Summary: NOTE - this was shared on Valentines Day! This is the last of four sermons introducing Band Meetings in a new way for today. Here is a link for more information - “Discipleship Bands: A Practical Field Guide” (download a free copy at )

Series: “Bringing Back the Bands”

“True Love”

John 15:9-13

A sermon for 2/14/21

John 15 “9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

Today is Valentine’s Day – a day when we celebrate love. So, since I love puns…. I found a few puns for Valentine’s Day:

Q: What did the cucumber say to the pickle on Valentine's Day?

A: You mean a great DILL to me. 😊

Q: What was written in the Valentine card that one light bulb gave to another light bulb?

A: I love you a WATT! 😊

Q: What did the French chef give his wife for Valentine’s Day?

A: A hug and a QUICHE! 😊

What is love? Gifts and cards on Valentine’s Day? The hugs we are all missing during this ongoing pandemic? A kiss on the cheek from a small child? Taking food to the person down the road that lost their job? Jesus hanging on a cross to pay the price for your sin and my sin?

Yes – we view all of these as love, but are they all the same? Are they equal acts of love? Of course not! - Question: "What are the different types of love mentioned in the Bible?"

“Answer: There are at least four different Greek words that are used for “love,” but not all of them are found in the New Testament. (Actually, there are more than four Greek words for “love,” but usually it is these four that come up in discussions.)”

“The first Greek word for “love” is eros, which refers to romantic or sexual love. From it we get the word erotic. This specific word is not used in the New Testament.”

“The second is storge, which refers to familial love like that of a mother for her baby or of a brother and sister for each other. It is not used in the New Testament; however, the negative term astorgoi (“unloving”) is found in 1 Timothy 3:3, and a similar term, astorgous (“no love” in the NIV and “without natural affection” in the KJV), is found in Romans 1:31.”

“The third Greek word for “love,” philia, refers to friendship and comradery. This word is often translated as “friend” (one who is loved) in the New Testament.”

“Finally, agape is used to speak of God’s love that He has for the world and that Christians are supposed to emulate. This is the word for “love” that is most commonly used in the New Testament. For a while it was thought that Christians must have coined the word agape to speak of a godly kind of love that the Greek world knew nothing of. But the word agape was in fact in use in the Roman Empire, and it was not coined by Christians to communicate God’s love.”

So, let’s talk about love –

First, we receive love from above, v. 9

9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.”

The starting point of the Christian Journey is God loving us BEFORE we loved Him.

Romans 5 “6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

You and me and every Believer responds to the loving out reach of God. We call that reaching out before we respond “prevenient grace.” I’ve talked about the different movements of God’s grace – three movements of one amazing grace. Then, when we respond with “YES”, the work of “justifying grace” restores the connection to God lost in the Fall of Humanity. We can feel His love for us. It’s a real experience for the Believer. Unfortunately, it is often not an ongoing experience. Many, if not most, Believers do no avail themselves of the full out reach of God’s “sanctifying grace.” Why?

Let me share a quote from the “Field guide” for Discipleship Bands that you can get for free at

“While we are justified alone before God, we will only be sanctified together. Christian maturity is not a solo journey, but a community process. This is the reason for so much arrested development in our faith—we think we can go it alone. We cannot. That’s where this guide comes into play. Small groups are helpful and provide a great context for fellowship and study, but they lack the capacity to lead us into the fullness of the life God has for us. We need something smaller with the capacity for more depth and growth. For discipleship to reach its full potential, we need something deeper than small groups, something richer than an accountability group, and something beyond another study group. We need a band, which is a group of three to five people who read together, pray together, and meet together to become the love of God for one another and the world. We must band together with a few other people to help one another to persist in the journey of the second half of the gospel.” (pg. 10)

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