I believe the Bible is the real word of God, it's His message of love for us and hope and salvation. Reading and meditating on it will change your life. It reveals how God loves us so much. We have Jesus who is God in human flesh so we can better understand him and what He wants to do in our lives.
Jesus says in John 13 verses 34 and 35, “I give you a new commandment. Love each other just as much as I have loved you. For when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another everybody will know that you're my true followers.”
That’s what Jesus says will reveal that we are His true disciples. He says this is what we will be known for. It’s what Jesus wants us to be like, what we should be about. When you read the New Testament, God’s constantly bringing the church, Christians, back to the fact that this is what we should be like, this is who we should be.
We can look around the religious world, at many in the churches and this isn’t what God intends us to be. By what they are saying and what they are doing, it’s clear that there’s a need for people to walk in the love like Jesus has for us.
This is what we do and try to do. Jesus says, by this people will know you're walking with me. Not the kind of car you have, not the labels on your clothes and accessories. Not your income or job title. Not even your looks or social media followers.
Above all else, we need more of the Jesus kind of love. That’s number 1. There are a lot of issues that are important, a lot of doctrines people like to argue over, and theological positions that people might break fellowship over, but Jesus is saying over and above all those things, if you love the people in your circle, if you love the other people who love me, it will be plain and clear that you are a follower of Jesus.
I have to tell you that right now, people don't know us for our love. That’s not what they think of when they think about Christians. Jesus has to tell us that we will be known by our love because that’s not really what we’re known for. They know us for what we’re against. They know us by our politics. They know us by our rules. They know us by who we accept and don’t accept.
I think if you asked the people around us, what Christians are known for, what do you think about Christians, I think you’d hear all kinds of things, some good, some not, but probably you wouldn’t hear that we are so loving, so caring, so much like Jesus walking the earth.
There is so much wrong with the world right now that we can’t do anything about. There’s a lot of things that need changing that none of us on our own can change. But one thing I can do is get better at letting God love people through me.
If I want to demonstrate the presence of Jesus on my life, if I want to help create a hunger in them for the Lord, I can get better at intentionally letting Jesus love them through me. People like to argue against Christianity, against churches, against Jesus, against God, against the people of God, and you probably can’t win them over intellectually. But I believe that God is raising up a people who are so close to Jesus and so into His word, who are so full of the Holy Spirit, that people will know that Jesus is real because of the love, the caring, the peace that is flowing in their lives to those around them. That is what makes you so different from the world.
Each morning, I can get up and ask the Lord to help me to know Him more, and help me to yield to Him more. Help me to love people like He does, and to love them with the love that He has loved me with.
The world has gotten so hard so calloused, and even many Christians are hard and calloused.. in fact a lot of them are getting pretty mean! Our world is so lacking in the number one priority of the Kingdom of God, that even most Christians don’t realize it.
Number two, we need to love God and love other people. One of the religious people of His day asked Jesus, starting in Matthew 22:36, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Jesus said the most important thing is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul mind and strength, and the next most important is to love our neighbor as yourself. You’re a blessed person if you know who Jesus is and you love Him. You’re a blessed person if you have that love of God flowing from your heart to other people.
Number 3, He wants to use you that way. There’s nobody in the body of Christ who can’t have that going on. He didn’t say that the most important thing is to be smart, or beautiful or handsome or popular or rich or powerful or any of that. We need just to realize day in and day out that God wants to use us, to use you and me, to show his love through.
It’s not about how bad people are or how wrong they are, it’s about how great God is, and how He works through my weakness, through my flaws, through my imperfections.
You don’t need to have it all figured out yet. You know you got saved. You know you’re not the same. You know you don't think the same. You know you don't talk the same, you know you don’t act the same, you know you don’t feel the same. You know that you feel the hand of God on your life. Because you know that much, you know enough to share Jesus with people.
God is ready to use people who are available who will love Him and are prepared to reach other people. If you care about people, God will work through you move in your life in areas that you would have never imagined.
God is working in the hearts of His people to fill them deeper with His love and then to bring it to the surface for all to see. What He’s wanting to do in these days is for His people to be serious about truly caring about people and loving them as Jesus loves us. Jesus said in John 15:12, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you."
Number 4, it’s a different kind of love. Jesus said, “a new commandment I give you.” Jesus said He had a new commandment, which is to love each other, and then He gave a definition of what He meant. Why’d he have to do that? Because we all think we’re pretty loving, and some people take the loving in directions that the Lord was definitely not talking about, and using it to demand things from other people, and do some pretty messed up things.
So, He said, “I want you to love people as I have loved you.” I need to remind myself how Jesus loved me. He loved me even though I didn't deserve it. He loved me even though I could do nothing for him in return. He loves me even though I paid nothing and he paid it all. He loves me enough to give me chance after chance, time after time.
Jesus defines this love because he wants us to know this isn’t the ordinary kind of love we think about. He didn’t say to love people with our definitions of love, but with His definitions of love. We have it like, if you love me, you’ll let me have my way. If you love me, then you’ll agree with me and all my opinions. If you love me, you’ll give me all your money and your credit cards, too.
So, Jesus is making sure we don't love according to our definition, but according to His definition.
Number 5, it takes the Holy Spirit. This love isn’t just something that zaps us and suddenly we have it all together. He fills us with His love and then it begins to work in and through us. We become a work in progress. We’re going to be learning and we’re going to be growing, and He’s going to be manifesting himself in us until the day we leave this earth to go on to Heaven.
It takes the Holy Spirit to love like Jesus. Why? Because it’s not in our nature to love like that. When we love like that, it changes our priorities, it changes our schedule. It changes our friendships and other relationships. It makes our lives different as we begin to love others the way Jesus loves us.
This is SO key! You can be religious and not walking in this kind of love. In fact, some people, the longer they’ve been hanging around the churches, the more critical they are, the harder to get along with they are, the more prickly and petty they are. I mean, you can’t be fellowshipping with Jesus and end up getting meaner and nastier!
That’s because Jesus changes and transforms our lives as we walk with Him. It’s not just about going to church services. We have to have that personal and daily relationship with Jesus, as we read His word. As we spend time in prayer. As we worship Him. As we walk with him in our day-to-day lives.
Too many people have had their eternity changed but they haven’t got their mentality changed. They’re still acting out of their carnal old mindset, instead of letting the Lord transform them by the renewing of their minds. They still are critical or other people. Still bigoted and still bitter, and still grouchy. We don’t want to be people who trusts God for salvation but don’t trust him for transformation. I don't want to miss a move of God because I haven't developed in my love for what God is doing and who He is reaching. I don’t want to miss it when Jesus reaching out to people that we don't get along with and we disagree with. And, I pray that you’re not missing a move of God because you don’t want God to change your mind, or your attitude or your prejudices.
I don’t want my attitudes to be an issue between me and Jesus, between me and the work He is wanting to do. With all the means we have today to reach people, to help people, to understand people, I wonder, how much more does our God have to do to get us to let Him work in our whole lives, in our whole hearts. I want to be one who says, “Lord, you want me to love these people, I’ll do it. If you want me to reach some people over there, then I’ll do that. I’ll love them the way you loved me.
Number 6, it's love that gets your faith working. Galatians 5, verse 6 says that faith works by love. Without love, your faith isn’t going to work. Without faith, the Bible says, it’s impossible to please God. Hebrews 11:6 says, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
So we need that love from God for our faith to work, and it’s faith that pleases God. And we know that God is a REWARDER of those who diligently seek Him.
Number 7, loving like Jesus involves earthly needs, too. The early church, so empowered by the Holy Spirit was known for working together to meet people’s needs. They pooled their money, so when a person needed food, they couldn’t feed their kids, the church said, come on over. We’ll help with that. You need clothes? We can help. School supplies are too expensive? We can help with that too. It’s cold and you need a coat for you and for your family? We’ll do what we can about that.
That was loving as Jesus loved them. The early church was big on meeting the needs of each other. If we want people to know that our God is real, it's gonna start in house, with us carrying each other's burdens. The Bible talks about carrying each other's burdens and fulfilling the law of Christ.
Sometimes Christians forget where they came from. They get blessed and are so excited about it that they forget what it was like to not be blessed. We forget how draining and discouraging it was to have no hope and to have no help. That’s why it’s so vital to reach out to people who aren’t blessed and get to know them, to love them as Jesus loved us. That’s where the power of God is, that’s where the presence of Jesus is. When we carry another person’s burden and love like we have been loved.
You can do that even while you’re not all better yet. You might still be dealing with anxiety or depression, and still be able to talk to someone, to be there for them. To listen to them, to share what God has been doing in your life, and how he isn’t done with you yet. It speaks to people when you are there, even though you’re still being worked on. You don’t have it all together yet, but that doesn’t mean they have to do without until you get it all figured out.
When you are available to someone else, that’s the love of Jesus, and that begins to transform you as you’re letting Him work in you and through you. People don’t have to go through everything alone. You can be there, not with advice and wisdom all the time, but just be available, and check in with them because you care. That’s what Jesus does. It what He wants us to do as His disciples. We don’t ever want to forget what it is to be a disciple that Jesus said, to go into all the world and bring this gospel. That old saying, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
We want to bring the gospel in its purity, in its essence. That you’re saved not because of you but because of Jesus. That they can be saved because of what Jesus did on the cross for them. He’s the God of another chance. And the God of a third, a fourth, and however many chances you need, as you’re drawing nearer to Him. That’s how amazing His grace is!