Love the Lord Your God
And Olivia especially appreciates that you follow the lectionary and choose the songs that are right on the lectionary. It really helps worship coherent and together. So today we’re going to reflect on love. Love is the most beautiful thing. That’s what love is. Wherever there is love, there is beauty. There’s no such thing as love being ugly love is always beautiful. Reading to this passage, we realize how clearly saint Paul articulated the beauty of life. I often quote this passage at a wedding. Wedding is not like a worship service like here. Wedding is a place where a lot of nonbelievers come. They don’t go to church. They don’t believe but they come to the wedding. But when I quote this passage, it moves them. They all see how beautiful love is. Whether you are believers or not, whether you believe or not.
That’s the power of love has, it has the power to everyone because that is the power of love. There’s the only thing that makes human being’s complete or perfect. There’s only one thing that makes you complete or perfect, and that is love. It is not your faith. It is not your degree. It is not your devotion is zeal for life. It is not your moral or religious rashness. It is love that makes us complete. And it is love that completes the work of God’s salvation that began within us. First Corinthians chapter 13 verse nine to 10 says, for we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part, but when the complete comes, in other words, when the love comes, the partial will come to an end.
When love comes everything becomes complete. And at verse 11 he says, when I was a child, I spoke like a child. I thought like a child. I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. It doesn’t mean that you get older and you put an end to childish things. I see a lot of old people who are really, really childish like myself. But when love comes, you become an adult. You put away childish ways and childish thinking. That’s what love does. Makes you grow up, makes you deep and verse 12 says, for now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then we’ll see face to face. Now I know only part then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. It opens our eyes. So when there is love, your eyes open and you start seeing things before you saw only dimly, but now you see like face to face. You look around and you see, you understand life. You see life when there is love.
When you look at this passage you can see that Paul realized that the only thing that makes everything perfect was love. Love completes the partial and love comes. The partial will come to an end. Love perfects a child to become an adult. When love comes, you put away childish ways. Love makes us see perfectly. When love comes, you will see face to face. Last week we examined the problem of the church at Corinth. The problem of division. I mean this love chapter came from that context. Seeing the division in the church. Paul emphasized the importance of unity. Saint Paul said, instead of alienating the weak members and the inferior members by embracing them, he said to achieve the Union of the church the only way to achieve the unity of the church is to embrace the inferior members, the weaker bodies. Not alienating them, not cutting them off.
Testament of Love
Then he finished chapter 12 with these words, but strive for the greater gifts and I will show you a still more excellent way. That is the last verse of Chapter 12 and he goes into chapter 13 and talks about this beautiful articulation of love. Saint Paul realized that there is only one thing that can solve human problems and he wanted to teach them and teach us. There’s only one thing that can really solve human problems and that is love. The answer to the problems of this world is hidden in love. Nothing else. I mean the choir said God’s mystery. Love is God’s mystery. This is beautiful, a mystery hidden in love.
Love will open our eyes to see clearly what we could see only dimly. Last Monday and Tuesday, we had a funeral and the family is here. My condolence and God’s comfort may be with you. A dear friend left us now. After the funeral, Monday and Tuesday and on Friday I had a Bible study and one of the members who came to the Bible study said, the president of Korean Association in Toronto as she’s only 63 or something like that, she all of a sudden passed away. And then the next day, early morning prayer and after the prayer and we had a conversation and one of them said, Reverend, the death comes like a current or a wave. So I told him death comes in three. Always when I hear one death and I hear two other death and so we talked about death the whole throughout the week I was kind of absorbed into this thinking of death.
And after that conversation early in the morning on Saturday, I came to my room and I call this family, the husband and wife, very old couple and they didn’t come to church for some time because they were sick. So I called them just to see how they were doing and the wife told me, reverend life is so hard and difficult. I have so many problems with my liver here and there. I go to emergencies all the time and she said, I just wish to die without pain. I wished to die without pain. She’s so much in pain.
After the phone call, I sat in my chair and thought about death. Is death the end of everything. There’s no more after that. Once you die, is it finished forever and ever and ever. Never again. No life. Is really the death, the end of life, the end of everything. Big Human problem, death. How do I solve this problem? And then I realized that the problem of death can be solved only by love. Only by love. Everything ends. But love is eternal. There is a key there. Verse Eight says, Love never ends, but as for prophecies, they will come to an end. As for tongues, they will cease. As for knowledge, it will come to an end.
Everything will end, but love will never end. Once a lawyer came to Jesus and asked him, Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? What must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus asked the lawyer, what is written in the law? What do you read there? And this is what he said. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbour as yourself. He mentioned love, love God, love neighbour. That was his answer and this is what Jesus said. You have given the right answer. Do this and you’ll laugh. You go and love and you will live.
Formula of Life
There’s no other solution. If you love, you will live. John understood the secret of love. He said we know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. We have passed from death to life. Whoever does not love abides in death. They’ll remain in death, but if you love you will live. You all heard that same Paul emphasized faith. The only way to be saved is through faith, but he only said that faith because he was explaining to them, it is not by keeping the law, you will be saved by believing in Jesus Christ. That you’ll be saved, but to him, love is higher than faith. This is what he said and now faith, hope and love abide. These three and the greatest of these is love. Greatest. This is love. Faith is included in love. Verse 70 says it bears all things love, Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. God sent Jesus Christ to this world and he died for us while we are yet sinners. All these things were God’s expression of love and to show us what love is, Jesus summarizes all the commandments with one word, love, love, nothing else. That’s what matters. Love will save you. Love will give you eternal life. When you love, you will see that you are living even though you die. I think that’s the secret.
Well, Hi-C probably you don’t think about death that much but when you come to my age once in a while you think about death, but I believe that that is a solution. When there is perfect love, there’s perfect confidence and assurance. Love is the most beautiful thing. Love is the most important thing, but love is the most difficult thing. You can see people who have lots of faith around us, we can see people who live with hope around us, but for me, I rarely see people who live with love. I’m sorry to say it, but I rarely see people who live with love, including myself, very rare, but the key to life is hidden in love. At the end of the world, the scripture says the love will disappear and I see that human beings are so self-centred and only think about themselves. There is no more love around us. We talk about faith without love. What is faith? What is faith with without love? We talk about being good, but what does being good without love?
Because love is in the center and the most important thing. Only love can save you, just because you believe that there’s a heaven somewhere. That kind of sentiment will not save you, just because you believe in Jesus Christ. You go to heaven. That formula will not save you. The formula will not save you. Only love. Through love faith becomes complete. Think about it.