Summary: Exposition, 4 of 5, in the series through 1 Cor 13 about biblical love

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Text: 1 Corinthians 13:7 Title: The Hallmarks of Love 4 Date/Place: LSCC, 3/13/05, AM

A. Opening illustration: A little boy declared that he loved his mother “with all his strength.” He was asked to explain what he meant by “with all his strength.” He said: “Well, I’ll tell you. You see, we live on the fourth floor of this tenement; and there’s no elevator, and the coal is kept down in the basement. Mother is busy all the time, and she isn’t very strong; so I see to it that the coal hold is never empty. I lug the coal up four flights of stairs all by myself. And it’s a pretty big hold. It takes all my strength to get it up here. Now, isn’t that loving my mother with all my strength?” It’s a wise groom who has to be dragged to the altar. He knows what love is. It’s death. If lovers don’t know this, they are headed for trouble. Never will you have your way again. You can’t be happy if this other person isn’t. No matter who wins the argument, you lose. Always. The sooner you learn this the better off you will be. Song 8:7: Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised.

B. Background to passage: This is Paul’s hyperbolic poetic conclusion to his list of defining qualities of Christian love. A volitional, action oriented love that is unconditional, self-sacrificing, and highly valuing it’s object. They all end with all things, showing their comprehensiveness. But this is also a little bit of a hyperbole, because we know that love does not tolerate sin. All things is this sense means all things that are tolerable to the Lord, and in alignment with His righteousness. 2 present, 2 future. Remember love is an action, and things that don’t look like this are not, maybe never were love. These apply to committed, covenant relationships. And these may not be used to blackmail or force others to “love” you. Please also remember that grace is there for our failures.

A. Love bears all things

1. This word means to cover in order to protect. Love always looks for the best way to protect those it loves. Even in correction, rebuke, or admonition, it seeks to inflict the least amount of pain absolutely necessary. It would rather conceal what is wrong in another, rather than broadcasting it before the world. This does not mean that love ignores wrong, but that it deals with it in the kindest way possible. Love does not protect the sin, but protects the sinner. It feels the pain of those it loves, and helps carry the burden. In this sense it bears all things. The motivation for bearing all things is restoration. Pro 10:12, 1 Pet 4:8, Rom 3:25-26

2. Illustration: the story of the young lady who climbed to the top of the bell tower and hung on the clapper, so that it would not ring. Let’s say that your child or spouse is doing something that must be corrected, you take them aside…

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