Love Never Fails

1 Corinthians 13

 

There is an old love song the Beatles used to sing.  The song asks the question, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?” It goes on to say, “I could be handy mending a fuse, when your lights have gone. You can knit a sweater by the fireside. Sunday mornings, go for a ride. Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more? Will you still need me? Will you still feed me when I'm sixty-four?” What a wonderful and joyful thought it is to think of growing old with the one you love and cherish!

 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mother mending stockings. But my father is quite the handyman.  But my mother and father (Richard and Clara) have been married for over 50 years now.  Dad is in his early 80’s and mom is close behind in age. Nevertheless they are still madly in love with each other.  I know they had difficulties. I know that there were times when they didn’t get along too well.  But their love has endured for several decades. What is their secret? 

 

I think the answer is found in verse 8 of 1 Corinthians 13.  “Love never fails.” Did you notice that the Apostle Paul said never--not sometimes, or usually, or more often than not--but “never”? In fact, throughout this passage he chose specific words that point to idea of permanence. 

 

Have your group read through 1 Corinthians 13 and count the number of times they see these words.

·         “Is not”____________

·         “Does not” _________

·         “Never” ____________

·         “Always ____________

When put in a positive light these words become positively powerful.  Paul is implies that love is not just what a person says or does.  He is describing a person’s character; the essence of his being, which naturally inculcates trustworthiness and reliability.  This kind of love elicits the greatest confidence and assurance. 

 

You can also notice that Paul uses a type of comparison and contrast:

·         Love is patientà It is not easily angered.  Always perseveres.

·         Love is KindàIt does not boast. It does not envy, It is not proud

·         Always protectsà It is not self seeking. Does not dishonor others.

·         Always trustsà Does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth

·         Always hopesà It keeps no record of wrongs

Group exercises:

1. Imagine that a newly-wed comes to you and makes some of the following statements about his/her marriage.  Using 1 Corinthians 13 as your guide, respond to the following statements. Encourage your group to “stick to the word”.  Don’t allow the group to play the role of psychiatrist or family counselor. Simply consider the verses that may apply to this particular situation.  Encourage the group to see how that

·         He’s just not the same person I married.

·         I think we’ve just been growing apart.

·         Maybe we shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place.

·         I’ve just been hurt so many times I can’t take it anymore.

·         He doesn’t meet my needs.

2. Imagine that a parent comes to you concerned about his/her rebellious teenager.  Using 1 Corinthians 13 as your guide, how would you respond?

·         No matter what I do or say, it seems like we always end up in a fight.

·         He is always breaking the rules.  It seems he/she defies us at every point.

·         This all started when he/she started hanging out with his new friends.

Conclusion

As you consider the list found in this passage, in which areas do you feel most confident?  Which areas need a little work?  What first steps can you take in order to start making positive changes? 

 

 

 

 

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