Summary: A sermon that considers the call to love one another as a primary call on our love in the Christian church.
JN 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
13:34 A new command. In a sense it was an old one (see Lev 19:18), but for Christ’s disciples it was new, because it was the mark of their brotherhood, created by Christ’s great love for them (cf. Mt 22:37-39; Mk 12:30-31; Lk 10:27). As I have loved you. Our standard is Christ’s love for us.
1PE 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
2 John 1 verse 5.
A little under two years ago I was fortunate enough to go to Vanuatu.
In Port Vila I took time to go to the hospital.
What I discovered was a very different world to the hospital’s I am at frequently here in Southland.
The level of care and support is altogether different and you might come to the conclusion that, unless you were seriously ill you might prefer to stay at home.
What is the difference?
The level of care.
Just as there are hospitals with different levels of care so there are churches with varying levels of love at work in the fellowship.
Just as there comes a time in the life of a hospital when we need to improve the level or standard of care rather than get more patients - so the church comes to a place where it has to improve the level of love so that those coming in can receive a higher level of love and tenderness than they would receive anywhere else in the world.
If you were going into a hospital you would be looking for a depth of care and treatment that was going to make life different and better than it was before.
The story is told of Mother Tereasa entering a home for the gravely ill and dying. At one bedside was a young nun who was cleaning a gaping wound in the neck of a woman being devoured by maggots. The exposed flesh was covered with the squirming creatures, and the nun was removing them one by one, with a pair of tweezer’s held at arm’s length. "No, sister, you haven’t the idea", said Tereasa sternly, moving into her place. Using a scalpel, she began to cleanse the wound with expert strokes, her face close to the mass. As she cut into it, the stench increased, but she did not pull back. Finally, she turned to the younger nun. "You must understand", she said, "this is Jesus. We are cleansing the wounds of our Lord." Yes, Mother." replied the repentant nun, taking the scalpel and moving forward with a brave smile until her young lips were but a few inches away from the ugly wound and the dying woman’s open, glassy stare." (Malcolm Muggeridge, Something Beautiful for God, quoted in Reflections on Servanthood from the diocese of Kansas.)
We need to understand and understand at quite a profound leval that when we are relating to even the least Christian that we are in fact relating to Jesus.