Mat 4:1-11; The Place Where Love Is Faith, and Faith Is Love.

Class Outline:

Thursday February 15, 2024

MAT 4:8-10

Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"


Idea: Worshiping the Lord is loving the Lord, which is a response of faith to Him.


Worship of God is love for God (DEU 6:5, 13, 18; 10:12-22). 


Viewed by Christ as the first commandment (MAT 22:34-40).  Second commandment is like it - from the same source. Cannot have the one without the other.


Agape is the word for “love” in the New Testament. It is used for God only used twice in the synoptic Gospels. 


We have to learn what it is to respond to God in love in order to worship Him. It is easy to mistake it for some type of human love (eros love).


Love (agape) for God in the NT epistles adds a surprise. 


Usage by John is love for the Lord Jesus (Joh 14-15; 21). 1Jo has agape for God only a few times, his emphasis is God’s love for us and our love for others.


Love for God in First John only in 1JO 4:20-5:3.


A key insight: We love because He first loved us, 1JO 4:19.


The love of God receives its full meaning in the revelation of Christ, hence agape in the NT is higher than the love man could know, and therefore have, in the OT. 


If we love God, we will love one another (1JO 4:11-12). 

Love for God and neighbor cannot be isolated. Both are supernatural. Agape for others depends on love for God.


The unconditional nature of God’s agape to you (the completely undeserving sinner) demands that you surrender to it - also unconditionally. 


Your love of your neighbor will be the same, agape is spontaneous, unmerited, ungrounded. 


Agape love is spontaneous, unmerited, ungrounded. God loved the world and gave His Son, not because anyone merited it. God is love (agape; 1JO 4:8, 16). How does agape love for God then work? 


Do we spontaneously love God, seeing no merit in Him, seeing no grounds for loving Him? No. (1JO 4:19 and common sense). 


This gets to a foundational aspect of worshiping God. We do not favor, flatter, appease, gain from God due to worship. Pagans hoped for fertility, crops, rain (Baal was fertility and weather), victory in battle, etc. Modes of worship, offerings, even children (Moloch). 


In the epistles, agape is used for God’s love for us and our love for others. Paul uses agape is reference to loving God - twice.


Paul states that the fulfillment of the law is love of neighbor (ROM 13:9-10). Paul saw agape as equivalent to the cross of Christ (EPH 5:1-2). 


Paul, who developed theology by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, knowing Deuteronomy, knowing the words of the Lord, used another word in our response to God’s love for us. 


Paul used “faith.” (GAL 2:20; Phi 5). 


Brilliant move by the HS: If agape were used in any frequency for the love of God, we might get the idea that we love God in an unconditional, spontaneous, unmerited, ungrounded way. That would be independent from God. It would get in the way of His love for us (unmerited …)


Faith includes the whole devotion of love, while impressing upon us the character of response. Faith is a reciprocated love, deemphasizing any pull towards spontaneity.


You worship God when you respond to His unconditional love of you with faith towards Him. That would then include your devotion, obedience, service, and fear of Him. 


The kingdoms of the world and their glory live in eros. Not in agape, not in faith, fear, or service.