Mar 12:28-33 “ ......Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
For the last several weeks, we have been discussing God’s love for us, and our love for God. This week, I want to discuss our love for each other. Specifically, the Christian’s love for other Christians. As far as God is concerned, loving each other is of the utmost importance. Jesus said the world would know we are His disciples because of our love for each other (Jn 13:35). It is sad, but that’s usually not the case in a lot of places. However, it should be; because Jesus said it should be. All the law and the prophets hang on this simple command: Love God and love your neighbor (Mt 22:40). It was an Old Testament command (Lev 19:18) that was often repeated in the New Testament (Jn 13:34, 15:12 & 17, 1Jn 3:23). In other words, it’s not a suggestion. Truthfully, if you are born again, and have a intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ; Loving your brothers and sisters will be a natural by product of that relationship (1Thess 4:9).
Loving our neighbor is called the “Royal Law” (Jam 2:8-10). Royal not only means regal or kingly; but also means preeminent or chief. So the preeminent or chief law is to love your neighbor. How many Christians put that at the top of their list? Just something to think about. All the law is fulfilled in loving your neighbor as yourself (Gal 5:13-14). Love fulfills the law (Rom 13:8-10). So many times Christians major on the minors, and minor on the majors. If loving your brother or sister is not at the top of your priorities (Loving God being #1), then your priorities are wrong. Some Christians make a big fuss over nit-picky things; but are about as friendly and loving as a half-starved junkyard dog. Don’t be a Pharisee! They’re the ones Jesus rebuked, remember (Mt 23)? They forgot about love (Lk 11:42).
We are to provoke each other to love and good works (Heb 10:24). We are to be kind and affectionate to one another, and to prefer one another over ourselves (Rom 12:10). We aren’t to do things for selfish, vain reasons; we are to esteem others better than ourselves (Phip 2:2-4). Four different times, in four different chapters, the apostle Peter drove home the point that brotherly love is of supreme importance (1Pt 1:22, 2:17, 3:8, 4:8). This not some doctrine contrived of a couple obscure passages. This is all over The Bible. If you say your in the light, yet you hate your brother- you are in darkness (1Jn 2:9-11). If you say you love God, and you hate your brother - you are a liar (1Jn 4:20-21). If you do not love your brother, you are not of God (1Jn 3:10-11). These are powerful truths! Have you ever thought about these things? I pray you will after today. Other than your love for Jesus Christ, there is nothing more important.
Let brotherly love continue (Heb 13:1). Let us walk in love, as dear children of God (Eph 5:1-2). You will be surprised at how easy it is to live for God when it’s done out of a deep, loving relationship- instead of a burden of endless commandments. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2Cor 3:6). May God’s Love have preeminence in your life, and as it does, may it flow out to others. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!