A Clear Command (As Jesus Is, So Are We Set 11?)- March 22, 2023 (86-88/365)

Obeying Jesus’ Command  – Love One Another

facilitated by Pastor Joedy

We’re no longer under God’s Law, but His grace. And under His grace exists at least one command, which stands out: His command is for us to love one another.

What makes Christianity unique? It’s Christ, who Himself is unique. His ways are radical and opposite to the idealism of the world. Christ Himself is the Foundation, as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:11. And because He is the Rock on whom we stand and walk, what we’re into is more than a mere religion, but a movement – it’s a movement of Christ within us, and manifestation of His Spirit in our midst. When we’re aware of the Truth of Christ’s actual Life in us, we understand that what we’re into is more than adherence to His teachings (as is the case with every other religion under the sun) – but this movement is one where we are simply enjoying His presence.

We don’t do what we do under this movement as a religious thing, or in the name of rituals and following orders and obligations. It’s all out of His living in us, and His active love towards us – He is in us, and He is around us. And see there – we couldn’t talk about His love without talking about life. Again, God’s life is within us and amidst us – we’re not known by our uniform (what is seen) or our labels (what is heard), but we are to be known by God’s movement and life within us, which is not singled out by any one sense, but is sensed nevertheless.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20

We baptize by way of immersion – not just water baptism, but in bringing those who would come to believe to the knowledge of the Spirit they were immersed in as soon as they were born again. The commands we teach are pointed out in John 13:

“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.”

John 13:34-35

See, we are clearly commanded to love one another. At first glance for us who have been used to hearing the Bible and have grown up in Christianity, this may sound pretty easy and simple for us – But nothing is closer to the truth! The thing is, if you really think about what Christ is commanding, to love one another may sound like a stretch, especially considering we’re of different families and tribes, different ideologies, conflicting opinions, strange practices, and the like.

But it’s pointed out: Just as Christ loves us, so we are to love one another. It’s a clear command that Christ has for each and every one of us in His Body… and while He does make it clear that we are to love one another, we’re also to pay attention to the emphasis on what was said before that. We love, because we know Christ loves us. 

Now John was in the forefront, and He was making it clear that our love for one another is the basis of being a true believer of Christ. He takes it further by saying that if we hate one another, it’s not  a true expression of God’s love, nor is it representative of the body of Christ. See the following scriptures and how they lead up to the point of us obeying by way of loving one another, and demonstrating disobedience if we do the opposite:

And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard.1 John 2:3, 7

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.1 John 3:11, 14, 23

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.1 John 4:19-21

We see that the commandment that Christ mentioned wasn’t necessarily new – in fact, it’s fresh in the sense that it was timeless, able to be seen in all the commands that have preceded it. John emphasizes that it’s our belief in the Son of God that brings us to love one another, and as I always like to point out, it’s also in our loving one another that we see more aspects in our believing in Christ. The two come together and supplement each other – He elaborates further by saying you couldn’t say you love God, while hating your brother. You can try to pull it off, but one will eventually win over the other. 

And it wasn’t just John, but Paul also pointed out the critical importance of our loving one another. Unlike John, Paul’s emphasis was seen across his epistles, clearly a common message to every church he ministered to:

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.Galatians 5:13

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.Ephesians 4:1-3

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf  and has made known to us your love in the Spirit. Colossians 1:3-8

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,1 Thessalonians 4:9

Throughout the epistles we see more regarding the call for us to love one another. To the Galatians, Paul reminds them (and us) that the freedom that we have been given in Christ has set us free from serving ourselves, but to consider and prefer to serve one another through love. To the Ephesians, Paul tells them that our walk and way is seen as worthy in Christ when we bear with one another in love… and this is not without humility, gentleness, and patience with each other.

To the Colossians we see that our faith in Christ is not without our love for each other, and how both faith and love are essential to the hope we have – and this same hope also helps our faith and love. We see in this epistle to the Colossians, just how consistent Paul is in pointing out the connection between the three – faith, hope, and love. Apparently it’s not just something we find in his first epistle to the Corinthians. Finally, we see in his writing to the Thessalonians that in the absence of others to teach us how to love one another, or what it means to love one another – well, we can always go to God Himself to teach us how it goes. 

At around this point Pastor Joedy points out how speed limits work – People do go under the minimum speed limit, and they do pass the maximum speed limit… but people certainly do not go beyond the maximum speed limit by so much, because they do value their lives! So it is with love – it’s obedience beyond the constricts of the law, because we value ourselves and each other. Love is superior to the Law because it goes far beyond the law.

Finally, Peter also pointed out his thoughts on loving one another:

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;1 Peter 1:22-23

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.1 Peter 2:17

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.1 Peter 3:8

Peter tells us that to love one another is natural for us that have been born again – and it shows in this scripture that our being born again involves the ‘living and abiding’ word of God; in line with what Paul says, regarding how our faith comes by hearing the said word of God.

And here I pause – I keep saying that Christ Himself is our living Word – and, indeed, this Word is not only living, but as pointed out, it is ABIDING – This Word is WITH us. We are present in this Living Word, and this Living Word is present in us. I suppose it’s from this that Peter encourages us in the body to honor everyone, to love one another (love the brotherhood), to fear God (to recognize and respect that God is who He says He is), and to honor the Emperor (no matter if the emperor tolerates or downright seeks to kill Christians).

God loves us with humility, gentleness, and patience, that we are able to love with humility, gentleness, and patience.

God loves us, and our faith and hope are strengthened – And because of this love, we are able to love, that the faith and hope of others is strengthened as well.

Finally, God loves us, encouraging us to have unity of mind. 

Actually, before I go further, I think I’d like to stop here. The way I see this, it’s God’s love that holds our mind together. In this world that is trying to distract me and to blindside me, I’d like to appreciate this before anything else – God’s love holds me together.

Peter points out that God loves us, encouraging us to have unity of mind, to have sympathy; God loves us, leaving us with a tender heart, and a humble mind. And just as God’s love changes us to the core, so the love we pass on is able to do the same – to people, families, organizations, nations, and tribes.

Here’s a question: Is the church loving one another?

But it’s a trick question, isn’t it? How do we measure how people love one another? Are there ways to measure its quality and quantity? No, the question is more of: Is it possible for the church to love another another?

And to THAT question, we have a resounding, YES! We’ve seen it in the book of Acts:

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.Acts 2:42-47

And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.Acts 4:33

Great grace is present when we love one another. But if we stick to being legalistic and focused on our own self-righteousness, we may downright be hating each other!

And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

1 John 3:23

Pastor Joedy points out that there are at least 4 ways to love; 4 ways that we are able to love one another.

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

1 John 3:16-18

Before anything else, notice how 1 John 3:16 is just as sweet to read as the world-famous John 3:16. In fact, doesn’t one verse help the other? How do we believe in the only begotten Son of God, that we may not perish, but have everlasting life? Well, by knowing that God’s love is seen in His laying His life down for us.

But from this series of verses we are able to see that we can love one another, by helping one another. If we have something to help someone else, God’s love that abides in us allows us to open our heart towards him. We help one another, proving that we don’t just say that we love each other – we actually do it, and people see this.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.Colossians 3:12-14

Through God’s love for us we have been made new creations, with new hearts… and holiness, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience are compatible with these new hearts we possess. We appreciate how Christ’s finished work has poured all this out towards us, so it isn’t too hard – in fact it is compatible for us to bear with one another and forgiving one another – and there’s another way we love one another. We can forgive one another.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2

Friends, we may be new creations, but it doesn’t change the fact that we are still in this old, dying world. And as such, even if we are new creations, see, we are still vulnerable to getting caught in transgression. We still get tempted, and we are just as exposed to temptation as the rest of the world… but see, we are reminded of how we love one another in this way – that is, to bear one another’s burdens. When we are tempted, or when we see others failing, stumbling and falling, we who are of the Holy Spirit ought to bring one another to restoration, by way of gentleness.

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.Luke 22:19-20

We come to the fourth way we can love one another. It’s not as obvious as the first three, yet I believe it is just as significant, if not the most significant out of all of the ways – We love one another through communion. We enjoy each other regularly in love, feasting and remembering the finished work of Christ; Giving to one another, teaching one another, praying for one another.

Pastor Joedy was late for this particular session, and he did a great job in pointing out these scriptures in the name of encouraging us to love one another. However, he was lacking in time, and this is all that I was able to pick up for the rest of the time we all had with each other:

We need to look at the Source of our Love: and it’s Jesus, no more, and no less. His Spirit is the source of the love we have for ourselves and for one another.  We can observe our Savior’s example. We need to Submit and yield to this love.

These three observations come together for us to project… or to establish a signal, to broadcast a signal for all to see the love of the Lord which is not just for us, but for all to come to receive.

Friends, I suppose this can be elaborated at a separate time and article, but I hope we didn’t miss out on the main point here. It is by loving one another that we appreciate the finished work of Christ, and when we appreciate Christ and His finished work, it comes out as natural for us to love ourselves, and to love one another.

Until the next post, God bless you.

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