Summary: Although we now do not understand things like the sacrifice of the men and women who have fallen for our country’s freedom; we will one day understand many things more clearly and definitively.
Sustaining Love (Memorial Day Message)
Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 13:12-13
Introduction: The sacrifice of our men and women in uniform reminded me of why they fight for our freedom. Do you remember what you were doing on 9/11/2001? How did you feel when you first began to understand that this was a terrorist attack on our country? How did you react? For most of us, our only connection to the events of 9/11 was what we saw on television. I was out fishing when the attack had began, I then stopped by the library at Golden Gate University to find out that classes had been cancelled for the day, and so I, like many saw much of the attack on television. How do we reconcile the attacks that have occurred on America? We, as a people are more connected than we may realize.
We don’t understand
We have pain and hurt inside
We cry for the fallen
Propositional Statement: Although we now do not understand things like the sacrifice of the men and women who have fallen for our country’s freedom; we will one day understand many things more clearly and definitively.
I. Seeing in The Mirror Dimly and Knowing In Part (v. 12) READ IT
A. NOW- Today, while we are in this earthly condition, when America has to defend its freedom and wars become necessary
-We see in a mirror dimly. Sometimes I think we have trouble seeing the mirror at all. What Paul was saying here is: We have “inadequate knowledge of a thing because it is a poor reflection as opposed to the real thing.” AT Robertson wrote, “To see a friend’s face in a cheap mirror would be very different from looking at the friend” In the biblical era, mirrors were made of copper, bronze, silver, gold, or electrum. They were highly polished so as to reflect the face as clearly as possible. The thought of imperfect seeing is emphasized by the character of the ancient mirror (here in Corinthians), which was of polished metal, and required constant polishing, so that a sponge with pounded pumice-stone was generally attached to it. Corinth was famous for the manufacture of these. Can you imagine polishing the mirrors we have today with a pumice-stone and then trying to get a good reflection?
B. An Enigma -In addition to seeing your reflection in an ancient mirror, Paul added obscurity and enigma or the element of riddles to the reflection. Dimly or Darkly is sometimes used to describe the reflection. When I think about the men and women who have fought for America’s freedom, and also the reason why fighting is required; it is like a dirty, ground-up surface to me. I can’t understand it! It makes me weep!
-One Commentary mentioned that when we are dealing with divine facts, we use human language that can only represent them in metaphors, images, and visible phenomena; to which only represent relative, not absolute truth (Pulpit Commentary, 1 Corinthians, 425).
-In the present through gifts, we see a reflection of God, in the future, we will see him face-to-face.
Transition: When you attempt to understand the hard issues of the contemporary world, how far do you get? What do you understand? How many of these issues do you think you can solve. This may include anything from the reason for war to getting along with the person in the chair next to you. Larry Richards thinks that the writer Paul here answers this question in Corinthians 13; “How do we recognize special closeness to God in ourselves or in others?” With an emphasis on the wrong things, the church in Corinth needed to come together in spite of wrong motives, wrong priorities and other difficulties. If we don’t understand this, then we are likely to grasp at things that do not build us up. I will conclude today’s message with just how we do that; and how we can remedy it.
In the Corinthians passage, we see a transition from individual knowing to knowing more fully.
II. Knowing Fully and Having Been Fully Known (v. 12)
A. Knowing Fully: To know fully means to have a full knowledge and understanding of something.
-In the Scripture, the concept of what we know, hear, and see now has been experienced in history; and will be an example for our faith, hope, and love.
- Concerning Moses in Numbers 12:8, God said, “With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings. And he beholds the form of the LORD. (The first Greek version of the Bible says that Moses beheld God’s glory) So when God communicated with Moses, He both spoke in an audible sounds and showed Moses an expression of who He was. Further, it was not like an enigma, riddle, or dark saying.