John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” This week, we will continue to talk about the importance of brotherly love. There are at least 30 different scriptures in the New Testament that instruct us to love our brothers and sisters and/or neighbors. The Bible says that out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, let every word be established. Yet, we see the commandment to love others given 10, 20, 30+ times! Obviously, this is of utmost and primary importance in the Christian life. God is love, and God is supreme - therefore love is supreme.
Christians are to have fervent (intent, unceasing) love for each other (1Pt 1:22, 4:8). This is love on purpose. We may not always agree (though, on fundamentals we should), but we can always love. We can be kind, courteous, full of pity and compassionate (1Pt 3:8). We are to love the brotherhood, and incite one another unto love and good works (1Pt 2:17, Heb 10:24). This incitement comes from simply doing and being. Instead of being drug down to the level of others, we should pull others up to our level - the highway of Jesus. Determine to influence others, rather than be influenced by them. However, this must be done on purpose; it won’t happen accidentally.
What do I mean? Take wild grapevine, for instance. You don’t have to plant it, water it, weed it, fertilize it, prune it - nothing. Just don’t do anything, and it will take over. You don’t have to try and grow weeds. They grow naturally and effortlessly. Yet, if you want a nice fruit tree (here in Texas, anyway), you have to be purposeful about it. You have to plant, water, fertilize, prune, wrap some sort of fencing around it so the deer don’t destroy it - and after a few years, you just might get some fruit if it “takes”.
This is why Paul said, “Let brotherly love continue.” (Heb 13:1). If we do not stay full of the spirit, then we will be carnal. A Christian’s flesh is no different than an unbeliever’s flesh. A Christian who does not stay in the Word, in prayer, and full of the spirit; will naturally and effortlessly be carnal. To let brotherly love continue, means to yield to the Spirit of God, and allow His love to work in you and through you. Again, like a fruit tree, this must be nurtured. Your flesh, like a weed, grows without any help if left alone.
We are to love each other, and be willing to lay down our lives for each other (1Jn 3:11, 16, 23). What is one way we know that we are born again? We love the brethren (1Jn 3:14, 4:7). We abide in death if we don’t love our brothers. If God loves us, we ought to love one another. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us (1Jn 4:11-12).
To love our brothers is a commandment - the great commandment. A commandment is something that we can choose to obey or disobey. When we are made new creations in Christ, we have the capability - through Christ - to love our brothers. However, having the capacity doesn’t mean it’s automatic. We still must choose to do it. We may not always feel like it, but we choose to do it. We obey God. We put our flesh under. We allow God’s Holy Spirit to have free reign in our lives. We yield to Him.
How much love did God pour out on you? An infinite amount! C.H. Spurgeon said, “In math, if you divide an infinite number by any number, no matter how large, you still have an infinite quotient. So Jesus’ love, being infinite, even though it is divided up for every person on earth, is still infinitely poured out on each one of us!” You have all of God’s love in Jesus. God has no more love to give you - He has given you His all. The question is, will you acknowledge it and receive it?
Keep yourself in the love of God. Build yourself up by praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20-21). Practice love. Read 1Cor 13 everyday. Seek to put it into action. What if every Christian read 1Cor 13 everyday and made it their aim to live it? What would happen in our homes? Our Churches? Our workplaces? Our world? Selah.