The Greatest of These


1 Cor 13: 13 – 14:1:And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. … Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

Of all the biblical truths, the most important is Love. It begins and ends our journey. It is the foundation from which all that is worthwhile flows. Where God love is lacking much harm has and continues to be done.

It is because of His love poured out, in and through us, and it is because we are made in His image that we have the desire for love and the capacity to give love as well.

In the English language, there is but one word for what we call love. It encompasses all aspects of love, from physical or carnal love, to the highest forms of love and devotion, such as between husband and wife or parent and child. On the other hand, the Greek has several distinct words for love. For our purposes we need only concern ourselves with two, as only agapao and phileo and their derivatives occur in the New Testament. Let’s take a moment to look at these two.

The verb agapao, and its corresponding noun agape, refer to a love of choice. These two words are far and away the most common forms found, together occurring almost 250 times.

Phileo on the other hand, more accurately represents tender affection or devotion or love of feeling.

Matthew 22:37-40 the Pharisees asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment:

Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love(Agape) the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

It is in fact the word used every time we are commanded to love God. We choose, at least initially to love God.

It is also the word used in John 3:16. God chooses to love us. Ponder that for a moment. The Eternal Father, pure and holy made a choice, not simply to love the unlovable, but to ransom us from the clutches of our own sin, paying a price we can only begin to comprehend. We were not lovely, yet He chose to love us, and make us lovely in His sight.

“On these two hang all the Law…” Jesus was telling them, and us, that everything, everything depends on love. The Greek translated as hang is kremannumi, literally to suspend.

It’s not about what we do, or say, or give in this life, but it is very much about how we love. John was the “Disciple whom Jesus loved,” It was he who laid his head on the breast of Jesus, and he wrote more extensively about love than any other.  John 15:9-17

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.”

Before He died, Jesus left us with one commandment, that we love one another as He loved us. It is just that simple, and just that hard. How did he love us? “Greater love has no one than this than to lay down his life for his friends.” But wait! There’s more, and it gets worse!

“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…” (Matthew 5:44 NKJV)

We are not just to love our friends, but our enemies as well. Even as Jesus came and laid down His life while we were yet enemies, we are called to do the same.

Does that mean we are to roll over and be doormats? Not at all.

Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, white washed sepulchers, drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip, and so on.

(Mark 11:11…15)

“And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve … Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves….” (Mark 11:11…15)

The lesson for us is that when confronted with sin or evil, we should not react out of anger, or passion, but wait until we have the strategy from heaven.

Strive to remain in the love of God at all times, abiding in the Light.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,(Agape) I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”

 

Have you ever looked at what set the sheep apart from the goats? The sheep manifested the Father’s love.

Some of you no doubt question if the Father could really love you. You know what the Word says, but somehow you have the sense that you are not quite deserving of His love.

(Luke 15:20-24)

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.”

We don’t deserve the Father’s love, not one of us, but He has chosen to love us anyway.

Have we ever stopped to ponder the wonder of this story? The son has demanded his inheritance before his time. In doing so he has supremely insulted and wounded the father. He then goes off and squanders what has been given him. Yet, not only does the father welcome him back with a celebration, but if we study the passage carefully, we see that the father has been watching, and waiting for his son’s return.

What a great picture, and how like our Heavenly Father. Though we might walk away, rejecting all that He is and has for us, He continues to woo us, call us and watch for our return. Then, when we do return, like the father in the story of the prodigal son, our Father runs to us, embraces us, and kisses us tenderly upon our neck.

That perhaps is the greatest need in the church today, to know God as The Loving Father, and our Lord as the Bridegroom.

 

The Father loves us! Did you get that? No really, He LOVES us! Yes, you, and me too. Oh yes, He loves them as well. Yes, all of them, in fact the whole world! Yes that is correct, everyone. What proof do I have? Well let’s look at some scripture. Yes, 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.

Did you know you were chosen? We were chosen from before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love, predestined to be adopted as sons according to the good pleasure of His will.

(Ephesians 1:3-6)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

(2 Corinthians 2:17-18)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God …

The Greek word translated as new is Kainos, and it speaks very clearly of something that is new in form and quality. What you were no longer matters, your very spiritual DNA has been changed. Even your heritage has changed, for you are now named by His Name.

Kevin Bar YHWH.

(Ephesians 3:14-15)For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named….

(1 Peter 2:9-10) But you are a chosen generation, (genos) a royal priesthood, a holy nation, (ethnos) His own special people,(laos) that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people (laos) but are now the people (laos) of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

We are at once His children, joint heirs with Christ, friends of God, Bride and Body of Christ.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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The Greatest of These

1 Cor 13: 13 – 14:1:

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

Of all the biblical truths, the most important is Love.

It begins and ends our journey.

It is the foundation from which all that is worthwhile flows. Where God love is lacking much harm has and continues to be done.

It is because of His love poured out, in and through us, and it is because we are made in His image that we have the desire for love and the capacity to give love as well.

In the English language, there is but one word for what we call love. It encompasses all aspects of love, from physical or carnal love, to the highest forms of love and devotion, such as between husband and wife or parent and child. On the other hand, the Greek has several distinct words for love. For our purposes we need only concern ourselves with two, as only agapao and phileo and their derivatives occur in the New Testament. Let’s take a moment to look at these two.

The verb agapao, and its corresponding noun agape, refer to a love of choice. These two words are far and away the most common forms found, together occurring almost 250 times.

Phileo on the other hand, more accurately represents tender affection or devotion or love of feeling.

Matthew 22:37-40 the Pharisees asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment:

Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love(Agape) the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

It is in fact the word used every time we are commanded to love God. We choose, at least initially to love God.

It is also the word used in John 3:16. God chooses to love us. Ponder that for a moment. The Eternal Father, pure and holy made a choice, not simply to love the unlovable, but to ransom us from the clutches of our own sin, paying a price we can only begin to comprehend. We were not lovely, yet He chose to love us, and make us lovely in His sight.

“On these two hang all the Law…” Jesus was telling them, and us, that everything, everything depends on love. The Greek translated as hang is kremannumi, literally to suspend.

It’s not about what we do, or say, or give in this life, but it is very much about how we love. John was the “Disciple whom Jesus loved,” It was he who laid his head on the breast of Jesus, and he wrote more extensively about love than any other.  John 15:9-17

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.”

Before He died, Jesus left us with one commandment, that we love one another as He loved us. It is just that simple, and just that hard. How did he love us? “Greater love has no one than this than to lay down his life for his friends.” But wait! There’s more, and it gets worse!

“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…” (Matthew 5:44 NKJV)

We are not just to love our friends, but our enemies as well. Even as Jesus came and laid down His life while we were yet enemies, we are called to do the same.

Does that mean we are to roll over and be doormats? Not at all.

Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, white washed sepulchers, drove the money changers out of the temple with a whip, and so on.

(Mark 11:11…15)

“And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve … Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves….” (Mark 11:11…15)

The lesson for us is that when confronted with sin or evil, we should not react out of anger, or passion, but wait until we have the strategy from heaven.

Strive to remain in the love of God at all times, abiding in the Light.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,(Agape) I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”

Have you ever looked at what set the sheep apart from the goats? The sheep manifested the Father’s love.

Some of you no doubt question if the Father could really love you. You know what the Word says, but somehow you have the sense that you are not quite deserving of His love.

(Luke 15:20-24)

“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.”

We don’t deserve the Father’s love, not one of us, but He has chosen to love us anyway.

Have we ever stopped to ponder the wonder of this story? The son has demanded his inheritance before his time. In doing so he has supremely insulted and wounded the father. He then goes off and squanders what has been given him. Yet, not only does the father welcome him back with a celebration, but if we study the passage carefully, we see that the father has been watching, and waiting for his son’s return.

What a great picture, and how like our Heavenly Father. Though we might walk away, rejecting all that He is and has for us, He continues to woo us, call us and watch for our return. Then, when we do return, like the father in the story of the prodigal son, our Father runs to us, embraces us, and kisses us tenderly upon our neck.

That perhaps is the greatest need in the church today, to know God as The Loving Father, and our Lord as the Bridegroom.

The Father loves us! Did you get that? No really, He LOVES us! Yes, you, and me too. Oh yes, He loves them as well. Yes, all of them, in fact the whole world! Yes that is correct, everyone. What proof do I have? Well let’s look at some scripture. Yes, 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.

Did you know you were chosen? We were chosen from before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love, predestined to be adopted as sons according to the good pleasure of His will.

(Ephesians 1:3-6)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

(2 Corinthians 2:17-18)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God …

The Greek word translated as new is Kainos, and it speaks very clearly of something that is new in form and quality. What you were no longer matters, your very spiritual DNA has been changed. Even your heritage has changed, for you are now named by His Name.

Kevin Bar YHWH.

(Ephesians 3:14-15)For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named….

(1 Peter 2:9-10) But you are a chosen generation, (genos) a royal priesthood, a holy nation, (ethnos) His own special people,(laos) that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people (laos) but are now the people (laos) of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

We are at once His children, joint heirs with Christ, friends of God, Bride and Body of Christ.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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About hisfool

I am a pilgrim on a journey, one which I pray leads to the day when I stand before the throne of God and hear "Well Done!" Along the way I have encountered good times and bad, been wounded and healed, fallen only to rise again. It does not make me any better, but perhaps, it makes me a little wiser and I pray a little more compassionate.
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