Summary: We are called to love all people and to serve all people, but we are especially called to love and serve our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We are to have a love affair with the faithful.
A LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE FAITHFUL
A Love Affair – 2
Today we will be continuing our study titled “A Love Affair.” Last time we looked at loving the Father and today we will be talking about loving the Faithful – the church, our fellow believers. As we discussed last week love should be the chief characteristic of our lives. The greatest commandment is that you are to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second greatest command is that we are to love one another. And you can’t do the first without doing the second. It is impossible to truly love God and not love your fellow believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, loving one another is very important because it is a proof of our love for God. It is evidence to those around us that we truly love God and that we have been influenced by his love. On the other hand if we hate other believers then this is clear proof that we really don’t love God no matter how much we might claim we do – no matter how religious we may appear to be – and no matter how many things we may have done supposedly in his name.
First, I want to talk with you about…
1. THE DISTINCTION LOVE MAKES.
There is a huge distinction that is made between the one who lives a life of love not only for God, but also for fellow believers. In this passage there are at least four key things that make lovers stand out from haters. And before we get into these four things let me just say that there really is no middle ground. I know it sounds harsh to talk about lovers and haters only. I know someone is objecting in their mind right now and thinking “What about the person that I merely dislike?” However, as I study this passage I don’t find God giving us a third option. He doesn’t say that we have haters on one side and lovers on the other side and in between we have the dislikers.
I think this makes us uncomfortable because we can’t always tell the difference. However, God is always able to judge perfectly between black and white. Sometime all we can see is gray, but God knows the difference even though we don’t. So we have to be careful that we don’t cross the line and start playing judge ourselves. Only God can do so with perfect accuracy. It is just like when the Bible says that God will one day judge between the sheep and the goats. The sheep represent the righteous people who will go to heaven and the goats represent the wicked people who will go to hell. For God it is black and white, you are either a sheep or a goat, you are a lover or a hater. But for us it is often very difficult to tell for certain whether some people fall into the sheep category or the goat category. And so we should simply reaffirm that these two categories exist and that God knows the difference and that we will trust him with that.
However, there are some things that we can know even if we can’t judge perfectly. We can know that love makes a distinction between people in four key areas.
a) Status: Who’s Your Daddy?
Love reveals your true nature – your true status as a child of God. A lack of love reveals your status as a child of the devil.
1 John 3:10, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Those who do not do what is right are not God’s children; nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.”
As we talked about last week the person who doesn’t live righteously – the person who doesn’t live in obedience to God’s commandments is not someone who loves God – they are not even a child of God. This ties in directly to today’s message because one of God’s commands is to love one another. John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
This command to love one another is so important that it identifies a distinction in status between those who are children of God and those who are not – between those who are disciples of Jesus and those who are not. Again, there is no middle ground. You are either one or you are the other and love is the identifying factor.
Someone said, “The sign that you followed Abraham was circumcision. The sign that you followed Moses was keeping the Sabbath. The sign that you followed John the Baptist was that you were baptized. The sign that you follow Jesus Christ is that you love one another.”