Summary: Passionate love must be our priority, protective and practical, adding love to brotherly affection.

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I read a story about a woman who told a friend that she wanted to get a divorce. She was full of hatred toward her husband. “I just don’t want to get rid of him. I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has hurt me.” Her friend suggested an ingenious plan, “Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every good thing. Go out of your way to please him. Make him believe you love him. After you’ve convinced him that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you’re getting a divorce. That will really hurt him.” So, for two months she showed love, kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing and sharing. Then, her friend called her up. “Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?” She exclaimed, “Divorce? Never! I discovered I really do love him.” Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion.[1]

Here we see that love is not just a noun. It is more of a verb. It is not just an emotion. It calls for action. This morning we will look into the last character quality in “Our Pursuit for Our Growth” series. Let us read 2 Peter 1:5-7. “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”[2] Last week, we talked about “brotherly affection.” We saw that a transformed life leads to transformed relationships. We are to love with a pure and passionate love. This morning, as we study “love,” we will dig deeper into one of the verses I quoted last week. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”[3] Let us pray…

In the Greek, the word “love” in 2 Peter 1:7 was “agape.” If you remember, the Greek word for “brotherly affection” was “phileo.” So, we are to add “agape” or “love” to “phileo” or “brotherly affection.” Actually, there is not much difference between “agape” and “phileo.”[4] These words are synonymous or really close in meaning. It’s like “huge” and “large” or “tiny” and “small.” But since Peter wrote that we are to add “agape” to “phileo,” he must be emphasizing a key difference in meaning.[5] According to the Bible Exposition Commentary, “When we have brotherly love, we love because of our likenesses to others; but with agape love, we love in spite of the differences we have.” Phileo love is reciprocal. It is a mutual love. I love you because you love me. I love you because I like you. But agape love is sacrificial. It is a unilateral love. I love you even if you don’t love me in return. I love even if I don’t like you. According to the Bible Knowledge Commentary, “Whereas brotherly kindness is concern for others’ needs, love is desiring the highest good for others.” Someone pointed out that we were never commanded to phileo one another but we are commanded to agape each other.

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