Love is Kind, 1 Cor 13:4

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People in our world are aching to be loved. They want to know they matter to someone else. They wonder if there is anyone out there who will sacrifice for them. Knowing this will help them to feel whole.
The problem is that there is a real shortage of people who are willing or able to love others they need to be loved. So many people are worried about themselves that they do not love others, so we have many love starved people around us.
What should we do about this as Christians? What does God want us to do about this deficiency of love?
We need more Christians like Florence Nightingale
Old Cap Story from Hero Tales Vol. II
Florence was 6 years old. The family was wealthy and would spend the summers at their second home.
When riding her pony with the town pastor, she saw scattered sheep over the meadow and she knew something was wrong.
Sure enough, they rode up on the shepherd named Roger. He was sitting with his head in his hands grieving.
When asked what was the matter, He explained some boys threw rocks at his collie, Old Cap, and broke his leg. He feared he would have to put Old Cap down.
This broke Florence’s heart and she begged to see the dog. In a nearby shed, she and the pastor found the dog. Fortunately, Old Cap’s leg was not broken, only badly bruised. With Roger’s permission, Florence asked if she could nurse Old Cap back to health instead of putting him down. Florence stayed true to her word. She came every day and nursed Old Cap. Eventually the dog was able to return to his sheepherding duties.
Years later, after Florence had nursed soldiers on the battlefield and returned to revolutionize the idea of nursing, the old pastor wrote to her and reminder her of the elation she had as a little girl of restoring Old Cap. He said of the episode with the dog, “it was a sign of the kindness and love spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13 taking root within you.”
I pray,as we grow in Christ together, this same love will take root in us. 1 Corinthians love is a special kind of love. It is an ultimate kind of love (upon which healthy relationships between couples, families, churches, and countrymen are built).
It is agape Love, the love of God.
It is this strong affection for another person which is concerned about that person’s good. Not just any definition of good- but God’s best for that person. One of the primary features of agape love is the giving up of our rights and privileges on behalf of the other person. You earnestly want the very best for another person and you are willing to sacrifice something personally in order for them to have it.
So many wish there was someone who would be so devoted to them. I think people wish that they could give this kind of love to another.
As Christians, we have been loved this way by God.
This love comes from God and He perfectly manifests it in the gospel.
John 3:16 ESV
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
This is how God commands us to love Him- to sacrifice greatly for His good (specifically His Glory).
This is how God commands us to love other human beings.
You see, we are really in the best position to give this kind of love to a world in need. We’ve received this love into our hearts. God supplies us with what we need to give it to others. When He runs out of agape love then we run out of agape love.
This week, we see that love is kind as well.
1 Corinthians 13:4 ESV
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
Paul points this out because the Corinthians were downright mean to each other.
They were happy to tell one another each other’s faults- how others didn’t measure up in eloquence, rhetoric, and wit. They mocked those who had seemingly less important spiritual gifts.
The rich excluded the poor in the Lord’s Supper- ironically referred to as love feasts. The rich stuffed themselves on food and wine while the poor could not partake.
They divided themselves into factions and quarreled with one another
They didn’t intervene when one of their own started down a path of sin and destruction.
They had lawsuits against each other- hoped to take one another down financially.
They were mean as rattlesnakes. Like most mean people, they were building themselves up at the expense of others. Corinth seemed to be like an ongoing king of the hill. The Christians were so arrogant and constantly trying to dominate one another.
This is contrary to agape love. God’s love revolves around denying yourself for the good of another person.
So meanness is not the method for Christians in the church. Rudeness (vs. 5) is not the method for believers in the church. Rudeness is the lack of manners and courtesy. It is forsaking the golden rule in our relationships. These things are malicious and contentious. These are out of sync for the church.
Kindness, however, is in the same musical key as agape love. Kindness is the act of blessing others. It ranges from common manners and courtesies, to saying something nice about someone’s shoes to A church in NW Washington State raised $300k to help wipe away medical debt of families in their area.
Kindness is characterized as unmerited. This means that we lay it on others because they are human beings made in the image of God, not because we owe them or want something from them. Kindness based in Agape love is not a, “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.” It is giving with with the belief that it is
Acts 20:35 ESV
35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
In fact, kindness based in agape love seems to be richer when it is given in return for rotten behavior.
Chick-Fil-a sign “Be kind to those who are mean, they need it most.”
Sometimes...
The most beautiful expressions of kindness are toward those who are the least of society, the vulnerable, the easily forgotten, and especially those who cannot help themselves. In these instances, you will not receive anything back from them because they have nothing to give.
In love, kindness is also deliberate, thoughtful, and sacrificial. Kindness in agape love desires to move a person along toward God’s will. That they would have their physical needs met and that they would come to know Jesus Christ and be saved.
When I think of kindness in the Bible, I think first of the story of Ruth.
Tell the story of Ruth
You remember the story starts with Naomi and her husband
Their sons marry Moabite women
Naomi’s husband and sons die. Naomi decides to return to Israel.
Orpah returns to her father’s house, but Ruth showed kindness by committing herself to Naomi.
Ruth 1:16–17 ESV
16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”
Back in Judea, Ruth and Naomi are in Bethlehem and poor. Ruth goes to work in the fields gleaning wheat.
She goes to a field owned by a man named Boaz. When he sees her and recognizes her as the woman who stayed to support Naomi, he gives kindness to her. Boaz showed kindness to Ruth by providing her with food and safety.
Ruth 2:6–16 ESV
6 And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.” 8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” 13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.” 14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”
Don’t go to another field
Come and eat and drink
Leave extra
Ruth showed kindness to Boaz in presenting herself to him for marriage.
Ruth 3:8–10 ESV
8 At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! 9 He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” 10 And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.
Boaz showed kindness to Ruth and Naomi by redeeming them. Ruth 3:13
Through the rest of the book, God provides the way for them to be married. Ruth is the great- grandmother of David.
Ruth and Boaz typify the kindness of God towards His people. Committed, provider, advocate, redeemer. The lesson we gain is that In
In the same way you God’s demonstrate His kindness to others.
The NT expounds on this.
As I said earlier, think of the kindness of God towards us...
Titus 3:4–6 ESV
4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
So, it makes sense that as God’s love is poured into us upon salvation. Kindness is something we manifest.
Galatians 5:22–23 ESV
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
This is what we show when we are walking in the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 3:12 ESV
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
Kindness is a key ingredient in loving people sacrificially so they can have God’s best.
It is key in our providing for people in the world what they are aching for.
How can you be kind to others in your family? How can you be kind to others in your church family? How can you be kind to people in the world? Manners, Acts of grace.
Kindness is important as we share the gospel, so people have a real picture of what they are being invited into.
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