Oct. 4, 00

1 Corinthians 13

8 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.

9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 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 childish ways behind me.

12 Now we see but a poor 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.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Many of us know this piece of scripture very well. We have studied it and heard it preached from many pulpits throughout the land. Perhaps though, we haven't really seen it to it's end and investigated it thoroughly though. Let me explain-A time is coming when we will live in the presence of the Lord forever, and this present life will disappear and death will be swallowed up. There will no longer be any day or night, but the light of the Son will give us His light, and in this light, we will forever live. What I am saying here simply is that we will no longer need present-day prophetic or apostolic truth or any of the knowledge received through our study of the scriptures. We now "see in part," and we "know in part." What does that truly mean? Perhaps this can't be fully explained, but let it suffice to be said that God knows us fully, and because of His infinite knowledge of us, and love for us, our knowledge or understanding is miniscule, it is "nothing," compared to His understanding "of us." But to take it a step further: "We will know fully, even as we are fully known." We will reach the point where the light of His infinite truth and wisdom will illuminate our understanding. So, we will no longer need prophecies. We will no longer need knowledge. When the perfect comes, which is Christ, then everything else must disappear. John the Baptist was a forerunner to the coming of Christ. He paved the way for He who was to come. There will come a time when preachers, teachers, prophets, and all that speak for Christ, will no longer be needed. I don't mean to imply that our "works will not follow, for I believe, they will." But the five-fold ministries are for "bringing us unto maturity until we all reach full manhood."

13"Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Eph. 4

When we reach maturity, then "His Truth," will encompass everything, and "His Light," will "enlighten all." For now though, we are commissioned to carry the torch and speak His truth to the world.

We are however, told what will remain: Faith, hope and love. We are told to seek those things that are above. We are told to seek those things that are seated at the right hand of Christ.

Matt. 6:19-"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in to steal."

But we are to seek those things which are above, for they are eternal, they are everlasting. They are of His perfection. We are told to go onto maturity. We will no longer go unto maturity unless we embrace those things that are above.

Now, we are told in Hebrews 11 what faith is. It is something that we do not see. It is beyond our grasp. However, it is something that we must practice and believe in if we are to believe in Him, whom we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

2 This is what the ancients were commended for. "

So then, faith is something that will last forever. It is eternal. It will not cease. It will continue.
We are also told that faith and hope are often produced in the furnaces of affliction.

Romans 5
"3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

Now hope is something that is also not "seen," otherwise, it would not be "hope." We look beyond our present circumstances, and we set our hearts on those things that we believe are there beyond our sight and our senses.

Romans 8
"23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?

25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."

We are told in Heb. 11 that this hope is like an anchor to our soul, and so it is:

Hebrews 6 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,

We have several examples in Hebrews and in other passages that declare how faith was shown in the past. From Enoch to Abraham, to Noah, and others, they have shown how a mere act can empower others to move forward in faith. Each one of these passages that follows, begins with "By faith." And it is only by faith, for without faith, it is impossible to please God:

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

4 By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.

10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he [1] considered him faithful who had made the promise.

12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.

14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

Finally, we are told that "the greatest of these is love." What is it that makes love the greatest?

I. Co. 8:1 says: "We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God."

We cannot know the depth of this love also without first knowing it through others in the body of Christ. Somehow then, our understanding of God's love then is not complete unless we can see it through others. Only then can we begin to "grasp" how high and how deep it is:

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Eph. 3:17-19

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did no know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure."


Stephen Hanson