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Agape

SFCF 2011.12.17 11:13 조회 수 : 6434

설교본문 1 Corinthians 13:4 
설교 한 주일 December 11, 2011 
설교자 Rev. Bang 

“Agape”

1 Corinthians 13:4

 

You know what ‘agape’ means; that is love or we can translate into charity but for my sermon, I would like to use ‘agape’ instead of love. In the Bible, especially in the New Testament, you can find ‘agape’ itself sixty-six times; altogether, depending on the translation of the word ‘agape’ is one hundred nine times you can see in the Bible. But today, I just quote one word – what agape means and why God said to us through the letters of Saint Paul. 

 

(Reading 1 Corinthians: 13 – 4 NIV)

       

 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

 

          Today, I’ll just preach based on one word, love is patient. In other translation just like the King James Version, ‘patient’ is translated into ‘long suffering’.

However, in these days many people easily say, “I love you.” Is it real love when you say that you love your boyfriend and your girlfriend or your husband or wife? Sometimes you say, “I love my dog.” Is the love the same that you love your dog and you love your wife? You said love. “I love money so I love my wife.” Is it same so you love money to spend or you love your wife to spend? So, love in English is not enough to express what the love the Bible tells us today.

Storge’ in Greek word, can also be translated to love. Other is ‘Philia’; this one also is love in Greek and also in the Bible. But all English-speaking people say or translate into love. “I love dog...I love this apple to eat...” You may say that’s love. Is it real love? You mentioned about love all the time. Some singers once sang when I was young, Love is in the Air. Another thing is maybe you very much know or aware of this word ‘Eros’. This also can be translated into love. When God says, “I am love...I am the light...” and when you say love of God, does it mean that love of God is erotic? Be careful because we mix up a lot. “I love you because you love me...I love him because he is the one or person that will make me somebody when I get to marry him...so I love him!” There’s one man that say, “I love you...” He just opened and said to his girlfriend, the woman beside of her and said, “I love you but only today...” Another word which is the last but not the least is ‘Agape’. All of these is translated into love so people in these days say ‘love’ in all love that somehow in our lives, the love is mixed up. What kind of love do we really meant to say? 

Storge means between families just like mother loves their children or children love the parents, or something like brotherhood. You can say it is love. Philia is the friendship. Eros is romance. What if Agape if you don’t use that word ‘love’? 1 Corinthians 13:4 says about the agape; what does it mean actually in our lives? You may say ‘ang pagmamahal sa Diyos’ (the love of God) or maybe ‘ang pag-ibig’ (the love). When you say pagmamahal and pag-ibig is it really the same of what agape meant to be? It is very easy to say, “I love you!” But in 1 Corinthians 13, God showed us His love in some different ways so that we may learn how to say love in our practical life, so you may have some kind of measurement or weighing scale that you may fathom the depth or measure the length of the love.

Many say ‘love’ even I say “I love you, brothers and sisters...” Let’s see pag-ibig (love). This is where ibig comes from when you put kaibigan (friend). So, I found just recently in your words that in a friend, there should be ibig, am I right? The ka- and -an makes known from the root verb. So, where there is love, it is kaibigan. Not only that, the love is coming maybe in your culture pag-ibig, or kaibigan but what actually love means in the Bible? When you say love or pagmamahal or pag-ibig or kaibigan, that is really the same love and meaning of agape in the Bible.

When you say that “I do love something...” I want you to see this Bible verse, Matthew 24; it is what Jesus said about the last days at the end of the age, Because of the increase of wickedness, the love (agape) of most will grow cold...” So, where there is wickedness, there is no agape that could possibly be found. When you say love between any friends or fathers, if there is wickedness, or wickedness is increasing, it’s very hard or impossible to find real agape. Wickedness never goes with agape. When I was 18 years old, I watched a movie about the boyfriend who was a kind of criminal – he was doing all kinds of rude things – and then his girlfriend said to him, “What you are doing is wrong...” because he kills and carries some drugs and doing all dirty things...” And then she said to her boyfriend, “What you are doing is wrong; however, I love you...” This is something sweet, right? He is a very impossible man but this girlfriend loves him in spite of his character and background because that is love and not agape. Agape and wickedness never goes together. In the crime scene with your partner in crime when he says to you, “I love you...” that is not agape; you have to know that. Now you have the measure what you have to say about agape. Agape never goes with the wickedness. Don’t be mixed-up and don’t get so much touched which is the love wrapped by beautiful wrapping paper saying love.  

Romans 5 is the other side of what the Bible says, Apostle Paul said, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” When you say about agape and love, you may know that agape through the pouring of His love through the Holy Spirit. In agape is where you can only experience the working of the Holy Spirit. When you say love in the church, I don’t like you to mix up with the agape love and erotic love. Some authors or some liberated books I read recently say, in Jesus Christ many people can find erotic love from Jesus... This world is so much mixed up. The agape, the love what God says today through the Bible to you is you can only experience through the working of the Holy Spirit – not your flesh, not your desire. That is not agape love; that is not what 1 Corinthians 13 says, means about. Many greeting cards say 1 Corinthians 13 verses 4 and 5, “I love you daddy... I love you boyfriend...” Well, good try. But I have to tell you what is the truth, what Bible says about agape.

When you see Galatians 5, that is how much agape goes with the working of the Holy Spirit, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” If you love God and if you are asked about by our Lord just like when Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” What is your answer? “Yes, I love you...” In what manner? Just like a manner of Korean loves dog to eat, in that manner? Just like some boy loved a girl to sleep with, in that manner? Just like some man loved money to spend it for his luxury life, in that manner? What manner, if you are asked? I want you to ask yourself and I want you to have at least one answer. It is not easy but it’s not also difficult. That answer is you may or can only get through the working of the Holy Spirit.

Love is patient. What does patient means? When you see Psalm 136, that’s a long chapter, it says, His love endures forever. Love and endurance goes together in the Bible. Not only this, love is to be agape when it is revealed in patience. If you don’t or cannot hold your temper, hold your desire, hold your anger or whatever which is not really good to express as a Christian, there’s no way that you know agape and you know what is the real meaning of love and you don’t know how to live according to what Bible says about agape. God bears the unbearable lightness of being. Love is patient, okay, I know; but, what is the sample? Where can we get the sample? It’s only way through the Bible, through the working of the Holy Spirit and through the model of what God demonstrated through Jesus Christ. When you see Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While we were still sinners, God showed His love because He bore all kinds of wickedness and He showed His agape in spite of all dirtiness and uncleanness in us. How do you know? In the Bible, what does it says? Patience is always embedded in wherever love breathes. If there is agape, patience and endurance is automatically there, naturally there. If you don’t have patience against something in the love of Jesus Christ, it only means you don’t know what the love of God is; you don’t know what agape is about. You are just fooling yourself that you know the love of God. Love is patient means love and patience goes together. If there is love, there is patience naturally. There is God, there is forgiveness naturally.

Matthew 18 says, “Love is not pushing the countdown button of 70-7 times.” The disciples asked Jesus, “How much we forgive if my brother sin against me, seven times? You cheat me seven times...seven times is quite okay...” What did Jesus say? “Not only seven times, but 70-7 times...” So, 490 times maybe. But love is patient. We can see God’s love first I said when we were still sinners, God loved us. God showed His love through Jesus Christ while we were impossible, not only 490 times so I would say love is not pushing the countdown button. When you say love, never push the countdown button. Maybe you unplug your countdown button as God love us.

When you are being patient, that’s when agape happens. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says that love is patient. Agape means to start with patience. How? Now, you have model; God showed us. How do we show agape in patience? There’s only one way. I’ll give you an illustration. There’s one man named Hosea and other is Gomer. God asked Hosea, His prophet, to marry Gomer. She was not clean, not like an ordinary lady – she laid down everywhere with anybody before she met Hosea. She was so dirty. In our eyes, she was impossible and so in the eyes of Hosea as well, I think. God said to Hosea to marry Gomer. After being married, Gomer did the same. She gave birth, three sons, to Hosea but nobody knows whose son they were. After being married, she always flies by night and stays with other people yet Hosea never mentioned about the situation of Gomer. Hosea kept his mouth closed and even Hosea paid for the ransom because they have debt when he took Gomer. I want you to put your position into the position of Gomer. We were still sinners ever since we met Jesus Christ we have salvation and we are still the same but yet, God loves us; that’s agape. So, I would say that agape never push the countdown button. Brothers and sisters, agape, the love we have in our lives from Jesus Christ, we can acknowledge it through the working of the Holy Spirit. We may love when we realize that we were forgiven by the grace of God. Only that time that we will live agape. Agape is not a noun. Agape is actually an action word, a verb – to live agape not to give and ask agape.

 

***

 

Rev. David Bang

Head Pastor

   
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