Friendship of Love
Leslie Cook


Agape Love1[vs. Phileo Love2

There is a distinction between Agape and Phileo love.  Agape love is explained in 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.

NOTE:  John 3:16 is an example of Agape love demonstrated by Jesus Christ. Also, John 15:13;

ďGreater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 

This sacrificial love is Agape love.  Now thatís love!  Godís all-encompassing love is demonstrated through His sacrifice of His Sonís life as payment for sin, so He can extend this invitation to all people to receive HIS FREE GIFT of eternal life.  All one has to do is accept this invitation to believe.  It is a love that calls out to those who are lost and in need of a savior, which includes all people. 

ďAgapeĒ love is the motivation for preaching the Gospel of Salvation.  Loving our enemies means to wish them the best regardless of how they are treating us.  It means to bless them that curse you, donít act out of anger towards those who abuse you, pray for them regardless, even those who despitefully use and persecute you.  [Matthew 5:24; Luke 6:27-28]  When we first accept this invitation to come to Christ and learn more about His love for us, we want to share the gospel of love with others because we know that we are in the Kingdom of Light because of Godís Love.  Now, sharing the gospel is one thing, but living it, as stated in Matthew 5:43-45 is much more difficult.  But Godís Spirit living in our hearts enables us to do so:

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

When we accept Godís love invitation, we become children of the Most High God, our Father, who dwells in Heaven.  Also, there are Scriptures where Jesus Christ calls us His friend, which is the love of friendship, ďPhileoĒ.

So, letís be honest, there are people we just donít like but thatís beside the point.  When God told his servant Jonah to preach to the Ninevites, he disobeyed God because he knew that if he preached repentance to them, God would save them.  But thatís the last thing Jonah wanted, because they were Israelís enemies.  Do you know why some people remain our enemies?  We donít share the Love of God with them; and we donít pray for them.  This may not always be the case, because the Scriptures explain that the Wheat and the Tares grow together.  Wheat are those who hear the Gospel and accept Godís invitation to receive Christ as Savior; and tares are those who will never come to Christ. [Matthew 13:24-29]

It is explained in the example of Jonah, that when we remain silent in the midst of unsaved people that we may regard as enemies, God will hold us accountable.  One day God will ask us: ďDid you share the gospel with them while you had the opportunity?  Did you plant a seed that could be watered later by someone else?Ē  In faithfulness to share the Gospel, we all have fallen short at times and forfeited the Glory of God.  We all have someone who offended or hurt us, so we tend to not want the best for them.  This is the reaction of our carnal nature.  It is only when Godís Spirit of Agape love lives in us that we are able to live the Gospel of Love to everyone, even enemies.  This is where forgiveness comes into play.  Jesus said: ďIf we donít forgive others, then He wonít forgive usĒ.  [Matt 6:15; Mark 11:26]. There is no middle ground.  Jesus never said this walk would be easy.

Letís talk about an intimate relationship with Christ.  There are two types of Believers: those who want the blessings and those who want Christ.  Disciples of Christ walk in Phileo love, which is an emotionally intimate relationship with Christ based on friendship.  The Scriptures say, ďthe pure in heart will see GodĒ [Matt 5:28].  It is the union of our hearts with Godís heart so there are no secrets, and we surrender our all to God in exchange for His righteousness.  We share our wounds with Him, we trust Him to deliver us from all our internal baggage, and as we do that, He heals us from within and changes us into His image which is the ultimate goal of Discipleship.  When we reach this place in Christ, we are truly friends and one with Christ.  NOW the Light of God shines through us to minister to the world. 

Think about it, when Christ taught the masses He usually spoke in parables; but when the masses departed, He sat down with His Disciples and spoke to them intimately as friends, which gave them an understanding of God that the crowd could not receive.  It wasnít because He was biased, it was because after they heard the Gospel, they developed an intimate relationship with Him that allowed them to ask and receive deeper understanding.  Because they hungered for the truths of God, Jesus honored that and drew them closer to himself.  John, the disciple who Jesus loved, was so close that he laid on Jesusí bosom and possibly shared secrets with Christ that one can only imagine; even revealing to him who would betray him, when asked [John 20:2].  I want that type of relationship with Christ. 

Letís look at it another way.  Say you know someone who says they believe in Christ but at the same time they walk in disobedience to His word; do they really love God?  They may want the blessings, but will they go to the cross to be resurrected.  Will they suffer and allow their flesh to be crucified so that the spirit within can be united in total surrender to the Holy Spirit, so that the Intimacy with Christ will produce a transforming work.  But then you take another saint who is totally committed to Christ.  They walk in obedience to His Word.  They hear His voice because now their ears are attuned to the Spirit of Christ.  They study the Word and revelation starts jumping off the pages.  These saints are drawn to other saints of like spirits, who want the same relationship.  Because they have made the decision to draw closer to Christ, Christ now draws closer to them and shares His Kingdom with them. 

But what happens when former relationships with other people begin to dwindle, because intimacy with Christ causes your spirit to become different.  You still love them, you want the best for them, you continue to pray for them Ė you continue to operate in ďAGAPE LOVEĒ but you are no longer united.  The same thing happens between God and all people, He continues to love everyone; But He only draws near to those who draw near to Him.

Yes, God makes the same offer available to all people: Whosoever will believe that Jesus Christ, Godís only begotten Son, was crucified on the cross to pay for manís sins and resurrected from the grave in three days is a historical fact, is saved from eternal death.Ė it is a done deal Ė Agape Love in action on behalf of the whole world.  But intimacy with God, the Phileo Love, is reserved for those He calls His friends; those who love Him. 

The Bible verses below provide a simple explanation of everything: 

Matthew 7:21-23 states:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

If you want a fuller understanding of these verses, please read Matthew 7, which says in summary: ďNot everyone who says Lord, Lord; but he that does the will of my Father (obedience) will enter the kingdom of heaven.Ē  But those who are busy building their own kingdoms, which do not bring glory to Godís name, will hear God say: ďDEPARTĒ from Me (vs. 23).  Why?  Those works do not bring glory to God, because they are works of the flesh, the unchanged sin nature.  Do you understand that the purpose for Christ coming into the earth to be crucified is to make it possible for US to be changed into the image of God; to carry the Light of Godís Agape Love within us, wherever we go through His work within us; NOT OUR WORKS.

1 Agape love is not a feeling; it's a motivation for action that we are free to choose or reject. Agape is a sacrificial love that voluntarily suffers inconvenience, discomfort, and even death for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return. We are called to agape love through Christ's example: "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:1-2). [Compelling Truth.org]

2 Phileo love is shown toward people we feel warm and affectionate to. This means that we do not show our enemies phileo love because we do not feel warm and affectionate toward them. However, God does call us to show agape love toward those individuals we dislike and clash with (Luke 6:28Matthew 5:44). As we grow closer to God and experience more of His compassion, we may even experience phileo love toward people we are beginning to understand better.  [Compelling Truth.org]