John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
This passage begins in a very interesting manner. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples”.....In other words, Jesus doesn’t just desire that we are followers of his, He wants us to demonstrate it to the world. And the specific way that we are to demonstrate our discipleship is by LOVING ONE ANOTHER. Certainly, as we talk about behaving like Jesus, the characteristic of love should be one of the most obvious. Because Jesus was the most perfect example of love.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The fact that Jesus gave up the glory of heaven, Came down to this world to set an example for us to follow, And then died on the cross for our sins is the PERFECT demonstration of love. Paul specifically tells us that he did all of this “while we were yet sinners”. In other words, it wasn’t because we deserved it....or that we had earned it. It is not even because we wanted it or asked for it. It is also worthy to note that there was no benefit to him to do this monumental act of love. He did it only because he loved us. One characteristic of the kind of Godly love that we are to emulate is that God and Jesus did what we needed not what we think we wanted. Here’s an example of what I mean. If you gave a child the choice of what he WANTED to eat for any or every meal, What would he request? Probably cookies, cake, or candy. So as a loving parent, Do we allow them to eat only what they want? Not good parents. Good parents would insist that they eat vegetables, meat...a well balance meal. Even to the point that little Johnny cries and says that he doesn’t want to. Why would a parent do something that little Johnny doesn’t want? Because in the long run it is what’s best for him. And true love does what is best for others. Therefore, we too must love others and do what is be for them in spite of what they want.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The ABSOLUTE greatest thing that we can do for someone is to teach them about Jesus. Because through him, They can solve the greatest problem of their life....SIN. This may not be what the person wants. In fact, the person may think they want to be left alone and not to have “your religion” “shoved down the throat. But love demands that we teach them anyway because it is what is best for them.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Paul tells Timothy that there will come a day when folks would rather hear cute stories and fables than to hear the truth that they need. What is Paul’s recommendation to Timothy if and when this happens? To tell them what they want to hear? No! To Preach THE word. To do it when it is popular and when it is not. The same principle applies to erring Christians as well.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
James 5:19-20 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; (20) Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Erring Christians in this situation will not be begging for us to come and show them the error of their way. I assure you, it will be quite the opposite. But the need is critical. Notice the language that James uses. Notice the condition that he describes these erring Christians in...Save a soul from DEATH and hide a multitude of sin. These people are in danger of spiritual and eternal punishment without our influence. They need us, regardless of what they think they want. And like Jesus, we need to do what they need, not what they want. But there is more to demonstrating our love to our brethren than just restoring the erring.
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
I think the two primary characteristics of true godly love are compassion and action. First we need to genuinely feel and care about the needs of others. Within any congregation there are people hurting. They will not walk up to another member that they do not know very well and start unloading their problems. So we need to be more receptive of the feelings of others. But the another implication is that we need to know our brothers and sisters truly like our physical family. If I was to get into trouble, the first place I would go for help is to my family. Therefore we need to be close to our brothers and sisters in Christ so we can know when they are in trouble. But the second part of love is action.
1 John 3:16-18 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (17) But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? (18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
John asks a rhetorical question here: How can we really say we have love if we have an opportunity to help someone and we CHOOSE not to? Then he answers that question by stating a truth. That we should not just love in word. But in ACTION! If we truly want to be a follower of Jesus, we too must demonstrate our love to others just like Jesus did.
Reflecting the SON,
12 Hours of Jesus is a community focused effort to teach the world more about Jesus. Our first event is May 10th in Radcliff Kentucky.
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