Message: Your Spiritual Purpose Statement
Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 13
1. God Question: Is the job of Christians simply to love?
a. We did make our mission statement LOVE1st.
b. We hear from non-Christians that they most wish the church would be more loving.
2. To find out, let’s look at 1 Corinthians 13 – often nicknamed “The Love Chapter”
i. Other examples of things called “The Love__________.”
ii. The Love Boat, The Love Train, The Love Bug, the Love Shack, The Love Doctor, The Love Guru,
b. Read 1st 3 verses of 1Corinthians 13:1-3 (ESV)
i. It’s the middle of a 3-chapter discussion in one of Paul’s letters about something called ‘Spiritual Gifts’
ii. A Spiritual Gift is
that special ability that is brought to life in you by the Holy Spirit, for a specific purpose, namely, for God’s glory/delight and his work in the world.”
c. The Corinthian Church was getting this letter, and receiving this instruction, because some Snobby, self-righteous Christians were going around saying their spiritual abilities were more awesome than others’ because they used them in worship and they made great show. Like speaking in tongues.
i. Paul’s response is that all people are gifted, and all gifts are equally important because they are used by God to do important things
ii. Chapter 13 stresses that all Spiritual Gifts are used by God to show his perfect love, but also that all spiritual gifts must be used with love (something the Snobby Christians weren’t doing very well).
d. So the things God gives Christians to do their job are meant to show love…but is love the WHOLE job?
3. Take a look at the last verse of the chapter, 1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)
a. It says Love is the greatest. But don’t miss that two other things which also ‘abide:’ Faith and Hope.
b. 1 John 4:8 says God is Love.
i. Google “God is” and you’ll find lots of scriptures throughout the whole Bible which say this one way or another.
ii. But you’ll find other things too:
1. Revelation 4:18 says God is Holy
2. 1 John 5:6 adds that God is Truth
3. Psalm 7:11 – God is a righteous judge
4. Deut 4:24 – God is a consuming fire
iii. God IS love, just not ONLY love.
iv. Love is a verb, not really a noun. It can only exist as an action which changes, transforms, brings together what has been separated or estranged. Jesus came to demonstrate perfect love, not to be it. What he is, is a Savior and Lord. Love is the means by which he beckons people to place their FAITH in Him, and make Him their only HOPE for rescue from the pain, guilt, regret and shame into newness of life.
c. Love is called ‘the greatest of these’ because of how effective it is for demonstrating the Good News of Jesus.
i. It must be what Christians and churches do. But it’s not the only thing which abides on the resume of a Christian or the mission of a church.
ii. There’s also holiness, truthfulness, justice, righteousness.
4. Let’s try to flesh this out by applying it to specific settings:
i. In your school: you can show God’s love to your teacher by bringing him or her a Starbucks every morning.
1. You show it better by also mixing in respecting them, following instruction, finishing your homework and doing your best all the time.
ii. In your family you can show God’s love by getting them really nice presents this Christmas.
1. You show it better by also mixing in trying to be a helpful, obedient son or daughter; being kind to your brother or sister, being a parent who admits making mistakes; observing boundaries and giving support to adult children and to grandchildren.
iii. At your work you show God’s love by bringing donuts for the break room every once in awhile, or giving a coworker a compliment when they do a good job.
1. You show it better by also mixing in being truthful, consistent, hard-working, uncomplaining, having the back of co-workers and your employer.
iv. At 1stPres we show God’s love by giving out bike helmets, painting faces, supporting community charities for the poor.
1. We show it better when also mixing in each of us knowing our spiritual gifts and using them each and every day to serve and help each other and the people we live with.
5. So here’s your assignment:
a. Write our update your spiritual resume
b. If you haven’t yet, identify the 1-2 spiritual abilities which most consistently describe how you are most helpful in the world. Confirm them by asking others their observation of you. Write them down and carry them with you.
i. Second, identify and write down the places where you have been or could be the most helpful to others in very practical, consistent ways. That’s your mission field, your spiritual job site.
ii. New for this week, think about and write down how you can use your gifts with actions of love – but with the caveat the love is consistent, truthful, and righteous so it leads you and others to faith and hope (because they also must abide in our spiritual resume).
c. That’s your charge for this week. Do you accept it?