What is love?


Jennifer Wedding

March 5, 2017 outline

Overwhelming topic

From Dr. David Jeremiah

  • Love is what’s in the room at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.
  • If you want to learn to love better, you should start with someone you hate.
  • Love is a like little old woman and a little old man who are still friends, even after they know each other very well.


  • an intense feeling of deep affection.
  • a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.
  • About a thousand other definitions

Scripture: Four words for love

  • Eros — Physical, sensual love (not used in the Bible); I love you because you give me pleasure.
  • Storge — Familial love; people and animals, too
  • Phileo — Social love; friends; used of God and humans (Jesus and Peter: Do you love me? I phileo you.)
  • Agape — Divine love; That which moves us to respond to someone’s needs without any expectation that we will receive something in return; sacrificial love
    • For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son
    • Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends
    • But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Dr. Jeremiah said, “agape” is one of the rarest words of the Greek language. Almost impossible to find outside of the NT

Perfect love is the quality we see in the cross. God is agape.

Turn with me to 1 John, Chapter 4.

A couple of notes here:

  • The word love, or some version of it, appears 30 times in this chapter in the King James Version, which uses the word “beloved” twice where the NIV uses “dear friends.”
  • Every single appearance of the word “love” here comes from the Greek word “agape.”
  • As we read this Scripture, remember that. Remember that this isn’t a familial love John is talking about. It’s not the social love of one friend to another. And it’s certainly not the sensual love of “eros.”
  • John talks here — exclusively — of agape love, a sacrificial love that is given without any expectation of being returned.

Read 7-19

Love is of God (v. 7)

  • This passage begins and ends with this assertion
    • 7 – Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God:
    • 19 — “We love Him, because He first loved us.”
  • Love is part and parcel of all three persons of the trinity
    • God manifest His love for us in the person of His son, Jesus Christ. (v. 9)
      • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…
    • Christ demonstrated His love on the cross.
      • While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    • The Holy Spirit bestows love as its first fruit in a believer’s life.
      • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

God is love (v. 8)

  • Name some other of God’s characteristics from Scripture:
    • Just
    • Merciful
    • Faithful
    • Slow to anger
    • Holy
    • Unchanging
    • Good
    • Others?
  • It seems almost impossible to imagine God having those attributes separate from His love.
  • From God’s creation of the universe to His sending Jesus to die for our sins to His watching over our everyday lives, love guides all that He does — even when He chastens us.
  • A new favorite Psalm? Read 136 highlighted

The love was all on God’s side, not ours (v. 10)

  • “not that we loved God, but that He loved us”
    • Greek aorist tense — a prolonged form of the verb. In other words, not that we did any act of love for God at any time.
  • “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”
  • In fact, we were enemies of God, as we see in Romans 5:10 — “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

Our agape love is evidence of our relationship with God (v. 8)

  • “He that loveth not knoweth not God”
    • “ginosko”: A Greek aorist tense – In other words, such a person not only doesn’t know God now but never knew Him
    • “Every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God” (v. 7)
  • “By this, all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.” — John 13:35
    • Since no one has ever seen God, we show His presence to the world through our love. (v. 12)

Our agape love is a result of our relationship with God

  • 7 – “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.”

Our agape love is a responsibility because of our relationship with God

  • 11 – “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
  • From Matthew 22: “One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
  • In fact, think back to that scripture in Romans about us being God’s enemies when we were lost in our sins.
    • What did He do for us when we were His enemies?
    • So how can we emulate that sacrificial love in our own lives?
      • Love your brothers and sisters in Christ
        • Even when they’re a pain
        • Even when they’re not much like us
        • Even when they’re unlovable
      • This is hard: Love those who treat us poorly.
        • Tell the story about a certain person at work.

Help us, O Lord to love others as You have loved us.

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