Leon Fontaine - The Three Quadrants of Love
So many people, and I still try to wrap my brain around this. What is love? And today I want to talk to you about the three quadrants of love. It is an absolute key for you to live in the Saviour's love. This little baby that came to earth and it was the start of something stunning, amazing, beyond belief because for the first time since the garden of Eden people would walk the planet living in love's dimension. Living from a heart that was filled with love. And not just earthly love, in the Greek it's called Phileo, but an agape love. Something that had never been seen or sensed before. And even today the church struggles to understand what is this love. Is it just being weak? Is it just being a pushover? Is it, is this love? What is it?
I want to talk about this because God is love. And this love is the mightiest thing amongst the mighty. It's the most beautiful thing amongst beauty. It is God with us. It means love with us. It means something changes in the very core of our being. I mean, do you realize that love is the very reason for man's creation. Man wasn't created in a warzone. Man was created in a garden so overflowing with flowers and waterfalls and valleys and mountains and love where God walks amongst them. And He loved them and He cared about them and He reached out to them. And they knew what it was to be loved by the creator Himself to receive it, accept it, and then to be able to reciprocate it. God gave them such ability that He could feel, sense, and know their love coming back at Him.
In 2 Corinthians 13:14, it talks about the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit. It's taking the Trinity, the Triunity and it's showing you one God in three persons and even divides up how they love. I usually don't need to start a whole bunch of doctrines on it but, but the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is His ability as a favour to you. Talk about love. And then the love of God, the agape of God, and then the communion of the Holy Spirit. I would love, this should take an hour to unpack that one. It's stunning. It's incredible. It says here that we, it says, "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God".
In John 13:34 is a stunning definition that I want to unpack for a few minutes. Jesus says, "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you. You should also love one another. And by this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another". But He defines love by saying you love one another as I have loved you. I struggle with man's definition of love because it makes being a Christian looks like you're a patsy. That you're just, people just roll over you. You just give up. I'm going to say some things that might shock you but I want you to understand. You are to love as Jesus loves. You're not to love like your aunt Greta loves, or some favorite person who's going to just say, "Well, just walk in love". And to most Christians that means roll over. Just allow them to do whatever they want. That is not the way Jesus loved.
I was doing a leadership conference right beside a base the trained the most elite Navy Seals. Not quite 20 of them somewhere in the fifteen. I forgot how many of them came out for the leadership conference. They took me out for lunch and I met young men in their twenties. And as we talked about country, life, I saw a level of love so uniquely different. Because in a second, they would lay down their lives. In a second, they would get up and fight for the future of a country their kids were going to grow up in. When we say, that when the Bible says we are to love as Jesus loves. We've got to recognize that nobody killed Him and He completely said that in John 10, "No one takes My life. I will lay it freely down when I want to and I'll pick it back up when I want to".
Why would He say something like that? Because He was saying that love isn't just roll all over me, and I'm going to change the agenda God gave me for any need you've got, and anything you want, and any expectation you've got on me. And gosh, golly, gee. I'm going to do this. I got to love you. No, no, no, no, no. God is love. And Jesus followed God on every second of every day. People would say, "Your friend is dying. You must come now". But God was leading Him somewhere. And that their agenda and their need didn't even change the direction of Jesus' journey. And Jesus, He says very clearly, "I only do what the Father tells me. I only do what the Father shows me". Another words, His agenda was love. Whose love? God. God is love. So what was His agenda? God. What was His future? Love. What was His agenda? Love.
When I saw this, it set me free. 'Cause I have been around so many pastors and denominations where if you're going to be a pastor, you have to have tea with every granny. You have to love and do whatever people want. Go mow hurting people's lawns. Go, go, go, go do and just do everything. And I have no problem serving people. But then I recognized I must follow love, means I must follow God. And if I would follow God, He would show me and lead me in way that would secure the future for generations. So when you walk in love, you walk in God. And God is no fool. God's got an agenda. God's got a path He's prepared for you. And if someone can get you off that path because they have a need. Then you're not following love because the love you're supposed to be following is agape love. Which is God love. Not your need for love, not your need for recognition, not your need for identity or whatever it is that you're calling this love journey. That you just do whatever people want you to do. And many people will look after other people when they don't want to deal with their own issue.
So I'll just go serve. I'll just go do things for others. But no, you should be living and looking after your marriage, your home, your family. But I'm just going to go love. And so we can use, this term love, it's been so abused and misused. The very first quadrant and the most important quadrant area of love. You can call it a key, a quadrant, a dimension of love is this. You get your significance. You get your identity. You get your honour. You get this sense of importance. You get it from God's love. So the very first thing you need to ask yourself is, where am I with God's love? Do I believe it? Do I accept it? Do I recognize how much He loves me? Because people spend their lives trying to earn significance, trying to earn this feeling of being special, being important, being loved, being looked after. This entire, they will, they will burn out their bodies trying to get recognition from their peers and their business. They will do all sorts of things to try to raise themselves in the thinking of the people around them.
In fact the greatest addiction on the planet isn't physical. It's trying hard to get everybody to like you so that you feel good about yourself. The greatest addiction on the planet. But people who are born again, and this love appears in their heart. This love, this God. This love finds its place in their heart. All of a sudden, they have a power and ability to love like Jesus loved. And I want you to know that until you accept and believe in the love of God. You are always going to feel needy, insecure, and vulnerable to anybody who's trying to get something from you because you just want to be loved and liked. Please like me. Please like me. Would someone like me? Would someone call me special? Would someone give me an award, hang something around my neck? Would someone please look at what I'm doing? I'm working so hard. I'm burning myself out.
Listen to me. You can do those things but never for identity. The very first quadrant is you and God and this love that you have together. This is where the very core. This very heart of love. This is where your identity comes from. Just God. Well, my husband's pretty good. No. You don't get your identity from her husband. Well, my wife is... no. We'll talk about that kind of love. But the significance, the honour, the beauty, the identity of who you are can only come from God's love. This first quadrant is to love Him. Now, how do you do that? First of all, you just believe His love for you. 'Cause people would often ask, "How much do you love God"? That would give me a brain cramp because I never thought I could love Him enough. The Bible doesn't say you need to love God to be saved. Oh, someone's just going, "What"? You simply have to receive this gift of Jesus. And then in this journey, you'll begin to recognize and love this God.
The Bible says when you look at Jesus and the finished work of the cross as He took your sin. He took the curse. There's no curse left for you. As He took the consequences. As He gave you the life of His son. You now have the agape love of God inside of you. When you begin to continue to read and look into this Jesus, you just fall in love with this God. And you recognize that religion says, "You dirty rotten, good for nothing sinner". Religion says, "You know, He shouldn't have even looked at you. You just be glad He even looks at you". No, no. Where is that in the Bible? It says you're his crowning achievement. That He made you just a little lower than the spiritual beings in heaven. That you are beautifully, wonderfully made. And that you are everything that He made on this planet was for His kids, His family. That He made you because He is love. He wants to show love, give love, send love, and He wants to receive love, a you. You, are why He did this.
Number one is, it's you and God. The second quadrant of love is, you getting right with yourself. You know, we say, "Well, he sure loves himself". And in our day and age that term usually means he's arrogant or self-centered. But the Bible very clearly says you were made to love yourself to such a degree that you should love others as you love yourself. Paul said, "I don't even judge myself". What does he mean by that? You can't judge yourself properly. And I know we have lots of doctrines on that. You are to judge yourself through the finished work of the cross. And you are to accept God's judgment of you. Leon, that scares me. I know, it used to scare me till I began to realize that God's judgment of me is through Jesus and what He did for me. He took my sin. He took my curse. He put His spirit within me. He gave me power over sin. Power over every addictive force out there and He's in love with me.
So I'm cool with me. I'm happy about me. God believes in me. It is hard to even say that because we've been raised in such religion. God is pleased with me. Goes, "Oh, is He really"? 'Cause you begin to think of all these list of things that you've been doing wrong. No. He is in love with you. He cares about you. He looks at you and sees, it doesn't matter how deep He's got to look. He sees value and giftedness and possibility and potential. And He just knows that you are made in His likeness and His image. And He doesn't say that, and doesn't believe that if you're born again, that your behavior is your identity like religion does. And so as we look to God and what He did for us and how much He loves us. And then we look at ourselves as born again, washed in the blood of the lamb. The death of Jesus changed me and you forever. And that I should look at myself, and that I should love. You should love yourself. I get it. I get it.
None of us, none of us are perfect. None of us. But Jesus is and He died in our place. The second quadrant is how you deal with yourself. If you do not deal with yourself properly, you will not have the ability to love your spouse properly, to take love to the next generation properly. Because you have to deal with yourself. And third quadrant is loving others. Loving God, loving myself, and loving others. When you look at loving others, it does not mean that I let you control the agenda of my life. You know where my very first thought about thinking through love came from? And it's burned in my mind. It was when I was a little boy. I don't remember how old I was. There was four of us.
So Guy hadn't been born, our youngest brother yet. And we finally had a chance for my dad and mom to take us to the beach. We got the towels ready, the food ready, the wieners. We're going to have a Wiener roast. We were going to, you know. We loaded up in the car. And then I'll never forget my dad, he said, "I hear the phone. Just a minute". And he ran into the phone and he answered the phone and it was somebody with a need who wanted to see him right away. So he unloaded us all out of the car, canceled our day to the beach. And I remember hearing what the need was, and I remember in my life, in my little heart as a, I was the oldest of my brothers and there was four of us going, "So why does he love them more than me"? And that's where I first began to ask myself. Does love mean that everybody else decides how I love? That everybody else determines when I love. That an ongoing need that that guy had with his marriage now requires me to give up mine for the entire evening after two years of problems.
You understand what I'm saying? You are all the same way. If you do not look at love as yes, we love. Yes, we reach out. But to hand off this love to someone else. So when we love others, we love them the way Jesus loved them. And Jesus ministered to them, poured His life into them. And then He pull away from them and head out into the mountains by Himself. He'd get on a boat away from people. I'm not trying to create a whole bunch of doctrines for you. I'm just trying to show you that this God, He did not step into everybody's life and take away the consequences that they needed to teach them. Yet He stepped into everybody's life and help them for sure with the consequences. He didn't clarify, is this person got this problem because they... No. He just went and ministered to people.
All I want you to understand at today's message is there a three quadrants to love. Number one is get right with God, get right with yourself. And learn to love other people and get right with other people. You don't give people power but you learn to love them. And you may not do what they want you to do. But you can still love them with whatever you are doing. Speak truth in love. There's so many, so many stunning phenomenal principles as you study the life of Jesus. And you look at, how do I make my marriage work? How do I love? How do I love my children, my grandchildren? How do you love the people around you, your neighbours? And in one ditch it's saying, "Well, you just give it all away. Just whatever they want". And on the other side it's like they talk love but they really governed by heart of self-centeredness. And self-centeredness is the start of all evil.
So whenever you do something, love isn't exactly what you do. Love is the motive of what you do. When someone looks at you filled with the love of God and says, "What you do is not good. Let me help you". Been there, not perfect at it. But the heart of love, the motive of what you say is so powerful, or you can say the exact same thing, "Let me help you. I know what I'm doing here. I can, I can help you". Same words, different motive. Make sure that love is your motive, even when you're doing things right. Because the problem with so many Christians today, they know they're right. But what's your motive in being right? What I said was truth. Speak, speak truth in love. What you say and what they feel can often be two different things. So make sure that our words are graceful. Make sure the best of our ability that our heart is right when we deal with something. But if you'll learn to receive God's love, learn to believe God's love for you, and then learn and all of your dealings with people. If you say no, say no. But make sure that's from a heart of love. I don't mean a namby-pamby. No. I just mean you follow God. God is love.
I want to talk to you about you and your personal relationship with God. You see, Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with Him. And when people begin to get religious, which is manmade rules to please God or please the people around you, the church people around you. Life becomes awful. I hate religion from that perspective. But I love Jesus and I love His Word. And I love what He has planned and I love His church. And by that I mean, the real church, because all religion is not His church. Every place that calls itself a church. You know, I don't think Jesus is even alive and well in there.
And so I'm not talking about religion. But you need a relationship with God. And the way to get that is through His son Jesus who paid and qualified you to have access to being in God's family. He died on the cross. He took your sin, my sin. And then He went to hell in our place. He took all punishment. If you feel like, "Oh, I need people to know I'm not worthy of it because you don't know what I've done". Well, I don't need to know. But Jesus took that sin and the punishment that should have gone with that because it was an awful thing you did. He went to hell in your place. And you are a brand new creation. When you accept Jesus, you become born again. And how do you do that? You just choose Him. And right now I want to encourage you. Just say:
Jesus come into my heart, out loud. Jesus come into my life. I give You my life. And I'm going to follow You. Guide me, so I get to know You better and I get to know Your Word better. In Jesus' name, You are my Lord and Saviour, amen.
That simple prayer has just made a, given Him permission to come into your life. And from now and on, when you pray or cry out to Him, or get into the Word, His spirit is helping you and guiding you and leading you. You are in the family of God. Keep watching the show. Get to a great powerful local church and enjoy Jesus.