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"That Love Which Is Of God"

Chapter XVIII


After having read through this book, having thought about the things I understand, and having heard and listened to other men down through the years, it seems there is oe thing that we need to postscript to this great subject of the agape-love of God.

Christ asked Peter twice, "Do you 'agape' me?" When Peter replied twice, "Yes, Lord, I 'phileo' (have affection for) you," then Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

I am reminded when I read that of the relationship of God to man. Though His relationship from Him to us is agape, our relationship is to be a learned agape and re-turned to Him. There still is a phileo affection part of our relationship. The affection would be, as some call it, the "Goochy Goo" relationship. Whatever it is that you call the romantic, lovey-dovey affectionate, light-hearted romance with your spouse, son, daughter or mother, this is the responding type of affection; the trading of something for something.

You can go back to the first chapter of this book and re-read the definition of phileo. You will remember that we defined phileo as something that is pleasured. It continues to be pleassured as long as it is returned. Therefore, God has p[leasure in us as well as agape, but His agape transcends all pleasure. Man has pleasure in God. Three is a sense where God will always return if it is genuine, sincere affection toward God. It is not yet a mature agape, but a phileo affecton for that which man may understand or see in God. God will return also to them. Therefore, phileo will be grounds for continuing a relationship with God Almighty as God will want to pleasure, fondle and romance man (as well as agape-love him) in that tenderness, petting, sporting, as with Isaac in the land of Abimalech found in Genesis 28:6: "...Isaac was sporting with Rebekah his wife."

In that sporting environment with God and man, I am reminded of David, who was a man after God's great heart, as God Himself said. As you read David's writings, you will be impressed with the romance that David had with God, the petting, the mushy stuff, that David continually had for God.

God, therefore, establishes that not only is the agape-love a foundation for a relationship, but that thee is also that romance, that sporting relationship; that being loving to God as long as we are looking for a return. God loves us to a certain point and in a certain measure there is a phileo from God to man and God is looking for an affectionate return. He is looking for man to want to return affection.

There is a certain side of marriage where the husband does certain things to his wife. He wants the romancy, Goo-chy Goo, the petting, in return; there is a certain response he is looking for. Though he may love-agape her because the Bible says so and in spite of her looks, her health, her disposition, whatever, it still remains that a relationship without a response will, after a time, become a disappointed love. He will love her deeply, but he will not have the same relationship as when he is loving in the sense of getting some return affection (phileo).

God doesn't treat David any differently in the sense of extending Himself, but there is a difference in the time He spends communing with David as opposed to one who receives the love of God, but does not return the affection of God. He offers no Goochy Goo. He spends no time in prayer. He prays mechanically and have-to type prayers. His Bible study is necessity and have-to. It is not that romance, sporting Bible study, prayer and communion with God. Hence, God will enjoy walking and spending more time with he who returns His affection. A husband who has a wife who is very romantic and very "little girlish," one who talks him up and makes him feel well and responds to him, a husband who makes his wife feel that way, has that "little boy" in him someplace. He is fun to be around. He responds to her caress. The parent and child are the same way: the father who responds to the son's caress and offers one him-self; the son who responds to the father's caress and so forth. These will enjoy spending more time with each other. The son who rejects his father's caress and a wife who resists and rejects the love, the agape-love of her husband, is a wife who will find a husband that is spending more time at the office and less time with her. Often other things are involved with that.

Lest we close this chapter without bringing this side in, let it be added that there also remaineth an affection, a r-mance, a sporting relationship that God has with His saints. The agape side of love, thought it may not be totally so, has a mechanical side. Agape is becaue the Bible says that you are supposed to love your wife. Love is something that you grow into; something tha tyou practice by habit. You do it because it is right. You develop it. The Bible says to "grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord." You grow to love Him by responding, by seeing love, by allowing yourself mentally to, as I Corinthians 13 says, "Love thinketh no evil." Therefore, we won't allow our mind to dwell upon the faults and failures of others. Love is cultivated.

In the same token, affection, the phileo, is pontaneous. I heap pleasure upon something that pleasures me. In other words, I am a responder. Pleasure comes from me by virtue; of the fact that I am inspired from the outside. God pleasures and sends affections spontaneously to us. God is looking for affecton to spontaneously respond - not agape, but Goochy Goo - the little sporting, the romance, the little sweet nothings.

Beloved, this is true in all love affairs. Both the agape and the phileo side of the love affair are very important. It is important from a pastor to his people. Not only does he love them because the Bible says to love them, not only does he develop the patterns of love, and see criticism, but he de-fends his people. He also gives himself to them completely, proving his love toward them. In that while they are not yet lovely and mature, he loves them anyway. I all the things we have discussed throughout all of this book, ther are yet those little times of putting the arms around the shoulder and the affection that is not wrapped up in agape love. The little note that is sent on occasion that says, "your preacher loves you," which is not wrapped up in the agape love, but it is a phileo affection. It is spending something. It's an "I love you." A little Goochy Goo. It is a little bit of sweet nothings alog the way. A pastor must give this. That is the difference. Some pastors and preachers love the people with the agape, but there is relatively no tenderness, relatively no romance, no sweet nothings, no sporting with their people on an affectionate level. This can be done to the men, to the ladies and to the children of the church, while still doing so in taste and ethics with very high morals and with all things right.

I believe that this same thing is true with a father to his child. Though he loves, provides and gives himself for and to the child in teaching and training, there is an affection, the ruffling of the hair, the little note on the pillow before bedtime. The child goes into bed and there is a note from dad. A note on the bathroom mirror in the morning saying, "Daddy loves you." The youngsters sit on their lap and get big slurpy, smoochies and the bigger kids get the more adult affection. This is also true from the child to the parent. If the father does sport his children in a right and moral way, there will be, almost invariably, response and sporting back from the child to the parents.

Whenever a husband loves his wife, there will be some sporting, some romance, some sweet nothings. There will be some "chasing aorund the coffee table" style of romance at times, some "Let's quick run get an ice cream cone" type of relationship on occasion. (I would like to add that I under-stand the things concerning sugar, ice cream, soda pop, the chemicals, etc., but let it be said that in moderation and in restraint, I would rather see a husbvand and wife step out occasionally and have alittle soda in the park, holding hands and having goo-goo-eyes and the kissy stuff like the old-time dating syndrome, than seeing two people who are so holisticly holy and yet dead in their romance life. Far be it if I had to choose between the two. I would rather have a little soda and ice cream on occasion and a little less health and yet a far more healthy home, than to be so wholly healthy and yet unholy in our love life).

This has been written in addition, lest we walk away and forget or think too little of the great phileo affair of the Father to His children, a husband to his wife and of a preacher to his people; also of a wife to her husband. The Bible says, "teaching the younger women to phileo their own husbands." I believe that the wives, though they are never commanded to have agape to their husband, and they only agape seemingly, as they are trained and taught agape and see it in their husband, yet the Bible does say that they can "romance" him, that they can sweet nothing him, and goo-goo-eye him from the beginning. The truth is, this is the emotional side of a woman. The children can be affectionate in the same light. There is nothing sweeter than a little Johnny who is the inspirer, not the responder, but the inspirer of affection and phileo when he climbs up in daddy's lap and curls up and says, "Daddy, I wuv you." The father who is tired from a day's work; this morning's paper laying on his lap not yet read; his mind is on some problem of finance or some problem of business or of accomplishment that lies unfinished in his mind. Little Johnny who climbs up in his lap and says, "I love you," puts his little arms around him and squeezes him. Often times there is a tear that will run from the father's eye. That is his response, not his initiation, but his response to the blessed phileo affection from the heart of his child to the daddy.

Beloved, though agape is the most wonderful, wonder-ful thing, it is not the end, because God has wedded these two, agape and phileo. Though one is the real, the deep, the true, the everlasting, far greater than our minds will ever understand, yet the other seemingly is strongly the fruit. It is almost as unexplainable as the other. It is just as necessary as the agape. It is the icing on the cake. Yea, the Lord may love a sinner and a sinner may respond and receive Jesus Christ into his heart as personal Saviour, and yea, the Lord keeps loving the sinner and the sinner keeps "loving the love" of God, learning how to be like Christ, learning how to give himself to others in service and in ministering. Yet yea, there comes the Lord Jesus Christ, who romances and goo-goo eyes and cuddles that saint, and in that same token, does also the sinner who is now a saint, respond by climbing up into the lap of God and goo-goo eyeing God. He puts his arm around Him, kisses him and says, "I wuv you. I wuv you."

That is what is often missing! We get so mechanical sometimes with the love of God, with the salvation and the giving ourselves to others and all. That is all fine, but lest we forget, lest we lose what may make our relationship with Christ that very thing and that would add the meaning, the postscript, the reality to it, let us not forget that there is also the little goo-goo-eye, the phileo affection. I love you. Often times we get so mechanical in our prayers, we enter the throne room with such great gusto. We have such courage in the blood of Jesus Christ, that we forget that sometimes this is the greatest importance. Sometimes our heart needs to get so wrought tht we rush into the throne room, forgetting what we came to ask, for a moment, and we cast our arms about the feet of Jesus and hug him and squeeze him as though He is about to leave us. Then I think often times, Jesus very well could reach down (spiritually speaking), and pick the saint up who has a deep, great affection, like David (who was after God's own heart), set him in His lap, put His arms around him and squeeze him to His bosom. There is in that relationship a phileo to phileo. Jesus said, "Peter, do you have affection for me?" Peter said, "Yea Lord, thou knowest that I am deeply affectious toward you." Jesus then sent him to go and do a work for Him.

I was recently reading in Daniel, where the Bible says, "...thou art greatly beloved." Across my mind came this thought: Here is an angel who came from God; an angel who sits in the presence of the throne roomm; an angel who hears God Almighty; an angel who kows the heart of God somewhat; an angel who hears Father, Son and Holy Spirit commune with each other. John 17:5: "with the glory which I had with thee before the world was," an angel who came from that environment down to Daniel and with the greatest, deep tenderness, says to Daniel, "Oh Daniel, if you just knew what the Father feels for you." Then he says to Daniel "...thou art greatly beloved." It didn't register with Daniel so much. He fell on his face and trembled and said, "Dear Lord, how can I speak to one such as thee?" Then he was cleansed and strengthened so that he could speak to the angel. What an affection! What a Goochy-Goo! What a goo-goo-eye! What a romance that Daniel must have had with the Lord that he went beyond just the mechanical prayer and standing true and defending the faith. It must have been a lot more than that. You, beloved, as you look down through the annals of time and the pages of the Holy Scrip-tures, you will often find the difference between loving prayers answered, and the fellowship and joy, is the differ-ence between loving becaue we are supposed to, and loving in respect to phileo romance and the sweet nothings for God.

Again, I appreciate the privilege to pen these things and it is my trust that this can be a great blessing. If you are reading this and you have come this far and you have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your heart and forgive you of your sin, won't you turn just now? Turn your heart to Jesus Christ and believe that He came to do all of this just for you. Won't you right now, bow your head and lift the eyes of your heart unto Heaven and confess that you are a sinner and that your religion and your church and your baptism, confirmation, or whatever else it may be that you have done religiously, has never taken away one sin. As you stand now, you stand without that true and genuine 100% assurance that you are prepared to meet God. You stand naked and in darkness withough God and without hope before the King of kings and Lord of lords. In His grteat agape-love and in His great phileo-love, you turn to Him and cast yourself upon His mercy, confessing your sins and unworthiness and ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart and forgive you of your sins and become your Lord and King Eternal. Then after you have done this, seek out a good independent, fundamental, Bible believing, Bible-preaching, New Testament Baptist church, be biblically immersed in baptism by that church authority and join yourself to that fellowship with great ardor and vigor. Learn how to serve the Lord and be someone for Christ. Rise up and be something for God, but first, you must be born again.