“Love Trusts God”
1 Corinthians 13:7
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of 1 Corinthians 13.7 Part 2 Love believes and hopes
1 Corinthians 13. In this series of messages on this chapter, I have mentioned a book of pictures that Ruth put together of our family. It was about 1 Corinthians 13. But this past year we did a book on the Sasquatch, or Bigfoot. The kids and I watched a documentary about it and since then they’ve become fascinated with it. They believe that one could be out there somewhere and perhaps even in our backyard. Depending on the day, the Sasquatch is in our backyard. And so they go and search for it. Their belief about the Sasquatch drives their actions. That’s true of everyone. Our beliefs drive our actions and our attitudes.
Rosie said that when she was younger, she believed that there was a monster downstairs at times and so she said she would sing Jesus songs so that it would trust in Jesus and not hurt her. Beliefs drive actions.
And Haddie and Hudson one time watched a guy on youtube in a wing suit … A suit with wings … They watched him fly or glide down a mountain. So they had an idea. They decided that they would hold some sleeping bags and jump out our playhouse window. The window on our playhouse is probably 10 feet and then they were wanting to jump out the window, basically doing a belly flop, hoping that the sleeping bags would hold them in the air. Thankfully, Ruth caught them just in time to reason with them properly.
But their beliefs drove their actions. And that is true in our lives in so many different ways. The doctrine believed directs the life. Someone once said that what you believe about God is the most important thing about you.
What you believe about God is most important thing about you. Why is that? Because it will direct your life. And what I believe will come out in my actions. My actions betray my beliefs. The way that I respond to certain circumstances betrays what I actually believe in the depths of my being.
And this is not only true for you personally. It is also true as you relate to other people, particularly other Christians. For example, if you truly believe in the depths of your being that this person is made in the image of God, it will change your perspective on why you should treat them with respect. You don’t treat people with respect simply because it is the right thing to do. You treat people with respect or you love them because, for one, they are made in the image of God and we honor God.
So “what you believe about God is the most important thing about you” is not only true for you but it is true in your relationship to other people.
Now, we are in 1 Corinthians 13. And this chapter is in the context of just that, other people, loving Christians. This is not just a chapter about love in general. Paul is correcting the Corinthians for their lack of love toward one another.
Now we’re in verse seven and Paul is still talking about our love for each other. When he writes…
1 Corinthians 13:7 [love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Last time, we looked at the first and the last of these and this morning we will look at the middle two. The last time we looked at how love bears all things and endures all things. And we emphasized last week that love keeps on loving, it endures no matter the cost no matter the issue, no matter the sin or mistake that is in other people. Love keeps on loving.
And this morning we will look at the middle two, that love believes all things and hopes all things. And the point this morning is this:
Now and for the future, love trusts in God to work in others. Now and for the future, love trusts in God to work in others.
Love trusts in God now and for the future that He will be at work in me and you. And we can trust God in this way because His promises are sure!
TRANS: Just 2 points this morning, the meaning of the text and the means by which to do it. It’s explanation and application.
The meaning in the text [quick]
To understand what to believe all things and hope all things means, we first need to understand what they do not mean.
What believe and hope do not mean
ILL: Every year there are new words that become popular, for example like selfie. In order to make room for these new words, the dictionary removes older and the lesser used words. For example this year, they are removing the word gullible. Now, what you think about that? Is that right?
Okay, hopefully you got that. Awake this morning? Listening? Did you catch that? It’s obviously a joke, they are not removing the word gullible from the dictionary. But this illustrates what “love believes all things” does not mean. It does not mean that love is gullible. Love believes all things, but love is not gullible.
And true love believes in and hopes all things, but love does not believe in logical impossibilities. In other words, love doesn’t fall into the trap of thinking that God can make a rock so big that he cannot lift it.
And the third one love believes all things, but love does not believe or hope in what is false. Love does not believe lies and love does not lack discernment.
Proverbs 14:15 15 The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 tells us to examine everything carefully and hold fast to that which is good. Proverbs 18:17 says that the first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.
We are to carefully examine situations and people and things, ideas, and teachings. 1 John 4:1 teaches that were not to believe every teacher but we’re to test them to see if they truly are from God because many false prophets of gone out in the world; that’s true today. That’s why Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:15 that we are to beware of false prophets.
And so clearly love believes and hopes all things, but not in the sense that it buys everything it hears, hook line and sinker and so we are to be easily deceived.
TRANS: So, does love really believe and hope in all things?
What all things means…
This is why many interpreters will argue that “all things” should be understood as “always.” And indeed it can mean that. And understanding “believing all things and hoping all things” to refer to believing always and hoping always rescues us from any hint of saying that love is gullible.
So we can understand it as love always believes and always hopes. Love keeps on believing and love always hopes.
What believe and hope mean
Now, believe and hope have overlapping meanings, but there’s a slight difference. To believe means to have a trust and confidence in the present. I trust in the Lord today; he has saved me from my sin. And when we urge others to trust in Christ for salvation, we are urging them to trust in Christ to be saved from their sins, from sin’s power and from sin’s penalty. Trusting Christ has a powerful effect today.
Hope is similar, but it has a confidence not for the present, but for the future. When we hope in Christ, we are trusting in Him for the future. Since I trust in Christ today, in the future I confidently hope that Christ will give me a glorified body.
So this is what we’re saying today that…Now and for the future, love trusts in God to work in others.
Now, to clarify “hope” does not refer to wanting something to happen, for example, like when we say, “I hope it is sunny and warm tomorrow.” We are simply expressing something that we want to happen or we do not want to happen.
The Christian hope however is not based on something we want to happen, it’s based on something we know will happen. We have confidence in Christ for the future. Hope then is a confident expectation of the future based on the certain promises of God. “I hope in Christ.”
So love always believes and love always hopes. And we’re talking about love for others. And Paul is correcting others in their relationships. So naturally we have to apply this in our relationship to others.
So how does my trust and hope in God apply to my relationship to other Christians? This way, “Now and for the future, love trusts in God to work in me and you.”
Love always trust in God. Love always hopes in him. And love trusts in Him and hopes in Him for other Christians, not just myself. That’s the perspective.
This is particularly true for those Christians we find difficult to love. So let us make it abundantly clear right now…
Because God’s promises are true and He is active, I can trust God to be at work in my life and other Christian’s live. Because I know that God is at work in this way, that helps me love them. God is not done with any Christian. All the promises are true for them too!
Get this perspective right here … So as I look upon other Christians and I might be struggling with them I might have some disagreement with them or I might view them as difficult to love… What I do know for sure, for example, is that my loving Father loves them. What I do know for sure is that God is at work in them and that He is not done with them. He is sanctifying them and He is changing them… And He is changing me, too!
So love is confident in God to work in all our lives, to change me and to change you. So what is it again? Love is confident in God to work in all of us.
TRANS: Now, how does this play itself out exactly in our lives? I have three ways in which this plays out in our lives. Love is confident in God that He will work in my life and in your life … Love trusts in God always and love hopes in Him always in my relationship to other people. So love is confident in God that He will work in my life and in your life…
And this plays itself out in three different ways, as I see it. And this should help us love each other better.
The meaning in our lives
Trust that God is at work in other Christians’ lives, even in those you struggle to love.
Really get this…, imagine struggling to love another Christian. I know that that has never happened to you … But imagine yourself struggling to love another Christian. You may have lacked patience and kindness. You may want to avoid them or you may be thinking to yourself, “why is she always like that?” And you may be tempted to give up or to write them off. Or maybe you gossiped about them…or, you may be tempted to blow up at them and be angry at them.
No, love never gives up on Christians because God has loved them and has saved them. God has given them many great and precious promises just like He has given them to you!
The same promises of God that are active in your life are also active in their life. So how can I write them off if God hasn’t written me off? How can I give up on them, when God hasn’t given up on me? How can lack trust in God and gossip about them or avoid them?
No, love always trusts and love always hopes in God that He is at work in our lives. God can work in my life; God can work in your life… our Father loves them! God cares about them, God has saved that Christian and God has rescued them by the greatness of His love and by the immensity of His grace and by the abundance of His kindness and by His wonderful mercy! How could I not keep on loving them and keep on trusting God to work in their life? How could I now be against them, when God isn’t?
Why would I allow any personal disruption to break our fellowship?
You need this confidence in God when you are experiencing any disruption in your relationship with somebody. This will help you endure: God is at work in their life! I trust God to be at work.
And so when we begin to say things like, “I don’t know if he will ever change.” That shows we are failing to love. Why? Because love trusts God in this situation with that Christian.
ILL: Love hopes in God for this Christian person who now seems to be so cantankerous and like a porcupine, he has so many points but difficult to hug.
So love says that no matter the hurt, no matter the pain, no matter the difficulty or the challenge or the sacrifice, I will keep on loving because Christ is at work in that person’s life because Christ has saved him because Christ has loved him too! Because God has saved that person and because we both trust in Christ, we can trust in God and hope in Him for the future, together, on the same team, going forward in full harmony and fellowship.
So we may or may not like certain things about each other, we may have our quirks, or somebody’s personality might grate on me, or because of some hurt, I may have some difficulty loving them, being patient with them, being kind to them… But love never gives up! Love will never stop trusting God to work in that Christian’s life and in my life to keep on loving.
This tells us to keep going. It tells us never to stop, never to give up, always to love, always to be valiant, and always to be courageous in our love for each other!
TRANS: So this tells us of unity… So number 2
Be on the same team with them, not opposed to them
When love keeps on trusting God and when love keeps on hoping in God to be at work in other Christian’s lives, our viewpoint will be one of patience and being unified with them, being on the same team with them and not being opposed to them.
Because if I believe that my gracious God and loving Father is at work in your life and I know this and I believe this, I will endeavor to respond to you the way that God does.
But Christians far too easily write people off and become opposed to other Christians! Why does that happen? It happens … when you write them off or avoid them, gossip about them, or become upset with them, you are betraying your understanding of God.
Remember that your beliefs drive your actions. If you believe…. If you truly believe and understand and comprehend to a deep degree, a deep level that God the eternal One the eternally gracious One is at work in this other person’s life, you would desire to be close to them. You will be at peace with them and joyful with them and caring about them and not writing them off. You will be at one with them and unified with them.
Why? Because you’re gracious Father whom you know so well, is at work in them too!
But if you are writing them off or avoiding them or you are so distrusting and bitter and wanting to avoid them and are so upset with them, you betray the fact that you really do not believe down in the depths of your being that your gracious Father is working in their life too. And don’t we all want to see Christ at work?
Christ is at work in that Christian’s life… Why would you avoid or clam up or blow up at them? Is not the one who works miracles in people’s lives to save them and give them His Holy Spirit is He not alive and active in their life? Do you not long for that yourself? Is that not one of the most important things going on in your life today?
Love trusts God both now and for the future that he is at work in each of our lives. And if we have this perspective, we will be unified. And we will not be against any other believer, but will be wanting God’s best for them and we will be on the same team and not opposed to them.
TRANS: Love is confident in God that he will work in my life and in your life. This truth works itself out in our lives in that we should trust God to be at work in other Christians lives even in those that we struggle to love. And that works itself out in our lives because then we will all be on the same team with each other and we will not be opposed to each other, since the gracious God we know is at work.
And third this works itself out this way: that love will then believe the best about others and not be judgmental and faultfinding.
Believe the best about them, not judgmental, faultfinding.
If I believe God is at work in that Christian’s life, that helps me not be judgmental or faultfinding. Why? Because God is at work in them! And that will help me believe the best about others and not be so judgmental.
ILL: Believe the best about others. One day during family devotions, we were reading Mark 7 and we came upon this verse…
Mark 7:24 Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice.
And immediately Hudson jumped to a wrong conclusion and said… “He entered a house and he didn’t want anyone to know about it? That’s breaking into a house!”
But upon correction “No, just the crowds…he didn’t want the crowds to know it…” he understood his error. Clearly, that was an innocent mistake. However, we too can jump to wrong conclusions about things and believe things that are not true about our brothers and sisters in Christ, things that put them in a bad light… but then we can refuse to be corrected. But love will believe the best about others.
ILL: Job had a hard time with his friends. They were falsely accusing him and no matter what Job said, they were constantly saying that he had done wrong and sinned against God and that’s why God destroyed his wealth and destroyed his health and took the lives of his children. But Job maintains his innocence that he had done nothing wrong to deserve that kind of treatment from God. And no matter what Job said, his friends would not change their perspective about him. Job’s friends were assuming the worst. They should have changed their perspective.
That did not make for unity. But if Job’s friends believed that God was at work in Job’s life and that God had not written him off, and that God was merciful and gracious and kind and forgiving, Job’s friends would not treated him that way. Job’s friends would have been on the same team with Job and would’ve believed the best about him.
APP: So are you being judgmental and nitpicky and faultfinding? If so, there is a deeper issue at play and that is you fail to believe that God, your gracious Father, is at work in that Christian’s life.
Are you pointing the finger at somebody else and not pointing the finger at your own self first? Do you have therefore a log in your own eye while you want to remove the speck out of somebody else’s eye? Judgmental, faultfinding.
That’s the opposite of love in this case. Love trusts in God and hopes in the Him knowing that he’s working in the lives of other Christians, the opposite of love is faultfinding and being judgmental constantly pointing the finger at others not pointing the finger at yourself.
And this will cause disunity. If you are becoming bitter against someone among God’s people and are constantly thinking negatively about that other brother or sister, in part what is going on is this: you don’t believe that God is on His throne and that He’s good and that He is active in their life. Or else you’d fear God, knowing He Himself is at work!
So if you find yourself tolerating avoidance or turning away or ceasing proper Christian fellowship, gossiping, tolerating anger, or clamming up out of anger, you are in danger. Don’t withdraw don’t turn away, don’t … If you do, you are failing to believe that God is at work and you are not trusting in him.
Well you say, “I’m just upset with so-and-so Christian and what they’ve done to me is such and such but me and God are still good, I trust in God.” No, remember that your actions betray what you believe. Your actions are telling you that you don’t have this aspect of love. Love would trust the Lord to work in that person’s life and if you have that perspective, you would be embracing them no matter what difficulty that they bring your way. Instead, love would say, “I trust, I fully hope in God in this person’s life right now and I will not succumb to Satan’s desire to distance me from my friends in Christ and I’ll endure and I’ll keep on trusting him to work in this person’s life no matter the difficulty no matter the trial and no matter the sin or the mistakes that they could possibly make.”
TRANS: Now, how do we do this. The means by which we do this…
Trust in God for today and tomorrow, eternity.
If love trusts in God to work in others, both now and for the future one of the things that we need to do is study God’s promises. Because if I trust God that he is at work to accomplish his promises in me, then I can trust in him to do the same thing for other Christians.
Study God’s promises for you.
We trust God to be working in you and in the other Christians… for example,
Romans 8:28 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Our gracious Father is at work that way in their life. God is using any difficulty for that end, their good, their being like Christ. We trust Him now.
And we hope in Him for the future … for example,
1 John 3:1–2 1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.
I have confidence in Christ that he’s working that out for any Christian who might be a struggle to love. “We will all be like Him!”
So, would you pray that back to Him, and praise Him that that applies to that other Christian?
Wouldn’t that help you be on the same team with them and not be against them? “Thank you Father, that you are working in their life to make them like Christ…thank you that one day you will make them and me, entirely like Christ when we see Him.” Together!
TRANS: So study God’s promises that way and apply them not only to you, but to your relationship to other Christians!
Know that applies to others.
Praise God that they apply to that Christian that you may be having trouble with.
Growing in love takes work. If you are having trouble with or are tempted not to love another Christian, do the work to grow in your love. Know the promises of God in your relationships with others.
CONCLUSION What is the Meaning of 1 Corinthians 13.7 Part 2 Love believes and hopes
And of course the ultimate example of love is found in our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. No one loved like he did. He never gave up His hope or His trust in God when loving others. Now and for the future, Christ trusted in God to work in others.
If you read the gospel accounts, it is not very hard to come away thinking that the disciples were difficult to love: hardhearted, clueless, and weren’t trusting in the Lord.
They constantly were twisting His words and misunderstanding who He was. On one occasion he said, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” “And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘It is because we have no bread.’” Bartholomew, you were in charge of the bread! What happened?!
Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?’ They said to Him, ‘Twelve.’ ‘Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?’ And they said, ‘Seven.’ So He said to them, ‘How is it you do not understand?’”
They are up on top of the Mount of Transfiguration and they see Moses and Elijah! And Peter wants to build tents! And the point of course was from the Father who said, “this is my son listen to him!”
That’s just a few of the many examples. But Jesus never wrote off his disciples. But Jesus own family wrote him off; they thought that he was crazy. But Christ never gave up on them. He was never against them never stood aloof from them and always loved them. He was on their team and gently and patiently guided his hardhearted disciples into the truth.
And that’s how you would want to be treated also. You wouldn’t want Christ to have left you or abandoned you or blown up at you or left you or clammed up against you.
Now, as for me, as your pastor and friend, I am going to disappoint you. As a human being, I have disappointed you maybe I am disappointing you, and I will disappoint you again. Anyone in here could say that. That fact is never the problem. That’s a given, that we are sinners. The problem isn’t that I rub you the wrong way and will disappoint. The problem is how are we going to respond when that happens? Are we going to follow the counsel of love and let love cover a multitude of sins? Are we going to follow God’s word on forgiveness and go to the other brother or sister and reconcile? Will we continue to have patience or will we storm off and become disillusioned?
Without active growth, without actively seeking the Lord on this point as we’ve discussed, you’ll respond the way you always have, with disdain for them when they fail…despair when the fall, or with anger when they sin.
No, love trusts God always. Love hopes in God in every circumstance, no matter the pain, the turmoil, … love never gives up. Now and for the future, love trusts in God to work in others. And with that we’ll have confidence, patience, and continual unity with each other.
392 The Solid Rock
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