Agape love is the unconditional love of God towards us and it is the type of love we are to have for others, especially those in our family. Scripture commands family members to love one another(Colossians 3:19, Titus 2:4), and teaches us that agape love is made of the stuff that holds a family together (Colossians 3:12-15). Agape love is more than a feeling (1 John 3:18, 1Corinthians 13:1-8,13) and is a covenant-keeping kind of love (Malachi 3:14-16).
Two things must be true if we are to love others with agape love. 1. We must receive God's love for us individually. 2. We must love Jesus most, more than anyone or anything else.
I. Agape love begins in the heart of one who receives God's love.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Do you understand that God loves you right now, right here just how you are. No matter what sins, mistakes, or failures, are part of your life, God loves you and what you to receive His love by receiving His Son Jesus into your life.
Read 1 John 4:7-12, 15-19
Propitiation – A big word with bigger implication; a sacrifice that bears God's wrath and turns in to God's favor. When Adam and Eve first sinned they deserved to die. Instead God took an animal sacrificed it, and covered Adam and Eve with the animal's fur. That is a picture of propitiation. Something or someone else takes the wrath of God we deserve and then we experience God's grace. This is what Jesus did on the cross. Jesus bore our punishment, the punishment we deserved so that by faith in him we might not fear facing punishment but only God's goodness.
Every sin, fault, failure, bad decision, can be covered. As we talk about the family, all of us will be confronted we have not measured up with God's standard. It may be that as you consider God's standard for the family, you begin to believe Satan's lie that we are saved but are second class Christian at best or come to think you are too far gone to every experience God's grace and forgiveness. Those are lies. There is no such thing as a second class Christian and the blood of Jesus can cover all sin!
Maybe as we consider God's standard fro the family, you begin to be reminded of how others have hurt you and broken promises to you. God's promises will never be broken. God's wants you to experience his compassion, his grace, his fresh start. God wants you to experience the reality of propitiation where his righteous, uncompromising laws me his redeeming, unconditional love.
We must receive Jesus into our heart if we are to love. He sets the example to us on how to love and His Spirit empowers us to love and keeps our hearts soft. Without Jesus we fear punishment and that punishment chains our heart and keeps is from loving others.
2. Agape love blossoms in the heart of one who loves Jesus most.
Love matures when we abide in God's love.
Luke 14:26, Matthew 10:37
Jesus demands and deserves first place in your heart. When Jesus has first place in your heart, the capacity of your heart to love increases. When other people or things have first place, the capacity to love decreases. Jesus doesn't want you to love him most so you will love others less, He wants you to love Him most so you will have the capacity to love others more. Humility like HIm. Sacrifice like Him. Forgive like Him. Endure like Him. Be patient like Him.
Search your heart.
1. Is Jesus there? John 14:23
2. Does Jesus have first place? Revelation 2:4-5