What's Missing

Jesus said that I have come to give life and to give it more abundantly. Now either Jesus is being untruthful or we are missing something in our lives that will produce the abundant life Jesus talks about. Since we know that Jesus only speaks the truth because He is the truth, John 14:6, then the only conclusion we can come to is that there is something in our Christian life that is missing.

In my 42 years of walking with Jesus I have seen and heard and read just about everything that we are supposed to do that will produce the abundant life. Now either I am really slow on the up take or what I have read or heard or tried just has not produced the reality of the abundant life.

We have the truth of salvation by grace, not of works. We have the truth that we are to be water baptized for the remission of sins, to be buried with Christ and to rise unto new life. We have the truth of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that you will receive power after that the Holy Spirit comes upon you. We understand that faith cometh by hearing the word of God. We know that without faith it is impossible to please God.

Knowing all this should produce the abundant life, right? But if you are like me, there is still something missing that will produce a victorious life like the one Jesus lived. Maybe you are not like me and you feel like you are doing just fine. Well, that’s okay, but you can still keep reading because even if you feel like you are doing just fine, there is still more that can be had in this Christian life.

So what’s missing? The answer is found in the Scriptures in the New Testament. Are you ready for this? It’s the doctrine of love. That’s right; love in the New Testament is a doctrine that was built line upon line by the authors of the gospels and epistles.

The one thing that enabled Christ to live the abundant life was His love relationship with His Father. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “I have not come to destroy the law and the prophets but to fulfill them.” Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” in Matthew 22:36. In verses 37-40 Jesus responds with, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest commandment, and second is like unto it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself; upon these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Imagine that, everything depends on fulfilling these two Commandments. Yet how often do we hear sermons that this is the starting point and that from this point we are to live our lives. If you are like me you have done just about everything but follow these two Commandments. One of the reasons I believe this is not preached is because we suppose that we are doing just that, we are loving God with all our heart, soul and mind, but if that were true then why are we not fulfilling the second part loving our neighbor as ourselves. This is where it breaks down because we can claim we love God that way, but if we love God that way, then we should love one another the same way.

Jesus said in John 13:35, “that all men will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” Do all men really know that we are Christ disciples? I have to say no.  It isn’t even evident to the church that we are Christ disciples the way we treat one another and you know I am right. Some of our worst enemies are our own brethren.

Have you ever wondered how we are going to get along in heaven? Are there going to be denominations in heaven so we won't have to associate with one another just like we do now on earth? Those that carry a grudge against their brother will they still continue to carry that grudge throughout eternity?

In Matthew 18:21–22 Peter asked Jesus, “How many times shall I forgive my brother if he continues to sin against me, seven times?” Jesus replied, “seventy times seven.” We as Christians think we have a right to not only not forgive but also defend ourselves and speak badly about our brother. Is this loving our brother even as Jesus loves us, John 15:12?

So why is it that we seem to fall so far short of being able to live this Christian life the way the Bible tells us to? The main reason is because we misunderstand the doctrine of love in the Bible.

In our language the word love is used to translate the Greek, but in the Greek language there are more words than just one for love. There is a Greek word for our love and there is a Greek word for God's love. If you just read the New Testament in English you miss the revelation of what is being made.

For example in John 21:15–17 Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, and Peter responds with “Lord you know I love you.” But what you don't see is that Jesus uses a different word for love then Peter uses. Jesus uses the Greek word agape while Peter responds with the Greek word phileo. Clearly there is a distinction between Jesus definition of love and Peter's definition. Peter is unable to respond with the same Greek word that Jesus uses because Jesus is using a Greek word that carries a deeper meaning then the word Peter uses.

Jesus said in John 15:13, “The greatest act of love is that a man lay down his life for his friends.” The Greek word Jesus uses for love is agape, since Peter said he would die for Jesus and instead of dying he ended up denying Jesus then it was obvious to Peter that his love for Jesus was not agape but phileo. The third time Jesus asked Peter do you love me Jesus uses the word phileo and Peter was grieved and said, “Jesus you know all things you know I phileo you.” Peter's love for his friend was not deep enough or mature enough to enable him to do what he told Jesus he would do. Peter was not able to die for his friend. His love for Jesus failed him.

Jesus said, “If you want to be My disciples then deny yourself take up your cross and follow Me.” Peter's phileo was not enough to enable him to deny himself take up his cross and follow his friend. Phileo love on its own will never give the believer the ability to live for Jesus the way we are supposed to.

What we see here is natural love phileo verses divine love agape. Phileo is man’s natural ability to love in whatever capacity the particular individual is capable of loving. Whereas agape is divine love and because it is from God as a source 1 John 4:7, it has no limits. Enabling the soul to live a life beyond his or her natural abilities.

Let's take another look at the two greatest Commandments. Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” He replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind this is the greatest commandment.” Jesus used the Greek word agape not phileo. This means we are to love God with a divine love not our natural love in order to fulfill the greatest commandment. In order to do this God has to be intimately involved in our lives with His love.

And the second greatest commandment is, “To love your neighbor as yourself.” Here again Jesus does not use the Greek word phileo but agape. We are to have divine love for one another. In order to fulfill this commandment God has to be intimately involved in our lives with His love.

If our natural love, phileo, was enough to live this Christian life then we should be fulfilling the two greatest Commandments and all men would know that we are Jesus’s disciples, and we would be living a life willing to die for one another.

I do not believe that God ever intended for us to live for Him with phileo only. Especially since the two greatest Commandments have nothing to do with phileo. The only way to fulfill these and all the other Commandments is through agape, divine love.

Paul wrote in Romans 13:10, “That love [agape] works no ill towards its neighbor and therefore it is the fulfilling of the law." Paul also wrote in Galatians 5:14, “That all the law is fulfilled in one word. You shall love [agape], your neighbor as yourself.”

Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “I have not come to destroy the law and the prophets but to fulfill.” In John 15:9 we see the second greatest commandment in action through Jesus. He said, “That as the Father has loved [agaped] Me, so have I loved [agaped] you.” Here we see that Jesus loved them as he was being loved, and the second commandment is to love, [agape], your neighbor as yourself.

Isaiah 55:8-9 the prophet wrote “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. Verse 9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

This truth is demonstrated in the two greatest Commandments. They are higher then what we can perform. Yet God is calling us to this higher standard. Only with God intimately involved with His divine love in our lives will we be able to do and live out the Commandments.

Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “that with man it is impossible but with God all things are possible.” Imagine living a live so influenced by God's divine love that you are dwelling in a place of fulfilling the two greatest Commandments 24/7. This is what perfection is going to look like.

This has been God's heart from the very beginning of creation. He created a being, (that is us), that He could agape and His love would so influences us, that we would literally become like Him, Genesis 1:26.

God told Adam that he could partake of all the trees in the garden but not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The day in which he partook would be the day he died; now we know from the story in Genesis that Adam did not die physically but he did die. He lost his relationship with God and that is worst then if he had died physically. For to live life without God and knowing His love and goodness is not living at all. That is why Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.”

When we accept Jesus as our Savior we experience newness of life, but it isn't supposed to stop there. Not only have our sins been taken away but through Jesus we can now come to the Father. The door to intimacy with the Father that closed in the Garden of Eden is now opened.

In John 3:16, Jesus said, "For God so loved [agape] the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes on him will have everlasting life." In John 17:3 Jesus states that eternal life is experientially knowing God and His Son whom God sent. This is the abundant life Jesus spoke of in John 10:10.

In John 15:9 Jesus said to his disciples, “abide (the Greek word is "mano" which means make your home there), in My love,” and the Greek word is agape. Jesus calls God's love His love. The Greek word “My” is a possessive pronoun showing emphasis on who's love this is, also the definite article is before “My,” showing more emphasis on who's love it is. Jesus is not stating that the agape He has is another agape but that He has made the Father's agape His showing that He has become like the Father, fulfilling the Scripture in Genesis 1:26.

The apostle Paul makes a similar statement in 1 Corinthian 16:24, Paul states, “Let my love [agape], be with you all." Paul understood the revelation that we are to be so influenced by agape that it literally becomes our way of life.

This is how we are going to be able to live a life fulfilling the two greatest Commandments. Our own love phileo will never produce this reality.

The greatest commandment is to agape God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind Matthew 22:37. The Greek preposition translated “with,” is "en," it should read “in” all your heart, “in” all your soul, and “in” all your mind. The Greek word "en" means a place of remaining, a place of rest. There is no striving to keep this commandment. Keeping this commandment will be a natural outflow of your life as you are abiding in Jesus’s agape. This will become our natural way of life. When we are living epistles of fulfilling the two greatest Commandments then we will also claim God's agape as our own. This is what Jesus referred to in John 10:10 as the abundant life.

Does it seem strange that we are to agape God with His love? When I first discovered the Greek word for love was agape in Matthew 22:37, I asked myself that question. Why would God want to be loved with His love? The answer is in John 15:9. This is why Jesus called the Father's love His love, and it will be why the Father's love in Jesus will become your love.

You were designed by God to experience His love and His love will influence your whole being, your heart, your soul, and mind, so now the agape God receives, will be influenced by you. This is what makes you of infinite value to God. This is why He gave His only begotten Son for you. He wants you because you are the only one that can agape Him the way you do.  Your agape will be just as unique as you are.

What a marvelous God we serve. David in the Psalms stated we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Jesus said in John 17:22, “The glory You have given Me I have given them that they may be one just as We are one.” This reality did not happen to the first century church, and to this day has yet to be fulfilled.

Paul wrote in Romans 8:29 that, "by God's foreknowledge there is a people that will be conformed to the image of His Son." The word conformed in the Greek means the exact inward likeness, not just an outward resemblance. In other words, what Jesus is, we are going to become.

We are living in the time that all the Scriptures regarding this reality are about to be fulfilled. Jesus is going to have a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing according to Paul's writings in the book of Ephesians 5:27. This is the church I am desiring to belong to. A church that is a product of the Father's love not of our love. I don't know about you but I have seen and heard enough sermons and exhortations that produced little to no result to last me a lifetime. Jesus got results everywhere he went and Jesus gave us the keys so we could live a superabundant life just like He did.

The key is found in John 15:5, Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches he that abided in Me and I in him will bring forth much fruit for without Me you can do nothing.” Without Jesus actively involved in our lives all we will bring forth is wind.

What does Jesus mean when He says "he that abided in Me?" Is He talking about our salvation? Doesn't being born again mean that we are abiding in Him? Actually Jesus explains what He means in verse 9 of this chapter. John 15:9 Jesus says, “As the Father loves Me so have I loved you, abide in My love. In all three places the Greek word for love is agape. This is the second greatest commandment in action. Jesus agapes you as He is being agaped by His Father.

Just being born again and having our sins taken away is only the beginning. The work on Calvary is so those who believe in Jesus would have eternal life. Jesus prayed in John 17:3, “this is eternal life, that they might know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

God wants us to know Him, and the way to knowing Him is by abiding in His Son's agape. Jesus said in John 14:6, “that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no man can come unto the Father but through Me.”  By abiding in Jesus’s agape we will have access to the Father.

John wrote in his second epistle verse 9, “the one who abides in the teaching of Christ, has both the Father and the Son.” The teaching of Christ, John is referring to is the commandment to agape one another, verse 5 and 6 of 2 John. If we agape one another then the agape of God is perfected in us, 1 John 4:12. Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:19, “to know experientially the agape of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge, that you might be filled unto all the fullness of God.” As we are being loved by Jesus we are being filled unto all the fullness of the Father.  This is the answer to Jesus’s prayer in John 17:21, “that they all may be one as You Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us.”

When the world sees this scripture being fulfilled in us they will see something different then what they see now, and all of this new reality is based on the doctrine of agape.  It is all based on Jesus agapeing us, not us phileoing Jesus. Agape is the missing piece to the puzzle that will make everything work the way God intended it to.



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