This Sunday we started a new series on the “one another” sayings of Jesus. Meaningful relationships don’t just happen, they take time and effort. I hope you’ll go on the journey with us this summer and learn how to develop close relationships and build community with one another. We are going to start with the most repeated “one another” phrase in the Bible, “Love one another.” You read it in John, Romans, 1 Thessalonians, 1 Peter, 1 John, and 2 John. More than the words of Peter, Paul, and John, these are the words of Jesus. When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus answered, “’And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mark 12:30-31).
The Expectation of Love is Clear
John 13:34 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another….” The word love in our world has become a “catch all” word. People say, “I love chocolate” or “I love water sports.” God’s love, however, is a commandment. It is more than a feeling or a love song. Love is a decision, a choice, and an act of the will. It means we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. We treat people the way the Lord treats us, regardless of reciprocity or how they respond.
God commands us to love one another then gives us the ability to love one another. He makes the impossible possible! Ask the Holy Spirit to make this new and fresh to you today. We live in a world filled with hate, strife, conflict, bickering, war, and division. There are people all around us, that need to see the love of God! God is love and He expects His children to love one another.
The Extent of Love is Costly
The second half of John 13:34 says, “…as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” God’s love is unconditional. His love is sacrificial. He gave His only Son for our sins! It always costs something to seek someone else’s good. Judas betrayed Jesus and Peter denied Jesus, yet Jesus washed their feet. The dirty feet of a dozen grown men was the illustration of how to love one another. It was the task of a slave, the lowest menial job. Jesus washed the feet of the man who betrayed him and the man who denied him. What Jesus did was shocking! Love is costly. As believers, we are to love those who hate us and hurt us. Unbelievers can love those who love them, but God will enable you to love people you don’t even like.
The Expression of Love is Convincing
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). “Love one another” is an impossible command that gives evidence of an invisible God. The church is designed to be a community of impossible love that shows the world God is real. The only Bible, the only Jesus, some people are going to see, is us. Our love for one another is our witness and it identifies us before a watching world. Most of us think that the evidence of salvation is love for God. That is not what Jesus said. Jesus said, the evidence of whether or not you are His disciple is love for one another. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-2).
When unbelievers see true love and compassion among Christians, it gets their attention. In this world of hate, love is attractive. It is the greatest testimony and indication that God has changed your life.
This week after Father’s Day, remember it is all about the Father’s love. We love because He first loved us!