Matthew 22 v 36-40 (MSG)
Jesus said “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.” This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: “Love others as well as you love yourself”. These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hang from them.
We were created for relationship with others.
God created Adam, then Eve so that Adam would not be alone. We are created to be relational, to have fellowship with those around us.
We were also created to have relationship with God. We have been created from relationship, for relationship. We were made in the image of God.
Really for us to understand what it is to truly love others, then we must first understand how much God loves us.
He made the ultimate sacrifice- sending Jesus, His only son, to die on the cross for us- sinners, the lost and broken. We don’t deserve our salvation or that second chance but God still chose us.
As Christians we have and are filled with the Holy Spirit, God’s love for us, lives in us.
We are filled with God’s love, but we want to keep on being filled, so that it overflows!
‘Your love for others is a result of being having taught love by the father. Loving others well means understanding how well you have been and are being loved by the father. Love is the overflow’.
Before our love can truly extend to someone else, it must flow from a personal heart-response to the love that God has for us. When it comes to the real, abiding, sustainable love, when it comes to being poured out in love for others- the kind of power needed for that only comes from the love God has given to us.
Colossians 3 v 12-14 (GNT)
‘You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity.’
Romans ‘Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honouring each other’.
John 15 v 12 (MSG)
This is my command (Jesus talking). ‘Love one another the way I have loved you. This is the very best way to love’.
Loving others isn’t always easy.
How do we love when it hurts? How do we love someone, when they’ve really hurt us, and caused us pain? How do we love someone we disagree with?
Disagreement doesn’t equal hate.
We are called to a higher form of love. Love isn’t based on whether others respond in the way you expect them to. It’s a sacrificial, sometimes painful love.
Luke 6 v 31-36 (GNT)
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on one cheek, let him hit the other one too; if someone takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well. Give to everyone who asks you for something, and when someone takes what is yours, do not ask for it back. Do for others just what you want them to do for you.
“If you love only the people who love you, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners do that! And if you lend only to those from whom you hope to get it back, why should you receive a blessing? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount! No! Love your enemies and do good to them; lend and expect nothing back. You will then have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God. For he is good to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.
Jesus sets us the perfect examples of how to love others.
We know Jesus was perfect- the Son of God- he was LOVE personified, he had a supernatural strength. He loved even when it hurt. Even though he was God, and perfect, he still still felt human, physical, emotional pain.
Look at Jesus disciples- He chose them personally. Some of them were considered the lowest in society- tax collectors, fisherman. Jesus valued and respected those around him, women, children, the downtrodden and the poor. These were people who were not held to high esteem in society.
Parable of the Good Samaritan
‘A man was going to Jericho, when he was attacked by two robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest, happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by, on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a samaritan , as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him’, he said, ‘and when i return i will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have’.
So then Jesus asks the expert in the law (pharisee), which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers? And the expert replied ‘The one who had mercy on him’.
Jesus told him ‘go and do likewise’.
Samaritans were enemies of Jews and visa versa. He didn’t just help him a little bit, he went above and beyond. He went out of his way, to help somebody that society told him he should hate.
God’s calling on us to love others means more than checking a box. It is much, much deeper than that- and there are no shortcuts. The human love the Bible talks about isn’t just a passing emotional state. It’s something based on choice. We choose to care about another persons welfare, even if that person has hurt us, even if society tells us we should hate them.
Sometimes loving others involves forgiveness and we have to ask the Holy Spirit for help.
Loving others comes with huge blessing (Luke scripture)
Let us represent Jesus well.
Jesus says ‘People will know you are my disciples if you love one another’.
When we demonstrate Christian love, it distinguishes believers from the rest of the world.
(Missionary in Africa story)
Christ has no hands but ours, no feet but ours. And when we love as he loved us, we will make a difference. People will notice.
‘If not you, then who?’ If we don’t love on people, then who will?
Kindness goes a long way.
Kindness has an interesting quality about it. It means to do good to others in a way not dependant on their characters, conduct or responses to you. It simply means that no one is excluded.. We are to extend loving kindness to all that come across our path.
As a church body, we have responsibility to put this love into action.
(Church outreach stats)
Practical ways to love one another.
Let’s make giving not getting, the goal of our love.
Love isn’t a grey area in the scriptures. Jesus gave love a priority over all other christian virtues. Every thought, response, act of goodwill must first pass through the fine filter of love, or it means nothing at all.
We are called to bring light into the darkness. This world can seem pretty dark at times.
We have the same power that was in Him, living in us. Let God’s love overflow to those around you.