Are you ready to add agapeo love to your faith? In a world of uncertainty, how do you focus on doing everything with love? How do you embrace Paul’s insistence that the only thing that matters is of faith expressing itself through love? Let’s discover how love and faith can be combined to bring positive change to our lives, using insights from the Bible. Learn more in “How to Add Agapeo Love to Faith”
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Notes on How to Add AGAPEO Love to Faith
We live in a world that’s confused about love. The love of many have grown cold.
As of July 2022, in Canada – 40% to 50% of the first marriage is estimated to end up in divorce. 60% of second marriages are most likely to get divorced. 73% of the third marriages end up getting separated. Couples aging 50 and more have a divorce rate of 26%.
The top 5 causes of divorce (again in July 2022) Financial distress (50%+), Infidelity, Constant fighting, Lack of affection , Domestic violence.
That’s the whole of Canada and I’m told almost everyone in Quebec has been divorced four or five times and that women can’t legally take their husband’s last name because it’s too much paperwork – so the data might be skewed.
What about Christian marriages in Canada. A study in 2023 suggests that approximately 20 to 25 percent of Christian marriages end in divorce, with higher percentages reported among millennials and younger generations of believers.
So if you’re over 50 and have been a Christian for a long time, you may be the least likely to get divorced – Some things just aren’t worth it.
But seriously, Husbands, you need to learn to love your wife and lay down your life for her. Christ did it for you, you do it for her. Wives, you need to learn to love your husband. He needs your encouragement and support, your words and actions are what give him life or death.
We’re going to talk about faith and love today. And that’s a fairly depressing introduction. So let’s pray.
Let’s pray. I want to pray Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians over us today.
…I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV84
Paul started his letter to Ephesus that way, so I figured it was a good way for us to start talking about Agapeo love and Faith.
The problem is we don’t understand love
English is terrible when it comes to love. You can love your mom and love your hairstyle. You can love your wife and love your car. You can love your children and love your sports team. What does love mean to us?
Does this really matter?
It is so critically important for us to not have the same definition of love as our world has. God is love and we can’t define God by our own experiences. If God is love and love never fails why do so many relationships fall apart and so many others barely whimper along?
The short answer to a complicated question is this world doesn’t have the same understanding of love that God reveals to us. And it is a revelation, and it continually unveils more over time.
I personally try to only use “love” for God and people and maybe pets. It’s tough. “I would love to” becomes “I would enjoy that”. It’s a more honest use of language to not always rely in the superlative. Just watch how many times you use the word love for anything that’s not God, people or pets. We’re sloppy.
If you’ve been around for any time and you’ve heard me speak a few times, you know I can get excited about the original languages and what scriptures meant for the original audiences.
When I went to my last church, I felt God tell me that he was going to teach me more about how to love and about love. And he did, in more ways than one. I don’t need to share all those stories. But I will share this one with you. Maybe a bit of backstory.
While there are other words for love used once in a while in the Bible, Agapeo is used the most by far and Phileo is used about a third as often as Agapeo. Phileo and Agapeo are the two main words used for love in the new testament.
When I was growing up, I understood that Agape love was God’s love towards us… “for God so Agapeo the world that he gave his only Son.” It’s self-sacrificial love. It’s love that is patient and kind and does not envy or boast and is not proud and is not rude and is not self seeking or easily angered. It keeps no record of being wronged. It doesn’t delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes always perseveres and never fails.
The word used for love in 1 Corinthians 13 – that passage above – is agapeo and it has to be God’s love for us because how can any of us ever expect to love love others like that? It let me off the hook to think only God could love like that.
A bigger problem came for me when I went to university and took Attic Greek. It’s Greek from about 500 years before the Koine greek that the New Testament was written in. But I could still read Koine greek – just some of the rules changed, so I started reading the greek new testament and I came across things like…
And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.John 3:19 (NLT)
“What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you love to sit in the seats of honor in the synagogues and receive respectful greetings as you walk in the marketplaces.Luke 11:43 (NLT)
Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia.2 Timothy 4:10 (NLT)
And John tells us…
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.1 John 2:15
So I was confused for a number of years.
I decided the greeks were probably like us and used agapeo to describe everything from your nearest and dearest love to ice cream.
The greeks generally aren’t sloppy when it comes to words. So, when I felt God say he was going to teach me about love when I went to my last church, I really sought him to try to understand Agapeo.
And one day, when I prayed and studied, and studied it and prayed about, I had a thought that was smarter than me drop into my head.
I wondered if Agapeo love could be love that is a decision, not necessarily an emotion.
I have never thought that way before. I had to check it out. So I went to a bunch of verses I knew used agapeo and it made sense. Yes, if agapeo is a decision, I could chose to love the world, or I could chose to love God. I could choose to love compliments or I could choose to love people. I could choose to love and be chose to be patient and kind and not boast and not envy or be proud or rude or self-seeking or easily angered. I could choose to keep to records of wrongs and not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth…With his help I could always protect and always trust and always hope and always persevere.
It was incredible.
As soon as I search for that, “Is Agapeo love a decision”. I found it all over the place. People I trusted were teaching it like I discovered it.
God taught me more about love.
Interestingly enough, this week I was attempting to learn more about a Bible program I have that I really need to learn how to use. I came on a study done on Agapeo and phileo. It turns out that
Agape is commanded in the New Testament while , phileo, is never an imperative in the New Testament.
Why is that important?
You can’t command an emotion, you can command a decision
What if you could redefine your understanding of love that you’ve experienced in the world and see the possibilities of what it means to have a God who loves you and empowers you to accomplish every good work prompted by your faith, including loving God and loving others like God loves you?
What would this supernatural flow of God’s love naturally flowing to you and through you to others and back to God feel like?
How would this change your life?
How would this change your driving?
Today we’re going to talk about How to Add Agapeo Love to Faith.
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection (Philadephia – emotional love), and brotherly affection with love (Agapeo) for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.2 Peter 1:5-9 NLT
This is one of the locations in Scripture where the author juxtaposes the two – mainly used – greek word for love – Phileo (emotional love) and Agapeo (love that comes from a decision)
Today we’re going to look at how Agapeo love builds our faith. Remember that all of these things we should be adding to faith are fruit of the spirit that Holy Spirit grows in us. We have a role, but Holy Spirit does the supernatural work.
When we look at Scripture we see that:
- Faith and love come FROM Jesus (1 Timothy 1:14)
- Faith and love IN Jesus will be preserved by Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:13-14)
- Faith and love are both fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)
- Faith without love makes us nothing (1 Corinthians 13:2)
- Faith and love is armour for us to be clearheaded (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
- Faith expressing itself in love is one of the only things that matter (Galatians 5:6)
How do you add the decision to love to faith?
That’s a great question, I’m so glad you asked.
Here’s the DELIGHT yourself in the Lord Tool.
When you delight yourself in the Lord he will give you the desires of your heart… I’ve found when I delight myself in him, I want his desires for me more than my desires…or my desires become what he’s already desiring for me…to be made more and more into the image of Christ. That’s how God describes what it is good. When we say “God is working all things together for good” it means he is using everything to make us more and more like Jesus, who is good, so it is good. (Romans 8:28-30).
DELIGHT yourself in the Lord Tool
D – Do all that you do in love – 1 Corinthians 16:14
E – Examine your walk -John 13:34-35
L – Let His love build your faith– Romans 8:35-39
I – Initiate forgiveness – 1 Peter 4:8
G – Grasp a greater revelation of love – 1 John 4:7-8
H – Have your faith express in love – Galatians 5:6
T – Thrive with love – 1 Corinthians 13:2
D – Do all that you do in love
And do everything with love.1 Corinthians 16:14 (NLT)
Love needs to be the motivation of all our actions.
You can only do this with Holy Spirit’s help. He empowers you to accomplish every good work prompted by faith. Let your good works prompted by faith also be done in love.
What does love look like?
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.1 Corinthians 13:1-7
These are all agapeo love. These are all decisions we make. These are all things we step out in faith to do, knowing he empowers us to accomplish every good work prompted by faith.
Are my good works prompted by faith, done in love?
E – Examine your walk
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.John 13:34-35
Love is a significant mark of faith. It’s not just that we say we love God, people need to see our love for God in practical ways AND our love for people God puts on our path AND of course, our love for one another.
We can say we love God, and not make it make a difference in our life. We can placate our need to love other humans by donating to whatever charity our grocery store is promoting this week. It’s the love we show to each other – those nearest and dearest to us – that we can’t really fake or ignore… John writes..
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer,[b] that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.1 John 4:7-21 NLT
We need to be “God-with-flesh-on” to each other.
It occurred to me this week that all the One Another Commands connection to showing love.
One Another Commands as Defined by love
Love One Another – John 13:34-35; 15:12,17; Romans 12:10a; 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 4:9-10; 1 Peter 1:22, 4:8 ;1 John 3:11,22,4:7,11-12; 2 John1:5
Be at Peace With One Another Mark 9:50
Wait for One Another 1 Corinthians 11:33
Be Kind to One Another Ephesians 4:32a
Show Hospitality to One Another 1 Peter 4:9
Have Fellowship With One Another 1 John 1:7
Wash One Another’s Feet John 13:14
…does not boast
Agree With One Another 2 Corinthians 13:11b
Live in Harmony With One Another Romans 12:16, Romans 15:5
…is not jealous
Do Not Envy One Another Galatians 5:26b
Submit to One Another Ephesians 5:21
..is not proud
Honour One Another Romans 12:10b
Be Humble Toward One Another 1 Peter 5:5
Live in Harmony With One Another Romans 12:16
…is not rude
Greet One Another Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20;2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14
Welcome One Another Romans 15:7
…is not self-seeking
Bear With One Another Ephesians 4:2-3; Colossians 3:13a
Do Not Speak Against One Another James 4:11, 5:9
..is not easily angered
Do Not Provoke One Another Galatians 5:26a
Do Not Judge One Another Romans 14:13
…keeps no record of wrongs
Forgive One Another Ephesians 4:32b, Colossians 3:13b
…does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
Speak the Truth to One Another Ephesians 4:25; Colossians 3:9
Confess Sins to One Another James 5:16a
Care for One Another 1 Corinthians 12:25
Do Good to One Another 1 Thessalonians 5:15
Bear One Another’s Burdens Galatians 6:2
Comfort One Another 2 Corinthians 13:11a
Serve One Another Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 4:10
Instruct One Another Romans 15:14
Teach and Admonish One Another Colossians 3:16
Encourage One Another 1 Thessalonians 4:18, 5:11; Hebrews 10:25
Build One Another Up 1 Thessalonians 5:11b
Exhort One Another Hebrews 3:13
Pray for One Another James 5:16b
Sing With One Another Ephesians 5:19
… never fails
Stir Up One Another to Love and Good Works Hebrews 10:24
How does my love show my faith?
L – Let His love build your faith
But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.Jude 1:20-21 NLT
As you build each other up in your most holy faith, you’ll keep yourself safe in God’s love.
How to you build yourself up?
1.Pray in the Holy Spirit
2. Await his coming mercy
Building up your faith, keeps you in God’s love. God’s love also builds your faith. The more you know and experience his love, the more you trust him, the more you trust him, the more faith you have. This image illustrates what I’m trying to say…
Building up your faith, keeps you in God’s love. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.Romans 8:35-39
Does not talking about God’s love seem to build your faith in God’s love? It sure does to me
Do I let His love build my faith?
I – Initiate Forgiveness
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”1 Peter 4:8
The only way for love to cover over a multitude of sins is for there to be confession and repentance and forgiveness.
Confession and repentance is for the one who preformed a sin of commission or a sin of omission. When we come before God and remember someone has something against us, we go and reconcile with that person as soon as possible. Jesus said, leave your sacrifice on the altar and go and be reconciled. This horizontal relationship is so important for the vertical relationship with the Father. We know when we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness… but will the one we’ve offended choose to reconcile with us? You won’t know until you initiate forgiveness with them.
However, if we’re the one who has been hurt by someone’s sin of commission or sin of omission, forgiveness is not something you need wait for confession and repentance to do. We forgive as Christ forgave us. How is that? While we were still sinners Christ died for us. He laid down is life and completed the task the Father gave him to do, before anyone knew they needed to confess Jesus as Lord and repent of their sins.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.Matthew 6:14-15 NLT
Forgiveness is a choice – we make the decision to forgive.
Forgiveness is an action – we choose to bless in tangible, safe ways.
Forgiveness is an emotion – you can feel like you’ve forgiven when you learn to forgive with your whole heart.
Does my love cover over a multitude of sins?
G – Grasp a greater revelation of love
And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.Ephesians 3:18-19 NLT
Your faith grows as you become more and more like the Son, who He loves. Let me clarify what I’m trying to say. As you trust God more and more, your faith grows more and more and you experience more and more of God’s love for you and you have more and more of God’s love in you that you love God more and better and love others more and better because you are becoming more and more like Jesus as you grow in confidence of God’s love for you. Don’t forget what Paul wrote the Romans…
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.John 15:9-12 NLT
To get a greater revelation of love, you need to abide in His love.
Do I abide in Jesus’ love?
H – Have your faith express in love
For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.Galatians 5:6
Faith is made complete through love. The church in Galatia was a mess. Jewish Christians had convinced non-jewish christians to become jewish to be a good Christian and Paul lost it on them. One verse he writes that he wishes the ones causing the problems wouldn’t stop at circumcision, but go farther and emasculate themselves (the greek word was much more graphic and direct).
He comes out of that tirade and says the thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love. Jesus said we can tell a lot about people by their fruit,
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.Matthew 7:15-20 NLT
Do people see my good works and glorify my father in heaven?
T – Thrive in love
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”1 Corinthians 13:2
We can have faith without love…and have nothing. We can have love without faith…and it will be fleeting. Our promise from God for this life is that he is with us. GOD is with us. His Spirit is with us. Jesus is with us. Look at what Paul wrote to the church in Rome.
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.Romans 5:1-11 NLT
Do you rejoice in your wonderful relationship with God? Jesus made us friends again with God.
Do you thrive in his love?
DELIGHT yourself in God’s love and you will be filled to the measure of the fullness of God.
DELIGHT yourself in the Lord Tool
D – Do all that you do in love
E – Examine your walk
L – Let His love build your faith
I – Initiate forgiveness
G – Grasp a greater revelation of love
H – Have your faith express in love
T – Thrive with love
…I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.Ephesians 3:14-21 NIV84