Who do you LOVE?
“But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love”
(1Cor 13:13; ASV).
“And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”
Here’s a recap of last week:
First, GOD IS LOVE. (1John 4:8)
Second, GOD LOVES. (1John 4:9)
Third, HE LOVED US FIRST. (1John 4:19)
Last, GOD DIED FOR US. (1John 3:16)
This week we’ll continue to look at LOVE.
Why we should Love.
Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment. “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27).
In continuation of our study on LOVE, let’s look at the second part of the great command, to love your neighbor as yourself.
Our love for OTHERS.
There are a few categories of people, the first are our brethren. We are to treat them LIKE KINGS & QUEENS because that’s what they are. “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Rev 5-6).
We are to love the brethren like Christ showed, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34). “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12).
The Apostles Peter, John, and Paul repeated this command, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (1Peter 1:22; 2:17).
“He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes” (1John 2:10, 3:11, 14, 23; 4:11, 12).
“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another” (1Thess 4:9).
We are to love the brethren. Next, we are to love OTHERS.
“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you” (1Thess 3:12).
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law: (Rom 13:8). “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well” (James 2:8).
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Gal 5:14).
We are to love others. We are also to love in deed.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). To “visit” is to render aid to someone in need. This is an individual responsibility we have toward those in our own house, or toward our neighbors as we have opportunity and is separate from the local church funds. “If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed” (1Tim 5:8-16).
The local church collectively has a responsibility for limited benevolence for the needy saints. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (1Cor 16:1-2; Acts 11:29). “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (Jas 14:15-17).
We are to love in deed by visiting the needy. Finally, we are to love our Enemies.
This last one separates us from everyone else in the world. As the Lord commanded, “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:27-36).
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1John 3:18).
–Spencer is an evangelist in Borger Texas working with the church of Christ on Franklin & Juniper.