Tuesday, March 8, 2016

If You Love Me....

 Part Two To This Is Love

On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples – and by extension, all of us – how they could love Him. As in every relationship, the proof of their love walked in their actions and deeds.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
This verse says it all. In Jesus' economy, passionate words don't equal love; only obedience. Church work, writing books (or, ahem, blog posts), fancy preaching or men's praise doesn't equal love; only obedience. While these are good things, it is possible for us to become so preoccupied with them, we lose what means the most to Jesus. If we love Him, it's vital we know and do His commandments.

What are His commandments?

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

What are the commands of God?

Believing on the name of Christ.

Loving one another as God has commanded us.

When I first saw this, I was surprised at how simple, yet...well...simple God's commandments are. In fact, every other commandment in the Bible is an instruction of how we fulfill these two commands. 

Later we'll look at what the Bible says about believing on Christ, but today we'll look at the second – and hardest of these commandments: loving one another.

1 John 3:23 says we are to love each other as God commanded us. So let us ask, how did God command us to love one another?

Mark 12:30-31 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. It means the care of our neighbor is foremost in our minds. This doesn't mean being passive and letting others do whatever they want. That is cowardliness, not love. But let's go on.

John 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.

Now we have a pattern for how we should love -- and it's very different from what the world models for us. Is Jesus ever "tolerant" when we sin against Him? Does He let us continue in transgression? Has He made it His personal agenda to rid our lives of all suffering and consequence of sin? If you answered yes, to any of these, you are serving a false christ. Jesus rebukes. Jesus scourges every son whom He receives. Jesus hates sin and doesn't lie about where sin leads. But Jesus does each of these things for our good. His chastisement is for our righteousness. His wounding is for our healing. His truth for our cleansing. Like every loving parent, it is love that motivates Him to bruise us. This is love.

We also see the love Jesus has for us is deeper than emotion. Personally, I'm pretty good at "feeling" love. I squirm at the "deeper" love though. I hate confrontation. I'd rather be quiet; hope they see the cliff coming and change their ways on their own. And it's because I'm thinking about me. My comfort. My preference. Not Jesus. He loves us too much to be silent. There are no tingling feelings in it for Him, yet He does it anyway. Oh that we had this kind of love for one another! How many a child, friend or fellow church member has shipwrecked because their parents and friends were too selfish to warn them of the disaster ahead. We have become so removed from true love, we have lost all sense of its meaning. It's time you and I turn to Jesus and relearn what love looks like.

So let's bring it home. Is our love conforming more to Christ's? The Word tells us when there is a time for rebuke and when there is a time for forbearance. Do you know those times? When you speak the truth, are you motivated by love for the other or impatience? When you keep silent is it out of charity that suffereth long or selfish cowardliness? Do you forgive even when it's hard? Do you cover the transgressions others commit against you, without running them down to others? Do you tell the gospel to those who know it not? Love one another as I have loved you. Do we even want to love others as Jesus loves us?

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