Love One Another
November 1, 2015
1 Corinthians 13:1-8
Last week we were looking at loving one another. We jumped right into it. Understanding it’s not easy to like someone you don’t like, let alone to love them. We are looking at 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter. As Paul reminded us that love supersedes knowledge, martyrdom, giving, speaking in other languages and even faith.
There’s a lot in that! But I’m not going to review it all. Suffice it to say, we need to have love first and foremost in our lives.
Paul reminded us ~
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” – Romans 12:18
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” – Ephesians 4:2
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy…” – Hebrews 12:14
What strikes me before we move on . . . is the statement from Paul . . . if it is possible, as far as it depends on you . . . as well as the writer of Hebrews stating a very similar sentiment . . . make every effort.
We need to consider if we do that! I know there are times I have fallen short on that one. I’ve really thought about that in light of what’s gone on and know that I’ve been harsh, pointed, to the point . . . but have I been gentle? Have I made every effort to live in peace? As far as it depends on me, live at peace? Do I bear with one another in love?
I could safely say NO! I’m not seeking to be a martyr, but it’s easy to fall short. Because others fall short, does not give us license to fall to their level, it does not give us the right to say whatever comes to mind. So, for that part, I would ask for your forgiveness as I seek to be a better example to God’s people.
With that in mind, you see, Jesus saw love as so important that He said this in John 13:34 — A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. ~ John 13:34
Now notice that Jesus says that this is a commandment, not a suggestion. And God never commands us to do anything that we cannot do.
We think love is something that just happens to us. The world kind of teaches us about a cheap form of love. That it’s so easy to fall in love and fall out of love. It’s acceptable to go from partner to partner because the world says that’s ok. We get the idea that it’s okay because we just can’t help falling in love or falling out of love. It just happens.
And in a sense there is some truth to that. We meet someone and we fall in love, we didn’t demand it, we maybe didn’t seek it, but it happened. Now Jesus isn’t talk about your dating and married life. He’s talking about the people we meet on an everyday basis. The people we go to school with, the people we work with, the people we worship with and so on.
Jesus is commanding us to love. This is not the same as falling in love like it’s a choice. There really is no choice in this.
The Bible teaches that love is something we can control. God commands us to love each other. I believe this means — I can will to love you, and you in turn can will to love me. So this is not a hopeless situation.
Now, what kind of love is being talked about here? In Philippians 2:4 Paul tells us he wants us to behave as Jesus Christ behaved – to love in the same way that Jesus loved.
And here’s the way Jesus loved. He said, 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
In other words, love becomes unselfish. You begin to think about other people and their interests just like you think about yourself and your interests. You become unselfish. Now I want to apply that in several different areas.
First of all, see how that would work in the family. Let’s suppose someone in every family represented here would say, “I’m going to go home and put this into practice.”
Start with your spouse. After Christ . . . you ought to love your husband or your wife first and most. You ought to be kinder, more tender, more gentle to them. That may not always be easy, but can you extend kindness, gentleness and grace to them?
Can you see how that would affect the atmosphere of the home? It does not mean you are just a pushover and agree with everything just to keep the peace. It means you listen and you respect. You can disagree, but how do you disagree! Do you always have to be right? Do you always have to have all the answers? Or can you listen and compromise, and seek what is truly best for the family without the arguing and bickering?
Remember — their interests are as important as yours. And pretty soon it filters down to the relationship you share with your children, maybe even your in-laws and your out-laws and everybody else in the family. Just because you love them.
It begins in the family, and it spills over into the church family. In fact Jesus said, “By this they shall know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
That’s the way the world will find out that the message of Jesus Christ is valid. And if we’re really going to love each other the way Jesus loved us then we have to develop in our own lives the same kind of compassion for people that Jesus had.
Grandparents watched the movie “free Willy” with their grandchildren. The kids were enthralled with the movie, especially one grandson who was almost 5 years old. He sat in his little chair in front of the TV set and didn’t move. He was mesmerized. He watched everything. He laughed when he was supposed to laugh, he was concerned when he was supposed to be concerned. You could even see little tears in his eyes when Willy was in trouble. He was totally caught up in the movie.
Can you remember getting caught up in something and so identifying with what’s going on that you actually became a part of a story? Even if it was someone else’s story, you got caught up in it. It didn’t define you, but you felt for them. Well, that’s compassion, and it should cause us to ask ourselves some tough questions.
“What’s it like to hurt deep inside and no one knows you’re hurting and you don’t feel free to tell them that you’re hurting?
What’s it like being sick and knowing you’re not going to get well, and wanting more than anything else to live?
What’s it like to be dealing with marital problems or domestic problems?
Now, we have to be careful that we don’t read into everyone’s so-called issues, just because we assume they have problems.
Yet, what kind of burdens are people carrying? How can we place their interests above our own? How can we demonstrate love and compassion to them? I am believing more and more that is what Jesus had in mind when He commanded us to love one another as He loved us.
You see, the greatest demonstration of love we could experience from Jesus is that He came into this world . . . He participated in this life . . . for who? For us!
He was willing to bear the sinfulness of the world . . . for who? For us!
He was willing to suffer and die a terrible death . . . for who? For us!!
The question then comes to us . . . will we help those who are in need?
Will we demonstrate love to one another! Will we consider the interests, the burdens of others ahead of our own? Or will we be all about ourselves, what we want, about making life about us, rather than them. And if we do, how will we even go about showing love? That’s a topic for another day, because it’s very easy to think we are loving, when in reality it’s not love at all. It’s control and domination.
That’s what it means when Jesus talks about loving one another as He loved us. Also understand that when Jesus said, “As I have loved you . . .” He wants us to understand the ways in which He loves us.
He didn’t condemn you, instead He died for you.
He didn’t say you aren’t worth it . . . he died for you.
He created you in His image . . . you are worth it . . . He died for you.
After Jesus told the disciples to love one another as He loved them, He then said ~
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
So here’s the example we are to take into the world. Love one another as I have loved you. Demonstrate radical, selfless love! Don’t fight one another, love one another, be at peace with one another, even if they disagree with you, as much as it depends on you . . . love one another . . . .
When we do that, the world takes notice. The world took notice of the early church when they loved one another. They noticed when the church cared for the sick and dying with no regard for their own life. That’s the church at work.
Imagine being part of that church. Luke described parts of it in Acts 2 ~
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
47 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
That is the kind of church I want to be in. A church filled with love . . . loving one another as they love Christ and experience His love! What about you? What church do you want?