Love One Another

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Following on from last weeks focus on our UP relationship , David Highlighted part of last weeks Ephesians 1 passage to introduce today’s focus on our ‘ IN’ relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ

"For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers."

Ephesians 1:15-16

David highlighted that the Apostle Paul had noticed that this was a stand out characteristic of the Ephesian Christians , their love for one another and their faith in Jesus .

David challenged all of us to think of fellow believers in our work , uni , church family , friendship groups…

Is the defining characteristic of how you relate to other Christians .. Love ?

Does the way you speak to them , about them , how you behave toward them or pray for them, is your attitude toward them characterised by love and would it be noticible to others .

To explain why this idea is so important David highlighted that two of the most important commandments in the Old Testament that underpin the Christian faith are in summary

‘Love God and Love your Neighbour’

Following these commands were to help the Israelites stand out as children of God

These commands speak to the Up ( Love God ) , and Out (Love Neighbour) parts of our Triangle Illustration

Then in New Testament , Jesus the only new commandment Jesus gives – found in John 13 does not replace or undermine the above but rather enhances it .The context for this is in the Upper room and Jesus’ Farewell Discourse with the Disciples , spoken just after Judas had left

"When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:31-35

The prophet Jeremiah spoke God’s word into serious and difficult situations as he talked about the impending destruction of Jerusalem

Finding rest for your souls is a choice you make for yourself. The people in Jeremiah’s day chose not to walk that way and didn’t find the rest they needed.

"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

Galatians 6:10

Every other writer in the New Testament grasped the importance and fundamental necessity of this commandment by Jesus

Also the Apostle John – who recorded the Words said in the Upper room further echoed and emphasised the importance of this new commandment in his letters to the early Christians

"For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."

1 John 4:20-21

David highlighted that given the importance of this commandment that it is important to further examine Jesus’ commandment

by this , all people will know that you are my disciples’

This reflects the ‘In’ dimension of the triangle – it must be a marked notable love for one another – so that it communicates to an unbelieving world what makes Christians stand out

Francis Schaeffer Quote from ‘ The Mark of the Christian’

Our relationships with each other in the Christian family have to be marked by love because it is that tangible loving one another aspect of our faith that reveals our identity as disciples of Jesus

However Jesus adds an ‘if’ to qualify his commandment

,If you have love for one another.”

to show that it can be broken , it is still a choice of obedience to follow or not follow this commandment .Later in John 14 Jesus says ‘ If you love me keep my commands’ and if we love him we will seek to love one another

If we don’t love one another -and often unfortunately Christians can often be known for their disputes divisions and unloving attitudes to one another – then we are impacting our witness

The truthfulness of the gospel remains unchanged but our witness and our claim to love the Jesus of the gospel is severely undermined if we don’t love one another .

Our salvation is unchanged but a watching unbelieving world will be confused by our claim to follow and love Jesus

The way we relate to each other in our local church family , filters outwards

How do we love one another ?

Jesus’ instruction clarifies

‘Love one another. Just As I have loved you, so you must love one another’

This is a very high standard !

Shows that the love we are called to show is more than a feeling or a sentiment , it is a Christ like love

It’s a love that gives , does , costs , its without limits , it’s a cross shaped love

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters"

1 John 3:16

The other New Testament writers reflect this Christ like love in all the ‘one another verses ‘ that we are familiar with – the practical outworking of sacrificial love for one another

We in Windsor Baptist need to live out this command to ‘ love one another’

If we love one another in the true sense it conveys two things

  1. It communicates to all non believers that we are Jesus disciples – it is our badge of true discipleship
  2. it confirms the authenticity of our love for Jesus , as if we truly love him we will obey his commandment

 

The IN dimension of our faith should point others to him and we should love one another because He first loved us !

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