Love is the Greatest

1 Corinthians 13:8–13

Posted by Dan Jarms on February 4, 2024
Love is the Greatest
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Main idea: Love others with your spiritual gifts because love, not the gifts, is greatest.

  1. Seize on love’s permanence 
  2. Stand on Love’s Greatness
  • Automated Transcription
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    Well, good morning faith Bible Church, it is so good to see you as, as the offering plates go around, just a healthy reminder for your soul and my soul. No sports team will ever be your Savior. Whether they make the tournament, the 26th time or not, has no bearing on your eternal day you will, you'll know who I'm talking about for the day on that. So it is just always a joy to come together around God's Word, the things that we know are eternal and last, God's work and God's work in the church. I want to add my welcome to you. Some of you are new with us. And we're so glad that you're here with us. And we would I would love to meet you personally love to talk with you. And make sure you see somebody who's alone. Make sure you say hi, make sure they don't sit alone the next time that you get them with you. That's that's just an integral part of being a loving community, making disciples of Jesus Christ. That's our aim as a church. We are in First Corinthians 13. And it is it is called the love chapter because there's no other place in scripture where the qualities of loved are unpacked quite this way. And it is a wonderful study for us. Please stand as we read this, Ian did a masterful job walking through the first half, one through seven and I told him this week that he had the harder job he had 13 different aspects of love to talk about. I have one. I'm sure I'll talk longer than he had. Because that's just how I roll sorry, I do not have the spiritual gift of brevity. Love never ends. Let's take a look at this. First Corinthians 13 eight through 13. Law, Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away as for tongues, they will cease. As for knowledge it will pass away, for we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly. But then face to face now I know in part, then I shall know fully even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope and love abide these three. But the greatest of these is love. This is the word of the Lord. Got our Father, we know you are love. We see it in the pages of Scripture from the opening. At creation. We see your steadfast love and your faithfulness throughout Moses, when you revealed yourself in glory to Moses. Your steadfast love was mentioned twice in one passage, and on it goes we sing about it. And we hear first John. God is love. So that shapes us, shapes this passage, how we deal with ourselves. I pray that You would help us as we follow your example, through giving your son Lord Jesus, You are the embodiment of love. And we pray that we would put to get put to death, what is selfish and self glorifying. And give new life to that which is loving seeking others best with how you have built us what you have given us. I pray that you would make us what we longed to be that loving people that makes disciples of you. Holy Spirit, we need you to not only help us understand what this is, but we need to go way beyond understanding to putting into putting it into practice. And we would pray that You would help us with that I pray for true hope church just three minutes down the road. Close to the close to the arena. I pray that their services their pastors, their people would be faithful hearers of your word, putting it into practice. And we want all our churches across our city, whatever striper brand to be proclaiming the whole truth of God. And in that we would see the glory of God and be transformed that you would reach our city, which there are so there's so much lostness We want you to reach our city save money. We ask this in Christ's name, Amen. Maybe see? Well, if you suddenly, if a scientist suddenly stumbled on one cure for every form of cancer, what would that be worth? group of scientists get together, they came up with one cure and it and heals every form of cancer in my family to make this really personal. My brother, my grandmother, my biological mother, my father, my mother in law all died of cancer, and you will have a very similar list. If you live long enough, you're gonna die of something. Cancer is probably a likely one. But still, you get the point a lot of way too young people die of cancer, it would be worth a lot. Well, what if there was a remedy to the cancer of all human relationships? Selfish pride? What if there was a cure for that? What would that be worth? What would that be worth between two competing departments in a company or between two countries, vying for the same resources at war with each other. Imagine what that would do between two warring spouses. Competing spouses imagine what would happen if there were two brothers who were warring with each other or competing with each other. What would the cure of selfish pride be worth? It would be worth a lot, right? Well, in the church, Paul doesn't want us to imagine the cure. He wants us to seize the cure. It's already been provided. His name is Jesus Christ. And He has called us to be His disciples. He has loved us and drawn him to drawn us to himself. And he himself is the cure to selfish pride. And by His Spirit, he applies the cure to selfish pride. It's through Jesus Christ life through His costly death. It's that powerful resurrection that we see. The embodiment of First John four, eight, God is love.

    When we repent of selfish pride, humbly cry out to God, we experienced the love of God. And Jesus Christ has been applying the cure to a new creation called the church to the body of Christ. That love has come to drive out the devastating effects of selfish pride. Selfish pride, as we've been going through First Corinthians you see it all over the place. It's wreaks havoc in the church there in Corinth just like it does in churches and relationships today. Corinth was like a classroom of junior high boys, or more poignant in ours. It was like a small group of junior high boys with their brave small group leader. And the small group leader notice is something that one of them does complements one of the boys like a teacher in a classroom. That was one of the boys. Your oral report was great, but the boy right next to him says mine was better. I mean, they actually say it out loud, Junior High boys do they say it out loud?

    Chorus was like that. The only difference between Junior High boys and adults is it's appropriate for adults to slap each other. When somebody says that you don't say that out loud. Okay, that's not that's not true, but you get the point. in Corinth, there was this, this pride over who had the best spiritual gifts in the church, but God had given them by His grace to benefit their other believers. They were turning into possessions for selfish pride and a war for prominence. There was division. I'm a Paul I'm of a Paulus people sign up for camps. If they don't have the gifts they find the guy that has the gifts. They take pride in him if they don't take pride in themselves. So there was division in the church and walked us through the first half of this famous chapter. And Paul makes a point in one through three this Divine math. Everything times zero equals nothing. Like you can you can have all the ability to do miracles, you can have all the ability to speak prophecy, you can have all kinds of knowledge. If it doesn't come through love, it means nothing or everything minus one in the divine math equals nothing. Like if it's missing love, it's worthless. four through seven, he shows us just how love operates. It's humble patient, believing the best hoping the best. It's others focused, it's not arrogant or rude. But notice the last thing in verse seven. It endures all things love endures. Paul takes that now and telescopes that out. What does that look like? How do we understand that.

    And then the second half of the chapter, we're going to look at the greatness of love. Love is the first phrase and eight. It's the last phrase and 13. So book ends this next level of the telescope. And he's he's wants to emphasize them. It's not the gifts that you have, and that you've been given that matter the most. It's love that matters the most. Because love is the greatest. It's not what I can do that matters, but loving people that matters. It's gonna force everybody to ask the question, How am I acting out of pride? How am I acting out of selfish pride? And how can I act out of love? Paul's main point straightforward, love each other with your spiritual gifts, he's going to pick that up next week. Because love, not the gifts is greatest loves the greatest. So wherever you are, whenever you have all things. It's love that ultimately matters most because it's enduring. Gifts are not meant to prop us up. What we possess and what we can do isn't meant to prop us up. And yet, that is part of the human dilemma. We we get our identity by what we can do, what we achieve, what we can perform. And we're desperate for others, to give us the place that we want in the world. So the outline in the section is pretty simple. It's heavy on this, the first thing that Paul wants us to do is seize on love's permanence. So compared to the gifts they're temporary, we need to seize on loves permanence. And then the short Point number two is seas or stand on loves greatness. One through 12.1 with some sub points, point two will be to stand on loves greatness. So let's unpack that. The cure for selfish pride is sitting right here in front of us. He's described what love looks like and everybody's going to how do I put that into practice? Now he's going to help us with the mindset that puts allows us to put pride aside and sets love up. Okay, first let's seize on loves permanence. He says, Love never ends. Literally. This never ends his never falls never falls apart, never falls into despair never falls into decay. When we thought talk about things that endure love is going to endure. So much conflict and division in the church come from selfish pride in prominence or importance. But the gifts that people use or the talents or achievements that they have are temporary love just as a reminder, how do we define that over and over here faith Bible Church Love is the disposition to think to will to act for somebody else's best. Even if it's very costly to me. Even it's very costly to me. Love that's that's what God did through Christ. He demonstrated that kind of love for us. He says that endures. It's permanent. He develops his four ways. He explains it so first prophecy tongues and knowledge will end he's going to explain this issue of the gifts verse eight. Love never ends as for prophecies they will pass away notice the pass away sees pass away language. As for prophecies they will pass away as for tongues they will cease as for knowledge it will pass away

    Verse 10, the parcel will pass away. So he's making this very clear statement that these gifts that he's just outlined in chapter 12, that he's referred to, when they're misused at the beginning of 13. He's bringing those to the forefront. There were people who are arguing about who should be treated with preeminence, the prophets. What were prophets, prophets were those people who got revelation from God, sometimes for a local setting, in a local church, or sometimes for the larger setting. And we have the writings in the Scripture. The people who spoke in tongues, were given a kind of revelation also, they were able to speak it in a language that they hadn't learned and somebody else in the room who knew that language was benefited by it. And those who had knowledge back to chapter 12. And early part of chapter 12, were people who had a word of knowledge or a word of wisdom and Corinth, prized the people who had philosophical wisdom. The philosophers in Corinth were the rock stars of the era. So it fed into the pride who are the most preeminent who are the most important people in the church. Well, the these people who have these gifts, so there was a fight over how they should be treated.

    In the know, people tend to think of themselves as superior and treat others as inferior. I mean, he's already expressed that having all knowledge without love is worthless. But here's, here's what he's saying, These things will end, there is a time coming. When these things will end. Verse nine, he continues to explain it to us, for we know in part and we prophesy in part, Paul, who's apostles given revelation, and what he's saying is, it's true across the Scripture, any one Prophet gave a particular message at a particular time. And it's the accumulation of the whole that we get the counsel of God, we get them part by part, and even then, there are still a whole lot of things we don't know, we know clearly enough so that we can know God and know His will. But there are still things that we don't know. part by part. However great, these revelatory gifts were prophecy, tongues or knowledge. Here's the picture in my head. Do you remember when you were a kid, and you had art time in second grade, and you're given magazines, remember those. And the teacher gave you scissors, and Elmers glue, or glue sticks, and you made collages. And you took and you posted those collages, and you brought it home Look, Mom, I made this collage. And it was all kinds of I found puppies. Here they are. And mom, put it up on the refrigerator, until she put it in your vault, that when you were 40 You're gonna pull it out. And like she gives him see, I just thought you'd like to see what you made. When you're in second grade mom, I was in second grade. You know, that's all that preachers do is make collages. We just cut out stuff and we paste it together. And sometimes it looks like something it's all it's all of something as what's amazing on the magazine, the subject. It's the subject that's amazing. Like we this is all partial stuff. It's true. All the pictures of puppies were really puppies and they were all individually cute. But the subject is what's theirs. Why do you? Why would the preacher think he's anything? Here's my collage. Small group leader, lecturer, seminary professor, whatever it is. Why would we think we're something's while we're doing is giving a little part. Since but when the perfect comes, the parcel will pass away. The partial will pass away. It's again, we're seeing again that there is a temporary and then there is a permanent there's something to come. Which leads to a question What's the perfect the words tell us which means complete or mature? There's been a lot of offerings. What does that mean when the perfect comes? Some say it's it's the Church of the second century. because after the scriptures were given, it was the most mature church. If you look back at church history, now, I would say when did you say this? Isn't the church incredibly mature today? We have had the scriptures for 2000 years. And all of you would say, Oh, the church is mature. You're like, are you at my church? Do you know might people that's been one of the offerings from the church. finally had it pulled together to Creed's. They were mature. Paul doesn't have any any direct indication of that. Some have thought that it's the completion of the scriptures. And I've thought that before to when the perfect comes, the completion of the scriptures, then we have the full revelation of God, all we need for life and godliness. But in the next chapter, Paul is going to say, you know, you should still make sure you listen to prophecy and put tongues in its appropriate places he doesn't, he doesn't throw it out. Some have argued that, that that happens there. Some say it's Jesus when Jesus comes, because Jesus is perfect. Can I get an amen? Right like Jesus? I mean, you're not gonna disagree with that. I don't think Jesus is perfect. Like, you're never gonna say that. But, but if it was Jesus, if it was Jesus, he would tell us it's Jesus. Because multiple times First Thessalonians, Second Thessalonians. Throughout Philippians, he talks specifically about what happens when Jesus returns. I don't think he would leave it vague for us. He doesn't really leave it vague, he leaves us at a time we're in the partial time, there's a complete time, here are the characteristics of the complete time we we will know. There is going to be a maturity. Now we see in a mirror dimly than face to face. When will we all be face to face with Christ, the new heavens and new earth. That's when we all will be face to face, and the new heavens and the new earth and he is contrasting the temporary time to the perfect time to complete time to come. Number he's not he's not. Paul's not writing this passage to solve the problem of cessationism and continuation ism. He he's writing to talk about the supremacy of love, and how it endures. There might be something to be said for you have these partial things being done. But that's not the main point. The only answer in the book that seems clear to me is First Corinthians 1528. When Christ does return, and he sets all things in order, he takes over all things, then he hands them over to God that God may be all in all that's going to be the new heavens and the new earth. Or as we would look at Revelation 21 and 22 and call the new heavens and the new earth where we won't be prophets we won't need teachers we won't need all of those things everybody will see Christ face to face

    when the perfect comes, how does this help cure selfish pride? You know, the arrogant are arrogant, because they really believe they have absolute or comprehensive knowledge. I really know. And I am sure of it. So a person who really knows and is sure of it ignores people who aren't runs over people he or she deems aren't, belittles them. The person who's humble, the person who's truly loving, you want to know the difference between an arrogant person and a humble and loving person. The humble and loving person says I'll never know the whole story. So why don't you tell me what you're thinking? So tell me more about that. Doesn't mean you can't really know things. There's not a hermeneutic of humility that you can never know anything. But a humble person. A truly loving person is is not going to assume he or she knows everything. Still a learner still a listener still in Understander. I just made that word up. It's not a real word.

    So he he talks talks about the partial going on, why would you take pride and what's just temporary? It's a gift of God's grace to use for other people. But why would you take pride in a gift that's just temporary, then he illustrates it point to immaturity is going to give way to maturity and he's going to use this child adult metaphor. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. What is that? Well, children have limited understanding, they have a little limited framework, they don't know a lot. spoke like a child, thought like a child reason like a child. Typically children, as wonderful as they are, are pretty self focused. Like they don't have a big framework. They just know what they like, and they feel they're childish. But when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. And he's using the same word as passed away, I, I set it aside, I turned my back on it, it's replaced by being grown up.

    There's a point in time in every person's life, that knows that vegetables are good for him. They are. And he kind of gets tired of how his body looks when he stands on the scale. He kind of gets tired of how he feels on Monday and Tuesday, because of what he ate over the weekend, or drank. And eventually, he says, you know, tasty and sweet is not worth the pain on Monday and Tuesday, and you grow up. There's a grown up now, some of you boys need to grow up. Vegetables are amazing.

    Paul uses the metaphor of the new man in Ephesians, to talk about the church. And so what he is saying is that in this age, now it's the it's the time of maturing. It's the child time, where we need these extra things. But there's a time coming, when we're going to turn our backs on the childish things, and we're going to be grown up and he's talking about that full coming day of being grown up. One day prophecy, tongues and knowledge will no longer be needed. In fact, they'll be viewed as the time of our childhood. We needed at that time, how silly of us how dumb of us to get pride out of having a gift to us notice that he's using tongues, prophecy and knowledge. I think because nobody who has the gift of helps. Feels like they're really significant in the church. And hardly anybody argues for the job. Can I please clean the toilets? Sure, go ahead. You can clean his room. Oh, that's Hey, Pastor, so and so gets to clean the toilets, and I wanted to clean the toilets. I've never heard that. When will you train me to clean toilets? Because I want to stand in front of people and clean toilets. Nobody does that. Right? So it's the gifts that are upfront that are showy that are the temptation here. But equally well what Paul wants to emphasize is that the service gifts there'll be a time for those to end as well. In which everybody will be able to serve each other as able in the new heavens and the new earth he starts to apply it third point reflection is going to give away to reality uses another image and it's again just like the child image it's a really good picture we get it. Here's another one for now we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face Corinth was famous for its high quality brass, mirrors, polished brass, you could you could do your hair, you could shave you could see yourself all well enough and whatever you're wearing you always look like a summer. Look at me. What What season Am I my skin is a summer it's yours look the same golden but he knows that's not really the thing here he's saying even in a mirror high quality mirror. It's still limited and today we have the the lead back Silverback mirrors which give this almost perfect reflection but still it's just a reflection and if the lights not very bright, it's an Not a very good reflection is still limited. So it's an obvious thing. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face and paws emphatic that the, in the Scriptures we see the face of Christ as in a mirror, Second Corinthians 318. But still, it's only a mirror. I mean, you know the drill, I know the drill, every Sunday morning, I get ready. Mostly, I have a fashion expert who gets my stuff ready. And she always wants to look me over outside the door, because I only see a few things in the mirror. So I have to do the turn, in which case she has the lint roller, which is the cat hair remover. Keep turning, and I turn and I turn. Why is that really like I can't do that in the mirror. Because I can't see everything in the mirror, I Paul's giving a really obvious point. Now look at the contrast. Look at the contrast. Then face to face. I mean even what we have in Scripture, which is true knowledge and accurate knowledge. And it's a compiled account of God's will even though we have everything we need now for life and godliness, it pales to what we will have in the face to face presence of Jesus Christ. You can't hug a mirror image. You can't get all the way around the sides of it. But in the new heavens and new earth and the direct presence of Christ, we will see him in three D glory. Lots of you have taken vacation to the ocean, you've taken your sunset pictures. If you've gone to the East Coast, you've taken your sunrise pictures, and you show up at the sunrise on on a beautiful morning. And you're just soaking it in and you think I've got to get a picture of this. And so you take a bunch of pictures of it, you bring it home, and you show it to a friend and they're like, Yeah, great. It's a it's a two by four picture. There's that you just can't capture that, can you but you try. You blow it up a little bit. You said that look at these pictures of the sunrise that I saw. No matter how good you do it that it's just a picture. But when you go from seeing the sunrise in a picture and showing up on that morning, and the glory of God is on display. It's a entirely utter other experience. There is a true sunrise coming we have pictures, words, about the glory of God. But when we see Him face to face, it will be you'll be aghast I never imagined it would feel or look as glorious as this

    I mean, how can we be proud about a teacher or preacher or writer or songwriter or band? When it's the subject, not the arranger that arrests you. It's the topic. It's the truth that arrest your heart that we do selfish pride. self centered pride wants the glory so he says now I know in part but then I shall know fully. Not that when we're in heaven. We won't learn more about God finite will always be learning about infinite. But we will do it face to face in his presence will study him will relate to him in person. And this next phrase is one more phrase is the anchor to the whole argument. And it is the cure to the cancer of selfish pride. I asked this question. How do you to some of my friends, how do you keep loving when it's hard to love? Because love is not looking to get something back? Love gives regardless of the cost. How do you do that when it's hard? Here's here's my answer. It's in this phrase as we are fully known. I have a lot of word pictures. But let's just give you one. God knows what you look like on the scale in the morning before you step into the shower, and he still loves you You know way I know he does. He's omniscient. He's determined through Christ to enter an intimate relationship with us. He calls he awakens, he gives new birth. And we listen, we see. And we respond. I mean, I think we just read about Levi, being called Matthew in the, in the gospel writer, we see about his call, and he was a tax collector, and he had a big party with his friends who were other tax collectors and prostitutes certainly leave I was used to stealing money from people legally under the Roman system, and then indulging themselves in all kinds of material and physical pleasures. prostitutes were his friends. I'm sure his past was sorted. modern day version is a casino owner. Legally stealing money from people, and indulging the flesh. Everything. Jesus knew everything, about Levi, everything about him, and he called him, Follow me. He knows everything about you, and He calls you to follow him. And he holds out salvation. Everything about us is playing he knows all the horrible in us and chooses to love us anyway. And he implants His Holy Spirit to drive out the bad replace it with the good and his patient and kind. Why Can Love Be patient? Why can love constantly seek to give benefit and blessing to others? That's kindness. Why can I do that because it draws from the well of God Himself, who is perpetually patient and perpetually kind. He knows our strengths, and our failings. And he has moved toward us and a covenant keeping love and the same Holy Spirit that drives out the evil and the sin also seals us until the day we die in interest, enter his presence. We are fully known, Paul says, I will fully know he already fully knows

    and he knows is an infinite and loving person can just just pause selfish pride requires us to prop up our worth and our identity on something temporary, big part of the point. The gifts, something weaken failing. Selfish pride requires us to believe a lie that I am special and worthy. Because of what I have accomplished or how I perform how I am in myself. Sometimes by my heritage, it requires a lie that I am important because of what I do or how people think of me. But if you called on the name of Christ to rescue you and forgive you from your pride from your sin, from your immorality, you are known by him already known set in an intimate, personal, eternal, loving relationship. And God knows that you can do nothing apart from Him. He knows that you're filthy and rebellious apart from Him. He knows that you're fleeting and failing apart from him. Yet he called you by name. He said You are mine. And the Holy Spirit with this laser piercing power into your soul is saying I know everything about you. And you're still mine. Paul applies it to the process of growth and Ephesians four that you may know the love of God that should be built up. And let's just use the your home. Your body's a temple of the Holy Spirit your home for the Holy Spirit. He now has made you as home and there's rooms in your life that he opens up the door goes bang girl. This thing's decorated. Terrible. It's time for some changes. Holy Spirit goes in, takes out the sinful replace Is it with a glorious and beautiful? You are known he doesn't open a door and go, Oh, I'm selling this place now. No This one's a keeper. It's a fixer upper, but it's a keeper

    so why do you need to hold on to a position to be noticed to be thought of a reputation? I think this is the key for Humble Confession

    we each have enough sin that of sin were laid bare in front of the whole room you might expect to hear every mother shriek and say get her get him away from my children. The God's love was so great that he says I know everything about her I know everything about him. And she's my friend. He's my friend

    how does love endure? How does love endure knowing that you're fully known, has a great deal George George Matheson Scottish pastor hymn writer, wrote a powerful old hymn love that will not let me go some have made some modern rearrangements of it. He wrote it in five minutes on the day of his sister, his little sister's wedding. The trouble is that for 20 years he had been blind. When he was 20, very close to getting married. He was going blind and his fiancee came to him and said, I can't go through life with a blind man. And she broke off the engagement. And his sister had been his help for 20 years. And she's just about to get married. He had going on with her help become a theologian and a pastor and a hymn writer. But he knew what it meant. little sister's getting married. And it's just me and my cane

    How do you endure? How do you go and be a pastor than love people?

    He writes it in these lines. It's both a happy day and a sad day oh love that will not let me go. I rest my weary soul in the I give the back the life I owe. That in thine ocean depths, its flow may richer, fuller be. And the last he focuses it where we need to focus it. Oh cross that lifted up my head. I dare not ask to fly from the I lay in dust life, Glory dead. And from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be poetic way of describing the blood soaked ground under the cross where Christ shed his life and bore the wrath of God. And in faith in him and his bloody work. We have eternal life. How does love endure at loss? A grief by being known by God. So why would you prop yourself up by claiming some special place in the church because of a gift you were given by God? You don't need to do that. Some thing that you've achieved some goodness that you think now proves that you're something worthwhile to God. Why? Why do all of that when the answer is already plainly in front of us in the love of Christ for us? Here's how it works out like how do you endure? How does it How does it how do you keep going? You're sitting at the table your sibling was praised for something and you're not getting praised. But you did something that really pleased God and nobody else at the table saying anything. And you know that God said I know I Pleased I've sorted in my treasure of memories that all open up and show you when you arrive if someone gets asked to do something cool to serve, or to help and you get asked to do something boring or plain I think of loving family loving aging parents the kind of behind the scenes stuff Jesus says if you do it for me I think it's cool as boring and plain everybody else but if you do it for me I think it's cool

    if you say I'm not smart like that person, I can't sing like that person. I can't organize like that person. I'm a nobody. Jesus says I've gifted you for a job. There are people who have needs. I love them and want you to act on my behalf. They are important to me. Will you love them for me? But what if they lash out what if they don't like it? What if they hurt me? When I've tried to love them they're still important to me. I know. You pleased me. I've treasured it up in a box. And I'm going to open it when you get here

    the gifts are temporary your achievements are for time. Love is permanent. Love is permanent. The gifts are partial, the perfect is coming. We are immature like a child. But we will be grown up one day we will fully know then as we are fully know now. No now selfish pride is cured by the love of Christ. We cease on loves permanence. The short point the end state Okay, we got to stand on loves greatness then got to stand on loves greatness, where what's going to be the firm footing to keep loving when it's harder to love difficult to love. You have to stand on loves greatness. Gifts are the instruments of that grace. So Paul wants to end with one more important point to just drive this home. He goes to set of virtues because the gifts aren't virtues. They're just gifts. They're only virtues as you use them and faith and hope and love. And they're the famous triad of virtues. They're the virtues of all virtues in the Bible, faith, hope and love. Faith is a trust in God, and what he says about himself. Hope is a faith that's applied to the future that God will do as he promises. And love is the choice of the will of the mind of the affections to do what is best for someone else, regardless of cost. Paul sums it up not so now faith, hope and love abide. These are the things that remained you want to know what really stays around, the gifts may not stay around. But these remain.

    He's applied it to personal relationships. It's definitely applied to God but it's applied to personal relationships. Look back up at verse seven love believes all things. It's not naive about sin and its consequences. But because God is still acting in the world, there's an optimism about others, especially when others fail you or hurt you. There's a reticence to judge motives. It's not a blanket statement that you have to put yourself in a vulnerable place to someone who has physically or sexually abused you. But it does mean that you believe that God could change the person and you pray that way. Love hopes all things. Because God is always involved in every situation. There is a confidence that whatever someone else does, or whatever happens God can and will turn it to the good of his people. It's not blind positivity. It's a confidence that God's going to fulfill his promise, no matter the outcome of your next act of loving obedience. faith and hope are equally applied to our Christian relationships and our relationships. With people outside the church, faith and hope are still active. Love continues love abides to continue to think about what's best for another love continues to pray for what is best for another love acts and serves for the best of another. Gifts are going to be done away. But these virtues are here now and they will be forever well, how will faith and hope remain in heaven because we will see we will no longer have to have faith. When we get to heaven, all the barriers are down all the barriers of center down and we have full sight of God, we will still trust him. As the only one who will satisfy our souls, we will still trust him. For the next moment, there will just be no sin in the way from somebody else. There will always be hope, because in heaven with no sin in the way we will see clearly Oh yeah, God's got the next millennia. He's got the next millennia. It's under his control. They will remain. But why is the greatest of these things, love. faith and hope are always focused on what you need. Still. I'm trusting Him for what I need. Still needy, needy to know the future needy to know. But love is the greatest because it stops being concerned about what you need. And its concern is what another needs

    it's actually the delight in another's delight. If you're a pet owner, you have a pet that you like a lot. Maybe you'll love your pet. And your pet is glad that you give them food, a warm lap, a blanket or a walk. You can think they love you. They do and pet like quality. But it's obvious that you get way more out of them. When you make the cat purr, or the dog wags its tail, you get more delight out of that than they get out of you. But you're good with that. God's made us to get our greatest delight in the delight of another. Her greatest delight is in the delight of God that we could make him happy in our feeble frail, finite way. So swinging back around to the opening question, what would it be worth? If suddenly, there was one cure for all cancer like you would? It would be worth a lot? What if there was a cure for selfish pride? What's that cure worth? You already have it. It was worth Jesus's death. It was worth him taking the wrath of God in our place in Jesus Christ. And in following example, we have the cure. Christ's love never ends. If we cling to his Rs will never end either.

    Father, we are grateful now, as we as we see this. You're asking a lot. You're asking more than we can give. So we would pray that by your Spirits power. You would help us to see the love of Christ, what he has done for us. We would see the love of the Spirit that has been poured abroad in our hearts that we would be energized by your spirit and your word. And every one of us has an immediate application before we get out of the driveway, to choose to value someone above ourselves. energize us for it. There are a lot of broken relations. kinships in various parts and all of our lives, and may you apply the love of Christ to our hearts, to make sure we have taken down every vestige of selfish pride. That might mean some need to confess sin and trust the outcome to you. Some might need to be willing to step up again, believing and hoping all things to try again to love. Help us endure in it. Now we look to the example in the Lord's Supper. Remind us over and over the love that's been given to us. Christ's name we pray, amen.

Dan Jarms

Dr. Dan Jarms is teaching pastor and team leader at Faith Bible Church in Spokane Washington, as well as associate dean at TMS Spokane. He has been married for over 30 years to Linda, and has three adult children. He earned his B.A. in English at the Master’s College, B.Ed. at Eastern Washington University, M.Div and D.Min in Expository Preaching at The Master’s Seminary. His other interests include NCAA basketball, gardening, brick oven cooking.

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