Abiding in Christ Jesus.
By Nick Bibile
Joh This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.
We are going to see the importance and the meaning of this commandment, Christs love to the believer. The difference of the unbelievers love. The reason for this commandment. Some of the ingredients of love.
Can you give a commandment to your teacher, to your boss or to your parents? No. But they can give an order to you. Why is it you cannot give them and they can give you an order? Because there they have more authority over you, more power than you. Now Christ as the commander and chief giving a commandment an order to his believers. Parent has authority and power over you as they take care of you when you were little they brought you up. Christ on the other hand created you.
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.
Now when he gives a commandment to his creatures whether we like it or not we need to obey. The demons obey him, nature obeys him how much more the believers should obey him. His commandment is that you love one another as he loved you. Now this is a repetition of Christ said before.
Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
When Christ said, ye love one another it does not mean a one time act but it is in present tense that ye keep on loving one another.
When Christ said this is a new commandment does it mean that he is adding something entirely new that no one has ever heard before? No. It means newly and more clearly explained, than before. A new edition that explains better. New commandment as a "new name," and a "new song,"
18 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD
1Jo 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment, which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word, which ye have heard from the beginning.
Now Christ commands us to love one another as he loved us. We saw the love of Christ to the believer last week and we saw that you can never measure his love.
Christ loved his disciples, for he laid down his life for them (v. 13): Greater proof of love hath no man to show than this, to lay down his life for his friend.
Joh 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
1Jo 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
When we understand his love for us to the believers we understand that we must love one another. As I said this is not an option but a commandment, a mandate.
When Jesus said love one another, it is not sexual love. It is not brotherly love as a we have within our families but it is again agape, meaning sacrificial love.
People in the world the unbelievers they too have their fellowships; they have their organizations and clubs. We can see them helping one another. So whats the difference between Christian love and their love?
The unbelievers love whom they like only. The carnal man likes to love someone who is friendly to them, who have money, materials, authority and power. They have no desire to love some one who is very poor and in low conditions. Also the unbelievers even if they do care for someone who is very poor and in low conditions by giving them clothes, foods and money they will do it for their glory for their pride to show how good they are in the site of other men. Their motives are not right in the sight of God.
Mt 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father, which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret himself, shall reward thee openly.
Before we see some practical examples let us see the reason why Christ gave this commandment. Remember the picture of the church here, Christ is the vine and the church is called the branches that produce fruits. The entire church from the beginning of the Old Testament till Christ comes is in this vine. The present church, the believers are in Christ in this vine now. We saw previously the goal of the Christian is to produce fruits, if not they are cut down and thrown in to the fire. We cannot produce fruits on our own, we need each other.
Also in scripture Christ is called the head and the church is called the body. There is one head and one body. This one body consists of the true universal Church. There are small bodies true churches scattered all throughout the world. In a body of a church there are many members. Apostle Paul gave the following illustration.
1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
Paul hits the nail on the head when he said there should not be any divisions or separations among us, we should have the same care for one another. This is what Jesus is saying that we love one another just like our body made of different parts I need all the parts to function my body and all though they look different I need all the parts and I love all of them, they function together as one. Do you know that 747 airplane is made of 6 million parts, next time when you fly at a speed of 500 miles per hour 35,000 feet high you will be glad to know that one part does not fly itself! But all 6 million parts are assembled as one machine then it flies as one.
In the same way we need one another to bear fruits. The whole purpose of bearing fruits is to convert souls to Christ, evangelism. Let us take some practical examples. If a new person comes to our fellowship and you do not like the way he is dressed or the way he looks. You become cold to that person, gives bad looks, leave that person alone. Tell me how can you win that person to the Lord? In reality you have no desire at all for converting souls to Christ, you think of yourself, then might as well join a club do not join the church. Because of one person can have a great effect on the whole church.
Jas 2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
Let us take another example. If there is a person who desire to listen to Gods word and a new convert in Christ, comes to church but this person has weaknesses as he is growing up like a baby and you do not like that person, as he or she is not like the others or you. You tell someone else in the church I hate him, I really dont like him. Then later we do not see that person coming to church anymore as he had noticed your ways toward him and got stumbled. You may say I am glad that so and so is not coming to our church but let us see what Gods word say about that.
1Jo 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
1Jo 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Lu 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, it is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
3 Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
1Jo 2:9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
1Jo 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
Now do you get the message? Remember we are in the same family. We have one Father and one Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. All the believers in the church are the Fathers children. God is full of love and if we cannot practice agape love here then we are not fit to be in heaven with God.
As we are in the same family, children of the same Father, and fellow disciples with each other our goal is to bear fruits, convert souls, and as a body we need help too. So we need to be praying one for another, bearing one another's burdens, forbearing and forgiving one another, admonishing each other, and building up one another in faith and holiness.
Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Christs love is unconditional, he said you love one another as I have loved you. Christ showed us the example of love and we are to imitate his love with one another, this is exactly what Christ is saying here. Christ lived for others and not for himself, this is agape love. Love is not selfish but giving whole-heartedly with a godly spirit.
1Jo 3:16 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.
Let us see some of the ingredients of agape love.
1. Humility, not thinking high of yourself.
You know the story in John chapter 13 how Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and then he said:
Joh 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you.
Pride hinders for you to love one another sacrificially. Instead of thinking high opinion of him, he stoops down by making the proud ashamed by washing the feet of the disciples. Christ gives the example to behave in a spirit of humility and condescension to one another.
Ac 20:19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: and by love to serve one another in all things.
1Pe 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
Our English word hospitable comes from the French hospitable. Which means receiving and entertaining strangers and guests with kindness giving them food and lodging without reward. This is true Christianity, true agape love.
Again you need to put your pride down, your selfishness down, your greed need to be crucified and think of others more than you. Give whatever food you have be kind to the ones that are entering your home, show the love of Christ to them. It is not only giving a hug makes you hospitable Christian even the unbelievers hug and kiss each other. You may say in your heart, I cannot give my food this is what I like let me give the left over. Now God looks at your heart and he is not pleased at all as your motives are not right. You eat the left over and give the guest the best. That is agape love, loving others as yourself. The unbelievers will not do it but the Christian can with the love of Christ.
Ro 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Remember the story of Abraham how he became hospitable to the three men and one was the Lord; he washed their feet cooked food willingly served them.
3. Giving to the needy.
When Jesus said, love one another. This is mutual love and the proof of this love is shown in action towards one another.
Ac 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Here we see there was unity in the body and how can you do this unless your souls were knitted together.
Ac 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
This is voluntary giving. You give because you see there is a need, not because you have too many things and you wanted to get rid of it. True love is having a concern for the other person, readiness to help in time of need. Giving not grudgingly but with a cheerful heart. These are the true fruits of the Christian.
Jas 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
1Jo 3:17 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.
This is the result of regeneration. This is holy love.
1Jo 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Jo 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.