How do we “love one another”?

October 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week we looked at how a disciple of Jesus is a worshipper. It was interesting to realize that I needed to be more specific because, in reality, everyone–the religious and the irreligious– worship something or someone (many times several somethings or someones).

Last Sunday we looked at another characteristic of a disciple of Jesus…

A disciple is a Friend. This focuses primarily on how we are to relate to other Christians in the church. Here are some of the thoughts from the message…

Early in the gospels we see that Jesus brings together a diverse band of guys (the disciples) to join him in carrying out the greatest rescue mission in the history of the cosmos. In John 13 he gives them a key component in how this mission defined and how it is going to succeed:

John 13:34-35

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

That is the mission… LOVE

Like the disciples, Jesus organizes his people into local groups called the church. The church is made up of different and diverse people— economically, socially, genderly (I know this isn’t a word but you get the idea), chronologically, racially, culturally, politically, etc.

And then he says to this incredibly diverse group: to be a disciple you have to love each other.

This can be challenging… But here are three ways that we can live out this command in the church:

1) Spend time with each other

Acts 2:42-47

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

We see that the early church spent a great deal of time together. There is a proximity in love. We must be physically close to other believers to love them as Jesus commanded. This takes time and effort, but the reward is great.

2) Encourage each other

Hebrews 10:19-25

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

This is related to “spending time with each other”.  In order to encourage and “spur on”— we must keep meeting together to know what is happening in each other’s lives. There is a saying I heard a few years ago that I believe is true and related to this idea:

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Now, although these first two points are necessary to love one another, they create a challenge…

Think about it: If people with a bunch of differences spend a bunch of time together, then spur on one another on…What might result?

CONFLICT… And this is where it becomes harder to be a friend.

But you must understand this:

  • Love isn’t the absence of conflict
  • Love is a remedy to conflict

And this idea leads us to our last principle of being a friend..

3) Keep short accounts with each other

Matthew 18:15-19

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

The issue isn’t whether you will have conflict with others in the church—the issue is how you handle the conflict that will eventually occur. In this passage, Jesus tells us to deal with it directly—going first to the person on your own. If that doesn’t work, take two or three others who are in a relationship with the person who has sinned. The main idea is not punishment or discipline here, but rather restoration.

 

Grace and peace,

Doug

 

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