Agape: Abiding in God's Love
Agape is the Greek word used in the New Testament as the love of God. Scholars say agape is best described as “the Godkind of love.” There are other words in Greek for love such as phileo and eros. However, agape is the word widely used in the New Testament. One of the definitions of this word is to seek the best interest of the other person.
The Godkind of love is unconditional and selfless. This is the kind of love that Jesus Christ brought and introduced on earth.
Jesus Christ gave his disciples a final commandment before he went to the cross. He told them to “agape one another.”
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." - John 13:34 KJV
Why is understanding agape so important? The basis of trust is agape. Why would I want to lead this Christian life without ever learning to trust God? Why would you want to do anxiety when you can do trust? A famous Christian author, E.W. Kenyon, says, “Love is faith’s parent.”
Agape is faith’s parent. I have to receive agape from the Father because I can only give away what I possess.
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The Lord’s prayer
Let’s take a look at the Lord’s prayer in John 17. Some have said that the prayer recorded in Matthew 6 is the Lord’s prayer. However, John 17 is the prayer that the Lord prays for all those who believe in him.
John 17:1 KJV - "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:"
John 17:2 KJV - "As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."
John 17:3 KJV - "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
John 17:4 KJV - "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do."
John 17:5 KJV - "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."
John 17:6 KJV - "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word."
John 17:7 KJV - "Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee."
John 17:8 KJV - "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me."
John 17:9 KJV - "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine."
John 17:10 KJV - "And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them."
John 17:11 KJV - "And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are."
John 17:12 KJV - "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled."
John 17:13 KJV - "And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves."
John 17:14 KJV - "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
John 17:15 KJV - "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
John 17:16 KJV - "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."
John 17:17 KJV - "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
John 17:18 KJV - "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world."
John 17:19 KJV - "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth."
John 17:20 KJV - "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;"
John 17:21 KJV - "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
John 17:22 KJV - "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:"
John 17:23 KJV - "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
John 17:24 KJV - "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
John 17:25 KJV - " O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me."
John 17:26 KJV - "And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."
In this passage he says, eternal life is to know the Father and the Son. In verse 23 he says, the Father is in the Son and the Son is in you, that you may be perfect in this union. Twice he says, that the Father loves you exactly as he loves the Son.
God loves you as he loves himself; God’s love is perfect. You’re not an outsider to the love of God, you’re an insider. He says I want to bring you into this perfect love relationship. Imagine all that the Father has at his disposal: a throne, angels, hosts, the silver is his, the gold is his. He says, there’s nothing that I would do for myself that I wouldn’t do for you. Because I love you as I love me.
As I have loved you, love one another
In John 15, Jesus speaks to his disciples about abiding in love.
John 15:1 KJV - "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman."
John 15:2 KJV - "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit."
John 15:3 KJV - "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
John 15:4 KJV - "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."
John 15:5 KJV - "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."
John 15:6 KJV - "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
John 15:7 KJV - "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." (If you abide in agape, and agape’s words abide in you, you will ask what you will and it shall be done for you)
John 15:8 KJV - "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."
John 15:9 KJV - "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love."
John 15:10 KJV - "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love."
John 15:11 KJV - "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
John 15:12 KJV - "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
John 15:13 KJV - "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:14 KJV - "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."
John 15:15 KJV - "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."
John 15:16 KJV - "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
John 15:17 KJV - "These things I command you, that ye love one another."
Jesus said of himself that he kept all of his father’s commandments. In the New Testament, there’s no record of Jesus keeping the law of Moses. Did you ever read about Jesus going to the temple to offer up a lamb, or a goat, or a pigeon?
What were the Father’s commandments to Jesus? In John 5, Jesus says he only did what he saw his father doing.
John 5:19 KJV - "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise."
What is Jesus' commandment to you?
John 15:12 KJV - "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you."
I can’t choose to be offended and walk-in love at the same time.
If I get hurt then decide to protect myself; I am not trusting in the Lord to take care of me. I now want to take matters into my own hands.
Is there room for disagreement, for questions? Yes. As long as you understand that the goal of confrontation is reconciliation not punishment, not judgment.
Christ already took the punishment at the cross. John 17:4 KJV - "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do."
If I don't learn to love, I am the poorest of all men.
Let us awaken to love. Let us awaken to agape.
The opposite of love isn't hate; It's actually selfishness.
When things went wrong in the garden of Eden, it didn't start with hate. That came later when Cain killed Abel. It started with selfishness.
Self-awareness instead of God-awareness. And we know that God is love.
Only love can heal the world. John 3:16 KJV says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
If I am aware of judgment, it leads to death. But if I am aware of the free gift of righteousness, it leads me onto eternal life.
It is not possible to fear without the consciousness of sin. Yet, he has made us the righteousness of God in him.
Delivered from the fear of death
Jesus has delivered us from the fear of death by destroying him who had the power of death—the devil.
Hebrews 2:14 KJV - "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;"
Hebrews 2:15 KJV - "And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
Why do we still fear?
What would it be like to not be aware of darkness? What would it be like to only be aware of light and glory? Why would I want to know the darkness when I can know the light?
I am born of light. He didn't call us to fight the darkness. Light dispels darkness, so all I have to do is shine my light.
Colossians 1: 13 -14 emphasized bible
13) Who hath rescued us out of the authority of the darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love;
14) In whom, we have our redemption - the remission of our sins,
In order for me to engage in spiritual warfare, I actually have to step out of Christ consciousness into self-consciousness. I become aware of self.
Paul said it is no longer I who live
Galatians 2:20 KJV - "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
It's not about arguing, it's about love. I don't want to get into doctrinal arguments with people. The journey in Christ is not about acquiring as much Christian information as I can.
It's about transformation, period. The transformation that happens by the Spirit and by the word.
I would rather know only two verses and be transformed into that living word than to know 10,000 scriptures and not “be” any of it.
Entering into rest looks like abiding in his love and resting in the work that he finished for you at the cross.
This is the secret place
This is the realm of the Spirit, where the Father is. I don't even like that term prayer warrior. What are we warring? If we are warring we’re out of God's rest. The constant temptation is to try to get you out of rest, period.
God’s rest is a realm. It's a place that he has prepared for me and it's also a place inside of me. Not external rest but rest in my inner man.
The father's desire is to call many sons to glory
Hebrews 2:10 AMP says, “For it was an act worthy [of God] and fitting [to the divine nature] that He, for Whose sake and by Whom all things have their existence, in bringing many sons into glory, should make the Pioneer of their salvation perfect [should bring to maturity the human experience necessary to be perfectly equipped for His office as High Priest] through suffering.”
The cure for sin is righteousness, preach righteousness.
The kind of faith that can stand in the presence of God without the slightest inkling of guilt is the kind of faith that pleases God.
This faith is a free gift and it is the result of righteousness by grace.
Ephesians 6:13 KJV says, “wherefore take on to you the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all to stand, stand.” Stand in what? Stand in the work that Christ finished for you at the cross.
The real gospel of Jesus Christ is the revelation of agape and it also produces agape in men's hearts.
The one who loves me
John 14:21 KJV - "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."
John 14:22 KJV - "Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?"
John 14:23 KJV - "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
John 14:24 KJV - "He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me."
John 14:25 KJV - "These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you."
John 14:26 KJV - "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
Hear what the Spirit says. Hearing is a function of my spirit, of my heart. How do I hear? Do I trust first Corinthians chapter 6? 1 Corinthians 6:17 KJV says, "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." So if you are one spirit with the Lord, you will hear when the Spirit of God speaks to you.
Agape is the nature of the new man
1 John 4:7 KJV - "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God."
The only struggle that a believer has now is to love (agape). And even that shouldn't be a struggle because love is the fruit of our spirit.