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TEXT: I Corinthians 13:7-8a
SUBJECT: Attributes of Love #11: Love Never Fails
Listen up kids! Today we're going to finish the study we began a long, long time ago. The chapter is I Corinthians 13. Before we get to it, answer a few questions, please (They're not the ones you expect).
THE BIG SUBJECT
The subject of this chapter is.love. The King James Version says, charity, which now means 'giving to the poor', but in the old days it meant love.
Is this love Paul has in mind hugging, kissing, and holding hands? No. It's easy to hug, kiss, and hold hands. What's not so easy is to love others, I mean to love others the way the Lord wants us to love them.
Does the chapter tell us what love is (as a dictionary would)? No. It tells us what love looks like. Love is that invisible thing that makes you patient and kind, humble and happy when others have more than you do.
You should work on loving others. But don't think you can create love for others. You can't! Only the Lord can do that for you. He starts doing it when you repent of your sins and believe in Christ. Most people are not loving because most people are not saved. By everyone can be saved by putting their faith in Jesus Christ-and when they do, they will be saved-not some of them, most of them, or nearly all of them-but every last one of us who believes in Christ will be saved. Including you. The Lord once said,
The one who comes to Me, I will by no means cast you.
He could have said, 'I won't cast him out', but He says, 'I will by no means cast him out'. The NASB is even stronger,
I will certainly not cast [him] out.
This means, if you want to love others, you don't start by trying harder or even praying about it. You start by becoming saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE SMALLER SUBJECT
The last thing Paul says about love might be the most important. Here it is, vv.7-8,
Love.bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
What does this mean? Before I tell you that, let me remind you when love is needed. We don't need to be loving when everyone agrees with us and doing exactly what we want them to do, how we want them to do it, and when.
No, we need love when others are not doing what we want them to, when they're getting on our nerves, and doing us wrong. This is when we need love. And this is when our verse kicks in.
Love bears all things means you put up with people when they annoy you or treat you badly.
Love believes all things means you think the best of them when they've done you wrong. In other words, you don't exaggerate their faults.
Love hopes all things means, even when they hurt you on purpose, you think they'll do better next time and you give them a second chance. And a third, fourth, fifth, and more.
Love endures all things means that, when they keep on hurting you, you wait for God to change them--without a bad attitude.
You see, loving others is way, way harder than kissing, hugging, and holding hands! You see a lot of people doing these things, but hardly anyone loving others the way our verse says we should.
Some people love this way, partly. But only One Man has ever loved this way.fully.
Who is the Man?
Our Lord Jesus Christ. John 13:1 might be my favorite verse in the Bible. It took place right before the Passover, which means, right before.the crucifixion. The cross upset our Lord, scared Him, and you'd think, it would make Him cranky and thoughtless. But it didn't,
When Jesus knew His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
In other words, only the Lord perfectly believes, bears, hopes, and endures. Remember His last days in the world,
He bears all things. The disciples were stupid, selfish, and sinful. While the Lord was going to the cross, James and John (and the others) were arguing about who will be Number One in Heaven! The King is going to the bottom and all they can think about is getting to the top! In terrible fear, He invites His three best friends to pray with Him in the Garden, but they decide to take a nap! When He warns Peter about denying Him three times, Peter gets mad at Him and says-no way! Others may, but not I! You can count on Peter! When He surrenders to the police, Peter tries to cut off somebody's head in His defense! Later, every one of the disciples would run away ashamed they knew the Lord. At the cross, only one came back to Him.
But what did the Lord do? Did He rant and rave, curse and threaten, cut them off and turn His back on them? No. He put on with them.
He believes all things. That night the disciples seemed like His worst enemies. The Lord heard Peter's denial and that must have hurt Him worse than anything He had suffered so far.
But what did the Lord do? After he rose from the dead He called them My brothers.
He hopes all things. When you think of how disloyal and wicked the disciples were that night, you'd think the Lord would start all over again, with better men.
But what did the Lord do? Except for Judas (who hanged himself), He went back to the same men, showed them He loved them as much as ever, and still used them to preach the Gospel.
He endures all things. When people remain stubborn and sinful, what does the Lord do? He waits for the to repent. And when they do, He takes them back right away and with great joy.
Do you remember He told a story about that? It's called The Parable of the Prodigal Son. It's a lot easier to tell a story about waiting patiently for sinners to repent than that to wait patiently for sinners to repent. But the Lord did it, too.
In I Timothy 1:16, Paul says he is a pattern of the Lord's longsuffering. This means, instead of striking Paul dead when he stoned Stephen to death, wasted the church, and thought to do many things contrary to Christ, the Lord waited years for him to repent. And when he did, he became the Lord's Number One Preacher!
Some things only God can do and is allowed to do. But bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things are not some of those things. They're for us as well.
All who want to follow Christ must put up with sinners, think the best of them, give them a second chance, and wait for God to change them, no matter how long He takes doing it.
Because love bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things, it means that love never fails. It means we're to be always kind and patient and humble and generous to all, friends and enemies alike.
You cannot do this on your own. Neither can I. Nobody can. That's why we all need God's grace. Which He gives us, when we ask for it in Christ's name.
So, why don't you do that? Is there someone at school or in your family, a neighbor or at church, maybe, you just don't like? Maybe he's mean to you, maybe she excludes you, maybe you've heard him talking behind your back. Maybe there's nothing in particular about her, but you just don't like her!
Well, you don't have to 'like' everyone, enjoy everyone's company, make everyone your best friend. But you've got to love everyone. Because the Lord says so. And you'll never be happy until you do.
Love never fails.
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