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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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1 corinthians 13

Love Never Fails-Part Three

Today will be our final recap from the Devotional series on 1 Corinthians 13


1 Corinthians 13

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.1 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


Love Is Not Rude or Selfish

Love doesn’t behave itself unseemly. Love is not rude. Love is not ill mannered. That seems fairly simple, right? Why would rudeness or being ill mannered exhibit a lack of love? If we conduct ourselves in a rude manner, we are simply saying in effect, “I don’t even care enough about you to consider how my actions might affect you.”

Love seeketh not her own. Love is not selfish. Biblical love should be seeking the best for others, and that sometimes is not going to be what is best for us.

These two could be summed up by simply stating that true Biblical love gives up what we would consider “personal rights.”

Jesus surrendered ALL of His personal rights for us, therefore setting the example for us in this matter? What exactly did He give up? What did He do?

Philippians 2:5-8  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

How’s that for an example?

Love Is Not Angry

Love is not easily provoked; love doesn’t get angry. Many at this point may be saying, “What about righteous anger?” Okay, true, but how many of us are really out there tipping over the tables of the money changers in the Temple?

Most of our anger is NOT righteous anger. Most of it is simply because we are not getting things our way. Trust me, I know this very, very well! When we are angry because we don’t get our way, we are saying simply that we do not love the other person. Why? Because at that point we are saying our needs are more important than their needs. Part of true Biblical love is putting the needs of others first. If we are angry because of solely what has been done to us, we are in violation of Paul’s teaching here.

Again, Jesus set the example here. Of course, The Bible teaches cases of Jesus being angry. He was angry at the money changers, sin and the false teachers of the time. But did you ever notice that not once did Jesus ever get angry at someone for what they were doing to Him? He didn’t even get angry at those who placed Him on that cross.

Love Is Not Keeping Count

Love thinketh no evil.  That statement needs some explanation, really. It’s not that we don’t think evil thoughts. This has to do with keeping track. This means we aren’t keeping an accounting, or a ledger of the wrongs another person has done to us.

The previous devotion showed us how we are not to react in anger at the moment a wrong is done to us; this one is about how we likewise should not hold a grudge over wrongs done to us. In other words, forgive and forget. Of course, we can’t always literally forget wrongs, so what does this mean in reality? As with all things love, this one is a factor of our actions and not necessarily our minds. We may remember wrongs, but we need to not let them change the way we behave towards another.

The word used for the accounting in this passage is the same word for accounting used to refer to God’s forgiveness. He does not keep an accounting of our sins once they are forgiven. Do we look at the transgressions of others the way God looks at ours?

Love Does Not Rejoice In Sin

Love doesn’t take joy, or rejoice, in iniquity; That is, unrighteousness or sin. How does this happen? Well, there are probably a couple of ways this happens.

One is rejoicing in our own sin. Yes, that is correct; even believing Christians sometimes rejoice in our own sins. How? Well, perhaps by continuing to purposely sin because we know we are forgiven. We may claim we are just rejoicing in Christian freedom, but we are actually rejoicing in our sin.

The other, and very common way we rejoice is to rejoice in the sins and iniquities of other people. The list of  how we do this could be long, so we will talk about a couple.

We gossip. We TALK about the sins of others. Sometimes we even gossip through our prayers! If we aren’t talking to that person about their sin, then we don’t need to be talking about their sin. Just in case you think I’m talking about you, that statement was VERY convicting to me personally.

Why would we rejoice in another person’s sin? Well, it is probably not because we are happy for their fun! We are probably doing it because it makes us feel that we are somewhat, if not vastly, better than they are. I can only speak for myself, however. What about you?

Love Does Rejoice In Truth

There are so many possible lessons here it would take pages to cover them, so we will just sum up a few.

Love is honest, especially with other people. We should deal with people in all of our dealings honestly. Tell the truth; don’t lie; don’t flatter to get your way.

Love shares the truth of the Gospel. If we don’t share with our fellow humans salvation through Jesus Christ, we are basically not being truthful with them about their eternity.

Love shares the truth of scripture. We have to teach what the Bible teaches in love but also with truth. We do not show love to anybody by watering down the truths the Bible teaches.

All Things

Paul begins wrapping up the description of love given to him by the Holy Spirit here. All things…repeated four times in this verse. Really, we can just see here how Paul is more or less saying that love is all things. Does that sound familiar? Remember all the law and prophets hanging on love?

Love bears all things. Not that love just puts up with things and gets shoved around. Love bears all the transgressions of others OUT of love.

Love believes all things. Love is not gullible. Love looks for the best in people. Of course we are all sinners, but we don’t need to be looking for the sin. Trust and believe people.

Love hopes all things. As long as the tie that binds us to Jesus Christ is present, and it always is once there…then there is hope for every person. Jesus never gives up on us and we do not need to give up on our brothers and sisters.

Love endures all things. Even when all of the above have disappointed us, we keep on keeping on. Why do we do that? Because in the end, love never fails. Why does it not? God is love; God never fails.

Love Never Fails-Part Two

Read all of 1 Corinthians 13 here

Putting Verbs In Your Sentences

What we have there is simply the greatest description of love ever written. It is as full and complete a description of love, and what it is, as can be found anywhere. Actually, since it is God’s description, I think we need to say it IS the best description.

Dr. Phil, of the daytime talk show, does a rather neat thing in his show quite often. As they run off to a commercial for the last break, he says something like this: “When we come back, I am going to put verbs in my sentences and tell you what I think and what I think you need to to.” All he is really saying is that it is time to move from talking and feeling to doing.

In the above passage, Paul has put verbs in his sentences. I am as far from a Greek scholar as East is from the West, so look this up for yourself; what we have here is not a lot of adjectives describing love. What we see in that passage is nothing but verbs describing what love does.

Does this all sound familiar? Biblical love is NOT primarily a feeling; Biblical love is primarily a set of actions. We have to put legs on our love and let it walk around, or it is meaningless. In upcoming Devotions, we are going to dig into some of the ways Paul has taught us that our love can actually be expressed.

Love is Patient

Now we begin a study of what Paul taught us are some things we can do to put our love in action.

Love is patient; Charity suffereth long. This is not a description of how Christians should be patient or long suffering in regards to their lives and the challenges they face; this is referring to our patience with people. Specifically, this refers to our ability to not get angry with people, no matter the provocation. It could have been written, “love doesn’t get angry.”

This is purely a Christian trait, especially in the context of the Greek culture of the time. In Greek culture, this kind of love would not have been considered a virtue, but rather a weakness.  Here is how Aristotle described the greatest virtue: “Refusal to tolerate any insult, any injury and readiness to strike back at any hurt.”

Aren’t we glad God has set the example of this for us? If God Himself had not shown us this great virtue where would we be? We sometimes react in anger because, “Well, they deserve it!” What if God had just given us what we deserve? We all know the answer to that question, don’t we?

Despite our sin, God revealed the following to us in His Word:

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

That should make us all very happy, and it should make us want to deal with other people in the same way God has dealt with us.

Love Is Kind

Love is kind. It is useful to take that statement and start from the base of the previous one. Despite all the wrongs we may have been subjected to, our love should still be kind. We should look at it that way; it is part of the same sentence in fact. The two thoughts are physically linked!

Kindness, like Biblical love, is not just some fuzzy feeling we have towards another; it is more than just being nice, although that is certainly important. The implication of this word, “kind” is usefulness to another, or deeds of kindness. This is in spite of what they may have given to us.

Aren’t we glad God has been kind to us? Again, aren’t we glad God didn’t react in a way that we deserved? Despite our actions, He has displayed the ultimate in kindness to us, in the form of His Son Jesus Christ.

Love Is Not Jealous

As we have covered earlier, Paul wrote to the Corinthians to address some very serious problems in that church. As we covered, the church at Corinth was blessed with an exceeding blessing of spiritual gifts. One of the problems was that their gifts had turned from blessing which should have unified them to cursings  which were dividing them!

Why was this occurring? Simply put, jealousy. Instead of rejoicing in the gifts of others, they were becoming upset that they didn’t have the same gifts. Not having a particular gift was taking away their ability to be the center of things.

If we are honest, we have all been guilty of this offense. I certainly have. I love to sing, but on my best day I am quite average. On the other hand, others have voices like angels and people are just so inspired by hearing them. I have to admit looking upon that and wishing it was me so that those folks would be telling ME those good things. That hurts to say, but it is true.

I am hardly alone, though, am I? We have all done something like that at some point. When we do that, who has the gift come to be about? That’s right: when we do that we make our gifts, or the gifts of others about us rather than God.

Love, however, is not jealous. Our focus should always be how an activity edifies and builds up God and our church, not about how it builds US up.

Love Is Not Arrogant

This is the final devotion in Verse 4 of our text. Love does not brag, boast of it’s accomplishments; love is not an arrogant blowhard.

The church at Corinth was full of this as well. Those with the more popular gifts were using these gifts to lord it over other believers in some misguided air of superiority.

How do we not become this way? The same way we do not become jealous. We just remember who and for what we are given particular abilities. They are not for our own aggrandizement and selfish ambition, they are for the honor and glory of God and the building up of His body of believers.

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