Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 33 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
length: 60:59 - taught on Jun, 2 2015
Title: Gospel of John [20:19]. Christ's Resurrection, part 33 (fellowship with Christ and the Father - Agape).
Divine agape infused by the Holy Spirit forms the real substance of the Christian life, and in the life that Christians lead among their fellow-men it is meant to be passed on to others.
The Christian has nothing of his own to give; the love which he shows to his neighbor is the love which God has infused into him.
Agape is never used as two different loves, God's love for us and our love for our neighbor. They are one and the same. Human love has no part in it. To attempt to infuse it with human love is to fully halt its flow.
The spiritual man is the instrument of God's agape.
We do not draw on our own inner resources. We do not say, "God loves us so we better love our neighbor." We say, "God loves us, has poured His love into our hearts and so as spiritual men we allow that love to use us and pass itself on to others."
We allow God's agape love to use us like we allow the HS to use us, lead us, and teach us. It is supernatural, unseen, unfelt, but the results of the work that they do within our hearts are definitely experienced.
The Christian way of life is entirely theocentric or God centered.
2CO 5:14 For the love of Christ controls [constrains] us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;
2CO 5:15 and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves [agape does not seek its own], but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
2CO 5:16 Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh [our flesh]; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh [from the standpoint of our flesh], yet now we know Him thus no longer.
2CO 5:17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2CO 5:18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,
Theseis not in the original. The sentence states simply - "all things are from God" emphasizing from verse 15 that the believer, the new creature, no longer lives for his own ends or by his own resources.
2CO 5:19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
GAL 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Theology over the many years have added a third commandment here by misinterpreting the second one and that is self-love. There has arisen a tradition that there need be love for God, love for oneself, and love for one's neighbor.
But we all know that self-love is man's natural condition. Spiritual self-esteem is not self-love, but rather confidence in God, i.e. love for God. Self-love is the reason for the perversity of man's will. Cain loved the produce of his own hands.
What the commandment is saying is that love for one's neighbor should replace love for oneself. Love for others with God's love overcomes love for self.
Christian love actually excludes and overcomes self-love. The believer is to be content because he fully belongs to God and not because he loves himself.
In Augustine's theology he states that by love for God I serve my own best interests; for that love is set upon God, the "highest good," which I thus gain for myself. So if I do not love God, it only shows that I do not rightly love myself. Love for God and love for self are so much one thing that they grow and decline with one another. The more I love God, the more I love myself too. In fact he writes that we can go still further and say that self-love is not merely included in love to God and to neighbor as an equivalent third; it is in the last resort the very foundation of all the rest. To him, self-love will guide a person to salvation - to God. In 1Co 13 agape does not seek its own, but for Augustine and the many who were so influenced by this falsehood both before and after him - the very mark of love was to seek its own. To be fair they put the object of self-love as God and not the world or the flesh. Self-love in looking for fulfillment in the world and the flesh were doomed, but God offered the highest fulfillment and so loving Him enabled one to find their way to Him. Self-love with God as the object did not strike them as an insurmountable paradox.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;
Love for self is not a command and in fact will be excluded from the believer who loves his neighbor as God does. The idea of self-love being somehow spiritual has caused much damage to the doctrine of divine agape love.
Another mistake has been to state that love for God is spiritual while love for one's neighbor is only moral and is in essence love for God. Love for God is essential for fellowship with Him which results in loving one's neighbor, but they are not the same command. In other words, I am to love my neighbor for his sake and not only because I think I see God in him or that I see it as a vehicle to get closer to God. God so loved the world in order to give to the world and not for some other ulterior motive that would give to Him.
It is a mistake to say that the love of God is spiritual and the love of others, our neighbor, is merely moral. Christian love is a reflection of God's love. You love your neighbor with God's very love. This is not difficult to distinguish. Love for God and love for my neighbor are different commands, but when I love my neighbor I do so with God's agape love. It is not in any way human, eros love.
Human love is conditional, just as the Jews concluded they loved their neighbor and hated their enemy, but this isn't the love of God.
When Christ said, "love your enemy" He equated this as being perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.
LUK 6:27 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
LUK 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
LUK 6:29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
LUK 6:30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
LUK 6:31 "And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way.
LUK 6:32 "And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
In other words, don't rejoice in operating in the old nature, even in a so called strength, "I was good to someone who loves me." What is of divine agape love is a love for your enemies and of course, the same love towards those who love you.
LUK 6:33 "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
LUK 6:34 "And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount.
LUK 6:35 "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
1CO 13:4, 5
Love is patient, love is kind … it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong
The great reward is the reward to the soul, the mental attitude of the heart and soul that walks in agape love and mercy. Remember, we cannot earn rewards from God. All blessings to the believer have been given before the foundation of the world. One of those wonderful rewards is the prosperity of the soul under divine virtue love. To seek to love one's enemy so that God will give something is not agape love but the very definition of eros love which is always acquisitive.
LUK 6:36 "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
LUK 6:37 "And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
LUK 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
How can the promise of being given to, to the abundance of pouring into our laps, co-exist with God's agape love? What is given is then sown by the heart filled with agape love.