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Beyond Puppy Love

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
February 18, 2021 12:00 am

Beyond Puppy Love

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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February 18, 2021 12:00 am

Puppy love manifests itself in Valentine’s Day cards, friendship rings, and nice dinners. Mature love manifests itself in 12-hour work days, hospital rooms, and nursing homes. One lasts for a moment; the other lasts for a lifetime.

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Love, he says, endures all things. This is the steadfastness of love. What a fitting way to end this paragraph, too.

All the good above in this paragraph is meaningless if you stop. If you find some loophole, some escape clause, nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ. Romans chapter 8 verse 35. If we are to love one another, then as Christ loves us, then we will endure.

And that makes it matter. Welcome to Wisdom for the Heart with Stephen Davey. Stephen's been working his way through 1 Corinthians 13 in a series called, Will True Love Please Stand Up? We're learning what true, biblical, agape love really is.

Today we come to the eighth and final lesson in that series. Puppy love manifests itself in Valentine's Day cards, friendship rings, and nice dinners. Mature love manifests itself in long work days, hospital rooms, and nursing homes.

One lasts for a moment, the other lasts for a lifetime. Stephen's calling today's lesson beyond puppy love. Now we come to the end of this study and Paul gives us five distinct, positive phrases that summarize true agape, true love. 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 7. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and the first part of verse 8, love never fails.

Let's go back to the first one. Paul writes, love bears all things. This is the support of love. Some take this verb here, stego, which can mean to cover as sort of its nuance. It's used for a roof that covers a house. So that Paul has in mind the idea that love will cover over everything. That nuance could be true. More than likely this verb here actually refers to the bearing of a load.

That is the strength of the beams that hold the roof up. In other words, true love will bear up under a heavy load. Great pressure, great insult, great disappointment. One author said it this way, true love gets underneath the load of life and bears it to the limit.

How true. And in relationships in general, true love gets underneath the load and helps carry the load of life. The apostle Paul is saying this phrase that true love bears up under the heavy load of life's problems and suffering despite deprivation and it includes hard work and even opposition.

Agape lends a hand. It shares the burden. It joins another person under the pressure of life.

It lends a shoulder to lift the load. I had lunch today with four prospective seminary students who traveled here for the weekend. Three from South Carolina and one from Ohio. One was married and already a college graduate having served now for 15 years as a youth pastor and sensing the need for training. I asked him about his family and he told me that he had two children, his wife and one was 13 and one was 10. Then he went on to tell me that his 13-year-old son was born with severe brain defects, unable to swallow, severely mentally retarded, unable to move, needing to be fed through tube, 24-hour care in their home. Boy is very aware of life around him even though emotionally and mentally he's about at the age of three or four.

The man's depth of character had already been apparent to me but now I knew why. He and his wife had chosen to love and care for a child with great challenges. He said to me over lunch as we were sitting around the table that God had been so faithful to them in such a sweet and kind disposition, spirit, no bitterness, no complaining.

In fact he said to me, I know there are a lot of people out there suffering a lot more greatly than we do but our son is a joy to us. See that is the strength of agape. Next Paul goes on to tell us about what we'll just call the simplicity of agape.

He writes love believes all things. It's completely trusting. As we apply this God word it simply means that we're taking God at his word. We simply take him at his word.

We trust him. We don't complicate his word. We don't twist his word.

We don't redefine his word. We take it. We trust it at face value. As this relates to other people this means we give them the benefit of the doubt. We simply choose to believe the most favorable possibility. We refuse the urge to be suspicious, to create complicated conspiracies.

We resist the urge to engage in drama assigning the worst possible motive to what somebody says or does. Agape believes all things. There's a simplicity to it. It takes the kindest view. It takes God at his word and people at face value. When the scribes and Pharisees you remember saw Christ.

They thought the worst of him didn't they. When Jesus told that paralyzed man you remember Luke chapter 5 that his sins were forgiven. First thing he said your sins are forgiven. They immediately jumped to the conclusion he was blaspheming God. Then he simply validated his ability to forgive sin by doing what only God could do and he said to the paralyzed man why don't you pick up your mat and walk home and he did.

The scribes and Pharisees remain convinced that the Lord was not of God but an imposter at best. There he was in broad daylight just healed a paralyzed man but they couldn't believe the best about Christ why. Bottom line they hated them.

They hated them and hate believes the worst. Agape believes the best. Now understand simplicity and being simple minded is not the same thing.

These are different things. Paul goes on to add a third enduring quality here. This is not only the strength of Agape and the simplicity of Agape but the sweetness of Agape. You could call even this next phrase the smile of Agape.

I don't know which one to go with they both started with S so that worked for me in this outline but I didn't know I decided on sweetness. Notice where Paul writes further in verse 7 love hopes all things. This is the sweet optimism of Agape. It never stops hoping. It never takes anybody's failure as final. The world frowns at you.

This person smiles at you even when you're in trouble they'll smile ever had a teacher like that. I thought this was interesting and it was funny in fact Pepper Rogers intended to be funny. Several years ago when Pepper Rogers was the head football coach at UCLA he was going through a terrible losing season he couldn't win a game couldn't buy a touchdown. The media was hounding him. The alumni of the school were calling for his job.

UCLA fans were upset and angry. His friends were becoming more and more scarce. Pepper Rogers said this on one occasion he said I wasn't even sure where my wife was at all this. She'd become really quiet. So he kind of complained her one day and he said I guess my best friend now is my dog. But a man needs at least two friends. She said well then you better go buy another dog.

This love works when the chips are down. The Corinthian church. Listen if you study this letter you fully understand they don't do much right. But here Paul writes to the Corinthian church with these words great. Listen this great is my boasting on your behalf.

You've got to be kidding. There's nothing to boast about. This is this is the weak immature body of believers their wayward tolerating sin. How do you boast.

Well you got to love them. And love always hopes for the best. So he writes to them in Second Corinthians 7 15 I rejoice that in everything I have confidence in you. This is that rare coach telling his players. This is that rare teacher telling her students I believe you can do it.

I believe you can make it. Aren't they rare. There's something incredibly infusing about this rare kind of person and the trouble is we know all we know very few people like this don't we.

People who see the best in everything and in everyone people who are full of this sweetness of agape that engenders even more hope and they get around you and they get around me and they just sort of put wind in our sails and they tell us we're behind you. You can you can do it. Why so few like this. I think it's because our nature gets hung up on the past. We get dull. So we hear a new believer new believer comes in talk to one couple of days ago talk about how great God is and how interesting the word is and instead of encouraging them here we are standing there thinking well you know he'll eventually learn he'll get over that excitement. Just wait. He talked to a newly married couple and that young bride you know comes up with her husband you know.

Oh she gushes look at him he is so sweet and you're standing there thinking just wait. So we go around pouring cold water on everybody's fire. We live in the negative.

We live in the accusative case by nature. Don't we. Let me just take a little survey how many how many Green Bay Packer fans do we have here. Hands shot up everywhere obviously you know you're you're not a Patriots fan or you wouldn't be here tonight.

Right. We're glad you're here. Thirty four days ago which you guys know that raised your hands Brett Favre broke the NFL record for throwing the greatest number of touchdowns just 30 some days ago in NFL history is amazing and he's fun to watch. Four hundred and twenty one touchdown passes.

Fifteen days later fifteen days ago Brett Favre broke another record he is now the most intercepted quarterback in NFL history. Green Bay Packer fans are I can't wait to get you outside buddy just wait. You know when you talk to a Green Bay Packer fan are they going to tell you about that. No. Do they really care about two hundred and seventy eight picks.

No. They're focused on four hundred and twenty one touchdown passes. They love this team that's the optimism of this kind of love. You say I'm so proud of my children. Have they ever disappointed you.

Of course. But you're focusing on the hope of a gap like Paul with the Corinthians who chose to focus on what they could be and the good they had done. One author wrote this agape is demonstrated in the hearts of the parents of a backslidden child the spouse of an unbelieving marriage partner the church that is discipline members who do not repent. They all hope in love agape love hopes all things they hope that the child the spouse the erring brother or sister will be saved or restored. Love refuses to take failure as final. He goes on to add God would not take Israel's failure as final. Jesus Christ would not take Peter's failure as final and the apostle Paul will not take the Corinthians failure as final. Let's go back to parents for just a minute.

Isn't this the great challenge for dads especially your child just might have the record number of failures along with a record number of successes. Which record will you frame and put on the mantle of your memory. True love chooses to focus on hopeful things Paul reveals a fourth enduring quality love he says endures all things. This is the steadfastness of love.

What a fitting way to end this paragraph to make a lot of sense why not. All the good above in this paragraph is meaningless if you stop if you quit if you find some loophole some escape clause if it doesn't endure it doesn't matter agape then he says does not have a back door. We're told that God will never leave us nor what forsake us. Hebrews 13 5. Nothing shall separate us from the what love of Christ.

Romans chapter 8 verse 35. If we are to love one another then as Christ loves us then we will in door and that makes it matter. I found it interesting and somewhat sad to read about some of the data from the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau regarding marriage today. The findings are reinforcing what some are now calling sort of tongue in cheek the seven year itch. They found that on average census data couples that separated did so after seven years divorced after eight. This particular author that was bringing out the census data said perhaps this is why a very popular politician in Germany by the name of Gabrielli Polly is proposing now legislation that will make legal marriages dissolve after seven years. This legislation will allow couples either to extend their marriages or allow them to terminate automatically after seven years without undue legal burden or tiresome litigation. This kind of legislation is in our future.

And why not already as I mentioned I think in one of our sessions in one office suggested that we should plan on three spouses over the course of a lifetime. This is the love of the world. This is this is self focused self protecting self enamored self serving. And so a seven year marriage makes a lot of sense. Ladies and gentlemen it's puppy loves what it is told is it's infatuation until the challenges are realized.

It's love only as long as the sun shines. But aren't you glad that the love of Christ is not a seven year affair. It is everlasting. And as we demonstrate the love of Christ the agape of God for our spouses and our children and the assembly we will not be fickle it will endure not that that makes it easy just because he says it. In fact the word Paul used here for endure who put him in a is a word that referred to a soldier deeply involved in battle. He is literally fighting for his life and the lives of his companions and he refuses to desert the front lines. So he is enduring. That's the idea here. Endure in that way.

And you will experience or demonstrate the love of a guy pay for when life gets tough. In his tremendous book The Disciplines of a Godly Man. Kent Hughes writes of his friendship with a Robertson McQuilken.

Robertson McQuilken is the former president of Columbia International University when he was the president was called Columbia Bible College. Robertson's wife Muriel was in the late stages of Alzheimer's when Dr. McQuilken resigned to take care of her. Had been married I think 40 some years.

In his resignation letter he wrote powerful words. My dear wife Muriel has been in failing mental health for about eight years. So far I have been able to care for both her ever growing needs and my leadership responsibilities at Columbia. Recently it has become apparent that Muriel is contented most of the time she is with me and almost none of the time I am away from her.

It is not just discontent. She is filled with terror that she has lost me and goes in search of me whenever I leave home. It is clear to me now she needs me full time. This decision was made in a way 40 some years ago when I promised to care for her in sickness and in health till death do us part. He adds.

So I have already told the students and the faculty that as a man of my word I will do it. She has cared for me fully all these years. If I cared for her for the next 40 years I would not be out of debt.

Duty however can be grim and stoic but there is more. I love Muriel. She is a delight to me. I notice these words. Listen I do not have to care for her.

I get to. I don't have to care for her. This is much more than the temporary infatuation when everything is sunshine and roses. This is a love that issues forth during the pressures and challenges of life. This is the endurance of love. There's one more enduring quality here.

Let's get to it. The first part of verse 8 and on to the end of the chapter Paul will speak on the supremacy of love. So let's just slip down for just a moment here as we bring the series to a close to the first phrase in verse eight.

He writes this about a guy. And let me let me give you my own translation. Love never falls to the ground. If there are gifts of prophecy they will taper off. If there are tongues they will stop. If there is knowledge that is the revelatory word of knowledge it will taper off as well. Now you remember from verses 1 2 and 3 Paul told us that all tongues and all knowledge and all prophecy and all faith was worthless without love.

In fact we just make a lot of noise as if we're just banging cymbals. You remember that. And now he informs us that these wonderful gifts are temporary but love is eternal. This is sort of the exclamation point of agape. He says nothing outlasts true love.

This is this is why it is supreme. One day in heaven we're not going to need faith. We're not going to need hope.

I'm not going to volunteer to teach. We don't need mercy. None of the gifts but love will last. The word here for fails or falls pipto is a word the Greeks used for the falling of a petal from a flower to the ground or the falling of a leaf that within wither and die. Paul says true love the love of Christ never falls down. It never withers away it chooses to remain constant and connected. This is the constancy. This is the loyalty.

This is the dependability. This is the dedication and the faithfulness and the devotion of true genuine Christ imitating God honoring love. One day Charles Spurgeon the well-known London pastor of the eighteen hundreds was walking through the English countryside with a friend and and as they strolled along the pastor noticed a barn with a weather vane on top of that barn and inscribed on the weather vane were the words God is love and Charles Spurgeon said to his friend that he felt that was a rather inappropriate place for such a message. He said weather veins are changeable but God's love is constant. The friend responded no Charles I think you misunderstand the meaning.

I think the weather vane is indicating a truth regardless of which way the wind blows. God is love the gap a ladies and gentlemen is simply the description of the character of God Christ himself and as we are conformed into the image and confess our dependency upon him we demonstrate a little bit of his nature as well don't we but it's going to take a lifetime of practice and we'll never fully master but we strive for the goal. The goal is to please our father and as we pursue him as we surrender to the spirit we begin to bear the fruit of the spirit which is first and foremost the fruit of the spirit is love and we like him demonstrate to our world lives marked with this amazing quality true love. With that we bring to a close this lesson and this eight part series on love. Steven's been working his way through first Corinthians 13 in a series called will true love please stand up. We have this series available as a CD set that you can include in your library of biblical resources. There's information on getting that set on our website wisdomonline.org.

You can also call us today and we can assist you over the phone. If you don't want CDs we have it available as a digital download as well and that way you can have the lessons and the printed manuscripts on your computer. I'll also mention that Steven has a booklet that came out of this series called true love. Call us at 866-48-bible or visit wisdomonline.org. Tomorrow Steven begins a very important series on salvation by faith alone. Join us for that here on wisdom for the heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-05 21:39:43 / 2023-12-05 21:48:08 / 8

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