Skip to main content

The Mark Of Christian Love

"15 Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), 16 that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors. 17 I rejoice over the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have supplied what was lacking on your part. 18 For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men.
19 The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. 20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
21 The greeting is in my own hand—Paul. 22 If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen"
1 Corinthians 16:15-24 

Good Morning Beloved,

Welcome to worship, we're so glad you're here. 

In preparing for our message today, one thing that struck me, is that our culture writes fewer letters than in previous generations. Then it was an email or text culture. Presently, it seems everything is by way of social media. Nevertheless, even when writing a long email to someone we want to close with a strong conclusion.

The final command in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is found in verse 14, which we studied last time. And, that is: "Let all that you do be done in love." The next ten verses, the final verses of this letter, flesh out and illustrate Paul’s command. In these verses Paul talked about love in the church. Because love was hard to find in the Corinthian church, Paul’s final command to them was about love.
The final section of the letter began with a command to love, in verse 14, and concluded with the assurance that they themselves were loved, in verse 24.

Verse 15-20, marks of Love in the Church. The apostle Paul gives us seven marks of love in the church.

Let's bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

We thank You gracious and loving Father, for Your clear and powerful Word for us today. Thank You for those You have drawn to receive it, both near and around the world. Lord, we're so thankful, so grateful for each one.

Lord, we pray that we would hear Your Spirit speaking to us today, there would be love within this church, a love that can only come from You. May Your love manifest itself in the hearts of everyone gathered here today, that the result might be that we would reach the lost of this world with the message of the gospel. That we might addict ourselves to serving the saints. That we would submit ourselves to all those who portray a godly pattern of life and service, that proclaim the Word of God. That we would be refreshing companions, to one another, who bring joy into each other’s lives. May we be known by our love for You and for one another, and may that love draw people nearer to You. May it all be for Your glory
This we ask and pray in Christs' name

Today's Message: The Mark Of Christian Love

Open with me your Bibles, to the 16th chapter of the I book of Corinthians. As we conclude our study on the book of I Corinthians, we see the narrative change from correction and rebuke to love.

In verse 15, a mark of love in the church is evangelism. So, the first mark of love in the church is evangelism. Paul said in verse 15, "Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints)."

Some of you may know, that Achaia was on the southern end of Greece. Corinth was located in the province of Achaia. The household of Stephanas were believed to be the first converts on Paul’s second missionary journey in the province of Achaia.

I've had some of you ask, "Why did Paul work so hard in evangelism? Why was he so passionate about reaching the lost with the gospel?"

It was because of love! It was because of love. I John 4:19 says, "We love, because He first loved us." Paul had experienced the wonderful love of God in his own life. Prior to his conversion Paul hated Jesus and the things of Jesus. But then Christ dramatically intervened in Paul’s life. Paul experienced the love of Christ and was completely transformed from a Jesus-hater to a Christ-lover.

Moreover, Paul had also discovered a deep love for people as well, especially those who did not yet know the grace of God in Christ. And so, Paul devoted the rest of his life, to telling people about salvation, even at great hardship to himself.

And this was a message the Corinthians needed to hear, believe me. Why? Because love was, for all practical purposes absent from their life, absent from their relationships, absent from their church. In fact, all their problems from chapters 1-15, were basically a reflection of a complete lack of love. The reason they had disunity and discord, the reason they were suing each other, pushing each other up to high places on the basis of their intellectualism, the reason they were having marital difficulties, the reason they were engaging in illicit sex, was all related to the absence of love.

Proverbs 27:5 says, "Better is open rebuke Than love that is concealed."

Love was the issue, and love was the answer. Love is the real story of the book. Paul is endeavoring to correct the absence of love in the Corinthian church. It is my hope and prayer, that each of you will realize, how essential love in the church really is. In spite what we see in many of the modern churches, there should be no such thing as a church without love. Love is to be a key element.

And it was that love that tore his heart out. It was that love that gave him constant heaviness and sorrow. In other words, Paul was saying I love you so much, I want you to hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ. As much as Saul was driven to persecute the Christians, Paul was now driven to bring the unsaved to Christ. Paul had an intense appetency for souls, and that was promoted by his love for Jesus Christ.

I heard it once said that, "Evangelism is the sob of God. Evangelism is the anguished cry of Christ over a doomed Jerusalem. Evangelism is the call of Moses: ‘O this people have sinned, yet now if Thou will, forgive them; if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of the book Thou hast written.’ Evangelism is the heartbroken cry of Paul: ‘I could wish myself accursed.’ Evangelism is the cry of John Knox, “Give me Scotland for Christ or I die.” Evangelism is the weeping in the night of the parents of an unsaved child." I believe that we often give up on others far too easily, when they resist the gospel because it somehow betrays the thinness of our love, rather than the thickness of their head.

The first mark of love in the church is evangelism. I'd like to pose this question to all of you to keep in the back of your mind as we study today's message. "Do you love people? And, do you love them so much that you want to tell them about Jesus Christ?"

The second mark of love in the church is ministry. Paul said at the end of verse 15, ". . .and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints." Once Stephanas and his household became Christians, they loved other believers so much that they served them in ministry. This was far more than just light duty. They literally threw themselves wholeheartedly and zealously into ministry.
The Greek word, proskartereó used for "devoted" means "to attend constantly." As you likely remember the concept of first fruits, is the first fruits were the first part of a crop that came in and if the first fruits were good it was a guarantee the rest of the crop would be good. And so Stephanas and his household were most likely the first fruits of the city of Corinth. By the Spirit of God giving this family and this household, God was in effect saying there’s going to be a full harvest in the city of Corinth.

When people get converted to Christ, they begin to serve in the church of Christ. Some, have remarkable, extraordinary gifts and serve in significant ways. Others have more ordinary gifts. Nevertheless, all Christians use their spiritual gifts in service.

A mark of love in the church is ministry. Have you devoted yourself to the service of the saints? Are you serving in ministry? If not, you should ask yourself why not? Then, pray about it.

The third mark of love in the church is submission.

Beloved, we are to submit ourselves not only to officers in the church but also to all those who are faithfully engaged in the Lord’s work. In other words, there is a submission that is to be given to all fellow Christians. Proper submission is a key them of Spirit-filled living. Listen, as I share with you some verses that speak about our submission to one another:

James 4:7, "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." Here, James conveys the idea that only when we submit to God will the devil "flee from you." For if we are fully committed to God then we will be able to withstand the temptations of the enemy.

Ephesians 5:21 says, "and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ." I believe, the message here is quite clear, all believers are to submit to each other.

Ephesians 5:22-23, we are instructed, "Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body."

Hebrews 13:17 says, "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."

And probably the least popular is Romans 13:1, "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God."

I Peter 5:5, says, "You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

And, in Matthew 20:26-28, Jesus himself said, "It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

All great ministry leaders must come to understand and practice servant-leadership. A mark of love in the church is submission. Are you in submission to every fellow worker? Or do you seek to lord it over others?

A mark of love in the church is companionship. Companionship is not something we directly do or give. It is the by-product of other things, things as simple as standing with a friend who is in trouble or sitting with someone who is sick, or as complex as mutual ministry. The main ingredient of companionship is togetherness. Companionship cannot be experienced from a distance, secondhand, or on social media.

Paul said in verse 17: "I rejoice over the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have supplied what was lacking on your part." These men came to be with Paul in Ephesus, and their presence was a tremendous encouragement to him. In fact, Paul said in verse 18, "For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men."

The Greek word for “refreshed” is interesting. In the Greek, it is the word anapauo. It is the same word that Jesus used in promising "rest" to those who believe in him in Matthew 11:28, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.[anapauo.]" God has made us not only for himself but also for each other. What Jesus promised to do for his followers is what Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus did for Paul.

Do you know what it is like to be refreshed by someone? Sometimes when pastors work with some people they call them "EGR" people. Do any of you know what an "EGR" person is? EGR stands for "Extra Grace Required." Basically, that means that extra grace is required when dealing with that person.

On the other hand, there are some believers who are just simply refreshing to be around. You look forward to being with them, and after you have spent some time with them, you feel uplifted and refreshed. And that is what Paul is describing in these verses.

So, another mark of love in the church is companionship. Are you a true companion to others? Do you refresh the spirits of others?
Paul said in verse 18, "For they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Therefore acknowledge such men." The Corinthians were instructed to give recognition to Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus. The Greek word for "recognition," is epiginosko, which means "to acknowledge." Paul was encouraging the Corinthians to recognize them as the faithful, godly workers they were.

Paul was not saying that the Corinthians were to set up statues or plaques for these workers. He was simply calling for respect and appreciation for their service to the Lord. This could be done publicly or privately. The Lord affirms that godly servants are to be properly recognized or acknowledged for their service.

I find it interesting, that true faithful workers do not seek recognition. They just continue to humbly serve God and do not concern themselves with recognition. However, it is proper to honor and give due recognition to God's faithful workers. Recognition and affirmation is a powerful thing! Verbal affirmation is powerful.

Another way that we show love in the church is to show respect for faithful workers. We all know someone who selflessly and tirelessly serve. It can be the pastor, the janitor, the prayer group, or the fellowship committee. How many of you have you taken the time to give a single word of affirmation to someone who is a faithful worker in the church?

Yet another mark of love in the church is hospitality. The apostle Paul says in verse 19-20, "The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Prisca greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss."

Beloved, these greetings are not just mere formalities. They are true expressions of genuine love. All Christians are to have an authentic love for other believers.

We see in Acts 18:1-3, that Aquila and Prisca, who was also known as Priscilla, had become very close to Paul when he stayed at their home during his ministry in Corinth. It is believed that Paul stayed with them the entire eighteen months he was there planting the church in Corinth. The church in Corinth met in their home, as verse 19 says.

In the book of Acts, we learned in the first-century church, the homes of believers were used for almost every type of activity—for eating together, for teaching and preaching, for pre-evangelism and evangelism, for worship and preaching, and for witnessing and discussion.

During that, when Christians traveled from place to place in the first century they could expect to be entertained with great love and care by fellow Christians. In Acts 2:42-46, there were no strangers among believers. Hospitality was second nature among believers, a matter of course, and a natural outgrowth of the love for Christ and, therefore, for all who belonged to him.

Since all believers are brothers and sisters in Christ, it was normal to welcome family members into the home. I believe, that every Christian home today should be a home in which hospitality is practiced. Opening up your home to other Christians is a true mark of love. We just don't see much of that today. So often in the modern church, as soon as the sermon is over, many rush to their cars and tend to their own agendas. Back in my day, people frequently gathered in the home of someone for a meal, continue Bible study and fellowship afterwards. I miss those days.

Another mark of love in the church is affection. Affection. Paul says at the end of verse 20, "Greet one another with a holy kiss." The common practice of greeting during Biblical times was a kiss on the cheek. It is much like the way I noticed Mexicans greet one another when I visited Mexico. And, it is still practiced in many parts of Europe.

Basically, a holy kiss is a warm, visible expression of Christian love for a brother or sister in Christ. In our culture today, we see that expression carried out with a handshake or a hug. However, we need to let our brothers and sisters in Christ know that we truly and deeply care about them—especially those who are a bit stand offish and who often tend not to otherwise go unnoticed. Every human being needs to be acknowledged, to feel loved. Surely, the church should be the one place where love is evident! It should be common practice to greet others with a warm hug and show our affection for one another.

In verses 21-24, Paul says, "The greeting is in my own hand—Paul. If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen."

These final verses of chapter 16, have two distinct parts, both a stern warning and an affectionate affirmation of love. I would like you to focus on the warning, for a moment, which is given in terms of a challenge to the church: "If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed."

In Closing...

Beloved, clearly a person who has not love for Jesus does not belong to Him or to the church. The way in which we show love for Jesus, is by our obedience to His commands. The way in which we show love for Jesus, is by our obedience to His commands, by showing love to others.

I have encountered many so called Christians, who claim to love Jesus, who are not obedient to Him. I find it to be very disheartening, that a whole new generation of Christians, have come to believe, that you can claim Christ, without being obedient to His teachings, and without forsaking the world. There is no clear mark or outward sign of their Christianity. They live as the world lives. Surely, this is a sign of the times.

II Timothy 3:1-5 teaches us, "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these."

Anyone who truly loves Jesus, knows He said Himself, in John 14:15, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." So, a person who is not obedient to the commands of Christ is showing that he does not love Jesus. Therefore, Paul warns, "let him be accursed."

Psalm 50:17 says, "For you hate discipline, And you cast My words behind you."

I pray that we would all take heed to Paul’s final greetings, which teach us about love in the church.
The Corinthians were not respectful or loving, rather they were divisive, schismatic, argumentative.

I encourage all of us to spend some time to examine ourselves. Do you see evidence of the marks of love in your life? Are others able to see it?  If not, then let us not deceive ourselves and take heed to the warning that Paul has given us.
May it be so... 

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



Email *

Message *

Check Out Our Most Popular Messages

You Can't Quarantine The Word of God

" 35  Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. 36  Simon and his companions went searching for Him. 37  They found Him and said, “Everyone’s looking for You!” 38  And He said to them, “Let’s go on to the neighboring villages so that I may preach there too. This is why I have come.” 39  So He went into all of Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. 40  Then a man with a serious skin disease came to Him and, on his knees, begged Him: “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41  Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched him. “I am willing,” He told him. “Be made clean.” 42  Immediately the disease left him, and he was healed. 43  Then He sternly warned him and sent him away at once, 44  telling him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go and show yourself to the priest, and offer what Moses prescribed for your cleansin

The Things Which Must Soon Take Place

    " The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2  who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3  Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near." Revelation 1:1-3 Good Morning my beloved,   We welcome you to worship in the name of the Lord. Thank you for joining us today, we're glad to have you here. We are especially grateful for those of you who have been sharing the ministry website with all of your family and friends. Your faithfulness to share God's Word with others continues to bring about tremendous results. We are grateful to each of you. And through your sharing, God has brought a number of people to Christ. Praise God! May He continue to use you and this minist

Nothing Has Changed If You Haven’t Changed

Good Morning beloved family, I'm so glad to have all of you joining us today! Let's give a shout of praise to the Lord! Amen! Heavenly Father, As we gather here today, enlighten our understanding, purify our hearts every desire, quicken our wills, and strengthen every right purpose. Grant us wisdom and discernment, that we may better know Your Word and understand. Direct us, in clarity, during this time of worship, guide us to the magnifying and exalting of Your name, and to the e nduring good of us Your children and servants, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen " To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:   A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A ti

Ministry With A Mission

    " Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, 2  To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." I Timothy 1:1-2     Good Morning my beloved,   We welcome to all of our beloved brothers and sisters, from all around the world, who have been lead to join us today. We are glad to have you here!   I know that I mentioned this to you in our last message, however, Scripture calls us to pray with and for our brothers and sister in Christ. I again, would like to encourage all of you to visit our Prayer Wall, there are a number of them who are in great need of some faithful prayer warriors. I pray that you will join us in praying for them in their time of need. I would greatly appreciate it, and I know that they would as well!   I Timothy 2:1 tells us " First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and than

The Power Of A Humble Prayer

      " Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2  and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3  But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one . 4  We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5  May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ." II Thessalonians 3:1-5     Good Morning my beloved,   Welcome to all of our beloved brothers and sisters, from all around the world, who have been prompted to join us today. We are glad to have you here!   I believe that peace, encouragement and good hope are present realities for any true believer. It stands in stark contrast to what the world offers. In the face of life's challenges, discouragements persecution, and shattered dreams, God brings encouragement to th