Summary: A deep look at the agape love of God that’s for us and in us.
This Crazy Little Thing Called Love
The Essence of True Love
There was a 15 year old boy, named Carl. Every night Carl would come to the supper table ready to chow down, and as usual his hands were dirty and his hair was all messed up. He was all sweaty and nasty. And as usual, his mom says, “Carl, you can’t eat until you’ve washed your hands, fixed your hair and cleaned up a bit.” And that’s the routine, every night, it never fails.
But then one night, Carl’s mom is setting the table and putting out the fried chicken and she notices a drastic change. Carl comes in with clean hands, a styling hairdo, wearing an Old Navy sweater and khakis instead of his dingy T-shirt and basketball shorts, and he’s even wearing cologne.
Before the next meal, the same thing happens. Carl comes in all spiffed up, smelling good, and this time he even shaved the peach fuzz off of his face. Carl’s mom knows something’s going down. What’s the deal? Carl is in love. He’s found a girl.
Love is a very peculiar thing. It’s been estimated that there are nearly five million words in the English language. However, there is only one word in our language for love. This word is supposed to span the entire spectrum. This one word is supposed to give description to our feelings about our baby sister and the way we feel about our favorite food. The same word that’s used to say what you think about McDonald’s french fries is the same word that we use to say what God thinks about us. Something is very wrong with this picture. I can say, “I love basketball,” and I can say, “I love Kristen.” But do I love basketball the same way that I love Kristen?
In other languages, they may have as many as seven words for our one word love. Bible writers used four different Greek words for love, and tonight we’re going to talk about this crazy little thing called love.
II. The Four Loves
Let’s look at the four words for love used in the Bible, and from our skit tonight, you should have a little bit of an understanding of the differences in these types of love.
A. Eros- sexual love; physical love; married love; mutual desire between a man and a woman
B. Storge- family love
C. Phileo- the love of friendship, the affection we feel for people in friendly relationships
D. Agape- divine love
I really want to focus on the Greek word agape tonight. We’ve talked about family relationships- storge, we’ve covered relationships with friends-phileo, I’m not going to cover sexual relationships this month, eros, because frankly, there’s only one thing to be said about it…wait until you’re married. So, tonight, we’re going to look specifically at divine love, and discover the essence of TRUE love.
III. Divine Love
Before Jesus was crucified, Peter denied Jesus three times, so after Jesus had risen from the dead, Jesus asked Peter to confess his love for Him three times. The first time Jesus asked, “Peter, do you love me?” He used a new word for love: agape. He was talking about a particular non-emotional type of love that was by choice, by an act of the will- Peter didn’t understand what he meant. So he answered, “Yes, Lord, I have a phileo for you.” But that’s not what Jesus was asking. The word agape was a word that didn’t even exist. It’s not in secular writings, in philosophy, Aristotle didn’t write about it, Hippocrates didn’t know what it was, it wasn’t in any Greek literature. The word agape was created to describe the concept of divine love. Everybody during Jesus’ time knew that eros meant married love, that storge meant family love, and phileo meant friendly love. But they had no idea about the agape kind of love. Peter said he had phileo for Jesus because that was all he had. He only had the feeling, and he couldn’t understand agape. There needed to be a word in Jesus’ day to describe the totally unselfish love of God toward His people. Agape was that word. God’s agape love gives and gives, then gives some more, never asking for anything in return. Eros doesn’t give and give without seeking something for itself. Storge doesn’t give and give, because it knows that it will be benefited by its family. Phileo doesn’t just give without asking for something in return, a friend is asking for friendship. There was no word, until agape, that described exactly what we see in the character of God, someone that gives without ulterior motives, without seeking something in return. Agape is love that is not based on emotions or feelings. It is actually a love by choice. Agape gives us the ability to love the unlovely.