“Love Bears All Things”
1 Corinthians 13:7
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of 1 Corinthians 13.7 Part 1 Love bears and endures
1 Corinthians 13. The topic this morning is bearing all things or enduring all things. I have to say that I’ve known relative ease in my life. I have known no financial hardship in my life. Most of the deaths even in my extended family have been from natural causes. I’ve had few health problems over the years as have my wife and kids, a scare here and there, but relatively healthy.
And this is true for many people. We have not had to endure a lot.
And so when we are called upon to endure smaller things, it is not what a lot of people in the history of the world of experience.
I suppose I endured some physical exertion in track and field, but that was something I wanted to do. There are many people who are called upon to endure physical difficulties that they didn’t ask for.
But in the context of 1 Corinthians 13, one thing that has been universally difficult to endure throughout all time is people in general!
As you know 1 Corinthians 13 is all about love, but not just love in general, but loving others specifically. And Paul is rebuking the Corinthian Christians for their lack of love towards each other. They are exalting their own giftedness over and above others’ gifts, as well as tolerating division among themselves.
So Paul writes this love chapter in the middle of two chapters where Paul is correcting them regarding their viewpoints on spiritual gifts.
And Paul tells us here that patience and kindness should be their main responses to people. Every description of love, remember, is an action word, a verb. Love is active. We do this. Love suffers with people a long time and is kind to them.
He tells us that when we take the initiation in certain situations that love will have to deny self. Love denies self regarding jealousy… love is not jealous, doesn’t brag, is not arrogant, does not act shamefully, and is not selfish.
And that Paul tells them that they should not act a certain way when others first respond to them. There are 3 of these refusals. Because there will be people who will rub you the wrong way. But love refuses to be provoked to anger. There will be people who sin against you and make mistakes, but love refuses to take into account any wrong. And when there is opportunity to gloat over somebody else’s wrongdoing, love refuses to do that. Instead, love does not rejoice in a report of others’ sin or mistakes, but instead when truth prevails.
And in our text this morning, verse 7, we have four descriptions of how love is boundless, it is limitless. 1 Corinthians 13:7 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
The idea of verse 7 in a word is that love always perseveres and love always remains hopeful.
As difficult as this verse is, it’s my understanding that the first and last descriptions are basically synonymous and the middle two are basically synonymous. They mean basically the same thing. Both Greek words for “bear” and “endure” are translated elsewhere as endure. In the middle, believe and hope have overlapping meanings also. I trust the Lord that He will give me a glorified body one day. I hope in the Lord that He will give me a glorified body one day. Hope and believe can overlap.
So this morning we’re only dealing with bearing all things and enduring all things. So here’s the big point this morning…
Love perseveres in loving.
You can think of it this way … that …
Love never gives up, there is nothing it cannot face.
Love puts up with anything, holds out during everything.
Love perseveres. Love keeps on loving.
Now, I want us to emphasize this morning once again that the ability to persevere in everything does not come from ourselves.
To really grow in our love whether patience and kindness or endurance, we need to change our perspective about how growth happens.
ILL: I’ve been talking about this story recently, so forgive me if you’ve heard this. But when I was a lost person going to college in Illinois, there was a mixed martial artist on my track team. And he showed me an example of how you can be stronger if you change your perspective. He had me put my arm over his shoulder and had me lock it at the elbow. Then he tried to pull it down and break my strength. He did it with relative ease.
And then he said now do this … as you put your arm over my shoulder picture water flowing out of your fist. And so I did that, and he pulled down on my arm and his assessment was that I was stronger.
This time, I was trying to keep my arm straight rather than trying to hold it up. I needed a different perspective to gain strength.
So often in the Christian life, we can think of ourselves as making progress… But we’re making progress just like lost people make progress. Lost people can stop viewing pornography. Lost people can go to anger management class taught by a psychologist. Lost people can see benefit in getting help from people like that and learning not to sin on the outside like that.
But the Lord’s way of changing us is from the inside out. The power of the gospel, the power of Jesus Christ, and His cross work and resurrection is to fundamentally change the heart. He breaks the power of cancelled sin, sets the prisoner of sin free and then empowers that sinner with the glories of the resurrection that he might walk in newness of life.
And so we seek the Lord and his strength and his face and when we pursue him and pursue his love that he has put on display, it is the design of God as we meditate on these things and give ourselves wholly over to them that we profit from the inside out.
So not only do I not commit adultery on the outside, I learn not to commit adultery on the inside either.
By God’s grace I do not murder someone literally, but I also do not hate them or be angry at them in my heart. Not only am I not angry with them when they sinner make mistakes, but I am actually showing patience and not just patience but actual kindness even to my enemies. This is the power of the cross!
It’s a power that no man could ever know through some expert counsellor. It is only from the Lord Jesus Christ and because of his cross work and resurrection.
And that is why when we seek him with all of our hearts and find him, we grow leaps and bounds beyond what would be humanly possible!
Channels only, blessed Master,
But with all Thy wondrous pow’r
Flowing thro’ us, Thou canst use us
Ev’ry day and ev’ry hour.
It takes us being connected to Christ every day… that’s how we grow in our love.
Again our text in verse 7 reads… that love
1 Corinthians 13:7 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
And we’re dealing with “bears all things” and “endures all things.” And the idea here is that love perseveres.
The fact that the love bears all things and endures all things tells us that love is boundless.
That love bears all things means that love can put up with any difficulty and keep on loving.
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what this word means and there are few opinions about the meaning of the word, mercifully I won’t give you all of my research on this but just to tell you that it has the same idea of 1 Corinthians 9:12. You could turn there if you wish. Paul uses this word just a few chapters earlier.
And in that chapter Paul is emphasizing that he has the same right as the other apostles to eat and drink and he has the same right even to take a wife and to live based on the income that he would get through the giving of God’s people. He has this right. But in the 12th verse he says that even though he has this right … instead, “he endures all things so that he would not cause a hindrance to the gospel of Christ.”
He deprived himself of his rights in order for the gospel to go forward. Those rights included his right to eat and drink certain things. In certain cases he would offend people if he did that. He had the right to take a wife, but he remains single. And he had the right to take up an offering as it were from the Corinthians, but he deprived himself of that right. Why? So that the gospel would go forward more productively among those in Corinth.
And so not eating and drinking certain things not taking a wife and refusing an offering from the Corinthians demanded that he “bear all things”… That he persevere in the middle of those difficulties.
Paul bears, he perseveres during poverty for the sake of the gospel, so that others not believe he’s preaching just to earn a living.
Back to chapter 13 …. verse 7 …. Love perseveres towards others: love keeps on loving.
Now, the word endure at the end of 13:7, also refers the kind of spirit you must have as you go through different trials. You must endure them. Paul says in 2 Co. 6:4-5 that he had to have endurance in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger …
Clearly the word “endure” has reference to bearing up under pressure. Love puts up with anything, holds out during everything, perseveres through it all. Love keeps on loving.
ILL: Now, humans can practice this on multiple levels. Mothers do this. A mother ceaselessly gives support, help, and endures their children. How difficult it is sometimes to deal with the ignorance, the foolishness, the lack of experience, the anger, the despair of children. The joys of motherhood, we can understand too… but she’s available 24 hours a day. A typical mother has learned to endure, at least some of what goes on in the home.
Of course, this quality of perseverance is not just for mothers, but for all of us!
BT on persevering MOTIVATING!
Enduring is a necessary quality that will accompany salvation. Paul teaches in Romans chapter 5 that everyone who is declared righteous by God is so by faith and we have peace with God. And we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. But he says we also rejoice … get this…we rejoice in our tribulations because we know that tribulation brings about this quality of perseverance.
ILL: Yesterday, our family was having what’s popularly known as a “bad day.” Two and a half kids are upset over their math. It’s one thing that one child is upset about their math, but two were at the same time. One of the children was saying how everything was going wrong, couldn’t get this thing to work on the computer, couldn’t do this, or that…this wasn’t going right and whatever!
Everyone is learning endurance! Mom and Dad and trying to exhibit patience during the whole thing and instruct each other.
I was teaching one of them, “that you can’t do such and such right now is actually a good thing. You’re learning perseverance.”
It’s hard to believe that in the moment though, right!?
APP: that the economy is down is a good thing, that that machine won’t do whatever it’s supposed to do is actually a good thing, that this crazy tool broke, is a good thing! That the kids. … !!! Why? I’m learning endurance! It’s necessary!
And when Peter discusses adding to our faith in his second letter, he says that we are to add to our self-control perseverance. And to perseverance we’re to add godliness.
Perseverance is a necessary quality of the Christian life.
So it is no wonder that James says how spiritually prosperous is a man who “perseveres under trial. For once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
The one who perseveres under trial loves the Lord… and he keeps on loving.
And so Paul captures this very concept of perseverance and applies it to our relationship towards others. To love each other requires that we endure one another. Love perseveres in love and keeps going. Nothing can stop love, love keeps on loving!
This endurance that we have toward each other is what Christ exhibited when he was on the cross. Hebrews 12 says that he endured the cross. And we are to endure one another.
ILL: Sometimes it can be like that! It can be very difficult sometimes! We are all sinners here. We will, by God’s grace through the power of his love toward us … we will need to endure each other at times but keep on actively loving each other. Nothing should stop our active love to each other!
ILL: It’s the same with Job. James said that he endured sufferings that he went through. He lost his wealth, his health, and all his kids! But he endured, he pressed on, he kept going, kept serving the Lord….
And on top of that, he had to endure his 3 friends who came to “help” him!
That’s what love does. Love doesn’t stop serving Christ just because there is some heartache, or anything. Love is strong, it keeps going! It commits to Christ and to His body the church and it serves and doesn’t stop.
Love is valiant, brave, and courageous like that!
ILL: It’s like a wounded warrior who perseveres in the fight and saves his wounded comrades in the battle. The battle is fierce all around, but he braves the gauntlet fire and rushes into the battle to rescue. He’s a hero. Despite everything inside screaming “save yourself” he denies himself, his feelings, and he bravely endures.
The opposite would be the coward who sees a need, he sees the trouble, he sees the battle, and instead of enduring with sinners saved by grace, he runs and flees the fight, and doesn’t endure, he doesn’t put up with others, she gets touchy and snappy, he won’t help others anymore, they don’t serve Christ like they used to. What’s happening? No endurance!
Instead of seeing it through to victory and loving graciously the other person, he either runs or gets angry, or scoffs at the other whom he views as sinning or making mistakes. No, we valiantly endure…we courageously fight in the battle with each other as comrades in warfare, together.
You say, “But you don’t understand what is actually going on; what the other person has done. I can’t endure that!” It sounds like he must have murdered someone then? Legally, we’d have to do something … oh, you say it’s less than that. Ok, pretty sure you can still be on the same team and endure together.
Christ endured the wrath of God for you; could you not endure the wrath of man but for a moment? Could you endure their lack of giftedness? Could you keep on loving them and serving Christ with them even though they’ve been … I don’t know, mean? Crude? Overly sensitive? Unwise? Below average? Foolish? Incompetent? Answer, of course I can endure them! I’ll never be separated from Christ’s love, why should anything separate us from our love for each other?
TRANS: Otherwise, if we give up and stop enduring with His people, we are not enduring with His body… We are not enduring with him. We serve Christ in part by serving others. We love Christ when we love others. We practice Christ’s endurance as we endure with others.
Damage/Delight/self evaluation (Text)
But imagine if Job gave up! Threw in the towel; we wouldn’t count him blessed who didn’t endure.
Imagine if you have a great need; spiritually and physically are struggling. And you, as you should, … you call upon the members of his body for help. And imagine if people gave up on you, stop serving Christ with you, and abandoned you to your spiritual or physical need.
“He’s picky!” Or “she’s so obnoxious!” Or, “he grates on me” or rubs me the wrong way; or I don’t like his style, he’s too harsh, she lacks compassion.
No! We don’t give up on each other! We persevere, we keep going, and we surround each other with love, help, and we keep at it with each other for the glory of God!
If someone is suffering temptation, we by God’s grace receive the comfort that he comforts us with and we spread that to others. And God could be using us to help others and provide for them a way of escape out of temptation so that they may be able to endure it!
And God rewards that kind of service! But could you imagine giving up! What a tragedy!
I want Christ to be able to say of us like he did to Ephesus in that day…
Revelation 2:2–3 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.
So, how are we doing? Have we grown weary in our love? Do we think that discipleship is too wearisome and difficult to get involved in…too challenging as people begin to open up? Do we feel like we can’t endure being with so and so because they just …. whatever?
Proverbs 24:10 10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
If someone’s sin, mistakes, quirks, etc., causes you to want to avoid them, you have small love. You’re not enduring, not putting up with. If you stop serving Christ in a certain way because someone is offensive to you, you are not enduring, you have small love. Big love puts up with, endures with…with!
If you can’t stand someone’s lack of giftedness even though they are serving in that capacity, so you complain about them like the Corinthians complained about others, including Paul himself, you have small love.
But if..If a man kills my family, love would visit him in prison and even keep the lines of communication open….that’s big love.
TRANS: So which is it? Do we have big love or small love? I can tell you right now, I feel the limits of my love. I am rebuking myself this morning. There are certain things that are more difficult to endure than others, and in those situations for me, I know I would struggle and do struggle with enduring, and keeping on loving.
We all need to grow. If you feel yourself rebuked like I do this morning, that’s great, that’s the design of this passage! So what do we need to do about it?
Some direction now, let’s turn to Heb. 12.
ILL: As we said earlier, we can’t pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Btw, did you know you actually can’t do that? Just try to do that, next time you have your boots on, just try to pull yourself up by those bootstraps.
We can’t learn to endure each others’ quirks, sins, and mistakes without looking to Christ.
Hebrews 12:1–3 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Let us run with endurance the race! How? Verse 2 by looking to Jesus. Why does that help? Because He endured the cross and He knew He would be reunited with the Father and so He counted that shame of the cross lightly and sat down at God’s right hand.
So consider Him! Look at Him! He endured such hostility against Himself. Now persevere in your love for others!
“It is finished,” loud He cried;
O what love— for me He died.
In my stead He bled on Calvary;
Once for all Christ rescued me.
They bruised Him for my iniquities; they crushed Him, they beat Him, bruised, mocked…all for me…He did it for me!
He endured God’s wrath in my place… for me! Ponder that, consider that…now, brother so and so…sister so and so who offended me in some way…I’m on your team! I’m with you! I’m bearing with you, enduring you yes, but enduring with you!
I’m not going to complain against you, mistreat you…I’ve seen the face of Christ dying for me, His thorn crowned brow…that I might have the crown of life!
I’ll endure the mistreatment of sinners and saints alike! And I’ll seek to love you and to care for you. Why? Because I’ve considered Jesus, who has endured such hostility for me…and by His grace I’ll endure and endure for Him, loving others no matter how difficult it is.
..now if you do that, and you look to Him, you’ll not grow weary and be fainthearted. It is God’s design that as you look long into the face of Christ, that you’ll grow in endurance.
But that takes pondering His word and seeking Him in prayer, being controlled by the Holy Spirit!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Though I struggle, yet by His love I’ll endure.
Though challenges come, God’s love flowing through me, I will not quit loving.
Like it is with my children, there is nothing that you could possibly do that will keep me from at least trying to love. I may fail, but I’ll get back up and try again.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of 1 Corinthians 13.7 Part 1 Love bears and endures
Like Christ on the cross, love endures scorn, failure, mistreatment, ingratitude, and difficult cases and at the end love shines forth the light of the resurrection. And that’s because love never ends.” Love perseveres.
486 O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee
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Anthony C. Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000), 1060. ↑