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I CORINTHIANS 13|“TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME”

July 30, 2018
Posted by Office Staff

“TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME”

I CORINTHIANS 13

JULY 29, 2018

 

THINK OF SOMEONE YOU LOVE.

 

NOW THINK ABOUT HOW PAUL DESCRIBES LOVE.

 

“LOVE IS PATIENT; LOVE IS KIND; LOVE IS NOT ENVIOUS OR BOASTFUL OR ARROGANT OR RUDE.  IT DOES NOT INSIST ON ITS OWN WAY; IT IS NOT IRRITABLE OR RESENTFUL; IT DOES NOT REJOICE IN WRONGDOING BUT REJOICES IN THE TRUTH.

 

LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS, BELIEVES ALL THINGS, HOPES ALL THINGS, ENDURES ALL THINGS.

 

LOVE NEVER ENDS.”

 

NOW THINK OF THAT PERSON YOU LOVE AGAIN.  HOW WELL ARE YOU DOING?

 

IF YOU’VE BEEN AROUND THE CHURCH FOR ANY LENGTH OF TIME AT ALL, YOU HAVE UNDOUBTEDLY HEARD A SERMON IN WHICH THE MINISTER PARSES THE VARIOUS WORDS FOR LOVE IN THE BIBLE.

 

THERE IS:

 

  1. AHAB: A HEBREW WORD FOR LOVE. IT DESCRIBES A VARIETY OF CLOSE EMOTIONAL BONDS.  ABRAHAM LOVED HIS SON ISAAC.  JACOB LOVED RACHEL.  WE ARE TO “LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR AS OURSELVES.”

 

  1. AGAPAO: GOD’S LOVE IS DESCRIBED USING THIS WORD: WHICH MEANS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, PREFERENTIAL LOVE THAT IS CHOSEN AND ACTED OUT BY THE WILL. IT’S NOT LOVE BASED ON THE GOODNESS OF THE OTHER, OR UPON NATURAL AFFINITY OR EMOTION.  RATHER THIS IS BENEVOLENT LOVE WHICH FLOWS DIRECTLY FROM GOD.  “BELOVED, LET US LOVE ONE ANOTHER: FOR LOVE IS OF GOD; AND EVERYONE WHO LOVES IS BORN OF GOD, AND KNOWS GOD.”

 

  1. AGAPE: THIS IS LOVE BETWEEN PERSONS; OR PEOPLE FOR GOD; OR GOD FOR HUMANITY; AND OF GOD FOR CHRIST. THIS LOVE IS FOUNDED UPON A DEEP APPRECIATION AND HIGH REGARD OF THE OTHER.  IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT AGAPE IS WHAT GOD COMMANDS US.

 

  1. PHILEO: THIS LOVE SIGNIFIES FRIENDSHIP, FONDNESS, AFFECTION, DELIGHT AND PERSONAL ATTACHMENT. THIS WORD IS ONE OF FEELING – A HEART LOVE – WHEREAS AGAPE IS A MATTER OF BENEVOLENCE, DUTY, AND COMMITMENT.

 

  1. PHILADELPHIA: IS BROTHERLY LOVE, AS THE CITY ITSELF WAS NAMED; IT SIGNIFIES LOVING SOMEONE LIKE A BROTHER OR SISTER. WE MIGHT THINK OF THIS AS FRATERNAL AFFECTION.  THIS IS NOT THE LOVE GOD HAS FOR US, BUT RATHER LOVE BETWEEN BROTHERS AND SISTERS, EVEN THOSE WHO ARE OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST.

 

  1. EROS: A PASSIONATE, PHYSICAL LOVE FOR ANOTHER.

 

SIX DIFFERENT WORDS, AND THERE ARE SEVERAL MORE IN SCRIPTURE, AND FOR SURE, MORE THAN JUST THOSE WITH HEBREW AND GREEK ROOTS.

 

THINK OF THAT ONE YOU LOVE.  NOW THINK OF THESE SIX WORDS; SIX WAYS OF LOVING.  HOW WELL ARE YOU DOING?

 

IN 1995 GARY CHAPMAN WROTE A BOOK ENTITLED: THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES: HOW TO EXPRESS HEARTFELT COMMITMENT TO YOUR MATE.

 

YOU MAY, OR MAY NOT BE FAMILIAR WITH IT.  IT’S STILL OUT THERE IN PRINT.

 

I IMMEDIATELY FOUND IT TO BE A HELPFUL BOOK, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY.

 

FOR YEARS I HAD BEEN COUNSELING INDIVIDUALS AND COUPLES WITH THEIR RELATIONSHIPS.

 

IN SOME OF THESE SITUATIONS, THERE WERE REAL PROBLEMS; ISSUES THEY NEEDED TO DEAL WITH; REAL WORK THAT NEEDED TO BE DONE.

 

BUT, IN TALKING WITH SOME PEOPLE, WHAT I OFTEN FOUND WAS THAT ONE OR BOTH PARTNERS WERE REALLY VERY LOVING TOWARD THE OTHER PERSON, BUT THE OTHER PERSON WAS NEVER REALLY FEELING IT.

 

THERE WAS OFTEN A DISCONNECT BETWEEN THEM, AND NEITHER ONE, FOR THE LIFE OF THEM, COULD UNDERSTAND WHY THEY WERE HAVING SO MUCH TROUBLE LOVING AND FEELING LOVED;

 

AND WHY THEIR PARTNER COULDN’T UNDERSTAND THEM.

 

THIS IS WHERE CHAPMAN’S BOOK HELPED.  HE BASICALLY OUTLINES FIVE WAYS WE EXPRESS AND EXPERIENCE LOVE.

 

HIS CONTENTION IS THAT WE ALL HAVE A PRIMARY WAY WE GIVE AND RECEIVE LOVE, AND A SECONDARY PREFERENCE, WITH THE OTHERS FALLING SOMEWHERE IN THE MIX.

 

HE CALLS THESE THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES WE SPEAK.

 

THEY ARE:

 

GIVING/RECEIVING GIFTS; QUALITY TIME; WORDS OF LOVE AND AFFIRMATION; ACTS OF SERVICE/DEVOTION; AND PHYSICAL TOUCH.

 

AS I BEGAN USING HIS CONCEPT WITH INDIVIDUALS AND COUPLES IN A COUNSELING CONTEXT; TEACHING MARRIAGE ENRICHMENT CLASSES USING THIS PREMISE; AND PREACHING ON THIS TOPIC;

 

PEOPLE FOUND IT VERY HELPFUL, NOT ONLY IN UNDERSTANDING THEMSELVES, AND THEIR OWN EXPRESSIONS AND EXPERIENCES OF LOVE, BUT ALSO IN HOW THEIR PARTNER EXPRESSED OR EXPERIENCED LOVE.

 

THEY ALSO BEGAN TO SEE WHERE THE DISCONNECT WAS OCCURRING.

 

FOR INSTANCE, I HAD HUSBANDS WHO WERE KNOCKING THEMSELVES OUT AS PROVIDERS FOR THEIR PARTNERS AND FAMILIES; WHO GREW UP BELIEVING PROVIDING FOR THEIR FAMILY WAS THE ULTIMATE EXPRESSION OF LOVE;

 

THEY TRULY FELT LIKE THEY WERE DOING EVERYTHING THEY COULD TO SHOW HOW MUCH THEY LOVED THEM, BY PROVIDING FOR THEIR WELLBEING.

 

WHILE, ALL THEIR WIVES AND CHILDREN REALLY WANTED FROM THEM WERE WORDS OF AFFECTION, AND MORE QUALITY TIME TOGETHER.

 

THEY REALLY LOVED EACH OTHER, THEY WERE JUST AT CROSS WAYS IN EXPRESSING AND EXPERIENCING LOVE FOR THE OTHER.

 

THERE WERE SPOUSES WHO LAVISHED THEIR PARTNER WITH EXTRAVAGANT GIFTS, OR PROVIDED OPPORTUNITIES FOR THEIR SPOUSE TO DO THE THINGS THEY LOVED AND WANTED TO SPEND TIME DOING;

 

WHEN ALL THEIR PARTNER REALLY WANTED WAS TO HEAR THEM SAY THE WORDS: I LOVE YOU.

 

AND THEN THERE WERE THOSE SPOUSES WHO WORE THEMSELVES OUT IN ACTS OF SERVICE TO THEIR SPOUSE AND FAMILY, WHO WERE THEN TOO TIRED FOR ANY SORT OF PHYSICAL EXPRESSIONS OF LOVE, WHICH IS WHAT THEIR PARTNER DESIRED MOST.

 

YOU CAN SEE THE MANY COMBINATIONS, AND HOW, IF WE ARE NOT SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE OUR PARTNER NEEDS TO HEAR, TO EXPERIENCE, WE MIGHT BE AT CROSS WAYS WITH EACH OTHER; MISSING THE MARK.

 

IF YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF THIS BOOK, NEVER THOUGHT OF HOW YOU EXPRESS AND EXPERIENCE LOVE – IT IS A CONVERSATION WORTH HAVING WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER.

 

ONE OF THE OVERWHELMING RESPONSES I FOUND WHEN PEOPLE HAD THIS CONVERSATION WITH THEIR PARTNER, WAS ONE OF RELIEF!

 

NOW, THEY FINALLY KNEW WHAT THE OTHER PERSON NEEDED AND WANTED.

 

WHAT THEY THEMSELVES WANTED AND NEEDED.

 

AND BY FOCUSING ON THESE THINGS, BOTH COULD SAVE THEMSELVES A LOT OF TIME, ENERGY, AND EFFORT BY “SPEAKING” THE RIGHT LOVE LANGUAGES TO EACH OTHER.

 

THINK OF THAT PERSON YOU LOVE; NOW THINK ABOUT YOURSELF;

 

THINK OF THESE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES; FIVE WAYS OF EXPRESSING AND EXPERIENCING LOVE;

 

HOW WELL ARE YOU DOING?

 

BY THE WAY – ABOUT ALL MY “HOW WELL ARE YOU DOING?” QUESTIONS – YOU AND YOUR PARTNER MAY BE DOING VERY WELL!  IF SO, CONGRATULATE YOURSELVES, AND KEEP GOING!

 

BACK IN MY FIRST PASTORATE, ONE SUNDAY MORNING, I MADE A CONFESSION TO MY CONGREGATION.

 

I DID IT AS GENTLY AS I COULD AND TRIED NOT TO HURT ANYONE’S FEELINGS.

 

WHAT I CONFESSED WAS: THAT I REALLY DIDN’T LIKE TENOR VOICES;

 

AND QUICKLY MADE MY APOLOGIES TO ANY TENORS IN THE CHOIR OR CONGREGATION.

 

I MAKE THOSE SAME APOLOGIES TO ANY OF YOU HERE THIS MORNING WITH A TENOR VOICE!

 

I WENT ON TO EXPLAIN WHERE MY AVERSION TO TENORS CAME FROM.

 

IT WAS A MAN BY THE NAME OF JOE FEENEY WHO WAS TO BLAME; (GOD REST HIS SOUL.)

 

FOR ANY OF YOU OLD ENOUGH TO HAVE WATCHED THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW AS A CHILD OR AS AN ADULT, (IT WAS A BIG HIT IN MY HOME GROWING UP!);

 

YOU WILL REMEMBER THAT JOE FEENEY WAS THE FEATURED TENOR ON THAT SHOW, AND HE SINGLE-HANDEDLY RUINED THE TENOR VOICE FOR ME FOREVER.

 

(BY THE WAY, WHEN I LEFT MY FIRST PASTORATE, ONE OF THE CHURCH MEMBERS, A WOMAN WITH A WONDERFUL SENSE OF HUMOR, SENT US ON OUR WAY WITH A COUPLE OF JOE FEENEY CASSETTE TAPES!)

 

BUT HERE’S WHAT MY EARLY TENOR TRAUMATIZATION COST ME –

 

FOR YEARS I COULDN’T LISTEN TO THE SONG DANNY BOY; WELL, AT LEAST NOT BEYOND THE FIRST VERSE OR SO.

 

IT WOULD BE YEARS BEFORE I WOULD FINALLY HEAR SOMEONE OTHER THAN AN IRISH TENOR SING DANNY BOY, BUT THEN, WHEN I DID;

 

WHEN I HEARD EVA CASSIDY SING IT – I WAS HOOKED.

 

IN FACT, THE FIRST TIME I EVER HEARD EVA CASSIDY SING ANYTHING, AND IT DIDN’T HURT THAT I WAS HEARING HER FOR THE FIRST TIME, WITH THE ONE I LOVE, THAT WE WERE BOTH HOOKED ON EVA CASSIDY.

 

IF YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF HER; NEVER HEARD HER SING; PLEASE, LOOK HER UP, AND LISTEN TO A FEW OF HER SONGS.

 

HERS IS A BIT OF TRAGIC STORY – DYING OF MELANOMA AT THE AGE OF 33, AND WELL BEFORE ANYBODY HAD REALLY EVER HEARD OF HER.

 

SHE ONLY BECAME POPULAR AFTER HER DEATH.

 

IN A FEW MINUTES WE ARE GOING TO LISTEN TO HER SING, DANNY BOY, THE WORDS OF WHICH YOU HAVE IN YOUR BULLETIN THIS MORNING, SO I’LL NOT REPEAT THEM HERE;

 

NOR SPOIL THE SURPRISE OF YOUR HEARING HER SING IT SO BEAUTIFULLY.

 

BUT BECAUSE I COULD NEVER GET PAST MY TENOR AVERSION, NOR LISTEN MUCH BEYOND THE FIRST VERSE OF DANNY BOY, I NEVER REALIZED WHAT A BEAUTIFULLY POIGNANT LOVE SONG IT REALLY IS.

 

I TOOK MY SERMON TITLE FOR THIS MORNING FROM SOME OF THE WORDS IN THE LAST VERSE: “TELL ME THAT YOU LOVE ME…”

 

AS I HOPE WE HAVE LEARNED HERE THIS MORNING, THERE ARE AT LEAST SIX WAYS OF SAYING THAT, OF DOING THAT, USING JUST THE BIBLICAL LANGUAGES FOR LOVE.

 

AND IF YOU SUBSCRIBE TO GARY CHAPMAN’S FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES – AT LEAST ANOTHER FIVE WAYS OF DOING SO!

 

AND LOTS OF OTHER WAYS TOO, OF COURSE.

 

I HOPE, IF WE DIDN’T KNOW IT ALREADY, THAT WE KNOW NOW, THAT NOT ALL OF US EXPRESS OR EXPERIENCE LOVE IN THE SAME WAYS;

 

AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT WE KNOW HOW WE DO – AND HOW OUR MOST SIGNIFICANT OTHER DOES.

 

WHAT WE NEED; WHAT THEY NEED; TO FEEL LOVED.

 

THE AUTHOR OF I JOHN IS CORRECT; AND SO IS JESUS; AND SO IS PAUL; AND SO ARE ALL THE OTHER WRITERS OF THE BIBLE;

 

WHEN THEY SAY THAT “LOVE IS OF GOD;” THAT “GOD IS LOVE;”

 

AND THAT IF FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THAT, (AND THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHER REASONS, OF COURSE,) “WE SHOULD LOVE ONE ANOTHER.”

 

AT THE END OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, WHEN THE RISEN CHRIST ONCE AGAIN ENCOUNTERS PETER, WHO HAD DENIED JESUS AT THE TIME OF HIS ARREST AND CRUCIFIXION, THE FIRST THING JESUS ASKS PETER UPON SEEING HIM AGAIN IS:

 

“DO YOU LOVE ME?”  “DO YOU AGAPE ME?”  JESUS ASKED.  DO YOU LOVE ME WITH AN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE?

 

ACCORDING TO THE BIBLICAL TEXT, PETER RESPONDS BY SAYING THAT HE HAS PHILEO LOVE – BROTHERLY LOVE;

 

BUT OVER THE COURSE OF PETER’S MINISTRY, AND AS ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE CHURCH, PETER’S LOVE DEEPENS, AND IN PETER’S LATER WRITINGS, THE WORD HE USES BECOMES AGAPE.

 

“NOW FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE ABIDE, THESE THREE;

BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.”

 

[PLAY VIDEO OF EVA CASSIDY SINGING DANNY BOY.]

 

 

 

 

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