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Wednesday, February 16 2022

Contributor: Martins Olubiyi

Introduction: What is biblical Fellowship? The word fellowship is derived from the Greek word Koinonia. Koinonia can be defined as “holding something in common” and is specifically used 20 times in the New Testament (e.g., Phil. 2:1-2, Acts 2:42, 1John 1:6-7). Freddy Cardoza maintained that Koinonia is the unity of the spirit that comes from Christians’ shared beliefs, convictions, and behaviours. When those shared values are in place, genuine Koinonia (biblical fellowship) occurs. However, going by today study text, we may conclude that what is capable of sustaining these shared values is rooted in the love of God that bind believers together. Therefore, our focus will be on love as exemplified in our reading text.

Text: Matthew 22:37-39 
"37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

The root of the word Love- The word love is shrouded with misconception in many languages. Love is communicated deeper in Greek words (Eros, Storge, Philia, and Agape). These four unique forms of love are found in the Scripture. They are characterised by romantic love, family love, brotherly love, and God's divine love.

Eros: Love in the form of Eros seeks its own interest and satisfaction—to possess the object of love. God is very clear in the Bible that eros love is reserved for marriage. (1 Corinthians 7:8–9). Eros love should be within the boundary of marriage, eros love is to be celebrated and enjoyed as beautiful blessing from God: "Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love." (Proverbs 5:18–19; see also Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 7:5; Ecclesiastes 9:9).

Storge: Storge is the Greek word that describes family love, the affectionate bond that develops naturally between parents and children, and brothers and sisters. Many examples of family love are found in Scripture, such as the mutual protection among Noah and his wife, the love of Jacob for his sons, and the strong love the sisters Martha and Mary had for their brother Lazarus. Rom. 12:10 portrayed Storge love clearly

Philia: It originates from Greek term Philos, meaning beloved, dearly loved intimate way; a trusted confidant held dear in a close bond of personal affection. It expresses experience-based love. For instance, the love between David and Jonathan in 1 Sam. 18: 1-3.

Agape: Is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. It defines God's immeasurable, incomparable love for humankind. It is the divine love that comes from God. Agape love is perfect, unconditional, sacrificial, and pure. Jesus Christ demonstrated this kind of divine love to his Father and to all humanity in the way he lived and died: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16). After His resurrection, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him (agape). Peter replied three times that he did, but the word he used was phileo or brotherly love (John 21:15–19). It is important to know that Peter was incapable of agape love because he had not received the Holy Spirit baptism. But after Pentecost, Peter was so full of God's love that he spoke from his heart and 3,000 people were converted.

What is Love in the Bible?
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away”. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

The personality of God: God is love (Agape). God is omniscience (all knowing), omnipotence (all-powerful), and Omnibenevolence (supremely good). His attributes are: God is a Spirit, is eternal, is infinite, unchangeable, is wisdom, is power, is holiness, is justice, is goodness and is truth.

Love is sacrificial: Agape love is sacrificial. It is putting yourself in a position where you are easily taken advantage of by another person. John 3: 16; John 15: 12-14

The covenant aspect of love: Agape love is unconditional. However, elements of covenant are involved: commitment, mutual respect, promises or oaths, witnesses and seal. John 3:16; Luke 22:19-20; Rom. 8:32; Heb. 9:13-14; Heb. 5:8; Luke 1: 68-73. As we partake in His blood via communion, we are sealed with Holy Spirit of Promise. 2Corin. 1: 21-22. Therefore, Agape love is more than feeling of emotion.

The nature of God of God is love: But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love 1 John 4:8. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love. God is love, and all who live in God are in love, for God lives in them.
1 John 4: 7-21 reveals God’s loving nature. God’s sole make up is love. His love is complete and perfect. Loves come from Him. He is the source. Since God is love then, we, His redeemed children must also love one another. In other words, a genuinely born again who is saved by love and filled with God’s love, must live in love toward God and others. God’s love is unconditional. It is not based on feelings. The Lord taught us how to show His love to others, to our friends, to our enemies, and to our families. God does not love us because we please Him. But He loves us just because He is love personified.

We are partakers of His divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4). This means that the characteristics of God’s nature become my own- through His creating work in me. Love is the hallmark of Christianity. Our character and disposition must be rooted in love. We receive God’s love in our relationship with Him. We experience God’s love in our relationship with others. God’s love is a gift. God’s love is a life-giving, energizing force. It was demonstrated in Christ Jesus. We are commanded to abide in His love John 15:9. See John 15:13; Romans 5:8; Eph. 2:4-5; 1 John 4:7-88 (NLT); 1 John 4:17-19; Jere. 31:3

The contention- my human nature: In James 1:13, Scripture says God cannot be tempted by evil. Human being as a corporeal substance, has a flesh containing lusts and desires, or the inclination to sin, which causes us to be tempted. That is our Adamic nature. However, if I am faithful to overcome when I am tempted to sin, step by step I can develop, so the sin in my flesh is put to death. Then these Godly characteristics, which are pure and perfect, can be created in my life by the creator. It is a process of transformation. As I progress, the fruits of the Spirit, which is divine nature, starts to replace the sin in my flesh (Gal. 5:16-26).

You can disarm sin. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these…. (Gal 5:20) But God said, “do not let sin reign in your mortal body to fulfil the lust thereof. Rom. 6:12. He further commands, “be ye holy, for I am holy”. 1 Pet. 1:16. Lev. 19-20. The word for holy in Heb is “qadash”, which means to be sanctified, consecrated, and dedicated or to be separated from the world and worldliness. However, if holiness is not a possibility, it will make God to be an unjust God. But holiness is attainable if we are ready to pay the price! How? Lay aside every weight, and the sin which do so easily beset us…” Heb. 12:1. We must consciously die daily (1Corinth. 15:31) by crucify the flesh (Gal. 5:20, 24). In other words, by mortifying the deeds of the flesh (Rom. 8:13; Col. 3:5). By building yourself in the most holy faith by praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude. 20).

Remain in Fellowship with Him- When we remain in fellowship with Him, we shall continually walk in love. “If we say we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanse us from all sin”. 1 John 1:6-7.

Conclusion: Love is one of the most powerful emotions human beings can experience. For Christian believers, love is the truest test of genuine faith. Through the Bible, we discover how to experience love in its many forms and to share it with others as God intended. To walk in love is not a choice! It is a command we must obey. However, it is a matter of willingness. (Isa. 1:19). The power to become is already vested in us. (John 1:11-13). We ‘ve got to yield our vessel in an honourable way to Him so as to eat the fruit of the land. (Phil 2: 13).

Reference: message partly culled from: www.active.org ; www.seminary.grace.edu. Reference (Addendum)- Dynamics of holiness. (Dr. David O. Oyedepo); Radiating His glory. (Zac Poonen); Four Kinds of Love. (C.S. Lewis); Confession. (St. Augustine of Hippo); Leviathan. (Thomas Hobbes); Love is a feeling to be learned (Walter Trobisch).

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 02:15 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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