Summary: Understanding and relying on the love of God in Jesus
Introduction: Friday was Valentine’s Day
• How do you know it is Valentine’s Day?
• It seemed that the whole world is talking about love.
• Hearts were everywhere. It looked like the City Market floral department had exploded out the front entrance of the store.
• Even Paul at the end of 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, writes:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Transition: If love is the greatest of all virtues, even surpassing faith and hope according to the Apostle Paul, how should we love?
Scripture: John 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."
Transition: Jesus’ words tell us two things about love:
1. Love is defined by how Jesus loves us.
2. The way people, inside and outside the church, are informed of our relationship with Jesus is by how we love each other.
Question: What does love look like?
• If love is defined by Jesus loving actions toward us and if our relationship to Jesus is revealed by how we love other people the question then follows:
Context: Four Greek Words for Love
• In the American English language we have one word for love. It spans the gamut of our passionate love for God and other people to our taste for our favorite food or beverage.
• On the other hand the ancient Greeks had at least 4 words to describe love.
Storge (Natural Affection) is the Greek word for natural affection such as the love of a parent towards offspring, and vice versa.
It also refers to a fondness through familiarity (a brotherly love), especially among people who have otherwise found themselves together.
Philia (Friendship) is the love between friends. Friendship is the strong bond existing between people who share common interest or activity. This kind of love is freely chosen.
Eros (Romantic/Sensual Love) is the love we celebrate on Valentine’s Day. It is a "physical" passionate love, with sensual desire and longing, pure emotion without the balance of logic.
C.S. Lewis spoke of this love in the sense of 'being in love' or 'loving' someone. Lewis, however, distinguished romantic love from lust explaining the difference as between 'wanting a woman' and wanting one particular woman.
Agape (Unconditional Love) is the love that brings forth caring regardless of the circumstance. Lewis recognizes this as the greatest of loves, and sees it as a specifically Christian virtue.
Transition: Temptation to rank love (1- 4)
• If you had to rank these four “love” words in order of importance how would you do it? (Play around with it a little)
Love for family
Love for friends
Love for spouse or fiancée boyfriend/girlfriend (Romantic Love)
Love for God
• It’s harder than you thought isn’t it? The problem is we tend to complicate love.
• Let me go back to my question: What does this love Jesus talked about look like
I. LOVE BEGINS WITH GOD.
• God is the definition of love.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
• God demonstrated love in the person of Jesus.
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
• This love includes everyone even those who don’t “measure up”.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
II. WE LOVE BECAUSE GOD LOVED US FIRST.
• Love begins with God and at His initiative moves outward toward us.
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
• Like a ripple in a pond, God’s act of love in Jesus moves first from God to me and then from me to those around me.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
• This is where the “one another” passages of the NT come into play.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.