Sermons, lessons, and articles by Stanley Sherman

Balanced Successful Living

SMART GOAL SETTING--Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Tangible

"And Jesus increased in wisdom (mental maturity, intellectual and emotional balance) and stature (physical growth, good health), and favor with God (spiritual---knowledge in the Word, obedience, faithful service and growth) and man (social, family, role)." Matthew 2:52

Some things must be retained; some released; and, some remembered.

Colossians 3:1-4             

To be effective, Goals must be

  • PERSONALIZED (1 Cor. 11:28, 2 Cor. 13.5); 
  • PRIORITIZED by importance; 
  • PICTURIZED (2 Cor. 3:18); 
  • PRAYERIZED (Matt. 7:7; James 1:6; 4:15); 
  • POSITIVELY AFFIRMED (Mark 11:24). 

Set aside a quiet time for relaxation and meditation with your goal list before you.  Count slowly to twenty to focus your attention completely on your goal.  Picture it in your mind or with a picture of it before you.  Pray over it, seeking God's will.  

Positively affirm it as if you have already completed it.  "I can...I am...".
Then count from twenty back to zero.  Do this religiously for thirty days to have it become an alerting system in your sub-conscience mind. 

Philippians 3:13-14 "Forgetting what is behind, and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

If you would like to learn more about goal setting and how to further take action steps, I am available to you. 

The Importance of Small Churches

The Value of a Small Church

In 2002, recognizing there was no congregation of the Lord's church meeting in the area between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington D.C., a group of 6 Christians established the Columbia Street church of Christ, meeting first in an apartment. When they built it up to 12 members through intensive evangelistic efforts, they rented rooms in a local elementary school. After about 2 years they built up to 25 members!  They were joyful because they felt like they had reached critical mass, and the Lord's work was being done. The enthusiasm was infectious!

Then, the letter came---a letter that included a copy of an April 2015 article from Christian Chronicle entitled"Disband With Dignity". The author of the letter said that there had already been a Columbia Street church of Christ in the same general area. And, when that congregation  got down to 25 members, it was so discouraging that they disbanded the congregation, and members drove the distance elsewhere.

Can you imagine? One group got up to 25 and was excited!!! One group got down to 25 and was so discouraged they "disbanded with dignity". What made the difference? Was it attitude? Faith? Lethargy? Lack of trust in God? Disbelief?

I am reminded of two shoe salesmen who went to an undeveloped part of Africa on business. One man got off the plane and saw all the shoeless natives running around and wired back to his company: "No use to set up shop here. No one wears shoes."  The other shoe salesman eagerly wired back to his company and said, "Quick! Send a boat-load of shoes. No one is wearing shoes!!!"  It's all a matter of perspective.

You remember the story of Gideon, In Judges 7, going to fight the Midianites, and the Amalekites, whose numbers were described as "numerous as locusts". They were camped out across the valley. Gideon had managed to assemble an army of 32,000 to go up against this hoard. As he confidently addressed his army in the pre-attack briefing of the troops, he said, "Whoever is afraid and trembling let him return and depart from Mount Gilead."

And then, he watched with horror as 22,000 (over half his troops) took off for home. Can you imagine being a General and half your army leaves?!  Well, God said to Gideon, "You still have too many", and the number got down to only 300. 300 against a numberless hoard! And God delivered the enemy into Gideon's hand without a loss of any of his army. All the way through the Bible you see God working with an individual or a small group to show the power of having faith in God and His power.

The Lord said to Paul in 2 Corinthians:9 "My strength is made perfect in weakness."  And God told Daniel about a man he was going to use for His purposes. The Lord said, "He shall come up, and shall become strong with a small group." (Daniel 11:23).

A few years ago Lydia and I visited in Alaska and I was invited to preach at Anchor Point, a small town on the Kenai Peninsula on the shore of Cook Inlet. For years the brethren there tried to reach their community with the gospel, with little success. Did they choose to "disband with dignity"? No! If they could not reach their community, they decided to reach out to the world by short-wave radio, and soon radio KNLS was started with a giant antenna--to reach the pacific rim nations: the Philippines, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.  

But then, they began getting responses from deep inside Russia, China and the Moslem countries of the Mideast. There is no telling how many souls have been reached by that small group in Alaska all over the world. And now, with the internet, we too can reach out to people all over the world with the gospel. Consider World Bible School andWorld Video Bible School as personal or evangelistic tools for Bible study, as well as email, Skype and other social media available at our fingertips today.

It is sad and unfortunate that brethren and others erroneously measure success in  growth by how many members a congregation has in attendance. The bigger you are, the more successful you are thought to be and the stronger you are perceived to be. 

But, God's concept of growth and strength is far different than most misguided brethren, who think growth is by numbers. God is not concerned about numbers. Of course, God is "not willing that any should perish" (2 Peter 3:9) , but He seeks those who "will worship Him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:23).

When you search the word grow in the New Testament, it is always associated with grace, faith, love, truth and knowledge (Ephesians 4:13; 1 Peter 2:2; 3:15), having to do with maturity.  Yes, Acts 12:24 says that "the Word of God continued to grow and to be multiplied"  and "the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing" (Acts 19:20) implying many converts---but won by the word. The emphasis is still in agreement with Christ's commission: "Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19-20).

disciple is a person who has been convinced by the teaching of the gospel, and commits to obey the gospel. Although a full understanding is not required before become a committed Christian---knowledgeable about why Jesus died for them and that they will be a part of Christ's body, the church---is implied. A commitment to worship God in spirit (with the right attitude) and in truth (according to the doctrine of Christ) is implied.

The practice of quick baptisms of low-information, half converted from the world (for awhile) people, does not constitute true congregational growth, but is more a matter of swelling the church.

Since the beginning of the modern "church growth" movement, dating from the late 1950's, local churches have been under pressure to provide programs to facilitate church growth. Bob DeWaay, in his article, "Faulty Premises of the Church Growth Movement" from the publication: Critical Issues Commentary, says:

"The Church Growth idea is that we must study man (using the latest sociological, psychological, and anthropological insights) to determine how to create a church that will grow and a message that will be popular through appealing to a target audience. Something is wrong here. And, I do not think it is the inspired Apostle John."  He refers to 1 John4:5-6 which says, "They are from the world, therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."

Did you know that the brethren in a large church have a Center for Church Growth with the motto: "Think Big!" In contrast, I exhort you to "Think Small!---for the following reasons:

Thinking SMALL actually promotes true and lasting growth.  Back in the early part of the 20th century through the 1950's, congregations grew quickly through frequent gospel meetings and emphasis on evangelism.  But, elderships were wise to determine that when a congregation grew to about 250 to 300, it was better to encourage members to volunteer in starting another congregation across town, or in another neighborhood.  This gave the church more presence in the community with the opportunity of the gospel reaching them.  It also promoted more evangelistic activity, especially among the team that set forth to build the new congregation.

Thinking SMALL also promotes more of a family atmosphere among members. Lydia and I were a part of a large congregation with around 1400 members. I was on the "staff" there. One time I was sitting next to a lady in the balcony whom I had never seen before. She leaned over to ask me the name of a lady coming up the aisle. I replied, "I don't know. I have never seen her before in my life."  The atmosphere during the worship services was more like we were spectators watching the performance of worship. There was a "worship praise team" of three men and a woman leading the singing (so that the basses, the tenors, sopranos and altos all had their own song leader). They wore color-coordinated outfits, and  the whole thing seemed  more like a theatrical entertainment. The preacher had a great sense of humor and interesting stories with spiritual lessons, but with little scripture included.  I am not saying that all huge congregations are like that, but my experience in visiting many, was near the norm.  I walked into a huge congregation once, into a long hallway filled with people visiting one another. No one greeted me. But when the song leader announced they were one of the friendliest congregations you could find, and asked everyone to stand and greet the ones in front and behind, all of a sudden, on queue, everyone was so friendly with me.

Thinking SMALL also promotes more member activity and on the job training.  In a congregation of 1400 people, a man might get called upon to lead the congregation in prayer once a year or even two years, because of so many. I used to wonder how much talent was wasted and how many never could develop their abilities because of the sheer numbers of members, and the lack of opportunity to "grow".  In a small church, men and women always have opportunity to serve in their chosen capacities or try to develop new skills.  Young men are used in worship service and get used to being in leadership situations.  This can lead to interest in developing song-leading talents, or preaching and teaching.  Some of the brotherhood's greatest Bible scholars and most dynamic preachers grew up in small country churches and learned from on-the-job training, sometimes mentored by older preachers and teachers, or benefited from Gospel meetings, debates and extensive Bible "Readings" that sometimes lasted 6 months or more. This was all before Christian Colleges or Preacher Training Schools came into existence.

The "Church Growth" promoters fanned out across our nation in the 1960's trying to encourage brethren to "dis-band with dignity" and consolidate with other congregations (patterned after the public school consolidation mania). The idea was to have a large central presence in the community. The theory was that so much more could be done if we were big.

The idea of "big-is-good and small-is-bad is a commercial one, not a spiritual one. Naturally the church grew in the New Testament times, but the members were scattered and did not always meet in large groups. The day of Pentecost was an exception. Many of those new converts established churches of Christ in other places by spreading the gospel throughout the known world.

With the sale of all the smaller church buildings, we could be as impressive as the denominations (a "look at what we are doing" mentality) in the area with their fancy buildings, thus attracting more people--and a wealthier prospect.  I know this was true, because I attended one of the promotional meetings in Albuquerque, New Mexico when a famous preacher from the largest church in the USA was touring the country urging brethren to do this. Brethren fell for this, especially in the cities, and millions upon millions of dollars started funding magnificent facilities, which could sometimes be described as "palaces" of worship.

From the Colley House blog, we read this insight:  

"What the church needs today is not primarily bigger and better facilities, bigger congregations, more talent, more programs or more money. What the church needs today is more courageous leaders: more Calebs, more Joshuas, more Josephs and Daniels.  We need men who are willing to do the hard things to keep the body faithfully united in Truth. We need men who are soft enough to cry about lost souls, yet tough enough to do what God says to do to keep the body pure."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against church buildings per-se-----just going overboard----and allowing the building to be the dominate financial interest of the congregation. The early church, because of persecution, did not build church buildings until the 3rd century. But, the Lord wants the church to "come together" as a body for worship (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 11:18). And they did---in rented halls and houses and suitable places.  The typical house, in the Roman times throughout the empire, had a courtyard and/or a large portico that would be equivalent in capacity to a modest church building auditorium, that could accommodate a crown.  Brethren were not necessarily crowded into little living room "cell" groups, like we sometimes imagine when we think of house churches.

In spite of possible positive consequences of the church growth movement, there have been some severely negative consequences as well:

(1) The inordinate unbalanced shift of God's money from the mission fields to extravagant multi-million dollar church buildings. 

In the 1980's I returned from working with student preachers at the Jamaica School of Biblical Studies in Kingston, Jamaica.  They were some of the most well-trained preacher potential I ever met, and had the yearning to return to their villages to preach and teach.  The problem was there were no jobs to support them in their villages, and there was no brotherhood support for them. Unfortunately, today it is more who you know than the quality of your work that determines who gets the available support. And there are so many multi-million dollar-budgeted brotherhood programs that take up much of limited brotherhood resources. So these young men were forced to stay in Kingston to get jobs i order for their families to survive.

Well, I had just returned from working with these highly qualified and keen men  to an area in the US that had larger congregations, when another preacher and I were invited to tour the magnificent new "campus" of a church building. Our enthusiastic host led us into the huge wrap-around foyer. There was an indoor fountain and a book store in the foyer area. He took us downstairs to the two adjoining gymnasiums (one an indoor tennis court and the other a basketball court). As we stood in front of the little coffee shop by the tennis court, he eagerly explained that the building cost $17.5 million (which, adjusted for today's inflation, would be equivalent to $35 million), and they were servicing a debt of $12 million back to the bank.  I calculated in my mind that what they were paying each week from the contribution of God's money to the bank to service the mortgage debt, would fully pay 50 Jamaican preachers support for the whole year!

(2) Another negative of the church growth consolidation movement has been the liberalizing of the church. 

As congregations consolidated together for a bigger church, preachers and elders were often displaced or relegated to "staff" positions in the new situation with the new set of elders. Those who were more conservative to faithfully teaching the whole council of God were no longer as sought after, as elderships looked more for charismatic, "well-educated", public-relations oriented speakers with a positive image and an entertaining personality. Messages were softened so as not to offend potential members and fickle donors, who might leave for greener pastures, and thus put the mortgage payments in jeopardy. In some cases, talented and popular preachers actually have come into positions where the elders were subject to them. The drift toward denominationalism was begun.

(3) Another negative of consolidation in the church growth movement is the modifying or restructuring of church organization in some congregations, because of size and "efficiency".

Elders, who were once chosen primarily because of their shepherd qualities, along with Biblical qualifications, gave way to elders selected because of their executive talent and business savvy.  Thus, elderships began to look more like a corporate board of directors than shepherds smelling like the sheep they tend. (They mingle with the sheep) The driving force of this change was because of the building and program management. One deacon came to me one time in frustration and said, "I am confused. What am I supposed to do? The elders are doing the deacons work." A girl visiting from college was asked what her major was.  She replied, "I'm getting my degree in worship management." 

What about the future? Acts 8:1-4 "...there was a great persecution against the church...they that  were all scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word..." That may be our wake-up call. As the clouds of persecution grow darker on the cultural and social horizon here in America, the possibility of loss of tax-exempt status and confiscation of property may come to our door.

Wise elderships need to take heed and plan for the storm. Jeremiah 6:16 says:  "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therin, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein."  I would love for us to look back to the wisdom of the brethren in the 1950's.  When the congregation we were with in Yakima, Washington reached 250, the elders began to plan for a church planting in another promising area of town which would grow to eventually afford a modest worship facility. If elderships of the church-growth crowd would choose to sell their "palaces" to spread the gospel back to the neighborhoods and help the mission fields, I'm sure the Lord would be much more pleased.  These congregations would be blessed beyond their wildest imagination, and might fare much better on judgement day when all things are brought into account. (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

When I was a young preacher in Canada, I became acquainted by letter with Dr. Hans Grimm, a German brother in Christ, and an early church historian. He wrote the book, "Tradition and History of the Early Churches of Christ in Central Europe."  He wrote about his ancestor, Gregorius Grymn, who was arrested for his faith:

"As he stood before the judge at Ensisheim in 1117, he told the judge, 'I have been buried with Christ in the water of rebirth here in the little river Fecht by my dear grandfather 30 years ago, for the remission of sins. So I became a happy child of God." Neither the breaking of his arms and legs, nor the flame which burnt him alive could make him tell the names of the little group of Alsation Christian to which he belonged...From the year 1117, we can trace in official records of judges the story of little congregations of the Lord's church. They appear there as 'Ortliber' in Germany, 'Speronisti' in Italy and 'Patareni' in Yugoslavia. The only name they used for their congregations was "Kleine Gemeinde Christi" (little church of Christ) or "Kirche Christi" (church of Christ)."  Who hath despised the day of small things?"

How can you help to stem the disappearing of small congregations?

1. Pray for their survival and that God would bring them faithful Christian families who will help them grow and reach out to their communities.
2. Visit occasionally to encourage them in their existence and growth. Some small groups would also welcome visiting song-leaders, teachers and preachers.
3. When its in your heart to increase your gift back to God from time to time, bless a smaller congregation to help them with their outreach to share the gospel. Financial gifts, to help them with radio programs, mission efforts and meeting their needs, are always received with tremendous appreciation.

Stan Sherman
29285 Lingo Lane
Junction City, Oregon 97448

Web Logs: 

Prayer for the Nation

I would like to share with you my prayer for the nation.  If you feel you wish
share the thoughts of this prayer for yourself and others, feel free to forward

I would like to begin with the words of a familiar prayer hymn by John G.

"Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways;  re-clothe us in
our rightful mind, in purer lives Thy service find, in deeper reference, praise."

We come before you, Father, appealing for Your mercy toward our nation.   
Many prayers from sincere and obedient hearts are seeking Your help and
guidance in turning our nation from its arrogant, reckless and destructive path
to repentance, and restoration of the faith and Godly moral principles of its
founding that made it the greatest nation on earth.  Help America change
from political correctness to moral correctness.

Lord, may I frame this petition with the words of that innocent, simple little
student prayer, that the 1962 foolish Supreme Court justices so  arrogantly,
and recklessly threw out of the schools.  They lied to the American people
in claiming it violated the Constitution, when there was no violation.

That little 22 word prayer simply said, "Almighty God, we acknowledge our
dependence upon Thee and beg Thy blessings 
upon us, our parents, our
teachers, and our country."
   It is as if those presumptuous justices said to
You by their action"we no longer need nor want your hand of  protection
over our students, their parents our teachers, or even this country--be gone!"

And so You removed Your hand of protection as they requested to show
them and America what happens when a nation rejects its God.  In the
years that have followed, we have seen the curses of Deuteronomy 28
encroach upon our nation in each of the four areas of that little prayer.
      We have seen the student SAT scores plummet to all time lows.  School
shootings, unheard of before l962 have taken the lives of many students in
subsequent years.  Once peaceful halls of disciplined learning have turned
into dangerous war zones of gang violence, murder, drug infestation, rape
and all kinds of chaos.  Children who are falsely taught that they are simply
animals in the evolutionary chain, and not the unique creation of a loving
God, will act the part of their false concepts and reap distorted lives.
    The divorce rate among parents of the students  has risen sharply in the
subsequent years since 1962.   Less than 50%  of American youth reach
their 18th birthday with both biological parents.  No nation is stronger than
the endurance of the home, the very foundation of society and civilization.
   Since that disastrous decision in 1962, teacher proficiency test scores
have plummeted, and teacher cheating has become prominent.   For some,
honor, integrity and sacrificial commitment to the success of the student,
has unfortunately given way to financial greed, selfish personal rights and
following union demands, than in educating of the children entrusted to
their care to produce effective, morally responsible citizens.  Some teachers
identify more as political propaganda party hacks, than as serious and
concerned educators.  Children's hopes are destroyed by lack of true
     The fourth area of that little prayer, regarding blessings upon our nation,was decimated by the 8:1 decision of the judges to throw out prayer to You
in public schools.   Your Word says, "Blessed is that nation whose God is the
 (Psalm 33:12).  In their blasphemous arrogance, Supreme Court Justices,
Black, Douglas, and six others, consigned America to join the 10 other great
civilizations of past history in their decline and fall because of social decay
and moral a political corruption.  Their Ban on prayer to You in the schools,
led to further subsequent decisions banning Bible reading, the public display
of the 10 Commandments, and eventually many other displays, or evidence
of Christian paraphernalia.  This just served to grease the skids of our nation's
social and moral decline.  Those in authority over us today blindly ignore the
 great realities of history, like:  "Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a
disgrace to any people."
  (Proverbs 14:34).  We have come to the point in our
decline, where now that which is evil, shameful, unnatural, perverse and
abominable in Your sight, is all said to be good and normal, and socially
perfectly moral and acceptable.  And, that which is obviously moral and right
and good is now said to be evil and socially unacceptable.  We recall that Your
Word says in Isaiah 5:20  "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil."  And, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget
  (Psalm 9:17).

And so, we come before you asking your help to restore once again the
blessings of that little prayer that the Supreme Court threw out.  But, Lord,
help us to make it stronger by teaching it to our children and grandchildren
and repeating it every morning with them before school.  And if prayer is
never allowed to be publicly prayed in the classroom, it will still be more
prominently and powerfully present in the minds of the children.  Let it be
carried  in the heart of every student as they pass through the doors of the
school and into their classrooms each day.  Let it frustrate and perplex Your
enemies as they behold a new confidence and zeal in the eyes and behavior
of the students.  And let it lead to  a soul-searching positive change among
teachers and administrators, board members and legislators.

If it be in accordance to Your Will, help us revise this little prayer to be:
"Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee and beg Thy
Hand of protection,  and Thy truth, morality, honesty and righteousness
upon us as students, and on our parents, our teachers and our country.
Thy Will always be done. In Jesus Name, Amen."
Lord, we pray for the children and students of America.  Return truth
to the classrooms of America--truth in science, truth in history, truth in
all areas of education.  Restore repentance, honesty, dedication and
discipline to the schools.  Defeat all wicked influences that daily attack
the minds of students:  sexual immorality, political agendas, atheistic
false interpretations of science and psychology, and distortions of facts.
     And Lord, we pray for the homes and families--the parents of America.
Help husbands and wives honor their commitment to the vows they
promised You in marriage.  Let there begin a revolution of restoring the
sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman for life.  And help
them to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of You, the Lord.
Defeat the artificial, counterfeit perversions of the institution of marriage.
You designed marriage to be the very foundation fabric of society and
civilization.  Help people to see that the sexual relationship was never
designed to be a recreational pursuit or a personal right outside of marriage;
and, that the sexual relationship was intended for procreation and the
pleasure of a man and wife only in marriage.   That is why you have so many
warnings against adultery and fornication, lasciviousness and other moral
     For our teachers, we pray for repentance and a revival of restoring that
which is moral and right and truthful to the curriculum and their lesson
plans.  Give them the courage to follow God rather than man.  May they
restore dignity to the profession, with the primary purpose of educating the
children in their charge in truth, honesty, morality and reverence for You and
our country.  Raise up leaders who will want to take our nation back to its
days of greatness and good.  Help teachers to lead by example and to inspire
their students to these ends.
     And we pray for our nation.  Please restore wisdom and common sense
back to our federal, state and local governments.   Re-establish our govern-
ment back to the purpose for which You instituted it--for the protection of
the righteous and the punishment of the wicked.  Bring government back to
our Constitutional roots, and help it once again to be a government by the
people and for the people.  Raise up wise and honest statesmen in the
place of greedy politicians.  Restore honest judges to replace the biased and
the corrupt. May wise leaders abide by the Constitution and realize they are
servants of the people.  Give them the means to balance the budget,
eliminate waste, dismiss unethical lobbyists and advisers, fire unnecessary
bureaucracies, reverse bad laws, unnecessary regulations, and unnecessary
unions,  guiding their decisions with Your wisdom.   Help them restore the
right kind of right-to-work laws, free enterprise, and to encourage personal
achievement, excellence,  and fair competition, along with fair and diminish-
ing taxation.
    We have great concern for America today with the attacks on Christianity
and dangerous social and cultural changes based on ignorance, intimidation,
lies, and radical agendas.  Be a hedge of protection around your people and
defeat the attempts to implement as law that which will destroy this nation.
Help our leaders and judges to make the right decisions, if it be Thy will.
    Especially, Lord, be with those who seek to follow you in Christianity.  Help
us to fulfill Your Call for unity in adherence to Your Will found in Your Word.
Strengthen Your church, knowing that the key to turning our nation back
to You must start with the repentance and re-commitment of Your people.
And so You said, "If My people which are called by my name will humble
themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from
 heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."(2 Chronicles 7:14).
     Lord, you love everybody and are patient toward us, not willing that any
should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  Help us
to know that you sent Jesus to save us from our sins and not in our sins.
     Thank You, Lord.  May Your Will be done always.   In Jesus Name,  Amen!
                                                                                               --Stanley Sherman

If you share these sentiments, forward this prayer to others.  May God
bless you.



A. This is the most important question in a person's life.
  1. It is not a question that is left up for us to invent our own answer, as many people attempt to do today in religion.
    a. JEREMIAH 10:23 says: “...The way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” 
    b. Jesus said, “Not everyone that saith unto me 'Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (MATTHEW 7:21).
  2. To answer the question of salvation, it only makes sense to seek out the answer from the one who originated the plan for salvation.
    a. That of course is God, and He reveals His Will and Answer in His Word— the Bible.
    b. PSALM 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” 
    c. PSALM 119:130 “The entrance of thy words giveth light: it giveth understanding unto the simple.”

B. In God's Word, the Bible, we learn from JOHN 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 
  1. Jesus said, “I am the waythe truth and the life, no one cometh unto the Father but by Me.” (JOHN 14:6)
    a. So if we want to go to heaven, we can't look to Mohammed, or Krishna or Buddha or anyone else.
    b. We can go to heaven only by way of Jesus Christ.
  2. It is by reading and studying the Bible that we learn of Christ and establish our Faith in Him.
    a. ROMANS 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” 
    b. HEBREWS 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." 
      (1) From this passage we learn two important things about Faith: that
        (a) First, that we must be convinced that Jesus is the Christ; believing He died for our sins on the cross, was buried in the tomb, but rose again on the third day. These are the great facts of the gospel.        
        (b) Secondly, that we must establish a commitment of trust in Him.
      (2) This brings us to the third element of true faith in Jesus found in HEBREWS 5:8-­9 “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; And being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” 
      (3) Obedience implies trustcommitment and action.
      (4) Obedience puts feet under our faith. 
  3. Faithful Obedience logically leads us to want to change from our old life in order to embrace the new life we want to have in Christ. This is repentance.
    a. ACTS 3:19 “Repent, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” 
    b. 2 CORINTHIANS 7:10 “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” 
  4. Faithful Obedience through repentance naturally leads us to acknowledge our faith in Christ. This is the great confession of faith­­ “Yes, I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 
    a. ROMANS 10:9­-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” 
    b. In MATTHEW 10:32­-33 Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” 

C. If I sincerely believe in Jesus with trusting faith; and repent of my sins, and without any doubt can acknowledge, or confess my faith to others, I am now ready to put on Christ in my life. How does that happen?
  1. GALATIANS 3:27 has the answer: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” 
  2. We know that it is the blood of Christ which He shed on the cross that cleanses us of our sins, because the Bible says:
ROMANS 3:23-­25 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” 
    a. We see everything coming together: God's grace, our faith, the blood of Christ, the remission, or forgiveness, of sins when we are baptized into Christ
    b. When people on the day of Pentecost asked what they had to do to be saved,  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (ACTS 2:38)
  3. Jesus died for our sins, and we die to sin in likeness of His death through our repentance.
Jesus was buried in a tomb, and our old sinful self is buried with Him in the waters of baptism, in the likeness of His burial.
Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and we are resurrected from Baptism to walk in newness of life—the Christian life.
    a. That is how we obey the gospel.
    b. The Apostle Paul summarizes the transformation very beautifully in ROMANS 6:3­-5 “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection:” 

D. How important is it for us to make the decision to obey the gospel as soon as possible? What if I don't obey the gospel?
  1. I PETER 4:17 “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 
  2. 2 THESSALONIANS l:7-­9 answers this question: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God: and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” 
  3. Do you want that to happen to you?
  4. The Holy Spirit, who guided Ananias to speak to Saul His instructions, speaks to you today the very same thing, as we read in ACTS 22:16 “And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” 

E. Once you have by faith repented and been immersed in baptism into Christ, and His blood, in that act of faith, has washed away your sins, Jesus adds you to His body, the church (Acts 2:47).
  1. Now you have work to do.
    a. JAMES 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” 
    b. Jesus said in MATTHEW 7:21 “Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” 
  2. New Christians are referred to in the Bible as newborn babes. As such, you are expected to grow and mature, just as happens in nature. The Bible helps us to get a successful start...
    a. I PETER 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” 
    b. 2 PETER 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 

F. In REVELATION 2:10 Jesus says to Christians, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” 
  1. Again, the Apostle Peter tells us how we can walk the Christian life faithfully and successfully on the narrow road to Heaven:
2 PETER 1:2­-11 (NASV) “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted unto us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply 
MORAL EXCELLENCE, and in your moral excellence, 
KNOWLEDGE, and in your knowledge, 
SELF CONTROL, and in your self control, 
PERSEVERANCE, and in your perseverance, 
    a. And let me interrupt this list to comment on Godliness.
      (1) This word includes all that we do in WORSHIP.
      (2) As the Lord's church, we assemble each week on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7), to pour out from our hearts our worship to God through PRAYER (1 Timothy 2:1-­3); BIBLE TEACHING AND PREACHING (2 Timothy 2:15; 4:2); SINGING (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16­-17); THE LORD'S SUPPER ( Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26); and GIVING (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9-7).
    b. JOHN 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” 
    c. Now let's return to the list of Christian duties:
“and in your godliness BROTHERLY KINDNESS; and in your brotherly kindness, CHRISTIAN LOVE
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things are blind or short­sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.” 
  2. Jesus sums it all up in REVELATION 22:14 in these words: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” 
  3. Have a great journey! 
Stanley Sherman 

A More Excellent Way

A Sermon on Love

A. My family and I, while on a vacation trip several years ago, visited Eureka
Springs, Arkansas in the Ozarks, where the largest and most famous
annual Passion Play is presented, depicting the crucifixion and resurrec-
tion of Christ.
1. There's a story about an actor who was playing the part of Christ in the
Passion Play in the Ozarks.
a. As he carried the cross up the hill a tourist began heckling, making
fun of him , and shouting insults at him.
(1) Finally, the actor had taken all of it he could take.
(2) So he threw down his cross, walked over to the tourist, and
punched him out.
b. After the play was over the director told him, “I know he was a pest,
but I can't condone what you did. Besides, you're playing the part of
Jesus, and Jesus never retaliated. So don't do anything like that
(1) Well, the man promised he wouldn't.
(2) But the next day the heckler was back worse than before, and
finally the actor exploded and punched him out again.
c. The director said, “That's it! I have to fire you! We just can't have
you behaving this way while playing the part of Jesus!”
(1) The actor begged, “Please give me one more chance. I really
need this job, and I can handle it if it happens again.”
(2) So the director decided to give him anther chance.
d. The next ay he was carrying his cross up the street. Sure enough,
the heckler was there again.
(1) You could tell that the actor was really trying to control himself,
but it was about to get the best of him.
(2) He was clinching his fists and grinding his teeth.
(3) Finally, he looked at the heckler and said, “I'll meet you after the
2. Sometimes it's hard for some, professing to be Christians, to behave like
Christians ought to, and we react like people of the world would react to
a. We go about carrying our crosses, and then someone crosses us, and
Sherman--Page 2
we lose our composure and lash out to get even.
b. We are no different than the world. No one could tell us apart.
B. But the Bible shows us that we're to be better than that.
1. It teaches us to exercise love in all of our relationships with one
2. Listen to these passages:
a. ROMANS 12:18 “If possible, as far as it depends on you, be at
peace with all men.” (NASV)
b. EPHESIANS 4:1-3 “...walk in a manner worthy of the calling with
which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with
patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent
to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (NASV)
c. HEBREWS 12:14 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the
holiness Without which no one will see the Lord.” (ESD)
d. I PETER 1:22 “Seeing ye have purified your souls by obeying the
truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see
that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:” (KJV)
“unfeigned” love means “not pretending” or “not hypocritical” love
3. Now all these verses say the same thing.
a. It may be difficult at times, and not everyone is easy to love, but
Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, commands us, as much as possible, to
live together in peace and harmony as brethren in His body the
b. PSALMS 133:1 “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for
brethren to dwell together in unity.”
B. There are some chapters in the Bible that are consider classics. Scholars
call them “standard chapters” because they feature a particular topic all
the way through.
1. For example:
a. Psalm 23 is the great chapter on God's comfort and care.
b. Hebrews 11 is the great chapter on faith.
c. I Corinthians 15 is the great chapter on the future final resurrection
2. And, when we think of love, we typically think of I Corinthians 13.
a. I Corinthians 13 and Psalm 23 are called the most popular chapters in
the Bible.
Sherman--Page 3
b. They have been read on many occasions—for weddings, funerals and
during times of illness, comfort and meditation.
c. And they are truly balm for the human heart no matter in which
setting they are applied.
C. But the fact is that, regardless of how dearly I Corinthians 13 is held in the
minds of people, the average person has no idea about what its true mean-
ing really is.
1. The average person, who thinks of love only in terms of warm fuzzys,
positive thoughts, emotional stirring, tugging at the heart-strings, and
other pleasant and pleasurable responses—the average person will read
the chapter, and comment on how wonderful, beautiful and profound
it is, and miss the real context of the chapter and its real purpose.
a. The description of love is beautiful on the surface.
b. But, it's even more beautiful and profound when we uncover the
great truths it teaches.
2. I Corinthians 13 lies in its context as a part of chapters 12 and 14--
a. and is in contrast to the spiritual gifts that were temporarily placed in
the church to strengthen the church and confirm the spoken Word
until the New Testament was complete.
b. Some brethren in the church at Corinth were abusing and misusing
these gifts.
(1) Some were jealous of the gifts others had. Some had received
no gifts at all.
(2) There were also divisions and contentions and accusations.
(3) There was confusion and disorder in the church services.
(4) They had misunderstood the nature and purpose of the 9 gifts
distributed by the Holy Spirit throughout the church to certain
ones. They were...
(a) Word of wisdom (the gospel message)
(b) Knowledge (supernatural knowledge of the scriptures)
(c) Faith (miraculous faith—the power to exert unnatural
(d) Healings (power over diseases)
(e) Miracles (to heal all manner of diseases)
(f) Prophecy (the ability to foree and forecast coming events)
Sherman—Page 4
(g) Discerning of spirits (the ability to look into the hearts of
hypocrites and false apostles and expose them)
(h) Tongues (the ability to speak in languages not previously
learned—It was not babbling or jibberish such as what peo-
ple claim today—Corinth was a crossroads on major trade
routes, so there were people of all nations and languages
visiting the city)
(i) Interpretation of Tongues (Tongues could only be
exercised if there was someone present to interpret and give
the understanding to the speaker)
c. These 9 gifts were not given to make one member more powerful and
important than any other member of the church.
d. The spiritual gifts were the credentials of the apostles, and those on
whom they laid their hands to pass on the gifts—for the purpose of
introducing themselves to unbelievers as being men of God and not
charlatans or fakes.
e. Now from the context it seems that some members were ready to walk
out and quit.
(1) Paul talks to them about the church, as in a human body, is a
body of people with differing abilities in characteristic and num-
ber, but all are important to the overall functioning of the body.
(I Corinthians 12:13-27)
(2) Now we must not lose sight of the fact that the purpose of the gifts
was not primarily for the benefit of those that received them, but
for those who were receiving the message of the gospel from these
Christians at Corinth.
4. Chapter 12 closes with the words: “But covet earnestly the best gifts:
an yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” (V-21)
a. The way of love—that which would be around long after those 9
temporary gifts had ceased—love is the more excellent way.
b. We're ready now to build upon this foundation and look at the
characteristics of true love in chapter 13.

Sherman—Page 5
A. I CORINTHIANS 13 is divided into 3 parts:
1. I CORINTHIANS 13:1-3 is the first division and points out the impor-
tance of love:
a. (V-1) “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not
have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
(1) In the first century, at the entrance to most pagan temples, there
was a big gong or cymbal hanging. When people came to
worship they would hit the cymbal or gong in order to awaken
the pagan gods to listen to their prayers.
(2) Paul was pointing out that even if a Christian could speak with the
greatest of eloquence in every language, but didn't possess love
for a fellow Christian or the lost, then their life as a Christian was
just as useless as this ridiculous pagan act of pounding on a gong
to awaken non-existent gods.
b. (V-2) “And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries
and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove
mountains, but do not have love I am nothing.”
(1) If you think you are a super Christian, will a commanding know-
ledge of the Bible, and you know philosophy and theology and
psychology and all the other ologies, but you don't have love,
what's all your wisdom and knowledge worth?—absolutely
nothing. But if you do not have love for God to fully do His will
and love for others, your knowledge is absolutely worthless!
(2) In Galatians 5:6 Paul says that “the only thing that counts is
faith working through love.”
c. (V-3) “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I
deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me
(1) He didn't say “If I give 10%”. He says if I give everything--
empty my bank account, sell everything I have to give to the
poor and needy—but I don't have the kind of love God wants,
there is no blessing for my generosity from God. He counts it as
nothing. I may as well kept everything.
(2) That's how important God's kind of love is.
Sherman—Page 6
d. So, Paul is saying here by way of the Holy Spirit, that if you attend
church services every time the door is open, if you read your Bible
every day, if you pray, if you help the needy, visit the sick, and do
everything a Christian ought to do, but you don't manifest God's
kind of love in your life—it's all worthless! You might as well have
stayed home.
e. So, obviously, the practice of love in our lives is very important,
much more important perhaps than we ever realized before.
(1) Jesus says in JOHN 13:34 “A new commandment I give you:
Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must live one
(2) That, folks, is our standard: To love God as Jesus loved God.
To love the church of Christ as Jesus loves His bride, the church.
To love one another as Christ loves us.
Love others through Jesus' eyes.
(3) And notice that Jesus says this is a commandment, not a sugges-
(a) And God never commands us to do anything that we can't
do. It's a matter of want to.
(b) The Bible teaches that love is something we can control.
2. So now, let's look at what this kind of love is like. This is the second
part of I CORINTHIANS 13—VS. 4-8
a. The Greek language—the language of the New Testament has basic-
ally 4 words for love:
(1) Agape—brotherly love, charity, the love of God for man and the
love of man for God. Reverence. Sacred devotion.
(2) Storgenatural affection as between parent and child; family
(3) Philia—affectionate regard, friendship, loyalty to friends, family
and community.
(4) Eros—intimate love, passion.
b. The love of I Corinthians 13 is AGAPE love—brotherly love; the
love of God for man and man for God. The love Jesus commanded
for us.
Agape is “a caring, self-sacrificing commitment which shows itself
Sherman-Page 7
in seeking the highest good of the one loved”.
1. (V-4) Selfless “love is PATIENT”.
a. Why do you think the Holy Spirit put this one first?
(1) How often, when we are affronted or offended, do we form an
immediate judgment without taking time to find out the facts or
(2) The Greek word comes from two words meaning long-tempered.
I like the KJV which says that love “suffereth long”'s long-
b. “If you're patient, you're slow to anger, you endure personal wrongs
without retaliating. You bear with others' imperfections, faults and
differences. You give them room to changeroom to make mistakes
without coming down hard on them.” (Steven Cole)
2. (V-4) Selfless “love is KIND”.
a. This is the next logical characteristic of true love, because kindness
is patience in action.
b. The Christian's response to harsh treatment is kindness.
c. Jesus said in LUKE 6:33, 35 “And if you do good to those who do
good to you what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the
same thing...But love your enemies, and do good, and lend,
expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and
you will be sons of the Most high; for He Himself is kind to
ungrateful and evil men.”
d. Kindness motivates others toward positive change.
3. (V-4) Selfless “love is NOT JEALOUS”
a. The jealous person wants what other people have for himself or her-
b. The jealous person will not applaud the success of others and
wants all the attention.
c. JAMES 4:2 “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet
and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel...” (ESV)

Sherman-Page 8
4. Selfless “love does NOT BRAG
5. and is NOT ARROGANT,”
a. Bragging and Arrogance are sometimes called the ugly twins, and
both grow out from selfishness, personal rights, and pride.
b. One commentary says,Jealousy is wanting what someone else
has. Bragging is trying to make others jealous of what we have.
Jealousy puts others down; bragging builds us up.” (The
MacArthur New Testament Commentary, I Corinthians)
c. Selfless love isn't focus on self, but tries to build up the other person
d. The humble, loving Christian realizes that all he has is an undeserv-
ed blessing from God (I Cor. 4:7). The real Christian doesn't boast,
but thankfully serves others.
6. (V-5) Love “does not act UNBECOMINGLY”.
a. Another version says of love, “it is not rude”.
b. Love does not needlessly offend on purpose.
c. Love has good manners, is courteouspolitesensitive and
d. Love, in wishing the best for others, expresses itself through
modesty and moral purity, so as not to be offensive or a poor
example or a stumblingblock to others.
7. (V-5) Selfless love, “it does not seek its OWN.”
a. It is not selfish and does not demand its rights!
b. Aren't you glad that Jesus didn't demand His rights? He could
have stayed in Heaven, and we would never have had a chance at
obtaining salvation.
c. True love is never selfish nor feels deserving.
8. (V-5) Selfless love “is NOT PROVOKED”.
a. The KJV says, “is not easily provoked”
b. The Phillips Version says “It is not touchy”
c. A quick-tempered person is like a bomb.
(1) Look at the devastation they leave behind.
(2) A quick-tempered person is definitely selfish and shows
personal weakness, lack of self-control and impatience.

Sherman-Page 9
9. (V-5) Selfless love “does NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT A WRONG
a. The Greek word here is an accounting term.
b. As applied here, “love does not keep a tally of wrongs and bear a
grudge until everyone is paid for.”
Another version says that love “keeps no record of wrongs.”
c. There is no place in a Christian's heart for “personal justice” or
“getting even” or retribution or revenge.
(1) ROMANS 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but
rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance
belongeth unto Me, I will repay saith the Lord.”
(2) Instead of seeking personal justice, turn it all over to God
and seek ways to return good for evil.
(3) “But what if that doesn't make me feel vendicated?”
(a) Then you learn to live with it;
(b) Or, learn to forgive and leave it behind.
(4) To react as the world would, is to open the door for Satan to
come in and destroy everybody concerned along with a lot
of collateral damage. It is never right.
10. (V-6) Selfless love “does NOT REJOICE IN UNRIGHTEOUS-
a. The Moffatt version says, “Love is never glad when others go
b. To rejoice in truth is to be happy when behavior is seen to be
harmony with God's Will.
c. As we said in the beginning, love is more than happy, fluffy good
feelings. Love is also seen in the Holy Spirit's admonition for
Christians to “reprove, rebuke and exhort with all long suffering
and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2).
(1) Love is seen in discipline and correction, and that is not
often pleasant, but is necessary to help and brother or sister
correct behavior and to protect the church from worldliness,
error, and false doctrine.
(a) This is often called “tough love”.
Sherman-Page 10
(b) Parents are familiar with this when it is necessary to
discipline misbehavior
(c) Proverbs 13:24 “He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
(d) God also disciplines His children—Christians, through
the command for us to watch out for each other, and when
and where necessary reprove, rebuke and exhort, with
patience and Biblical teaching. All of this is a part of
Agape Love.
(e) Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love, I reprove and
discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent.”
(2) I was a university student and took a couple other students
with me to church services one Sunday night. They did not
have the same appreciation for worship Christians should, so
they were not as reverent as they should have been. During
the invitation song one of them leaned over with some
remark that got the others giggling. I got caught up in it my-
self right along with them.
(a) After services the song leader took me aside and said,
“Stan I'm very disappointed in you. I thought of you
better than that.”
(b) Well I was mortified with a mixture of embarrassment,
regret, and anger—thinking at first, well who was he to
confront and judge me.
(c) As I thought more about it, I realized just how wrong I
was, so I went to the songleader's home and thanked him
for his rebuke.
(d) It was just what I needed, because I couldn't see that my
university environment was influencing me little by little
to let down my guard as a Christian and as an example.
(e) In fact, I might not be a preacher today if it hadn't been
for that little one-sentence rebuke by a Christian who
cared for my soul.
d. “There is a fine balance to love. Although love is kind and
overlooks the faults of others, it does not compromise the truth or
Sherman-Page 11
take a soft view of sin.
(1) To allow another person to go on in sin whether it is known
sin or a blind spot, is not to seek his best; it is not love.
(2) Love will sensitively confront and correct precisely because it
cares deeply and know that sin destroys.
(3) Love rejoices with the truth.
(4) Love gets excited when it hears of spiritual victories.
(5) Love encourages by expressing joy over little evidences of
(6) John, the apostle of love, wrote, 'I have no greater joy than
this, to hear of my children walking in the truth' (3 John 4).”
12(V-7) Selfless love BEARS ALL THINGS.
a. The Greek wording here can go in either of two directions:
(1) either to bear up under
(2) or, to protect by covering.
b. If the context allows the first meaning, to bear up under, then it
would be the same as “endures all things” at the end of V-7.
c. So it may be the second meaning—to protect by covering.
(1) In other words, Love doesn't broadcast the problems of others
to others whether true or not.
(a) Talebearing or Gossip, even though so common, is
among the sins that God says Hates in Prov. 6
(b) In I Timothy 5:13 the Holy Spirit says of people who do
this “they go around from house to house; and not merely
idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things
that not proper to mention.” and further on in verse 15
He goes on to say of these folks, “for some have already
turned aside to follow Satan”.
(c) The reason gossip is so evil is because it is murder in the
heart that Jesus talked about in His sermon on the mount.
It is character assassination; it ruins reputationstears up
churchesseparates friends and is always associated with
exaggeration and lying.
(d) It also reject's the Holy Spirit's pattern for resolving
disputes in Matthew 18 by not going first to the offender.
Sherman-Page 12
(e) To use old Western terms, a gossip is a back shooter, a
(f) REVELATION 21:8 says “...the cowardly and
unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral
persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their
part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone,
which is the second death.”
(9) As you can see, someone who gossips cannot claim to be a
loving person.
d. But gossipy tongues could be easily stopped if there were no
gossipy ears to perpetuate the wickedness and enable the sinner.
(1) I Timothy 5:22 warns us not to participate in other men's
(2) The right thing to do when you hear someone trying to tell
you gossip is to say, “Now let me stop you right there. Have
you talked to that person?”
(3) And the Bible teaches that you should go further and exhort
them not to carry gossip.
“Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who
are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each
one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one
another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.”
(Galatians 6:1-2)

d. Love defends the character of the other person as much as
possible within the limits of truth and righteousness
e. God's best is to forgive and renew relationships.
f. Love bears all things.
13. (V-7) Selfless love BELIEVES ALL THINGS.
a. Another version says, “Love always trusts”.
(1) This doesn't mean being gullible.
(2) But it does mean that love is not suspicious, but love is slow
to blame.
(3) Love does not doubt the other person's character and motives
without good reason, even if his actions offended you.
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b. In other word, love believes the person innocent until proven
guilty. Don't we believe that way in our nation's justice system?
Why don't we believe that way in the Kingdom of God?
14. (V-7) Selfless love HOPES ALL THINGS.
a. Love is not pessimistic. It expects one to succeed, not to fail.
b. And if failure does occur, love does not look at failure as final.
c. Love is familiar with Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things
through Christ who strengthens me.”
and Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them who are
the called according to his purpose.”
d. Love hopes all things.
15. (V-7) Selfless love ENDURES ALL THINGS.
a. The Greek word for endures is a military term meaning to sustain
the assault of an enemy.
(1) It carries the idea of holding up under trial, or
(2) Perseverance in spite of difficulties.
(3) Love hangs in there, but not with just a stoic, passive attitude,
but manifests a positive, triumphant spirit that sticks it out.
16. (V-8) Love never fails.
C. The third section of I CORINTHIANS 13: (8-13) closes the chapter by
returning to the superiority of Love which endures over the limited
spiritual gifts which were soon to pass away.
A. And the last verse of the chapter says “But now abide faith, hope, love,
these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1. We are living in the last days of faith, hope and love.
2. When Jesus comes again there will be only one.
a. Faith will be replaced by the sight of Jesus' coming.
b. Hope will be resolved by reality.
c. But the time will never come when we can do without love--
(1) Love is eternal.
(2) I JOHN 4:8 “The one who does not love does not know God,
for God is love.”
(3) “...if ye forgive men for their transgressions, your Heavenly
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Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, than
your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew
B. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy,
it does not boast, it is not easily angered or
quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury.
Love does not delight over wrongdoing but
rejoices with the truth. It bears all things,
believes all things, hopes all things, endures
all things, perseveres through all things.
Love never fails. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)
This passage is not just about Love; it is about
each of us. It is about what we are each called
to become and what we will each become as we
mature emotionally and spiritually.
To really get a sense of the size of the task
ahead and to be true to ourself as to whether we
truly do love, simply replace the word love and
it in this passage with your name and read it
“___is patient, ___is kind. ___does not boast,
___is not inflated. ___is not rude, ___is not
self-seeking, ___is not easily angered or quick
tempered, ___it does not brood over injury.
___does not delight over wrongdoing but
rejoices with the truth. ___bears all things,
believes all things, hopes all things, endures all
things, perseveres through all things.
___never fails. (I Corinthians 13:4-7)