Sermons

Summary: The four words for love with a focus on Agape Lve

NR 27-01-07

1 Cor 13

Story: I came across this true story - that happened during the Holocaust of the Second World War.

Solomon Rosenberg, his wife and their 2 sons were arrested, together with his mother and father for the crime of being Jews.

They were placed in a Nazi concentration camp.

It was a labour camp, and the rules were simple.

"As long as you can do your work, you are permitted to live. If you become too weak to do your work, then you will die."

Rosenberg watched as his elderly father and mother were marched off to their deaths.

He knew that David - his younger son would be the next - because David had always been a frail child.

Every evening, Rosenberg used to come back into the barracks after his hours of hard labour and search for the faces of his family.

When he found them they would huddle together, embrace one another and thank God for another day of life.

One day Rosenberg came back and didn’t see those familiar faces.

He finally discovered his oldest son, Joshua, in a corner, huddled, weeping and praying. He said, "Josh, tell me it’s not true."

Joshua turned and said, "Dad - it is true.

David was not strong enough today to do his work. So they came for him."

"But where is your mother?" asked Mr. Rosenberg continued .

"Oh Dad," Josh said, "When they came for David, he was afraid and he cried.

So Mum said, `There is nothing to be afraid of, David,’ and she took his hand and went with him."

Now - that’s love – that’s a sacrifical mother’s love – that’s a selfless love.

Mrs Rosenberg loved David so much that she was willing to sacrifice her life to comfort her son.

It is a love that transcends human logic – but it is powerful

It is a love that is so strong that she would willingly sacrifice her life to comfort her child.

I wonder if that was the type of love - you thought about - when our lesson from 1 Cor 13 that famous Chapter directed to love – or as the Authorised version calls it Charity

I wonder what the Pharisee/ who asked Jesus the question -

Teacher which commandment in the law is the greatest? -

thought when Jesus replied:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment.

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mt 22: 38-40)

The love Jesus is talking about is more than a Valentine’s card.

It is more than a warm feeling

Love is an act of will – for it was love that took Jesus to the Cross

It was love that allowed Jesus to say in Lk 22:42 “Thy will be done” in the Garden of Gethsemane

It is a commitment in the same order of magnitude that Solomon Rosenberg’s wonderful wife showed to her son, David.

It was the same love for God and neighbour that caused the Reformers to go to the stake for translating the Bible into the English vernacular from Latin

There are four words in Greek that are translated by our word: Love

Agape (ἀγάπη agápē):

This is divine, unconditioned love.

It is the unconditional love that we as Christians receive from God as agape love.

Eros (ἔρως érōs):

Romantic love. Often equated in ancient Greek, with desire. Sometimes this is also equated with "lust".

Philia (φιλία philía):

Philia expresses love and friendship which is "platonic".

Storge (στοργή storgē)

This love is best translated as natural affection.

(my thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_words_ for_love)

But of these four loves -it is the “Agape” Love that goes to the very heart of the Gospel.

God doesn’t want us to run round keeping lots of rules and regulations.

He does want us to wear ourselves out - by observing various extravagant religious practices – however good they may be.

You don’t have to achieve in God’s eyes – it’s your attitude of heart that He’s interested in

But we are called to love Him

If we love him, we will do what he asks us to do – however humble.

If we really love God we will seek to have Jesus’ heart for the lost .

And that will drive us to pray for the salvation of the nations

And look at this rather interesting passage from the Book of Revelation Chapter 5

The background to the passage is that we are introduced by John to Jesus standing in the Throne room of God, encircled by four living creatures and the elders.

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