Faith, Hope, and love Part 3
Synopsis of Bible Study 12/18/13
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Earlier in this series, we talked about faith and why faith is important to tap into the things God has for our lives. We also talked about hope and how the enemy’s desire is to attack the word in us, so that our faith may be diminished and so our hope would be lost. Tonight we talk about love.
The bible says that these three remain, faith, hope, and love. God says the greatest of these is love. When we think about love, many of us are disillusioned by this idea called love. If we were to ask many of you to tell about your love experiences, some of you would have some real horror stories to tell. On the other hand, some of you would in fact have some interesting stories, because we all have a different idea about what love is and what we have experienced as a result of love. Love is complicated.
It is important for us understand that God gives us a blueprint for love. Vertical relationships are significant, because this is the relationship made up of us to God. Horizontal relationships involve man to man. The problem is our vertical relationships have not been strengthened. As a result , we try to draw strength from our horizontal relationships without examining the model in which God uses to demonstrate how we should be loved. This is why in the past, the horizontal relationships never stood! So tonight we will find out what love really is.
Now let’s understand how we define it (love).
When you think about it, the New Testament was a Greek document. The Greek has 4 words for love.
4 Greek words for love
- The first is Eros – This is carnal, sexual love, properly reserved for marriage. Hebrews 13: (NKJV) 4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. – Whenever one enters a covenant of marriage, you can eros (love) as you want and how you want as long as both of partners consent and as long as it is inside the confines of marriage. (We know this might be uncomfortable discussing, because church folk usually don’t like about sex in the church). When you get married, you can do what you want concerning this love/sex as long as both partners agree. Actually this kind of love is a carnal expression.
- The second Greek word for love is Philia – This is love of a close friendship, such as brotherly love. This is drawn from the root word Philadelphia. We find this example particularly in John 11:3 (NKJV) 3 Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.”- Remember when Lazarus was sick?
- Then there is storge which deals with family love – This kind of love goes with the phrase we use that says “blood is thicker than water” meaning despite our incredible dysfunction, we still love each other, because we are family. Unfortunately, you can’t pick your family, so you have to love them anyhow.
- Lastly, there is Agape – Agape is the highest form of love. This is the love which seeks the highest good of others. The is an unconditional love.
As we recap, we learned that there are four terms for love. They are eros, philia, storage, and then agape. Agape again is unconditional love. A good Tweet- able for you is this; You will never be faithful to that in which you do not love. What you love you will be faithful too.
Love then is demanded
When you look at the love of God, you begin to realize that God gives us this command to love. Mark 12:30 (NKJV) says 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’[a] This is the first commandment.[b] – Here is a 4 part directive about how to love God, with your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
4 parts to loving God
- With your Heart– This is putting it into a human relationship. God says, “I need you to love me like your heart is here, because I can tell when you disengage. I can sense when something isn’t right. I feel like you’re here, but your heart is disengaged. I need to feel like we are going in the same direction. We are trying to end up in the same place, destiny”
- Love him with your mind – In other words, God occupies mental space. You are really thinking about him and He is not an afterthought.
- Love him with your Strength– God needs to feel like no matter what has happened in your life, or how tired you are, no matter what you have experienced, one call from Him, and you will gather the strength to come and see about Him. Nothing will keep you from him, no matter how fatigued you are. You love Him so much that when God’s name is mentioned, you get strength you would never have had otherwise.
God says, do you love me like that (keeping these for directives in mind)? God says do you love me with your heart, because I can see you lifting up your hands and opening your mouth, but remember what Jesus said to the Pharisees. Jesus said, “You honor me with your lips, but your heart is far from me.” Jesus can sense when we are just going through the motion, but have disengaged from the heart. We know how to put on form and fashion, throw together theological phrases, and look sanctimonious. We also know how to play church, but if our heart isn’t there, God can sense it!
- God says to us, are we really trying with our soul to love him? Because that which we make every day is an indicator that we are really trying to make sure our soul ends up where He is. If you really love God, then you are thinking about your soul. You are loving with our soul. Your soul is so valuable, you will say to yourself, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose your soul.
- God is also saying, do you really love Him with your mind. When temptations and trials come, are these things blotted out because there is no space for them, because all day long we are thinking about him. All day long you have him in your mind and people can tell just by looking at you that you have God on your mind all day long and all night long. God wants to know, do you love him like this, that even in your strength, when you’ve been out all night long, you have the strength to get up on Sunday morning and say “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. You have the kind of strength that you don’t lay up and make excuses as to why you can’t do what God has called you to do. God needs to know that you love him completely. This is commanded of God!
When you love God like this, you got to:
- Got to love our brethren: This means easily to translate to others. John 13:34-35 (NKJV) 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – We must develop the capacity, because we have been the benefactor of the love of God, we must love others as God has loved us. The issue is, we don’t realize how difficult it is to love us. You probably don’t realize that you are a mess. When you think about all of your dysfunctions, all of your issues, all of your hang-ups, all of your failures, and all of your flaws, then you begin to think about yourself and find out that you can’t even stand yourself. God loves you despite all of these imperfections and if God loves you like this, then this is the kind of love that you have been the benefactor of. Therefore, God needs to know that you can have this same kind of love for someone else.
You don’t love people based on their history, you love them based on their destiny. Our problem is, we want to go into people’s history and make a determination of whether they are lovable. The truth of the matter is, God did not decide to love us based on our history, he loved us because of our destiny. He love us because of what was in us. He loves us for where we are going, not where we have been.
We don’t have to know you to love you. We love you simply because you are God’s child. No matter where you are, we realize that we could have been in that same place. Because we know that we could have had this same struggle, we are not here to judge you, we are here to love you no matter what. You are forced because of your relationship with God, to love everybody. We don’t have to agree with you, but we do have to love you!
In Romans 12:10 (NKJV) 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; – Be kind or affectionate to one another. Isn’t it interesting how we can be some of the kindest people at church, but some of the meanest people outside of church. It doesn’t hurt to be kind. One act of kindness can go a long way. Ex-Bishop tells of an encounter with a waitress in a Louisiana Cracker Barrel. This waitress was overwhelmed with the workload she had. It was very busy and people were pulling at her from every direction. Bishop and his family had only one hour to eat and she worked hard to try and make this happen, despite how busy it was. When she got time, she brought out the bill. Bishop gave her some money that he had found in his pocket that he had forgotten that he had. You could tell that this really made her day. Later Bishop and his family were on the plane and the airline had upgraded his seat to first class, because he travels by plane so much. The problem was, they did not upgrade Bishop’s family to first class. This meant Bishop would be riding first class while his family was seated in regular seats. Wanting to sit with his family, Bishop went to see if the attendants could get whoever had the seat beside his wife, to trade with him and they could take his First Class seat. Another passenger from first class over heard this and told them that he would give up his first class seat so that Bishops family could come up and join him. The point of this is this, when you are kind to others, kind things come back to you. When you are mean, mean comes back to you.
- Got to love our families: You have to be able to love the brethren. We got to love our families. We don’t choose our families. They choose us. We all have those family members that we wish we could give back, but unfortunately we can’t. In fact, we are commanded to love our families. There is a blueprint for this. According to Ephesians 5:25 (NKJV)25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, – Husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the church. A husband should love his wife so well, she should looks loved. The glory of a man is on the face of his wife. She should looked so loved that when other men approach her, they retreat, because they don’t feel they have a chance.
A wife according Titus 2:4 to should love her husband and love her family .Titus 2:4 (NKJV) 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, – We have to love our families because it sets an example and sets an atmosphere. When you don’t do this, what you do is create an atmosphere of anger and hate. Lots of issues we have with violence and anger comes out of the atmosphere of our homes. Your position of anger, unforgiveness, and trust often comes out of what you saw growing up. If you saw love and that was all you were around, then that is all you know. You got to love you neighbors and your enemies.
- Got to love you neighbors and enemies: In Mark 12:31 (NKJV) 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[a] There is no other commandment greater than these.”- Single people, this says you become the paradigm in which you love others. This means you can’t love someone else at a deficit to yourself. You can’t play yourself and love someone else. Love should not cause you to devalue yourself in order to love someone else. What happens to some of you is you give up your values and dreams, because you love the other. You remove yourself and give your dreams up, but you got to realize that you are the model at which you use to love others. If you want to know how I will love you, then look at how I love myself. If you don’t even love yourself enough to be home by yourself, then what makes you think that someone else wants to be at home with you ?
Loving your enemies
Matthew 5:44 (NKJV) 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[a] – This is hard to do.
Things you must understand about people that hate you.
- They don’t know you. – All they know are assumptions about you. Most people that don’t like you, have never met you..
- They don’t realize their emotional environment and issues toward you is not going to make their lives any better. You have to learn to say what Jesus said when he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” You have to in other words learn how to pray for them. You got to learn to do good for them that despitefully use you. Ex- Bishops explains how he loves blessing his haters. He tells of a time that he was in Starbucks and saw someone that he knew really hated him. He waited till this person got ready to checkout and Bishop snuck up and told the cashier to put it on his bill. The lesson here is, a person can only hate less the amount you love them. If you hate like them, you have taken on their venom and thus are becoming just like them. If you love a thing, you got to let your dislikes and hangups go.
1 John 4:9-10 (NKJV) 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. – God loved us first. Love is not measured or determined by the lovee, rather it is determined by the lover. The lovee doesn’t have the capacity to understand the depth of the love of the lover. The lover must love the lovee until the lovee learns how to love them back. God loved me before I learned to love him back. He loved me when I didn’t know how to love. We shout because we know God loved us when we didn’t know how to love him. God protected us when we were out there uncovered and God waited on us to get our lives right. You are here, because God was patient enough to say, “You finally caught up with how much I love you.” While we were yet sinners, Christ died.
When we think of this kind of love, we see God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. He looked at humanity and said here are people I created to worship me. I gave them breathe, gifts , and destiny and they allowed Satan to turn them against me. God says, ” I sent prophet after prophet to call them back to me and they just laughed. They brought my prophets to places of depression”. Jose kept covering Gomer the prostitute even though she kept going back out into the streets. Just like this love demonstrated, God sent his son, because he knew the only way to save his humanity (creation) was by the shedding of blood. God sent his son to pay this price.
Jesus paid for sins he did not commit. Even after being sent, the same people that cried Hosanna later cried “crucified him!” Though he had the power to come off the cross, Jesus stayed there and died. Jesus loved enough from the cross to still die! When Paul writes in 1 Cor 13:4-8, he says you can have all these gifts, but love suffers long. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NKJV) 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
- Love does not tap out.
- Love is kind. When we love, no matter what it looks like, we are consistent with the person who is kind to you.
- Under love, we won’t make you responsible for what others did to us. One unkind act can turn people from church.
- Love is not envy and love celebrates the house the neighbors get and the career jumps off for them. Love does not envy or parade itself.
- Love doesn’t remind what you did.
- Love does not behave rudely. Love won’t speak fowl .
- Love is going to pause and think of the impact of word before it speaks.
- Love is not unilateral and it isn’t all about one person.
- Love is not seeking its own, or this is a leach.
- Love is not, provoked.
- Love can be on the job and walk it off instead of reacting when someone does something that is off. Love is isn’t easily provoked.
- Love thinks no evil. It does not wish evil things to happen to you, despite what you did to them, for this would be revenge. Vengeance is mines says the Lord.
- Love does not rejoice in iniquity.
- Love will tell you that you are wrong , even if it costs a friendship. Out of love is our responsibility to tell you that this could happen. The wages of sin is death.
- Love rejoices in truth. it believes all and hangs in there with me.
- Love never fails.
- Love will always remain.
God wants to know if we love him like we used to. Have we allowed life to separate us from the love of God? We have to be like what is taught in Revelation and get back to our first love. We have to love Him if he never does another thing for us. We are ready to let the Lord know particularly in this season that we love him. We want to ask the Lord to give us the love back . We want that love back that made Him occupy our mind and that love that made where we could not get enough of Him.