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A New Commandment


In the Book of John 13:34-35, Jesus makes a powerful statement, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (emphasis ours)

Often people have been given a task to do yet not be given clear instructions on how to complete or accomplish that task. These people find themselves frustrated and feeling useless. Christians serve a God who gives clear instructions; the children of God who prayerfully read His Word are given illumination from the Holy Spirit. They are enabled to complete whatever task the Lord gives them; they know His pleasure and live productive, satisfied lives.

Nearly everyone has heard of the Ten Commandments. Those who understand and apply these life-giving commands enter into an intimate relationship with the Lord and live a spiritually prosperous life. Here in John 13:34-35, Jesus gives a “new” (Greek kanen, meaning a freshness; not a more recent, or different) command. The “New” is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Ten Commandments Law. The opposite of worn out, it is an expression of what streams forth from the life of a person who walks under a fresh touch of the Holy Spirit of God, God who is love. Jesus presents this new commandment not only as an excellent and profitable way of living with each other, but as a fundamental law for those who claim to be a part of His Kingdom. Therefore, any Christian who truly wants to be used by the Lord in fulfilling the Great Commission will ask, “How can I effectively express God’s love to those around me, especially to the Body of Christ?”

Trying to put Biblical love into action apart from walking in step with the Holy Spirit of Christ is like trying to pick up a horse, sit him in your lap and cuddle him. The love that God wants expressed through His children can only be expressed under the enablement and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Dr. Don McMinn put together a wonderful Bible study based on this exhortation of Jesus entitled “The Eleventh Commandment.” It is a study of the “One Another’s” in Scripture which, in truth, are our practical applications of showing love to one another. Dr. McMinn points out three powerful truths found in our key text: 1.) The Lord’s declaration is, “Love one another,” 2.) His design is, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another,” and 3.) His distinction is, “All men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

In First Corinthians we read that the apostle Paul linked the fruit of sacrificial love with the operation of the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Church. The Holy Spirit moved Paul to write this way for a good reason. Spiritual gifts are meant to be exercised in a way that is for the common good of the Body of Christ; however, all too often gifts are being exercised under fleshly and worldly influences leaving many others frustrated and ineffective in the church. There are two protections from this: 1.) Allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to be produced through you, and 2.) Live out the “One Another’s” in Scripture so as to achieve the Lord’s command.

God gives clear instructions on how to achieve the new commandment of “love one another” through the thirty-four “One Another’s” found in the New Testament. We will be taking a very close look at some of them over the few weeks.

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