Sunday, March 15, 2015

We ought to love - 1 John 4:11-12

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us." (1 John 4:11-12)
Jesus, speaking about how we should expect to be treated in this life as He was, said, "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!" (Matthew 10:24-25) It is the goal of a disciple to be like his teacher, a slave his master, and children their parents. The role of a disciple is to discipline their lives in imitation and conformity to their teacher; to grow to one day be like them in all ways. Speaking of how we ought to love one another, Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) Love was one of the distinguishing factors of Jesus' disciples. Jesus loved so His disciples love. They loved because they had become like their teacher who Himself was loving and good. If we are His disciples then we will be those who love. If we love not, then we are not His disciples.

We live in a world where people long to see something real. They long to know of the spiritual realities around them. They long to know God that the world around them might make since. They want to seek and know the creator of the universe and of themselves, but how can they know and see someone who is invisible. It's like trying to see the wind. However, Jesus said of the wind, "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going." (John 3:8) You see the wind by seeing its effects. You hear it blowing, you see the trees swaying, and you see the birds suspended in its midst. The same is true of God. We see God through His effects in our loves. One of the primary ways people see God is through the effect of His love in their lives and we are often the vehicle He uses to show that love to people. People see God's love in our lives and they experience His love through our lives and they know He is real. We ought to love, not just to be like Him, but so that the world might come to know Him and His love.

But how can mere man come to love like God loves? God has given us two special endowments to aid us in loving like He loves. First is His abiding within us. If the very Spirit of God who is love abides within us, how can we help but love? The God who is love lives within us to give us His love that we might love others with it. Our love is insufficient for the task, but His love is boundless and, if we will let it, will flow through us to those who need it. Secondly, God has given us His love for ourselves. Most of us come to Jesus as broken and hurting people. Often times, hurting people hurt other people. However, if we allow the love of God to heal us on the inside then it will help us to be more loving and gentile on the outside. As we grow to experience the love and healing of God for ourselves we will find it more natural to be loving and helpful to others around us. When these two things combine and mature in our lives, His presence within us and His love healing us, then we will become like our teacher. We will be people who have become love.

David Robison

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