1. We are to love like Jesus (that you love one another: just as I have loved you)
How did he love us?
In John 13 – where he asks to love one another, he was troubled because of betrayal and denial – but he still loved them and asks us to do the same.
Rom 5:8, while we were perfect and a saint, he loved us? No – while we were yet sinners!
I Peter 4:8 ‘Keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” – so even sin should not allow hate or bitterness to bread in us!
We are to Love – Not because they deserve to love but because the Lord commands us to love.
2. We are to love not just with words but through actions
Scripture also challenges us not to be just academic and knowledgeable about this love. Not just show love through words, emails, and social media? – Not through empty words – but through actions that is sincere.
I John 3: 18 –“Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” – Just as He loved us. He didn’t just send a love letter from heaven!
Vs 17 – But if anyone has the things that another brother needs and yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
If you have two jackets – pray for God to give the other brother one?!
The early church understood the meaning of this much more than we do:
Acts 4:34 & 35
- There was not a needy person among them…”
- They sold lands, houses and things and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as they had needs.
The value of this may not be understood in a culture where you have so much help from Govt and NGO’s but when you come to some of the areas where we are working you will know how important such love in action is. Where people are literally thrown out of homes and villages because they became Christians, not allowed to use the community wells for water and treated like someone with an infectious disease. When this happens all that is left to you is other believers and the church! We have been helping and caring for hundreds of people like this!
Action not just out of comfort or convenience but sacrificial – selling and giving!
3. We are to love by laying down our lives
1 John 3:16 – That he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
The depth of our love for one another is demonstrated by our willingness to give our lives for other believers!
The significance of this can’t be understood in America, you have to go and be with the persecuted believers to understand what it means to lay down our lives for others! Few years ago in one of the areas where we were working persecution broke out and they were beating one of local pastors, seeing this one of the young men got involved and shouting the pastor, please run the whole church need you run, as the young men got involved the pastor was freed and he run into the forest. But that young man was beaten to death.
By visiting such communities I have come to understand the scriptures in a very different light to sitting in an AC room!
When visiting one such community I asked one of our workers, are you not afraid to die? They looked at me like I was a heathen – they said, something so profound that still challenges and shakes me: brother, when we came to Jesus we already died – if we are already dead – how can anyone kill us again?
Perhaps we are afraid to lay down our life and die because we never died as Christ expected us in the first place?
This does not mean that we have to die foolishly – No but if required are you willing?