Theme: The Permanence of Love
In this week’s lessons we learn how Jesus perfectly carries out the biblical understanding of love, and how we, as his disciples, are called to show that same kind of love to others.
Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13
In yesterday’s study we concluded by referring to the three reasons John gives in 1 John 4 for why we should love one another.
The first reason is found in verse 7: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” God is love. Therefore, if we are God’s children, something of the spiritual genes of our Father will appear in us. We will begin to love. We must love one another because love is God’s nature.
Second, this is how God shows His love among us: “He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (vv. 10, 11). We have been loved in a great way. How can we who have been loved and whose salvation depends upon the work of that love, not love others?
Third, John writes, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (v. 12). No one can see God. So no one can prove Him in an empirical way by saying, “There He is; go over and examine Him, and see how much He weighs.” No one has ever seen God. But the love of God, which is the nature of God, is seen in God’s people. And, therefore, if the world is to see God, it must be by the way you and I love one another.
The third section of 1 Corinthians 13 deals with love’s permanence. If there were no other reason why we should love, it is because love never fails. Other things do fail—but not love. Love will never pass away.
Years ago there was a preacher who had been talking about love, and when he had finished speaking, a little girl came up to him and said, “Sir, you said that I should love Jesus, but I don’t love Jesus. How can I love Him?”
In answering her the preacher said something which I think is profoundly wise. He said, “Little girl, when you go home I want you to do this. Every day when you wake up, and every night before you go to bed, I want you to repeat these words: Jesus loves me. Say it early in the morning, and say it at night: Jesus loves me. I think that if you do that, at the end of the week you will find that you love Jesus and you will come to love other people as well.”
The little girl came back later and said, “I did what you said, I said ‘Jesus loves me,’ and before long I knew I loved Him too.”
The reason why you and I do not love is that we are not aware of love, and the reason we are not aware of love is that we do not think often enough of Jesus. As we learn how He loves us, we will learn to love Him and each other.
What are the three reasons why Christians are to love one another?
Why is love permanent?
Application: If you are having difficulty loving someone you know you must, pray for grace to be able to live out the love Christ has for sinners.
For Further Study: In order to love others, we need to first learn what it means to love God by loving his house and desiring to abide in his presence. Download for free and listen to James Boice’s message on Psalm 84, “The Psalm of the Janitors.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)