Summary: Love one another. Seventeen times in the New Testament we are called to love one another. It is told to us by 3 authors in 7 different New Testament Books. It is also the only one another statement that comes directly from the lips of Jesus.
Last week we began our series “you ought to see a whole lot of “one anotherness” going on in the church house” and we talked about the first of the two pillars upon which all the rest of the “one anothers” depend upon. And if you remember, the first pillar was forgiveness- there ought to be a whole lot of forgiveness going on in the church house.
Today we talk about the other foundational pillar- Love one another. Seventeen times in the New Testament we are called to love one another. It is told to us by 3 authors in 7 different New Testament Books. It is also the only one another statement that comes directly from the lips of Jesus in John 15 17 when Jesus said: “These things I command you, that you love one another.”
Not only did Jesus speak those words from His lips, but He also lived those words out by His actions in His ministry. And He called us to do the same. I want you to do something not characteristic of my style of preaching. This is more like Bro Greg’s style. But, I want each of you to look around at the people in this room today, you may have to turn your heads or stand up, or move around a little bit to see everybody that is here. Don’t miss anyone; look at everyone. And now I want you to remember the words of Jesus in John 15:17- “These things I command you, that you love one another.” So, let me ask you a question, having looked at everybody in the room, who in this room would God tell us that it is OK not to love? The answer is: nobody. Everybody in this room, you are to love.
You see what makes Jesus’ statement to love one another so amazing to me is that Jesus was having a question and teaching moment with His disciples beginning at the end of Chapter 13 and continuing for several chapters in John, and we know that Judas Iscariot was therein that discussion because Jesus answers Judas’ question in Chapter 14. And as we get to Chapter 15, I can image in my mind’s eye when Jesus gets to His teaching point with His disciples that they are to love one another; I imagine Jesus turning and looking at Judas. That statement to love one another in the presence of Judas tells me that you and I are to love the lovable in the church, but we are also to love the not so lovable in the church. And I don’t believe our church has any downright mean church members (does anyone claim to be downright mean) OK, I thought I was right, but if we did, we are to love them too.
So, my question is: how in the world do we do that? To answer that we are going to begin by looking at two Scriptures. The first on in Colossians 3:14-15 which gives us our main point and in Ephesians 5:1-2, we learn the sub-points. Please stand for the reading of God’s Word!
Colossians 3:14–15 NKJV
But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
Ephesians 5:1–2 NKJV
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
JUST BECAUSE WE WALK IN THE DOORS OF THE CHURCH HOUSE, WE WILL NOT AUTOMATICALLY BE THE RECIPIENTS OR GIVERS OF LOVE. IT REQUIRES ACTION ON EACH OF US; WE ARE TO PUT ON LOVE.
Paul says in vs. 14 in our first Scripture reading: “to put on love.”
To put something on requires work. It requires an action. Before I broke my shoulder, it required work to put a pull over shirt- but not that much work. I didn't think a whole lot about the work of putting on a pullover shirt. It was kind of automatic. But when I broke my shoulder let me tell you it was work to put on a pull over shirt-and let me tell you I thought long and hard about putting that shirt on.
Idealistically, most people think of the church as one big loving family. Not requiring much work at all to love one another. After all, this is a church; it ought to be automatic. But that is far from the true. What the church has substituted for love is social niceness. And social niceness and love are not the same thing. Social niceness says, “I can put up with him or her for an hour and be civil” love says, “I value you and want your best interest.” Love requires much more work than social niceness. So much so that Paul says, “put on love.”