Summary: The Beatles said it best when they sang, “all you need is love” …...and then they broke up. We cannot agape love on our own, we need God to enable us to agape love.
How can I love?
They hurt me. They said this thing that hurt me. I tried to ignore it. I said to myself, “It doesn’t matter, move on, be mature about it, it was just this dumb little thing.
But still, I kept thinking about it. I wanted to put it out of my mind, I didn’t want to think about it….but there it was.
As Christians we are told to we are to love each other, but there are times, if we are truly honest with ourselves, there are times where we find it is really, really difficult to love.
We are commanded to love, but how can we really love like we are commanded to love?
Here in our Scripture, John gives us insight into how God enables us to love. We cannot love the way God wants us to love on our own, we need God to enable us to love.
Before I read the Scripture this morning I need to briefly explain the meaning of the word ‘love’ in Scripture. In English we have one word for love, and in English the word love can have a very wide meaning from romantic love for my spouse, I love Katie, to the way I feel about chocolate, I just love chocolate. But, in Greek, the language this passage was written in, there are four very specific words that describe love: There is family love, brotherly love, romantic love, and also, agape love. Agape love is sacrificial love, it is a love where I serve the other, over myself. It is a love where I place the other before me, even at great sacrifice to myself. Here in our passage today John exclusively uses agape love.
As we read our passage today, follow along with me in your bibles and everywhere it says love, I will read agape love. I think this will give a great start in understanding what John is trying to teach us. Agape love is sacrificial love.
Read passage - 1 John 4:7-12
In this passage, John methodically works though agape love. John not only tells us that as Christians we should be exhibiting agape love; He tells us where agape love comes from; He tells us what agape love looks like AND he shows us that if we practice agape love we will have enormous blessings from God.
Let’s start with verse 7. Here John tells us that we should love one another, with sacrificial love. Now, remember as we have been working through this book of 1 John, the author John, is explaining living our faith our in the context of the church. Here John is explaining that we need to love each other within the church with agape love. John is speaking specifically about brothers and sisters in Christ loving each other. Now we certainly could love others outside the church with agape love - but here in this passage, John is only talking about you and I, those who are brothers and sisters in the church.
So John wants us to love with agape love (John will define agape love for us in verse 9). But, for the moment we need to understand that John is asking us to do something that we as humans are incapable of doing. John is asking us to love in a way that is impossible for us to do. The short of it is: John asks us to do what we cannot do.
How do we know that? How do we know that John asks us to do what we cant do? We know because agape love does not come from the human heart. You and I cannot manufacture agape love. We can produce brotherly love, family love, and romantic love, but we cannot produce agape love. We cannot love sacrificially, it is beyond humans to be able to exhibit agape love. How do we know that? Look at verse 7, there’s the answer as plain as day - where does agape love come from? God. I don’t have agape love, you don’t have agape love, only God has agape love.