Summary: Message 37 in our exposition of 1 Corinthians. This is the fourth of six messages exploring the nature and practice of genuine love.

Chico Alliance Church

Pastor David Welch

“Impossible Love” Part Four

I. Terms of Endearment

II. A better way to go

1. Inadequate love

The short version:

Love is a desire and decision to meaningfully connect with others evidenced by deeds.

2. Humanly impossible love from 1 Corinthians 13

a) Love is continually long-tempered not short tempered

Since love desires to deepen connection with God and others…

Love deliberately retrains negative response and is not short tempered.

b) Love is Kind not cruel or apathetic

Love continually offers kindness not cruelty or apathy.

c) Love is continually supportive not jealous

Love continually supports others without jealousy.

d) Love considers others first (humble) not self (arrogant)

Love continually considers others before self.

e) Love is tolerant not provoked

Love tolerates the imperfections of others without provocation.

f) Love articulates the qualities of others not self (does not brag)

Love looks for ways to articulate the attributes of others, not self.

See previous notes

g) Love acts honorably not shamefully

Since love desires to deepen relationship with God and others…

Love acts honorably and thoughtfully not shamefully.

h) Love serves others not self

Since love desires to deepen connection with God and people…

Love continually strives to serve others first not self.

i) Love forgives not tracts the offenses of others

Since love desires to deepen connection with God and people…

Love always forgives rather than tracts the offenses of others.

j) Rejoices in truth not unrighteousness

The world suppresses the truth by living the lie. The world lives according to what is right in their own eyes but wrong in God’s. Those bound in bitterness focus on unrighteousness. Those who forgive can find the good in most anyone and anything. The focus is on truth not unrighteousness. To rejoice means to take delight in, indicate an inward delight by an outward expression. A smile, a laugh, a song, a word which expression what we are feeling inside.

One who really loves God does not express delight in things that are contrary to the character and purposes of God. In contrast, genuine love expresses outward delight at the triumph of truth over evil. If we really love God and all that he stands for and tells us is good and right, how is it we can express delight in the things that grieve Him? You can’t watch television very long until you find yourself laughing along with the laugh track at things that should normally outrage us. To laugh at the unrighteousness that destroys relationships makes us hard and destroys our own relationships. You can’t rejoice in evil and pursue meaningful connection.

Since genuine love desires to deepen connection with God and others…

Love always rejoices in truth not in violations of God’s truth

Take Inventory! What puts a smile on your face? What causes you to rejoice? Truth or evil?

k) Love protects not reveals all

This verb comes from a stem meaning “to cover,” “to conceal.” It is a rare term but persists in both prose and common speech. Its basic meaning is “to keep covered,” but this gives it such senses as “to protect,” “to ward off,” “to hold back,” “to resist,” “to support.” It can also mean “to keep secret,” “to keep silent,” “to keep a confidence.”

The thought here is to deal with the sin while protecting the sinner. We are so quick to expose the failures of others for ungodly motives. Impossible love cannot ignore sin but seeks to protect and restore the sinner.

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions. Proverbs 10:12

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

True love corrects, disciplines, guides in a way that deepens relationship. True love longs to protect the one they love as Joseph did Mary.

Since love desires to deepen connection with God and others…

Love continually protects not reveals all.

l) Love trusts not questions all

This is not gullibility. Love longs to give the benefit of the doubt and believe the best from others. Love looks and expects the best and good in others. Love also maintains faith in God to bring about good even from difficult situations and relationships. We have a tendency to wonder what good can come of a situation. We have a tendency to question the motives of others.

Since love desires to deepen connection with God and others…

Love trusts not questions.

m) Love hopes for the best not the worst

The next step in belief or trust is hope that things will improve. When love runs low on faith it holds on to hope. Love not only believes the best but hopes for the best. As long as God’s grace is operative, human failure is never final. Paul hoped for the best and believed the best for the Corinthian believers in spite of the catalogue of failures already addressed. Our tendency is not to hope for the best for others. We secretly expect them to continue to fail. In fact, sometimes we not only expect them to fail but we hope they fail. Love hopes for the best from them and for them.

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