Summary: Jesus Christ shows us what agape love is all about and commands us to practice it in our corporate and private lives.
SERIES: “GOD-GIVEN GUIDELINES FOR GROWING A GREAT CHURCH”
TEXT: 1 JOHN 4:7-12
TITLE: “CONTINUALLY PRACTICE AGAPE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER”
(Based on and material taken from Bob Russel’s When God Builds A Church)
INTRODUCTION: A. Two teenage young men were out cave exploring when they found what appeared
to be huge bear tracks deep inside a long, cavernous tunnel. They bravely decided to
keep going, but they moved ahead slowly and cautiously, keeping their eyes and ears
open in case a bear lurked nearby.
Suddenly, from behind a large rock formation jumped the biggest, meanest-looking
grizzly bear they had ever seen. The bear stood up on his hind legs, beat his chest, and
roared so loudly that is sent a terrible sound echoing off the walls of the cave.
Scared to death, the two young men decided to run for their lives. They took of on
a dash for the daylight. They had a little bit of a lead on the bear when one of the guys
dropped to the floor of the cave and started untying his boots. He whipped his
backpack off and took out a pair of running shoes and began lacing them on his feet.
His buddy yelled at him: “Hey, man! Whatta ya think you’re doin’? Let’s get
outta here! We don’t have much of a chance of outrunning that bear as it is!”
The guy on the floor hopped up and began sprinting toward the cave’s exit. He
turned and yelled over his shoulder: “I don’t have to outrun the bear. All I gotta do is
to outrun you!”
1. Do you ever feel like people treat you like bear bait?
a. When the going gets rough, they bail out on you?
b. They claim they love you until it costs them something and then, they ditch you.
2. We all have the desire to be loved.
3. God created us with the desire to be loved.
B. We live in a world starved for love
--Vance Packard calls America “ a nation of strangers.
1. As a result we’re experiencing an epidemic of loneliness in society.
a. One Gallup poll reported that four in ten Americans admit to frequent feelings
of “intense loneliness.”
b. Americans are, in fact, the loneliest people in the world.
2. Everywhere you look there are signs that people are hungering for fellowship,
community, and a sense of family.
a. For instance, beer commercials don’t sell beer.
--They sell fellowship.
b. No one is ever portrayed drinking alone
c. It’s always done in the context of people enjoying each other’s company.
d. Phrases accompany the commercials like: “it doesn’t get any better than this!”
e. Advertisers have discovered that independent-minded baby boomers are
suddenly longing to be connected as they enter middle age.
C. Dave Stone, I’d Rather See A Sermon: As times have changed, so have people. In
Time magazine, Robert Wright said, “These days, thanks to electric garage-door
openers, you can drive straight into your house, never risking contact with a
neighbor.” He’s right. We used to build a front porch with a swing, now we build a
back-deck with a privacy fence.
1. Our church needs to be a contrast to that coldness.
2. The church needs to be a place where we genuinely care for each other.
3. Jesus intended his church to be a closely-knit family where people genuinely care
for each other.
a. Jesus insisted that the outstanding characteristic of his followers should be their
love for one another.
b. Jn. 13:34-35 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved
you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my
disciples, if you love one another.”
I. THE MEANING OF AGAPE LOVE
A. What do you mean when you say you love something>
1. In English, we have only one word for love: we love our pets; we love chocolate; we love our
children, our parents, and our spouses; we love Christmas; we love pizza.
--Anything that makes us feel good, we love.
2. The New Testament was originally written in the Greek language of the common people.
a. In the Greek language of the common people, there were a good number of words to express
affection for something.
b. When they’re translated into English, they’re all translated as “love”.
3. There are four basic words in the common Greek that we see most often:
a. philos – friendship or brotherly love
b. eros – romantic love or passion
c. storge – parental love
d. agape – love for the sake of love
4. Difference between first three words and agape:
a. First three are based on what the other party does for you; based on what you receive; the benefits