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Sermon No: 2767-Love



Gavin-Paynter/Love.jpg

SERMON TOPIC: Love

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 14 February 2016

Topic Groups: LOVE, FRUIT OF SPIRIT

Sermon synopsis: A message for Valentine's Day.

Arise, my darling, My beautiful one, Come with me.
See! The winter is past; The rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; The season of singing has come, The cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; The blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; My beautiful one, Come with me.

(Song of Solomon 1:10-13)
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LOVE

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st, Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade, When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st. So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

A LOVE POEM

Sonnet 18 (Shakespeare) - His beloved is more lovely than a summer’s day. Summer is short and sometimes the sun is too hot. Unlike the fleeting beauty of a summer’s day, his beloved has eternal beauty. His beloved will live on forever through the words of the poem.

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven, Having some business, do entreat her eyes To twinkle in their spheres till they return. What if her eyes were there, they in her head? The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars, As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven Would through the airy region stream so bright That birds would sing and think it were not night. See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O, that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch that cheek!

ROMEO & JULIET

Romeo in Act 2, Scene 2 of “Romeo and Juliet” - William Shakespeare’s famous tale of forbidden love (published 1597)

Arise, my darling, My beautiful one, Come with me.

See! The winter is past; The rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; The season of singing has come,

The cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; The blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; My beautiful one, Come with me.

Song of Solomon 1:10-13 (written 3000 years ago). In the Song of Solomon, the romantic love that exists between a man and woman is used as a picture of the love that exists between God and his people.

The woman says:

“My beloved is mine and I am his” (2:16).

“He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love.” (2:4 NASB)

“My beloved is… outstanding among ten thousand.” (5:10)

“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—if you find my beloved, what will you tell him? Tell him I am faint with love.” (5:8)

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the young women love you!” (1:2-3).

THE SONG OF SOLOMON

The man says:

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you… you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes…” (4:7-9)

“Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the young women” (2:2).

“Arise, come, my darling; My beautiful one, Come with me” (1:13).

THE SONG OF SOLOMON

God doesn’t just love, “God is love” (1 John 4:16). The word ‘love’ is used over 500 times in the Bible (NIV).

It was Jesus who told us that God loves the world.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The Psalmist wrote:

Ps 145:8-9 The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

In the Book of Ruth, the redemptive love Boaz has for Ruth is the type of the love Christ has for his church.

Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.

BOOK OF RUTH

“Spread the corner of your garment over me” was a culturally relevant way of saying, “Take me as your wife.”

God uses a similar analogy when he speaks of his love relationship with Jerusalem:

Ezek 16:8-10 “Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “and you became mine. I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments.”

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

Ezek 16:11-14 “I adorned you with jewellery: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendour I had given you made your beauty perfect,” declares the Sovereign Lord.

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

Is great

Eph 2:4-5 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Is everlasting

Jer 31:3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

Esther is a type of the church who is loved by one whose title was “King of kings”. And while the character of Ahasuerus cannot be compared to Christ’s character, he prefigures Christ as the “King of kings” who loves the Church.

BOOK OF ESTHER

Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian regarded by some as the greatest Protestant theologian of the twentieth century. During a tour of the US in 1962 he lectured at the Rockefeller Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago. During the Q & A time, a student asked Barth if he could summarize his whole life’s work in theology in a sentence. Barth said something to the effect of, “Yes, I can. In the words of a song I learned at my mother’s knee: ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’”

Karl Barth (1886-1968)

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

Isa 62:3-5 (NASB) You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God. It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; But you will be called, “My delight is in her,” And your land, “Married”; For the LORD delights in you, And to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, So your sons will marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

Greater than a mother’s love:

Isa 49:15-16 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

Is unfailing and can be counted on:

Lam 3:22-23 (ESV) The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Psalm 52:8 But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

The story of Hosea and his troubled marriage with his adulterous and unfaithful wife is used by God as a type of his similar remarkable love for Israel, even when they turned to other gods.

Hos 3:3 The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods…”

HOSEA

God says of unfaithful Israel:

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her… There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. In that day… you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master’… I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” (Hos 2:14-20)

Like Hosea’s love for his adulterous wife, God loves us while we are still sinners:

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The love between a husband and wife is a picture of Christ’s love for the church. Jesus loves the church redemptively.

Eph 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

GOD’S LOVE FOR US

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Rom 8:35-39)

OUR RESPONSE TO GOD’S LOVE

God has given us people to love and things to use, not people to use and things to love.

DO NOT LOVE:

The world (i.e. the system)

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Falsehood

Rev 22:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

DO NOT LOVE

The last days are marked by people loving 3 things above God; self, money and pleasure:

2 Tim 3:1-4 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money… not lovers of the good, … lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—

Sadly many churches preach a gospel that propagates the love of self (self-esteem gospel), the love of money (prosperity gospel) and a program that is targeted at men’s love of pleasure (entertainment focus).

Those who propagate self-love distance themselves from the true gospel.

3 John 1:9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.

DO NOT LOVE

DO LOVE:

Our wives

Col 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.

Our husbands and children

Titus 2:4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children…

Our spiritual leaders

1 Thess 5:12-13 Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.

WHO MUST WE LOVE?

Foreigners:

Deut 10:19 And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.

Strangers:

Rom 12:13 … Practice hospitality (Greek: philoxenia - the Greek word literally means “love to strangers”).

Your servants (or employees):

Job 31:13-15 “If I have denied justice to any of my servants, whether male or female, when they had a grievance against me, what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account? Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?”

WHO MUST WE LOVE?

And the 2 greatest commandments are to love:

God

Your neighbour

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

It was James and John who suggested that Jesus destroy a Samaritan village that wouldn’t grant him passage through it (Luke 9 NASB).

THE APOSTLE OF LOVE

You do not know what kind of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.

Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?

Formerly nicknamed by Jesus a “Son of Thunder”, John later became known as “the apostle of love”. It was he who recorded these words of Jesus.

THE APOSTLE OF LOVE

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. (John 13:34)

In his commentary on Galatians 6:10, Jerome tells a famous story of John in his extreme old age at Ephesus. He eventually had to be carried into the congregation by his disciples and would say nothing except, “Little children, love one another.” At last, wearied that he always spoke the same words, they asked: “Master, why do you always say this?” He replied, “Because it is the Lord’s command, and if this only is done, it is enough.”

THE APOSTLE OF LOVE

Portrait of John the Apostle by Orazio Fidani c. 1640-56

Love is the chief of virtues:

Col 3:14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

1 Cor 16:14 Do everything in love.

1 Cor 13:8 Love never fails.

1 Cor 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

THE CHIEF OF VIRTUES

But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away…

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

(1 Cor 13:8-13)

Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

THE CHIEF OF VIRTUES

Love must be pursued:

1 Tim 6:11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

2 Tim 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Love must be without limit:

Rom 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

THE CHIEF OF VIRTUES

John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Let us note that our Lord does not name gifts or miracles or intellectual attainments as the evidence of discipleship, but love, the simple grace of love, a grace within reach of the poorest, lowliest believer, as the evidence of discipleship. If we have no love, we have no grace, no regeneration, no true Christianity! – J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels.

THE APOSTLE OF LOVE

J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) author & first Anglican bishop of Liverpool

1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

According to the world, we love in order to be loved. According to the Word, we love because God first loved us. Whereas the world falls in love, God’s people are established in love. The love that we possess, however, is not a fleeting whim that comes and goes with every mood and circumstance; rather, it is a love that is beyond ourselves. Our love, true love, has meaning, meaning that cannot be stripped away by any thing, any one, or any feeling. Our love cannot be shaken because it is grounded not in self but in sacrifice. – “Love is in the Air”, Burk Parsons, editor of Tabletalk Magazine, May 2004, p. 6.

PROMPTED BY GOD’S LOVE

Burk Parsons

Our love for one another is prompted by Jesus’ love for us:

Eph 5:1-2 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

And how did Jesus show his love for us?

John 15:9-13 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

BASED ON GOD’S LOVE

1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

In an engine-room it is impossible to look into the great boiler and see how much water it contains. But running up beside it is a tiny glass tube, which serves as a gauge… When the tube is half full, the boiler is half full; when the tube is empty, the boiler is empty. Do you ask, “How do I know I love God?...” Look at the gauge. Your love for your brother is the measure of your love for God.—S. S. Chronicle.

GAUGE OF LOVE

1 John 4:21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Our love for God is shown by how we treat his children:

John 21:15-16 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

GAUGE OF LOVE

Loving one another is the sign of a true Christian:

1 John 2:9-11 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.

1 John 4:7-8 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

A TRUE CHRISTIAN

A true Christian will obey Jesus’ command to love others:

John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

John 14:23-24 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”

1 John 5:3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome…

2 John 1:6 I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

A TRUE CHRISTIAN

Tertullian, in his defence of Christianity, noted how Christian love attracted pagan attention in the 2nd century AD:

It is our care for the helpless, our practice of lovingkindness, that brands us in the eyes of many of our opponents. “Only look,” they say, “look how they love one another” (they themselves being given over to mutual hatred). “Look how they are prepared to die for one another” (they themselves being readier to kill each other). Thus had this saying become a fact, “Hereby shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” - Apology 39

GAUGE OF LOVE

Hatred embodies the spirit of Cain, who hated his brother because he was more righteous than himself.

1 John 3:11-15 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own

THE SPIRIT OF CAIN

actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous… We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

Love protects and believes the best of people:

1 Cor 13:7 (Love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

When Noah got drunk and was naked (Gen 9), his son Ham exposed his nakedness and ridiculed him. In contrast Shem and Japheth would not look on his nakedness, but walking in backwards, covered him. Do we try to expose each others nakedness (weaknesses or sin) or to cover them?

Gal 6:1 … if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently…

BELIEVES THE BEST

Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) wrote this for some of her closest co-workers.

We are trusted to spread the spirit of love. Tenderness in judgment, the habit of thinking the best of one another, unwillingness to believe evil, grief if we are forced to do so, eagerness to believe good, joy over one recovered from any slip or fall, unselfish gladness in another’s joys, sorrow in another’s sorrow, readiness to do anything to help another entirely irrespective of self – all this and much more is included in that wonderful word love. If love weakens among us, if it ever becomes possible to tolerate the least shadow of an unloving thought, our Fellowship will begin to perish.

BELIEVES THE BEST

 Unlove is deadly. It is a cancer. It may kill slowly but it always kills in the end. Let us fear it, fear to give room to it as we should fear to nurse a cobra. It is deadlier than any cobra. And just as one minute drop of the almost invisible cobra venom spreads swiftly all over the body of one into whom it has been injected, so one drop of the gall of unlove in my heart or yours, however unseen, has a terrible power of spreading all through our Family, for we are one body – we are parts of one another. If one member suffers loss, all suffer loss. Not one of us liveth to herself.

BELIEVES THE BEST

Love forgives and forgets:

1 Cor 13:5 (Love) keeps no record of wrongs.

1 Pet 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Prov 17:9 He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

FORGIVE & FORGET

Love is generous:

2 Cor 8:7-11 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you —see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

LOVE IS GIVING

For God so loved… that he gave.. (John 3:16)

1 John 3:16-17 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

“Christian love is never theoretical or abstract; it is always practical.” – (Alexander Strauch - Leading With Love, Lewis and Roth, 2006, p. 111-112)

“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has the eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”- (Augustine)

LOVE IS GIVING

Love is unselfish:

1 Cor 13:5 (Love) is not self-seeking…

Selfishness seeks its own private happiness at the expense of others. Love seeks its happiness in the happiness of the beloved. It will even suffer and die for the beloved in order that its joy might be full in the life and purity of the beloved. – (John Piper - Desiring God, 1996, p. 176)

LOVE IS UNSELFISH

Love puts others first:

Rom 12:9-10 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves.

Phil 2:2-4 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

PUTS OTHERS FIRST

Love is willing to serve:

Gal 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

WILLING TO SERVE

Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…

(Matt 20:26-28)

John 13:1 Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

WILLING TO SERVE

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (John 13:14-15)

Love is considerate about the weak conscience of others:

Rom 14:15 If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.

1 Cor 8:1-3 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.

PUTS OTHERS FIRST

Love is humble, gentle and patient:

Eph 4:2-4 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

So love is peace-loving and strives to keep unity:

Col 2:2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love

John 17:22-23 “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

PATIENT & PEACE-LOVING

Love does no harm:

Rom 13:9-10 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.

True love doesn’t disappear in difficult times:

Prov 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

ENDURING

In the context of being told to “let brotherly love continue” (Heb 13:1 KJV) we are given a practical example – be hospitable (Heb 13:2).

Alexander Strauch writes, “Hospitality fleshes out love in a uniquely personal and sacrificial way. Through the ministry of hospitality, we share our most prized possessions. We share our family, home, finances, food, privacy and time. Indeed, we share our very lives. So, hospitality is always costly. Through the ministry of hospitality, we provide friendship, acceptance, fellowship, refreshment, comfort, and love in one of the richest and deepest ways possible for humans to understand. Unless we open the doors of our homes to one another, the reality of the local church as a close-knit family of loving brothers and sisters is only a theory.” (The Hospitality Commands)

HOSPITABLE

If we love, we embody the nature of God:

1 John 4:9-12 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

EMBODY GOD’S NATURE

Then we will have assurance of salvation:

1 John 3:18-20 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us….

Then we will have no fear of God’s judgement:

1 John 4:16-18 Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

CASTS OUT FEAR

The Four Loves is a book by C. S. Lewis which takes it’s name from the four Koine Greek words for love which roughly equate to the following in English: romance, affection, charity and friendship.

Eros (erōs, Greek) is romantic or erotic love based on a physical sexual attraction.

Storge (storgē, Greek) is fondness through familiarity especially between family members or people who have found themselves together by chance e.g. the type of love between a parent and child.

LOVE

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

Charity (agápē, Greek) is love which expects nothing in return. It cares regardless of the circumstance and is the greatest of loves as it is the love that God himself demonstrates to sinful man.

Philia (philía, Greek) is the ‘friendship’ love that exists between people who share common interests and is epitomised in the Biblical characters David and Jonathan. In the form ‘philadelphia’ it refers to brotherly love.

BROTHERLY LOVE

Some feel that we should just ‘tolerate’ other Christians. In other words we should love with the unconditional ‘agape’ love, but we don’t have to be friends (i.e. actually like other Christians). Other professing Christians even use this as an excuse to not fellowship. They say they love God, but don’t like his children.

But we are instructed to have both kinds of love for our Christian brothers and sisters:

1 Thess 4:9 (ESV) Now concerning brotherly love (philadelphias) you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love (agapan) one another

BROTHERLY LOVE

1 Pet 1:22 (ESV) Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love (philadelphian), love (agapēsate) one another earnestly from a pure heart

Heb 13:1 Keep on loving each other as brothers (philadelphia).

1 Pet 3:8-9 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers (philadelphoi), be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

BROTHERLY LOVE

Do you want to be effective and productive for God?

2 Pet 1:5-9 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness (philadelphian); and to brotherly kindness (philadelphia), love (agapēn). For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

BROTHERLY LOVE

The Greek word ‘storge’ is the love and affection that naturally occurs between parents and children and between siblings. It occurs once in Romans 12:10 in the compound word ‘philostorgoi’ (comprised of philos and storge).

Rom 12:10 (NASB) Be devoted (philostorgoi) to one another in brotherly love (philadelphia); give preference to one another in honour.

Rom 12:10 (Holman Christian Standard Bible) Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honour.

FAMILY AFFECTION

So Christians are instructed to love one another with agape, philadelphia and storge love. We don’t just ‘tolerate’ each other out of a higher sense of Godlike love – we should have a genuine brotherly friendship and affection.

We see a similar thought expressed here:

1 Tim 5:1-2 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

FAMILY AFFECTION

Do you love others like this?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

(1 Cor 13:4-8)

But you say, “If I love like that, I might get hurt.”

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable. ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

CONCLUSION

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV:

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)




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