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Love by Pastor Melissa Scott

My focus today is on love, because I think the more we come to understand the concept biblically, the more we understand how we have commingled much of our thought process about love, Christian love.

When I first started reading those Scriptures about love, I actually read them wrong.  I read them as a verbal act; I didn’t read them as a noun.  You may not understand this right now, but you will eventually.  The love that is given to me of God is often referred to in the Scriptures as a noun.  It’s something that He has given to me.

In John’s gospel, when Jesus says, this is the mark of discipleship, this is the mark of a learner: “if you have” the verb, or “if you have love” the noun, “to one another.”  When you begin to see that, you’ll stand back and say, “Boy, I have really been cutting myself short from God releasing something in me that He’s already given to me.  I’ve just been getting in the way.”

Pastor Scott continues:  Let’s define this word “love” in the Greek.  In the English, we only have the word “love.”  You either love somebody or you like them or you hate them, right? But in the Greek, we have a word called storgae.  Storgae is that love, we’ll call it the parental love for a child.  In other words, storgae is familial love.

The word eros is from where we get the English word “erotic;” it is axiomatic and self-evident.  That is a love that is outside of the Bible.  You can read in Greek mythology about Eras or Eros, how it was deified, but that is not the Bible.

Next, we have phileo, which is that brotherly, and most of the time recriprocal love: “you do for me, I do for you.”  We get Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love from phileo.  There are many references in the Bible to phileo.

But when referring to God and God’s love toward us, the Greek word, agape or agapao, is used.  It is that unconditional, no strings attached love.  And when we speak of “Chrisitan love,” the element that is missing most of the time, is that people will engage in phileo within the church.  They will engage in “you do for me, I do for you.”  In fact, most of the modern teaching today is based on phileo, “If you give to God, God will give you back.”  I do not believe that.  I do not hold to those doctrines that to me only fuel a person’s greed.  I do believe that if we’re reading the Scripture right, the one that everybody likes to quote, John 3:16, “God so loved the world,” He so agaped the world, because He created it.  Now, we’re told in another place, “love not the world,” we didn’te create it; we have to live in it.

So, when you begin to define and look at these aright, something very radical becomes clear, that maybe I have limited view of God’s attribute of love, His nature.  The more I begin to understand about God’s love in His sovereignty, in His power, in His faithfulness, in His immutability, the more I begin to understand that God’s love cannot be limited to my frame, that God’s love is not influenced.  That is hugely important.

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