I’ve gotta’ love them?
1 John 2:7
“Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another” (LEVITICUS 19:18)
OK so what does this really mean, how does it play out in real time with real actions of loving one another especially in today’s culture…most of us know what we think it means, being kind, loving, looking out for each other…but the Bible tells us so much more
2 John 1:6
“Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.”
So loving each other doesn’t just mean being kind and loving but doing what God commands…there is a whole bunch of stuff in the Bible about what God commands. Let’s go on a journey together to understand what it means…why is this so important…Jesus made it important, our world is falling apart and they need to see some hope, something tangible that says to them they can have joy, someone does care, it is worth it (whatever “it” is)
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The way children feel most secure is not in their success in school, sports, dance, art but in the love they see in their parents relationship (not even the love they feel from their parents) they are made into secure human beings because they experience your love for each other.
Remember John said…Love means doing what God commands it is kind of a catch 22 as Paul explains
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law”
But once again this doesn’t answer the question, “What does it mean to love one another?”
Hebrews 10:24 motivating one another
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”
Loving one another means to not allow gifts to sit on the shelf…to not allow someone to be selfish, motivate means to urge them to drive forward…loving one another means to realize the whole body is blessed when everyone uses their skills their gifts and their talents
It means we are to excite one another to forward motion…
Our natural fleshly state is to not bother, to allow others to do all the work…to not feel like we are important or our gifts are important enough that other need them. Ladies and gentlemen you have been given your gifts because the church needs them, the world needs them, God needs you to be who you are called to be…don’t allow the enemy or your own flesh to convince you otherwise
One of my greatest battles is getting people to use their skills to bless others, some would rather complain, whine, or spend time gossiping than do something that would help change the lives of others….David got in trouble when he should have been out doing what his gifts called him to do but instead he sat on his gifts
But when we use are gifts the church is strong, victories happen…Paul says this Ephesians 6:8
“knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.” (NKJV)
God is just waiting to bless you as you use the gifts he has given you to impact the world…that is what real love is….using what the Lord has given you to love on others and motivating others to do the same
Galatians 5:13 serve one another
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.
In context this chapter is talking about not being in bondage to the law, or our sinful nature, instead be in bondage to one another…I know that sounds contrary to the use of the word freedom but our true freedom comes by serving one another, loving one another in such a way that they are able to walk in freedom, you, because of your great love, serve your brothers and sisters in Christ building them up, helping them to overcome their battles, learning what it is to be unconditionally loved as Christ showed us how…he washed the disciples feet, including Judas’ he being all God tolerated all the foolish things said and done around him by the disciples in order to patiently wait to find ways to help them overcome…he was in a bondage of love with mankind and he said..
“greater love has no one than to lay down one’s life down for his friends”
Ephesians 4:32 forgiving one another
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Loving one another means forgiving one another…nowhere does it say to only forgive those who deserve it or to only forgive those just once…
The word used here for forgiveness is to be gracious toward…to give someone favor even though it may seem that they don’t deserve it…
Many of our unforgiveness problems go to our feelings that I have been so wronged they don’t deserve to be forgiven…we may not say that out loud but that is how we feel inside…Paul is telling us as part of our command to love one another…when someone wrongs us if they are family we need to be gracious we need to extend them favor as we would want favor given to us….that is real love
Philippians 2:2 whole heartedly agreeing with one another loving
“Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.”
Loving one another means being like-minded…being willing to work together to understand the purpose of serving one another…it doesn’t mean that you start out like-minded but you love each other enough to hear each other out and to decide to work together….Paul is saying this is really showing love for one another when you decide to work together not in grumbling complaining begrudgingly, gossiping or backbiting but truly decide to prefer and trust one another to accomplish a goal just because you have the love of Christ in you!
The worship team is a great example they don’t always agree on some of the songs they should do but they love and respect each other enough to try something even if it is not their style or a song they particularly like they trust each other that if someone likes a song and it fits within the perimeters that they will at least try it and see if it works
Hebrews 10:25 encouraging one another
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
The word, “encourage” here means to be deliberate and intentional helping others to reflect who Jesus is
We need to be careful when someone comes to us with a struggle being truly loving and empathetic means to always work to help them reflect Jesus. In the negative it means to shut down gossip, self-pity, self-degradation, fear and such and to help people when they are hurting, wounded or rejected to see Jesus in all things and know there is hope.
In the positive it is celebrating with people over their accomplishments, rejoicing in how the Lord has blessed them, encouraging them that more blessings is coming because of God’s great love for them and the Lord’s plan for their life!
So when the word tells us to love one another it is
Motivating one another to be all God called us to be using our gifts for his glory and the blessing of the body
Serving one another – in a bondage of love committed to helping each other over come and patiently allowing them to grow up
Forgiving one another- allowing our feeling justified in our unforgiveness to go away and frrely forgiving
Working together to meet a common goal
Encouraging one another to be who God has called us to be