#665. THESE THREE REMAIN: FAITH HOPE AND LOVE (10/10/22)
This week, we restarted our series from 1 Corinthians.
‘Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians 13:8-13).
Summary: Faith, hope and love are eternal principles on which we are to build all our thinking, activities and relationships.
In chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians, Paul is correcting their selfish use of spiritual gifts. He teaches them that love - seeking to build others up - is the only right motive for the use of spiritual gifts. He had warned them,
‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.’ (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Having defined love in a wonderful poem (13:1-7 above), he now reinforces the superiority of love (and the other motives of faith and hope) by showing them that gifts will disappear with the coming of Christ but that faith, hope and love are eternal. These, therefore, are to be our primary focus and will keep our use of gifts healthy; the things which last forever (faith, hope and love) must be most valued in this age.
Faith, hope and love are the three greatest attributes that identify a true Christian. Over the rest of the week, we will look at these in greater detail, however, let’s briefly consider what faith, hope and love are.
This is Faith in God and His gospel. Trusting that He exists. Trusting His promise in the gospel and His Word.
In this life, we are to live by faith. However, faith is eternal in that when we are enjoying eternal life our faith will always be set on Jesus. Sight (of God) does fundamentally change faith, however, even in seeing God will still trust Him but perfectly.
This is the glorious, eternal hope of heaven and a recreated universe. In this life we are to ‘see’ that hope and rejoice in it. However, in eternity, we will still have hope that eternity which lies open before us will be ever-increasingly good.
This is loving God and others, particularly in the church. In this life, we are to choose love over self-serving. This attribute is eternal; love for God and others will go on, perfectly, and forever.
What we do must never be valued more than why we do things; motives are all important. Using our gifts and any acts of service may well do good no matter the motive: many charitable causes and church activities meet real needs even if done for self-glorification and greed! However, God looks at the heart. Without faith, hope and love our lives are worthless. Let’s take a moment to pray that our motivations would be inspired by faith, hope and love.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
As this week is 'SIV week', perhaps we could start by sharing any encouraging conversations around the gospel and faith that we have had with people recently.
3. THIS WEEK IS SIV WEEK (SERVE INVEST AND INVITE)
After a very brief recap of Sunday's message, let's spend this time sharing, thinking and praying about how God wants to work through us to help our communities to come to Jesus. In this time together, I’d like us to specifically think about how we can prepare to invite our friends to our carol service on 11th December.
Please read 1 Corinthians 13:12-13
‘For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ (1 Corinthians 13:12-13)
On Sunday, we looked at how Faith, hope and love are eternal principles on which we are to build all our thinking, activities and relationships. These character traits are also vital if we are to help to bring our communities to Jesus and share the gospel with them.
i. Faith - is trusting God. Trusting He exists. Trusting in the gospel to save us. Trusting in Him each day and in all that we do. Faith enables us to do hard things because we trust in God's promises.
ii. Hope - is believing for the glorious, eternal hope of heaven and a recreated universe.
iii. Love - is loving God and others like Christ has loved us. Love is laying our lives down for the good of others, particularly those who don’t deserve it.
This discussion and questions are designed to help us to plan and pray about who we could invite to our carol service.
Take a moment, firstly, to pray that God would lead you in your discussions, planning and inviting.
How do faith, hope and love help us to serve, invest and invite in our communities?
Discuss ideas of things that you could do personally, or as a group, in order to connect with your friends prior to the carol service.
Make a decision on the thing(s) you plan to do (as a group/personally).
Write a list of your friends that you would like to invite. Let’s pray for them now and every day leading up to the carol service.
Pray for what you plan to do.
Pray for the carol service.