Summary: The love we must mimic always makes itself known, is impartial, and knows no limits.
A Few Things You Should Know About Love
"And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:29-31)
Love is the fulfillment of the law:
"For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (Galatians 5:14)
Such a command to love both God and our neighbor, and the fact that in so doing we fulfill the law, makes it is essential that we understand something about love.
I. Love Always Makes Itself Known
A. Definition: the most common understanding of the word love is ‘a feeling of great affection.’ It is not surprising, therefore, that this is the meaning applied whenever the word love is seen in the Scriptures.
1. It is important to understand that there are actually three Greek words translated as ‘love’ (write these definitions on the board):
a. Philanthropia denotes ‘love for man’ (Vine’s).
b. Phileo denotes ‘tender affection’ (Vine’s).
c. Agapao denotes ‘seeking and doing good for others, irrespective of feelings, and regardless of whether the person is friend or foe, likeable or unlikable, deserving or undeserving.’
2. In the New Testament, the English word love is mainly a translation of the Greek word agapao.
B. Christians must love one another (1 John 3:23):
1. If taken for affection, we may believe that we are fulfilling the command and neglect needy brethren!
2. It is certainly right to feel phileo for our brethren but the word used here is agapao.
a. John gives an example of how agapao should be demonstrated:
"But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:17-18)
b. The Hebrew writer commends the brethren for “the love which you have shown.”How had they shown their love? “In having ministered and in still ministering to the saints” (Hebrews 6:10).
II. Love Is Impartial
B. Brethren and all men (1 Thessalonians 3:12; 5:15).
III. Love Knows No Limits
1. If we claim to love yet do not demonstrate that love, we ask, “How dwelleth the love of God him?” (1 John 3:17b). It is essential that love is demonstrated. For, like faith works, love with works is dead.
2. If we are demonstrating our love, then it must be without partiality (1 Thessalonians 3:12): regardless of whether the person is male or female, friend or foe, likeable or unlikable, deserving or undeserving, rich or poor, red, yellow, black or white.’ It is essential that we demonstrate our love to all men without reservation.