I don’t know about you fellas, but I don’t think I know any woman who didn’t grow up hoping for her Prince Charming to swoop in and take her to his castle. Disney indoctrinated us early on to the idea of True Love, always confirmed at first sight of course, and of the power of that True Love’s first kiss. And most of us as adults went searching for that elusive fairy tale, ending up cynical and disillusioned by its unattainability. Until I became a Christian, I didn’t realize how warped that romantic ideal is, and how far away it is from genuine love. Today we’re talking about Love—not Love as the world defines it, but as God defines it.
Table Talk Notes
Have you found yourself desperately looking for love “in all the wrong places?”
Women look at dating/physical relationships differently than men
Genesis 3:16 | To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to (toward, or against) your husband, but he shall rule over you.”Women desire to be desired & loved, desire to control, which is frustrated. Click To Tweet
How men look at dating/physical relationships:
Genesis 3:17-19 | And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Both desire to be strong and have what it takes—cursed with futility and fails to act out of fear of failure
Often Men confuse sex and love, and women use sex to get love.
Definitions of Love
Webster’s: “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person; attraction that includes sexual desire; the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship”—note the emphasis on feelings and chemistry
- Eros: love, mostly of the sexual passion
- Phileo: to be a friend to (fond of [an individual or an object]), usually between equals; that is, have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; of the heart; specifically to kiss (as a mark of tenderness): – kiss, love.
- Storge: love, affection, especially of parents and children; the common or natural empathy—rarely used in ancient works, often exclusively a description of relationships within a family
- Agape: the unconditional love of God for His children; to love (in a social or moral sense); involving the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety: of the head rather than of the heart; Thomas Aquinas: “to will the good of another”–charity
- Charity: means “benevolence”—giving and expecting nothing in return.
What did Jesus gain by loving us and going to the cross?
We need to be honest with ourselves in how we view “love.” Is it a love that expects nothing in return? Or is it a conditional love where we secretly hope for something in return?
“Romantic” (i.e. physical) love is based on emotion and chemistry—it is fleeting and will NOT withstand trials and opposition
“Friendship” (i.e. affection or fondness) is often reciprocal, based on harmony & similitude, and likewise may not withstand trials (disharmony), time or distance
True Love is a choice. A choice often to put the other’s needs above your own.
(Darby translation) John 21: 15-19 | When therefore they had dined, Jesus says to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He says to him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I am attached to thee. He says to him, Feed my lambs. He says to him again a second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He says to him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I am attached to thee. He says to him, Shepherd my sheep. He says to him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, art thou attached to me? Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, Art thou attached to me? and said to him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I am attached to thee. Jesus says to him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say to thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst where thou desiredst; but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and bring thee where thou dost not desire. But he said this signifying by what death he should glorify God. And having said this, he says to him, Follow me.
(Complete Jewish Bible) John 21:15-19 | After breakfast, Yeshua said to Shim‘on Kefa, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, do you love me more than these?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, do you love me?” He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I’m your friend.” He said to him, “Shepherd my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Shim‘on Bar-Yochanan, are you my friend?” Shim‘on was hurt that he questioned him a third time: “Are you my friend?” So he replied, “Lord, you know everything! You know I’m your friend!” Yeshua said to him, “Feed my sheep! Yes, indeed! I tell you, when you were younger, you put on your clothes and went where you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” He said this to indicate the kind of death by which Kefa would bring glory to God. Then Yeshua said to him, “Follow me!”
(Disciples’ Literal New Testament) John 21:15-19 | Then when they ate-breakfast, Jesus says to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you devotedly-love Me more than these?” He says to Him, “Yes, Lord. You know that I affectionately-love You”. He says to him, “Be feeding My lambs”. He says to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you devotedly-love Me?” He says to Him, “Yes, Lord. You know that I affectionately-love You”. He says to him, “Be shepherding My sheep”. He says to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you affectionately-love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you affectionately-love Me?”. And he says to Him, “Lord, You know all things. You recognize that I affectionately-love You”. Jesus says to him, “Be feeding My sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger you were girding yourself and walking where you were wanting to go. But when you become-old, you will stretch-out your hands and another will gird you and bring you where you are not wanting to go.” Now this He said signifying by what kind of death he will glorify God. And having said this, He says to him, “Be following Me!”
Loving God: in works, in worship, in truth and in gratitude
Revelation 2:2-5 | “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
John 4:23-24 | But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand; to fawn (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): – worship.
Luke 7:36-50 | One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among[h] themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us (both are “agapao”).
1 Corinthians 13:1-7 | If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love (agape), I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
John 15:12-13 | “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love (agape) has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Luke 6:34-36 | “And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love (agapao) your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
Matthew 5:46 | “For if you love those who love you (agapao), what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”
John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (agapao).”
If we cannot unconditionally and selflessly love our spouse, how can we possibly hope to do so with others? Click To Tweet
Loving our Spouse
Men: Ephesians 5:25-33 | Husbands, love (agapao) your wives, as Christ loved (agapao) the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.