Let's turn in the Word of God to the thirteenth chapter of Paul's letter to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians chapter 13. As I mentioned this morning, over the next number of months I want to do some...some great chapters in the Scripture, some in the New and some in the Old Testament, some familiar portions of Scripture, some perhaps less familiar but significant chapters of the Bible and in a sense hit the mountain peaks as we take a look at God's glorious revelation.
First Corinthians chapter 13 has been determined by some to be the deepest and the purest and the strongest aspect of spiritual life about which the Apostle Paul ever wrote. Some have dubbed it Paul's hymn of love. It is a glorious chapter. It is a beautiful chapter, a magnificent one, but more importantly, it is highly instructive, so much so as to be critical for all of us who are engaged in ministry. Let me read these thirteen verses to you and you follow as I read.
"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor and if I surrender my body to be burned but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant, it does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 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. 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. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love."...