Intro: Our focus this week is on the first advent of righteous Love who came to earth in the form of an innocent baby [Lk 2:12]. Our Child King came to save us from the penalty of sin [death], set us free from the power of sin, and live within us so we would no longer violate the commands of God’s divine Love [Mt 1:21; Ro 6:23; Ro 8:2]. As believers, we are now called to live by faith in the only One who can help us to deny ourselves, carry our cross [sacrifice our will], and follow our King on the righteous path of agape [Mt 16:24].
Agape is defined by Strong’s Greek Concordance as “God’s love and goodwill.” Agape is love which centers in moral preference; God’s divine love and what He prefers. When the angels appeared to the shepherds on the night Christ was born, their song of praise was, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” Agape came to make a Way of peace between God and humanity. By an act of our faith, agape continues to work renewing the minds of believers and helping us live in a way that pleases God [Hb 11:6]. As we spend time in the Bible each day, we witness God truly is Agape and he faithfully acts for the goodwill of His human creation [1 Jo 4:8-9].
In our passage today, the Apostle Paul expresses the need for agape and lays out the nature of God’s love offered to humanity. So, we must understand: 1) Love is not a fuzzy emotion, but rather a righteous choice we make to live in the Truth even if it calls for sacrifice; 2) Love always believes in God’s faithfulness to protect his children no matter what we may face; 3) Love is hard work, but we rely on God’s strength rather than our weakness; and 4) Love is never focused on selfish gain or fulfillment that would violate the commands of God. If believers do not stay true to the commands of agape, sin will prevail and the Body’s love will grow cold before the second advent of the King [Mt 24:12]. We need Immanuel—God with us—in order to live a life of agape.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 VOICE 4 Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; 5 it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs 6 or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! 7 Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.
Prayer: Lord, You brought supernatural agape to the hearts of believers and Your Word teaches we will be judged by how we appropriate and share it while in this selfish and sinful world. Please help us by renewing our minds each day. Help us guard the Truth of Your love in our hearts, so we will not allow the pride-filled air of this sinful world to snuff it out. May agape flourish in us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.