Dec 8th, 2019
Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 55 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we are going to wrap up our four-part series looking at 1 Corinthians 13:7, “(Love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” In this our final installment, we are going to look at love enduring all things.
Right out of the gate, I want to make it clear that this verse is in no way endorsing any form of abuse. There isn’t one scripture that can be legitimately used to defend abuse. Anyone who tries to defend, excuse, or diminish abuse of any kind using scripture is enabling and themselves engaging in abuse. That is inexcusable behavior and should not be tolerated. I implore you, if you are being abused, get licensed help. If the abuse is physical, first get to safety, then get licensed help. I’m not talking about your long-time friend Idgie, nor am I talking about going to your pastor. If you and your abuser are both under the regular care of the same pastor, then they most assuredly lack the objectivity to offer appropriate counsel. I’m talking about a licensed, trained, fully certified professional.
Before we get into examining what Paul intended here with “endures all things” let’s talk about that while writing in English we generally describe items following an almost intuitive pattern of opinion – size – age – shape – color – origin – material - purpose. And when making lists based on opinions we usually start from the most important and work our way down from there. Greek does not have these rules, nor do we find these idiosyncrasies of phrasing. When building a sentence in Greek the author can jumble the words in almost pretty much any order they want, and the sentence will still mean the same thing. Paul, however, has the predictability of ordering items in his lists with the most important coming in at the end. I.e. Faith, Hope, and Love, with the greatest of these being love. etc…
We find ourselves at what Paul considered the most important of this list where he’s summing up his exposé on what love is; love endures all things. I’m just going to lay it out for you, and then we’ll go back and look at some scripture as a body of proof. What Paul is talking about when he says that love endures all things is that no matter what life throws it’s way, or what hardships come, love isn’t fazed.
Let’s look at what Jesus tells the disciples in Matthew 10:16-25 CSB, “ “Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.  Beware of them, because they will hand you over to local courts and flog you in their synagogues.  You will even be brought before governors and kings because of me, to bear witness to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you are to speak. For you will be given what to say at that hour,  because it isn’t you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking through you.  “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.  You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. For truly I tell you, you will not have gone through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.  A disciple is not above his teacher, or a slave above his master.  It is enough for a disciple to become like his teacher and a slave like his master. If they called the head of the house ‘Beelzebul,’ how much more the members of his household!”
There are detractors that would say that Jesus is only talking to the disciples and that we can’t apply these words to our lives today, except the disciples faced no persecution until after the death of Christ, and Christ didn’t come back during the lifetime of the disciples. Under examination, the interpretation that this passage only applies to the disciples and isn’t for us today doesn’t hold any water. Jesus is, in fact, speaking directly into the future for our benefit that our love for Christ would bring us under fire and we would need to endure.
We can also consider the story of Jacob and Rachel in Genesis 29. Jacob rolls up on his Uncle Laban’s land and out walks the hottest cousin that he has ever seen. Jacob loses his better senses and he starts showing off. He removes the cover stone from a well so her flocks can be watered earlier than the other flocks, then he kisses her and is so moved with emotion that he starts to cry. Seems like a weird move to me, but she rushes to tell her father and he comes out to warmly greet him and welcome him into the house. Jacob lives and works with them for a bit and Laban insists that Jacob should be getting paid for his work. In a true baller move, Jacob proposes working for Laban for seven years for free if he’ll let him marry Rachel. Verse 20 of Genesis 29 says, “20 So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel, and they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.”
While that’s sweet and all, and a lot of enduring for love, Laban tricks Jacob after presumably getting him all liquored up at a big party and under the cover of complete darkness sends Rachel’s older sister Leah into Jacobs’ room to consummate the marriage. Jacob wakes up in the morning next to Leah, and while she’s got tender eyes, she’s not as shapely as Rachel. Laban agrees to letting Jacob marry Rachel too, but not unless Jacob agrees to work for another seven years, but at least he gets to come home to both his loving wives every night during the second set of seven years.
While all of this may seem grim, enduring under persecution and the finish line can be changed on a whim. I want to encourage you that… well, no, it actually is that grim. But, if we turn to Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:3-7 we read, “ Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the commanding officer.  Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.  The hardworking farmer ought to be the first to get a share of the crops.  Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” We mustn’t lose focus on the goal and the prize just because we’re afraid it might get difficult. Love endures all things.
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”