Sunday, June 28, 2009

Becoming A Better Lover - Part II

Last week - we discussed 3 kinds of love with a marital focus.

This week - the focus is on Agape (gift love) ... becoming a better lover in any/all areas of your life...

Greeks had at least 10 words for 'love'. Agape is the highest form - gift love. This type of love is the essential to any relationship.
(This is selfless, sacrificial, other focused, given without thought of recompense, etc. )

Therefore, early Christians used that word to try to describe the love of God. - (pure, proper, absolute, divine, perfect love)

Christians used Agape to describe:
I. Who God is 1 John 4:8 (His basic character and nature)
II. How He loves us John 3:16 Rom. 5:8 Eph. 2:4-5
(we struggle with the concept... but it's easier when we see it illustrated.)

III. How we ought to love others. John 13:34 1 John 4:11
(we ought to love in this manner or way... after this pattern or fashion)

Some Scriptural observations on Agape...

1. It is God's will/desire for His people Matt. 22:36-39

2. It encompasses all of God's will & desire for His people ... Matt. 22:40
If you keep these two you keep them all.

3. It goes far beyond loving the lovable. Luke 6:32-36

4. It is impartial (not biased, selective) - brother, neighbor, stranger, enemy

5. It must be intentional (decision/choice) - not based on feelings

6. It is active love (expressed love) 1 John 3:16-18 - love not expressed is not Agape

7. It is intelligent love (not blind/naive/foolish/gullible) - Matt. 10:16 Agape is not stupid love.

8. It is appropriate love (often soft, easy, gentle but sometimes tough/harsh) Heb. 12:5-6

9. It is beyond our comprehension (infinite in scope) - Eph. 3:17-19

10. It is never satisfied or completed, never get done loving people Rom. 13:8

Add to that description passage like.... 1 Cor. 13:4-8
And it's overwhelming!!! Who's up to this??? Ans.: Nobody!! - Rom. 3:23

BUT, #1. God knows that
and still #2 He's established Agapy as...
A. the model/pattern forChristian love (loving)
B. the goal for which we strive
C. the measure of our conduct actions/attitudes....
D. the mark of our faith John 13:35

Therefore, we should:
1. attempt to understand it... as it's described in scripture, and as demonstrated by Christ
2. develop our definition of 'love' accordingly
3. seek to imitate it. Eph. 5:1-2
note: imitation is not hypocrisy
hypocrisy is pretending to be something your not. The imitation of agape is trying to be what you are (Christian)
4. strive to achieve it (own it, make it part of self)
5. cultivate it (develop it, preocess of time, growth, maturing
6. model it
7. measure our attitudes and actions by it..

NOTE: you are not alone in your efforts to love properly...
1. some Agape is naturally instilled - Gen. 1:26 - 27 "His image"
2. we are more infused when we receive Christ - "Christ in you"
3. The Holy Spirit is constantly trying to develop Agape within you. - Gal. 5:22 - "fruit"
4. as you learn, grow, disciple your self and develop Christian character, Agape can, should, will increase.

SUMMARY: Agape is partly the work of God in and on you, and partly the work of the believer.
So, do your part, and trust God to do His.

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