As we come together this weekend to support one of our families that has been going through a very difficult time I’m reminded of the works and example of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the 13th chapter of John’s gospel we read these words, “a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another” (v. 34-35 NASB). I would like to share some thoughts with you about our Lord’s command to love one another and how that should be lived out in our daily lives.
First of all the word “love” is in the present tense in the Greek language. That means that we are to “keep on loving”. This is important because love is not just a one-time action. It really is an ongoing process. In the body of Christ we will have times when we strongly disagree with each other and we may even have times when we don’t like each other. But neither of those things is reason to stop loving each other. Love is a present tense action that is a commitment of our will. Love must triumph even over our differences.
Secondly, it’s important to note that each occurrence of the word “love” used in verses 34-35 the Greek word is “agape”. Agapao love is the supernatural love of God that loves regardless of grateful response or not. Agapao seeks a person’s highest good on the basis of a decision of the will and an inclination of the heart. This supernatural love is not possible through the flesh but is found only as we walk with Jesus and are empowered by His Holy Spirit. Jesus would never command us to do something He is unwilling to empower us to do. So if Jesus commands us to love one another, and He does, He is also going to empower us to do the very thing He commands. Love is a very special and important grace that speaks of how vast the extent of Christ’s love is for us and how He desires we share that love with others.
In verse 34 we see that the reputation of our confession is at stake in how we love one another. Love is the only badge which the church of Christ is to be known by. The most important commandment is not that we witness (as important as that may be), nor that we serve but that we love our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our love for one another includes the principle of self-denial and gratitude to Christ for His great love for us. Christ is the standard for us. He stated in the 15th chapter of John’s gospel, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends”, (v. 12-13 NASB). Let us take heed that this well-known Christian grace is not merely a notion in our heads but a practice in our lives. Specifically let us show Jesus’ love in all of our dealings with one another. Remember the only charge Jesus’ enemies could ever prove against Him was “this man receives sinners”. Praise be to our great God.
And so as we come together this Saturday evening for the Forrest Family fundraiser, let us unify our efforts in the empowering grace of the Lord Jesus Christ who has promised to provide for all of our needs according to His riches in glory. What a glorious opportunity He has given us of loving on a family in need for His glory.
All for Christ,