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Love for Others

Overview

Divine Love and friendship love.
  1. Divine Love: Greek agapao, agape (unconditional love, source dependent love, Christian love, impersonal love)
    • Definition:
      • Divine love is the mental attitude that wants God’s will and therefore God’s best for the person loved and shows itself in thoughts, speech, and actions.
      • God the Holy Spirit produces this love, and Bible doctrine instructs and strengthens this love.
      • Love is the sphere or environment in which we are to live.
      • This environment makes it possible to maintain spiritual momentum in the face of distractions. If someone criticizes you or disappoints you and you allow this to distract you, that other person now controls your life and your circumstances. You have been distracted. You have stopped living the winning Christian way of life. Your momentum has stopped, and the momentum has shifted to the enemy.
      • Divine love, source dependent love, commanded love, impersonal love, or problem solving love is a love that goes to all believers. This love emphasizes the subject. God commanded that all believers practice it. It does not require knowledge of the person, friendship, acquaintance, or capability. It is the basic love provided by the Holy Spirit and is strengthened by doctrine in the soul. This is the love directed toward your enemies and one another. Christ illustrated divine love toward his attackers, toward the Pharisees, and toward believers that failed Him. Paul illustrated divine love toward the Galatians that turned on him, and toward the Corinthians that did not listed to him. The person that practices this love wants God and God’s best for others. He views them in grace, the way God sees them. This love has nothing to do with the personality or character of the object (1 Corinthians 13:1-7; John 13:34; 1 John 4:7; Romans 13:8; Matthew 22:39; 1 Corinthians 16:14).
      • Divine love is not sentimentality, emotion, romance, or personal attraction. It does not prohibit capital punishment or killing the enemy in war. Divine love does not support the welfare state or redistribution of wealth. It does not prohibit personal or national self-defense. In fact, the believer applying divine love will support a strong personal and national defense, free enterprise, and genuine charity.
    • A description of divine love.
      • Product (Galatians 5:22; Romans 5:5)
      • Problem solver (Proverbs 10:12; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 Peter 4:8)
      • Protector (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 4:8)
      • Producer (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Galatians 5:13)
    • A survey of Biblical particulars about divine love.
      • The source is God the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22; 1 John 4:7, 8, 10, 19)
      • It is produced by the Holy Spirit – a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22).
      • God’s love to man is the pattern (John 15:13; 1 John 3:16; John 4:10, 11, 19).
      • Bible doctrine is the teacher and the leader of love (Philippians 1:9).
      • This love does not depend upon the merit or attraction of the object (Matthew 5:43-44; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4-5).
      • God loves all because He created them (John 3:16).
      • Believers should love all because God has commanded it (Matthew 22:37, 39; John 13:34; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John 3:23; 1 John 4:21).
      • This love does not require attraction, compatibility, rapport, familiarity, acquaintance, or agreement with the object (Matthew 5:43-44; Luke 6:27, 35; 1 John 3:23).
      • This love expresses itself in attitudes such a patience (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) and actions such a service and aid (Galatians 5:13; 1 John 3:17-18).
      • Divine love, if applied, will solve problems between people (1 Peter 4:8).
      • The constant characteristic of divine love makes up the love spectrum (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
        • Patient: Soul steadiness while pressured to react
        • Kind: Grace-motivated help
        • Not jealous: Upset at someone because they have something you want
        • Does not brag: Build up yourself by what you say
        • Not arrogant: The swelled head mental attitude about yourself
        • Not acting unbecomingly: Act with bad manners, embarrass another
        • Not seek its own: Self-centered, occupied with self
        • Not provoked: Easily irritated and set off
        • Not take into account a wrong suffered: Not readily accept as true something bad about another
        • Not rejoice in unrighteousness: Not happy when evil or human viewpoint triumphs
        • Rejoices with truth: Happy when truth and divine viewpoint triumphs
        • Bears all things: Covers over sins and failures of others
        • Believes all things: Believe the best, not the worst because God’s grace goes to all believers
        • Hopes all things: Biblically optimistic because God has a plan
        • Endures all things: Do not quit under pressure because God is just and compassionate
    • God wants believers to …
      • God wants believers to love all believers. Love for other believers shows our growing relationship with Christ (John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:11, 19).
      • God wants believers to love their enemies. Divine love will reduce tensions, prevent emotional reaction, allow believers to continue spiritual momentum (Matthew 5:44).
      • God wants believing husbands to love their wives. This will protect against abuse of authority and promote responsibility and protection of the wife, and at the same time aid her growth and productivity (Ephesians 5:25-29).
      • God wants the believer to love his neighbor as himself – to give justice and freedom, to allow human and spiritual growth and productivity (Matthew 22:39).
      • God wants believers to walk or live in divine love (Ephesians 5:2).
    • Who, what, when, why, how, and results of divine love?
      • Who? You love all believers without regard for attraction, agreement, familiarity, rapport, acquaintance, personal like, support.
      • What? Gracious mental attitude (not earned) combined with gracious activity (also not earned) that can be summarized as seeing people as God sees people and wanting God and God’s will or best for another.
      • When? At all times.
      • Why? Commanded by God to show His character among believers.
      • How? God the Holy Spirit produces this love. The Bible teaches, directs, strengthens, and protects this love.
      • Results? Demonstrate God’s character and apply God’s character to accomplish God’s purpose.
  2. Friendship love: Greek phileo, philos (rapport, object dependent love, personal love).
    • Definition
      • Friendship love is the attraction, rapport, friendship, compatibility that develops because of personal characteristics possessed by the object. This love is volatile and susceptible to change because it is object dependent (personal and detail of life oriented). To be stable and effective it needs to be based upon divine love.
      • Friendship love is based upon things in common and is directed to a few people. It is object dependent, based on rapport, and personal. It is not commanded. Friendship love emphasizes the object. This love depends upon divine love as the base, but is also dependent upon the object. You know the object and are attracted to the object to some degree. There is compatibility and rapport. Philos love is illustrated by Christ with certain disciples and friends such as John, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and by Paul with Timothy and Luke. Divine love must support friendship love. Friendship love may fail or change (Acts 27:3; Philippians 4:1 {Philippian church as a block that responded and worked with Paul}; Colossians 1:7 {Epaphras}; Colossians 4:7 {Tychicus}; Colossians 4:17 {Luke}; 1 Samuel 1:26; 18:1-4; John 11:36 {Lazarus}.
    • A survey of Biblical particulars that make up object-dependent love
      • You agree with the values, norms and standards, lifestyles, interests, of object (Matthew 15:19; Luke 7:34; John 5:20; 15:19).
      • You are well acquainted with and like the object. You like to do things with the object. You have admiration and respect for the person and get along well (Luke 15:6, 9, 29; John 3:29; John 11:11, 36; John 16:27; 20:2 Acts 10:24; Acts 19:31; Acts 27:3).
      • There is a pseudo-friendship which results from selfishness. This is a temporary rapport for personal benefit but this is not friendship love (Luke 23:12; John 19:12).
  3. Principles for Application
    • God created divine love and the Holy Spirit produces, maintains, and applies divine love in the believer.
    • Bible doctrine teaches, protects, and strengthens divine love.
    • Divine love is God’s sphere or environment for the Christian way of life. It protects believers from distractions so that spiritual momentum or spiritual progress continues.
    • Divine love is a product, a protector, a problem-solver, and a producer.
    • Divine love is commanded toward all. Friendship love is for a few.
    • Divine love provides the mental attitude and power for stability and happiness for every personal relationship such as marriage, family, local church, business, recreation, relatives, and neighbors.
    • Friendship love is personal, based on compatibility, directed toward a few, and must be protected by divine love.