Our subject for this series is the Love of God. Love is one aspect of God's essence, or His very being. The New Testament, as authored by the Holy Spirit, uses the Greek word agape and its derivatives to describe this Love. A more accurate statement would be that the Word of God uses the Greek word agape to distinguish God's love from the human affection.

God does not do something in order to be love. God is love. God does not have to act in love to be a lover. God acts in love because that is Who He is. Love is part of God's essence. Anything God does is in and through love. God cannot act in any other way than in or by love. We will try to establish that fact in today's lesson and lessons to follow.

Spiritual Understanding

If I fail to make this fact understandable to your human mind, it is still needful to accept that fact, even if we can't comprehend it with the knowledge we now have, or our present level of spiritual maturity. This fact is taught throughout Scripture, and we must accept this fact even if our human mind cannot comprehend it. There are many aspects of the Person and work of God that we cannot understand from a human perspective. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures indicate that the more we try to understand the deep things of God by natural practical humanistic means, the less we will know and understand the real truths of God's Word.

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
unsearchable (Greek)
not able to search out i.e. cannot be found by searching. (This is the only time this Greek word is used in the New Testament.)
past finding out (Greek)
past or beyond tracing out, literally - beyond the ability to follow the footprints to their source

John 5:38-39 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for [or because] in them you think you have eternal life; and [however] these are they which testify of Me.

Practical - Not so Good

I want to re-establish the fact that the more we try to understand 
the deep things of God by natural practical humanistic means, 
the less we will know and understand the real truth of God's Word. 

If you don't know this truth, if you don't accept this truth and if you don't live, study and teach in the reality of this truth, you will never get to first base in the real understanding of the truth of God, and His essence. The depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God are unsearchable and past finding out by any natural means. Christ declared this fact to the religious leaders, His disciples and many others while He was on earth.

Notice just a few facts from this passage that will help in our understanding of what Christ was telling those Jewish leaders and us. These men were well educated religious leaders. They spent their lives in the study of the Old Testament. Many of these, to whom Christ was speaking, knew the Old Testament far better than most of us.

In spite of those facts, Christ said that they had learned the wrong truth from the Scriptures. They had the right facts, But facts alone cannot bring spiritual understanding. Therefore, the truth that these religious leaders learned and taught was not truth at all. It was false doctrine.

These well read religious leaders had drawn conclusions from the facts of Scripture that were the exact opposite of what God intended. Christ not only confronted these leaders with what they had done, He went on to explain why they were in this condition and, by comparison with His other teaching, how to avoid such a situation.

This example, alone, should send a chill down (or up) our spiritual spine, and should bring determination to our lives to make sure we are using the facts of the Word of God correctly. In spite of the intense study by these religious leaders, they concluded that the Scriptures, themselves, or the law produced or was eternal life.

The Scriptures never claim, for themselves, to be the agent of eternal life. instead, the Scriptures give testimony to the fact, work and Person of Christ, Who is Eternal Life. Notice several facts in this passage, that when compared with other information presented by Christ, gives us spiritual understanding of this portion and others. The Word of God was not abiding in them.

abiding (Greek)
not to depart or leave; to continue to be present; to remain as one is; not to become another or different.

These leaders were not allowing the Word of God to remain as it was given and intended by God. Instead, they had changed or made it different, so it was more useable on a human level.

Christ called those changes, the Traditions of the Elders, and said that such actions made the commandment of God of no effect. It is of greatest importance that we leave the command of God as intended by God, and not alter that command to accommodate human wants.

Matthew 15:3-9 But [Christ] He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 "For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' 5 But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me has been dedicated to the temple"-- 6 is released from honoring his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' "
I didn't write it, but I agree with it.  
When we alter the Word of God for any reason, we make the command of God of no effect. 
And our teaching, no matter how pleasing, is no more than the commandments of men. 

Those commandments of men will probably be more physically and emotionally enjoyable, than the pure Word of God, But like any spiritual discipline, the personal value and enjoyment comes later, and is eternal. The commandments of men usually bring immediate gratification, But can never effect spiritual growth, and the emotional effect is very temporal.

Another fact we need to see, in John 5:38 that is echoed and expanded in Matthew 15:3-9, is that these religious leaders did not have the Word of God abiding in them (John 5:38). Therefore, they could not know the spiritual truth taught by the Word of God, because their acceptance of and experience in the Word was only external.

In Matthew 15:8, Christ says that these leaders showed honor to Him by their talk or teaching, but this outward talk was not the same as their motive. They talked a good walk, but their walk was not effected by their talk.

Christianity also has a Tradition of the Elders, as a matter of fact we have many such man-made doctrines. The one I'm referring to says in effect that we can use any one verse or any part of a verse to prove our point, even if it doesn't agree with all the rest of Scripture. We complain loudly when the cults or the skeptics use a passage of Scripture out of context to prove their point, or to disprove our point. Yet, we have perfected, to a fine art, this type of misuse of the Scriptures.

Christ, in John 5:38, said there was a reason these leaders did not have the Word of God abiding in them. For this abiding to take place, they must first believe what God said and had done. In this particular case, they did not believe what God did and said in regards to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In spiritual things, believing must always come before understanding.
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

It has always been so. First, we must believe by faith Who God is and what God has done, then the understanding follows as we grow in grace, and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. That was the way it was in the Garden with the first human. That was the way it was in the call of Abraham, the crossing of the Red Sea and the Jordan river, etc..

We humans want instant answers and understanding, without the personal discipline of gaining that knowledge, and allowing the Holy Spirit to minister that knowledge within our lives by being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2). We seem to want instant change without the pain, or the time needed to grow. Let me correct that statement a bit. Most of us are interested in instant change in the other Believers, so the other's change will make our lives more comfortable. Somehow we fail to have the same interest in instant change in our own lives to be transformed into the image of Christ Who is love, Life, truth, etc.

You can stack physical fact on top of physical facts, 
but those facts will not bring spiritual understanding until first, 
by faith, you accept what God has said and who God is. 

The last fact we want to see from this passage, for this lesson, is a fact that is not in the text itself. This fact is only seen because of what did not take place according to the text. Then by comparing Scripture with Scripture, we can see why it did not take place in the lives of these religious leaders. We can, also, learn from this event what we should do in order to experience what did not take place through the intense study of these religious leaders.

Even though these leaders studied and knew the Scriptures that testified of Christ, these leaders never saw Christ or the information about Christ in the Scriptures. That tragedy is something we must avoid, at all cost.

We, at MBF, need this!  We study the Bible intently.  
But if our study is not correct, our teaching will not be correct, 
and our living will be in hypocrisy. 

Let's back through the great Last Bible Class Christ had with His disciples, and see why these religious leaders, in their study and teaching, missed those deep spiritual things concerning Christ.

As we do so, I want us to see how Christ built a spiritual truth that gives us the information needed to avoid making the same mistake as those religious leaders. We will not, by any means, look at all the information given in this Last Bible Class that applies to our present subject. We want to see enough of that information so we can get the flavor and application of this great truth.

John 16:12-14 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
bear (Greek)
to support as a burden or pressure, literally - to endure, sustain, receive. It is built on a Greek word meaning to pace, as one would in a race to increase speed or endurance.

Even though these religious leaders were searchers of the Scripture, they missed two great truths of the Scriptures:

The disciples, as well as those religious leaders were not, at that time, able to bear these deep things of God. Christ told His disciples (and us) earlier in this Last Bible Lesson why they weren't able to bear it now, and how the disciples would be able to bear it later. Follow the progression of this teaching and the building of this spiritual truth.

John 15:24-26 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, 'They hated Me without a cause.' 26 But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

Notice in John 5:39, Christ states that the Scriptures testify of Him. Yet, these religious leaders could not see or understand about Him through their searching of the Scriptures. The Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, will also testify of Christ (John 15:24-26).

Don't miss the descriptive title of the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of Truth v.26. The Holy Spirit is the only One Who can reveal or teach the truth of God and His plan. However, He will only testify of "what He hears" from the Scriptures (John 16:12-14). How will the Spirit of Truth testify of Christ? This fact is one of the first bricks laid by Christ in the building of this spiritual truth (John 14:25-27).

John 14:25-26 These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

I hope that some of the teaching from the last lesson will invade your thinking. If not, please get the lesson, and wade back through that material.

The Holy Spirit will teach us by bringing back to our memory what we already know. For some of us, the Holy Spirit will not have to put in a full days work (certainly no overtime) to bring back to our memory the few things we really know of the Bible. Paul gives us more details concerning the process and method of this teaching and bringing-back to memory by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 2.

1 Corinthians 2:9-14 But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

God reveals these truths through His Spirit in two ways:

These truths, or deep things of God (v.10) are not and cannot be understood by natural or practical means. These things can only be understood by this process called spiritual discernment v.14.

Please note something that we do not have time to follow in this lesson.

The religious leaders searched the Scriptures and failed spiritually.  
The Holy Spirit searches the Scriptures so that we can know 
what God has revealed and so that we may succeed spiritually. 

To thoroughly and completely lay out this precious doctrine of the Spirit's illumination would take more lessons than we have set aside to teach this series on the Love of God. This doctrine must be continually refreshed in our minds and hearts, if we are to understand this deepest of the deep things of God, God's very Essence, His Love.

I was ask sometime ago why I re-visited this doctrine so often. There are two very simple and obvious reasons. As you can see, it is mentioned in the Bible so often. Therefore, if I am to teach the Bible, I will have to teach this doctrine often and from many different perspectives. If I don't re-visit this doctrine often, I would not be a teacher of the Word of God. I would only be a teacher of subjects contained within the Word of God.

Another reason we need to re-visit this doctrine often, is that this fact is both ignored so much, and attack so often, even by those who should know better. If we don't constantly keep these things in mind, each of us will be drawn away from the pure Word of God to some more practical manner of religious living, yet still calling that earthy type religion the true spiritual life. But in fact, only the external would resemble anything remotely spiritual, and all the time, the internal would still be self-centered in all its wants and motives.

Man Separated From God

God is love. God does not have to act in love to become a lover.
God acts in love  because love is Who God is. Love is part of God's essence. 
Mankind is wicked. Mankind does not have to do anything to become wicked. 

By the very fact of being human, a person is wicked beyond measure. A wicked person cannot have God's true love, they can only have lust, at best. There are several types of lusts

It matters not what type of lust, or what degree of lustfulness is demonstrated, it is still wickedness.

Genesis 6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Some may say, "Yes, that was true before the flood, but the flood took care of that problem." That would be a nice thought, But according to the Bible, wickedness is still the condition of the natural person. That is the condition of the natural person before salvation. And that is the condition of a Believer after salvation, when they are not walking in the Spirit.

Genesis 8:21 And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma (of Noah's sacrifice after they came out of the ark). Then the Lord said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?

No, the flood did not take care of the full and complete wickedness of mankind. The fact remains:

Who is God

Who God is will determine what God does. 
What God does will reveal a great deal about Who God is. 

Christ not only established those facts as spiritually true, He invited us to examine His works, and because of that examination to believe Who He is because of the facts of what He has done.

John 14:11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

Mankind thinks of the works of God mostly as the creation of the universe, along with the creatures and nature within that universe. There are basically five general views of the existence of matter and the things composed of matter known as nature:

There are innumerable combinations of those five concepts of the origin of matter and the universe. However, these five categories pretty well summarize the thoughts of mankind as to the beginnings of all things material and physical. The five categories, with the exception of #4, have some reason and show the better part of human logic. However, except for #5, none of those categories give any explanation of how that matter began. The basics of the scientific aspect of cause and effect can be summarized in three areas, with many sub-areas within each:

By man's conclusions from his own logic, mankind has condemned themselves. The Bible also concludes that:

To assert that anything has caused itself to exist, is to maintain that it acted before it existed. Of course, that would be total absurdity. Yet, many intelligent, but morally blind people hold to that view, without shame. Non-existence cannot gender existence.

The atheists, who say that there is no God, are compelled to conclude, whether knowingly or not, that matter is eternal, therefore self-existent. Thereby, making matter their eternal god. Atheism is a religion with a god of nature or matter. The assertion of the atheists that creation of matter by a self-existent Being would be impossible, is based on the human observation that creation of matter is impossible by mankind. An observation to which the Bible agrees. By that conclusion, the atheists assert that mankind is the highest form of intelligent life. Therefore, they conclude that creation cannot happen because mankind is not capable of doing so.

Unless a person is willing to accept that matter is self-existent, and therefore the supreme force of all, that person must accept, if honest that a self-existent Being created, ordered and sustains all things.

If that is our conclusion, and it is the only reasonable and logical conclusion, then the questions follow:

Incorporated in that last question is the subject of our study; The Love of God, what is it, what it's like, how does it function, etc.? To understand a characteristic or attribute of God, we must understand the Person of God. We are going to review some material that should take weeks just to review, and months to properly present. However, we are only going to take a few minutes.


God is three persons, yet only one God. We refer to this union as the Godhead, or the Trinity. No, I don't understand it. If I could fully understand the Trinity, God would be less than the best of mankind.

The Trinity is composed of these Three: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These are names or descriptive titles taken by the members of the Godhead. These names have to do primarily with God's relationship with mankind, and especially in the area of redemption.


The members of the Godhead, even though distinct in person and work, are all one in essence. I have listed some of the aspects of the essence of God. God is:

These are just a few of the characteristics or aspects of the essence of God. We will not study them individually, now. Please understand, God does not just do these things, He is these things, God cannot do or act except when all of these aspects of His essence are in perfect harmony. God cannot act in love, except when that act of love is in perfect harmony with His righteousness & justice, etc.

Man's Creation and Act of God's Love

God created mankind in love while all the time that act of creation was in perfect harmony with His righteousness & justice, and the rest of His essence. In His love, God made humanity like Himself. That likeness was a shadow image, a full study in itself.

God personally breathed into Adam the breath of life, and said that what He had done was very good. God, in love, gave mankind all that they could possible need or want. Yet, mankind chose to turn away from being and living in the likeness of God, to fulfilling their own wants, prompted by Satan, himself.

Once mankind chose to no longer be and live as the shadow image of God, but instead, to gratify the very human or earthy desires of their flesh, mankind became deprived of all that was godly and eternal, leaving only the corruptible and mortal. Mankind, in the natural state, is the very opposite of all that God is.

After the sin in the Garden, there was no longer any hint of godliness in the human life. Instead, they became hopelessly depraved, and without any godlikeness. In this mortal state, their physical and moral condition could only deteriorate further and further into corruption.

The only eternal aspect (the breath of God or soul) of this depraved life 
was waiting its final corruption, the Second Death or eternity in the Lake of Fire. 

Christ's Sacrifice an Act of God's Love

God loved and wanted mankind back in fellowship with Him, But God cannot act in love apart from the perfect harmony of His justice and righteousness. God's righteousness and justice demanded that sin and disobedience be properly punished and paid for.

God so loved the world that He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to accept sin's penalty, and make the payment for my sins and yours. God the Son, Who was holy, omnipotent, omnipresent, just and so much more, became sin for me. He Who had never known sin, willingly took upon Himself the sins of the whole world.

God the Son, Who for all eternity had been one with the Godhead, experienced total separation and loneliness, because God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit had to turn their backs on, or reject Jesus because He had taken upon Himself my sins.

There on that cross, God's righteousness and justice met in perfect harmony with His love. Therefore, God was free to love the world, which includes you.

This is agape love. If your actions are any less than that, then don't claim, 
from your own sinful pride, that you are acting in agape love! 

This love is oh so precious! Please don't throw the term agape around in a effort to justify your carnal actions. When I hear speakers and read authors who carelessly use this term as though it were a toy to be played with, or a goal to be achieved, I get sick and I get angry. I become broken hearted.

Don't claim any part of your actions to be remotely associated with agape, unless you're living is honest, godly, and your love equals that of God's. To make a claim that your love is agape, when it does not measure up to God's love, is blasphemy.

Romans 8:31-35 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?