Sermon Notes for Sunday, July 28, 2019

7-28-19               Sermon Notes                  “All You Need Is Love”                               Gadsden FUMC
Preaching is something I love to do – it’s my calling. I always try to do my best, but I know that I don’t always hit a “home run” (so to speak).  At the very least, I try not to “strike out!” Every preacher I know likes to hear encouraging feedback on his or her sermon.  It’s not what you live for, but it is helpful.

I’ve learned that not everyone’s feedback is equally helpful.  I remember one Sunday years ago (not at GFUMC) there was a man in the congregation who was so sound asleep during the sermon that I thought he was going to fall out of the pew.  When I was shaking hands at the end of the service, he yawned, stretched, and said, “Good sermon, preacher.”  Not really helpful feedback!
The one person I really like to hear from about my sermons is the woman who always tells me like it is – my wife!  She doesn’t do the “good sermon preacher” thing every Sunday.  In fact, she rarely says something about my sermon – so when she does, I sit up and take notice.  Why?  Because she is not just my biggest fan – she is also my most honest critic.

There are some Sundays, though, when I really wish she would say something…especially when I think I’ve done a pretty good job.  One Sunday I thought I’d preached a pretty good sermon, and driving home I kept waiting for her to say something.  Nothing.  Crickets.  Finally I said, “What did you think of the service today?”  “It was good,” she said.  I was thinking, “Good??”  I had to try a different approach.  I thought I’d be sneaky.

So I said, “Honey, how many REALLY great preachers do you think there are in America?”  She thought for a minute and said, “I don’t know…but there’s one less than you think.”
But just think for a minute…  What if I was the best preacher in the world?  What if I could “speak in the tongues of mortals and angels?”  That’s what Paul writes in 1 Cor. 13: 1.  Let’s take a look at “The Love Chapter…
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 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. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 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. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly,[b] but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
(1 Cor. 13: 1-13  NRSV)

So…the tongues of morals and of angels…  What’s that all about? The “tongues of mortals” refers to human languages.  Just imagine…what if I could preach in every language?  I Googled it, and found that there are about 6,500 different languages spoken in the world.  What if I could preach in all 6,500 of them?  Whew doggie!

And the tongues of angels?  What’s that?  Well – some scholars think it may refer to the way angels communicate to each other in the heavenly realm.  What if I could do that?  Wouldn’t that be cool?  Or “tongues of angels” could refer to the gift of tongues that Paul talks about in 1 Cor. 12.  The Corinthians apparently really wanted that gift, according to Paul.  What if, in addition to all 6,500 mortal languages, I had the gift of speaking in “unknown tongues” as well?

If I was the greatest preacher in the world…could speak in every mortal and angelic language…all of that would amount to a big, fat, nothing unless it came from a heart of love.  Paul says that I would be a “noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Corinth was a city in Greece, and was famous for its many places of worship to the various Greek gods and goddesses.  One of the characteristics of heathen worship in Corinth was the clanging of gongs and cymbals.  What Paul would say to me is, “Sam, if what you say doesn’t come from a heart of love…it is as useless in the eyes of God as the noisy gongs or clanging cymbals of heathen worshippers.”  And Paul would say the same to you, too.  Ouch!

As important as preaching, tongues or prophecy might be…love is more important.  Same goes for knowledge and even mountain-moving faith.  Love trumps even giving and serving…  What am I saying here?  What was Paul saying in 1 Cor. 13?  To put it in the words of a Beatles song – “All You Need Is Love.”  If you think that is mamby pamby, then you’re thinking wrong about it.  Join us this Sunday for the next message in the “Rock-n-Roll Summer” series!

See you Sunday,
Pastor Sam
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