Friday, January 28, 2011

The Vision of Beyond Love

Love. How much has been written about this tiny, four-letter word... How many lives have been lifted and ruined in pursuit of it... How many times have we declared it in earnest ... or carelessly...

Love is a universal driving force.

The Bible, God’s love letter to His creation, exalts love above all: “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” —I Corinthians 13:13

Few of us, however, will define love in precise terms. Many of us have heard sermons delineating three kinds of love in Greek, that very specific and ancient language, the language of our New Testament. 

EROS From “eros” we derive our English word, erotic, which speaks to the sensual. It is often mentioned in ancient Greek manuscripts, but surprisingly is never used in the New Testament.

PHILEO The most common form of love mentioned in the New Testament is “phileo,” having to do with one’s passionate warmth or affection for another. But did you know that we are never told to give God that kind of love? Nor is God’s love ever described with this term. That’s because there is something far better.

AGAPE The term for this uniquely superior love is “agape,” which, due to the way it is used in Scripture, it is known as a God-like love, a surpassing quality “way beyond.”

So how did the name Beyond Love come to be? What is our vision?

All of us experience that “phileo” kind of love. Whether it be for parent, sibling, friend or even pet, love is a natural part of our lives. It is that closest kind of love that every human being regardless of their relationship with God experiences. Unfortunately, that for many of us, is where we stop. We go no further. We say we love him or her, or it (the pet). We invest ourselves in the object of our affections. And that level of investment is our terminus. What we are receiving from the other or giving to them is “phileo” love. It is human. And that’s good, but not good enough. We each should and must go beyond that to the next level of love. And that is a love that is beyond human love. It is that God-like love known as “agape” love, a transforming, surpassing love beyond “phileo.”

Beyond Love then is the next step beyond all the love any of us could possibly muster up in himself, short of our Master’s input. It is simply … beyond human love. And who wouldn’t want to receive that level of love? 

John 3:16 is a perfect example of “agape” love: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Agape love, God’s form of love, is sacrificial. It is total. And it comes with results that last forever. He gave that kind of love to us. And it is ours to give to others. Wow! Who wouldn’t want that kind of love?

Our theme passage for Beyond Love is Romans 8:38 & 39. God provides a challenging list of things—as daunting as they are—that are unable to separate us from His “agape” love for us:

“For I am convinced that neither death , nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love (agape) of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

While these verses so eloquently declare that there is nothing that can come between the believer in Jesus the Messiah and His God, it says something else as well. It says that as you allow God to produce through you His “agape” love—that very same kind of love—that love will as well allow nothing to separate you and your loved one. This is a love, Beyond Love.

It is the goal of this site to help us go beyond that human level of love to a love that is, Beyond Love.

Our prayer is that you will be enriched and your loved ones blessed as God’s surpassing love is exemplified in your life.

Michael & Sarah Lynn
Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible references from the New American Standard Version