Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Ministry of Agape

Rom. 13 - in the "to do" section of the book.  (application & practice)
Last week = "submit to Governmental Authorities" - (wasn't that fun?)

Today - "Loving others with an Agape style love"

Rom. 13:7 = transitional?? Is between give governmental authorities their due... and .... "give your neighbor his due!!

Rom. 13:8-10 - can divide "The Law" into 2 parts:  Example:  10 words - Exodus chap. 20.
1st. table (tablet) = words 1-4
2n.d table (tablet) = words 5-10

Compare Jesus' summary - Matt. 22:36-40
Hence, Paul's words here.
Hence, our (OBC) logo        (Crossed arrows = man to God, man to man)

So.... I)  we'll define/describe "AGAPE" - Greek word means love of God
              All Christians world wide understand this word.

then:  II)  look at the urgency of Practicing Agape.

AGAPE = the noun form of Agapao (the verb - to love)
NOT unique to Christians and the New Testament

BUT Christians 'commandeered' it!  Made it their own... to describe:
    (1)  the Love of God  (YHWH) (noun form)
and (2)  the way God loves  (verb form)
and, therefore
      (3)  the way God's people are to love others. ie:  as God loves us.

One one hand, we'll never get it perfect  (Rom. 3:23)
However, this is the model, measure, the ideal, standard
So .... Matt. 5:43-45, 48 - love enemies so may be recognized as sons of your Father.

(1)  Agape = love that VALUES its object
 ie:  this is more than emotion, feeling, sensation, endearment
Puts value on the thing being loved.

You might say "I don't really like that person!!!  BUT.... (1) they = image of God
                                                                                    (2) Christ died for them
                                                                                    (3)  they = valuable
                                                            therefore          (4)  I'll treat them accordingly!!

(2)  Agape = a love of ACTION!!  
ie:  more than thoughts, words, prayers, good intentions
Examples:  John 3:16 - "God so loved.... He GAVE...."
                 Rom. 5:8 - "God DEMONSTRATED His love....."
Hence, the parable of the Good Samaritan
James 2:14-17 - faith (love) without deeds is dead\
1 John 3:16-19 a = ought to lay down our lives for others

(3)  Agape = a debt, an obligation
Question:  Why am I indebted to strangers???
Maybe because ... (1) you owe God
                     and  (2)  He requests you make payment to Him by paying ..... Them!!!

Examples:  Matt. 25:40 - "what did for theses .... did for me!!!
                 John 21:15-17 - "do you love Me?  .... feed My sheep!

(4)  IT is a continuing debt = (never paid off!!!)

(5)  Agape = the primary VISIBLE characteristic of a Christian!!
Not keeping rules, attending church, reading Bible, etc. ,,,,,
But Practicing Agape (love)!!!  John 13:34-35 - new command - love one another.  By this all will know you are my disciples.

IF you have questions about 'who is my neighbor?' or 'to whom am I obligated?'  Check out the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  Luke 10:25-37

Rest of that passage = 'the urgency of loving others with Agape style love' - Rom. 13:11-14 - do this understanding the present time.

Rom. 13:11-14 - not just talk about it, pray about it, think about it.
#1.   Do this.....   compare John 13:17, John 13:34
ACTION ... in spite of emotions!!!

#2.  ... Understanding the Present time....?? - time is short
= (A)  the need (for agape)
   (B) the Opportunity (for agape) , and
   (C)  the Brevity (of time)

#3.  Wake Up!!  Be alert!  This is not the time for drowsiness and indifference!
Whether (a)  Lord's return
         or  (b)  your death - it's later than you think!!

#4.  put off - world's way of Love
put on - God's way of Love - this is tough love.
Clothe yourself with Christ
Behave properly - according to God's definition of Right/ Proper

The Ministry of Agape!!
"by this will all men know...."
Actions matter so that people will know we are Christians

Are two things required:
   (1)  decision - to accept Christ, follow Christ, to serve Christ ... His way!!!
   (2)  Action - Christian - is more than religion of the HEART.
Also = Religion of Head and Hands!!!

No comments: