Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 7. What's love got to do with it? . No 10 The flawlessness of love (Part 7)

. No 10 The flawlessness of love (Part 7)

What’s love got to do with it?

THE FLAWLESSNESS OF LOVE (PART 7)

For the past six sermons we have been looking at the facets of love as if they were part of the beautiful facets of a diamond. In my first sermon I told you about this diamond that Wendy and I won in a competition that we thought was so valuable, just to discover that it was not as it had what they call ‘feather cracks’ in it. Its value was actually a tenth of the stated value. Now, you could not see the cracks through a naked eye, but you could see it under a microscope. Now, the same with a Christian, you can be a Super Christian on the exterior, but if you do not have love you are nothing, you gain nothing and you are simply a Christian who makes a noise without any tune. You are like cymbals that are just clanged together continuously and therefore you are irritable to those around you. I am sure Paul would have said Vuvuzela if he was living today. The absence of love is absolutely fatal to vital godliness. It also cannot only be the prerogative of a few, it has to be the possession of all.

Today we continue with sermon number 10 in this critical sermon series: ’what’s love got to do with it”. We have already concluded that love has everything to do with Christianity as love is not just an important part of Christianity, but love is what Christianity is all about because God is love and God demonstrated His love by sending His Son to die for us. This is also the identifying mark of a Christian as the world will know that we are Christians by our love. Not only that, it is the New Commandment.

So far we have looked at 11 facets of this glorious diamond called love and today we turn to the last four which are all positive ones, as they simply draw Paul’s argument to a close with a kind of rhythmic melody which we see in verse 7 namely: 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

We will not spend too much time on each and will therefore deal with all four today.

Facet 12. Love bears all things.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

‘Love bears all things is the first of four glorious positives that Paul gives us.

Some commentators emphasise the need for a loving person to be one who bears up under the heavy loads of life, somebody who is willing to carry burdens. According to them a loving person holds steadfast and remains strong in spite of opposition, and a loving person endures all kinds of frustration for the sake of the body.

Now, although these are good attributes, I do not believe that this is what Paul has in mind here. The Greek word that Paul uses for ‘bear’ here is  stego {steg'-o}  which means to deck, like in building a deck, to thatch, to cover, to cover over with silence, to keep a secret, to hide and to conceal the faults of others. ‘To bear’ as to carry is a different Greek word  (bastazo).

 

 

If we understood the previous facets of love then this one makes perfect sense. Our job is to protect one another as we are family. Don’t kill the wounded because one day you might be one. As I said before, ‘blood is thicker than water’, that is why the normal family sticks together, but ‘the blood of Christ is much, much, much thicker than water’, that is why the spiritual family sticks together. This does not mean that we ignore the sins and errors in the body, but we do not parade it. Even when a fellow brother is caught in sin, we are told what to do as we see clearly in Galatians 6:1-2 (ESV) 1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” What is the ‘law of Christ?’ It is love, right? But also look at the words ‘any transgression’ and what does it remind you of when you look at 1 Corinthians 13:7? Aha – ‘all things’, love bears or covers ‘all things’. I must also conclude that if you are not willing to restore a brother or sister in a spirit of gentleness while covering up their sins, then according to the text before us you are not spiritual and you are in your own sins.

So therefore, loving brothers and sisters restore fallen Christians in gentleness and we bear ({bastazo}) or carry their burdens with them, because love bears  (stego {steg'-o}) and covers all. In the process of helping a fallen saint, we do not announce their sins to anybody. That is reserved for step three according to Matthew 18 and only towards a called out group, ‘the ecclesia’ who are appointed to judge the situation regarding an unrepentant person. If they repent, we cover, if they cover we do everything in our might to restore them before we expose. All of this is done in wisdom and with consideration of our fellow believer. I like the way Dr John MacArthur puts it. He says: “It doesn’t mean that love won’t confront, love is truthful. But what it does mean is that out of genuine, passionate, honest, legitimate concern for the value of another person for the real worth of that other person, love will do everything it can to cover the weakness, to cover the failing, to cover the sin.”

 

So church family, love does not scandalise our fellow believers. Sometimes Christians just disappoint me.  They teach their children not to tattle tale, but then they do it all the time. Let me ask you this morning. How would you feel if you were on the receiving end and your sins were exposed to others? Well, then consider others before you expose anything about them to others as you are called to do unto others what you want done to yourself. Peter summarised it well in 1 Peter 4:8 (ESV)8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

So, love warns, love rebukes, love admonishes, but in the process love covers and love bears all things, not just some of them.

What’s love got to do with it? Everything!

Facet 13: Love believes all things.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Paul is not saying here that loving Christians are gullible. He is not saying that you believe the Nigerians when they tell you that for some strange reason there are millions and millions of Rands available to you. It is not saying that you believe that you won money in the British Lotto that you never participated in. It is not saying that you believe all you read in the Newspapers and Magazines. It is not saying that you believe everything somebody tells you.

So what is Paul saying here? I believe that what Paul is saying is that when we deal with our church family we are not suspicious and cynical. One of the meanings of the Greek word  pisteuo {pist-yoo'-o} is to place confidence in someone.

 

It is really not a pleasure to be in the company of Christians who are always suspicious of the others, always assuming the worst, always cynical. No, love goes through life always believing the best and willing to put confidence in others. It means that we are open and favourably disposed towards people.  It seeks to understand every person in the best light possible. It simply sees the worth and potential value of others to the body. Now, love might be proven wrong at times, when people disappoint us, but that is fine. Rather err on the side of love and grace than being this continuous cynical sceptic of all. It simply means at the end of the day that we see each other through the eyes of God who loves us in spite of the fact that we were still sinners. Love is not hoodwinked in believing that others are perfect, but love finds its confidence in Philippians 1:6 (ESV) 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

So love as per our previous point ‘covers the worst’ and as we have just seen in this point ‘it believes the best’.  Is that you on both counts? I pray so!

What’s love got to do with it? Everything!

Facet 14: Love hopes all things.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

‘Love hopes all things’ is obviously in contrast to hopelessness. One of the easiest things in the body of Christ is to give up on one another and to give up on ministry. But, as long as the grace of God is operative in all of us, we never give up. Love believes that God is still busy with people and therefore in spite of their complexities and hang ups we believe that they can change and improve.

Just think what would have happened if Paul gave up all hope for the Corinthian church who were in such a mess? But Paul loved the church in spite of the church. In spite of all their hang ups and issues Paul writes to them, and look how he addresses them in 1 Corinthians 1:2 (ESV) 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:”

Love is fully optimistic, it just keeps on hoping. And what is that hope in? Not in the person but in the Lord. As long as the grace of God is operative, human failure is never final. The death of churches is often because people have given up hope, and then they blame others. It must be their fault that we are going nowhere. But if our hope is found in ‘Christ alone’ as we sang this morning, we will trust Him in the outcome of what the body will be in spite of us. Hope and endurance always go hand in hand. Because our hope is secure our endurance has to be the hallmark of how we function amongst one another as believers. This is clearly seen in the revelation of Christ to the seven churches of Asia. The recurring statement which is really our next point is ‘He who endures to the end will …..’ and then follows the great promises. It is a worthwhile study, so go and check it out.

Love just never looks at one another and says something like ‘that person is a hopeless case’. No, they’re never final and the Holy Spirit is always in the process of sanctifying someone. That’s why Jesus told Peter to forgive seventy-times-seven, because we’re all in process. Love is fully optimistic, it keeps loving because it keeps hoping, even when trust is stunned.

Even when somebody in our body is battling with sin, we restore them gently according to Galatians 6:1-2, and guess what, they might just disappoint us in the whole process. But we keep on restoring, and we keep on hoping. Just think if God gave up on us in the process of salvation. Right guys, cut-off date is seven years old. If you are not born again by then, you are permanently out. Where would that have left many of us? Now before anybody misunderstands my theology, let me just state it clearly. I did not say that God sat around hoping that we would somehow choose Him. All I am saying is that God never gives up on us. He saves people in their early years and He saves people in their later years and He keeps all of those who are His in spite of all the blunders we make and the sins we commit. On the contrary Paul writes in Romans 5:20-21 (ESV)20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

So, who are we to lose hope when it comes to our brothers and sisters in Christ? Sometimes hope is the only thing that can rescue a person from a long series of sinful behaviours. As I said earlier under this point, that Paul had many reasons to discard the Corinthian church, but he remained hopeful for them in his love for them, and look at the outcome. 2 Corinthians 7:13-16 (ESV) 13 Therefore we are comforted. And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. 14 For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. 15 And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. 16 I rejoice, because I have perfect confidence in you.” Because Paul had hope, he moved from frustration to perfect confidence.

I have seen this in my own ministry, that some of those whom I had the least hope for spiritually, ended up in full-time ministry.

What’s love got to do with it? Everything!

Facet 15. Love endures all things.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

This is the last of the facets that makes up this beautiful diamond called love.

What does that mean? The Greek word here is (hupomeno) which means “to stay behind, to await or to endure”. It literally means that you cannot kill love. When all other virtues have departed love will still hang around, it will still be waiting around to serve. “Endures” is actually a military term. This is a term that was used to explain a soldier who faced horrible opposition, violence, persecution, and suffering and even stared in the face of death, but yet survives. Paul is basically saying that no matter what you throw at the loving believer, he or she will survive all of that.

 

It is literally like the love of God. Romans 8:35-39 (ESV) 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God’s love is an enduring love, as when all else fails it will remain behind. And this is how our love needs to be towards one another. Love survives all that. It just doesn’t die, never really gives up. It endures through everything.

Now, I know we have covered it in the other facets, but let me say it again here. If you are part of the body of Christ you will be irritated with some, you will be disappointed in others, you will be hurt by others, but all you need to do is to keep on loving, because love will outlast all of them. Yes you might feel that all these irritations of various kinds are running next to you in a marathon, and you feel like giving up as it seems that they are going to win the race, but church family, hear me. I do not know when they are going to tire, but they will and love will be the one attribute that will be carrying you over the finishing line.

Whenever believing in others and your hope for others is betrayed over and over again, and you are tired of bearing them up, love still hopes, love still perseveres, and love covers their sins because God is still God and for me that is enough. And when hope seems lost, love still endures with triumphant confidence that the God who is still God is still sovereign and still able. Love just holds on. Love is never totally overwhelmed, never, no matter how many disappointments.

God has taught us to love, and the Holy Spirit has put the love of God in our hearts and love will endures it will survive, it is unconquerable because God is love and love is the more excellent way.

What’s love got to do with it? Everything.

Amen!

Logos Community Church:- 16 February 2014