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The Beatles sang, “All you need is love.” And God pretty much says the same thing but not in so few words. The love of Jesus is extravagant love, beyond our comprehension. Ask yourself, does His love capture your heart, stir your soul, renew your mind, and direct your ways?

Extravagant Love

God’s clear, of course, that Jesus is the embodiment of true love and it is only through Jesus that we receive and experience the reality of extravagant love that captures our hearts.

Throughout the Bible, God speaks of love.  Perhaps the best-known love verse is one spoken by Jesus Himself about God’s love:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Likely the best-known passage about love is the one spoken by the apostle Paul and so often used in wedding ceremonies:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13  (NKJV) Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails…. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The Extravagant Love of 1 Corinthians 13

The word “love” in 1 Corinthians 13 is translated “charity” in the King James Bible.  It distinguishes it from the word “love” that we so often flippantly use.  I love my car. love my dog. love my house, my clothes, my job, etc.  The word “charity” carries a profound meaning that testifies to a deeper, more profound, and satisfying love.  It is a sacrificial love of true commitment and deep emotional connection.  This is a love that is able to give without expecting, or needing, anything in return.   

The Greek word for love in this passage is agápe. In the Greek, there are four words for love: agápe (spiritual), éros (physical), philía (mental), and storge (affection).

Agápe, so well described in 1 Corinthians 13, is spiritual love.  It is the kind of love we receive from God and are able to give to others because of the Holy Spirit’s working in and through us.  The love, first mentioned in the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22), is agápe love.

Éros is physical, or passionate, love.  It is felt in sensual desire and longing. It is emotional and physical without the balance of logic, i.e. love at first sight.  From this Greek word comes our English word erotic.

Philia is mental or intellectual love. It is considered affectionate regard, ie. friendship. It is a kind and virtuous love but without the passion and depth of agápe love.  Philia was a concept first developed by Aristotle.

Storge is natural affection, like the love of parents for their children. It is seldom used in ancient Greek writings and not used at all in the Bible. Perhaps that is because the love we receive from God and the love we are able to give to other is supernatural, divine in its origin, and goes so far beyond simply affectionate love.

Agape love is extravagant love.  As human beings, our love often falls very short of being extravagant.  But God’s love exceeds even our wildest imagination and comprehension.  It is extravagant and it is inexhaustible!  Let’s try to wrap our minds around what what this really means.  What is extravagant love?

Extravagant — from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary 

ex·trav·a·gant [ik-strav-uh-guhnt] adjective

1. spending much more than is necessary or wise; wasteful: an extravagant shopper.

2. excessively high: extravagant expenses; extravagant prices.

3. exceeding the bounds of reason, as actions, demands, opinions, or passions.

4. going beyond what is deserved or justifiable: extravagant praise.

 

Extravagant — from the Noah Webster Dictionary  

EXTRAV’AGANT, a. Literally, wandering beyond limits.

1. Excessive; exceeding due bounds; unreasonable. The wishes, demands, desires and passions of men are often extravagant.

2. Irregular; wild; not within ordinary limits of truth or probability, or other usual bounds; as extravagant flights of fancy. 

Extravagant Love 

God’s love is truly extravagant.  While we would never consider it “wasteful” as one of the definitions suggests, we certainly understand it to be “exceeding the bounds of reason and going beyond what is deserved or justifiable.  I really like the definition from the 1828 Noah Webster Dictinary, “wandering beyond limits.”  Truly extravagant love is “excessive and exceeding due bounds,” “wild” in that it is lavishly given, and therefore “not within ordinary limits of truth or probability, or other usual bounds.” 

We can also understand the “unreasonable” nature of God’s extravagant love, for we are not deserving. Reason would say we need to earn such love. God says He gives it to us freely, not based on merit and without any recompense.  It is by God’s mercy, grace and kindness that He loves us, the unlovable.  And it is in His love that He gave His Son for us, so we can enter into an extravagant love with our Creator and our Saviour.  

At Reasons for Hope* Jesus we filter our thoughts, words and deeds through a three-fold measure of knowing Jesus, loving Jesus, and sharing Jesus with others.

Knowing Jesus

The extravagant love of God cannot be bought, it can only be received.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:9  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 

The extravagant love of God can never be quenched, for it is true and everlasting love.

Song of Songs 8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, Neither can the floods drown it: 

Romans 8:38-39  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

2 Thessalonians 2:16  Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.. 

Loving Jesus

The extravagant love of God is meant to be lived.

Ephesians 5:2  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

John 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

2 John 1:6  And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. 

Sharing Jesus with Others

The extravagant love of God is meant to be shared.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 … ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

Matthew 28:19-20  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 

We love Him, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Remember always to rest in the perfect and eternal love of Christ that you have been given.  It is the greatest gift of love and it truly is extravagant.  As you remember the Lord’s love for you, share that love with your Valentine and with all whom you come in contact with.  

Psalm 92:2  To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,

John 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

2 Corinthians 4:6  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

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