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Love Must Be Authenticated

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Love Must Be Authenticated

We are continuing our blog series, Christmas through the Eyes of John. John says three things about love that will make all the difference. The first is, love must be authenticated. In other words, what does authentic love look like? Where does authentic love come from?

John clearly says it comes only from God. “Dear friends, we must love each other because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God,” (1 John 4:7 GW).

The word he uses for love is agape, and it means divine love which originates with God. Agape love is super-natural. That means it is not something mankind can generate apart from God. And since it is supernatural, it is powerful beyond human understanding. It is life changing.

The world talks about love all the time. It’s found in songs and movies, but the reality is, true, authentic love can ONLY come from God.

John goes so far to say that when we move in God’s authentic love, that’s a clear sign that we have been born again, “Dear friends, we must love each other because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, because God is love,” (1 John 4:7-8 GW).

Do you know why authentic love is so critical? Because when it is at work in our lives, people actually see God through us. “No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us,” (1 John 4:12 GW).

Let me ask. Do you think the opposite is true? Do you think when people operate in hate, they are showing they’re children of the devil?

John says that is actually the case, “The message that you have heard from the beginning is to love each other. Don’t be like Cain. He was a child of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did Cain murder his brother? Because the things Cain did were evil and the things his brother did had God’s approval. Brothers and sisters, don’t be surprised if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love other believers. The person who doesn’t grow in love remains in death,” (1 John 3:11-14 GW).

Authentic love is a big deal. Love comes from God and connects us to God because God IS love.

You can watch the complete message on video or listen to the audio here. 

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Agape Love Transforms Hearts

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Agape Love Transforms Hearts

 

In the English language the word love is somewhat muddied. We use it for everything. We say, “I love fried chicken.” “I love my job…my wife…God.” We use that same word for all those contexts. But the Greek language has four words for love, and each one takes us to a different place in the expression of the word.

  1. Storge: love of parents for children
  2. Philadelphia: love of friends, brotherhood
  3. Eros: sexual love
  4. Agape: love from God; not for God

Christianity essentially developed the idea of agape love. Agape love is divine. It is supremely higher and richer than any of the other four Greek words. Agape did not originate on earth with man, but was created in heaven by God Himself. The greatest verse in the Bible that beautifully sums up agape love is John 3:16: “For GOD SO LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”[1]

God so loved…

It’s something very deep and passionate. It is expressed through giving. God loved us so much He gave His greatest gift—His only Son.

John, the writer of the Gospel that bears his name, was often called the Apostle of Love—and what a great reputation to have! It was almost as it John was obsessed with agape love. It came out in everything he did, said or wrote.

He was obsessed with agape love. He wrote about agape far more than any other writer in all the Bible. In the Epistle of John he wrote; “So we know that God loves us. We depend on it. God is love. Anyone who leads a life of love shows that he is joined to God. And God is joined to him . . . . We love because He loved us first.”[2] God IS Love—the essence of who He is.

Theologian O.C. Quick said that agape is so deep, so divine, it cannot fully be grasped or understood by mere humans. He wrote: “God loves people purely for their own sake, not because of any need or desire of His own. God’s love desires their goodness and yet loves them completely, as they are at this moment, and for what He knows they can become because of His deep love for them.”

Agape love is so powerful that it actually transforms people.

Most of us love people if they live up to our code of acceptance. But God’s love accepts people AS THEY ARE with an eye towards what they can become. God’s love is powerful enough to love us IN our sin, but loves us TOO MUCH to leave us in our sin.

Agape love is the kind of love that should be found in the church. If we are going to live the life God wants for us, then we must enter the risky zone of relationships.

Listen to the full message here.

[1] KJV

[2] 1 John 4:16, 19 NIRV

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