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Summary: Christians, we must love one another because: 1. This is God’s fervent command for His church. 2. This is God’s firm command for His church. 3. This is God’s finest command for His church. 4. This is the true flag of our faith.

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Series: God’s Best for One Another

Part 1: Love One Another

John 13:31-38

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - Aug. 30, 2009

*How should we treat one another in God’s church? -- How does God want us to treat each other?

-The fact is that God has an intense interest in how Christians treat one another.

-We know this because God talks about it over 60 times in the New Testament.

*The heart and soul of how we should treat each other is found in the commandment the Lord gives us here in John 13:34. Here Jesus said to His followers: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

*God’s best for one another is to love one another.

-God’s best is for us to keep on loving one another with agape love, God’s kind of unconditional love for us.

*Over the next 5 Sundays we will look at how to love one another.

-We will see many of the specific ways God wants us to put our love into practice. We will look at our actions and our attitudes.

*But today let’s look into the Word of God to see some of the crucial reasons why we should love one another.

1. Christians, we must love one another, because this is God’s fervent command for His church.

*The Lord’s fervent, passionate command for His church is for us to love one another.

*Consider the circumstances when Jesus gave us this command:

-The time for the cross was almost at hand.

-In vs. 31, Judas had already gone out to betray the Lord.

-In vs. 38, Jesus will tell Peter how He will deny His Lord.

-The agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and the Lord’s death on the cross are just hours away.

*In a moment like this, the most important things rise to the surface. King Duncan explained: “Now is the time to make sure the disciples understand the basics. And nothing was more basic to Jesus’ ministry than the message of love.” (1)

-So in vs. 34, Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

*Try to picture the Lord’s passion as He spoke these words to His disciples.

*Our International Mission Board is working on a project called “The Last Letter.” It’s actually an old tradition of soldiers and missionaries who as they boarded a ship, wrote their family and friends a letter that they think might be their final communication.

*Karen Watson was one of our missionaries who wrote a letter like that. She was one of four IMB workers who were killed on March 15th of 2004. The vehicle they were riding in was ambushed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

*Karen was 38, and had been a Christian for about 8 years. She loved the Word of God and the work of God with a great passion.

*Here is Karen Watson’s Last Letter:

Dear Pastor,

You should only be opening this letter in the event of my death. When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn’t called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward, His glory my reward...

The missionary heart:

Cares more than some think is wise

Risks more than some think is safe

Dreams more than some think is practical

Expects more than some think is possible

I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience...

There is no Joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him. I love you and my church family.

In His care,

Salaam (Peace), Karen

*Karen Watson’s letter reflects the same kind of passion Jesus had when He said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

*We must love one another, because this is God’s fervent command for His church.

2. And love one another because this is God’s firm command for His church.

*There is nothing wishy-washy about Jesus’ command to love one another. This is not a suggestion. This is not God saying, “Oh, by the way my people, you might want to think about loving one another.” -- No. This is an absolute, rock-solid command from God. We know this because of how many times God emphasizes this in His Word.

*Ladies, do you ever have to emphasize things to your husbands? -- I know you do!

*Parents, do you ever have to emphasize things to your children? -- I know you do!

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