Summary: A sermon to define the Biblical nature of love.
"Lessons for Life Pt 1"
Learning to Love
1 Corinthians 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ESV
Introduction: How hard can it be to love somebody, right? It ought to be easy, right? Everybody loves love, right? Yet, millions find it difficult to love and millions more don't feel loved. And in addition to that in my opinion there are lots of folks to don't have a clue about what real love is.
ILL - Rick Warren in his book The Purpose Driven Life says, "Life is all about love!"
"Because God is love, the most important lesson he wants you to learn on earth is how to love. It is in loving that we are most like him, so love is the foundation of every command he has given us; 'the whole Law can be summed up in this one command; 'Love others as you love yourself" (123).
Why is there so much confusion about what real love is? Some of it has to do with the influences of our culture and some has to do with our experiences as human beings. If I were to ask 100 people to give me a definition of love I would probably get 100 answers. I'm reminded of a scene from the Forest Gump movie where he has asked Jenny to marry him and she refuses. There is a scene as he stands in the hallway and says, "Jenny, I may not be very smart, but I know what love is." The problem for Forrest was that Jenny didn't know what real love was! From what we gather from watching this movie Jenny and so many like her have been sexually abused by a family member while growing up and it twisted and warped her concept of real love. Our culture is very influential in this regard. We are a sexually saturated society where we are exposed to thousands of images that equate sex and love, that shout loud and clear that love and lust are synonymous. The saddest truth of all is that many professing Christians do not know what real love is. You can tell that from the way they behave not only outside the church but even worse, inside the church. Remember, Paul is writing to the church in this letter. The Corinthian church was birthed in a cesspool of a place where immorality, homosexuality, adultery and fornication were rampant. Listen to what says about them:
1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
ILL - Two taxidermists stopped in front of a window where an owl was on display. They immediately began to criticize the way it was mounted. Its eyes were not natural; its wings were not in proportion with its head; its feathers were not neatly arranged; and its feet could be improved. Just when they had finished with their criticism, the owl turned his head...and blinked. The moral to this story is that many folks wouldn't recognize the real thing even if they saw it! How can we know what love is and experience in our lives and give love to others? No one had more to say about love than the Apostle Paul. Let's look at what he had to say about this subject. First, let's look at:
I. The Argument for Love (Agape)
Let's start with the basics if we can. The key to learning what love means can be found in the following: The majority of the NT was written in the Greek language, actually a form of Greek which was the everyday language of that time. Almost everyone in the world that Paul lived in spoke and wrote this language. It's kind of like English for us here in America. Greek was the common language of that day. There are anywhere from 4-7 Greek words translated "love" in English. The ancients used them in different ways depending on the context of the situation. I'm going to share three with you this morning for our study:
#1 Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) means "love: esp. brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children as in John 3:16.
#2 Éros (ἔρως érōs) means "love, mostly of the sexual passion." The Modern Greek word "erotas" means "intimate love."