Wednesday Night Lesson: ‘Love Endures’


Tonight we conclude our study on the subject of love and we read –

1 Corinthians 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

I. Love Never Rejoices Over Tragedy

‘Iniquity’ means something that is unjust or unrighteous. One translation says that love – ‘takes no pleasure in wrongdoing.’

A. How might a Christian be tempted to find pleasure in what is wrong?

1. Finding pleasure in doing what is evil

One author writes – “There is a certain mean streak in human nature which takes pleasure in what is unrighteous, especially if an unrighteous act seems to benefit one’s self. This is not the spirit of love. Love rejoices with every triumph of the truth.” (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer’s Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or Logos)

2. Finding pleasure in hearing about what is evil

We live in a world that is fascinated with evil. Tabloid magazines, such as the National Enquirer which contains nothing but sin and gossip, abound. Why?; because people love to hear about evil.

3. Finding pleasure in telling about what is evil

Someone has said that true love does not gossip nor pass along juicy morsels about sin or the failures of others. True love will not slander or defame the character of others. As we will see a little later in our study tonight, true love will not pass along information that might defame someone’s character, even when it knows that it is true. Why not?; because it loves them. You won’t tear down someone you love.

4. Finding pleasure in looking down upon what is evil

Having a harsh or judgmental spirit. No doubt you remember the story Jesus told of the publican and the sinner. The publican prayed -“I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.” (Lk 18:11) Jesus condemned this man in his attitude. Pride is just as great a sin as some type of impurity

5. Finding pleasure when evil happens to another 

This is especially true when that other person is an enemy. Something in us wants to rejoice whenever we hear that an enemy is struggling. Yet our rejoice reveals that we don’t love them. Love – “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.”

B. Rejoicing Over the Tragedy of Others

Proverbs 24:17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.

True love never rejoices when another commits evil, nor when evil happens to them. True love, loves that other person and therefore desires that they be in a position where they can experience the goodness of God. This is what our Lord meant when He said –

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Why does God cause His sun to shine on the evil?; because He loves them. He does not love their sin, but He loves them and He longs for the day when they will love Him.

A great example of this kind of the kind of love we’re studying is found in the book of 2 Samuel.

2 Samuel 1:1 Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites, and David had abode two days in Ziklag; 2 It came even to pass on the third day, that, behold, a man came out of the camp from Saul with his clothes rent, and earth upon his head: and so it was, when he came to David, that he fell to the earth, and did obeisance . 3 And David said unto him, From whence comest thou? And he said unto him, Out of the camp of Israel am I escaped . 4 And David said unto him, How went the matter? I pray thee, tell me. And he answered, That the people are fled from the battle, and many of the people also are fallen and dead ; and Saul and Jonathan his son are dead also. 5 And David said unto the young man that told him, How knowest thou that Saul and Jonathan his son be dead ? 6 And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him. 7 And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I. 8 And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite. 9 He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me. 10 So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.

For quite some time King Saul had been trying to destroy David. Saul was jealous of David and so therefore he tried to kill David on several occasions. If any man had “just cause” to be angry and want revenge, it would have been David. Saul had made his life miserable. Yet, in a moment when David could have given in to his natural emotions and rejoice over the tragedy that had come upon his enemy, David chose instead to love.

2 Samuel 1:11 Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: 12 And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.

The Amalekite thought that David would rejoice when he heard that his enemy was dead and that most likely David would reward him for ending Saul’s life. Instead, David mourned Saul’s death and he rebuked the Amalekite for doing what he did.

2 Samuel 24:14 And David said unto him, How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD’S anointed? 15 And David called one of the young men, and said, Go near , and fall upon him. And he smote him that he died.

Though David made many terrible mistakes during his life, he was deep down inside a man after God’s own heart. He loved the things that God loved.

Ray Pritchard writes – “Love is never glad to hear bad news about another person. Love never says, ‘Well, they finally got what they deserved.’  Love is never happy to hear that a brother or sister fell into sin.  Love does not enjoy passing along bad news.”

II. Love Rejoices in the Truth

1 Corinthians 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Love does not rejoice in discovering the faults of others, but instead rejoices when others are walking in the truth. David demonstrated this love in a song that he wrote concerning Saul’s death.

2 Samuel 1:19 The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! 20 Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

23 Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions. 24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel. 25 How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! O Jonathan, thou wast slain in thine high places. 26 I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan…

Much of David’s anguish had to do with his love for his dear friend Jonathan. Jonathan was the son of Saul and he and David were closer than brothers. Yet note also what David said about Saul –

24 Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you in scarlet, with other delights, who put on ornaments of gold upon your apparel.

Instead of focusing on the bad Saul had done, David focused on the good.

Someone has said – “To rejoice with the truth means to be glad about behavior in agreement with the truth of God’s Word. So if someone falls into sin, don’t gloat; instead grieve, because that is God’s attitude toward over sin. And if they repent, love rejoices.”

III. Love Never Gives Up  

1 Corinthians 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

The New Living Translation says – “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

A. Bears All Things

The word that is used here refers to a roof over a house which provides protection for those inside. It shelters them. When applied to love, Paul is saying that rather than exposing the faults of others, true love seeks to conceal it and keep it confidential. That is not to say that love condones the sin or overlooks it, but rather than telling the world, true love prays.

Peter stresses the importance and value of such love –

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

One translation says – “…in love there is forgiveness for sins without number.” The body of Christ cannot exist without agape love.

Whenever I read this passage, my mind plays outs a scene from an old western. There’s a young man named Billy, whose dad is dead and he’s now living on the farm with his mother. Billy’s mom can’t manage Billy and he’s running off to town, getting drunk at the saloon and wasting all of their money with gambling. People from town try to tell Billy’s mom what he’s doing, but she keeps insisting that Billy is a good boy and that someday he’ll come around. From the outside everyone thinks that Billy’s mom is foolish, but the reason she continues to believe in her son is because she loves him. She’s not blind to what he’s doing, but she chooses to look beyond his faults and see his needs and hope for the day when her son will come around. She loves her son.

That may be a simple way of explaining this passage, but it helps us to understand what Paul is trying to say. Love doesn’t focus on the bad. Love focuses on the good and hopes for the day when everything will be as it should be.

B. Believes All Things

Love does not ignore sin. It doesn’t pretend that it isn’t there. But rather than being cynical and suspicious, rather than quickly slandering and accusing others, true love chooses to believe in them and considers them innocent until proven guilty.

C. Hopes All Things

And even if they are proven guilty, true love continues to have hope that one day they will turn to God. Why? Because it loves them. You don’t hate the people you love. Even if you can’t agree with what they are doing, you continue to love them. John MacArthur writes – “Even when belief in a loved one’s goodness is shattered, love still hopes. Love refuses to take failure as final.”  (John MacArthur Commentary on 1 Corinthians, p 354-355)

D. Endures All Things

Love remains faithful during times of trouble. It perseveres. In other words – “Love will not stop loving because it loves.”


When you consider these characteristics, it is no wonder Paul concludes this chapter by saying –

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

We know that faith is important. Without it is impossible to please God. Yet if we had faith to move mountains and didn’t have love, it would mean nothing. Hope is also important. Hope gives us strength and courage to endure. Hope in God causes us to rejoice. Yet if a man only has hope for the future and not love for today, he is acting selfishly and unChristlike. Love is a part of God’s character. It is what motivated Him to send His Son to die on the cross. God’s unconditional love is the foundation of our faith and hope. There is nothing to have faith in, if it is not in the love of God. There is nothing to hope for if it is not based upon His love for us and our love for Him.

As I have said repeatedly throughout this study – Christianity without love isn’t really Christianity at all. The kind of love God has and the kind of love that He produces in us by His Spirit is what makes us a follower of Christ.

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