This is My Commandment: Love One Another
Love, as God defines and demonstrates it, is unconditional and selfless. It is a universal language. In Jesus Christ we see it fully lived out – and greater Love hath no man than this. 1 Corinthians 13.
This is my COMMANDMENT, That ye LOVE ONE ANOTHER, as I HAVE LOVED YOU.
LOVE is DEFINED,
At: 1 Corinthians 13.
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 12:31,
Calls this LOVE,
A MORE EXCELLENT WAY.
- Selfless love.
- Unconditional love.
- Our Lord Jesus’ love.
In a way, you could replace the word CHARITY – or LOVE – in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13, with JESUS.
Jesus is the MORE EXCELLENT WAY.
I proclaim to you today that JESUS is RELEVANT.
- Jesus is RELEVANT to your FEARS.
- Jesus is RELEVANT to your PAIN.
- Jesus is RELEVANT to your HURTS.
- Jesus is RELEVANT to your Marriage.
- Jesus is RELEVANT to your Heartache.
- Jesus is RELEVANT to your Life story.
God IS LOVE.
Jesus is Love.
Our Lord Jesus not only TAUGHT love.
- He MODELED love.
- He DEMONSTRATED love.
- He shows us HOW to love.
His COMPASSION was – and is REAL.
- His LOVE is truly, SELFLESS LOVE.
- Such love is a rare quality.
In contrast, the world offers love with a different meaning. A different definition.
It is a love with strings attached.
- CONDITIONAL love.
- Love only when it is RECIPROCATED.
- Love that DEPENDS on the other party.
- Love that is – deep down – SELFISH.
This world is often SELFISH in its ways.
People can be like that.
It says in God’s Word that THE BACKSLIDER in heart shall be FILLED WITH HIS OWN WAYS – Proverbs 14:14.
- What is it?
- Who defines it?
What does GOD’S LOVE look like?
In 1 Corinthians 13 we read of THE QUALITIES of GOD’S PRECIOUS LOVE.
And it’s a LOVE we can RECEIVE, and we can ourselves GIVE.
This is my COMMANDMENT, That ye LOVE ONE ANOTHER, as I HAVE LOVED YOU.
1 Corinthians 13 starts off by saying that it does not matter what we say or do – without love we are nothing.
All that good that I do, if I have not LOVE, it is all IN VAIN.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
(1) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
(2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
(3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Even if I could remove mountain after mountain – that is the sense of it here…
God defines love. We read of the qualities of this selfless love…
(4) Charity suffereth long, and is kind;
This is Love.
Be kind. In other words:
- Be SENSITIVE.
- Be GRACIOUS.
- Be CONSIDERATE.
- Be GENTLE with others.
Paul writes, in
And BE YE KIND ONE TO ANOTHER, TENDERHEARTED, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
How is your heart?
Are you TENDER HEARTED?
KINDNESS has been called “a language that the deaf can hear and the blind can read” (Mark Twain).
The LANGUAGE of LOVE is, truly,
A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE that is known by people from every nation.
Do we have KINDNESS like Jesus did?
He would always STOP, and LISTEN, and REACH OUT.
The LEPER cried out.
- The GRIEF STRICKEN.
- The TORN.
- The ABUSED.
- The FORSAKEN.
And He HEARD them.
In LOVE, our Lord Jesus extended His MERCY, to those in THE MOST CHRONIC NEED.
Sometimes there’s something really special in relating with people who are in the most severe of need. I think of working in the disability sector as such a privilege.
God is Love.
Jesus came and He poured out His life, into people.
We can likewise ask the Lord “to give us a spirit of compassion – for the widows, the orphans, the prisoners, those who are terminally ill, those who are jobless, for that blind beggar on a downtown street corner, for the dirty addict, unshaven and friendless who is prowling the city streets like an animal.”
We can “Ask God for the grace to somehow enter in experientially to that person’s life, imagine their hurt and humiliation.
“Ask for the grace to emotionally enter your husband, your wife or your children. We need to try to live in their world in order to know how to extend mercy and compassion.
“We don’t appreciate one another. We don’t think about one another, because we don’t walk in their shoes…”
Jesus stopped, in LOVE, and gave Himself.
People weren’t an interruption to Jesus. They were His mission.
How can we learn more THE COMPASSION OF JESUS?
How can we be MORE SENSITIVE to people?
The DISTRESSED, the DISCOURAGED, the TORN and the WOUNDED?
They are all around us.
I think that we live in such a self-obsessed, self-centred world, all too often…
Selfishness and the demanding of our own rights and comforts permeates our nation, our culture, and our mindset – all too easily.
Chapter 13 goes on,
charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Love is not self seeking and envious of others.
It wants to see others blessed.
Love gives and keeps on giving.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Don’t just look out for yourself. Look out for the interests of other people. Stand in their shoes.
Love vaunteth not itself… in other words, it doesn’t parade itself – it is not a braggart.
It is not arrogant.
Our Lord Jesus again DEMONSTRATED this love – as God manifested in the flesh.
Jesus stepped down, to our level.
He stepped down from heaven’s glory, and into human skin and human shoes.
And He can relate.
He is relevant.
He was – and is – GOD WITH US. Emmanuel.
The Lord Jesus, Master of Heaven and earth, was not puffed up. He did not have a swelled head. He wasn’t a windbag puffed up with his own inflated sense of self importance.
He stoops down and He reaches out in love to you.
Have you sometimes noticed how some people love having a conversation about themselves with you?
Their world is consumed with themselves.
Love has a mind to OTHERS.
To THINK of OTHERS.
When our Lord saw need He was moved with compassion.
It was others that motivated Him.
It was REAL.
I’ve heard it said, LOVE is a VERB.
Likewise we could say,
JESUS is a VERB.
He is LOVE IN ACTION.
Love ACTIVE and PASSIONATE.
It goes on, in 1 Corinthians 13… Verse 5:
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own,
God’s love has A SPECIAL QUALITY of SELF SACRIFICE.
Love does not behave itself UNSEEMLY. In other words, it is not rude. There is a dignity and a consideration about it.
Love does not seek FOR ITSELF.
It seeks TO BLESS. To BE THOUGHTFUL.
I read of a man who was generally lacking in manners. He never opened the car door for his wife.
“She doesn’t have two broken arms,” he would say.
After many years of marriage, his wife died. At the funeral, as the pallbearers brought her casket out to the hearse, the husband was standing by the car door.
The funeral director, who knew the husband by name, called out to him and said, “Open the door for her, will you?”
He reached for the car door and then, for one second, froze.
He realized that he had never opened the door for her in life; now, in her death, it would be the first, last, and only time. A lifetime of regret came crashing down around him. Love is not rude.
I carried a casket of someone just last Thursday. It was the first time I have served as a pall bearer. It is a telling thing when someone passes away, and you carry the weight of their body, as their soul goes to another place.
Life is all too short.
Let us love while we can.
We have only a limited time on earth to show love to others.
Is there someone in your life you want to express love to?
Then show it today.
Make a point of it.
Jesus did not seek His own way – he does not seek to please Himself.
Jesus is Love.
Jesus is Relevant to you and who you are and what you are going through.
He seeks after the broken, the hurting, the lost… The suffering and the powerless…
He was not self centred. He was others-centred. He ministered to the heart broken.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the POOR; he hath sent me to heal the BROKENHEARTED, to preach deliverance to the CAPTIVES, and recovering of sight to the BLIND, to set at liberty them that are BRUISED,
The love of God, incarnate. Jesus Christ the Lord, comes to the downtrodden and the lost. He comes for you and he heals you of your dread disease of sin.
He enters into our grief.
He shares our heartache and our hurts.
He knows pain.
He was despised and rejected as well.
A man of sorrows.
He was acquainted with grief.
He stepped in, at the funeral of Lazarus…
When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled…
He was not REMOVED and DISTANT…
- He was RIGHT THERE.
- He was PRESENT.
- He was RELEVANT.
- He WAS, and IS, LOVE.
Mary fell down at his feet and wailed.
Our Lord Jesus was tender.
Our Lord Jesus wept alongside her.
He identified with this hurting woman.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Jesus is touched – in other words He feels with our pain… He extends His care and concern for us with a special tenderness of heart.
Your pain touches God.
Verse 5 goes on,
…is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
God’s love is NOT SELFISH.
God’s kind of Love does not hold onto BITTERNESS and RESENTMENT.
How we need to experience Forgiveness, in this selfish world…
To not keep a record of wrongs, of things done against us, and hold onto the hurts of the past… But, rather, to let them go…
One married man said to his friend, “You know, every time my wife and I get into a conflict, she gets historical.”
His friend said, “Historical? Don’t you mean hysterical?”
“No, I mean historical. She rehearses everything I’ve ever done wrong in the whole history of our marriage.”
That’s keeping score! That’s not love.
Love does not take account of the evil it suffers.
Some things we are better off forgetting.
God’s love is all consuming.
It should impact every dimension of our lives, and be a factor in all our actions.
1 Corinthians 16:14
Let all your things be done with charity.
Do EVERYTHING with love.
God’s love is A CHOICE.
- It is the highest kind of love.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Whilst sinners, undeserving, enemies of God. He loved us, still. It was a choice.
It goes on, in 1 Corinthians 13, Verse 6,
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Love does not rejoice in sin.
It does not condone it or excuse it.
Love realises what sin is and what it does.
Sin GRIEVES God’s love.
We are GRIEVED when we see wrongdoing – wrong words, attitudes, or behaviours.
The Lord Jesus must have grieved when He saw the woman who was caught in the very act of adultery, in John 8.
Yet He did not stone her to death, but was both righteous and forgiving. He did not condone her sin. Yet He showed compassion.
He said, John 8:7
He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
He stooped down and He wrote on the ground. What did He write? Maybe it was the Law, which was written by the finger of God. Maybe it was Love?
Love is the fulfillment of the Law.
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
We don’t know what he wrote. But He Who is Love gave forgiveness freely by His Grace.
(10) When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
(11) She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
He sent her away with a changed life.
Go and sin no more.
Love rejoiceth in the truth.
Love will do right. What is right.
God’s love stands for God’s truth.
It rejoices in the truth of the Gospel.
And because we love the truth we will speak the truth in love. We love the lost enough to urge them to trust Christ.
We will not settle for some generic brand of Christianity. We want to stand fast in terms of Bible believing Christianity.
1 Corinthians 13 reads further, in
(7) Beareth all things,
Love has an enduring quality, no matter what trouble it faces.
Be willing to endure hardships.
Love goes the distance…
Our Lord Jesus extends His tenderness and mercy to the most undeserving.
It says, that Love…
BELIEVETH all things, HOPETH all things, ENDURETH all things.
Do not lose heart.
Don’t lose courage.
God’s love has a stedfast endurance.
God’s Love is sure. We read,
1 Corinthians 13:8
Charity never faileth
Love never fails.
We may be let down in so many ways, but God’s Love is sure.
(35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
(36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
(37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
(38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
(39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Love is the greatest thing we can aspire to… in 1 Corinthians 13, verse 13, we read:
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Love never ends.
Love is the greatest.
How about you?
Does God’s Love fill your heart?
Will you put love into action?
1 John 3:18
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
In Luke 10, The Good Samaritan had compassion on a wounded traveler and he put himself out. He took a risk and he gave freely.
We started off with this…
This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
It goes on in the next verse, to say, Verse 13,
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
The greatest is love.
And there is no greater love than that which He has shown to us.
Can we love like this?
This is my commandment, That YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER, as I HAVE LOVED YOU.