2 Thess 1:3, What Happened to Us? The Recipients of Love Are Giving It.

Class Outline:

Thursday June 1, 2023


We each have to know why the demands of agape love have been placed upon us as commandments.


We must be clear at the start that the agape we are told to have towards one another is the very same as God’s agape.


JOH 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”


JOH 15:12-13

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”


JOH 15:17

“This I command you, that you love one another.”


Agape gives and sacrifices even where rational calculation would suggest that any sacrifice was useless.


Divine life is agape love.


Let’s remind ourselves of the manner of God’s agape love.


LUK 15:1-7

Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. 2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them."


3 So He told them this parable, saying, 4 "What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  5 "When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  6 "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'  7 "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.


The same principle of agape love is in the next two parables, the lost coin and the prodigal son, with some different emphasis. Legal love calculates first, and is therefore not spontaneous. That is not our love, which is the obligation of all who have eternal life.  


The one who receives God’s love through faith is then commanded to give the very same love to others.


You have God’s life. You have entered the sphere of heaven - of holiness.


The sinners are to overcome sin and simultaneously give the very reckless love of God to every other person.


We see this in a number of places:


MAT 18:21-24

Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.


23 "For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.  24 "When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him


This is an enormous amount - roughly 3-4 billion dollars in today’s money. What is being portrayed by Christ is that it is a debt that is impossible for a common man to pay.


MAT 18:25-30

"But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 "So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' 27 "And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. 28 "But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' 29 "So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' 30 "But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.


100 denarii is not . A denarii is a days wage for a laborer, so maybe somewhere around 0 - 150. A ,000 debt is substantial enough, and so Christ is not referring to someone who cut you off in traffic or called you a name or something else trivial. He means something that is a weighty sin leveled against us, but we understand that God’s love has forgiven us about a million times more.


MAT 18:31-35

"So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 "Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 'Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'  34 "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 "My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart."


Forgiveness from the heart means through and through our whole inward self we have loved and forgiven. It is not something we do grudgingly or outwardly only.


It is clear here that those who receive God’s boundless and unconditional forgiveness are themselves to love and forgive in the same way.


When we enter into relationship and fellowship with God, we are obligated to adopt His distinctive ethic.


MAT 10:5-8

These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 8 "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.


The agape that is required here has its prototype in the agape manifested by God, and therefore it must not be calculated, spontaneous, unmotivated, unlimited, unconditional, giving itself thoroughly, and sacrificial.