2 Thess 1:3, This Truth Is Not Self-Evident – God’s Love.

Class Outline:

Wednesday May 31, 2023


Theme: God elects Paul at the height of his sin and makes him the highest proponent of divine agape love.

  1. God’s love is spontaneous - It does not look for anything in man that might motivate it. So Christ dined with sinners.
  2. God’s love is unmotivated - Agape love is not about what man is like but what God is like. So, Christ went to sinners. He did not wait to be invited.
  3. God’s love is creative - Agape love gives worth to people. No person has worth in and of themselves that would motivate God to give to them. So, Christ called the apostles.
  4. God’s love initiates our relationship to Him. From man’s side there is no way to God. So, Christ came into the world at the proper time.
  5. The calling of Paul was a prime example of God’s agape love - irrational, unmotivated, spontaneous.
    1. ACT 9:1-6, Paul was at the height of his sin when God called him.
    2. Paul makes clear that he was not worthy to be called and apostle, 1CO 15:9.
    3. Paul was a proud Pharisee who became the chief of sinners and in that condition God called Him to be the greatest proponent of divine love.
  6. Paul was immediately commissioned to “bear” (support or carry) God’s name to the Gentiles, kings, and the Jews, ACT 9:15-16.
    1. What would Paul “bear” exactly? Paul’s central theme in all his theology is the cross of Christ.
    2. Paul writes frequently of the cross and frequently of love, but to Paul they are one and the same, ROM 5:6-10.
      1. Paul is the first and only man in history to truly relate God’s agape love to the world.
      2. To Paul, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the ultimate manifestation of love. (Also to John, 1JO 3:16).
      3. Agape gives itself away and sacrifices itself to the utmost.
        1. This love is not from this world. It does not have the same origin as eros or worldly, human love.
  7. Application: “Pick up your cross and follow Me” means to love irrationally, give yourself away, and sacrifice yourself to the utmost.
    1. Out of the many Christians who read of this love and get a glimpse of it, but they fear going any farther. They are right in thinking that it will cost them their lives to know agape love more.
    2. The ultimate challenge comes to every Christian when they are commanded to love as Christ love. They have to die to everything else.
    3. We give everything away in our hearts first. Then we wait to see when and if God commands us to give whatever it is to whoever He wills. If we have done so in our hearts, we have given ourselves away before we actually do so.