Summary: Altruistic love can be identified by asking whether one agrees with statements that define altruism, such as, "I’d rather suffer myself than let the one I love suffer," and "I’m willing to sacrifice my own wishes to let the one I love achieve his or hers.
Disclaimer: Source material for this sermon has been gleaned from many different sources. I have attempted to acknowledge these sources whenever possible.
Introduction: A man received the following letter: Dearest Jimmy, No words could ever express the great unhappiness I’ve felt since breaking off our engagement. Please say you’ll take me back. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. I love you, I love you, I love you! Yours Forever, Marie – P.S. And congratulations on winning the state lottery!!! (copied) Marie’s in love alright but not with Jimmy. A recent study revealed, however, that there is a strong link between altruistic love and happiness. According to Tom Smith of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, “altruistic love is associated with greater happiness in general and especially with more marital happiness". Altruistic love can be identified by asking whether one agrees with statements that define altruism, such as, "I’d rather suffer myself than let the one I love suffer," and "I’m willing to sacrifice my own wishes to let the one I love achieve his or hers." According to God’s Word what are the characteristics of altruistic love?
I. Altruistic Love does Not Envy – verse 4
A. Is not grieved because another possesses a greater portion of earthly, intellectual, or spiritual blessings.
B. This kind of love does not envy from others the happiness which they enjoy; it delights in their welfare.
C. Dwight L. Moody once told the fable of an eagle who was envious of another that could fly better than he could. One day the bird saw a sportsman with a bow and arrow and said to him, "I wish you would bring down that eagle up there." The man said he would if he had some feathers for his arrow. So the jealous eagle pulled one out of his wing. The arrow was shot, but it didn’t quite reach the rival bird because he was flying too high. The first eagle pulled out another feather, then another--until he had lost so many that he himself couldn’t fly. The archer took advantage of the situation, turned around, and killed the helpless bird. Moody made this application: if you are envious of others, the one you will hurt the most by your actions will be yourself. - copied
D. Titus 3:3 - 7 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
II. Altruistic Love does not demand its own way – verse 5
A. It is not selfish; it does not seek its own happiness exclusively or mainly; it does not seek its own happiness to the injury of others.