Agape vs. Phileo
[The Love of God vs. The Love of the World]
This teaching, as simple as it may appear to be, is very important to the understanding of the overall Word of God. I will tell you a small part of a major story affecting my own life and thousands of others. The main reason that the Ministry with which most of us studied, fell to pieces, is the fact that the people began to disregard and not apply the BASICS of the Word. They were warned by the leader and founder of the Ministry that this was happening. Lately, I have been focusing on these basics because I felt in my own life and ministry that I was being tricked into disregarding such important principles which laid the foundation for our knowledge of God’s Word.
Adjustments in our renewed mind must be made accordingly. We must be able to see behind the scenes what our personal adversary is trying to do. He is extremely tricky and you must have your head into the Word to be able to see what he is up to. I am not bragging because I give all the glory to God. But I saw the trick in my own life and I was able to counter it in time. I took every teaching that I planned to do and brought it back to the basics of God’s Word and just in time.
As I introduce this teaching, let me give you a very clear example of what can happen. This relates to my personal life. When I was much younger, I used to teach guitar lessons to young children. I would say to my students to sharpen that note or to flatten that note. I simply ASSUMED that my student knew what I was saying. I wasn't even giving it a second thought. My student would look at me in a confused manner and some confusion would set in pertaining to the teaching and I shortly realized what I was doing. I was making a mistake and I apologized to my students. You can only imagine what would've happened if I continued with the same behavior – making an assumption that my student understood what I was saying. What I was trying to say was actually a basic of music. However, many of my students were not yet versed enough to remember this simple basic.
Before I begin this teaching, I want to mention a few basics of the Word of God. First, and foremost, is the difference between the love of God and the love of the world. Second, is the law of giving equals receiving. Third, and extremely important, is the law of believing. These are just a few of the basic principles of the Word of God. When we get away from these basics and only study more advanced principles, we are in for trouble. Your foundation, which is your basics, may develop slight cracks at times and needs to be repaired. This can happen to any believer. If he ignores God and doesn't repair and review and study the basics of the principles of the Word of God, that believer is headed for disaster, slow but sure. I was always one to bring people back to the basics of God's Word and guess what my reaction was and still is, but I couldn't care less. Many believers and most people dislike me. So who was I going to stand approved before -- God or man? This was my decision and you can guess what it was.
I need to tell you this true story before I go on with the teaching. Another basic of the Word of God is a principle called Receive, Retain, Release. I coordinated a fellowship once where there were only three of us. I asked the other two people to prepare a slight and short teaching on one of these principles. These people had a habit of coming to fellowship and only talking about sports. I saw it very clearly. Guess what happened the next week? It even took me by surprise. I asked the first person to discuss one of the three ideas pertaining to the principle of receive, retain, and release. This principle is really so important that it is the first topic I ever taught on in my first fellowship. Well, the person looked at me and said, “I forgot.” I said to him “You forgot!!?” And I could not help but see the disrespect for the Word of God. Fellowship was only a social gathering for this person so you'll never guess what I did. At the end of the fellowship, I said “That’s it.” Both people looked at me as if to say, what do you mean? I said there doesn't seem to be much interest in the Word of God, but more interest in the subject of sports. So there will be no more fellowship. This is the last one. Have a nice night. The Word of God says the following:
Let all things be done decently and in order. -- I Corinthians 14: 40
I was not about to run a fellowship that was out of order and indecent in front of God Almighty. So now, this believer, bless his heart, could go to a sports bar and talk about sports but not in a fellowship where God Almighty is first and foremost. Finding dedicated sold out believers today is one of the most difficult tasks you can undertake. Most believers are scared without a leader. We don't seem to realize that we all have the same Christ in us and we all have the same potential power. It all depends on our renewed mind efforts which is coupled with our believing. Let me go over some basics in this area before I begin this teaching (I guess you've heard that before).
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. [emphasis added] -- II Timothy 2: 15
And why do we study? We've read this Scripture hundreds of times, but do we realize the importance of this basic principle? Now, the Word of God will show you why we study.
I Beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. -- Romans 12: 1, 2
That's why we study because God is beggingly imploring us to do so. Because He created life and I think He knows how to live it, don't you?! My God, how plain stupid can we be - some of us? God says it is our logical service. In other words it's the only thing that makes sense. It is the only thing that helps us not to conform to this world. It is the only thing that will transform our minds to be able to manifest the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. And it is the only thing that will help you to prove to yourself what is that good and acceptable and perfect Will of God. And this, my people, is your key to power in your walk with God and in the midst of the god of this world who is working overtime because he knows his time is short. Well, let's make it miserable for him. Let's do something for God that never fails. It just never fails. Can you imagine that? And do you know what that is? It is the love of God. The Word of God says that the love of God (agape) NEVER FAILS. Lord God Almighty, what more can we ask for? Now, we've set the proper foundation for the following teaching.
I did about an hour of research with someone helping me to bring to you the beginning of the following part of this teaching. If it weren’t for Bullinger’s Lexicon, I would not be able to complete this teaching. First and foremost, you must understand the following simple principle. The love of God, regarding believers, did not exist before the day of Pentecost. I'm going to say that again. The love of God did not exist before the Day of Pentecost. So all of those believers in the Old Testament that manifested love -- it was the love of the world. This love can be very strong but not as strong as the love of God. I am now going to get as basic as I possibly can so that you understand this Phileo love.
Do you remember when you were a teenager and you had a girlfriend or boyfriend and maybe you even said to them that you were in love with them? Now, the main ingredient here that you better understand is that, at this time, both of you were not born again of God's Spirit. You were simply body and soul people. That type of person can only express the love of the world. This is what we felt for each other as we were teenagers and we had our ‘steadies’. Pretty strong stuff wasn't it? I remember hurting one person for no justifiable reason and after that, I got hurt about 10 times. I suffered like hell and isn't it amazing that the principles in the Word of God regarding giving equals receiving were still working in my life even though I wasn't born again. You see that's what it means when we talk about a principle of God being immutable. It works for saint and sinner alike whether you are born again or not. You can escape man’s justice, but you can never escape the justice of God. I had to use the Greek alphabet which I arranged nicely many years ago to finally get to the point where I can give you examples from God's Word regarding the love of the world (phileo). We are going to understand this concept first and then we are going to the love of God.
I am very much into detail as you may know. Before I get to this Scripture, I am going to review with you that the Gospels are actually the Old Testament. Why? Because the Day of Pentecost had not yet come and people could not be born again of God Spirit. Therefore, they could not manifest the love of God. Ok? Are we straight on that? Now we’re going to go to some Scriptures in the Gospels to illustrate our point about the love of the world and to distinguish it from the love of God.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. – Matthew 6: 5
Now take a look at the word ‘love’ in this verse. This is still the Old Testament and the love of God was not yet available. So these hypocrites just loved to pray standing in the synagogues so they can show off. God says, they will get what they got coming to them and everyone does. But the point here is that this love, used here as a verb, is the love of the world and as we will see, the love of God would never behave in such a manner.
Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; -- Luke 20: 46
Now isn't that something? The subject matter of this Scripture is very similar to our previous Scripture in Matthew. But the point is still made that these scribes loved to be greeted in the markets and put on a big show. This love is again the love of the world. It is not, and cannot be, the love of God. Now you tell me why. You should know by now that every reference to ‘love’ before the day of Pentecost has to be the love of the world. You cannot have something unless it's available and the love of God was simply not yet available.
Let us review one more example of what is referred to as the correct distinction between the love of the world and the love of God. Actually, this next example is a great one because it involves the Lord Jesus Christ who, believe it or not, had the spirit of God upon him and not in him. He was still able to always do the Will of God and he always did. When Jesus Christ walked the face of the earth, we were in what was called the Christ Administration. The day of Pentecost had not yet come. I always tell my people to study the teaching called The Seven Administrations. This will greatly help you to understand the time periods that encompass the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Once you understand this teaching, everything pertaining to the Bible will be much clearer to you.
Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. – John 11: 3
This example helps me to help you to see and understand just how strong the love of the world can be. So just imagine how much stronger the love of God can be. Here we have a situation where this person was extremely sick and Jesus Christ loved him to no end. But believe it or not, this love that Jesus Christ expressed for Lazarus, was actually worldly love. Do I have to give you the reason again? Jesus Christ walked on the face of this earth in the Christ Administration which is part of the Old Testament and preceded the Grace Administration (New Testament) where it was available for a person to be born again and therefore operate the love of God. You can probably see why so many people misunderstand the Bible because so many so-called preachers do not rightly divide the Word. It's that simple.
I believe we have proven our point and I have given you enough examples to understand the love of the world and why it existed. You now understand that the love of God did not take preeminence until after the Day of Pentecost when a believer was able to be born again of God's Spirit. He then was a man of body, soul, AND spirit. That's the difference. That spirit of God living inside a believer made it available for him to manifest the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. That is the next section we will be covering.
* Note: I am able to prepare this teaching using a Lexicon by Bullinger. The Lexicon tells me which verse refers to which Greek word and with the use of the Greek alphabet, I can research phileo and any other word in the New Testament. Buy the book.
If you will look through all of the teachings, you will find a teaching in the Basics category called The Love of God. Although I have never compared and contrasted the love of God with the love of the world, for this reason I feel that this teaching is very important. The love of the world is very strong, but the love of God is the strongest love there is in the universe. It overwhelms the love of the world in all instances as you will see. In the first place, we will see from I Corinthians that the love of God never fails. The love of the world cannot say this. This here alone is quite a distinction and important for you to know. Now I will be referring only to I Corinthians chapter 13 which deals specifically with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. This latter phrase means that you must be renewing your mind to bring out into your life the love of God.
In this church epistle, God specifically states an extremely important attribute of the love of God. In general, God is saying that no matter what we do, if we do not do it with the love of God, we are become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. In other words, there is no profit in what we do and we are just making a lot of useless noise. Here is what the Scripture says in I Corinthians Chapter 13, verse 1:
1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
You must always remember that the King James version refers to the love of God as CHARITY. This is an absolute must for you to grasp at the very beginning of this chapter. I am going to assume that you are mature believer for now and I am not going to put a bracket after every use charity which says -- the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. But that's what charity is referring to each time it is mentioned in this chapter.
As you should know by now, when God says something twice, he is establishing that fact. In other words, it will not change. I am going to let you alone to take a look at verse two of I Corinthians chapter 13 and you should be able to clearly see that God says basically the same thing that He says in verse one. In essence, no matter what we can accomplish in our lives and no matter how great it may seem, without the love of God, we accomplish nothing and we are nothing.
Now, if you remember, in the first section pertaining to phileo love, this type of statement is not mentioned. God is trying to show us the importance of doing everything with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. This love of God is so great that oftentimes not even our own minds can comprehend its power. Again, I have to mention to you that the love of God never fails. Can you even fully comprehend such a statement?
I must say to you at this point that a person who was very dear to me manifested the love of the world towards me pertaining to a devastating situation. This person would not give up no matter what and he accomplished his goal that affected and changed my whole life. One day much later, he said to me, “Remember, there is nothing that love cannot accomplish.” Quite an amazing statement! I never forgot it and I never will. But I found out later in life, that phileo love does not last – it is not permanent. This person did an amazing thing with the love of the world. Can you imagine what can be done with the love of God?
3. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Now, lo and behold, here is something that you almost never see. God did not only say something twice, He said it three times!!!! I have never noticed anything in the Bible like this before. Apparently, it doesn't matter what you do in the whole universe, if you do not do it with the love of God, there is no lasting profit whatsoever in anything that you do. God repeats Himself to help us. He knows that once and even twice, at times, is not enough. So in this unusual occurrence, He repeats Himself three different times. I must also say, that at this point, the love of the world appears to have a great profit at times. But if you think about it, in the long run, it just doesn't last -- there really is no long-lasting profit to it. This has been my experience in my life.
4. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
The love of God is enduring, patient and slow to anger. The love of God is kind, gentle, and does not envy. The love of God does not boast, and is not vain, inflated with self-importance.
Again, the point I want you to see is that you don't see these benefits mentioned anywhere about the love of the world. It may be kind, but not near as kind as the love of God. This same line of reasoning will follow through for the rest of the verse. Also, I need to mention to you that the love of God is always mentioned in the renewed mind in manifestation. You can only manifest the love of God if you are renewing your mind to the Word of God. Once you do this, you can manifest it openly in your life. These requirements are never mentioned pertaining to the love of the world.
5. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
The love of God does not act in an indecent manner. It is not selfish and it is very difficult to provoke. But the one major thing that will challenge every believer on earth is the fact that the love of God does not think evil. This is most difficult for almost all of us. It means that we never have an evil thought pertaining to anything or anybody. That's how dynamic the love of God is because it challenges each one of us to think good thoughts such as the thoughts that are in the Word. One of those Scriptures that always stays with me is Philippians 4: 8. This verse says we are to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. We are not only to think on these things -- we are to speak on these things. This is why the renewed mind is a continuous process. We will be renewing our mind until Jesus Christ returns. Now take notice again that the love of the world is not mentioned in such detail. That love is a natural love that is born into any person.
6. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
This attribute of the love of God is really fascinating. I worked it for many years. Our old man seems to have a natural tendency to feel or see pleasure in a person who may be suffering in some way. We are so animalistic in our old man that when we see someone suffering, we feel good that it is not us who are suffering. So we reason in a mind that was taught by the world, that we should be happy that the problem we see did not happen to us. That is what it means to rejoice in iniquity and God looks down upon that type of behavior and thinking. In contrast to this, God says we are to rejoice in the truth. What is truth? Truth is God's Word and that is what we are to rejoice in. How many times do you see a person getting in their car and speeding after the fire truck or the ambulance or the police car? We are not to do this as believers. We should pray for the person who is having a problem, not rejoice in it. That is devilish and it will result in something negative happening in your life. That is the immutable law of giving equals receiving. I try not to think about iniquity or a person who may be having a problem with the exception of prayer. If there is anything that I rejoice in, it is in the Word of God. You will be tempted to rejoice in iniquity but you should be strong enough in your renewed mind efforts not to do so, but again, to rejoice in the Word of God.
Now let me ask you the obvious question. Do you think that people who manifest only the love of the world will manifest habitually, the rejoicing of iniquity? Very much so as compared to the believer who manifests the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation.
7. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
God's love covers or protects us. We believe the Word of God and the result is great endurance. The love of God in our life helps us to endure tribulation and stay behind and stand on the Word when so many others have left. I cannot help but say that I have done this. I know the power of the true God because I have experienced it. I do not know where other believers go, but I can never understand what there is to go back to. Once you have experienced the best, how can you turn around and go back? But many do and the reason they do is because they never really stood strongly enough on God's Word to see the power, unbelievable power, that the true God Almighty possesses. I have seen God do things in my life that I cannot even reveal to anyone. I can truly tell you that He is the God of miracles and He is also full of surprises.
8. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
Now here is the verse that I wanted to get to -- basically the first phrase. The love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation NEVER FAILS. Now can you just try to imagine this? When you are operating the love of God and you are in fellowship with God, and what you are praying for is available from the Word of God, then what you are praying for must come to pass. What a promise this is. And how are you going to ever know that it works until you try it? Then God makes His case like no one else. He says if there are prophecies, they're going to fail. If there are tongues, they will cease. Even if there is knowledge somewhere in the world, it eventually will vanish away and be forgotten. BUT the love of God will never fail. The love of God will never fail. What does this mean? If you adhere to and keep God first in your life, which means you are studying, renewing your mind, and making the best effort you can, God's love will never fail you. He will bring your dreams to pass -- He says so. God is not a man that He can lie. So when you manifest the love of God appropriately, it will never fail you. You will always be successful in your endeavors. Now from who or where in this world can you get a promise like that? Now as you may have guessed by now, I am going to ask you: “Can the love of the world fail you?” I will only go to one familiar example that most all of us can identify with. Have you ever loved somebody with the love of the world and they turned their back on you and walked away? They broke your heart no matter how hard you tried. And you never did anything wrong to that person. So can the love of the world fail you? You bet it can and I'll bet most of you if not all of you have been there.
9, 10. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
So often we read God's Word and then we operate the manifestations of the spirit with limited knowledge. Why is this true? Because that which is perfect, which is Jesus Christ, has not yet come. So the spiritual toys that we have on this earth at this present time will eventually be done away with. That is partly what verse eight and the context is talking about. God is trying to tell us not to try to understand every single thing. I have found it very helpful in my study of the Word to do the following when I am reading. This was based on the advice of a great leader. She said to me that if you don't understand something that you are reading in the Bible to just skip over it and keep reading. God will only let you understand what He knows that you can handle in your renewed mind. A day may come when you read the same Scripture and then you understand it. God's love is so great for us that He doesn't want us to even get confused or to be discouraged in any way. He wants us to imitate His love towards others who may be new in the Word. So in conclusion of both of these verses, God understands that we, and especially new believers, will not understand everything that's written in the Bible. Don’t make an issue out of it. But as we research the Word and study it more and more, we gain a greater understanding and this is something that God expects us to do.
11. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
in this verse, God is expanding His explanation of the previous verses. This is a Scripture that might confuse some people. I hope to make it more clear for you. The verse is talking about being a child and this is an analogy where we are children until Christ returns. When Christ returns, spiritually, we become men. You see, it is not so hard to understand when you do not take the verse out of its context. What are the childish things that we are going to put away? The one that is specifically mentioned is prophecy. We will not need to prophesy any longer and I should add to this that we will not need spiritual toys that we have today, such as speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. These things will be put away because we won't need them because Jesus Christ has returned. We will be in a new heaven and earth referred to as the third heaven and earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. But to go back and review one more time, if you are reading the above verse and do not understand it, skip to verse 12. Someday you will come back and understand verse 11 when God sees fit. Now watch the next verse. God expounds on the same subject to make sure you understand what He is talking about. Then, after that verse, watch the most dynamic ending of this chapter.
12. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
God understands that we do not have the ability to ascertain and understand everything that is written in His Word. He says so in the verse. He says now we see through a glass darkly. Everything is not very clear to us for the time being, but someday when Jesus Christ returns and we see him face-to-face, then shall we know even as we know ourselves. The word ‘darkly’ in the above verse should be translated in a ‘mirror obscurely’. A better way to say it is that that we see some spiritual matters as puzzling. Remember, the more that you renew your mind and study God’s Word, the less puzzling and more clear will spiritual matters become to you. And the more of God's Word that you understand and apply, the more power you will have in your life. NOW WATCH THIS LAST VERSE AND CONCLUSION.
You have probably wondered what happened to all the mention of the love of God. God was simply preparing us for the future as to what to expect and then He goes back to the main subject matter of this great chapter. Watch what the following verse has to say. For this one time, I can distinctly say that God has closed this teaching out for me. I would like you to put this verse in your memory and to never forget it, because it is one of the greatest verses in the Word of God that exists.
13. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
God sums up this chapter in a most perfect way. You do not see all of this attention given to man's natural love, phileo. This is because the love of God is so much greater that it is hard for man's mind to comprehend.
God mentions three great principles and the first is faith or believing. The second is hope which is what motivates us to go on because it is the hope of the return of Jesus Christ. And there it is, the third principle which is charity or the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation. God clearly says that in this lifetime we have faith, hope, and the love of God -- these three.
I believe the final statement deserves its own paragraph because it is so dynamic and so true and so powerful that it makes the love of the world almost appear like it's useless. Greater than believing and the hope that Jesus Christ is going to return is:
The love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation.
God says so as clearly as possible: the greatest of these is charity [the love of God.]
God bless you and I can only believe that this teaching has helped you to understand the importance and dynamics of the love of God as compared to natural love. If we walk every day with the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation, we will never fail at anything that we do, even if it appears as so. Many times God will step in and He will hold you back from making decisions that are harmful to yourself. We need to let go and let God and He will direct our lives. Remember one thing, that as you continue to stand for God, you will never be disappointed in your expectation.