The Love That Never Fails
Robert Wurtz II
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. (1 Corinthians 13:8)
Love survives everything; that is how you know it was love. It holds its place. It is a binding force that maintains its cohesiveness through all the ages. Like an ancient monument that has endured the weathering of a thousand generations; love remains when all else has fallen. Prophecies will fail, tongues will cease and knowledge will vanish away; but love will never fail. It is that one thing that you can always depend on. It never runs out; it never grows weak and falters. Without faith it is impossible to please God; but now abides faith, hope and love and the greatest is love. We can say with certainly that without love it is likewise impossible to please God.
No greater love…
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
What about Stephen when he was being stoned to death at the hands of a merciless angry mob? And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. (Acts 7:60) How could he do it? Why didn’t he curse and swear as the pain and agony bore down upon his battered body? I submit to you that the very love of Christ that moved Him to lay down His life for His friends had been poured out into Stephen’s heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5)
What about Paul the Apostle? I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh. (Romans 9:1-3 NKJV) These are Paul’s words of absolute lamentation because of the Israelites that had rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can almost feel the grief and moaning as he utters such sadness. A few decades before, the disciples had desired to call fire down from heaven on the Samaritans, but here is Paul wishing he himself could be accursed from Christ if it would save his people.Jesus told the Disciples leaving Samaria that they “knew not what manor of spirit they were of”; but there is no mistaking what manor of spirit that the Lord Jesus, Stephen and Paul was of; it was clear and uncontested evidence that the Holy Spirit was in them manifesting His love.This is fervent, unfeigned love. Could this be the same man that was breathing out threatening and slaughter against Christians some twenty years before? What could have possibly effected such a radical change in this man? It was the Holy Spirit poured our into him. (Romans 5:5)
The command in John 13:35-36 would not come without the power to carry it out. God provides the grace and the desire to love the unloveable. If we would simply obey John 13:35-36, all people would know that we were disciples of Jesus Christ. This is a powerful truth. Unfeigned love is essential to genuine Christianity. (Romans 12:9, 2 Cor. 6:6, 1 Peter 1:22) “Unfeigned” is an old word that means sincere, irrevocable and irreversible. We sincerely love and we don’t take it back. If Jesus commanded this type of love He expects us as His people to do it. If we refuse then we find ourselves in the same state as the church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2:1ff. Jesus told them, repent and do the first works or I will remove your lampstand. Why? Because the light is the love of God manifest in a darkened world. What is the point of having a golden lampstand if there is no light? It is as worthless as salt that has lost its savor.
The Love of the Father
Returning to the prodigal son motif to close this entry I wish to share a few thoughts from G.W. Norths personal diary as recorded in The Story of G.W. North by Judith Raistrick. Mr. North was a straightforward man of the Bible; a man of truth. His books, articles and sermons dispel any doubts. Yet, he believed we should always err on the side of love. He once quoted Dr. Smellie who stated, “Rather than let love suffer, let truth suffer.” This came in response to a question as to whether or not a repentant man should be restored to ministry. Some might say that they are “done for” once they have fallen into scandal; but not Mr. North. Some elders in one of the Fellowships were displeased with a certain preacher in their midst and were calling for discipline. Mr. North simply beseeched them, “Deal kindly with the young man for my sake” (quoting from the story of David and Absalom). Love was always on his mind – not confrontation. Some people found this frustrating. I see it as evidence of a pastor’s heart (a shepherds heart) that continually seeks to bring the people (flock) back into unity and love with one another. It is said that Mr. North sometimes quoted from the hymn:
Was there ever kindest shepherd
Half so gentle, half so sweet,
As the Saviour who would have us
Come and gather round His feet?
It is God; His love looks mighty,
But is mightier than it seems:
‘Tis our Father, and His kindness
Goes out far beyond our dreams.
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more that liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Saviour,
There is healing in His blood:
Than the measures of man’s mind,
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind:
But we make His love too narrow
By false limits of our own,
And we magnify His strictness
With a zeal He will not own.
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.
If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.