“If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.”
1 John 4:20-21 NLT
Saying we love God is a simple statement to make and a much more difficult thing to put into action toward others. Truly loving God will translate into loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
John 13:34-35 NLT
“If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.”
1 John 3:14-19 NLT
The greatest evidence of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is the love we display to one another as Christians. The world should be able to look to the body of Christ for true community and commmonism. I didn't say communism. I am, most definitely, not an advocate for communism and socialism!! Communism is a tyrannical seizing of ones personal things for the benefit of others. COMMONISM is the willful desire, and discerning thoughtfulness, that the Holy Spirit gives us toward one another. This kind of love is portrayed in Acts 2 and 4.
“And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
Acts of the Apostles 2:44-47 NLT
“All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.”
Acts of the Apostles 4:32-37 NLT
This practice was not demanded or enforced by the early church. This practice was a willful outflow of the love of God toward those who were fellow believers in legitimate need. There are people who have legitimate needs and those who, by lifestyle choices, create a cycle of self destructive behavior. We must discern between the two. The early church loved one another because they loved God!
The texts above are about loving our fellow believers. This isn't meant to give the impression that we can hate non-believers. The context is in regard to the testimony we give the world when we love one another as the family of God. We must love other people as well! Jesus instructed us to love even our enemies. We will talk about that tomorrow, Lord willing!
We can talk until we are blue in the face, we can attend church, shout the loudest, act the most spiritual, and even be fluent in spiritual gifts, but the real evidence of being full of the Holy Spirit is the love of God!
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
....Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13 NLT
I encourage you to read the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. Take a look at the attributes of godly love.
Are you obnoxious and repulsive to people with your hard nosed, pious ways or are you attractive in your demonstration of God's love?
Religion without love is lethal. I am certainly not excusing sin or endorsing immoral conduct of any kind. I believe in holiness! I am simply saying that love must be at the foundation of all that we do in faith.
"For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.”
Galatians 5:6 NLT
Biblical, Christian love is life giving!
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17 NLT
Are you loving like Jesus?
Curtis R. Norris
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Rev. Curtis Norris