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<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Jan. 6, 2008

  • 2008 Jan 06

Love: The Greatest of All Christian Virtues


God is love, the greatest of all Christian virtues is love, and love energized by God lasts forever.


What can be the most powerful aspect of a wife and mother’s life on earth as she obeys God’s calling for her life? God wants it to be her grace-energized love.


What does God say will last forever from all the endless and mostly unseen hours of work that being a wife and mother entail? All the deeds offered in obedience to the Lord produced by grace-energized-love.


In Titus 2:4 we find the key that produces eternal reward from every day of a grace-energized wife’s marriage and a grace-energized mother’s family. Paul explains that the key is love. The first calling of a wife and mother in God's Word is to be LOVE.


[Our] gifts, [and our] ministries, all one day will cease to exist because they will cease to have purpose or meaning. But our showing love [to our husbands and children], practicing [that] love, [and] living [ that] love now--are of utmost importance, more important than having any of the other virtues or gifts, because love is the link God gives us with His eternal Self.


God is love (I John 4:8), and everyone who is born of God loves (I John 4:7)—so the greatest of all the virtues, the one that will last forever, is love (I Corinthians 13:13).


The key to grace-energized lives, marriages, and families is love.


Just as love that is prompted by the Spirit and energized by God’s grace as Peter said, “covers a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8), so the absence of that love causes a multitude of sins. Love is eternal, love is supreme, and love is most like God for God is love!


As we study Titus two we are looking back into a world where so few had ever known or felt real, Biblical love. The culture of Rome was driven by mighty armies, over-powering architecture and engineering, and Emperors known for their power.


To Romans and Cretans, those who were loving, sensitive, and caring were viewed as being weak. Only the tough could endure all the hardness of the day. So the entrance of love as the top-two qualities that wives and mothers were to possess must have been shocking to these early church believers in Crete.


Love was rarely seen in everyday life and culture in the Roman world. So this gentle, sensitive, grace-energized love was to become a powerful witness in the culture of century one. Jesus had already said that by this shall all know that you are My disciples, by your love. So that is why Paul says Grace-energized mothers love their children. That is the second phrase of Titus 2:4


“To Love Their Children” (v. 4c)


This characteristic is one word in the Greek text, philoteknos; and it means to be a lover of children, so grace-energized mothers love their children. That is what God says through Paul. And this love is phileo love that can be felt. That is a grace-energized-mother’s special ministry in Christ's church!


Just the fact that these words were inspired by God to come to His saints means that this was not common, this was not easy, and this was not normal. This type of love just doesn’t “happen” because God wants it. It is a choice, it is a lesson to be learned, and it is a factor that determines a believer’s eternal reward in Heaven.


The Bible clearly explains and illustrates this love that was modeled by Christ. This special phileo love is demonstrated by Jesus Himself. This type of close, companionship and friendship, emotional love is how Christ's relationship is described with Lazarus (John 11:3) and with “the disciple He loved” named John (John 20:2). This is also the word used in Revelation 3:19 for Christ's love for true saints in His church.


Jesus demonstrated His love to Lazarus and all who saw that friendship knew how close they were. The same was seen in Christ's closeness to the Apostle John. That is how Jesus loves us, and wants us to know He loves us, feeling His closeness, and enjoying His friendship.


And that phileo love that is emotional, close, and visible is what the Lord asks from grace-energized mothers towards their children.


Give the priceless gift of love.


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