I met Dave K through blogging and it was a great privilege to preach at his wedding yesterday. True to form he wanted a law-gospel sermon on 1 Corinthians 13. Here’s what I came up with
…1 Corinthians 13… taps into your highest longing and your deepest fear.
Your highest longing is in verse 12. It’s that little phrase “face to face.” That’s your highest longing. In the words of Mumford and Sons – You were made to meet your Maker. And not to meet your Maker face to floor – to meet Him face to face. This speaks of intimacy, friendship, relationship, love. You were made for face to face with Jesus your Maker. That’s what this whole third paragraph is about – the future is face to face. In fact so was the past. The Bible says that before there WAS a world, there was face-to-face. Before there was a universe, there was Father, Son and Spirit “face to face” – united in love. Wind back the clock into the depths of eternity and you don’t find mere chemistry – you find community. That’s why the greatest things in life are a meeting of hearts and minds. That’s why relationships are so precious. That’s why we love weddings – we love face to face.
But every earthly experience of “face to face” is, in the words of verse 12 “a reflection in a mirror.” The old King James Version rendered it “seeing through a glass, darkly.” Every kiss you’ve ever wanted, every affirmation you’ve ever craved, every relationship you’ve ever pursued, every longing you’ve ever felt – it’s a reflection of the ultimate face to face. This wedding – is an incredible reflection of the real face to face – Jesus and His people, united in love. This reflects that – that’s why we love this so much.
Because our highest longing is love. Not just earthly reflections: face to face with Jesus our Maker. That’s the longing behind every other longing.
But this passage also tells you your deepest fear. Your deepest fear is in verse 2. It’s also a 3 word phrase. Look at the last three words of verse 2. That’s what terrifies you. It terrifies me. My deepest fear is that “I am nothing”. Your deepest fear is that you are nothing. You worry you don’t amount to anything, that you’re actually a nobody, you are pointless, you’re a zero, completely insignificant in the universe. That’s the voice that whispers to you at 2 in the morning. And it’s the fear that drives you to a relentless pursuit of performances and experiences and face-to-face relationships – some healthy, others unhealthy – but none of them dislodge the fear that you are nothing.
This passage explains your life. You’re made for face to face, you’re terrified that you’re nothing. And this passage can tell you how to answer your fears and fulfil your longing….