Agape’s Miracle Marriages
We must accept something at the outset, though it is a difficult fact for most people to come to terms with. And it is this:
“WE ARE BORN WITHOUT A SMIDGEN OF TRUE LOVE IN
OUR ENTIRE BEINGS.”
I know that this is a real whacker. It is like a two-by-four up alongside the head. But I must insist on the harsh reality. When it comes to authentic love, there is by nature a total true love-void in the human heart. Not one lick of it! Not one stitch of it! Not one trace of it!
Man oh man Bob, what in the world are you saying? You have thrown us a real curve ball here. Yes I know, but it will begin to make sense once we begin to get into this more.
EROS – THE BIG BUST
There are three prominent words in the Greek language in which the New Testament was written, and they are all translated by the one English word – love. First, there is the Greek word for love which is EROS, from which we get the English words “Erotic” and “Eroticism.” Eros is not found in the Greek New Testament, and I think for very good reasons. The Holy Spirit didn’t let it in His Divinely inspired revelation because it is as far from true love as our toes are from our nose.
Eros is physical, sexual, self-gratifying love, and by itself in natural man it is just plain lust and not love at all. Eros is what “lovers” say when they have had sexual intercourse – we made love. Of course, they did not make love, for love cannot be made. They made orgasms happen, they made whoopee, and perhaps they “made” a baby, but they did not make love. Defining sexual intercourse as love is about as idiotic as defining creation by the theory of evolution’s “Big Bang.” Defining sex as love and love as sex, pardon the pun, is a nothing but a “Big Bust.”
All human beings are born chucked full of eros. They are literally oozing with it. There heads and bodies are crammed full of it. That is why the world is throbbing with eros. Hollywood is not overflowing with eros, it is eros. American culture today equates sex with love and love with sex. Love is a rush which only lasts during the rush hour, or should we say during the rush moments. Then when the rush and gush are over, man goes where the rush promises to be bigger and better next time.
That is why the world is full of divorces and why we live in a “Divorce Culture.” That is why Hollywood is the divorce capital of the universe. This is why the church is constantly dealing with broken marriage vows. Carnal erotic men live and act like animals because they think that dogs in heat are making love. No they’re not, they’re making puppies. EROS as love is nothing more than the “Big Fizz,” and when the fizz has fizzed, it is all fizzed out. It is then like Coca-Cola with all of the fizz gone.
Eros is best described by Jude 18,
“In the last days there shall be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.”
The last days are here, and they are just what Jude said they would be in all of their lewd lustfulness! There is enough cleavage on television to rival the Grand Canyon! Male enhancement products being sold by the inch, and able to cause an erection for four hours! Every TV show on major networks is filled with sex and violence. You cannot watch television or movies these days without feeling degraded and dirtied.
And did you notice that earth’s last day’s residents are called “Mockers?” They make a mockery of love, sex, marriage, family and every aspect of God’s creation. Sex under the control of the Holy Spirit can be a beautiful expression of marital love and oneness. But under the control of the eros-spirit of the age, it is a mockery of holy marriage and sex. Movie after movie and TV show after show is about sex-starved degenerates who treat each other more like pieces of meat thrown to starving tigers.
And note carefully the words “Following after their ungodly lusts,” especially the verb “Following!” Their lust leads them like alpha males, and they follow it from affair to affair, from tryst to tryst, and from marriage to marriage. Why? Because eros is a mirage! Eros lures man from sexually dry watering hole to sexually dry watering hole looking for love, and each one appears more alluring than the last, and each one is as dry as a sand dune But they keep on following eros like sex -maniacs pumped up on Extenze, Viagra, Enzyte. And in the midst of such an eros-ravenous culture, the Lord commands us in Jude 21,
“…keep yourselves in the love (agape) of God….”
No small order! We had better listen. This eros-sex tsunami that is sweeping over the earth is going to keep on coming stronger and stronger, and while it keeps on coming, God’s people must keep themselves in the strong tower of God’s love or be swept away by the polluted waters of raging eros.
In summary, when people are eros saturated, they will drink each other sexually and in every other way like a cool refreshing drink on a hot summer day, and when the can is empty they will throw it away. That is why she is celebrating her fourth eros-marriage and he his third. And they shall once more experience the fleshly obsession of eros-marriage:
“RUSH ME AND GUSH ME IN EVERY WAY OR I WILL FLUSH YOU.”
In summary, eros is a craving self-centeredness. Simulate me, ravish me, fly me to the moon, and when I get there, build me a moon castle. And tomorrow, fly me to Mars. If you will, eros at its core is:
“EVERYTHING FOR ME, AND NOTHING FOR YOU. TOMORROW WE WILL DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN.“
PHILEO – I WILL IF YOU WILL
Second, and on a slightly higher level, however you measure slightness, is a second word for love in the Greek language which is PHILEO. It is in the New Testament, such as Romans 12:10,
And Hebrews 13:1,
“Let love (phileo) of the brethren continue.”
From phileo we get the English derivatives like “Philanthropy” and “Philadelphia,” the city of brotherly love. I have been to Philadelphia once, and it seemed about as brotherly or non-brotherly as every other place I have ever been. This is not a put down, but we all know how brothers can be at times. More like rivals than the closest of friends. You also know how the old maxim goes, “A brother is not necessarily your friend, but every true friend is your brother.”
Eros is a one-way street leading to self-gratification. Phileo is supposed to be two-way street leading to mutual gratification. The problem is, as with eros, phileo has been poisoned by sin. God asked Cain, “Where is your brother?” Cain responded to God in Genesis 4:9,
“I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Of course you know Cain where your “Ach” is! (Ach is Hebrew for brother) Of course you know Cain where your “Adelphos” is! (Adelphos is Greek for brother) Your “Ach,” your “Adelphos” is lying dead right where you murdered him. Of course you are your brother’s keeper, but you have become your brother’s murderer. Brotherly phileo gone bad, really, really bad!
Every man is also born with phileo, which is the best left-over sinful man has of man’s pre-sin state. Cain was supposed to look after the welfare of his brother Abel, and Abel look after the welfare of his brother Cain. That is how it was supposed to work. You know,
“I’ll COVER YOUR BACK IF YOU COVER MINE.”
Sounds reasonable to me! It ought to be a really good arrangement. However in this sin ridden world it is only a small step from covering your brother’s back to stabbing him in the back. Philadelphia, the brotherly-love city, would be the ideal place to live if it lived up to its name, and it would if sin-poisoned phileo wasn’t killing so many of our brothers! I wonder how many of our brothers and sisters will not come home tonight.
So you see this is why phileo poisoned by sin, just as eros, will not enable husbands and wives to be married happily ever after until death does them part. Their marriage has a strong possibility of dying before they do. Some statistics tell us that 1st marriages in America have a 41% divorce rate, 2nd marriages a 60% divorce rate, and 3rd marriages a 73% divorce rate. Eros rotted by sin abuses spouses, and phileo rotted by sin uses spouses.
If you will, phileo in this self-absorbed world is this:
WAY I NEED, I’LL ADD YOUR NAME TO MY SCRATCHED OFF SPOUSE LIST.”
Or again phileo is:
SOMETHING ME, I WILL NOTHING YOU.”
AGAPE – NOTHING LIKE IT IN THE WHOLE WORLD
Now we have finally arrived in the land of miracle marriages. We are finally here after so many failed and furious marriage debacles. Why did it take so long? Better late than never!
What we are about to share surpasses our brains. If after we share about this third love , and you say things like, “Man, this blows my mind, this goes right over my head, this is unfathomable,” that is a very good sign, because it tells me that the teaching is Biblical. However if you were to say things like this, “Yah, no big deal, I understand what you are saying,” that would be a very bad sign and would indicate that the teaching has fallen far short of Bible truth. Why? Because AGAPE is God’s love which flies farther above human understanding than the Hubble Telescope which flies in orbit 375 miles above the earth. We read in Ephesians 3:19,
The only way to know Christ’s Agape is to experience it. Christianity is knowing experientially that which surpasses knowing intellectually. It is because agape passes human knowledge, it also surpasses human language. There is not one derivative from the Greek noun Agape in the English language, except those that I make up, such as “Agapic” and “Agapically.” We are in the love stratosphere here. We have reached the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize of Love!
Well then, how does one experience God’s love which transcends our brains by infinity? As we have noted at the outset, we are born with eros and phileo, but we are born without a shred of agape. This means if we are born without God’s love, we are going to have be, as Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:7,
After all, if we by birth and by nature had even some of God’s agape-love, we would not have to be born again. We then would simply have to be nurtured and matured. But because we are stalled with our love tank on “E” when it comes to agape,
“WE NEED A WHOLE NEW START, A WHOLE NEW NATURE, GOD’S
MIRACLE AGAPE-LOVE NATURE.”
“…for love (agape) is from God; and everyone who loves (agapao) is born of
God and knows God.”
“The one who does not love (agapao) does not know God. for God is love (agape).
We are told here in no uncertain terms here that Agape-love is not only from God, but we are told that:
“LOVE (AGAPE) IS GOD.”
True love is not a bodily function, and it is not a mutual transaction. Love is a “Person.” Love is God Himself. So to be truly in love, you have to be in God. And if you have fallen out of love, you have fallen out of God.
Eros needs to be tickled. Phileo needs to be scratched. Agape needs to give. That is why we read the words we do in John 3:16,
“For God so loved (agapao) the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes
Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Agape gives and keeps on giving even when it hurts. God could have rightfully cast us sinners into the dungeon of Hell with the dragon Satan, but instead Love gave His Son to go to Hell for us. Even though today that has become a news item on the back page of modern day preaching. God today is preached as the giver of bangles and beads, and not the Giver of His only begotten Son. The Gospel being preached today is an impostor preached by impostors. Modern Christianity has cheapened agape to the level of eros and phileo.
Or again, we read about God-Agape in I Corinthians 13:5 about agape,
“SOMETHING FOR ME AND SOMETHING FOR YOU.”
“EVERYTHING FOR YOU, AND NOTHING FOR ME.”
I told you that you would not be able to fathom agape. None of the principles of eros and phileo apply here. Eros and phileo are always hollering up at Santa, ” I want, I need, I must have.” Agape is God looking down at man saying, I give, I give, give.” That is why when a husband and wife love each other with agape hearts, it is Heaven on earth. But with no agape but only frustrated and never satisfied eros and phileo, it is Hell on earth. Spouses then become “Japanese Zero Bombers” rather than “Jesus Agape Blessers.”
Are you kidding with this business of agape being “Everything for your spouse and nothing for you?” No I am not kidding, for agape is totally selfless. Husbands and wife can actually live like that with and for each other? No, not naturally, but only supernaturally. As born-again believers, they have the miracle “Jesus-Agape-Nature.” They have the Spirit of Christ in them that says and lives and loves like Jesus – I will die so that you my spouse can live life abundantly! I will empty myself for you my spouse that you may be filled with blessings to overflowing. I will suffer Hell my spouse for you that you might experience a taste of Heaven. I will bear the blame that so you my spouse may be forgiven and innocent. I my spouse will always be last so that you will always be first in everything. Welcome to Agape’s Miracle Marriages.
HOW IS YOUR LOVE LIFE?
I don’t know if you realize this, but as there are three dominant Greek words for love, so there are three dominant Greek words for life. I find it more than coincidental that there is not only a numerical three-and-three parallel between love and life in the Greek language, but there is a substantive parallel between love and life as well. Let’s take a quick look, and I believe that none of this is coincidental.
The first word for love we have noted is the Greek word EROS which is physical love. Likewise we have seen that eros by itself is not love but lust. From the word eros, as we have also seen, we get English words such as “Erotic” and “Erotically.” The world thinks that eros is love, and follows and worships eros as their love-god. They sacrifice their health, their wives, their husbands, their children and their very lives for their eros sex-god.
It is more than interesting that one of the words in the Greek New Testament for life is BIOS from which we get words like “Biology” and “Biological.” It is about physical life even as eros is about physical love. Bios is broader in its meaning than just human physiology. It covers the broad spectrum of the material world – flesh, mammon, stuff, possessions etc. The world and now the much of the modern church, believe that they can find real life in bios even as they think they can find real love in eros. Couples today think that can find marital bliss in eros and bios, lots of sex and lots of money. However even as eros is a big love-flop, so bios is a big life-flop. Jesus says in Luke 12:15,
“…for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist
of his possessions.”
And so we might also say:
“for not even when they have an abundance of sex does their love consist
of their climaxes.”
The second word for love as we have seen is PHILEO from which we get words such as “Philadelphia.” It is about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is a give and take, give and receive proposition. But if the receiving dries up, the giving is in trouble. Hey, it is good to give, but receiving is a far greater high, and so make sure that after I give you something my spouse that you reciprocate or I will really fall into a deep low. I don’t like being low, and so I might just have look for someone else to give me that high again. This is all natural man has to work with, and he is without the only love that works.
It is more than interesting that another one of the words in the Greek New Testament for life is PSUCHE, from which we get English words such as “Psychology” and “Psychic.” We read Jesus’ words in John 10:15,
Psuche can also be translated “Soul.” It is the intellectual, willful and emotional life of man – his soul life. It is that in the spouse that is always saying things like, “You just don’t care how I feel. My feelings count too you know. Don’t you want to know what I think too? I’ve got a brain too whether you believe it or not. I can’t put up with your insensitivity anymore. It is like I don’t exist.”
But you see, if Jesus would have held on to and been conditioned by His psuche, He would never have gone to the cross. He would have never suffered your Hell and my Hell for your sins and for my sins. If He would have held on to His natural “What I Think” and “What I Feel” and “What I Want,” He would not have laid down His life (psuche) for the sheep. Spouses need to lay down their psuches for each other if they are going to able to love each other like Christ loves us. Praise be to God that Jesus laid down His psuche when He said to His Father in Matthew 26t:39,
“…yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”
I am sure you have counseled those as I have who are constantly having their feelings hurt by everyone, and most of all by their spouses. They are always crying and weeping over their wounded psuches. Counseling them is like going through a car wash with your car window half open. But when we lay our psuches down is the only way that we are able to think about, feel for and want what is best for others. Instead of always sobbing and boohooing about our scraped psuches, we will for the first time in our lives be able to weep with and for others as if they are ourselves.
You cannot keep your psuche and be successfully married, for if you keep on nursing your psuche you will only be able to be one with yourself and not one with your spouse.
The third word for love as we have seen is the miracle AGAPE which alone produces miracle marriages. And that is really gigantic good news, because for marriage to work, it takes an out and out miracle. I already mentioned that it sounds to good be true, and to super-rational for it to sound logical. But here it is:
“AGAPE IS TOTALLY A NO-ME YES-YOU LOVE.”
“Man oh man,” you complain, “Agape is going to kill me.” Exactly, the Holy Spirit has been trying to enable you to put your “Psuche-Me” on the cross for years and die to self with Christ. You see, when you love like Christ, it will kill you. Now you are ready for marriage agape style in which your spouse’s wants, feelings and insights become your priority. Agape always not only deprioritizes self, it kills self dead.
It is again not a coincidence that the third word for life in the Greek New Testament is ZOE. From it we do not derive such English words as “Zoology” or “Zoological.” As with agape, there are no English derivatives from zoe, for there is again nothing like it in the whole world! Why? Because it comes from Heaven! Zoe is God’s life! Jesus is both God’s agape and zoe with skin on them. Even as God’s agape in us is love like love has never been before, so God’s zoe in us is life like life has never been lived before. Only when we have Jesus in us can we fully love, and only when we have Jesus in us are we fully alive. Which is why we read in I John 5:12,
not have the life (zoe).”
Finally, as with God’s agape-love, so with God’s zoe-live:
“ZOE IS NOTHING OF ME AND EVERYTHING OF HIM.”
Or as Paul in Galatians 2:20 puts it,
“…and it is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives me.”
HOW IS YOUR LOVE LIFE?