Summary: This is a message about loving one another.
(From Reader’s Digest)
I was attending a junior stock show when a grand-champion lamb, owned by a little girl, was being auctioned. As the bids reached five dollars per pound, the little girl, standing beside the lamb in the arena, began to cry. At ten dollars, the tears were streaming down her face and she clasped her arms tightly around the lamb’s neck. The higher the bids rose, the more she cried. Finally, a local businessman bought the lamb for more than $1000, but then announced that he was donating it to the little girl. The crowd applauded and cheered.
Months later, I was judging some statewide essays when I came across one from a girl who told about the time her grand-champion lamb had been auctioned. “The prices began to get so high during the bidding,” she wrote, “that I started to cry from happiness.” She continued with: “The man who bought the lamb for so much more than I ever dreamed I would get returned the lamb to me, and when I got home, Daddy barbecued the lamb—and it was really delicious.”
That story is an example of fake love. It is relatively easy for us to smile and be nice and fake genuine concern for other people at church. Sad to say, it is possible for someone to have a heart for the church but not a heart for the people of the church. You can be devoted to the organization, but not show love to the people in that organization.
Notice that vs. 22 begins with “since” or “now that” = as the next step in your spiritual walk, demonstrate your salvation by loving one another.
When we get saved, we enter into a community where love is the rule of conduct. When they asked Christ what the greatest commandment was, what did He say? To love God and love each other. Peter expects churches to be filled with people who care about each other, look out for each other, forgive each other and give each other the benefit of the doubt. That doesn’t happen in a lot of churches today. We are concerned about ourselves and our own friends; we are concerned about our own needs; we are concerned about our own programs.
Notice the redundancy in vs. 22. Peter says since you have been purified and that leads to loving one another, then love one another. DO IT!
But there is something else here. This verse uses both of the common words for love— “philadelphia” and “agape” love. What he is saying is that it is natural for someone who has been born again to love the rest of the brothers and sisters in the faith. That comes from being cleansed from sin and purified and starting a new life and having a common salvation. But because you have this natural capacity to LIKE each other, take it a step further, take it a notch higher, take it deeper and LOVE each other.
One of the problems we have in America today is that we’ve been so brainwashed by Hollywood that we have lost connection with what true love is all about. Love is not the butterflies that you get when you’re around a really cute girl. It is not the feeling of happiness that you have when your boyfriend walks you home on a warm summer night. Love is not a feeling that you feel. It’s what we see in Mark 6 and Mark 8 when Jesus feeds the 5000 and then the 4,000. Christ said, I feel deeply for them because they are hungry. That’s love. It is not the heart shaped box of chocolates. It is not the diamond necklaces they have been advertising for a month. It is not the fancy dinner at a fancy restaurant—or the card that says just the right thing. It is
Seeing a need and meeting that need.
Years ago, a popular song said,
“Come on people, now
Smile on your brother,
Everybody get together,
Try to love one another right now.”
Love one another is something the hippie movement in the ‘60s made popular—but it was something the followers of Jesus Chris had been commanded to do for thousands of years.
In the context of the whole book, these Christians were going to face persecution and opposition. They needed to know that when they got back to church, the people there would love them. Love one another emphasizes the love we are supposed to have for each other inside the church. This is not about our attitude toward unsaved people. It is about how we treat other believers.
I want you to understand how important this is. Christian Schwartz, who works for an organization called Natural Church Development, said: “ …Our research indicates that there is a highly significant relationship between the ability of a church to demonstrate love and its long-term growth potential. Growing churches possess on average a measurably higher “love quotient” than stagnant or dying [churches]… Unfeigned, practical love has a divinely generated magnetic power far more effective than