Summary: We know we should love God and love others, but how should we love others? There are several verses commanding us to love one another, and there is no mistaking how we should love when practicing the principles of God's Word.
God gave us one another for a purpose…
We are the Body of Christ in this world to stir one another up, build one another up, encourage one another, and most certainly to love one another.
In the Old Testament, God gave us His Word for living a life with full purpose.
Love Him… first and foremost, Deut. 6 tells us.
But trace backwards to the Priestly covenant given in Leviticus, and you will find our love for one another must be expressed out of sincerity and truth as we prove our love for God.
I want to share six principles in reference to how we should love one another.
Listen to what Leviticus 19 shares…
Leviticus 19:11 – Do not deceive one another
11 ‘You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.’
God furthers this call to love one another through these amazing passages locked away in the OT… Listen as I read this passage in light of our neighbor’s position within the community.
Now, I know there are many descriptors of people whom God labeled within the community, but stay with me as I use the word “neighbor” in place of these other descriptors for emphasis.
13 ‘Do not oppress your neighbor, nor rob him. …
14 ‘Do not curse (a neighbor), nor place a stumbling block before (a neighbor), but you shall revere your God; I am the LORD.
15 ‘Do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to (a poor neighbor) nor defer to (a rich neighbor), but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.
16 ‘Do not go about as a slanderer among your (neighbors), and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD.
17 ‘You shall not hate your fellow (neighbor) in your heart; Do not incur sin because of him.
18 ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against (a neighbor), but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.
This is further emphasized by Zechariah, the prophet… when the Hebrew people had been in bondage for 70 years in Babylon before returning to Jerusalem.
They not only worshipped false idols, it could be said they worshipped themselves above their neighbors.
They went through the motions of worship, but it was not God they honored.
So God reissued this call…
8 Then the word of the LORD came to Zechariah saying,
9 “Thus has the LORD of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; [that is… be compassionate to one another…]
10 and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.’
11 “But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears from hearing.
12 “They made their hearts like flint so that they could not hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets; therefore great wrath came from the LORD of hosts.
13 “And just as He called and they would not listen, so they called and I would not listen,” says the LORD of hosts;
Did you catch that?
Because they refused to listen to God’s Word, they turned a deaf ear to Him and it seems even toward one another, oppressing one another and devising evil against one another.
Here’s the deal: when you do not love one another honestly… you will deal with one another maliciously.
NOTE: They would not listen to God… God would not listen to them.
Zechariah simply calls out…
Zechariah 7:9 – administer true justice, show mercy and compassion to one another
Love One Another… HONESTLY
Now, as we approach the heart of God in the NT…
Jesus shared His final words with His disciples, before going to the cross; so it was important for them to hear.
Gospel of John - Love One Another (13:34, 13:35, 15:12, 15:17)
It was after Judas left the upper room to betray Jesus, that Jesus began to comfort His disciples with these final words.
John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Honestly love one another… and that will lead to a sacrificial love for one another.
12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
… 16 “…Christ chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.