What is the greatest thing in the world? Love (agaph agape)! “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16) and God has poured out His love into our
hearts by His Spirit (Romans 5:5). The seed from the Spirit of God is intended to germinate, mature and ripen in the heart of the believer, yielding an abundance of love for God and neighbor. The more believers are Spirit-filled, the greater God’s love will be produced in their life. There is no friction, self-assertion or ulterior motives among the Trinity. Father, Son and Spirit are united in love. Love is the bond that unites Christians.
Love is to come first in the Christian’s life.
1. Love is a characteristic, 1 Corinthians 13:13
2. Love is a commandment, John 15:12
3. Love is a constraint, 2 Corinthians 5:14
4. Love is a controller, 1 Corinthians 16:14; Galatians 5:13
5. Love is a clothing, Colossians 3:14
6. Love is a covering, 1 Peter 4:8
Love is having the same self-sacrificing attitude as Christ Jesus as described in the Kenois.
If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form. He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross (Philippians 2:2-8).
Jesus, by dying for us while we were sinners, alienated, and enemies of God in our minds (Romans 5:8; Colossians 1:21), not only demonstrated His love for us, but the love we are to have for others.
You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? (Matthew 5:43-46).
Jesus taught that we are to love God, our enemies, and our neighbors. That love fulfills the Ten Commandments.
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40).
Jesus’ example and teaching is unmistakable in Paul’s exhortation to love in Romans.
Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good. Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lack diligence; be fervent in spirit; serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer. Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written:
Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord. But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good (Romans 12:9-21).
Obviously, such love is not insipid and sentimental. It is strong as steel; tough as tungsten; enduring as a diamond. It is the essence of God. God has poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit this love. The sinful nature cannot muster up this kind of love; it takes a new heart and a new Spirit. Love is an act of the will, not our emotions. Therefore, we need to yield our will to the Spirit if we want God’s love to be fruitful in our life.