Posts Tagged ‘love another’



What a great year it is this year as we journey through the theme of LOVE. A whole year of unpacking the subject of love in 12 different sub-themes.

This month’s theme of “Love Another” is one of the key love themes for the year. When we love one another as Christ loved us, we demonstrate that we are His disciples. This is much more powerful than we realise! If unbelievers have any criticism of church folk at all, what is it that they most commonly say?

  1. They are all hypocrites
  2. All they do is fight among themselves.

Jesus shows us the example of loving another, whether that person is a Christian or not. We are called to love the brethren, love those who are lost and far from God, and even to love our enemies! Is there anyone left? However, the real power to change the world is how we treat each other within the church because this has the greatest power to demonstrate the reality of Jesus and His truth about eternal life.

Wouldn’t you love to be part of a church that reaches many lost people? I know you have a heart for the lost. I want to show you how that can happen today.

This is one of the key factors that led to my own conversion at the age of 20. To see the Christians really loving each other unconditionally in the church really stood out to me as being so very different from the world; and I gave my life to Christ.

Let’s look carefully at this verse together:

John 13:33-35

33 [Dear] little children, I am to be with you only a little longer. You will look for Me and, as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: you are not able to come where I am going.

34 I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.

35 By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

The context here is that Jesus is about to depart (He went to the cross the next day) so His words take on amplified importance as summing up those very important messages to remember before He goes. Jesus says it’s a new Commandment – but how is it new? When Leviticus 19:18 says You shall not take revenge or bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself. I am the Lord. Matthew Henry explains it like this: “it was the second great commandment of the law of Moses; yet, because it is also one of the great commandments of the New Testament, of Christ the new Lawgiver, it is called a new commandment; it is like an old book in a new edition corrected and enlarged. This commandment has been so corrupted by the traditions of the Jewish religion that when Christ revived it, and set it in a true light, it might well be called a new commandment.”

This new commandment is a refreshed and renewed and reinstated commandment, that was to be applied with renewed purpose to your brethren as being apart from, and distinct from, your neighbour (as in the story of the good Samaritan where Jesus clearly said the neighbour was anyone who was close by to you whether of your own kind of people or not). The point Jesus clearly wanted to make in John 13:35 was our love for one another is a key factor in the spreading of the Gospel. So here’s our incentive to win the lost, perfect the practice of loving one another in church.

When the love of God has come into your life and radically changed you; you are full of that love. There is plenty to go around and you can love your brothers and sisters no matter what obstacles might be in the way. The evidence of changed lives is that we love one another. Of the myriad of fallen human attitudes that might be evident in people, the Love of God overwhelms these in the truly converted believer. The light goes on and the revelation of who we are as fallen creatures, and in need of forgiveness, overwhelms our prideful disposition and we see all God’s people as trophies of His grace and marvel at the wonder of God, instead of the prideful view of seeing ourselves better than someone else.

To be clear – it’s an evidence that you are saved when you love the brethren. Loving people is easy when you’ve been filled with His love. Salvation opens our eyes with humility to see each other as precious to God.

One of the great obstacles to loving each other is comparing. When we compare ourselves with others we make a grave error that holds back our Christian growth.

Look at his verse with me: 2 Cor 10:12 Not that we [have the audacity to] venture to class or [even to] compare ourselves with some who exalt and furnish testimonials for themselves! However, when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely. (AMP)

When we look at another Christian there is often an overwhelming temptation to judge and assess them in comparison to ourselves. We surreptitiously look them up and down and draw conclusions based on flimsy evidence that they are better or worse than us.  Jesus covers this idea when He says: Luke 6:41-42 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye but do not notice or consider the beam [of timber] that is in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, Brother, allow me to take out the speck that is in your eye, when you yourself do not see the beam that is in your own eye? You actor (pretender, hypocrite)! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

The fault of the man with the beam in his eye is that he has not examined himself before examines another. This is obvious only to the other and not to himself. Jesus calls this person a hypocrite – one who pretends to be something they are not. Love accepts people as they are and when that becomes difficult, we are very careful to check ourselves out first before we go and help someone else see where they need to change. Remember advice unsolicited is seldom taken.

Comparing is unhelpful in two ways, looking down on someone or looking up.

Comparing ourselves to another by looking down on them is not love. We are caught in the web of pride, and we can’t see the reality of who we are, next to God, a person who has many faults. Look with me at Galatians 6:2-5                                                                    2 Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it].

3 For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another’s load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself.

4 But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor.

5 For every person will have to bear (be equal to understanding and calmly receive) his own [little] load [of oppressive faults].(AMP)

How then should we treat a person who is vastly annoying or has sinned and created a problem for us? Galatians 6:1 answers us this way: Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.(AMP)

The idea comes through again here that we keep an eye on ourselves right through the whole process – that’s humility. The practice of judging another is condemned by Jesus in Matt 7:1 Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves.

2 For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.(AMP)

As one becomes more and more mature, the gift of discernment carries no condemnation with it, but an ability to see beyond the surface and understand the spiritual realities behind the façade in a persons’ life. The outcome of that discernment is always for the betterment of the person being ministered to. Check out this verse; 1 Cor 2:15  But the spiritual man tries all things [he [a]examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him].(AMP)

Comparing up can be just as dangerous for a Christian. When we observe another who is blessed – do we envy? When observe someone who is successful in their walk of faith do we compare our own results and put ourselves down? This is a common trap for pastors who sometimes get their self-worth from the size of their church. Am I a failure if I don’t have a church the size of so and so’s church?  As a believer, if everyone in church seems to be doing so much better than you, do you put yourself down, curse yourself and want to give up? Or do you recognise each one has their own call and journey with God and that we will all be judged on what Jesus called us to do as individuals not what He called someone else to do. Remember some people have to climb a ladder to reach the bottom!

When interacting with your brother or sister, get to know their story. You will most likely take on a real appreciation for them and see them in a different light. This is so much the case in Urban Connect groups. Let me tell you about Anna, who attended our church many years ago. An older lady who was born in Hungary. She had some broken relationships and tough times but she deeply loved God. When she told us her story of being a young girl in her home at the end of WWII and German soldiers coming in and raping her sister. She took the gun of one soldier and shot and killed him. Some people live through very dark times, and we take on a new appreciation for them as having survived and found Christ and now living what we think is a fairly normal life.

Let me tell you about Jimmy. He came to a John Mellor meeting in our church and was quite strange in how he spoke and interacted with people. It seemed a bit off-putting. Then John Mellor told his story. He has been suffering with Schizophrenia for so many years and doctors believed he would never come out of hospital. After prayer he has made significant improvement. While he may not appear to our version of “Normal” he has made so much progress and now has much to look forward to. When you know the journey some people have been through you realise what a long way they have come. I love the bumper sticker: Please be patient with me, God hasn’t finished yet!”

One of the great comparison traps we fall into at church is not listening to the message. We are apt to say, “I hope so and so is listening to this message – they sure need it!” This act of comparison says I’ve got it all together, but all these losers around me better take on board what the pastor is saying! Familiarity can breed contempt when we say “I’ve heard that message before” OR, “I know that passage back to front and I know what it says.” Really, that’s religion talking and we miss what the Holy Spirit wants to say to us at that point. I love the disciples’ attitude at the last supper when Jesus tells them, “One of you will betray me.” And one by one they say to Jesus, “Is it I Lord?” Wouldn’t you know if you had it in your heart to betray Jesus? Yet none of them dared trust themselves, but stayed open to God that maybe that word from Jesus was for them. This is how we must come to church and to the preaching time every week, Holy Spirit talk to me, show me what you want me to do and to change.

What now? What impact has this message made on you? Let’s examine our own heart and see; how do we treat others in this church? Do we have a love for each and every person in this local church? Do we ever compare ourselves with someone and feel superior? Turn the mirror of the word around to see yourself like the disciples did. What do you see?


1.  Why do we find it so easy to judge others?

2. Have you ever been mistaken about someone and thought differently about them after you heard the facts about their life?

3. Have you ever been misjudged? What did that feel like?

4. What do think the verse is talking about above (Galatians 2:5) when it say OUR own little load of oppressive faults?

5. What plans can you make to love each other in the Urban Connect group you are in?

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