1 Thessalonians 3 v 12-13 says “and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all; just as we do to you so that He (God) may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints”.
Genuine love for one another…it’s a command of the Lord Jesus and a sign to non-believers.
Someone wrote “where love abounds in a fellowship of Christians, many small offences, and even some large ones are readily overlooked and forgotten. But where love is lacking every word is viewed with suspicion, every action is liable to misunderstanding and conflicts abound to satan’s perverse delight“.
We can’t opt out of loving one another if we are followers of Jesus – it was Christ’s commandment to us – to love each other as He loved us.
We recall Jesus’ teaching at the last supper. This was his last opportunity to talk to His disciples before He went to the Cross. Jesus reiterates 4 times His new commandment to love one another.
Jesus didn’t remind the disciples of all the great miracles and signs they had witnessed – it was love which was important.
John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 15:12-14,17 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. 17 This is my command: Love each other.”
Jesus said “if you love me then you will obey my commandments.”
1 John 2 v3-6 sets it out plainly to us:
“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
1John 3:11 “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. “
How can we love each other in this way. I think it is impossible without a genuine love for Christ ablaze in our hearts.
Do we struggle to genuinely love each other in churches because we have lost our first love for Christ. We strive to love through our flesh rather than an overflow from our hearts. Let us encourage each other to prioritise expressing our love for Jesus in our times of gathering together.
It’s a perfect circle of love – we love Christ and He is our first love then out of this love will flow love for one another. Let us start with love for God first and then allow His love to flow through us.
We could try and manufacture this love for one another. We could perhaps do it for a while but it will stagnate and eventually die – this Christ like love should develop as fruit out of relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Romans 5:5 “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us and love is created in us by the Holy Spirit”
Let us not strive to love in our own strength and with our own love but rather that the love for and of Christ will be ignited in our hearts and will come through us – let the fruit be produced by abiding in Him & receiving God’s love through the Holy Spirit within us.
Our prayer for us today as we gather together on the Lord’s day:
1 Thessalonians 3 v 12-13 says “and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all; just as we do to you so that He (God) may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints”