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AGAPE

Christian love is the ’hall mark’ the Church of Christ. Love is the distinguishing Mark of a Christian life. Love should make the Christian stand out in the crowd, Jesus prayed that we would be recognised by our love for each other (see Jh 13:34-35, 15:9-17).

Christian love is more than the passing feelings of sentiment. Love is obedience to the commandment of Jesus. Love is a selfless, sacrificing service to others. Christian love is one of the most important but difficult aspects of the Christian life (see lCor 13:1-3) Christian love requires an act of our will to obey and to serve.

THE AGAPE LINK

Every book in the Bible mentions or encourages love. God we know sent his Son into the world because of His love. Jesus preached, healed the sick, raised the dead, died and rose again because of His love. Love links us to God and it is Christian love that links

us to each other.

Jesus came to set up His Church not as a democratic religious organisation, but as a community of God’s people, a community based on the theocracy of God’s love.

A love that is free from the world’s misuse and abuse of love. A love that is pure and perfect.

That love is "AGAPE" which is a selfless, sacrificing and serving love.

There are different kinds of love. "Eros" which is sexual, which is pure and perfect

within marriage. There is also "phileo" a friendship love. Agape runs deeper than phileo and does not need eros (see 1 Pet 1:22, 4:8).

Agape should be a reflection of the love that Jesus has shown to us in His selfless, serving sacrifice. Jesus summed up His love when he said, "greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (see Jh 15:13).

AGAPE A CHRISTIAN CHARACTERISTIC

By receiving Jesus into our lives we have received the ability to love any one. As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us Agape can be released (see 1Jh 4:7-21).

Christian love focuses on God and His people not an object. Any one can love a lifeless figure on a crucifix but to love God and His people requires a selfless, sacrificing service. John makes clear what this kind of love is when he says, "we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers as Christ lay dawn His life for us" (lJh 3:16).

Service is an expression of our love. Love cannot be locked away it needs to be given away. Paul tells us "that we have been saved to do good works" (see Eph 2:14), service is love in working clothes.

Love ever gives, forgives, outlives;

And ever stands with open hands;

And while it lives it gives;

For this is love’s prerogative;

To give, and give, and give.

.

Commitment is also an expression of our love. Commitment is an entrusting of your life to God and His people (see lPet 2:23, 4:19). A person’s commitment to God and His people is often measured by their attendance at the meetings when it should be measured by their love for God and the brotherhood (see lPet 2:17).

AGAPE IN ACTION

Attending meetings is Agape in Action, Acts of service such as visiting, making a telephone call, sending a card or praying for the sick is Agape in Action. Helping a person with their house work, child minding, providing food when others are in need or opening your home for meetings is Agape in Action. The list could go on and on (see Phil 2:4, 1Jh 3:17-18 ) .

TO AGAPE OR NOT TO AGAPE

We can chose to love or not to love but we cannot choose who to love. If our love is selective then it is selfish and not love at all. If we are commanded to love our enemies and our neighbours (see Lk 6:27, 10:27). How much more then should we love each other (see 1Thess 4:9-10).

Some times the people we love the least are our brothers and sisters in Christ when we should be loving them the most.

AGAPE’S ACID TEST

You can say to any one "I love you" you can do any one a ’good turn’ however, this does not necessarily mean you love them.

Agape links us, unites us and builds us up. Agape is the greatest strength the church of Christ can have, because of this Satan is going to test our love for each other.

Agape’s acid test comes when someone disappoints or hurts you. Do you remain patient and kind or do you become angry and rude? Do you hope for and seek the best for them or do you rejoice when the same thing happens to them?

Do you protect their character or write them off as useless ? Do you persevere in trusting them ? Do you forgive ? (see lCor 13:4-5)

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