New Hope Notes
Love Over Religon
Pastor Roger Archer
Aloha. Well, it's good to be back home with my Ohana. We love you so much. And for those of you that have never met me, my name is Roger, and I pastor a church in the Seattle area. But we have connections and roots here to the great church called New Hope in Honolulu,
Tonight I want to talk to you about love. More specifically, I want to share with you the distinction between religion and love. And we want to select love over religion. But in order to really select love, we need to understand what love really is.
But first what is religion? Religion is a systematic bunch of rules made up by people who could not do it. That's called hypocrisy. You see, when Jesus was in the first century and he was engaging the people in the context of this place called Palestine, there was a group of people called the Sanhedrin.
Now, the Sanhedrin, of course, are a collection of four governing bodies. Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, and Zealots.
Now to the Pharisees and the other religious groups, Jesus was a fly in their ointment because Jesus came to debunk the thing called religion because God never created religion. God created relationship. God does not want you to follow a systematic bunch of rules. On the contrary, God wants you to be friends with Him. God wants to be friends with us. There was a broken relationship, and God loved us so much that He sent His son to repair the relationship.
So how many of you want to know what love really means? When someone tells you "I love you," you want to know what they mean. So the first kind of love we want to talk about is the word called eros. It's where we derive the English word erotic. This first form of love is risky. Why? Because it is biological and solely based on pleasure.
By the way, if you're ever in a relationship with someone and the only reason they're in it with you is to extract something from you, I submit to you there are two centers in the universe, Christ?centered or self?centered. And if someone is in a taking narrative to extract from you this thing called pleasure and biology, that is going to be incredibly risky. My submission to you is that that relationship is not going to last, and there will be collateral damage.
The next kind of love is called phileo. Now, phileo love is a resilient love. There is an elasticity or give attached to it. For instance, if your friend borrowed your clothes and returned it damaged, you will forgive him or her because of your long-standing friendship.
So there is a human element in every relationship when someone is going to fail you. They're going to do something to hurt you, something to disappoint you, something that's going to be sometimes an accident, and sometimes it's going to be on purpose. But the nature of phileo love is that there is “give” to it.
While it is resilient, phileo love has a breaking point.It's relational because it has to do with choice. And this is based on friendship.
Now, the next level of love that I'd like to share with you is called pragmos. It is often called "reliable love." This relationship is something that has to do with our emotional status and is based on covenant as in a marriage covenant.
How many of you understand that you are essentially made of three things: body, soul, and spirit?
Most people know that our body is composed of 206 bones, 15 organs, systems, tissues, blood, and water. All this works in concert to keep us alive and functioning every day.
Next, your soul is your mind, your emotions, your personality, and your will.
And finally, your spirit is that entity that will live forever and ever, either in heaven or hell based on earthly choices. That's how we're put together.
Now, there are components of eros in our marriage. And we have some phileo, and we have breaking points where the thing gets broken. But in pragmos love, the breaking is not an option because there's a covenant made such as in your marriage vows.
Let's look at Malachi 2:13-15. "And here's a second offense. You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don't get what you want from God." You want a pony, a puppy, a trip to Seattle. You want this or that. Malachi continues, "Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you've broken those vows, broken the faith?bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife."
You see, God made covenant with us in the Old Testament. Do you know that there are 613 laws of Moses? This is what the Sanhedrin were working so hard to try to protect. They were trying to protect those six hundred. Sometimes we think of the Ten Commandments and we see the actor Charlton Heston on a rock with flowing hair, gray, beautiful and wearing a striking robe color. Unfortunately, there are not ten but 613 commandments!
Understandably God knew that they couldn't do these 613, so He compressed them into ten; and then Jesus shows up and says that ten are too many, so He compresses them into two.
So Jesus said to love God and to love people. You do those two things and you're fulfilling all 613.
Now, we're going to get to the top platform of love. This is where God dwells. And I'm almost finished tonight, and I want you to capture this with your heart. The top level of love is a love called agape love. This is what we would call relentless love. It has everything to do with sacrifice, and this is spiritual. Why? Because this is God?based love.
Relentless love doesn't have an ending point. There's no snapping point. God is not loving you with risks so that He can feel good about Himself. He doesn't have some kind of stopping point where it's going to break. He doesn't have a covenant where He can just end it because you have been unfaithful.
God is in fact relentless with us. He is pursuing us while we are His enemy, while we are estranged from Him, while we are disconnected from Him by the actions we choose to take against Him. This is a resilient love that does not sleep.
You see, my Bible tells me very plainly in John chapter 15 in which He said, “This is my commandment that you -” eros? No. That you phileo? No. That you pragmos? No – “that you agape each other in the same way I have agaped you.” There is no greater agape than this, than to lay down one's life for one's friends in John 3:16. This might be familiar to some of you. Or it might be new.
In John 3:16, this is what the Bible tells us, “For God loved the world so much" ?? for God agaped the world so much ?? "that he gave his one and only son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." Do you know that God gave this sacrifice of His son with absolutely no guarantee, no ROI. There was no return?on?investment guarantee. God loved you so much that He gave His son. He loves you with a relentless love. He exhorts you to love Him back with the same.
Now, here's what's crazy. The first three loves you can summon from within yourself. The fourth, you can't get it until you've got God inside. Here's what that means. You can't love somebody with agape love until you have God living on the inside of you because you can't give what you don't possess, but you will give what you do.
Would you bow your heads with me and close your eyes before Jesus.
1. What are the four kinds of love?
2. Why is eros love risky?
3. What love is based on a covenant? Give an example.
4. Although the Old Testament has 613 commandments, what commandments did Jesus say are most important?
5. What are examples of agape love?