Summary: Message 27 in our journey through John's gospel continuing the lessons left by Jesus at the end of His ministry known as the upper room discourse. This lesson explores the commandment to love one another.
Pastor David Welch
“Revisiting an Old, New Commandment”
A Lesson on Genuine love -- the badge of genuine Christianity
God calls our attention to some seals intended to demonstrate the authenticity of true Christians. A while back we explored one of those seals or badges of genuine Christianity back in John 8. Jesus said genuine disciples are those who abide in His word. Genuine disciples have a hunger to arrange their life by the principles taught by Jesus. It only makes sense that one who claims to be a follower of Jesus, seeks to live by what Jesus taught and lived.
First Jesus lets them know that the glorious plan of redemption is about to unfold before their eyes.
When therefore he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. "Little children, I am with you a little while longer. You shall seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, I now say to you also, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.”
God was glorified even in this moment when Jesus continually sticks to the divine plan and loves to the end.
Next, He issues a specific commandment in light of what he is about to do.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Just as Jesus modeled forgiveness and called on his follower to do the same, He modeled genuine love and clearly calls them to love one another. The word used for “new” here leans toward the idea of fresh, unused, not marred by age. i.e. New tomb
Much of the Old Testament focused on loving God. The Old Testament did require love for God with every part of one’s being as well as love for our neighbor as we love self. Here Jesus elevates love to its highest ideal.
Love one another like I love you. Demonstrate love for each other as God has shown you. And do this continually! It is a new principle or command in that it transcends any earthly example. It is divine love in action. It is new in the sense that this kind of love was really a rare if not an absent practice since the fall of man. Because of the radical heart change about to be accomplished through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, and because of the unmistakable model lived by Jesus this new love would now be a possibility again for the human race. The demonstration of this level of mutual love stands as significant identifying characteristic of genuine followers of Christ.
"By this(mutual love) all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:31-35
The greatest evangelism tool issued by Jesus and too often the last tool employed, is the mutual love demonstrated by Christians toward one another. A general glance today’s church and it is no wonder we have lost our impact in a culture eaten up with guilt and bitterness and selfish pursuit. The most effective power for evangelism today has never changed since the beginning of the church -- the power of genuine love.
That is why there is so much space given to the subject in the New Testament.
It is not our church facilities that will impact the world. They have beautiful buildings.
It is not our music that will impact the world. They produce enjoy quality music.
It is not our programs. They design new programs and clubs everyday.
It is not even our efforts to feed the hunger. The world sometimes does a better job.
It is not our slick advertising or marketing techniques. The world is an expert at marketing and pours billions of dollars into it.
What effectively and eternally impacts a selfish culture is the demonstration of genuine selfless love and undeniable unity with God and each other that cannot be duplicated apart from the God of love and unity. John 17:20-23
Only genuine divine love produces the fruit that lasts. Christians living in Trinitarian community invite the attention of the world. Only one definition of love captures its essence – God is love. Wherever you see God, you see love. Wherever you see love, you see God for God is love Since He created us according to His image we also had the capacity to love and be loved. It was man’s essential nature to live in love. However, since the fall, that image, that divinely dictated capacity became brutally blemished so that the original divine drive toward selfless giving and ministry deteriorated into a fleshly drive toward selfish grabbing and manipulation. James asserts that this fleshly drive is the source of all conflict among believers in the church. Only God’s supernatural regeneration can restore the hardened human heart to God’s original design specifications. Only he can reboot the system to its original settings. Other than the definition – God is love. God chose to describe love more than define it. The whole Bible really is a portrait of divine love. It is a magnificent piece of art, full of color and dimension that draws us to look more deeply.