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February 28, 2016

"ENDURING LOVE"

TEXT: 1 Corinthians 13: 8-13
READING:
 Psalm 145: 1-21

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SUBJ: The eternal endurance of love and especially as it is seen in comparison to all other aspects of the grace of God in that they are manifested for this present time.

AIM: That we might be fully exercised in the love that He has given us and that we might be fully in anticipation of and eternal environment of love together forever with the Lord.

INTR: The charity (love) described in such precious detail in this chapter is an essential for a blessed life in this present world and so we would be ever looking to its expression here.
1. It has been well said that one who does not know or does not enjoy the things of the Lord in this present life would be miserable in Heaven since it will all be about the Lord.
2. As we have studied the characteristics of love in this present chapter (vv. 1-7) there is realization that it is not mere duty, but ever functioning to serve the soul and to honor God.
3. But, even as we are given over to Biblical Love in this life we realize that there is an increase that must assuredly carry over beyond and forever.

THESIS: The declaration that love never fails speaks to us of the nature of our eternal identity with the Lord and each other as well as the lack of need of faith and hope in the world to which we go.

I. Confidence given in love (v. 8)
1. A simple but profound revelation in that:
1) That which is commanded by the Lord is also blessed and perpetuated by His grace.
2) That as we watch all things crumble around us it is secured in the heart where the Lord dwells with it.
3) But, the fact is that, as we have already alluded, it is eternal in its endurance and increasing in its blessedness.
2. The Apostle highlights the eternal characteristic of true love by comparing it with companion graces for this age.
1) O prophecies – both of the predictive kind as well as that which is characterized as “forth-telling.”
2) Tongues and the issues then and now:
i. Matters of pride and exhibition then
ii. Matters of confusion even now (there are those today who preach the Gospel of Grace).
iii. The other issues that cast doubt in this present age – seeking gifts apart from truth!
3) Knowledge – in the sense of learning and teaching and all associated with it such as science.
3. In all these mentioned in comparison, the fact is that in Heaven there will be no need for them.

II. Comparisons to then and now (vv. 9-12)
1. We must understand that those things mentioned in comparison were of value then and may be even now – they are however expressed to us as specific gifts of the Holy Spirit.
2. The emphasis that follows leads us to compare the now and then with delightful expectation:
1) While much emphasis is laid on learning and great respect is given to those who excel therein we are being told here that we haven’t begun to learn all that will be revealed!
2) There is much to be experienced and learned as we listen to the preaching of the Word and it is greatly encouraged as the appointed means of exhortation and edification.
3) The fact is that what is now is only part of what shall be known.
3. The word “perfect” is descriptive of that which is come to full age and maturity and
1) Could be construed as relative maturity individually, but
2) Seems more likely to look the completion of purpose and revelation of the end for which Christ died and rose again – that we be brought into the fullness of realization and enjoyment of the love of God.
4. The illustration of the difference between that language, reasoning and expression of a child as compared to a fully grown man is to point up the difference between the same things now in the spiritual realm compared to what shall be.
5. A further look into the matter of what is now revealed as compared to what we shall see when face to face with the Lord
1) While we anticipate great things,
2) We would seek ever to expand what we do see – it is glorious now but so much more then!!

III. Continuance for now (v. 13)
1. We would be careful not to minimize the function and importance of both faith and hope for now.
1) We are reminded of: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6
2) AND: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Colossians 1:27
2. The disciples were acutely aware of the need for this age as they prayed: “Lord increase our faith…”
3. But, we would ever be careful that nothing rise above the importance of love in every aspect of our present life and our anticipation of that which is to come.