Love: That the World May Know
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." NLT
Last week we brought a message concerning the importance of the discipline of Christian love.
We have no greater authority for such a command than Jesus Christ himself.
Jesus was leaving His ministry in the hands of a ragtag group of fishermen and very common men. And they were already fighting over which one will be the greatest among them in the coming kingdom.
Even though Jesus had taught them for three years yet they were not getting it. Jesus had to let them know what the most important thing for them was. It was love. Without love they would fight with one another and never accomplish the will of God. They would be always vying their own way, their own will.
Also the fighting and disagreement in the church would show people that they were nothing like Jesus. It was important for them to love one another. But how could this come to be. It seems to be a matter of obedience. Jesus told them He had a new commandment for them. Love, love one another as He had loved them.
That was the key, as He had loved them. They might have many questions about the coming kingdom or how to pray or many other issues. But none of them questioned His love. Even now, before the Passion of Christ, they had seen how Jesus loved people. He loved the despised, the common people. And He loved them. But some how it had not rubbed off on them.
I was at a ministerial meeting this week and they were discussing leadership styles and how Jesus had led His disciples. Many times men, even pastors, forget that we are in a spiritual battle. The greatest leadership Jesus showed was the sending of the Holy Spirit to indwell those disciples and convince them from the inside out of all that He had taught and lived. And the church will never accomplish God's will without God's power, the Holy Spirit.
But the love that Jesus was talking about is not a feeling but a command. It is not a matter of how we feel about another Christian but a matter of obedience. Will we obey Jesus or will we refuse?
I have said this over and over again and I will say it again. Most people not in a church never identify love with the church. They identify hypocrites, gossips, power plays, or some hurt they have endured at the hands of the saints. In some communities the only things the church is known for is their chicken suppers and their rummage sales.
We need to be known for our love. People need to say, I don't know a lot about that church but I know they sure do love one another. They are always trying to help people. I never hear them being harsh or mean spirited. They just want the best for everyone. But how do we get there??
- Let us look at some examples
- Eph 1:15-16 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: (NKJ)
- Phile 1:4-5 I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, (NKJ)
- Col 1:3-4 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; (NKJ)
- 1Thes 1:2-4 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. (NKJ)
- 1Thes 3:6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you- (NKJ)
- II Th 1:3-4 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, (NKJ)
- How can we love people more?
- Seeing them as God sees them
- As eternal souls
- So dear to God that He would send His Son to die for them
- Souls that will be alive for millions of years.
- And all of that eternity will depend on what happens in the short 70 or 80 some years they spend here.
- Are you doing anything to change eternity for some people, people you love.
- As lost sheep
- Sheep are annoying, they like have no brain, no planning.
- In many ways they are helpless
- But is that how we see people?
- Do we see that troublesome neighbor as someone who just does not know any better and never will until Jesus is in their heart.
- Do we see that rebellious teenager as lost sheep running but not knowing where he is going but will surely fall unless someone can get hold of him or her for Jesus sake.
- And what about those relatives of ours who do entirely too much drinking and running around and all they ever see from us is a critical spirit without love because we have wrote them off.
- We can pray that God would give us a compassionate heart for those who are in the path of destruction and ruin.
- If we do not care for others or that others are never going to heaven then we need to pray about that.
- Our hearts have been hardened by life.
- It has become far to easy to just move on and forget about others.
- Stop our own prejudices
- In Jesus' day the religious people were prejudice.
- They were prejudice against the Samaritans
- They were prejudice against the publicans
- They were prejudice against the prostitute.
- They were prejudice those who were mentally unstable.
- And they were outraged that Jesus would have anything to do with these people.
- But Jesus had something that they all need.
- For the Samaritan woman He had water to satisfy a thirsty soul.
- To the publican He had riches that would melt a greedy soul.
- To the prostitute He brought a love that would satisfy the greatest longings.
- To the mentally unstable He brought a peace that was beyond understanding.
- How should we love people more?
- Now some will think, Now the pastor is going to ask for money.
- Money is not the most valuable thing you have, time is.
- Giving of ourselves is how we love more.
- Everyone needs a ministry to justify their existence
- The most people most like Jesus have a ministry.
- They have come to serve and not to be served.
- They are a light set on a hill that cannot be hid.
- They want to impact people for eternity.
- Introducing people to Jesus
- Introducing people is not difficult.
- You just tell others about them so they will be more familiar with them and feel more relaxed.
- Telling people what Jesus has done for us.
- Do you realize where you might have ended up in life without Jesus?
- Do you understand how He has changed your life?
- Then just tell others what He has done for you.
- By stepping out of our comfort zones to do God's will.
- None of us like to do new things.
- We do not like new jobs.
- We do not like things that make us uncomfortable.
- Romans 10:14 says how shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard.
- But God has called us from the comfortable places in our lives to explore new frontiers, places in people's hearts where they themselves have never gone.
This message was preached at FBC Toulon,
by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com
Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. (NKJ)
Phil 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, (NKJ)
1Thes 4:9-10 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; (NKJ)