Continuing our Healthy Church series, Pastor Chris answered the question, “What is love?” Pastor Chris contrasts man’s definition of love with God’s definition. At the same time, there are many worldly meanings of the word “love,” the “Agape” love is only found through the love of God. If you are caught by agape love, then you can share agape love; you cannot give what you have not received. As believers, we can be bold in loving people in a way that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things because of the Agape love of God.
Types of Love in the Bible
- Eros ~ Romantic or sexual attraction. This love only takes.
- Phileo ~ The love of friendship. This love gives and takes.
- Agape ~ The love of selfless sacrifice. The love that just gives.
John 3:16 (ESV)
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 15:13 (ESV)
13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
1 John 4:20 (ESV)
20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
Motivated by Love
1 Corinthians 13:1–3 (ESV)
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Agape love is…
• Unnatural to human nature.
• Above all sacrificial.
• A determined act of will, not a feeling.
• A determined act of self-giving.
• The willing, joyful desire to put the welfare of others above its own.
• The opposite of pride, vanity, arrogance, self-seeking, or self-glory.
• An act of choice we are commanded to exercise toward our enemies.
Matthew 5:44–45 (ESV)
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
John 13:34–35 (ESV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 15:9 (ESV)
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
Agape love is…
• Already possessed by Christians.
• The work of the Spirit.
• Something that must be practiced to be genuine.
The Acts of Love
1 Corinthians 13:4–6 (ESV)
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
1. Love is patient ~ The opposite of ‘short-tempered’.
2. Love is kind ~ Reacts with goodness towards those who treat it poorly.
3. Love does not envy ~ It is not displeased at the success of others.
4. Love does not boast ~ It does not boast or talk about itself excessively.
5. Love is not arrogant ~ It is concerned to give itself, not to assert itself.
6. Love is not rude ~ It avoids anything that is disgraceful, dishonorable, or indecent.
7. Love does not insist on its own way ~ It is not self-seeking or self-centered.
“Cure selfishness and you have just replanted the garden of Eden.” R.C.H. Lenski
8. Love is not irritable ~ It is not touchy or easily angered.
9. Love is not resentful ~ Love keeps no record of wrongs.
10. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth ~Love agrees with Biblical truth.
2 John 6 (ESV)
6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.
1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV)
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
11. Love bears all things ~ To cover or to support and therefore to protect.
12. Love believes all things ~ Eager to give the benefit of the doubt.
13. Love hopes all things ~ Refusal to take failure as final.
14. Love endures all things ~ Active, positive fortitude whatever the difficulties.
1 Corinthians 13:8 (ESV)
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
15. Love never ends ~ Love outlasts all failures.
Maturing in Love
1 Corinthians 13:9–13 (ESV)
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
- What is love to you in your own words? Does your definition line up with 1 Corinthians 13:4-6?
- What comes to mind when you read the following quote “Cure selfishness and you have just replanted the garden of Eden.” R.C.H. Lenski?
- Where are you maturing in love? What areas of your life need to mature in love?
- Review 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 and make a list or a “Love Audit,” which area(s) can you practice this week?
- Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you someone to whom you can show love the way we are called.
- Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 this week, what is the Holy Spirit illuminating for you? Journal it down and share your revelations with 1-3 people.