Monday, February 15, 2021

Do You Know What Love Is

 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” —1 John 3:14-18

I heard a great sermon on love yesterday. It was Valentine’s Day so “love” was most likely the topic of many sermons, I would imagine. As interesting or entertaining as sermons might be, I am always listening – looking for – spiritual truth – nuggets if you will that cause me to remember what God has to say about it and the way I live my life as a child of God.  The Spirit of God has been working overtime on me about unity among Believers and the lack of unqualified love being demonstrated in the Body of Christ.

John did not cite a church to whom he was writing – but we do know that John was writing to Christians. John's readers were confronted with an early, first century, form of Gnostic teaching which was libertine throwing off all moral restraints. Then, like now, the leaven of carnal thinking and attitudes had spoiled the unity and demonstration of Christian love – that John was, even then, attempting to set right.

When we love other Christians without qualification of having the “right” denomination – “right” ethnicity – “right” education – “right” nationality – or “right” socio-economic standing – when we love because we have a common faith in Jesus and spiritual heritage as Abraham’s seed and God’s children – when we can do that – “because we love the brethren” – it is a demonstration and the validation of our salvation. “We love because God first loved us!” (1 John 4:19)

When we are willing to lay our lives aside for others – at personal cost – not out of duty but out of love – we demonstrate with reality of our faith and salvation.  You see – the natural man is not willing to do that. Jesus said “I lay down my life for my sheep” (John 10:11) and who are His sheep?

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those on His right hand (the sheep), ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand (the goats), ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:31-46

We are obligated and compelled by the Spirit of God and the love in us to help those in need. Very often we want to be selective with respect to who we help and who we count as our brother (or sister). Jesus made it clear in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ And He said to him, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.’ But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” – Luke 10:25-29

He was tying to justify why he didn’t show love to certain people so Jesus told a story about a Samaritan helping a Jew (and the Jews did not like the Samaritans) when other – religious Jews walked on the other side of the road. We are do ready to justify why we should not embrace other Christians. Perhaps because the ethnic group they were born in, naturally, has done great harm to the ethnic group we were born in. What do you think Jesus would say about that kind of love? He might tell the same story to us.

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35

Does that describe you? I want to encourage you to examine your heart – your motives for withholding love and, if necessary, get your heart right with God. Then let your light Shine Bright my friend and give God the place and glory He is due.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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