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  • Rick LoPresti

The greatest is love

What God calls love and what man calls love are not the same. There are 3 Greek word for love - agape, phileo, and eros. Eros is erotic love. This word does not appear in the Bible. Outside of marriage it is nothing but lust. This is not what the Bible calls love. Phileo is brotherly love. It is based on a sense of belonging to a group. The word agape was coined in the Bible. It does not appear in any Greek literature before the New Testament was written. That is because this concept of love is foreign to the world. It is not a feeling. It is not a sense of belonging. It is an act of the will. It is a decision to put others before self. It is sacrifice. The atheistic evolutionist cannot explain this. His view of the world is that everyone lives for himself. Although survival of the fittest, or natural selection is actually contrary to evolution, this is how they see things. God shows us a wholly different view. This is that the way to get ahead is by giving of yourself, not taking. "So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen (Mt 20:16)." "And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all (Mk 9:35)." This is how God loves us. Although He is the Creator and Lord of all, He humbled Himself and became the servant of His own creation (Jn 1:1-14, Phil 2, Col 1:16). He voluntarily died for us (Jn 10:18). He had nothing to gain. He was already God. It was us who were in need. He set the ultimate example of love (1Jn 4).

God has general, unconditional love for all. This is what He bases salvation on, and it is

accessed by grace (Jn 3:16). He also has special, specific love for His people which are in covenant with Him:

A. Deut 4:17 – thy fathers

B. Deut 33:3, 1Ki 16:9, Ps 47:4 – Israel

C. 2Sam 12:24, Neh 13:26 - Solomon

D. Prov 3:12, Heb 12:6 – correcteth, chasteneth

E. Prov 15:9 – followeth righteousness

F. Mal 1:2, Rom 9:13 – Jacob have I loved, Esau hated

G. Mt 3:17, Mt 17:5, Jn 5:20 – the Son

H. Jn 13:1, Jn 15:13 – the disciples

I. Jn 13:23, Jn 19:26, Jn 20:2, Jn 21:7 – John

There is pecial relationship and revelation for His people:

A. Ex 19:5-6, 1Pet 2:9, Rev 1:6, Rev 20:6 – kings and priests

B. Jn 1:12, 2Cor 6:13-18, Gal 4:6, 1Jn 3:1-2 – sons

C. Jn 14:7 & 15-23, Jn 16:12-16 – Holy Ghost

D. S.O.S., Hos 2-3, Jn 3:29, 2Cor 11:2, Rev 21:2 & 9

Since the people of God have special relationship with Him, He requires us to follow His example of love, and love Him and others:

A. Lev 19:18 & 33-34, Deut 6:4-5 – neighbor, stranger; God with all heart, soul, might

1. Mt 19:19 – if thou will enter into life

2. Mt 22:35-40 – on these 2 hand all the law and prophets

3. Mk 12:31 – none other commandment greater

4. Lk 10:28 – this do, and thou shalt live

5. Rom 13:8-10 – love fulfills the law, briefly comprehended

6. Gal 5:13-14 – all the law fulfilled in one word

7. Jam 2:8 – royal law

B. Mt 5:43-48 – love your enemies

C. Mt 6:24 – no man can serve 2 masters

D. Mt 10:37 – he that loveth (family) more than me not worthy

E. Jn 13:34-35 – a new commandment, that ye love one another a I have loved you, by this

shall all men know that ye are my disciples

F. Jn 14:15 & 21-24 – if you love me, keep my commandments

G. Jn 15:11-13 & 17 – my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you

H. Jn 21:15-17 – lovest thou me more than these?

I. 1Jn 2:5 – whosoever keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected

J. 1Jn 3:23 – this is his commandment, believe on the name, love one another

K. 1Jn 5:3 – this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments

1Corinthians 13 is a powerful passage about what Biblical love is really like. It shows the characteristics of Biblical love, and how it must be the motivating factor in everything we do for it to truly mean anything. A challenge we can give ourselves is to read verses 4-8 and take out the word charity, which means love, and replace it with our name and see how we are doing. Fair warning: this is a convicting exercise. When we realize how we do not always measure up to the standard God set, we can be encouraged that the Holy Ghost can develop these characteristics in us (Gal 5:22-23). We need to realize that love starts with God, not us (Rom 5:5, 1Jn 4:10). He is the source. God forgives us, so we can forgive ourselves and others. Sometimes the simplest truth of the Bible is the hardest to believe - He loves us. When we are able to believe and receive that, all other relationships can also be what they ought to be. Without that, none of them will be.

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