In her sermon entitled “Commit To Love” Eirwen spoke on a very specific type of love. This is a love that has nothing to do with our feelings. It is not an emotional love, nor is it a romantic, sexual, friendship, or a brotherly love. This love is called “Agape”, and it is a committed and faithful will to love. It is a love that is found between God and man. Agape is the sort of love that says “I will love God, and I will love man”, even though we may be in the pit of despair, in very great pain, having been hurt by the very people we are called to love.
Referring to Revelations 5:2-5, Eirwen talks of the scroll; a scroll that no one on earth or in heaven could open. It is a legal document that buys back all of creation, and there is only one who is worthy to be able to open it. Only Jesus. Throughout history, there is no one who could redeem man in heaven or earth, except Jesus. Only Him. Jesus succeeds in doing what no other could, because he was willing. He heard what God asked of Him, and He said “I will”. He endured the ultimate torture, and He did it for us, and He did it willingly. This is the true meaning of agape love.
Continuing, Eirwen asked us what this love would look like in real life. She explained that she would be using David to illustrate how agape love can be demonstrated in real life. Beginning in 2Samuel 9:1-13. Here, we meet Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul. Saul was the enemy of David. This made Mephibosheth his enemy, too, and yet, David chose to bless him in abundance in spite of this fact, and to have him eat at his table. Mephibosheth was a cripple. He was wounded; this is similar to how we are with God, rendered unable to clean ourselves, but God sees our weaknesses, and although we could quite easily be enemies to Him, He chose; was willing to bless us by sending Jesus. He leads us to a place at the table, where we can feast on Him; so that we can know Him, and taste, and see that He is good.
The purpose of the Church is to lead us into the presence of Jesus. He lays a table for us, but the question that we need to be asking ourselves is, are we laying a table for those people who have nothing to give. A great many Churches just build towers to show how good they are at worship, preaching, outreach, etc, but we should all be laying a table to show how good He is. In truth, it is all about God, and Jesus, and if a Church isn’t leading people to God, then it’s useless. We should be inviting people to come and feast on Jesus, and see how good He really is, and then those people, in turn, will lead others to the table. David exhibited true grace in the way he behaved towards Mephibosheth. He had no reason to behave kindly towards him, and yet he did, even going so far as to bless him greatly. This is exactly what God does for us.
Referring to 2Samuel 24:24, Eirwen speaks of when David bought the threshing floor. Though he was offered the land and as many animals as he wanted for a sacrifice, he insisted on buying it. He refused to make a sacrifice to God, that hadn’t cost him anything. This is what happened with Jesus. He lost everything at the cross. He gave everything at the cross. After a sacrifice like that, what does it cost us to follow Him.
In Malachi 3 it is written that we are to bring in all the tithes, and to give a proportion of what we have, first to God. We are called to do this regularly and generously. These tithes are money, time, and effort. They can be costly things. Sometimes we lack enthusiasm, we are ‘tired’ or ‘broke’, but we are called to bring a sacrifice of praise. Our excuses often don’t match up. In truth, people will find a way to do things that they want to do, but we are called to give first to God, and to do so regularly and generously. The truth is, that once we spend time with God and get to know Him, it is easier to do what He wants us to.
Agape love cannot be understood unless we can understand how He first loved us. Christ displayed the absolute of agape love, when He stood up and said “I will do it”, and went to the cross, not forced, but voluntarily, for us. In doing this, Jesus feeds us for life, and takes us into heaven with Him.
1Chronicles 29:14 says “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand”. The simple truth is that we cannot give God anything that He hasn’t given us first. David was the King and had an abundance of things, but He was ready and willing to make sacrifices for God. It was David’s dream to build the temple, but God told him not to. David listened, and didn’t become bitter about it. He gives freely, and allows God’s will to take place, setting aside his own wants.
Eirwen asked us how we respond when we see someone else getting what we really want. We might get angry, or bitter. We might feel sorry for ourselves, but it is important that we remember that it’s what God wants that is the most important thing. Eirwen asked us to not withhold. God never withholds from us, and we should not withhold what we can give. God never withdraws from us. He’s constantly speaking to us. We should not withhold friendships, or time, but should give as freely as He has given us.
In closing, Eirwen asked us to be more like David. Church is supposed to be somewhere people can go to find rest in God. It is not a place for one-upmanship, and discord. She called us to stay as one and not fall out with each other, but to put together again the fractured relationships in a way that honours God. 1John 4:19-21 talks about love for God, and for our brothers and sisters. The truth is that our standing in the world is the same as Christ if we act in love. We are called to love and to be loved. First we were loved, by Him, and now, we can truly love if we let love rule in our hearts.
Scriptures: Revelation 5:2-5, Isaiah 59:15-17, 2Samuel 9:1-13, 2Samuel 24:24. Malachi 3, 1Chronicles 29:14, 1John 4:19-21