Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 31 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).

Class Outline:

Title: Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 31 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).


Announcements/opening prayer:



GAL 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself."


What is surprising is that Paul leaves out the first command of the Law, what the Lord called the greatest commandment.


MAT 22:36-40

"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."


It's not as if Paul didn't know this. All through his life, up to his conversion, he stated the Jewish creed daily, the shema.


DEU 6:4-5

"Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.


Did Paul leave it out as a means of taking a step backwards from the teaching of Christ? By believing this we would have to conclude that Paul didn't understand love as the Lord had revealed, but that is untrue. The concept of love is in fact expanded by Paul through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. As the Lord stated, "I have many more things to teach you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit comes, He will lead you into all truth."


Is Paul leaving out love for God as a precondition to loving our neighbor? Actually, the believer's relationship to God is expanded in the teaching of the apostle, just as the Lord promised it would be.


Agape is the love of God revealed at the cross. It is used in the epistles 90% of the time for God's love for us and our love of others.


Agape is used far more in the epistles in the context of God's love for us and our love for others than it is as our love for God. Of the eighty times the verb is used in the epistles, eight times it is used as love for God. Seventy two times it is used of God's love for us and our love for others. This doesn't disqualify love for God, but rather gives a greater emphasis on the love He has given to us and our response back to Him and that response of love to Him is expanded well beyond some form of attraction, although attraction to God is not excluded, and brought into faith, hope, and personal, intimate fellowship. This expansion of love for God in the New Testament removes any perversion of love for God with human love. In other words it removes the idea that I can say that I love God, I think He's awesome, He really is the best, while I pursue the flesh and the world. The reciprocation of love for God in the CA is faith, hope, fellowship, walking in the light, obedience, perseverance, patience, love for your neighbor, fruit production, etc. This is what love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength has become, and it is only accomplished with what God has given you, His love, power, wisdom, and Spirit. This is what the writers of the NT speak of 90% of the time while writing of our love for God 10% of the time. The 90% is a CA expansion of the 10% - the greatest of all the commands.     


God loves because He is love. We love with His love because He first loved us, so then our agape love is not from our nature.


God poured forth that love in our hearts at salvation through the Holy Spirit, and that love is like a pneumatic fluid that now can flow back to God and to others.


ROM 5:5

the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.


What Paul emphasizes is the connections between God's love and neighborly love with the result that neighborly love only has its foundation in God's love.


Paul uses agape for God four times. Paul is rising the idea of agape to a level that Christ revealed to him and this rise only brought a more real and intense personal relationship between God and the believer as well as the believer and his fellow man.


If the word agape is a love that is absolutely spontaneous and entirely unmotivated as the love manifested in the cross of Christ, then the word cannot be entirely fitting of the believer's love for God. There are some aspects of it that fit nicely with our love for God and some that do not. We are not like equal partners sharing the same love toward one another. He gifts us and we do not gift Him. He comes to us and we do not go to Him.


Agape is used for our love for God, but we are not independent from Him so as to love Him in the same way He has loved us.


Pantheism states that all souls are of the divine and so all will return to God.


It is a love that does not seek anything in return. It is a love that seeks God, has faith in God, has hope in God for God's sake alone. And in that it is a fitting word for our love for Him. However, God gives to us. We possess nothing to give to Him. God sacrifices for us, we have nothing to sacrifice for Him.


ISA 40:6 A voice says, "Call out."

Then he answered, "What shall I call out?"

All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.


ISA 40:7 The grass withers, the flower fades,

When the breath of the Lord blows upon it;

Surely the people are grass.


ISA 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades,

But the word of our God stands forever.


ISA 40:12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, And marked off the heavens by the span, And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, And weighed the mountains in a balance, And the hills in a pair of scales?


ISA 40:13 Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,Or as His counselor has informed Him?


ISA 40:14 With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge, And informed Him of the way of understanding?


ISA 40:15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.


ISA 40:21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?


ISA 40:22 It is He who sits above the vault of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.


ISA 40:23 He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.


ISA 40:24 Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, But He merely blows on them, and they wither, And the storm carries them away like stubble.


ISA 40:25 "To whom then will you liken Me That I should be his equal?" says the Holy One.


ISA 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power Not one of them is missing.


ISA 40:31 Yet those who wait for the Lord

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.


ISA 64:8 But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father,

We are the clay, and Thou our potter;

And all of us are the work of Thy hand.


PSA 50:12

"If I were hungry, I would not tell you;

For the world is Mine, and all it contains.


JOB 41:11

"Who has given to Me that I should repay him?

Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine.


2CO 5:18

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,


The believer is not independent from God. His giving of himself to God is never more than a response. It is not an independent decision.


We make our own decisions but by independent decision is meant that we do not lay down our lives before God, love Him, have faith in Him from an independent position. We can do all these things because of what He has given to us, in fact, even our ability to choose is given by Him.


At its best and highest, the believer's submission to God is but a reflex of God's love, by which it is "motivated." Man's devotion to God therefore is emphasized with another name - pistis [faith].


Christ stated the shema of Israel using the word agape for the love of God, but this was just the beginning of a revelation that would come to its fruition in the NT, namely, what the love of God, poured out into each believing heart by the given Spirit, would produce in that believer. It would produce two things, a response to God, and a flowing of God's love from one believer to another. The shema was but a shadow of this.


Any uncertainty in what love for God would become after the agape of God was revealed at Calvary and then poured out into each believer's heart was cleared up by Paul, who came to know it perhaps greater than anyone.


He almost gives up speaking about the agape of man to God. He reserves his pages for the agape of God. Everything comes from God. Paul took the love taught by Christ and made it identical with the agape of Jesus on the cross, the agape that the Lord had given and which was in fact, Him.