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Paul's Sermon Telling Us To "Grow Up"

John Collins05/12/2012
Speaking to the Church in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul tells us to move our focus from prophecy, tongues, and other spiritual gifts to move on to greater things.

He said that though he could speak with unknown tongues, if he did not have Divine Love, then he would just be a loud, noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If a person speaks in tongues and does not have Divine Love, then he is simply "going on" to no purpose.

He said that if he were to have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and knowledge, and even have faith to move mountains, he would still be nothing without Love.  A prophet who prophesies without Divine Love is nothing, just a soothsayer.

He said that if he were to donate everything he owned, and even give his own life, he would gain nothing without Divine Love.  These things would be done simply to better himself and not others.

Paul goes on to describe Divine Love to us.  Divine Love is patient and kind.  It does not allow you to have envy of others, and does not allow you to boast yourself in front of others.  It does not make you happy when you see wrongdoing, but only rejoices in the Truth.  Love will give you patience to bear all kinds of things, patience to believe, hope, and endurance before man and God.  Divine Love never ends.  

As for prophecies, Paul said they would pass away.  If we focus on prophecy, we remain in the past.

As for tongues, Paul said they will cease.  If we focus on tongues, we listen to a voice for things of the past.

As for knowledge, it will pass away.  If we seek after mystery and knowledge, those mysteries and knowledge will be made known and new mysteries and knowledge will be found to turn our hearts and minds away from God.
Paul said the things we know, we only know in part.  We do not know everything.  The things we prophesy, we prophesy in part.  No prophesy will reveal everything to us.  But when perfection comes, everything in part will pass away.  We will no longer have only partial information, all things will be made known.

Paul calls these spiritual gifts childish.  He says, "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, and I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I gave up childish ways."  Paul had moved on beyond these things gifts that when men will do, other men will raise them up as an object of worship.  

He said that now, we only see as though we were looking through an old, poorly visible mirror: dimly.  When perfection comes, we will see Jesus Christ face to face.

He said now, we only know part of the things that are to come.  When perfection comes, we will know everything fully, just as Paul was made fully known before them.

So now, we have faith, hope and Divine Love.  These three things should be our focus.  But the greatest of these three is Divine Love.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Do we focus on prophecy, or lift up those who prophesy?  Do we focus on tongues or other spiritual gifts, things that magnify a man instead of God?  Do we focus on mysteries and knowledge instead of Divine Love?  Do we have envy for the things of others, things of this world?  Do we boast ourselves, or listen to a man who boasts himself?  When we give to others, do we give with Divine Love, or do we only give the things we would have cast aside anyway to call ourselves good?  Are we still focusing on these things, and as Paul says, speaking like a child?  Or are we seeking perfection in Christ by Divine Love?