Define Love, Divine Love

Define Love, Divine Love

If you have been a Christian for any period of time, or even if you are not a Christian and you have been around Christians very often, there are a few things you have heard. You have heard John 3:16, or maybe you remember Tim Tebow putting the reference in white on his black sun block. You may have even been one of the millions of people to Google the reference to find out what it was.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

You have heard Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were to:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength; and love your neighbor as yourself. Mark 12:30-31; Matthew 22:37-38; Luke 10:27; points back to Deuteronomy 6:4-5

You may have even noticed that the board right here in our church says, “love God, love others.”

We see signs and hear phrases everywhere… Live, laugh, love. For love of dog. I’m lovin’ it. Love of my life. Love is blind. All is fair in love and war. Love-hate relationship. Make love, not war. Falling in love. Puppy love. Love will find a way. For the love of all things… And one of my personal favorites, a face only a mother could love…!

Not to mention all the things we love… I love coffee. I love my dog. I love my friends. I love Chick-fil-a. I love racquetball, golf, and fishing. I love my kids. I love my wife. I love spending time with some people, but not everyone obviously. I love steaks on the grill, not to mention, ribs and brisket on the smoker! I love being a pastor, but God hasn’t put me in a position to do that full-time. I love teaching, but I don’t really love my job. I love it when I get to sleep in, but my body hardly ever lets me and I always feel hungover when I do sleep in. I love that I have been clean and sober for almost 25 years…! I love GOD!!!

Do these all mean the same thing??? Obviously not! Or if they do, there is something definitely more wrong with our society than we can even imagine. Maybe that is why the world has gone crazy. We really don’t know what love actually is!!!

I believe there is much more truth to that statement than we truly understand.

In the time Jesus was walking on the earth, the Greeks had at least three different words with an idea translated and defined as love in our culture today. But those three words they used had three very different meanings. And that is part of our problem today, how do we define love? On dictionary.com, the word love has 22 different entries under its definition. 14 of them are used as nouns, 6 as verbs (or actions) with an object, 1 has a verb without an object, and 1 as a verb phrase. No wonder we are confused!!!

This confusion leads to all sorts of misunderstandings too. Who do you love, how do you love, when should you love, what shouldn’t you love, why should you love, do you love at all, shouldn’t I be able to love who, how, or whatever I love, who are you to say I shouldn’t love this, that, or the other?

So many questions and yet we as Christians are commanded to LOVE. The two greatest commands Jesus tells us are to LOVE. God is LOVE.

How we define LOVE is extremely important if we are going to LOVE the way  God has commanded us to LOVE and if we are going to teach others to LOVE as he has commanded us to teach others to obey his commands. Friends, we have gotten ourselves into one heck of an ever-lovin’ mess!

Why don’t we see how God, who is love, and who created love, defines love. Instead of 22 definitions of love, and instead of 3 definitions of love, we are going to focus on just ONE definition of love and what that LOVE looks like.

The love we are going to look at in Greek is agape. ἀγάπη In every one of these passages I am going to reference, the same root word agape, is used. So we are only talking about one kind of love. We are talking about what Divine Love really looks like.

When we look back at what Jesus said in the context of Matt. 22; Mark 12; and Luke 10 when he was repeating the Hebrew Shema and adding to it, Jesus used this word agape: to love. We must love God and love others. He told his followers to love one another in several other passages. Same love. When God so loved the world, it’s the same love. This is agape love.

John, the apostle whom Jesus loved, writes this for us.

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:7-10 NET

John goes on to tell us…

Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth.

1 John 3:18 NET

We find that although love, agape, is being described, love is in every way described as an action. God’s divine love is an active love. But when we are talking about active love, we are not talking about the activity of what we call ‘making love’ we are talking about putting our money where our mouth is and actively doing something when we love God and love people. Paul helps make this even clearer for us. Because God is love, a facet of the fruit of the Spirit of God is love.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23 NET

To combat lawlessness, all the acts and desires of the flesh that are contrary to walking by the Spirit: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy and murder; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. Paul says we need to walk by the Spirit and that first in the list of the facets of the fruit of the Spirit is love. Divine love, God-like love, unconditional love; along with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control is the fruit that Holy Spirit produces in our lives. And in 1 Corinthians 13 Paul illustrates for us that love is a spiritual gift. 1 Corinthians 12-14 is the longest dissertation on spiritual gifts and the use and practice of the gifts within the context of worship in the New Testament, and Paul says this right in the middle of it about love.

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I give over my body in order to boast, but do not have love, I receive no benefit.

4 Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But if there are prophecies, they will be set aside; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be set aside. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when what is perfect comes, the partial will be set aside. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But when I became an adult, I set aside childish ways. For now we see in a mirror indirectly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known. ‘

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

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NET

We very frequently hear verses 4-7 taken out of context and read at weddings as instructions to a husband and wife how they should love one another. However, this love, this agape love, this divine love, this is how love should act toward all those around us. The people we like, the people we love, the people we minister to, Jesus even said we should love, agape, our enemies…

Now, you’re going to ask, “Well, Pastor Joe, you’ve given us a whole lot of lip service and description of love; divine, agape, biblical love. But what am I supposed to do if divine love is an action?”

Well, figure it out for yourself…just kidding. Here are 5 ways to show God’s love to others.

Number one:

Show God’s love by actively listening to others.

Don’t just hear what people are saying, but really listen to them.

Number two:

Show God’s love by praying with others and for others.

Don’t just tell someone you’ll be praying for them. Offer to join with them in prayer, right then, if they’ll let you. If not, that’s okay, but make sure you do include them in your prayers…don’t just say it and forget it.

Number three:

Show God’s love by being generous.

Not just generous with your money. Although that is a great way to be generous, but also be generous with your time and with your talents as well.

Number four:

Show God’s love by encouraging others.

Especially encouraging them to continue to walk the path of faith when times are hard and life is disappointing.

Number five:

Show God’s love with acts of kindness.

Especially acts of kindness where God receives all the glory. Anonymous good deeds are awesome. Paying for someone’s meal or drink behind you in the drive-thru. But doing an act of kindness with the message that God loves them and is concerned for them, leaving yourself out, is always best. If anything, God lead me to do this for you is a great way to go as well.

Lastly,

No matter who they are and how much you may have against them personally or them against you because of some kind of bias…

It’s possible to show God’s love to anyone.

And showing God’s love to everyone is exactly what Jesus came here to do and what he left us behind to do.

Jesus came to the world to love it and save it, not to condemn it, because the world already stands condemned.

We don’t have to condemn the world. We have to show the world God’s love, because we are Jesus’s body left here on earth.

 May you be a blessing and representative of God’s love to someone.

Pastor Joe

If you are a follower of Christ, this is a must-read!

I have had some similar experiences with people, but this pastor’s story is phenomenal! A must read, but especially for church leaders.

Don’t forget!

Don’t forget to visit, like, share, and follow God’s Word is Life on Facebook! https://m.facebook.com/pastorhoot/?tsid=0.8345818494675541&source=result

I post much more encouragement, memes, and information to that page than the website.

Rejoice Always

There are a lot of places in Scripture where it specifically says, ‘this is the will of God”, although it is certainly implied in most places. And, definitely is in the commandments…

Yet, here is one where it’s absolutely clear. It was our kids memory and handwriting verse at school Monday and Tuesday. Originally, until I said something, they looked at three verses and saw them as separate.

I had they take a closer look then zoom back out again. Guys, it’s all one sentence, one thought, one instruction.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/1th.5.16-18.ESV

The Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount, part two of Jesus, Who?

Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount, is one of the longest single passages of Jesus’s actual words and teaching. Today’s sermon is a fly-by at 30,000 feet and highlights just some of what Jesus taught his disciples early in his ministry before he was rejected by Israel.

While a single sermon can hardly do it justice, when volumes have been written about this passage. We’re aiming for an overview of how his followers should interact with God and the world around us according to Jesus.

For those watching the video, I apologize, the camera cutoff after 29 minutes. Fortunately, my son, Robbie, is getting better with video editing. The beginning and end are different than the full audio, but you still get the message.

Audio has the full sermon.

Full sermon, audio only

Side note for my followers… Would posting a transcript of the sermon be better for some of you, or stick with audio and video?

New Messages Coming in March

Long awaited…!

We will be starting a new message series in March.

I have been commissioned to preach every Sunday in March at Boiling Springs Church of God in Decatur, IL. Stop by 10:45 if you’re available, or stay tuned to godswordislife.com for audio and video of the messages.

May God bless you all!

Pastor Joe

Back in the Saddle Again

Friends,
Life can be so crazy and overwhelming sometimes, we know the secret of contentment comes from God alone through His Son, Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, the Holy and Appointed One of God. Philippians 4:13 reveals that secret, “I”, Paul says, “can do all things through Him (Jesus) who gives me strength.”
I am praying for strength right now, going through the holidays, working both my full-time job, part-time substitute teaching, both volunteer ministry and occasional pulpit supply preaching plus of course, famil; in the meantime, neglecting to post and write.
I apologize once again for my negligence.
Getting back on the ball, so please like, share, follow, recommend on Facebook  and godswordislife.com
God’s Word is Life and we can have peace and contentment through Him who gives us strength!
Thanks!

Chaos, confusion, control, conflict, and peace!

2020 has been a year unlike any other for those of us alive today. Seems like an understatement, right?

I have spoken to people in their 90s who say the same… The world is in chaos, economies are collapsing, businesses are closing, there are peaceful protests, armed conflicts, destructive riots, shootings, bombings, a global pandemic, and fear mongering.

Government officials at all levels are trying to exercise control over individuals in ways our forefathers revolted against…and just wait until the American people have to pay back, through higher taxes, all the money our government has borrowed in order to pay out all those stimulus packages.

Borders have been closed, travel has been halted, states and cities are quarantining people who travel to and from hot spots, even when their spot is hotter than the ones they are so worried about…hello, Chicago??? In the meantime, here in the good old U S of A, you’ll get COVID at church, at school, a small business, a fitness center, or a restuarant; but not at a protest rally, Walmart, Menards (where I work), or a political rally. Go figure!

It all makes us wonder…is God still alive? Does God even care? Can we have peace, when the world has gone crazy?

YES, YES, and YES!!! The answers are YES!

YES, God is still alive! YES, God does still care! YES, we can have peace!

Jesus may have died on the cross and remained in the grave for 3 days two thousand years ago, but He was resurrected and He is still alive today at the Right Hand of the Father. He is still intervening on our behalf moment by moment. The Father is still offering forgiveness for all our imperfections through our faith in His Perfect Son. His Son is still bestowing Holy Spirit upon us believers to be our Indwelling Comforter and Teacher. The Church is still on Earth and in heaven to act as Christ’s Body and Bride. However, we need unity now, more than ever!

Only God can heal this world, only Jesus can unify our divided spirit, only Holy Spirit will convict us and call us to turn from our selfish desires and grow the Fruit of the Spirit within us. Do you want love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to abound in the world? Let His Fruit grow in you, plant His Fruit in others, nurture His Fruit and watch it grow around the world!

In spite of the insanity in our world today, we can have peace… So, may the peace of God rest upon you. May the blessings of God live in you. And, may the love of God abound all around you.

What It Means to Be the Church: Churches Filling Needs as Lock-Down Continues

https://churchleaders.com/news/372794-be-the-church-filling-needs-lock-down.html

This is what the body of Christ should be doing…

Not closing our doors for public safety, but engaging the sick, hurting, and afraid with the love of Christ and meeting needs, just as our Lord and his disciples have always done!

Cultivate a Heart of Contentment

Paul shares in Philippians 4 the true secret of contentment and freedom from any anxiety, find out how by opening up your Bible or Bible app and read! Because, God’s Word is Life!!!

https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/328155-cultivate-a-heart-of-contentment.html