Christian Love

Gabe Morris | Aug 7, 2016 | 1 Corinthians 13:13 | None

SUGAR LAND BIBLE CHURCH

Gabe Morris

Christian Love, 1 Corinthians 13:13

8-7-16

Can we open our Bibles and turn to 1 Corinthians 13:13.  As you’re turning there I would like to thank the Lord for this opportunity to teach the Word of God to you again and also thank Andy, our Senior Pastor, on his series on Bible and Voting; isn’t that a great series?   Amen.  I’m blessed, what a great series.   Can we pray.  Heavenly Father, we honor You today; we acknowledge our utter dependence on  You and we give You this time and may You open our hearts and minds  and understanding to the teaching of Your Word, and cause us to absorb Your truth concerning Christian love.  Use me as You see fit and may all the glory and honor and praise go to You.  In Jesus name we pray, and God’s people said Amen.

The title of this sermon today is Christian Love.  And this is the direction we will be headed this morning; if you’d like an outline we will survey a brief history of how the Greek language came to be, and then we’re going to look at defining and discovering the meaning of love and how the Bible teaches this, and then answer a few questions concerning agapē  love by searching the Scriptures.  I’m sure you’re aware that 1 Corinthians  13 is known as the love chapter.  In the world, in America, especially in our culture, love is a term being used in all different types of ways.  For example, we hear things like love songs, or love stories. We also hear statements like love yourself; back in the 60’s make love not war.  You hear people say I love this, or I love that, I love this person or that person, I love God.

And in fact, when you start looking up how our various English dictionaries define love it’s heavily rooted in feelings and affection and emotion.  For example, a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person, or an attraction that includes sexual desire, romantic love, and so forth.  If we, then, are to use that definition as the basis of love as we walk out this thing called life, it’s no wonder why many marriages end in divorce.  And it’s love, if we are honest with ourselves, it’s love based solely on feelings and emotion, it’s no wonder communities turn against authority, children turn against their parents.  If you don’t emotionally satisfy a basic need in my life then forget about it, I want nothing to do with it says the worldly person.  Love, therefore, becomes selective, very selective in its approach, and also temporal in its duration.  I don’t have to have love for you if you don’t do this for me, or fulfill this or satisfy this in my life.

However, when we examine the biblical definition of love we discover that it takes on an entirely different standard than the world standard of love; in fact, another dimension.  I had you turn to 1 Corinthians 13:13, this will be the launching point of our topic, Christian love, and is says this: “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  The term “love” there in the Greek is the Greek term agapē.  Now it’s interesting to discover, when you reach the New Testament, you find the Jewish people using a foreign language, or should I say the dominant language which was the Greek.

What happened?  I thought the Jews spoke Hebrew.  In the Old Testament we find the language predominantly in Hebrew, some Aramaic, but when you reach the New Testament it’s all in Greek.  And why is that.  Not many people know this but between both Old and New Testament spans approximately 400 years and these are known by scholars as the silent years; also known as the testament, intertestamental period.  As in the times of creation as the book of Genesis records, as in the times of the fall of man, in the times of the inception and downfall of the nation of Israel God was at work; God was orchestrating His sovereign will in spite of what was happening in history.  And even in the silent years, between both Old and New Testament, He was working.  God was working many things, important things transpired during those silent years.

And the reason we find Greek as the dominant language was because of one man, Alexander the Great, succeeding his father, King Philip II, at the young age of 20 Alexander became the king of Macedon, we know now as Macedonia, from the years 336-323 B.C.  And amazingly during his brief reign he conquered from Greece to Egypt, to Babylon, all the way to the various parts of India.  And there’s Israel, there’s Jerusalem.  His relentless and successful campaign to conquer the ancient world was the reason the Greek language, the Greek culture and philosophy swept those areas; the culture, the ideals, the ideology, the philosophy were forcefully integrated in those societies, as well as the Greek language becoming the dominant language, or the lingua franca as they say, including the Israelites.  The Israelites learned this language.

And speaking of the language what’s also interesting is that when you begin to compare Hebrew and Greek, the languages, you discover that it has its own uniqueness and purpose.  I’ve heard it said that Hebrew, the Hebrew language is a very colorful and vibrant language, filled with beauty and embellishment whereas the Greek language is very much unambiguous, very specific and to the point.  Chuck Swindoll explained the two languages like this: If you compare the two as television sets the Hebrew language would be the colored TV set and the Greek language would be the black and white TV set.

Beyond that the Greek language found in the New Testament is called Koine Greek, meaning common; it’s a common language used by the common people.  And isn’t it interesting that when God, in His sovereignty, chose to superintend and inspire His New Testament account, that He did so in the language that was unambiguous, specific, explicit, and to the point, as black and white, a language where neither the reader nor the hearer could have any place for confusion.  They wouldn’t have a lot of room for a strange interpretation; it was clear, concise.

I mean, just read the Old Testament and the New Testament. We find beauty in the Old Testament, poetry, proverbs, and the like.  In the New Testament it’s like you’re reading the mind of a lawyer or a judge, just the facts, instruction, clearly, plainly laid out; laid out information for the reader so that he or she can make a conclusion, come to a conclusion.  How many of you are thankful that God’s Word is clear?  Amen.

And since love is the crux of this session let’s look at the Greek words for love.  There are actually four major Greek terms that describe the different types of love.  All four of these are found in early Christian literature; there’s ἀγάπη, [agapē] number 1, that’s described as a divine, selfless, unconditional type of love.  There’s Φιλέω, [philéō]  number 2, it’s a natural affection, also known as brotherly love.  Number 3, there’s στοργή  [storgē], that’s also a natural and a familial love, love between family.  And then there’s ἔρως [erōs], it’s a romantic type and a sexual type love.   Three of these are found, three of these Greek terms are found in the Bible and those are the first three,

agapē, philéō, storgē.  What’s very interesting to learn about agapē, says one scholar, his name is Leon Morris, he says, “The Word, though not entirely new, in the New Testament is almost completely lacking in pre-biblical Greek.”  He notes that “the characteristics of New Testament words, almost the only New Testament word for love, concludes that the reason the Christians use this word is that they had a new idea about the essential meaning of love.  Morris admits that the verb agapē, was used often in pre-Christian times, in fact, it seems to weaken the newness of the Christian concept but insists that Christians gave it a deeper meaning when they did use it.”

In other words, the vast majority of Greek writings were sort of absent of the word agapē, until the New Testament writers came along.  And since our focus today is on Christian love let us focus on the first term, agapē, that is agapē, love; it essentially originates in God revealed in Christ and a model for Christians to imitate.  This agapē love refers to a willed and an unselfish love.  It’s an act, not a feeling; it’s an act of self-sacrifice for the good of another; agapē love is absent of feeling, absent of emotional content, regardless of the amount of generosity or circumstance.

Leon Morris says this again about agapē.  He says, agapē and it’s noun denote a free and decisive act of its subject.  Perhaps a good way of grasping this is to contrast it with the idea conveyed by erōs, remember erōs is a romantic and sexual love.  We contrast it by that; he says that “two principle characteristics of erōs is a love only of the working and it’s a love that desires to possess.  But agapē, in contrast, it contrasts both points; in other words, it’s not a love only to the worthy and it’s not a love that desires to possess.  On the contrary, it’s a love that is given quite irrespective of merits and it’s a love that seeks to give.

Another scholar, Kenneth Wuest offers this angle: “The one word which indicates character is preciousness.  Agapē is a love called out of one’s heart by the preciousness of the object of love.  It is a love of esteem, of evaluation; it has the idea of prizing and it recognizes the worthiness of the object loved.  It is a love of approbation, devoid of sensuousness, the noblest word in the Greek language.”  He goes on to say, “The idea of self-sacrifice for the benefit of some other person who is one’s enemy and naturally unlovable.”  In other words, Christian love, agapē love is an unconditional love, a gratuitous love, given to “the good, the bad and the ugly.”  That’s agapē love.

And I would call agapē love closely related to God’s grace; it’s a love unmerited, it’s a love that does not seek its own as 1 Corinthians 13:5 says.  It seeks the regard of another human being, it finds fulfillment in the sacrifice of itself, agapē love .

In Galatians 5:22 Paul further defines this love, that is the love that is produced by the Holy Spirit in the yielded believer.  Remember Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace….” And so forth.   I had you turn to 1 Corinthians 13:13, if you go up a few verses Paul gives a brief treatment of love and listing the various characteristics of love, “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, [5] does not act unbecomingly;” in other words, it doesn’t act like a jerk, “it does not seek its own, is not provoked,” love “does not take into account a wrong suffered,” Wow!  [6] Love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;”  [7] love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,” and the love “endures all things.  [8] Love never fails….”

So to get more familiar with agapē love, this Christian love, it is first necessary to grasp and understand the source of it.  And what better way than to begin with God.  Amen!  The Bible says “God is love,” and the source of it.  [1 John 4:8, “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”]  He is not merely love, He IS love.  He is love itself.  John 4:8 says “God is love,” and not only that, His love is perfect.

Notice I didn’t say love is perfected, as in the past tense; there was never a time when God’s love was not perfect.  He Himself is love perfect.  If God is love then logically love is sourced in God.  Right?  Love comes from God and the Scriptures emphasize that.  1 John 4:7 says “love is from God”.  [1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”]

So God is love, love is God, but interestingly another scholar, [can’t understand name] states that it would be incorrect to say that love is God.  Kind of confusing, right?  “God is love” but it’s incorrect to say love is God.  The two nouns in the statement, “God is love” are not interchangeable, he says, “since the definite article occurs with God [can’t understand word] but not with love.  To make them reversible would offer a basis for pantheism.”

God’s love does not lack either.  In other words, when He dispenses His love He does not love in piecemeal, or a fraction of it; He loves infinitely; not only infinitely He loves everlasting; duration.  When He loves He loves in love’s fullness and completeness.  When we (human love) we can sometimes love selectively, right, with partiality or bias.  That’s our kind of love.  Or sometimes not at all.  We have the capacity to not love at all.

  1. S. Lewis once said, “On the whole God’s love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him.” Love is intrinsic to the character and nature of God, therefore everything that God does is sourced and driven by love, His character, His action, even His inaction. Ever wondered why God doesn’t answer certain prayers in your life?  It’s because He loves you infinitely and He knows better.  Amen!

God’s love neither interferes, overrides or hinders His other attributes.  [can’t understand word] that God is holy, Amen.  God is righteous, God is light, He is omniscient, omnipresent and all those things.  ALL of those attributes are in complete harmony with His love.   This is an interesting issue, or is an interesting verse because this verse, John 4:7, it’s implying that… it says,  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God;” is implying that the only reason that we have a capacity to agapē love is because of God.  And how do we know that?  Because of this three lettered word there, a conjunction in verse 7, the word “for,” “Beloved, let us love one another, for,” that’s the Greek word [hoti] and it is used in an adverbial causal sense.  It’s a subordinating conjunction that expresses the basic or ground for an action.  What’s the action?  The action is “let us love one another….”  What’s the basis of that love?  God!  Our very capacity to agapē love is due to the fact that love comes from God.

I have a few questions concerning God’s love.  On what has God positioned His love on?  Answer: us, humanity, sinful men and women.  We all know John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” notice that, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  So you’re saying does God love the believer and the unbeliever the same?  YES!  A resounding YES!  There’s no partiality with God, Romans 2:11.  [Romans 2:11, “For there is no partiality with God.”]

We just read in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that whosoever….”  Ephesians 2:4 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”  Yes, He loves the believer and the unbeliever.

Did God prove His love?  Yes He did, Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners,” how did He prove His love, “Christ died for us.”

One more question:  How does that affect me?  Now that I know about this divine love sourced in God what am I supposed to do with this information?  Can we turn to John 13:34, I’m glad you asked that question.  How does it affect me?  Christ, the incarnation of God’s love, God Himself, said this, John 13:34, He says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another,”  agapē  “even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  [35] By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Jesus here is dialing back to Leviticus 19:18, notice he said, “A new commandment I give you,” and in Leviticus 19:18 it says, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  [Leviticus 19:18, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.”]  How is that new?  Is it new?  Of course it’s new.  When God said back in Leviticus “love your neighbor as yourself” He said, that’s exactly what He said, “love your neighbor as yourself.”  And we all know loving ourselves comes very naturally.  Right?  When I’m hungry I feed myself; sometimes I over feed myself because I love myself so much.  Sometimes when I find Fabi’s chocolate stash I eat it all up because I love myself so much.   I take pretty good care of myself concerning hygiene and things like that.  It’s not hard to love myself.

The challenge is to love others the way I love myself; that’s the challenge.  Here Jesus’ new command instructs us to love others as He loved  you.  And He loved us by giving Himself up for you, even in your ugliness and sinfulness He set the example of God’s love.  Now that becomes a bit easier to love another person, God already set the example.  There’s also another important word, two lettered word, in John 13:35 that sometimes we can gloss over if we’re not careful; it’s the word “if.”  Look at John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  That’s a two-lettered word and that’s the biggest word in the English dictionary, “if you have love for one another.”

Now just to reiterate this is not philéō love,  this is not a brotherly love he’s talking about; this is agapē love, this is a selfless love, a love that esteems in regards to one another, another man, another woman.  “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  There’s a song out there by a contemporary Christian group called D.C. Talk, and there’s a line in there that prefaces one of their songs, it goes like this:  The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle.  That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelieving. Christ said “By this” love for one another, “all men will know that you are My disciples,” “all men” both believer and unbeliever.  [John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”]

Now this becomes a very critical issue for the believer because Scripture tells us that if we love God, if we love God we would keep His commandments, John 14:15.  [John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”]  And given the demonstration of God’s love that He displayed for us, given the example of Christ’s love that He demonstrated for us,  we Christians, now, are to be identified by that love.  We are to take on the characteristics of that agapē love, that selfless love.  We are to be led by that love.  If we do not then Scripture tells us that we not only don’t know God, we don’t love Him either.  That’s pretty harsh, cutting.

1 John 4:8 says, “The one who does not love does not know God…”  Do you know God?  Then you should be loving, right?  “…for God is love.”  John 14:23 says, “If anyone loves me,” notice the word “If,” “he will keep My word.”  And then verse 24, “He who does not love Me does not keep My words….”  Very strong statements by Christ Himself.  So these verses are essentially saying my lack of love for others is essentially a lack of knowledge for Him.  Right?  And my lack of love for Him is a result of not loving or keeping His Word.

Well Gabe, how do I love Him?  How do I know that I’m really loving God?  How do I begin this process of cultivating genuine agapē love for God and for others?  I’m glad you asked.  Do you have  your pens ready?  Let me read this once again: John 14:23, “If anyone loves me, he will keep My word.”  John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  John 14:21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; [and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.:’]

2 John 6, “And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments.”  1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”  I used to say man, I’ve got to love that guy, that’s pretty hard.  No it’s not!  God already did it.  As an individual believer currently what book of the Bible are you reading and studying as a devotional?  Are we keeping His Word, are we… He says, “He who has My commandments,” are we reading His Word?  Are you having personal devotion?  Which book of God’s Word are you and God going through at this present time, currently.  When you go home at night or in the morning, or wherever … are we reading His Word?  Are we learning to cultivate a love for His Word?  Is the Word of God a focus in your family?  Is it practiced?  Didn’t He say “walk?”  Is it modeled in your home?  Is it honored in your home?

I believe this is where it should begin, in the home.  Are you married, single, no kids, [can’t understand word] word?  Do you make time, do you carve out time to honor God’s Word or read God’s Word in your home, openly, in front of your children, in front of your wife.  Husbands, are you reading the Word with your wife?  Are  you leading spiritually?  Wives, are you letting your husband lead or are you taking the lead?   I tell my daughter, are you helping or are you hindering?  Is there room for God’s Word in your home?   Well Gabe, I read my Bible, I pray, I read it with my children, I go to Bible study and all that.  What should that look like?  If I could put feet on this agapē love and walk this out what would that look like?

The Bible answers these questions; agapē love originates and is sourced in God.  And that would mean divine love can only be dispensed by Him.  Amen.  And that’s through the Holy Spirit.  The Bible calls this the fruit… the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  And don’t think for a second that this divine type love can be conjured in  your own strength, by your own strength.  Good luck with that.  It is a fruit of the Spirit.  In order to bear fruit we learned in Pastor Andy’s series on John, in John 15 Jesus teaches that the branches are the believer, right, [can’t understand word] abide in the true vine, the branches being the believer, the vine being Christ Himself, not just to bear fruit to bear much fruit.  And if there isn’t much bearing Christ says there’s much burning.  Bearing is good, burning is bad.

So Galatians 5:22 says this, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love…,” and just reiterate it’s important to observe that the fruit there is not produced by the believer, but by the Holy Spirit working through the believer who is in vital union with Christ, John 15.  And how do we maintain union with Christ?  Abiding in Him, going back to those verses, keeping His commandments, walking in His commandments.  That is love, loving His Word, fellowship with God; agapē love is a God-given quality only produced in the believer by active fellowship with God.  Because this agapē love is an action… it’s an action, it’s not an emotion, it manifests itself in action; agapē love is action.  So what does that look like?  How does agapē love look in action, particularly with other people?

Let’s turn to John 15 if we could; this is where Jesus and His disciples are in the Upper Room and He is giving His famous Upper Room discourse.  After giving a treatment of the vine and the branches, exhorting His disciples to abide in Him and bear much fruit, He commands them this: now we’re answering the question, how does God bearing his love look like in action?  Look at verse 12, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”  Here it is, [13] “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  What does agapē love look like?  Laying down your life; agapē love again, remember it’s self-less, it’s sacrificial.  Here Christ is illustrating the greatest action of love that one can ever demonstrate.

And beyond that Jesus put His money where His mouth is, right?  (If I can use that term).  And it’s likely that here the disciples recalled Christ’s parable, the parable of the Good Shepherd, remember that, in John 10:11, where the Good Shepherd laid down His life for the sheep.  [John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”]   He not only laid it down He laid it down on His own initiative, John 10:18.  [John 10:18, “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”]  No one coerced Christ to lay down His life; no one pressured Christ to give up His life for us; agapē love is an exercise of the will and it is selfless.

1 Corinthians 5:14 says this, “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; [15] and He died for all,” and here it is, “so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”  Love is selfless, it’s emptying himself or herself.  Paul spoke about this very thing concerning Christ.  Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, [Christ died for us.]” regardless of the circumstances, Christ gave Himself up.   Regardless of whether you are pretty or ugly God gave Himself for us.  Christ died for us.

And even the Apostle John reiterates this so his audience.  1 John 3:16, how does look in action, he says, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”  “…we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”   Lay our lives down for the brethren… what does that look like?  What does laying down our lives look like?  Well, praise be to God if God allows to actually die for our brethren in Christ, that form of love is what He calls the greatest love, the greatest form of love.  Is there a lesser form of love that I can live out, if I could use it that way?  Of course, of course there is; I can give up my time, I can give up my resources, I can give up my finances.  We see in the New Testament that the disciples did all of this; they gave up their very careers and families.  Our finances, everyone grabs their wallet all of a sudden.  It’s not ours anyway, right?  It’s God’s.  You can give of yourself in service.

This brings us to our next action, what does agapē love look like; agapē love is service; it’s service.  Can you turn with me to 1 John 3:18, you’ll notice that we’re heavily referencing the Apostle John’s book, his books, the love apostle?  I just find that very interesting.  1 John 3:18, let’s start from verse 16, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  [17] But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?  [18] Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

What does agapē love look like?  Giving!  Deeds!  Here we first see what agapē love is not, verse 18, agapē love is not word, it’s deeds.  The Greek word “deed” there, ergo, comes from the root, ergon, it has the idea of work, involving work or labor, both physical and mental labor.  So wives, the next time your husband says “I love you, I love you sweetheart,” you can say “show me.”   It’s service; agapē love is service, it’s giving of yourself, it’s service using your God-given ability.  And let’s not forget who the Apostle John was speaking to; he was speaking to fellow believers.  Remember John was an apostle and remember God gave apostles and prophets and evangelists, pastors and teachers for the equipping of what? the saints, for the work of the… service, so the building up of the body of Christ.  That’s Ephesians 4:11-12.

In fact, there is an end goal for this building up of the body; there is a reason why Pastor Andy and the elders and the Sunday School teachers do this thing called ministry week after week after week.  If we read a few verses down, in verse 16, Ephesians 4:11, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, [12] for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; [13] until we all attain to the unity of the faith…” and so forth, [“and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”]

And then jump down to verse 16, “from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love,” agapē love; agapē love is service, it’s service going forth because of the design and sacrificial love God has demonstrated to us.  And it’s also a love that results from abiding in Him, loving His Word, keeping His commandments.

How is all of this agapē love accomplished.  I mean, if agapē love is sourced in God, if it’s produced by the Holy Spirit, and if agapē love is manifested through selflessness and sacrifice and all that, how then is love achieved.  And this brings us to our last action, agapē love is achieved in obedience.  And this brings us right back around to our verses before, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”  [John 14:15]  Obedience!   He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me,” [John 14:21]  Obedience!  John 14:23, “…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word….”  Obedience!  These verses imply observance to God’s commands, obedience to God’s Word; after all, did not Christ command us to do so?

And what will happen if we obey?  What happens when we obey the commands of the Word of God?  Is there a result to all of this?  1 John 2:5 answers that question, “but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.  [By this we know that we are in Him:]”  God’s love,  agapē love in us can be perfected.  1 John 4:12 says, “…if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”  1 John 4:17 says, “By this” what’s “this”?  Love for one another, “By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment;” whoa, “because as He is, so also are we in this world.”  God’s love is perfected when we love others.  That’s exciting.

Well, so what?  What’s the application?  How then shall we walk?   Now that we know what  agapē love is let us be responsible to walk in it.  Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; [2] and walk in love,” agapē love, “just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”  Agapē love, we looked at a brief history of the Greek language; we defined agapē love and we answered a series of questions in regard to love; we learned a little bit about the nature of God’s love, some key characteristics of agapē love, like its selflessness, its sacrificial nature, its service, its obedience and hopefully an application to walk in this love that God commands us to walk in.  And as we survey the landscape and the temperature of our country and of our world I think it’s very important for us to walk in this love, in this election season, oh-oh, let us love one another as He has loved us.  Amen.

At the end of our sermons here at SLBC, we make it a point to share the gospel with you because there may be some out there who may not know what this agapē love of God is and it’s been said again and again through this message that divine love originates in God.  And it has been demonstrated, this love has been demonstrated by the sending of His Son to die for us; that was a proof of God’s love.  God loved us so much, so much that He gave His prized possession, when heaven went bankrupt He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for all of those who are sitting in this room and for all of those in the world.  That’s the gospel.  Jesus lived, Jesus died, and He was buried and was raised again on the third day, because He loved you, and not only because He loves you but He wanted to reconcile you with your Creator.   And there’s no greater love than that, Christ’s sacrifice for you.

Romans 5:8 again, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  You, right now, can enter in that love, right now you can experience that love, first hand, where you are.  How do you do that?  By responding to the gospel, the gospel message; you trust in Jesus Christ, what He has done for you.  You don’t have to verbally respond, you don’t have to walk an aisle, it’s in the privacy of your heart and mind, between you and God.  You respond by faith or by trusting in what Christ has done for you.  And if you’ve done that by the authority of God’s Word you are now a child of God.  Amen.  That’s exciting news; you have just gained eternal life.   And we celebrate with you just as heaven celebrates with you right now.  Amen. Or if you need more clarification I’m available to talk.  Shall we pray.  Thank you, Father, for Your Word; thank You Lord that You have preserved this message of agapē love and You gave the ultimate demonstration of love by sending Your Son to die in our place, and because of that we can walk in the same agapē love.  And let us again, let us be responsible to walk out this agapē love and may we do it for Your glory, and it’s in Jesus’ name I pray.  And God’s people said Amen.