Summary: Mankind's ability to love purely (AGAPE) was lost in the fall of Adam and Eve. But Jesus redeems love in the family.

Family Strong: LOVE

Romans 5:7-8

Last week, we talked about partnership. Going back into Genesis, we saw how God’s design for marriage was pure and fulfilling. Then something went terribly wrong. Sin entered, and the resulting sin natures of both the husband and wife corrupted the balance.

Yet, Jesus came to redeemed damaged souls, marriages and families.

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Today, we look at a second, very important element of Family Strong: Love.

Let me share with you a heartbreaking letter:

Dearest Jimmy,

No words could ever express the great unhappiness I've felt since breaking 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 willing the state lottery.

One weary heart wrote, “Love is a very splendored thing until it becomes a very splintered thing.

Before Jesus came, the Greek philosophers were knocking around a deeper concept of love than previously considered. It was considered a sacrificial love that was unachievable in humanity. Philosophers deemed it impossible because, if you do not give adequate love to self, but sacrifice all wellbeing, you will have nothing to give, or offer love from.

AGAPE love was defined as the love that sacrifices all for the one who is loved. And then Jesus came.

1 Tim. 2:5 “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Jesus is the example, the very definition of pure love.

God said that man and woman, husband and wife, were very good together. And again, something went terribly wrong. I believe the clue to what this was is seen in the temptation, whereas the failure of partnership is seen in the consequences.

Let’s look at this.

Gen. 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.

Notice the effect of the temptation. Do you see the direction of temptation, in verse six?

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate”

If love is outward looking, others minded, that was not the direction Eve was tempted. So part of the first temptation was to act outside of love.

The sin nature thus contaminates the ability to love as God created us to love. And, as the Greek philosophers determined, apart from redemption, it is impossible to achieve. That is how we get to 1 Corinthians 13.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

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