Summary: The only command that Jesus gave directly to his followers was to love one another as He had loved them. Do we dare disobey?
If You’re In Love, Show Me – John 13: 31 - 35
Intro: (Woman’s letter from Sermon Central – Love One Another by Joel Vincente) “Dearest, darling Jimmy, No words can ever express the great unhappiness I’ve felt since breaking our engagement. I miss you so. No one could ever take your place in my heart, so please forgive me. Please say you’ll take me back. I love you, I love you, I love you! Yours forever, Marie --- PS – Congratulations on winning the state lottery.” ---
I. Verse 34 – “I give you a new commandment,”
A. The Greek for command entolç – “Directly addressed injunctions concerning matters of moral gravity, not limited in duration or person, but incumbent on all individuals of the addressed class.”
B. The “command” given by Jesus here is the only one directly given by Jesus to his disciples. It is interpreted to mean, “a given order” or “a commission”
C. Jerome, the Church historian, relates of the Apostle John that, when he became old he used to go among the churches and assemblies, everywhere repeating the words, “Little children, love one another.” His disciples, wearied by the constant repetition, asked him why he always said this. “Because,” he replied, “it is the Lord’s commandment; and if it only be fulfilled, it is enough.”
II. Verse 34 – that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.
A. The Greek word used here for love is agapao. It means to seek the best for another with no thought of what you might receive in return. It is not some sentimental, sappy feeling. Jesus was calling the disciples to action not feelings.
B. Just as I have loved you. The preposition AS here does not mean “as well.” In other words, Jesus is not saying I love you, so you should love each other. The word AS here carries with it the meaning “IN LIKE MANNER.” He is telling them and us to love each other in the same way he loved.
C. The toddler followed his mother everywhere she went. Every time she turned around, there he was and she would trip over him. She tried giving him fun activities to do; but he simply smiled and said, “I’d rather be with you.” After stepping on his toes repeatedly, the mother was about to lose patience when she asked why he was doing this. He answered, “Well my Sunday School teacher said to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. But, I can’t see Him, so I’m walking in yours.” Walking in the footsteps of Jesus by loving as Jesus loved. How well do we do it?
III. Verse 35 – “By this everyone will know that you are disciples,”
A. Jesus says the world will know we are His followers by our love, not by reciting scripture, not by attending church, not by the amount of money we give. Christ Jesus wants his followers to be known for the way they love each other.
B. There’s an old expression that goes, “to live with the saints in heaven, O that will be glory, but to live with the saints on earth, that’s quite another story.” --- The Christian Philosopher Francis Schaffer once said, “the world has a right to judge Christianity by the way we treat each other as Christians.”
C. In the musical My Fair Lady, Liza Doolittle sings a song about love. She sings a commanding song to Freddy, “Don’t talk of love lasting through time. Make me no undying vow. Show me now!” In essence, Jesus says “don’t tell them about my love; show them by the way you treat each other.”
Conclu: C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less.”
Vance Havener said, “You have not really learned a commandment until you have obeyed it…The church suffers today from Christians who know volumes more than they practice.”