Who Do You Love?

In this five part series, I’ll be posting a recent sermon that I delivered entitled “Who Do You Love?”.

In Him,

Todd Dow

Title: Who Do You Love?
Key Verses: 1 John 4:7-12

1 John 4:7-12:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who
loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not
know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He
sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is
love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning
sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love
one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in
us and his love is made complete in us.

Part 1: Introduction

Most of you know me as the resident student minister. But I lead a double life. During the week, I work full time as part of the team that manages a website called One of the coolest parts of my job is developing the community tools for the network. We’ve got a site called and it is all about building relationships, communicating with people, sharing pictures and generally having a good time. These types of sites are quite popular on the Internet. These community sites are referred to as “social networking sites”, which is a fancy way of saying “community building”. They foster a lot of great discussion and a lot of relationship building. I have a lot of friends that I have never met in person, thanks to the Internet. And, I have also been able to reconnect with a lot of friends that I haven’t talked to in years, thanks to the Internet.

Speaking of social networking sites, who has heard of Facebook? I have an account on Facebook. Facebook is all the rage with the kids nowadays. Facebook is one of these “social networking sites”. The thing that I find great with Facebook is that it allows so many people to communicate in such a convenient way. Facebook has this thing called a “Friend List” and it keeps track of how many people have granted you permission to have their name on your “Friend List”. It’s absolutely phenomenal how this feature has led to such incredible growth for Facebook, the company. Think about it: people love to collect things, and what better things to collect than friends! It’s brilliant.

And recently, Facebook has come out with some new features. One of the new features is a thing called “Top Friends”, which allows you to sub-categorize your friends a little further. Now, you’ve got your main friends list, but you can also give special status to some of those friends as “Favourites”. By the way, for those that have already sent me a notification that I’m on your “Top Friends” list, thank you. I really appreciate it. And, not only can I be categorized within my friends lists, but my friends can also give details about how we know one another. Some of my friends have said that we know each other through work, others through school and others from way back in high school and elementary school.

It’s great. In this one place, I can get a list of all of the people that I’ve connected with online and I can see where I know them from, how long I’ve known them and what they’re up to now. It makes keeping in touch so easy. It’s been great for me, having a 21 month old and a newborn at home. As those of you that are parents can agree, new parents don’t have a lot of free time for socializing. Facebook’s allowed me to keep in touch with my friends and it’s given me the chance to reconnect with old friends.

One of the great things that I see going on across Facebook is all of the love that is shared. Here’s one exchange that I saw between one of my friends, and one of their friends on Facebook:

Friend 1: “heyyyyy <insert friend name here>

i love you toooooo!!! ♥”

Friend 2: “no im pretty sure that

I ♥ YOU MOREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

It’s great to see so much love, don’t you think?


I find it fabulous. And seriously… the Internet has given us the opportunity to build such vibrant online communities that we can participate in. It’s made our communities larger, more diverse and easier to keep in touch with. I have seen countless examples of people sharing their love with one another online. And whether we’re online or offline, it’s easy to find examples of many different kinds of love that can be experienced.


How many of you feel love in a given day? I bet you’re wondering, well… I think I feel love, but is what I’m feeling really love? Let’s take a look at some examples…


I love my mom.

I love hanging out with my friends at school.

I love playing football with my friends.

I love the way he looks in a bathing suit.

I love him as a person, even though nobody else likes him.

I love Hank even though he is homeless and others don’t want to be around him.


And we can’t forget about this kind of love:

Friend 1: “heyyyyy <insert friend name here>

i love you toooooo!!! ♥”


Friend 2: “no im pretty sure that

I ♥ YOU MOREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

You can’t tell me that these are all the same kinds of love. And you’re right. When we talk about love, there are many different ways of thinking about love. There are many different categories of love, shall we say. Philosophers and theologians have thought long and hard about the different kinds of love and here’s what the best and brightest thinkers could come up with:

When we look at these kinds of love, we can break them into three basic categories:

  1. Eros = romantic love
  2. Philia = friendship & family love
  3. Agape = divine love

So, let’s take a look at each one of these in turn.

Coming up next: Part 2: EROS – romantic love

By Todd Dow

Author, Geek, CF fundraiser & Cancer Survivor. My family, baseball, infosec, privacy & devops are a few of my favorite things.

One reply on “Who Do You Love?”

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