Faithlife Sermons

When Everything Else Fails

W. Charles Harris II
Valentine's Day in Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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God's love for those who trust Him will never end

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We are living in days when loyalty and trust no longer hold the place that they used to occupy. The fact is that it is hard to embrace these characteristics because of the shadiness and un-trustworthiness of people. It is sad, but it is so true, and we would be wise to learn the lesson from history: “people will smile in your face and stab you in the back”, or they will kiss you on the cheek and sell you out.”
Common Sense dictates that in such cases, the best recourse that one can take is to remove themselves as far from such persons as possible. The problem is that with the distance there is separation, and with the separation there is no fellowship, and where there is no fellowship there is no opportunity to show that we truly love God. Because the Bible teaches us that the only way that we can quantify or prove our love for him is by the way we relate to one another.
See 1 John 4:20
1 John 4:20 NASB95
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
And so the predicament is precarious because love can’t exist where loyalty does not reside. So Instead, we put up a sign that says “Love don’t live here anymore.”
I believe that the Lord wants us to understand today, like He wanted that recipients of Paul’s letter to know, that at the end of the day there is only one thing that will possess any eternal value. It is not tongues, prophecy, nor knowledge; it is “Love”. When everything else fails; love never fails.


Have Congregation turn their Bibles to 1 Cor 13:1-8
1 Corinthians 13:1–8 NASB95
If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.

CENTRAL IDEA - The text is tailored to teach us that God is not impressed by Gifts, He is moved by Love

this truth is seen as we look at

The Preeminence of Love (vv. 1-3)

The main idea that the Apostle is seeking to communicate is that “Love” is the more excellent way (12:31). Let’s look at word love for a moment and discover what it means. The Lexham Bible Dictionary defines love as “A feeling of deep affection. A central theme in Scripture and Christian theology and ethics. Defines our relationship with God and dictates how we should treat others.”
Paul says to his readers that Love ought to be above everything else. That’s really what preeminence is - “first.” The argument among the Corinthians was which gift was the best and it had them missing the mark. They were focusing on the wrong thing. This is what they were doing: majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors. Paul tells them that tongues, prophesies, knowledge, self sacrifice, all must take a back seat to love. Love is first. If you leave that out, nothing else even matters.
Jesus blessed so many people during the 3 and a half years of His earthly ministry. He possessed such wonderful spiritual gifts: he healed the sick and raised the dead, He feed the multitudes, gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, He even caused the dumb to talk. But What He did on Calvary showed the preeminence of love.
See John 15:13
John 15:13 NASB95
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
Simpson, B. I. (2016). Love. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
The Lord is not impressed by gifts, He is moved by love; look at

The Perfections of Love (vv. 4-7)

Paul shifted from the first person to the third person and replaced himself with a personification of love. Some have seen in verses 4–6 the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23); others have seen here a description of Christ Himself. As different sides of the same coin, both are applicable and provided a solution to the many Corinthian problems. Love, defined by 14 predications (half of them negative, half positive) constituted the “way.” Love, Paul wrote, is patient … kind … does not envy or boast, and is not proud.

Patience (makrothymia) is the capacity to be wronged and not retaliate. The Corinthian church had many members who had been wronged (e.g., in lawsuits [1 Cor. 6:8] and the poor at communal meals [11:21–22]). The response of love to these wrongs would be a display of kindness and goodness. Envy and boasting seemed to abound as two poles of the same problem (e.g., divisions [1:10; 3:3, 21]; gifts [12:14–25]). The Corinthians had no monopoly on pride though they seemed to. The verb physioō occurs only seven times in the New Testament, six of which are found in this letter (cf. 4:6, 18–19; 5:2; 8:1).

13:5. Paul then gave four negative descriptions of love: It is not rude nor self-seeking nor easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Rudeness found expression in the problem of women in worship (11:2–16), the disorders at the Lord’s Supper (11:17–22), and the general organization of worship (14:26–33). Self-satisfaction was a pervasive disorder particularly manifested in the eating of food sacrificed to idols (8:9; 10:23–24). People who are not easily angered usually do not start lawsuits (as in 6:1–11). Love does not record wrongs, though there was ample opportunity for doing so in Corinth (e.g., 6:8; 7:5; 8:11).

13:6. Love does not delight in evil (e.g., incest [5:1–2, 8]), but rejoices in truth (5:8).

13:7. Love always protects (cf. 8:13), trusts (cf. 15:11), hopes (cf. 9:10, 23), and perseveres (hypomenei, “remains steadfast in the face of unpleasant circumstances”; cf. 9:19–22).

Let me illustrate:
Love Keeps No Score
Jerry Banks of Henry County, Georgia, was hunting one day in 1974. He came across two bodies that had been shot. He made his way to the highway, flagged a motorist, and sent for the sheriff. Banks returned to the scene and stood guard over the strangers until authorities arrived. His reward? He was arrested and charged with double murder. Subsequently he was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death. Eventually, the Supreme Court ordered a new trial. Again, he was found guilty and sentenced to death. All the while the accused continued to affirm his innocence. Meanwhile, new evidence emerged. Finally, after spending six years in prison, five of which were on death row, Jerry Banks was freed, December 22, 1980. The humble man is reported to have commented, “I just didn’t believe God’ll let’em kill me for something I didn’t do.”
“Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over other men’s sins, but delights in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6, NEB).
Jones, G. C. (1986). 1000 illustrations for preaching and teaching (p. 225). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
I’m just trying to get you to see that God is not impressed with gifts, He is moved by love. The text shows us ...

The Permanence of Love (vv. 8-13)

The Apostle says “Love never fails”. The Faithlife Study Bible says that “love” will never become obsolete or invalid. The Bible Knowledge Commentary says “Love will never fail”, in the sense it will never come to an end. Positively stated, it is eternal. This is not true of the spiritual gifts. Some of the gifts were foundational (e.g., prophecies and knowledge; cf. Eph. 2:20) and confirmatory (e.g., tongues; cf. 2 Cor. 12:12; Heb. 2:4). Every gift is linked in some way to building up the church to maturity—some (prophecy, knowledge, tongues) functioning in the early years of the Church Age and others continuing on till the church is perfected. When that perfection is achieved, the gifts will have served their purposes and will be rendered obsolete. But this will not happen to love.
Life is a matter of building. Each of us has the opportunity to build something -- a secure family, a good reputation, a career, a relationship to God. But some of those things can disappear almost overnight due to financial losses, natural disasters and other unforeseen difficulties.
What are we to do? Daniel Webster offered excellent advice, saying, "If we work on marble it will perish. If we work on brass, time will efface it. If we rear temples, they will crumble to dust. But if we work on men's immortal minds, if we imbue them with high principles, with just fear of God and love of their fellow-men, we engrave on those tablets something which time cannot efface, and which will brighten and brighten to all eternity. 
Morning Glory, July 3, 1993.
Can I ask y’all a question today? When you die, what do want people to say about you? Do you want them to talk about how gifted you were or how loving you were? I need to tell you today that ain’t nobody gonna miss you because of your gifts....They come a dime a dozen, and they will come to an end.
Lowery, D. K. (1985). 1 Corinthians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 536). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.


As I close today, message that the Lord told me to leave on your minds is that He is not impressed by your gifts, but He is moved by your love. Because of the Preeminence of Love, the Perfections of Love, and the Permanence of Love we can be sure that when everything else fails, “Love will never fail”. God is saying to you and to me: Don’t let love fail!
I don’t know how you all feel about it, but I am awfully grateful that the Lord has not, and will never place a “Love don’t live anymore” sign out to those who trust Him for their help. Instead, He promised that his love won’t ever fail. See Romans 8:31-39
Romans 8:31–39 NASB95
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


God’s Unfailing love is available to you today if you would believe Him and receive Him. Jeremiah 31:3
Jeremiah 31:3 NASB95
The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
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