Love shows patience and does kindness
Series: Love Is
The big idea of today’s brief passage: Love shows patience and does kindness. The reason I say, “shows Patience” and “does kindness” is because the words translated “patient” and “kind” are actually verbs, action words. Love is when others are truly dear to you and love acts by showing patience and doing kindness. This morning, we’ll take our big idea in two parts: 1. Love shows patience. 2. Love does kindness.
1 Corinthians 13
Jonathan Edwards – Charity and It’s Fruits
Phil Ryken – Loving as Jesus Loves
Ray Ortlund – The Gospel
David Garland – Baker commentary on 1 Corinthians
Thistleton – New International Greek Commentary on 1 Corinthians
It’s hard to believe, but Andrea and I are coming up on our 13th wedding anniversary. I remember our wedding day as if it were yesterday, it was the best day of my life. Poor Andrea had no idea how far down she was marrying. She should have known by my ineptness in helping to plan the wedding. I messed up just about everything I touched, which wasn’t much. Undoubtedly my highlight of wedding planning was cake taste testing. Taste testing is what made the coming wedding feal real to me, like it was actually going to happen, and this gorgeous woman really was going to follow through on her promise to marry me. The taste testing really was for me a foretaste of the best day of my life.
Friends, that’s what we, our church is meant to be like. The church is meant to provide a foretaste of the wondrous community that anyone who repents and believes in Jesus will enjoy in His kingdom perfectly and forever. That’s why this ministry year, Citylight Manayunk is giving particular attention to strengthening our gospel culture. A gospel culture is a church that makes the truth, the doctrine of the gospel visible through our life together so that a skeptical world can see us and get a foretaste of the coming kingdom. A gospel culture is a church in which we welcome one another despite all our diversity with the same lavish warmth with which Christ welcomes us for the glory of God. In our terrifying, angry, and reactionary age, don’t you want to be part of a church that serves as a foretaste, a preview of coming Kingdom attractions?! That’s a gospel culture growing strong.
At the epicenter of a gospel culture is love; loving one another as Christ loves us. It’s the love at the center of our gospel culture that provides a foretaste of the coming kingdom feast. And so, this morning we continue our fall series in 1 Corinthians 13; the love chapter. Last week, we covered the absolute necessity of love and this week we begin what will be several weeks exploring the actions of love. That brings us to the big idea of today’s brief passage: Love shows patience and does kindness. The reason I say, “shows Patience” and “does kindness” is because the words translated “patient” and “kind” are actually verbs, action words. Love is when others are truly dear to you and love acts by showing patience and doing kindness. This morning, we’ll take our big idea in two parts: 1. Love shows patience. 2. Love does kindness.
LOVE SHOWS PATIENCE
What does it mean that love shows patience? The Greek word translated “patience” combines the concepts “long” and “passion or temper.” In other words, love is the opposite of short-tempered, trigger happy, or easily angered by people or circumstances. The idea that Paul is conveying is that love is long tempered. We’re so used to being short-tempered that the phrase “long-tempered” doesn’t even exist in English. But Love is “long-tempered” in bearing with difficult circumstances and fallen people. Love is long tempered in bearing with difficult circumstances and fallen people, especially in the ways that others wrong or annoy us without quickly asserting our rights or resenting an injury.
What motivates love that shows long tempered patience? In the Bible, present patience is motivated by future grace. Future grace motivates long tempered love toward difficult circumstances: 1 Peter 1:3-6: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials. Notice that it’s the hope of the future inheritance that we’ve been born again into that fuels rejoicing in present trials. Love is long-tempered in that it rejoices in all circumstances because even the darkest of present circumstances are lit by the brightness of our future hope. Rejoicing isn’t the same as feeling happy. Rejoicing is a choosing to praise God and persevere in the pain of the present because we’ve set our hope in the glory of the future that he will provide. When it comes to fallen people, long tempered love is also motivated by God’s future promises and it looks like an utter refusal to take vengeance. Romans 12:19: Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Long tempered love looks like an utter refusal to avenge ourself when wronged because God will right every wrong. I want to slow down here because so few of us think of ourselves as vengeful. Love is long tempered in that love doesn’t tolerate the slightest hint of bitterness in the heart toward a brother or sister in Christ, let alone a destructive word or a vengeful action because God will work perfect justice.
Question: What might it look like for you to be long tempered in your difficult circumstances and with the fallen people in your life, especially other people in our church? There are countless answers to this question. Let me offer three potential ones: 1. A future fueled refusal to grumble in your heart or out loud about your circumstances replaced by fervent prayer to God for change all in a spirit of trust. 2. A future fueled refusal to gossip about another person replaced by prayer on their behalf. Gossip: “Derogatory information about someone that you have that is shared with others in a tone of confidentiality, that is not motivated by doing good to them, and that you are enjoying in a way that shows your heart is not humble.” 3. A future fueled refusal to speak to people through our social media posts, replaced by open, gracious conversation. Love shows patience in the present because the future is incredibly bright.
The long tempered actions of love raise an important question: “Am I just supposed to let someone wrong me again and again while doing nothing?” I love the way one 18th century theologian answers the question: [The Christian] bears it without doing anything against his neighbor to gratify a bitter resentment, without talking with bitter words to him, without showing a revengeful spirit in the manner of his countenance, or air of his behavior. He may reprove his neighbor; but if he does, it will be with politeness and without bitterness, which still shows the design to be only to exasperate. It may be with strength of reason and argument and serious expostulation, but without angry reflections or contemptuous language. He may show a dislike of what is done, but it will not be with an appearance of high resentment; but as a man would reprove another that has fallen into sin against God, rather than against him; and as lamenting his calamity more than resent his injury, and as seeking his good rather than his hurt… Long tempered love is not opposed, at times, to defending oneself, protecting oneself, or correcting, even fiercely, a person or wrong done. But long tempered love is fundamentally other focused and seeks the good of the other even in fierce opposition because biblical love extends even to our enemies. Long tempered love defends, protects, and corrects for the sake of helping the other be right before God, rather than taking the other down a peg. Last week I gave way to fear related to the effects of the pandemic on our church. As a result, I fired off some hasty and haphazard communication about rapid changes that I wanted to make, changes that would complicate their lives. One staff member was especially loving by showing patience with me. In private, he asked me if maybe I was feeling afraid and if my communication was flowing from a fearful lack of faith. He was long tempered. He didn’t complain about how I’d made his life more complicated. He didn’t try to take me down a peg. Rather, he saw that my sin was first against God and not him. He corrected me for my good not to get something off his chest. That’s long tempered love.
What difficult circumstances and fallen people in your life, especially our church, are an opportunity for you to show love through long tempered patience? A church full of people showing love through long tempered patience is the gospel culture that we all long for. But long suffering is only half of the story. Long suffering refers more to what we don’t do to each other. We don’t avenge in thought, word, or deed. What do we do? For that we turn secondly to…
LOVE DOES KINDNESS
What does it mean that love shows itself in kind actions? Kindness is more positive than long suffering. Kindness means that love goes on the offensive in order to gladly do good to others. In the original Greek, the word “kind” is the same word that Jesus used when he said that his yoke is “easy,” and his burden is light. Kindness going easy on one another, recognizing that everyone is carrying a heavy load, and gladly doing everything we can to lighten the load others carry. Kindness describes the warmth and generosity that is characteristic of a gospel culture growing strong, where Christians do their utmost to be thoughtful, helpful, and pleasant to one another in every way. The ancient church father Chrysostom described love here as that which breaks the spiral of anger and resentment by showing kindness. The African church Father Tertullian wrote that the kindness of Christians in the second century was so shocking to their pagan counterparts that they called Christians “chrestiani,” that is “made up of kindness” rather than “christiani,” meaning Christian. In short, kindness is that central characteristic of a community stamped by gospel, which gladly and warmly does good to others.
Perhaps one of the most radical teachings in all the Bible is how liberally Christians are to apply the command to show love by gladly doing good to others. We are to do good to others’ souls through evangelism, which is speaking the gospel to non-Christians with the aim to persuade them to believe, and discipleship, which is any form of doing intentional spiritual good to someone so that they’ll become more like Christ. We are to do good to others’ bodies by providing for their needs and relieving their suffering in a whole host of ways. And we are to do the good that flows from love to the most liberal variety of people. We are to do good to both good and bad people, just as our Father causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. As Galatians 6 says, we are to do good to all people, especially fellow Christians. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that we are to through love do good to those we consider friends and to our enemies! In Luke 6:35, Jesus teaches that we should do good to those who are thankful for it and those who are not! Love gladly meets the needs of all people, especially those who are brothers and sisters in Christ. Love doesn’t only bear patiently with fallen people, love does kindness to those same fallen and difficult people.
Question: Who has God placed in your life for you to show love by freely doing good to them? What friends and what enemies can you show love through kindness? Who has God clearly placed in your path repeatedly so that you can actively go out of your way to do good to them, both friend and foe? There are two men in my Citygroup who are PK’s, pastor’s kids. They know what it’s like to be a pastor, they’ve seen it, and they know what it’s like to be a pastor’s kid because they’ve lived it. And these two men clearly believe that God has put my family in their path so that they can show love by doing kindness to us. One man wanted to relieve a responsibility for us, so he and his wife offered to take over leading our Citygroup from us. I find that so moving. That’s love in action and it’s big deal to me. The other man and his wife have been incredibly generous to us. A couple weeks ago they went to Costco and bought us a ton of groceries. They also got my son Legos & the Chronicles of Narnia series and my daughter a unicorn sleeping bag on an exact day when ministry, which we love, took us unexpectedly away from our kids. Our kids felt so loved. We felt so loved. Love made life lighter for us. Who can you do that for, even and especially if they’re a person who requires you to be long tempered? A gospel culture growing strong is made up of people who lift their eyes from their own busyness, burdens, and nuclear family to show love to one another in the family of Christ and outsiders by doing goodness and kindness. A gospel culture is a church where wonderful things happen to unworthy people by the grace of God, where love acts in showing patience and doing kindness.
But what can strengthen such a culture among us? Have you ever simply tried to be more patient? If so, then you know that nothing less than a deep knowledge and experience of the patience and kindness of God will do.
• Creation – kindness
• Fall – long tempered – kind
• Tower and Abraham
• Exodus and Sinai revolt
• Exile and return
3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7