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Men’s Bible Fellowship 7/3/10,  6:00 PM
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

a×ga×pe 2  (ä-gäp, äg-p)n.
1. Christianity Love as revealed in Jesus, seen as spiritual and selfless and a model for humanity.
2. Love that is spiritual, not sexual, in its nature.
3. Christianity In the early Christian Church, the love feast accompanied by Eucharistic celebration.

The Love Feast is noted St. Paul in 1 Cor.11:17-34 (stop and read) as a part of the Early Church Saturday Evening gatherings called “House Church” in 11 places in the New Testament.  As for the first 200 years the Church of Jesus Christ gathered in homes as an open forum. 

There were seven expressions of love in the Early Church House Fellowship.  There was Testimony, Exhortation/ Reading of Letters, Fellowship w/food, Eucharist, Prayers, People Ministry and the Ministry of the Elders.  This may not all happen each time but in general these markers kept the Church healthy and growing.  The Lutheran Liturgy is an outgrowth of this simple Early Church Fellowship.  The matrix for all of this was and is Love as clearly expressed in 1 Cor 13.

It is easy for the Church to become traditional and like driving home one can be on automatic pilot.  When we do this we tend to forget that unusual stop we planned to make along the way and then must back track.  So traditions can be both good and bad.  It was the vain traditions of religious men that placed the Lord of Glory on a Cross.  So traditions must continually be filtered through the Holy Scriptures as Dr. Martin Luther stated most emphatically at his trial: “Sola Scriptura.”

The nature of our Heavenly Father is Love and His purpose is to have us grow up into Him in All things.  Our Father is gathering an eternal family.  This is covered very carefully by St. John in his letter 1 John 4 & 5.  Please read again and discuss as you go.  We have lots of growing room.

1 John 4
4Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.   7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.   8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

9In 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. 10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.  13Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.  14And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.  15Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.  16And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.  18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  19We love him, because he first loved us.  20If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?  21And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

1 John 5

1Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.  2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.   4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 
6This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.  7For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.   9If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.   10He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.   11And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.   12He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.   13These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.  14And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:  15And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.  16If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.  17All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.  18We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.  19And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.  20And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.   21Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Truth can only come to pass as there is the matrix of Love for the exploration.  Love allows us to listen to each other and for every joint to supply what has been given them by the Holy Spirit.  In order to be fitly joined and compacted as per Eph.4:1-16 every vestige of false doctrine and false tradition must be purged from the Church of Jesus Christ, Eph.4:13-14.  It is absolutely essential that Gods Truth prevail in order for the Holy Spirit to be free to empower His ministry in the Church.  Otherwise the Church will embrace false doctrines to exclude the Holy Truth of God.

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