Love Your Brothers and Sisters
By Pastor J.D. Link
Jesus said in John 13:34-35 “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.” Loving each other was not a new commandment in the sense that it was strictly a New Testament command, for we see that it was part of the Old Testament (Lev 19:18). It was new, in that it became the chief commandment (Mk 12:29-31). The brethren are to love each other, in the same manner Jesus loves us. That is sacrificially and completely. This is only possible through the Holy Spirit, who upon conversion, pours out God’s love abundantly in the heart of the believer (Rom 5:5). Then, when we yield to the Spirit and are led by Him, we can love as Jesus loves.
Loving our brethren is the sign by which all men will know that we are disciples of Christ. It is what sets the Believer apart. It is also the sign of true conversion (1Jn 3:14). If God abides in us, then love abides in us, for God is love (1Jn 4:16). He who loves God, loves his brother also (1Jn 4:21). We are to love each other as Jesus loves us (Jn 15:12, 17). We are to love the brotherhood (1Pt 2:17). The sum of the commandment is love out of a pure heart (1Tim 1:5). We are to let brotherly love continue (Heb 13:1).
Love is the primary thing (1Cor 13:13). Without love, we are nothing (1Cor 13:1-3). It is the royal law (Jam 2:8-9). Above all things, we are to have intense love among ourselves (1Pt 4:8), for this is the bond of perfection (Col 3:14). If we love the brethren, we abide in the light (1Jn 2:9-10). If we say we love God, but hate our brother, we lie (1Jn 4:20); For if our spirit is in union with Jesus, then His love dwells in us, and as He loves the brethren, so will we. This doesn’t mean we’ll always like everyone, nor what they do; but we will love them nonetheless. We will not harbor hatred, unforgiveness, or evil thoughts in our hearts.
We are to love in truth (2Jn 1-5). Love and truth are not mutually exclusive. Jesus is both truth and love. True love is based in truth, and truth is rooted in love. We love each other, because we love Jesus and love the truth. Truth unites our hearts in love. We must not forsake love at the expense of truth; and we must not forsake truth at the expense of love. We love in truth. Jesus will depart from the church that forgets love, even though they are doctrinally sound (Rev 2:1-7). Without truth, love is a sham; and without love, truth is cold and hard. A church zealous for love and zealous for truth is a blessed church.
Love fulfills the Law (Gal 5:13-14, Rom 13:8-10). True law keepers are those who walk in truth and love. If our efforts are focused on loving others as Christ loves us, then the Law is automatically fulfilled in us. Love is to be without hypocrisy. If we claim to “love”, but do not hate what is evil, our love is false. We are to be kindly affectionate towards each other with brotherly love, honoring others before ourselves (Rom 12:9-10). We are to walk in love, being tenderhearted, forgiving each to the same degree Christ has forgiven us (Eph 4:31-5:2).
Though the Holy Spirit teaches all those He indwells to love, we are to seek to increase in this love (1Thess 4:9-10). We are to add to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, love (2Pt 1:5-8). We are to pursue love intensely (1Cor 14:1), and love each other with a pure heart fervently (1Pt 1:22-23). Again, the only way to love as God loves, is to be full of God; for genuine love originates with Him. It is who He is. Therefore, the closer our communion with Jesus, the more our love will abound. He is the source of pure love. Trying to love without being in communion with the source of that love, is a fruitless and frustrating endeavor; for we have not the capacity within ourselves to love as Jesus loves.
The apostle Peter said, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be full of pity, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him shun evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and pursue it (1Pt 3:8-11).”
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not envy others. Love does not brag. Love is not proud. Love does not behave indecently. Love does not seek it’s own will. Love is not easily provoked to anger. Love does not take an inventory of evil. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in truth. Love bears; it believes; it hopes; it endures. Love never fails (1Cor 13:4-8). May the church genuinely and sincerely love each other, as Jesus loves us. Selah.