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Archive for the ‘John 13’ Category

Let us love one another

What is on my heart this morning is Jesus’ call for us to love one another.

I’ve shared with you before that it is my deepest desire that we be a congregation that is characterized by love for one another. Of all the things we can be known for: a program, our outreach, our music, whatever – the depth of our love for one another is the most important.

And since we are partaking of the Lord’s supper today, it seems like a good time to focus this.

This is what Jesus says in John 13:34-35,

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

He also says in John 15:12-13,

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.”

As you can see from these verses the call of Jesus is clear. We are to love one another as brother and sisters in the Lord. But this raises the question –

What is love?

Sometimes we get confused about this as Christians. So let’s look at some clues in our verses as to what Christian love means.

First, we have the word “love” in the phrase, “love one another.” When you look at the whole of the New Testament , this word means – to act for the good of another person.

And it is a choice of the will; a commitment that is made.

  • It is not based on feelings or emotion like with romance.
  • It is not based on whether you like the person, or have lots of things in common, like with friendship.
  • And it is not based on how the other person responds to you, or whether they like you or not.

It simply means doing what is best for the person, no matter what.

Second, we have the phrase “lays down his life” for someone in John 15:13. This phrase is used several times in Scripture:

  • In John 10 Jesus uses it to speak of risking your life for others. This is what the good Shepherd does for the sheep. In contrast, the hired hand who doesn’t care about them and runs away when there is danger. (John 10:11; 13).
  • In John 13:37 Peter uses it to speak of dying for someone (Mark 14:31). He is talking about his willingness to die for Jesus.
  • And then, in 1 John 3:16-17, John uses the phrase to speak of helping a brother or sister in need by giving of your resources.

So, to lay down your life is to act for the other person’s good, even to the point of self-sacrifice.

And then finally as a clue, we have Jesus’ statement that we are to love one another “as I have loved you.” Jesus’ love for us models what our love for one another should look like. How did Jesus love us?

  • Jesus acted for our good in that he ministered to our needs. He gave of himself. He healed people. He taught people. He prayed for people. He was a true servant.
  • Jesus also acted for our good in that he died on the cross for us, literally laying down his life for us so that we could be saved.
  • And Jesus did all this even for those who despised and rejected him.

This is how Jesus loved us.

So we have these three clues and they show us –

How we are to love each other

Love involves:

*         acting for the good of each other.

*         ministering to each other’s needs; being servants to one another.

*         sacrificing for each other’s good.

*         doing all this, even if the person doesn’t like you.

This might mean:

  • helping with a material need, as I John 3:16-17 talks about; giving of what we have to help a sister or brother in a time of crisis.
  • giving someone our time, letting someone share their burdens and concerns.
  • helping someone work through a problem.
  • encouraging someone who is overwhelmed and ready to give up.

There are so many practical ways that love is expressed – showing kindness, forgiving someone. And in all of these ways, we lay down our lives for each other, and we love each other as Jesus loved us.

Now, I have certainly seen this love among us. And I want to encourage us this morning to continue to do this and to love each other still more.

Love is the true witness

Let me end by reminding you that when we love each other deeply from the heart, then we will be true witnesses. You can have all the outreach you want, but if there is no love it doesn’t get you anywhere.

Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35. People will look at us and say, “Hey, they act just like Jesus did. Jesus laid down his life for others, and look how they lay down their lives for each other. They must be true followers of Jesus.”

This kind of selfless love isn’t natural. It’s supernatural – from God. So when people see this, they know that something different is going on. And this draws them to come and find out what it is.

May God help us to love each other in this way.

William Higgins

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