Love One Another

March 1, 2015  John 13:33 -38     Love One Another

 

    Some children shared some thoughts on love.   I bet our kids in this church could come up with some interesting comments about God’s love.   One child said my grandmother has arthritis and can’t bend over to paint her toenails, ... so even though my grandpa also has arthritis in his hands, ... he paints them for her.   "Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries ....without making them give you any of theirs."   "Love is what is in the room with you at Christmas .....if you stop opening gifts ..... and just listen."   "Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends .... even after they know each other ....so well."   Love is when someone hurts you, .... but you don’t yell at them ..... because you know it would hurt their feelings.    Love was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.     Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and sat there.  When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, ... I just helped him cry.  

     John 13: 34 & 35 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. Did you catch that?   You must love one another.  Then Jesus says by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."  Proverbs 10:12 said it this way: “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.”  I Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.   Romans 13 let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.  Jesus said in Matthew 5   “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’   But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.    If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?     And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  There are over 400 bible scripture references on the word love.  

    I do not know how you feel about being a loving person as defined in the bible.   I am like the person who said the bible passages that I do not understand do not bother me too much it is the ones that I know and understand that bother me.  I like what Jesus said in John 15 without me you can do nothing.   God can love through me.  I remember telling a man once that he could not really love his wife on his own.  He really did not like that.    He really had a problem with that.    I know that people love pets and love their children.   But I believe that Agape love is deeper.   Real love comes from God I believe.  God so loved the world that he gave.  God laid down his life.   God gave his highest treasure – Jesus to us and for us.   The word love today many times does not mean much.   I love pizza or ice cream.  That is not how God defines love.  For God’s love is very substantial.  It goes deep and it is costly. 

    What does it mean to love one another as I have loved you?   It seems to me to truly love is to truly lay down your life.   Didn’t Jesus totally lay down his life for the disciples and for us?   Does God moment by moment totally lay down his life for us now?  Does that mean that God has joy or pain because he loves us?   I think that God experiences both. .  I think God identifies with our pain and great joy.  I think God allows us ot understand some of how He feels through our children.    God stoops to hear our prayers and God stoops to be involved in our life.  For God so loved he gave.   For God so loved he gives.  For God so loves he accepts us. 

    What does love mean?   How does love look at others?   Max Lucado put it this way:  “Can the sick mock the ill? Can the blind judge the deaf?   In the same way, can the sinner condemn the sinner? Absolutely not!”   “Be careful!  The Peter who denies Jesus at tonight’s fire may proclaim him with fire at tomorrow’s Pentecost.  The Samson who is blind and weak today may use his final strength to level the pillars of godlessness.  A stuttering shepherd in this generation may be the mighty Moses of the next.   Don’t call Noah a fool, you may be asking him for a lift.”   All too often we are critical.   The sinner points the finger at another sinner. 

      That does not mean that there are not standards that a church must keep.  But God is very forgiving.  God is very gracious.   The church is a place for people to feel love and to be encouraged.   It is a place of healing.   Since the spirit of God is here then there is liberty here.  His spirit heals us and grants compassion and grace.  God loves the unlovely and Jesus said you must love one another.   It should be easy for us to love one another since we sin but it is challenging at times.   The actions of others around us can wear us out.   It is hard to forgive 70 times 7.  God is perfect and God loves us.   God loves the lost and the unlovely and since we are not perfect God I believe expects us to love one another.  We can do it with God’s spirit.  God help me to love that person.  It helps to remember that God loves them.   God you love that person no matter what they are or what they have done.  Since God loves them we can access His resources to love them also.  Marriages can be successful.   Spouses can love one another and support each other.  I tell the spouse who is angry with their mate to deal with him or herself and when they get where God wants them to be God will deal with their mate.   You be God’s man or woman.  

    You are precious because God loves you.  People are important and precious because God loves them.  God put a great deal of value on people when He died for us on the cross.   I think that puts a great value on life.  Life is precious and meaningful.  Because of that Jesus tells us to love one another. Because Jesus loves us He tells us to love one another.   Because loving others is the best thing and the most positive thing to do Jesus tells us to love one another.  I think Jesus makes a special emphasis of that.   John 15 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.    If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.    I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.   My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.   Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.   Jesus commands it over and over again.   Do you know that little song?   This is my commandment that you love one another love one another love one another that your joy may be full that your joy may be full that your joy may be full.  There is a softness and sweetness in Jesus love.   It is adorned with grace and compassion.  Love is gentle.  

     In John 13Jesus said this is a new commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.  It was not a new commandment that they love one another.   Leviticus 19 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.   Leviticus 19:34 the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.   God told them to love one another in the Old Testament.  But Jesus said in this passage to love one another as I have loved you.   The new commandment is to love as Jesus loved them.  How did Jesus love the disciples?   He loved them unto the end.   He poured out his soul until he died.  

    Jesus loved those men and Jesus poured out his soul for them.   It is hard to understand sometimes.  Remember that just before he is crucified they are arguing about who is the greatest among them.   In Luke 9 the sons of thunder James and John come to a Samaritan village that were unfriendly and would not receive them so they ask Jesus if they should call down fire from heaven to destroy them.  The disciples frustrated Jesus over and over again because they just did not get it and many times they did not believe.   Jesus was perfect and it had to be difficult to walk with imperfect people.   It had to be downright frustrating at times.   I suspect that Jesus just laughed at times also.  I find myself amusing at times and I suspect the disciples were also. 

      People marry and all is well and love flows around the court ship and on the honey moon.   Then in time the imperfections come forth and begin to irritate and then love becomes a sacrifice.  Jesus sacrificed for them.  Jesus knew about sacrifice.   How much did Jesus love them?   Jesus had just washed their feet.  The Lord of creation takes off his outer garment and stoops down to wash their feet.   Jesus serves them.  Jesus is just hours away from taking the sin of the world upon himself and yet he is pouring out his soul for his disciples.  Jesus is committed to his people.    And Jesus so serves us today.  We must always remember that Jesus is Lord God creator.  We are to serve him.  He is not our servant when we pray.   Lord you be glorified by answering this prayer.  Jesus said love them as I have loved you, you must love them.  It seems to me that Jesus is putting a huge emphasis on this.  You must love them Jesus said.   I have learned some things about sacrifice and love over the years but I do not love like Jesus did and does.   I have experienced his love flowing through me though.   It is a great feeling.  Pastor David. 

      Shortly after he tells the disciples this he goes and prays in John 17 which is really Jesus prayer.  Jesus prays for unity in his church for his disciples.    If there is love there is unity.  If there is the giving and serving love of Jesus then Christians will walk in unity.   A new commandment I give you love one another as I have loved you.  You must love one another.  That is challenging.   Love is very powerful and it will point people to Jesus.  Love changes lives.  All men will know that you are disciples if you have love for one another. 

     Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa learned a lesson at a very young age.   When he was a child growing up in South Africa, Racism was still a big problem. If a black person and a white person met while walking on a footpath, the black person was expected to get off of the path and allow the white person to pass by.  As they were passing by the black person was supposed to nod their head as a gesture of respect.  "One day" Tutu and his mother were walking down the street when they noticed a tall white man, dressed in a black suit, walking toward them.  Before he and his mother could step off the sidewalk, this man stepped off the sidewalk and allowed Tutu and his mother to pass by.

    As they passed by, the man tipped his hat in a gesture of respect to Tutu’s mother!  Tutu was shocked and asked his mother, ‘Why the white man did that?’ His mother explained that the white man was an Anglican priest. That He was a man of God, and that’s why he did what he had done.  Tutu would later say, “I decided there and then that I wanted to be an Anglican priest too. And what is more, I wanted to be a man of God."  Love is powerful.  Jesus said if I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself.   We do not know the result of all of our offerings and sacrifices of love to others and to God.   We do not know all that God does from our prayers.  There will be a glorious unfolding of it someday though.