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.