Posts Tagged ‘love one 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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REALationships # 2 –  16th June 2013 AM – LOVE FLOWS DOWNREALationship

This month the theme is – REALationships

In APRIL we spoke about being baptised with, filled with the Holy Spirit. Then later in MAY we continued that theme by sharing what it means to be led by the spirit. During that theme, we spoke about walking in the Spirit which means our behaviour follows the nature and character of God and of course the way we treat others is guided by how we love each other as Jesus loves us. This month JUNE we are expanding on that theme and focusing on REALationships.

Last week we spoke about the Divine Embrace, which is God’s great passion to have a people. 11 times in the bible He says about His people, “I will be their God and they will be my people.” What a blessing to host a real wedding right here in the service last Sunday to illustrate the great love Christ has for the Church amply demonstrated in every marriage as a type of Christ and the Church.

Being SPIRIT FILLED means being SPIRIT LED, and to be a really great church, we will love one another unconditionally. Our relationships will be a picture to others of the love of God that is shed abroad into our hearts. For us as DISCIPLES OF JESUS – IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT ME! When we are born again we have a new perspective (Phil 2:5) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. That is the way of humility and serving others. Our joy comes from serving others because we have a new heart, and we are filled with a servant heart and a desire live for others. If we are ever offended we look to Jesus to heal us; and then to the offender and wonder, “How has the enemy or the destructive paths of life messed this person up, so that they are reacting badly to my detriment.” We love and forgive, and duly consider how we may be in error in some way or maybe we have not seen a need that needs to be met.

When you and I receive a Revelation of the love with which He loved us, then we are filled with that love, it is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5) and we are full of the love that overflows and enables me to love my enemy, love the unloveable (which I was to God) and forgive my brother.



In this story the King who is owed a vast amount of money calls the steward who owes him and says, “Pay up!” The servant has no money so he begs for more time. The repayment is impossible, so the King makes a hugely gracious gift of forgiving the debt totally and wiping it out! (Do you get it?) The forgiven steward then goes out and accosts another steward who owes him a mere pittance and demands he pay up! When he to asks for more time, the first steward says, “No.” and puts him in jail! When the King hears of this he is rightly indignant and asks of the first steward, “Could you not have had mercy on your fellow steward as did for you?” and he casts the first steward into jail until he will pay out the reconstituted debt that he originally owed!!

The punch line is verse 35 where Jesus says that God will do likewise to us if we do not forgive our brother his trespasses. READ Vs 35 – Mat 18:35  So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offenses. (Matt 6:15; Mar 11:26.)

IMAGINE Your shock when, after you die, having lived a life as a Christian – you’re in hell and you realise that your enemy is in heaven!  Why? Because you did not forgive your brother his trespasses, and he, having trespassed against you, he is actually forgiven because he found Christ and held no grudges against his brethren.

Notice that your forgiving of your brother is “from your heart” so it’s not enough to mouth the words or even try to live above it, you must deep in your heart forgive, let go and love your brother who has sinned against you.

The IDEA is NOT that we all become perfect, BUT that we all become mature.

Mat 5:48  You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect. [Lev. 19:2, 18.] The word Perfect in the Greek language of the Original New Testament is – G5046 – Telios = Complete, of full age, like a machine having all the parts for effective working.

MATURITY – means loving one another despite our imperfections. In fact we reach maturity by practicing forgiveness.


Joh 13:34  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.

Joh 13:35  By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

God’s plan is for your development (Ephes 4:14-16). He allows, even plans offences, to see if you can forgive and love. One story that illustrates this is Jesus and John Baptist in John 11. John asks, “Are you the one?” I suppose that John may have expected Jesus to visit him in jail since He expected others to do the same. (Matt 25:44) Jesus replies, “Blessed is he who is not offended in me.”

In Matt 18:21 Peter asks a question that we all wonder about, “How many times do I have to forgive my brother? 7 times?” Jesus replies, “Not 7 times; 70X7.” We need to understand what kind of love we are filled with.

If we are SPIRIT FILLED then let us go on and be SPIRIT LED and as the HOLY SPIRIT leads us He will enable us to WALK IN THE SPIRIT, which produces the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT – LOVE, KINDNESS, PATIENCE, LONG SUFFEREINNG, SELF CONTROL.

These are all essential elements for loving one another.

WHY should we love one another?

–         By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples – it’s the way to win lost people.

–         Being in One accord means The Holy Spirit moves – He is the spirit of unity. Ps 133 – Unity blessing commanded. Acts 4:24 When the church were in one accord the place where they were praying was shaken. Shaking is no big deal but it demonstrates that God shows up big time when His people dwell together in unity.


  1. Have you ever stopped to consider just how much you have been forgiven of?
  2. The parable of the two stewards in Matt 18 gives us the very clear message: Although our sins are great, God freely forgives them and the offences committed against us by our brethren are comparatively small – discuss this.
  3. Can you as a Christian hold any grudge or bitterness or unforgiveness against anyone and still be forgiven yourself?
  4. How can one forgive when they are deeply hurting from an offence?
  5. Discuss how sinners view the church when it practices loving one another.

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It’s Christmas – End the war!reason-for-the-season

It’s Christmas time! It is the celebration of Jesus birth. Just as it was about to take place, God had something to say…

Luk 2:13  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

Luk 2:14  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (MKJV)

So often it isn’t peace among men, but war. There are bitter disputes in all places between all ages and all ethnicities. God sent Jesus to earth to end the hostility between God and Man.

Rom_5:10  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

After this, as men became persuaded of this salvation, then they took on a new heart and a new way of relating to others. Now, through Jesus own command, His people must…

Luk 6:35  But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favours so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked. (AMP)

Mat 5:44  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (KJV)

There is a place for self defence. All that is precious must be protected. Thank God we have a police force and the courts system that brings justice, however flawed they are; without them we would have anarchy that would make life unliveable. However, beyond that, Jesus asks us as Christians Rom 12:18  If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

One day a along time ago, men who had been at war with each other put down their weapons and gave one another gifts. These men were fighting in World War I and one night their feelings for their enemy changed and their actions were reversed and a complete change took over their lives.

What was the catalyst for this remarkable change? Christmas!

“Though there was no official truce, roughly 100,000 British and German troops were involved in unofficial cessations of fighting along the length of the Western Front.[8] The first truce started on Christmas Eve, 24 December 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium.[9]

The Germans began by placing candles on their trenches and on Christmas trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. The British responded by singing carols of their own. The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were excursions across No Man’s Land, where small gifts were exchanged, such as food, tobacco and alcohol, and souvenirs such as buttons and hats. The artillery in the region fell silent. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently killed soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Joint services were held. The fraternisation carried risks; some soldiers were shot by opposing forces. In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but in others it continued until New Year’s Day.[7]


Here’s a clip from a movie called “Joyeux Noel” that told the story of this remarkable ceasefire.  http://youtu.be/CW2mGdiu8Uk

These soldiers were trained to kill. They truly believed that it was their duty to kill men from the opposing army. If they could kill many enemies and get home alive; that was very good, but if not, they were prepared to lay down their lives for their country. If men engaged in a bloody warfare can be so changed by recognition of what Christmas is all about, then surely we can look at Christmas through God’s eyes and call an end to the war we have had with others.

Are there people in your family that you have been at war with? Have you been hostile in word or deed with anyone in your world? Think about the thoughts that go through your mind at times when you’re thinking of those who feel badly towards. Those unkind thoughts, those accusations, that feeling of revenge; the lack of kindly plans toward them; are all evidence of something that can and must change.

If these men in WWI can rethink to the extent that they forgot that they were enemies for just one night- then why cant you? Most likely you haven’t had a gun fired directly at you from your people; nor have you seen your best mates carried off in a body bag. For most of us, what we have endured has been some unkindness, some bad words, some persecution or theft. Has your pain been of the order of these soldiers?

And yet they left the hostility and laid down their arms and celebrated Christmas. The really sad part of this story is that when the truce was over, they went back to business as usual, and began shooting each other. But this is not how it must be. The peace you create with those you have been hostile towards can be a lasting peace. It doesn’t have to be Christmas cards at 50 paces for ever!

How could this tradition of Christmas be so powerful? The reason is Christmas speaks so eloquently of God’s love and His gift to us all. Jesus – unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. Can we see ourselves as we really are? Can we see that our potential to hurt is the same as any other man; can we see that we have affronted God’s grace with our thoughts of evil? That we are as guilty of offence as any perpetrator is?  Can we see that we need the mercy of God to deliver to us this roughly gift wrapped package of forgiveness that was laid in a manger, for us, so undeserved and matched only by our need.

Thank God for Jesus – the reason for the season.

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