Summary: When I love like Jesus loves I set others free to be the best that they can be
In our relationships it seems like there are two kinds of people – those who look at our lives and see our weaknesses and tell us what we can’t do, and those who look at our lives and look past those weaknesses to our strengths and tell us what we can do. That is true in our families, our jobs, in the church and in our communities.
I’d like for you to think of your own lives for a moment and see if you can identify at least one person that fits into each of those categories. I’ve given you space on your sermon outline to write down some names if you’d like.
People who looked at the weaknesses in my life and told me what I could not do:
People who looked past my weaknesses to my strengths and told me what I could do:
Now what I want you to do is to think about those people and consider which ones have had the most positive impact on your life. I think the answer is pretty obvious isn’t it? Those people who have encouraged us to do things that we maybe didn’t even think we could certainly have a more positive impact on our lives than those who have discouraged us from taking the kind of risks in our lives that lead to us becoming the very best we can be.
So if that is the case, don’t you think that all of us need to work on being that kind of encourager rather than holding others back by always focusing on what they can’t do rather than on what they can do? This morning, we’ll see how loving like Jesus requires us to develop that kind of mindset in our relationships with others.
As we’ve done each week in this series, we’ll begin with Paul’s description of Biblical love in 1 Corinthians 13. The next phrase in that passage is:
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things…
(1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV)
After spending a lot of time explaining what love is not, Paul now returns to looking at what love is with this triplet. Let’s examine briefly each of those three phrases:
On the surface, the phrase “bears all things” seems pretty similar to where we began when Paul wrote that love is “patient”. But the word Paul uses here literally means…
“bears all things” =
“to cover all things”
The idea here is that love covers the faults and shortcomings in the lives of others. We can better understand what that means if we consider how God has loved us by covering our sins. God certainly does not ignore or excuse our sins. But He has provided a way that they can be covered through the blood of Jesus.
Likewise, when we bear, or cover, all things, we do not ignore or excuse sin. But there is a sense in which we choose not to publicly reveal the sins of others and in which we overlook their weaknesses in the process of serving their needs.
We need to really be careful with the next phrase – “believes all things”. That phrase does not mean what it sounds like in English. It doesn’t mean that we are to be gullible and just blindly believe anything that someone else tells us.
“believes all things” =
“has full confidence”
Paul is not speaking here of just blind faith, but rather confidence that has a basis in the truth, which as we saw last week, is a person – Jesus – and not just a correct set of facts.
The last phrase – “hopes all things” means much more than just wishful thinking. As we saw in our study of 1 Peter, Biblical hope is confident expectation that God will carry out all that He has promised. So here we see that when it comes to love…
“hopes all things” =
“full of confident expectation”
As with each and every aspect of Jesus’ love that we have been studying in this series, we could find a number of passages where Jesus demonstrated a love that bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things. The passage we’ll look at this morning is at the very end of Matthew’s gospel account in chapter 28, beginning in verse 16. My guess is that this is a very familiar passage for most of us.
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”