International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday May 31, 2015
Purpose: To affirm love as a gift of the Spirit
Bible Lesson: 1 Corinthians 13
Key Verse: Now faith, hope, and love remain—these three things—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
1 Corinthians 13 (CEB)
(1) If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. (2) If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing. (3) If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever. (4) Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, (5) it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, (6) it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. (7) Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. (8) Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end. (9) We know in part and we prophesy in part; (10) but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end. (11) When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things. (12) Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face. Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known. (13) Now faith, hope, and love remain— these three things—and the greatest of these is love.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This is our final lesson for this quarter, and it is important to remember we are still studying the “gifts of the spirit.” Paul is in the process of instructing this young church in Corinth about the different gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to members of His church, or body of believers. From Paul’s letter it appears some members of the church in Corinth are using their gifts as a bragging point to hold over others, that because of their gifts of the Spirit, they are better Christians than those with lesser gifts.
Paul does not candy coat his reaction, and our text for today should shed some light on what gifts are really important. Paul begins by explaining that he himself has received many of the gifts of the Spirit. All of the other gifts, outside of love and without love, have no ministry. Even giving our life for a good cause, if it does not show love, is of no value.
Many of the good things we do are done for selfish reasons or building ourselves up. Any love that does not include patience, and humility is of no value. If you are keeping score, you lose. If you react out of jealousy, you lose. All of these reactions only reflect our immaturity. What we receive from the Holy Spirit is mature love. Paul uses the Greek word “agape” rather than “ergos” or “philio.”
The gift of love received from the Holy Spirit is so special it provides for us something we could not do on our own, it is truly one of the great gifts we receive when we grow into a mature relationship with Christ. Paul calls it the “greatest gift.”
This passage is often used at weddings, but it is one that should be taught continuously to all believers. It is the most defining characteristic of what a Christian should be.
It truly is “Love Divine” it is the same love expressed to each of us by the Father, given by the Son, and shared by the Holy Spirit.