Summary: The love that brings glory to God is not one sided. It is the kind of love that is reciprocated and shared that brings glory to God.
Known By Loving – John 13: 31 - 35
Intro: If you had to summarize the gospel of Jesus in just two words, which 2 would you choose? Most people would probably choose LOVE as one of the two; but, what about the other?
I. John chose two verbs as he recounts Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples at the close of the last supper. Judas had left to betray Jesus. The instructions begin with Verses 31 – 32
A. GLORIFY – To exalt and honor, to praise extravagantly, honor, extol. --- The verb moves subtly from the past tense to the future tense. How has Jesus glorified God?
B. Jesus glorifies God thru obedience to the point of death. The greatest glory in life is glory that comes from sacrifice.
C. VS. 33 Jesus calls his disciples, little children. He expects them to glorify God by being obedient as little children would be obedient to their parent. Then Jesus gives them another command. This one about LOVE.
II. Woman’s letter from Sermon Central – Love One Another by Joel Vincente) I want to read you a beautiful love letter: “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.” --- This is not the kind of love of which Jesus is speaking.
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. Verse 34 – that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 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. Please note that this is not a one-sided love like that expressed in Marie’s love letter.
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: In Isak Dinesen’s book Out Of Africa a story is told of a boy named Kitau who appeared one day at the author’s door seeking a job as a domestic servant. He was hired and after 3 months asked for a letter of recommendation to a Muslim, Sheik Ali bin Salim. It seems Kitau had decided to become either a Christian or a Muslim, and his purpose in working for Dinesen had been to see, up close, the way a Christian lived. Now he would go and observe Sheik Ali to see how Muslims behave and then he would decide. --- Verse 35 – “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Will we be known for glorifying God by loving each other?