A New Commandment

Jesus gave a new commandment in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  Jesus obviously loved His disciples in that He fed them, led them and patiently taught them.  Then He gave His life for them.  John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”  He commanded us to love one another as He loved us.  Everyone will know that we are His disciples if we love one another as Jesus loved us.

Think of the fellow Christians that you know – especially those in your own congregation.  How much do you love them?  Maybe there are some that you don’t love because they have trespassed against you.  Maybe they have said bad things about you.  Maybe you have had a disagreement.  Or maybe they have a way of just irritating you.  Maybe you see them at the assembly but you don’t really know them.  Do you love all of your fellow Christians?  How special are these individuals?  You share the same God the Father, the same Lord Jesus as your savior, and the same Holy Spirit to live within you and intercede for you.  You share the same salvation and the same eternal home.  You share common believes and practices.  You labor together and together you stand against the evilness of the world and the false doctrines that abound.  Because of what you share together, your fellow Christian should be very special to you.  God loves them and you should love them too. 1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 Thessalonians 4:9 “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.”

Your love for your fellow Christian should not be pretend, but pure and genuine.  Romans 12:9-10 “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”  You should have kind affection for your brother.  You should want his success.  You should enjoy sharing time together.  Your love should be pure.  Don’t love him just a little, but have fervent love for him.  1 Peter 1:22 “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” Out of love, you should serve your fellow Christian.  Galatians 5:13 “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

As with all people that we are close to, there will be times when there is conflict.  This is true within our earthly family, between husband and wife, between parents and children, and between children.  This is also true within the church; there is potential of conflict between brothers and sisters in Christ.  Love is especially needed in times of conflict.  Colossians 3:12-14 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”  Christian love will cause you to bear with one another and forgive one another.  It will cause you to be merciful, kind, humble, meek and longsuffering with your brother.  Love will cause your Christian brother to have the same attitudes towards you. 1 Peter 3:8-9 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”  Regardless of how your Christian brother treats you, you should not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling but instead bless him.  Ephesians 4:1-3 “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Keep Christian unity.  Have fervent love.  1 Peter 4:8 “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’”  By having fervent love towards your brother, you can pass by his faults and forgive his offences, as far as is consistent with the truth.

It is so important to keep the new command from Jesus to love one another.  It is my encouragement to you to determine to increase and abound in your love for your fellow Christian. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”