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Characteristics of Christian Love (Part 4 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
February 15, 2021 3:00 am

Characteristics of Christian Love (Part 4 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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February 15, 2021 3:00 am

Many of us are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13’s description of love: it always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, and never fails. We might’ve memorized the words, but are we putting them into action? Hear more on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth.

He described a kind of love very different from what we see our self absorbed world. His words are both timeless and familiar but are they the qualities we possess today untruthful life. Alister Ben continues a message titled characteristics of Christian love in first Corinthians chapter 13 one of the things that I think would become apparent to those in the course of studying these most strategic varices for the church. Is that what we entered into when we open these pages send in our son minds in the truth of Scripture here is a whole realm about which secular man knows very little. It is increasingly apparent that so much of what is addressed as love, both in terms of poetry, and certainly in the lyrics of songs is far removed from life. Indeed, if it is anything to do with any of the great words of our lives.

Most of it has to do with Iraq's advanced for Leon from which we get Philadelphia our city of brotherly love. Maybe store gay, which is the kind of love.

You would expect familiarly between good friends, but certainly not the agape love that we've been considering in these evenings. Indeed, the culture in which we are living is a culture that is increasingly consumed by sex and by selfishness. It only knows about taking it only knows about getting it only knows about that self absorbed satisfaction level which begins with me and my needs is out of that kind of world that God has called a people for himself and out of that world recon redeemed in Christ with all those residual factors in the background things in our past that are a source of shame to us issues from before that are frankly a disappointment and it is vitally important that we continually are seeking the help of the Spirit of God to apply the word of God to our lives, and it is only as God is at work within our lives to transform and changes that we can ever begin to put our toys away are in the water of this great vast ocean of God's goodness we have sand on each occasion in beginning that where these characteristics between verses four and seven are not displayed in a local company of God's people that local church will begin to drift and will ultimately and last week claimed, and in disintegration so that it is no small matter for us to ask ourselves quite honestly is with something doing each occasion whether there is any realistic sense in which we would be able to replace the word love, either with our own names are with the name of our church. I have found this. I continue to find this one of the most searching chapters that I've ever turned out in all of holy Scripture. Now we left it last time with the phrase verse seven love always protects, we pick it up at, always trusts what is the characteristic of this love expressed in the life of an individual manifested in the company of God's people. It is a trusting love. If you're using a different version.

It may read in your Bible. Love believes all things, now that does not for a moment mean that love is easily deceived by wrongdoing, but what it does mean is this, that genuine love is always prepared to give the benefit of the doubt and that is an obvious send a practical expression of genuine Christianity because it means for some of us particularly that we have to ruthlessly and definitely saying no to that which arises most easily in our lives, namely cynicism and suspicion for Dave. Love always believes the best and my natural reaction is one of cynicism and suspicion that I need the spirit of God to transform my mind and to change my heart in the way in which I respond to people and two issues that I face it means that if this love becomes evident in my life and the life of our church in your life, then what will happen is that I will cease to believe that the motives of my brothers or my sisters are as warped as my motives often are what else does it mean when Paul says that we should prepare one another above ourselves has to mean something and it doesn't mean some kind of false modesty. Why do we do that also somebody because love is supposed to profound others consider others better than yourself is what it means at all. I this is what it means when we see into our hearts and see we see our motives and we know the motives of our hearts are not what they might be and then we see somebody else doing something live when it pervades and invades and transforms look so that individual and does not assume that they are motivated from the same wart standard that often is driven online. The reason being that love always believes the patents receipt time with me for a moment of the book of Job. Would you because there's a wonderful illustration of this in in terms of Job's friends here you've got a man who's in a dreadful predicament.

You know the story of Job, don't you have there was a man in the land of Oz, whose name was Job, and he was blameless and upright, and he feared God and the shunned evil, and he had seven sons and daughters. You can read this wonderful little biographical prologue there at the beginning of the book and how he was placed under the most severe form of testing is that which was precious to him in his life was increasingly taken away from them till both in terms of family and resources in personal health and his own. Even his own looks were so devastated and him that when his three friends come upon them at the end of chapter 2 in verse 12 of chapter 2 we read when they saw him from a distance they can hardly recognize them. They began to weep aloud and they tore the robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights, and no one said a word to him because they saw how great his suffering was the first guy to speak is Eliphaz he begins in chapter 4, and this is essentially what he says to him consider. Now he sets who being innocent has ever perished. Where were the upright ever destroy as I have observed those who plot evil and those who sow trouble reap it was a problem with his friends but he didn't love because love always trusts, it always trusts and believes that the best is the case until it is proven wrong and if they didn't really like Job, they would have been coming at it from a different angle and Eliphaz is no different from the others to follow. The great challenge for many of us, especially those of us who have perfectionistic tendencies.

Those of us who demand that everything is right always right all the time and evident right all the time and the best all the time. Somebody's got a problem inside of them. They just don't want to do it right or whatever it is important for the metering to be doing the very best because we don't believe the best would bring them down. What this speaks to than is a community of mutual trust. William Barclay, who was professor at Glasgow University in New Testament for a number of years dowsing one of his writings. The story of a man named Arnold who became the headmaster of Rugby school.

The school and been written had been not driven by a kind of iron roared out tyrannical rule for most of its history and when this man Arnold became the headmaster of the school.

He called all of the boys together and he told on boys as of today since I became your headmaster. There's going to be a lot more liberty and a lot less flogging and he said to them, he said boys, I want you to know that you are free, but you are responsible.

The boys were absolutely bewildered by this, they couldn't believe it. They found it difficult to believe. And when they had been guilty of some misdemeanor and they came before him. They brought their same lame excuses from before the kinds of things they used to say to justify themselves as a result of which the usually got a beating, but when they came into the headmaster and give their lame excuses the headmaster would reply by saying if you say so.

It must be true.

I believe your word as a result of which it is recorded that after a short period of time. The boys began to say to one another. It is a shame to tell Arnold a lie. He always believes you. I'm sick of the things forcible. He really wasn't too smart in the unregenerate world that is a difficult road to go okay so when I got a hold them up as a pattern of excellence, but certainly within the world of professing faith is the right road to go. It is actually the only road to go is the loving way to go, and some others as parents find this a great challenge. How to implement this kind of trusting love with our children because we want the best for them. We want to hedge them. We want to protect them. We want to believe them and asked but love always believes the best. Also, will you notice that love always hopes, love is always looking forward. This is not some vague notion of optimism but rather it is a realistic appraisal of things which refuses to take failure is fine. This is the kind of love, which is expressed in a friend who when you blow it doesn't make you feel as though you've blown it for good is the kind of love twitching a parent recognizes failure and their children, but sees failure notice final. It is a love which hangs on it is a love which hopes it is a love which anticipates it is a love which never gives up.

It's the kind of encouragement that God consistently gives to his people throughout all the pages of holy Scripture. Despite all the rebellious wanderings of his folks as they have charted their course and turned their back on God, God speaks to them through his servant and second Chronicles 7 and he says to them. If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land. You see the love of God has the forward-looking does not simply look at where we've been. But Luke said whereby his grace we are going. That's wonderful because for some of us where we've been is not good but God looks down upon us manifests his love to us how else did Jesus have such a wonderful meeting with Peter on the shoreline there after they made him his breakfast talk about our breakfast meeting that we might've attended. That was one not to miss. You can read it before you go to sleep. At the end of John chapter 21 you remember the last time that I said met it had been at the moment of Peter's denial. It says in one of the gospel records that in that moment, Peter looked across and saw Jesus and their eyes met and he had denied him, even as Jesus predicted he would says that he went out and he wept bitterly. It was after that I didn't need the very beginning of the scene that ends with a breakfast meeting that he had said to his friends say I'm going fishing within that context.

Jesus comes to them walking along the shoreline and the ice and the question hey Peter, do you love me Peter replies Lord you know that I love you Jesus asked him actually do you aggravate me. Peter replies Lord you know that I thought Leo you I love you with a brotherly love Jesus and the second time Peter, do you add or pay me to reply. Hey Lord, you know that I for Leo. You and the third time Jesus asked do you really even the Leon media you love me with a brotherly love and Peter was grieved that the Lord asked him 1/3 time and he affirmed again.

You know how much I love you and Jesus said to go and feed my sheep. Was he saying failure is never final when love exists.

Why is love always hopes you see this is one of the great distinguishing marks of the believer in our day because Paul tells us in Ephesians 212 that outside of Christ. Men and women are without God and without hope they have no they are hopeless, but when God invades our life. One of the things that he creates within us is ungodly anticipation which fueled by law.

Has this is his hallmark and ask you tonight is ask myself, are there any of my brothers and my sisters and my physical family or in my spiritual family who have begun to wonder about given up on one of them have I given up on an unbelieving spouse, a rebellious backslidden son and if I gave up on them. When did I determine it was legitimate to do so, and why when James writes of the end of his letter. He says my brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back. Remember this, whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins there ever been anyone, of whom you are.

I have said it's over. There's no chance there's no possibility of restoration there's no possibility of reconciliation that may be nothing other than an absence of love in our lives. Hello matches what is essentially the last one because love not only trusts and hopes. But it always persevere lives now Phillips paraphrases these three that we just me mentioning tremendous work in that little paraphrased by Philippines.

Everyone should have one.

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its whole school.

No limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its whole word here is Hooper one eye, which means for teachers. It doesn't mean acquiescence is the picture of a soldier who when the battle is at its toughest.

He launches into it with renewed energy. It is not the picture of a marathon runner who knows that he has long since passed his potential time for victory at all that he is now doing is sucking air in the hope that he can finally get across the finishing line in the one it is fortitude and vision, and the other is grumpier severe and send acquiescence to the circumstance. Not in this kind of love this kind of love always persevere. I can remember who sang the song that was somebody like Dusty Springfield that certainly dates me, but it went like this.

I can't stop loving you I've made up my mind.

Remember that some I can't stop loving you I've made up my mind. In other words, there is been a determination and as a result of my determination volitional he in my will. I'm going to love you not to do with the Aven floor feelings. It has to do with a consecrated commitment and in the Christian context fueled by the power of the spirit, the love of the Lord Jesus, that is how a husband loves his wife that it's all wife loves her husband recently heard of an individual are gone for counsel to five different people because his marriage was messed up he going to these different Christian people, asking them for help and wanted to analyze them and talked about his past and what happened with his own mother and father and someone else attracted suggested if he took a temperamental analysis test of this would be helpful, and so on one individual in the course of the conversation asked the person it would you say to me again your marriage. The person was going through it came to the phrase, for better or for worse. The fellow said stop say that again said for better for worse Asked him what is it right now. The guy said worse guys at right now in your lower what you say you would do what it all works. Guys that I said I would love my wife guys at end of counseling sessions, I had a telephone call from this man who told me that out of the period of time that he was wandering around. The only thing that brought realism to the one guy who said that to them and not send them home and away from a potentially a gophers relationship was an expression of Jesus's love for his disciples John chapter 13 in verse one it says of Jesus. He who had loved those were on his own and the world. He then love them to the end. Jesus says of those who are his own. I can't stop loving you I've made up my mind that brings us to the final little phrase at the beginning of verse eight love never fails.

Love never fails. We can either regard this, incidentally, is the 16th facet of the reset. There were 50 or to mix metaphors we can see this final little phrase at the beginning of verse eight, is the capstone on the whole building of love.

Phillips again. Love, he says, is in fact the one thing that stands when all else is falling.

See Parkside church can become known for a lot of things and it is known for a lot of things and it will increasingly be known for different but it would be wonderful for our church family to be no is a family that seriously humbly realistically was asking the spirit of God to write the 13th chapter of first Corinthians into our hearts and minds and relationships wonderful challenge from Alastair beg to be people who genuinely love others. This is Truth for Life with the final part of a message titled characteristics of Christian love series called love in the local church. One of the things we love pure Truth for Life is being able to provide so many free resources, along with at cost books so that everyone has access to clear relevant Bible teaching all of that is made possible because of the special group of listeners we call truth partners.

These are folks who make regular monthly donations that offset the cost of our resources so that Alistair's Bible teaching is widely available to anyone who wants to learn more about God's word. We are so grateful for the support of our truth partners and we want to invite you to join this important team today. When you do will say thank you by inviting you to request a book that I been mentioning the past couple of weeks. It's a devotional called an ocean of grace. This is a collection of daily readings that explores all that Jesus death and resurrection has accomplished its unique in that it includes reflections from authors from across the centuries.

Well-known Christian writers like Augustine, Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon just to name a few, and the original language that the authors used has been translated and updated for easy reading. Today is the last day of motion of grace is available so don't delay request to copy you sign up today to become a partner or when you give a one-time donation to support the ministry of Truth for Life.

We invite you to visit our website Truth for, click on the book image you see in the mobile app or call 888-588-7884 about Lapine. Thanks for joining us today. Tomorrow Alastair takes a closer look at the genuine marks of spiritual maturity message titled love is forever.

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