Summary: This sermon is based on 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. It speaks of the supremacy of agape love. It shares what agape love is and what agape love is not.

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:1 - 13; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 John 4:7

Theme: Love - Agape Love

Title: The Greatest of All - AGAPE LOVE


Grace and peace from God our Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

I want to talk to you today about love - "agape" love in particular.

There is a great deal of conversation about love today; especially at this time of year. I mean how can you not think about love around St. Valentine's Day? Love is all around. Love is in the air. Love songs on being played on the radio almost nonstop.

Love is being expressed through roses. Love being is expressed through chocolate candy. Love is expressed through a big stuffed teddy bear. Love is a quiet dinner for two out at your favorite restaurant. Love is giving and sharing. Love is sharing with the one you find irresistible, with your children and with your friends.

But, what really is love? What does it mean to love someone? It can be rather confusing. In our language this one word has a lot of different meanings. We can say we love a lot of things and even people but each time we use it we don't always mean the same thing. For example:

We say we love a car but is it the same kind of love we have for our spouse, our children or our close friends?

We say we love our job but is it the same kind of love we have for our spouse, our children or our close friends?

We say we love a certain food but again is it the same kind of love we have for our spouse, our children or our friends?

We say we love to watch this T. V. program, go to this event or listen to this kind of music but again is it the same love that we have for our spouse, our children, or our friends?

And when we tell someone that we love them what do we really mean?

+ Is it the same love we have for everyone else or is this love towards this person different; unique all to its own?

What do we mean when we say we love our children and grandchildren?

What do we mean when we say we love our friends, our co-workers or even our pet(s)?

What do we mean when we say we love our LORD? Is that love deeper, richer and more special and unique than other loves?

This one word we use "LOVE" can get all complicated and tricky. This one little word can carry a multitude of different emotions and meanings. For the ancient Greeks it wasn't quite as tricky.

- If they were wanting to express love in a passionate, a romantic or sensual manner they would use the word "EROS" (???? éros).

- If they were speaking of a friendship type of love they would use the word "PHILEO" (fil-eh'-o).

- If they were wanting to talk about love among family members or refer to a type of love that shows loyalty they would use the word "STORGE" (stor ge).

Those were the common Greek words used for love - EROS, PHILEO and STORGE. And when you used either of them then the person hearing the different words knew exactly what type of love you were meaning.

The Apostle Paul doesn't use any of those words here in this chapter. In fact, Paul and the other writers of the New Testament chose for the most part to use another word when they spoke about "love" in a Christian context. They used the word "agape". Because it was not used in everyday common speech the Early Church adopted this word and greatly enlarge its meaning.

Agape love became to mean a love that is not based on emotion, affection or even approval. Agape love was viewed as unconditional love.

In other words, agape love is love that love comes as a free gift.

- It doesn't come because someone deserves it or someone demands it. -You cannot buy agape love nor can you earn agape love.

It is freely given. Agape love is a decision of one person towards another person to act in the highest regard for that person's best interests whether they feel like it or not. Agape love is very much like grace.

Agape love is a love that comes from the center core of a person's heart.

It is the type of love that is displayed when a person gets up from the dinner table, grabs a towel and begins to wash His disciple's feet.

It is that love that is able to withstand a betrayal, then a beating and finally carry a cross to a hill called Calvary.

It is the love that is able to look down from the cross and speak words of caring, forgiveness and mercy.

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