Agape Love and the Characteristics of True Disciples

To Love Your Brother:

1 John 4:20-21
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

John is referring to a commandment here. Can we find this commandment John refers to recorded elsewhere in scripture? Yes, we can, Jesus called it a “new commandment” which can be said to be a command or instruction, – from the Greek word, entole.

Commandment = G1785 ἐντολή entole (en-tol-ay’) n.
1. injunction, i.e. an authoritative prescription
KJV: commandment, precept

(John 13:34 [AKJV])
A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

(John 13:35 [AKJV])
By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.

Disciples of Jesus, or, those who are of Christ will have this love as a main identifying characteristic.

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To Love Your Enemies:

43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.

44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if you love them which love you, what reward have you? do not even the publicans the same?

47 And if you salute your brothers only, what do you more than others? do not even the publicans so?
and to labour after perfection

48 Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I think it is safe to derive from these instructions and admonitions to love both our brethren and our enemies, that we will love those in between these categories as well. Example poor people and people of low intellect and moral compass, people who are bound in so many ways by the devil.
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What does agape/love of God look like?:

(1 Corinthians 8:1 [AKJV])
Now as touching things offered to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies.

First let’s look at charity/agape definition and root.

G26 ἀγάπη agape (ag-ah’-pay) n.
1. love, i.e. affection or benevolence
2. (specially, plural) a love-feast
[from G25]
KJV: (feast of) charity(-ably), dear, love
Root(s): G25

This agape love is the highest love and peculiar to those with the Spirit of God:

(1 John 4:8 [AKJV])
He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.

Here, “loveth”, is G25 ἀγαπάω agapao (ag-ap-ah’-o) v.
1. to love (in a social or moral sense)
{chiefly of the heart (wholehearted, unconditional, devoted) while G5368 is chiefly of the head (feelings, conditional, sentimental)}
[perhaps from agan “much” or Hebrew agab]
KJV: (be-)love(-ed)

(wholehearted, unconditional, devoted)

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So far:

1) we see that Agape love edifies, that is, it builds people up or in the least has that as it’s aim, as it’s principle end, and intention merely for the inherent good of that end since it is an unconditional love.

This is what Jesus meant when He said the Father brings rain to the just as well as the unjust. It could be said as well that God let’s good and bad people breath.

Jesus is making the point that if you will be like God, that you will not be a respecter of persons, (Acts 10:34 & James 2:3)  but will love all men with the same agape/love, just like He does. He calls this attribute, “perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect”.

2) We see that those who are God’s people have this love and those who are not His do not have it, (He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love. 1 John 4:8)

(1 John 4:10 [AKJV])
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

(1 John 4:11 [AKJV])
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

(1 John 4:12 [AKJV])
No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us.

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John beseeches,(a sincere request), the “elect lady and her children” to love/agape one another:

(2 John 1:5 [AKJV])
And now I beseech you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.

(2 John 1:6 [AKJV])
And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.

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Continuing, “What does agape/love of God look like”:

(1 Corinthians 13:1 [Wesley])
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

(1 Corinthians 13:2 [Wesley])
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so as to remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

(1 Corinthians 13:3 [Wesley])
And though I give all my goods to feed the poor, and deliver up my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

(1 Corinthians 13:4 [Wesley])
Love suffereth long and is kind; love envieth not; love acteth not rashly, is not puffed up:

(1 Corinthians 13:5 [Wesley])
Doth not behave indecently, seeketh not her own, is not provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not at iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth:

(1 Corinthians 13:6 [Wesley])
Covereth all things,

(1 Corinthians 13:7 [Wesley])
believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

(1 Corinthians 13:8 [Wesley])
Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

(1 Corinthians 13:9 [Wesley])
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

(1 Corinthians 13:10 [Wesley])
And when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall vanish away.

(1 Corinthians 13:11 [Wesley])
When I was a child, I talked as a child, I understood as a child, I reasoned as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

(1 Corinthians 13:12 [Wesley])
And now we see by means of a glass obscurely; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known.

(1 Corinthians 13:13 [Wesley])
And now abide these three, faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love.

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The apostle Peter called love, the most important thing in the last days. He used the term, “above all things”:

(1 Peter 4:7 [AKJV])
But the end of all things is at hand: be you therefore sober, and watch to prayer.

(1 Peter 4:8 [AKJV])
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

(1 Peter 4:9 [AKJV])
Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

(1 Peter 4:10 [AKJV])
As every man has received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

(1 Peter 4:11 [AKJV])
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God gives: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

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The apostle Paul wanted even our speech to be seasoned with this love as he instructed us as to our character and conduct:

(Ephesians 4:29 [AKJV])
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.

(Ephesians 4:30 [AKJV])
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed to the day of redemption.

(Ephesians 4:31 [AKJV])
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

(Ephesians 4:32 [AKJV])
And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.

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Contemplation:

If the true evidence of a saint of God is love, like Jesus said it is, then shouldn’t we be seeking Him so that we may exhibit these qualities? Having right doctrines and being a Jesus cheerleader doesn’t go far if we can’t or won’t love. Let us seek to know Jesus such that we are transformed into His image.

(Romans 8:29 [AKJV])
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

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Finally, some have no love of God at all in them because they have never known God. Others, or, the rest of us (and that’s who I am speaking to here), fail to choose to love at times. We despise and begrudge etc. We are not operating by the Spirit of God at the time we fail to love and choose to despise others. If we find ourselves in the opposite spirit of what Jesus Christ, Peter and Paul have instructed us, (as shown in the scriptures which I have included above), then we need to stop and pray for a regrouping. We need to repent and seek Christ for Help:

(Hebrews 4:16 [AKJV])
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

We have wandered off from Christ and need His mercy to forgive us and His grace to help us.

To know Christ is to be like Him, to be like the Father. If we are tapping our own well for water, we are drinking of defiled waters, our own waters are poison. We must drink from the well which is Christ, the only true and living water. Only then will living waters flow from the depths of our being out to lost and dying souls.

(John 7:38 [AKJV])
He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

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If people can not come to us to find Jesus, it may just well be because He is not there.

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Choosing Christ is a thoroughfare, not a dead end. Christ comes not only into you but through you.

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(Matthew 6:22 [AKJV])
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light.

(Matthew 6:23 [AKJV])
But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!


(Matthew 5:14 [AKJV])
You are the light of the world.

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BE LIGHT

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God bless

 

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.

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