Love! Love! Love!


Audio of Sermon: 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (KJV)  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  [2]  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  [3]  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

When we hear the word “Charity” we think of giving to someone in need. The word translated “Charity” in our text today is the Greek word AGAPE, which should be translated not so much “Charity” as “Love”. Our New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek, and the ancient Greeks recognized four types of Love.

  1. There Is φιλέω Phileō Or Companiable Love. This is not the highest form of love, but a love based on affection or feeling, a fondness of, a liking. You can see how this love is by reading it in context. For instance, Jesus said:

Matthew 6:5 (NKJV) And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they LOVE {φιλέω Phileō} to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

Matthew 10:37 (NKJV) He who LOVES {φιλέω Phileō} father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who LOVES {φιλέω Phileō} son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Luke 20:46 (NKJV) Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, LOVE {φιλέω Phileō} greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts,

Phileō is based on feelings, friendship. People bond together because of Phileō, the forge unions because of Phileō, but Phileō is an ever changing love based on how you feel at the moment. People fall into Phileō and fall out of Phileō. It is a very weak form of love.

  1. There is Στοργή (Storgē) or Natural Affection or Obligation. This is the kind of love that is found between parent and child because of their genetic or spiritual bonding. The word is compounded with Phileō in ..

Romans 12:10 (NKJV) Be KINDLY AFFECTIONATE {φιλόστοργος philoSTORGOS} to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

To show that Christians – all born into God’s family by the Grace of God – should show family love to one another. We are supernaturally brothers and sisters in Christ. My own brothers and sisters are related to me by blood. We have Στοργή (Storgē) for one another.

  1. There is Εροσ (Eros) Or Sexual Love. This type of love is king in America today. It says “I love you because you satisfy me sexually and make me happy”. What does God think of this type of temporal love? Though it was a word known to the ancient Greeks, the word Εροσ (Eros) is not used in the New Testament at all. What we in America so highly prize, God distains as the least of all loves.
  1. Then There Is Ἀγάπη Or Ἀγαπάω (Agapē Or Agapaō), God’s Standard Of Love. Agapē is the word translated “Charity” in our text today. It is God’s love. When the Bible says:

1 John 4:8 (NKJV) He who does not LOVE does not know God, for God is LOVE.

It is not saying that God is EROS or God is STORGĒ or even God is PHILEŌ. The love that God has is not sexual, familial, or even companiable. God is Agapē. Divine love is in no way selfish or self centered, self pleasing. It is a type of love that does good even when bad is done to it. It is a type of love that suffers for the good of others.

As creatures created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) we were designed to best operate from AGAPE, the love of God. Though we love in other ways we do not profit personally nor as a people unless AGAPE in what we operate by.

1 Corinthians 13:1 (KJV)  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not AGAPE, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

In 1 Corinthians 12 the Apostle spoke of Spiritual Gifts in the Church, and noted how these gifts are actually manifestations of the Holy Spirit. The Apostle told us that the Gifts are given to profit the WHOLE CHURCH. Now the Apostle tells us if the gift in operation does not come from AGAPE, God’s love, then that gift itself is just NOISE. Let me put it this way. If you sing a special song for the Church but are doing so for the applause of man (PHILEO) then it is PROFITLESS to either you, or to those who heard you. If you preach a sermon to gain a smile of approval, or to please a parent (STORGE), then what you preached is no more than noise.

AGAPE is for God, from God, to God, and because of God.
AGAPE glorifies God.

1 Corinthians 13:2 (KJV)And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not AGAPE, I am nothing.

Without AGAPE, the love of God that God gives, no matter how spectacular the gift you may display, it is as if there was nothing. AGAPE is what gives the gift power. AGAPE is like salt on a bland food. Without salt it is all as the tasteless white of an egg.

1 Corinthians 13:3 (KJV) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

I can give it all and leave it all on the table, but without AGAPE there is no profit to me or to others. Anything we do that has self as the motivator is useless. We gain no reward from God for our acts if they are not AGAPE, from the Love of God.

What Does AGAPE Look Like?

This past Tuesday, October 31st of 2017 a misguided Muslim rented a Home Depot van. He drove down the Hudson River Park bike path and ran over 23 people, killing 8 and injuring 15. As he did so he shouted “Allahu Akhbar”—“God is Great” in Arabic. His action was useless. The love He showed did not come from God, but from a demon and a demon possessed heart. The love of God – AGAPE – changes things. Nothing is changed by hatred and hateful acts, nor by love of self or a deluded religion.

What does the Love of God look like?

1 Corinthians 13:4 (KJV) AGAPE suffereth long, and is kind; AGAPE envieth not; AGAPE vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

The love of God is long suffering, patient, kind. The love of God does not envy nor become green eyed over what someone else has. And the love of God is not puffed up, arrogant, or prideful. The Bible says of God that …

Psalm 86:15 (NKJV) But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.

God is longsuffering, patient, and kind. The love that comes from God does not seek to destroy an enemy but does good to those who do badly. God tells us to show love even to our enemies. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall LOVE {ἀγαπάω agapaō} your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, LOVE {ἀγαπάω agapaō} your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you LOVE {ἀγαπάω agapaō} those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

The lost soul and the pretender of religion twists AGAPE, God’s Love. But those who are the Children of God show AGAPE – Divine Love – to our enemies. We do good to those who do bad to us. We pray for those who despitefully use us. We emulate our God Who blesses both good and evil with sun and rain. And God rewards us for doing good even when others do bad to us. He rewards us with blessings, better health, and a crown that fades not away, reserved in Heaven for us (1 Peter 5:4).

How can we do this? When someone beheads a Christian with a dull knife, or rapes a child, or backbites us and smears our reputation, how can we show AGAPE to these MONSTERS? The truth is, they are not monsters. Every human was created in the image of God for more. Every human is precious. How do I know? Because Jesus Christ …

1 John 2:2 (NKJV) … is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but ALSO FOR THE WHOLE WORLD.

1 John 4:9-10 (NKJV) In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son INTO THE WORLD, THAT WE MIGHT LIVE THROUGH HIM. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

John 3:16 (NKJV) For GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God sent the Christ into the world to save the world, because every human is precious. So God does good to those who do bad. God sends His Sun on the good and the bad, and offers His Son to all. We must not dehumanize the sinner, but always remember that the sinner that is unsaved is bound by chains of darkness to the devil and his lost world. Christ’s Gospel is for every person who will receive it.

1 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV)  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

AGAPE or God’s Love “does not behave itself UNSEEMLY”. It shows respect to others, and does not conduct itself in a rude or mean way. God’s Love is always Godward. It “seeketh not her own”. It is not in it for itself. Today people ask the question:

What’s in it for ME?”

AGAPE or the Love that God expects of His Children doesn’t ask this question. The greatest illustration of Love as God wants us to live it is in Jesus Christ. We read:

Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Love does not seek itself, it is not selfish but is willing to give up all in order to better its object. Jesus is very God of very God, yet He humbled Himself and took up the Cross of shame. In so doing He purchased salvation for each and every one of us who believe.

Love kneels and serves as Jesus served. In the ancient world of Christ only a slave washed another person’s feet. One day Jesus knelt and washed His disciple’s feet. He told them:

John 13:13-15 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for [so] I am. (14) If I then, [your] Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. (15) For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

Love is not easily provoked. It does not wear a chip on its shoulder. As Jesus hung suffering on the Cross He said:

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do
Luke 23:34

Jesus tells us that when offended we are to …

Matthew 5:39-41 (NKJV) But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.

Love is patient with those in darkness. Love does not think evil. It does not spend its nights dreaming of harming those who harmed you, of being hateful.

1 Corinthians 13:6 (KJV)  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

When you were a little child your momma would come in the room and put a thermometer in your mouth. You’d want to talk but momma would say, “Now hush! Keep this under your tongue until I tell you.” You’d sit for what seemed an eternity until momma came back and, pulling the thermometer out, she’d hold it up to the light and look. Momma was looking to see if the mercury – the colored stuff in that glass tube – was lined up with 98.6 degrees. If it was you were fine. Your temperature was normal, and you could resume your life as a kid. You could go back to school (yuk) or go outside and play. That thermometer governed what you did with your life. So it is with love. If you’re where you need to be with God, if your temperature is fine, then love will show in your life. You will be willing to work for God through His Church, just as He has commanded you to do. You will follow your design, not your own whims, knowing that your cooperation with with God and others will be instrumental in winning others to Christ.

The love that God would have us have does not secretly chuckle when our enemy falls. It does not dance on that poor person’s grave. But love does love the TRUTH. It loves the Word of God, because the Word of God is the blessing of God on His people. The Apostle says that Agape …

1 Corinthians 13:7 (KJV)  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Agape looks up, not down. It looks Godward, not fleshward.

And because of this Love – God’s Love – endures. Everything we have now will pass away or cease to be. There will be a day in Heaven when we have no more Bible, for on that day we will stand before the Living Word of God.

1 Corinthians 13:8, 13 (KJV) AGAPE never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. …. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, AGAPE, these three; but the greatest of these is AGAPE.

An ancient preacher named Jerome said:

The church of Christ has been founded by shedding its own blood, not that of others; by enduring outrage, not by inflicting it.”

Our world desperately needs to see Christian love. They will never see that Love unless they see it through you. The success of the local Church is found on its ability to love like Jesus – no matter what may come. I encourage and exhort you to this type of True Love.

This is what Christ wants for His Church.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in 1 Corinthians, Church, Cross of Christ, Faithfulness of God, Following Disciples, Love One Another, Men and Women, obedience, Sermons Preached and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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