Everybody loves the idea of love. But if we look around the world today, we see a lot of lovelessness. Why the disconnect? Perhaps we are confused about what love is and how it works. In this message, we will lay a foundation for understanding love. We pray this understanding will enable you to experience the love that we all desperately long for – the love we were made for.
I need your help with something and it's going to require some participation from you. I want to take a poll of the room. I have two questions I want to ask you. And if your question, if your answer is yes, when I ask the question, I want to raise your hand. If your answer is no, just keep it down.
Simple enough. Think of the word love. Now with whatever comes into your mind when you think about that word, answer this first question by a show of hands. Do you want to be loved?
Question number two, do you want to love other people of hands? Just what I thought. Everyone loves the idea of love. We write songs and poems and novels. All about love is a central theme, and the TV shows and the movies that we watch.
There are websites created with the sole purpose of helping people find love. We want to experience love and we'll do almost anything for it. You do the things that you do for love, to get love or to keep love or to show love. Love is the most important thing in life. You can understand all of life through the lens of love.
It's what our existence can be boiled down to. We exist for love, to be loved and to love others.
We don't do that great of a job when it comes down to loving, do we? If we're so pro-love, then why is our world marked by a pandemic of lovelessness? If we love the idea of love so much, then why is there so much bullying and gossip and slander and lying and cheating and coveting and stealing and impatience and verbal and physical abuse and murder and hatred and prejudice and partiality and racism? If we love the idea of love so much, then why all the displays of lovelessness?
We have to be careful here.
If we agree that these displays of lovelessness exist in our world today because I think it's obvious that they do exist. We have to be careful that we don't think this lovelessness happens somewhere out there outside of us in our relationships. No, these loveless things happen in us more often than we would like to admit. Why is there such a disconnect between our desire for love and our ability to experience it in our life? I think that's because there's a lot of confusion about the topic.
I would suggest to you that people are very confused about what love really is and how it really works. I think people are very confused about how to get love, and I think people are very confused about how to love others. So let's try to remedy this confusion, shall we? I'm going to share some facts with you about love facts that we need to know if we're ever going to stop being confused about it. And at the end of this message tonight, you're going to have an opportunity to experience love if you want it, how does that sound?
There might be someone here tonight who experiences real love in their life for the very first time. I have three foundational truths about love that I want to share with you. These three truths will lay the groundwork for you to be able to experience love in your life. Truth number one, and this is going to be the first filling on your outline. Love is both a noun and a verb.
Love is both a noun and a verb, and I hope talking about nouns and verbs doesn't trigger any unpleasant flashbacks to English class and high school. But love is a person place or a thing. That's what a noun is, and love is also an action. It's something that you can do or perform. That's what a verb is now.
Love isn't the only word that can be both a noun and a verb at the same time. Take the word butter, for example. You can go to the store and you can buy some butter and then you'd have the object, the noun and you could put some of it on a knife and then butter a warm toasty bagel. That's the action that's the verb water is another example. You can have a cup filled with the substance of water filled with the nouns filled with the object.
But then you can tip that cup over and you can water the plants that will be the verb or the action. You need to see the connection between the noun and the verb to understand how love works. Can you do the action or the verb of buttering a bagel without having gone to the store to buy butter? First, can you do the action or the verb of watering the plants without having the object of water in your cup? First, you see love is a noun and a verb, and you cannot do the action of love without first having the object of love in your life.
You need love first. You need the noun before you can display love before you can perform the verb. This is the reason our world is so loveless right here. We don't have the love in our life that we need first, the love that we are so desperately looking for. So we don't have any love to give away.
How can we give what we don't have? How can we love others if we don't have love in ourselves? Because everyone is so desperate to get love into their life? Everyone is calling their way blindly through life in their pursuit to get love that no one has the time, energy, or ability to truly love anyone else? This is truth number one.
Love is both a noun and a verb. Here's truth number two, and it's the next filling on your outline. There are different types of love. There are different types of love. We use the same word when we say, I love pizza and I love you.
Obviously, the love we have for a significant other, a favorite food and a friend are all different. Hopefully, however, the English language doesn't lend itself well to making these distinctions. The Greek language used in the Bible, however, does make those distinctions, even though the various Greek words for love are all translated to the same English word love. In most instances they held different means for the Greek speaking readers. These differences can be helpful for us when we think about what love means, especially in identifying and discussing what the best kind of love is.
Cs Lewis identified four types of love in the Bible in the Greek, and I put these on your outline. The first one is storgay. Storme might also be called affection or familial. Love. This word isn't actually used in the Bible, but the concept is there.
Storgi is based on familiarity. A person will love their family, regardless of whether they are people the person would be drawn to. Otherwise. Family members often have nothing in common except familiarity and blood. Storgay is a comfortable affection that can be taken for granted, but it can also be very powerful.
Next, there's arose, and this is a romantic love arose also isn't a word that appears in the Bible, though it plays a major role in a lot of the problems in both the Old and the New Testaments arose encompasses sexual and romantic love and is the root of the English erotic. Lovers are often completely preoccupied with one another filled with arrows. Arrows is often associated with sexual desire and lust, but it can also be a good thing in a marriage relationship. When accompanied by and bolstered with other kinds of love, then we have Filia.
This is a friendship.
Love. This word is used in the Bible as CS Lewis wrote in his book, The Four Loves to the ancient friendship seemed the happiest and most fully of all of all loves. Felia occurs from bonding over similar interests, whereas lovers are both preoccupied with each other. Friends are both preoccupied with the same things. Friends, of course, care about one another, but at similar interests that attract them to one another.
Felia is the opposite of phobia, literally, meaning that those experiencing faliah are drawn to one another. Phelia is often overlooked in modern culture, but it's exhorted in the Bible in Romans Twelve verse ten, Paul urges the believers to be devoted to one another. In Brotherly. When he writes love one another with brotherly affection, I want you to notice something about each of these first three loves. Each of them is dependent on there being something present in the person being loved.
Store gay. Love is dependent on the existence of family ties. Eros. Love depends on the existence of attraction and Philia. Love depends on the existence of shared interests between the two parties.
In each of these three types of love, there must be something present in the other person before these types of loves can be expressed, but what if none of these things is present? What if the other person has nothing to offer you in the relationship? This brings us to the fourth type of love. Agape agate could be defined as charity. However, we often think of charity nowadays as giving away money or things which doesn't encompass all of what Agape is about.
Agape love is unconcerned with the self and concerned with the greatest good of another. Agape isn't born just out of emotions, feelings, familiarity or attraction, but from the will and as a choice, agape requires faithfulness commitment and sacrifice without expecting anything in return. This is the type of love that the Bible speaks about the most. The New Testament references Agape over 200 times. Agape love is the best kind of love.
Hands down. It's the best kind of love that we can actually love another person with. Remember, the other types of love requires something from the other person. Are they family? Do they share your same interests?
Are you married to them so the arrows can be experienced. Agape doesn't have any prerequisites attached to it before it can be shown. Loving another person with Agape love does not place any conditions on them to receive this love from you. You don't need to see anything in them before you agape them. You don't display Agape love in order to get anything from the person you're loving.
You are loving them just to love them. Agape love is a no strings attached kind of love. A love displayed without hidden agendas or ulterior motives. Agappa can be displayed any time to any person, regardless of who they are or what they've done. This is why it's the best kind of love to give it's a love of choice, doing what's best for the other person no matter what now, adaptive love is not just the best kind of love to love another person with it's.
The best kind of love that you can be loved with adoption is the best way to be loved because you don't have to bring anything to the table in order to receive it. You don't have to purchase Agape love from anyone with your friendship or with your good deeds or with your stunning good looks or with your past history, good or bad. If you are alive, you qualify to receive Agape love. Your existence is all that's required for you to receive Agape. This is such good news because we're such a mess a lot of the time, aren't we?
We can't measure up to other people's standards. There are so many instances where we don't deserve to be loved. And yet Agabe says I will love you anyway because my love doesn't depend on what you do or don't do. My love depends on something beyond us all, whether we realize it or not, we all crave to be loved. This kind of way to be valued this way.
So love is both a noun and a verb and you need to have the noun before you can demonstrate the verb. And there are different types of love, and agape is the best of them all. Hands down. This brings us to the third truth about love that we have to understand if we're going to experience love in our life and this next filling on your outline and it's this God is love. God is love.
If you have your Bible with you, turn with me to first John, chapter four, verses seven to 16. I'm going to read this passage for us. If you have something to Mark your Bible with, keep that handy as we go and I'm going to get you to underline two short phrases in this text. I'm not going to wait for you. I'm just going to read it if you're flipping there first.
John four, starting in verses seven, the Apostle John says this, dear friends, let us love one another because love is from God and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God because here it is. This next three words underline God is love. God's love was revealed among us in this way. God sent His one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
Love consists in this not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we remain in Him and he in us.
He has given us of His Spirit and we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the world's Savior. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in Him and he in God and we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. And underline these next three words, God is love and the one who remains in love remains in God and God remains in Him. God is love. The phrase is so nice.
John used it twice. Let's break down the short and sweet phrase God is love by taking a brief look at each individual word. God the unmade maker of everything that has ever been made, the one who is personal, perfect, whole, complete, infinite, eternal immutable, which means never changing whatever God is he is that thing in a Godsized way. God is not is going to be. The word is refers to an unchanging marker of identity when it's used to describe God.
Whatever comes after God is refers to God's nature, his very being. God is love. Agape love the love that does the best for another person no matter what it costs, regardless of what the person has done or hasn't done the love of choice. When we hear the phrase God is love, we shouldn't think that God is just the best at doing the action or the verb of love, which he obviously is. But we need to understand that he is the object or the noun of love itself.
He is love. God is love. This truth is so huge, so good, so foundational to our understanding of what love is and how it works. What does this love that is God look like? I'm going to show you by taking you on a journey.
I'm going to show you how God is loved by looking at four points on the eternal timeline, four distinct moments, starting all the way back in eternity past and ending up all the way forward into eternity future. We got a lot of ground to cover, so let's buckle up. Point number one on the eternal timeline Precreation prior to the event of creation taking place, we can see that God is love. Love existed before the foundation of the world because God existed before the foundation of the world.
God full complete, lacking nothing.
Perfect love, infinite love in himself. What was God doing before he made the heavens in the Earth? Do you ever wonder that he must have been so bored before he made the universe? Maybe that's why God created the Cosmos. Maybe he needed a little pet project to keep himself busy or entertained.
No. If anyone thinks that it means they haven't thought enough about who God is and what he's like. We don't know the specific details of what God was doing, but we do know this much for sure. He wasn't bored because all he was doing in eternity past was an enjoying an infinite amount of love in himself.
But don't you need someone else Besides yourself in order to express love? Don't you need an object of your love, another person that you show love towards? Yes. Well, who was God loving before he made the heavens and the Earth and the Angels and humanity. Who was he loving when he was the only one there?
Well, he was loving himself. This is one of the reasons that the doctrine of the Trinity is so crucial to our understanding God and to our understanding love. There is only one God, but this one God exists in three persons. Father, Son spirit. We call this the Trinity, and each person in the Trinity is fully God.
And yet there's only one God. The Father is fully God, lacking nothing in himself, perfectly content and complete. And we learned in one John Four that the Father is Agathe love personified. And because the Father is God, he needs nothing. He is perfectly complete in himself, totally satisfied.
And this means he is utterly free to pour all of himself out upon the objects of his love. Who did the Father pour his love out upon an eternity past before the creation of the world, the Father has eternally poured out God sized agape love upon the Son and upon the Holy Spirit. Infinite, eternal, powerful, perfect love gushing out, flooding out of the Father to the Son and the Spirit. And the same is true of both the Son and the Spirit, too. They too are each fully God, full of perfect love in themselves and free to pour out their love on one another in an infinite and eternal way.
Can you just try to imagine this dance of love that has been going on literally forever? The Father loving the Son and the Spirit, the sun loving the Spirit and the Father and the Spirit loving the Father and the Son. Perfect agape. And God needs nothing because God is God and he has love because he is love. He doesn't need to be loved because he is love.
And yet he has enjoyed perfect love forever, giving and receiving it in himself in his Trinitarian nature. That sounds amazing. Now, if God had it so good prior to creating everything, then why did he bother to make anything at all? Why create the heavens and the Earth if you don't need anything from them? If you have everything you could ever need in yourself, this takes us to our second stop on the eternal timeline.
Point number two on the eternal timeline is creation. In the act of creation, we can see that God is love. Think about it. God makes the heavens and the Earth out of nothing. He separated the light from the darkness.
He separated the waters, making the skies and the seas. He gathered the waters together into one place and let the dry ground appear because vegetation just sprout up. He made the sun and the moon and the stars. He made the creatures in the waters. He made the birds in the skies.
And he made all the animals that dwell on the land. Then God oh, did himself. He made man. This final stage of creation was unique because in man he created something in his own image. Like him.
He blessed Adam and Eve and gave them his creation to steward. He gave them every good thing to eat. They lacked nothing. The world was their oyster. They had an endless supply of provision and blessing and fulfillment.
And why did he do it? Remember, God didn't make them because he was lonely. He wasn't bored. He didn't have a science project to do on Monday. So why did he make mankind as the pinnacle of physical creation?
Don't miss this. He made us so that we could experience him. The God who is love. He made us so that we could be loved by him and so that we could have the joy of loving him back. The eternal and infinite love that he poured out upon himself before the creation of the world could now flow out upon us.
The love that God had experienced perfectly in himself from eternity past Adam and he could experience for themselves in the garden. He gave them the privilege of walking with him in a relationship. He was their God and they were his people. Wow. They knew God as a friend.
They had a personal relationship with Agape love. They didn't earn it. They didn't barter with God to get it. They didn't bribe him or beg him or promise him anything or offer him anything for this blessing. God just gave it to them because God is love.
What did they do with this incredible privilege? They threw it in the garbage when they rejected the God who is love, and they sought to establish a life apart from him. They did this when they rejected His command to not eat from the one tree of the probably billions that existed on the planet. They ate of the one tree in the middle of the garden. They ate and they were cut off from the only source and supply of agape love that exists in the universe.
And what was the result of human beings forsaking the love that made them? It didn't take long for things to completely unraffle Adam and Eve. Sin is recorded for us in the third chapter of the Bible. In the very next chapter of the Bible. The first murder is recorded when Kane killed his brother Abel, and then only two chapters after that.
This is recorded for us in Genesis chapter six, verse five. It says the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the Earth and that every intention of thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. It took only three chapters to get from the paradise of the Garden of Eden to the level of human depravity that premeditated the flooding of the entire Earth as a judgment against this loveless rejection of God. When we get to the New Testament, the Apostle Paul talks about the effects that rejecting the God who is love has on humanity.
It's going to be a little hefty chunk of text here, but I'm going to read it all for us.
Romans chapter One, verse 1832 the Apostle Paul says this for God's wrath is revealed from heaven against all Godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Since what can be known about God is evident among them because God has shown it to them for his invisible attributes that is, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen since the creation of the world being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse, for though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude.
Instead, their thinking became worthless and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, fourfooted animals and reptiles.
God, therefore, God delivered them over in the desires of their heart to sexual impurity so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who has praised forever Amen. For this reason, God delivered them over to disgraceful passions. The women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. The men in the same way also left natural relations with women and were enslaved in their lust for one another.
Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their heir, and because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. They are filled with all unrighteousness evil, greed and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God haters, arrogant, proud, boastful inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, senseless untrustworthy, unloving and unmerciful. Although they know God's just sentence that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.
All of the lovelessness we see and experience in the world today, both outside of us and inside of us, is traced back to our rejection of God who is love. Humanity was plunged into a Loveless dark existence when they were severed from God because of sin and we were trapped there, unable to pull ourselves out of the hopeless loveless existence that was ours. The only possibility of our escape out of a Loveless existence depended on an intervention that had to come from a power outside of ourselves, a power greater than ourselves.
God the only God, the God who is love, was the only one who could save us, and that's exactly what he did, which makes total sense when we understand that this is what perfect and pure agape love would do for sinners like us. This takes us to the next stop on our eternal timeline.
Point number three on the timeline is Salvation. In the act of Salvation, we can see the demonstration that God is loved. The famous verse John 316 says this for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. If you have that verse in your mind or in front of you in your Bible, can you see both the noun and the verb forms of love? In John 316?
The verb is easier to see. We see the verb love in the first part of the verse where it says For God so loved the world. That's the verb that's the action he loved us. It's a little trickier, but you see what the noun is in the verse. Remember, God is love.
He is the noun love, the substance of love. And we see God in two places. In this verse, God the Father is love. He is the one that so loved the world, and the eternal Son of God is also love. He is the one that was given as a love gift to the world.
John tells us that God loved the world so much. He gave us God the Son who is the substance of love itself. Love became a man when Jesus was born. Love grew up in wisdom and stature. Love only ever did what he saw the Father do because he loves the Father, and he rejected every form of temptation that ever came his way.
Love was put on display for all those who lived in Judea and the surrounding areas. Love was put on display when paralytics were given the ability to walk as a gift. Love was put on display when blind beggars had their eyes opened as a gift. Love was put on display when deaf ears were unstopped. As a gift.
Love was put on display when mute tongues were loosened as a gift. Love was put on display when lepers had their disease cast away with the word as a gift. Love was put on display when demons were cast out of the powerless as a gift. Love was put on display when the dead were raised as a gift, and love was put on display when those who the world didn't love the outcasts, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the sinners were proudly brought in to be his friends. Love was put on display when he was betrayed by his companions and he didn't hold it against them.
Love was put on display when he was falsely tried and condemned to death, and he kept his mouth shut without defending himself. Love was put on display when he was mocked, spit upon, and beaten, and he didn't curse them back. Love was put on display when he was fastened to a Roman cross and lifted up suspended between heaven and Earth. Love was put on display when he took upon himself all of the loveless deeds committed by every single human being that would ever exist, the very ones that were made in his image, the ones he made so that he could pour out his love upon them.
The ones who rejected him.
Love took their sins upon himself on that cross, and love was then separated from the Father because of their sins. Then love died and his dead body was buried in a tomb. And on the third day love came back to life, appearing to the very ones who had abandoned him. Then love gave his disciples their marching orders to take the message of love to the ends of the Earth. And this is that message.
God loves you so much that he sent his son to die on the cross for your sins so that you could have your sins forgiven. The sins that keep you from experiencing the love of God so that you could come into a relationship with God. What do you have to do to get this love nothing apart from receiving it as a gift. Love would never make you pay for it. To receive it.
You do need to turn from your Godless loveless way of living and turn to Him instead. And when you do, love doesn't love you from a distance. Love freely pours himself out on anyone who wants him. Love comes to live inside you. The Holy Spirit, who is God, who is love comes to live on the inside of believers, powerfully, working as mighty love on the inside of us.
Do you want to know something that's crazy? The cross was a part of God's plan before he created the world. The cross wasn't a plan B to fix a mistake he didn't see coming back in the Garden of Eden. Satan didn't trick God by tempting Adam and Eve to sin. God knew Adam and Eve would reject him before he ever made them.
He knew all of us would reject him. He knew that in order to have a humanity that was able to experience His love, that he would have to save them. He knew all of this before he made the world. And yet he chose to make the world anyway, even though it would cost him his son. And then his son came to save us because that's what love does.
Love does the best for the other, regardless if they deserve it or not. This brings us to our last stop on the eternal timeline. Point number four on the transit timeline through eternity is future restoration. If we look ahead to the future restoration of all things, we can see that God is love. We still experience hardship in this life, even though we have God's Agatha love in us.
We need to learn to walk in this new way of love. And sometimes we exercise choices that prohibit us from experiences love in a deep and intimate way. In a few weeks we're going to pick up this conversation about love. And when we do, we're going to focus on how to maximize the experience of God's love that's in us. But until then, I can leave you with this hope.
The love that came down to rescue us went back to heaven after he rose from the dead and he's been ruling the universe from heaven for the past 2000 years. But love is coming back one day soon, and when he does, he's going to begin the process of eradicating every single thing that robs us of experiencing His love, culminating in the event when he makes a new heaven and a new Earth. And he will give us new bodies that will be able to endure under the weight of His eternal infinite love being poured out on us forever.
One day we will see Jesus face to face, and then we will get to experience what the Triune God has experienced from eternity past. We will have love, and we will love.
And we will be loved forever and ever and ever in the presence of God. Who is love.
You were made for love because you were made for God. We don't have God living inside of us by default. We need to come into a relationship with Him. If you don't have God, you don't have the eternal source of love, fueling and satisfying you. We spend all of our lives looking for love in a whole bunch of different places before we finally come to Jesus.
But when we do come to Him, if we do come to Him, we are met with the love we've been looking for our entire lives. And when we finally have this love, only then are we now equipped to love others. When we have the noun, we can demonstrate the verb. I opened up our time together by taking a poll. I want to wrap up our time by taking another one, if that's okay.
When I ask a question, if the answer is yes, can you please do me a favor? Just raise your hand.
Is there anyone here who has never come into a relationship with Jesus Christ before? Is there anyone here that wants to come into a relationship with the God who is love? And you want to do this for the very first time you've heard about him, but do you want Him in your life? If that's you right now and God is gripping your heart and taking a pull, you want to raise your hand and say, I want that love for the very first time. I want it in my life.
I still question two is coming, bro. I'm going to leave you hanging. This is for anyone who wants it for the very first time.
I have a second question to pull the room with. And this next one is for my brothers and sisters in Christ. You already have the love of God in you because he came into you when you first believed and he promised to never leave you. Can I ask you this and let me know by a show of hands? Do you want a fresh touch from God?
Do you need a fresh touch from him? Does your marriage need a fresh outpouring of God's agape love in it? Does your relationship with any of your family or friends need a fresh empowering of God's agape love in them? Are you hopeless joyless, powerless in any area of your life? And you know that a touch from God who is love can change everything.
If that's you can. I ask you to raise your hand right now? Say, I want that right now. I want more of it. Amen.
Amen. If that's you ask Him right now, right where you sit to bless you with his love. His love is already in you. But ask him to show it to you in a new way today. And he will because he is God.
God is love and he loves you and pray with me.
Sometimes we read it and we know it, Lord. But we forget everything in the universe revolves around you, Jesus, the universe exists because of you, through you. And for you. And last time I checked all every single human being is a part of that universe. We exist to know you to love.
You, be loved by you to experience this dance of love now, imperfectly. But you've prepared a future and a hope for us. Where one day we're going to see you face to face and we're going to have our minds blown. You're going to do exceedingly and abundantly more than anything we can think or imagine.
Thank you, God, for just being you. Thank you for being the God who is love. Thank you for making us, though it cost you everything. Thank you for being patient with us. Even though we run away and reject your love so constantly that you keep pursuing us.
You keep bringing us back. You keep forgiving you, keep blessing. You keep loving it's. Just love. It's just an eternal founhead of love poured out.
Thank you. And for those of my brothers and sisters here, Lord, who raised their hands. And I want more of that, Lord, without knowing how the mechanism works without knowing anything about it. Lord, just flood them with your love. Holy Spirit.
Pour yourself fresh on this place. You alone know that a lot of us come in here starving. Thirsting to death for love. And we heard tonight. What the solution?
It is you. And so we just say, help Jesus, help now. Give it to me. Pour it in. Heal me.
Fill me. He blessed me. Touch me. Jesus. Do that now and do that in the moments to come as we sing and do that the rest of this week, as we fix our eyes on you and asking you to bless us with your love in Jesus name.