Summary: This sermon deals with what true love is by looking at the relationship between Ruth and her mother in law.

Do You Love Me? Part 1

2/6/2000 Ruth 1:2-18 John 21:15-19

This question is asked by a variety of people. The nine year old girl asks it of the fourth grade boy. A dad asks it of his daughter. A woman that’s been married twenty five years asks it of her husband. A person dying of Aids asks it of a life long friend. A little boy asks it of his Mom. A young man about to propose asks it of his sweetheart. The interesting thing is that even though the same words are being used, the same question is not being asked. Even if the response was yes in each situation, the yes means something totally different each time. There is where our confusion is when it comes to love.

The Greeks had three different words for love. One word was eros which is sometimes translated lust. It means to have a strong sexual desire for something. The second word was phileo, which means a commitment of friendship to another person. The third word is agape, which means an unconditional acceptance of another person with a commitment to stand with them no matter what.

When we think about relationships, we are all hoping to find agape love where someone is going to accept us and be fully committed to us. Our secular song writers sing about it all the time. Listen to it in the titles. "I’ll Always Love You.", or "You’re My First, My Last , My Everything" . Although the song writers are good at singing about love and commitment, they do a lousy job of living it.

Part of the problem is that we are taught that sexual desire is the key to building a great relationship. So we talk about making love. There is nothing in sex itself that makes love. Some how saying, we were making love sounds more pleasing and honorable than saying we had sex.. Sex is not a key that is going to open a person’s heart to commit themselves to us. Young ladies and women, keep in mind that men and boys do not see sex as women and girls do.

Most boys and men separate sex as a distinct thing from building a healthy relationship. That’s why we as males, will tell you a lie in a minute. We will say, "Oh I love you." and all it means is "This is what I have to say to get you to have sex with me, so this is what I’m saying." We are not making any commitment beyond the next few minutes. If we used the words we should use, it would go like this. "Listen, I want to use your body, for my pleasure. Now don’t ask me for anything when I’m done cause I’m not making any commitments."

But you see women, you let us get away with it by trying to translate the word love, into what you want it to mean. You’re hearing, "you’re the most precious and beautiful woman I have ever seen. I want to commit myself to be there for you baby no matter what. I’m your puppet on a string." While you’re all caught up in this fantasy, we are about to bring untold problems into your lives simply to satisfy our lust. Give us ten minutes alone with you, and we will change your life for the next 20 years. Even if you never want to see us again, we will have already changed your destiny.

You can never build a healthy loving and lasting relationship by starting with sex. The key is found in the phileo love, whereby you begin by building a friendship. When you are friends with a person, you can honestly evaluate their strengths and their weaknesses. You know how much time you can spend around them before they get on your nerves. You know when they are beginning to impose on you. You can see what their character is truly like.

You can make a very informed decision on what kind of a husband or wife this person might be. You can then make a commitment to that person to move to the next level of love which is agape love. You can commit yourself to love each other unconditionally in marriage. At this point, the eros form of love seeks to continually bind and renew the commitment which has already been made. You’re not making love, you are celebrating the love you have already nurtured and grown. Sex brings a healing dimension to your love for each other in the agapee state.

When you start a relationship based on eros and attraction alone, you’re asking for trouble. We are quickly blindsided by the hormones in our bodies which causes us to see a person who does not exist. We are not objective at all about the other person’s faults and weaknesses. All we know is that we feel good inside when we are near them.

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