“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Foundation Scriptures: Ephesians 3:14-15
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. Ephesians 3:14-15 KJV
1. For the Believer there are two kinds of family: the Natural family – the one you are born into in the flesh – and the Spiritual – the one you are born into in the Spirit.
- The Natural – with a father and a mother. We all had our beginning with the union of a male and a female, coming together in intimacy, producing life.
- This was – and still is – God’s plan.
- The Spiritual – the new birth. A sinner comes to Jesus, and by confession of his/her need of a Savior, he/she acknowledges the Cross, the Blood and his/her need for redemption. By the seed of the Word of God and intimacy with God, through the Holy Spirit, he/she is born again into the family of God! They are now sons and daughters of the Father.
- Christian life and family guidelines – Colossians 3:5-25
2. They say that blood is thicker than water – but natural families often have many problems.
- Families – joined by blood – are often divided. Many won’t even talk to each other and it may be for very petty reasons.
- Eg. Cain and Abel; Jacob and Esau
- People who pledged to commit – get divorced. They cannot or will not get along and so they claim incompatibility.
- This division spills over into other relationships outside of blood families – even into the family of God.
3. The number one reason for the breakdown of relationships is that people have no understanding of covenant.
- What does covenant mean?
- It is a commitment not based on feelings or circumstances, but on a conscious decision.
- This covenant springs out of the agape love of God.
- Covenant is this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us – that’s commitment!
- John 3:16-17 NKJV – For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
4. There are 5 kinds of love:
- Agape – self-sacrificial love
- Storge – affection
- Phileo – friendship
- Eros – romance; sexual intimacy
- Epithumia – desire; attraction; lust
5. A covenant based on anything other than agape – unselfish love – cannot stand
- Affections fail – friendships fail – romance fails – physical love fails – attraction fails
- The agape love of God never fails!
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 NKJV