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Thank you for joining us for a short three message series titled “Response to Easter.” This is part two, loving others.
Matthew 22:36-40; Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
We love other’s best when we love God most… and we’re more fully able to love others when we’re free to love ourselves as God loves us.
Jesus said ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ well my friends if we don’t have a healthy understanding of loving ourselves or self-love as God loves us; then loving our neighbor is a challenge. Not loving ourselves as God love us can and has been used as an excuse to not love others. Then Jesus said this… John 13:34; “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
‘Loving your neighbor as yourself…’ can apply an option, as if we have a choice of submitting ourselves to God base on how I feel about myself. But John’s quote of Jesus, “love one another as I have loved you,” there is no option here. The difference between these verses is motivation!
Loving others as myself doesn’t always motivate, but loving others as Christ loves me, now that’s motivation.
John 15:12-14; My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
Put together these words of Jesus of John 13 and 15… You are my friends if you do what I command, My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you… and by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Defining truth!
Loving each other within the church and loving those outside the church are not mutually exclusive. If we only love those closet to us, including other Christians, what does that gain us? Matthew 5:43-45“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. 45 That you may be children of your Father in heaven.
Jesus called it a “new” command for two reasons:
First, it points to a new example of love, that of Jesus’ own life, fully manifested in his death on the cross.
Second, Jesus sacrificial death created for us the platform for “loving others.” His death creates the new fellowship, an act by which all God’s people can be gathered together.