What is love?

We are in the midst of a generation that is confused about loving. If I say, “I love you” to a woman who isn’t my wife, I’m an adulterer. If I say it to another man, I’m a homosexual. If I saw it to a child, I’m a pedophile. If I say it to my wife I’m both being romantic and wanting sexual pleasure or I’m being manipulative and want a favor. Our language is non-specific and generic, whereas the original language of scripture is precise. In this sermon I examine the four Greek words that are all translated in English as “love.” The highest word in the hierarchy of Biblical love is “agape.” (Uh-gah-pay) Jesus demonstrated God’s agape love for us by dying for our sins on a Roman Cross.

The greatest leader is the one who motivates and leads by love. Love is not a warm, gushy feeling. Love is something you do. Agape is a verb, denoting action.  Looking with a fresh view of 1 Corinthians 13, we find the true attributes of a leader as defined by Paul and Jesus. Everyone who walks with Jesus and follows Him must have an experiential encounter with His love. To know Him is to love Him. I urge you to experience His incredible love and enter into a life-long love relationship with Him.



June 10, 2,007 - Sheepfold Ministries

Pastor Phil Roland


1 John 3:14-24

“We who follow Christ love one another with Christ’s love. It is not a warm feeling. His love is expressed in action: something you do.”                  Pastor Phil   

A Verb Denotes Action

A verb is a word belonging to the part of speech that usually denotes an action, an occurrence, or a state of being.

agape = A-GA-PAY = John 3:16 = God’s love for and in us.

filew = PHIL-AYE-O = John 21:17 = Do you love Me, Peter?

storge = STOR-GAY = Septuagint, Family Love

eros = ER-OS = Septuagint, Sexual Love in Marriage


          A. God loved us so much He gave – John 3:16

          "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever

believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

B. Loving even your enemies – Matthew 5:43-45

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your

enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do

good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and

persecute you, "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;”

C. Divine Command, not a suggestion


          A. God’s love revealed in us – Colossians 1:26,27

“. . .the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now

has been revealed to His saints.  To them God willed to make known what are

the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in

you, the hope of glory.”

          B. Selfless, self-sacrificing love – Ephesians 5:25-27

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave

Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water

by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having

spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without


III. THE CHARACTER OF LOVE – 1 Corinthians 13

          A. God’s love in us is Patient – v. 4a

          “His love in us shows self-control.”   Pastor Phil

          B. His love in us is Kind – v. 4b

          C. His love in us reveals Humility – v. 4c

          “It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

D. His love in us is Respectful – v. 5a

“It does not behave rudely. . .”

E. His love in us is Selfless – v. 5b

“It is not self-seeking. . .”

F. His love in us is Forgiving – v. 5c

“It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

G. His love in us is Honest – v. 6

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”      

H. His love in us means Commitment – v. 7,8a

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

(His) Love never fails.”


          A. He was honest and trustworthy

            B. He was a good role model

          C. He was caring and committed

          D. He was a good listener

          E. He held people accountable

          F. He treated all people with respect

          G. He gave people encouragement

          H. He had a positive enthusiastic attitude

          I.  He appreciated people
























1 Corinthians 13 – NIV

13:1  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

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

5  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

6  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8  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.

9  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

10  but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

11  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

12  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.




Closing Illustration

Dart Test

A young lady named Sally, relates an experience she had in a
seminary class, given by her teacher, Dr. Smith.  She says that Dr. Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons. One particular day, Sally walked into the seminary and knew they were in for a fun day.

On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many
darts. Dr. Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry, and he would allow them to throw darts at the person's picture.

Sally's friend drew a picture of who had stolen her boyfriend.
Another friend drew a picture of his little brother. Sally drew a picture of a former friend, putting a great deal of detail into her drawing, even drawing pimples on the face. Sally was pleased with the overall effect she had achieved.

The class lined up and began throwing darts. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were ripping apart.  Sally looked forward to her turn, and was filled with disappointment when Dr. Smith, because of time limits, asked the students to return to their seats. As Sally sat thinking about how angry she was because she didn't have a chance to throw any darts at her target. Dr. Smith began removing the target from the wall.

Underneath the target was a picture of Jesus. A hush fell over
 the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus; holes and jagged marks covered His face and His eyes were pierced.

Dr. Smith said only these words...

 "In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me."             Matthew 25:40.
            No other words were necessary; the tear filled eyes of the
 students focused only on the picture of Christ.  Love is something you do. Jesus showed us how. . .