September 24, 2017
The Heart of the Matter: The Agapatoi
Our series through 1 John continues with this message on 1 John 2:7-17. The very first Greek word in this section is interesting, and John uses it as a name for the people to whom he is writing. The word is agapatoi, and it literally means “the people of agape love.” John doesn’t call followers of Jesus Christians; he calls them “the agape-ers.” If John had had his way, to this day we wouldn’t call ourselves Christians, we would call ourselves The Agapatoi – the people of agape love.
Love and hate are a matter of first allegiances, the things we value the most. As followers of Jesus, our first allegiance must always be to Christ. A.B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, used to have “Jesus Only” emblazoned across his pulpit. We need “Jesus Only” emblazoned across our hearts. When Jesus is first in our hearts, there will be room in our hearts to hate anyone.
When we love people like God loves people – that’s when we become truly Christian. To live like Christ is to love like Christ. The people of agape love have a calling: to walk the love that walks, to love each other the way that Jesus has loved us.