Love Like Jesus
Text: John 13:1, 34-35; 15:9-17 9/11/2011
Thesis: God’s goal is that we love one another like the Father loves the Son.
This morning we are starting a sermon series covering some specific passages which describe what it means for you to be a part of the church. We’re going to be looking at those things that we are told to do or not do for one another. You’ll hear me referring off and on to the “one another commands of the New Testament.” These commands include things like love one another, serve one another, forgive one another, honor one another, encourage one another, and teach one another. Today we begin by trusting grace such that we obey Jesus’ command to love one another.
The reason I want to start with “love one another” is because I believe that love for one another is the foundation for all the other one another commands of the New Testament. As we trust God and rely on his grace so that we love one another we will be more willing to walk according to the other one another commands.
What I’m praying happens in me and you over the next two months is that we make great strides in becoming a more faithful New Testament Church. In the time that I have been a part of this body I have heard many encouraging things about us: We have godly men and women. We have great Bible teachers. We have great ministries. But in this time I have rarely if ever heard anyone say “I know that y’all are disciples of Jesus because you have love for one another” (John 13:35). The world is not believing the Father sent the Son because we are as united as the Father and Son (John 17:21).
People in Granbury, Glen Rose, Walnut Springs, Bluff Dale, and out to the ends of the earth are believing the Father sent the Son because we preach the gospel and believe in the Great Commission. That is a great thing but it’s not the whole thing. Being a church means more than joining together for a common cause. A church is a family that has been born again and made one through the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. His Father is our Father; we are adopted in as brothers and sisters. Jesus’ love becomes our love; we love God, one another, and the nations. Jesus’ mission becomes our mission; together we love and serve for the salvation of others.
By God’s grace we are making great strides in becoming a more faithful church. By faith may each one of us grow in what it means to love one another like the Father loves the Son.
Read John 13:1, 34-35; 15:9-17
You will love the people around you to the extent that you know you are loved by God.
I. Loving people are loved people
- Jesus loves you deeply (John 15:9)
During the Wednesday night prayer meeting we talked about how amazing this verse really is, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” Right now in all of your sin and weakness and struggle the Son of God loves you more deeply than you can imagine. There is a commitment and tenacity to Jesus’ love for you that you can never match. Do you know that Jesus loves you more deeply right now than you will ever love him even into eternity? Jesus isn’t waiting on you to get straightened out. Jesus isn’t waiting on you to stop sinning. Jesus isn’t waiting on you to do something extra special. Jesus loves you. He loves you right now with the same devotion and affection that the Father loves the perfect Son. That’s what Jesus says.
And don’t try to pridefully explain away Jesus’ love like he loves some people this much but he doesn’t love you this much. Are you one of Jesus’ sheep? Then Jesus laid down his life for you (John 10:11). Jesus loves you. You much choose to abide in that love.
This week a guy named Ron Proctor introduced me to a definition of faith that I hope to unpack in my life. I hope to get the opportunity to help you unpack it in your life. “Faith is choosing to live as though God’s word is true regardless of circumstances, emotions or cultural trends” (Ron & Della Proctor, Mentoring 101, book one, page 8).
Are you abiding there? No matter what is happening to me, no matter how I feel, no matter what the world may say I choose right now to live as though God’s word is true: Jesus loves me as deeply as the Father loves the Son.
You believe there is one God who is three persons. You believe God created the world. You believe the Son of God took on flesh, lived a perfect life, died an atoning death, and rose again on the third day. You believe he ascended to the Father’s right hand and will one day return to rule. You believe all of this and you are right to do so. Now, hear God’s word and believe this: Jesus loves you. Believe it regardless of how you feel. Right now believe it because God’s says it in his Word.
Jesus loves you deeply and
- Jesus loves you completely (John 13:1)
John 13:1 records this concerning the love of Jesus: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”
“To the end” is a fabulous phrase. Jesus used the same root word on the cross when he said “It is finished” (John 19:30). It means the required work has been completed. It means the full payment has been made. It means there is nothing else to be done. You cannot improve it or add to it. This is true of Jesus’ work on the cross and it is true of his love for you.
Jesus loves you completely. Right now, even in all your sin and struggle, Jesus could not possibly increase his love for you. Does the Father love the Son with all that the Father is and has? Yes, the Father loves completely. Then it is also true that the Son loves you with all that He is and has. Hear it and believe it today: Jesus possesses infinite love and affection and delight in you. Jesus loves you to the end.
- Jesus loves you to the death (1 John 3:16)
Turn with me to 1 John 3:16. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us.”
This is love. THIS is love and nothing else. Love is giving up your life to do gospel-good to others. Love is defined by Jesus’ work on the cross. This is precisely why husbands are told to love their wives like Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25). So, if you are throwing the scraps of your life at your spouse, your children, and this church do you love your spouse, your children, and this church? Now you may like them for what they give you but if you are not giving yourself for the gospel-good of your spouse, your children, and this church then you don’t love them.
So how do we get there? Loving like Jesus begins by humbly embracing the command to love. It starts by believing God’s word: I must love others. Let’s look at the command.
II. We are commanded to love one another
- Love for one another is an undeniable command
John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Romans 12:9-10, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection.”
Romans 13:8, “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
1 Thessalonians 4:9, ‘Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another”
Hebrews 13:1, “Let brotherly love be genuine.”
1 Peter 1:22, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.”
1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
1 John 3:11, “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that you should love one another.”
1 John 3:23, “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he commanded us.”
1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”
1 John 4:11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
- We are commanded to love like Jesus (John 15:12-13)
We’ve established the fact that our God commands us to love one another. What we must do now is be sure we understand what it actually means to love one another. Let’s start with what loving one another is not. Loving one another is not tolerating each other. Loving one another is not agreeing to disagree. Loving one another is not putting up with one another. Loving one another is not coming to this church campus and going to separate rooms in order to avoid one another.
And loving the church is not loving the way the church used to be. If you think you love your brothers and sisters because you cherish the Mambrino of 5, 10, or 20 years ago then you love the past. It is right and good to appreciate the past and to love those you have died. But if your love for others goes not further than the past then you don’t truly love. And loving the church isn’t even loving what the church might become. You look around, see what we could be or do, and you love that. But that’s not loving one another that’s loving what you want to see happen. That’s self seeking. Loving one another is loving us; warts and all. Loving one another is forgiving those who have hurt you. Loving one another is encouraging those who disagree with you. Loving one another is bearing with those who see things differently that you.
Loving one another means loving one another with the same depth and tenacity that the Father loves the Son. Loving one another means you give your life for the gospel-good of those around you. But we say, “I can’t do that.” It’s too much. I’m not capable. It’s too hard, takes too much time, is too costly, and what will I get for it all anyway?
In the Wednesday night prayer meeting this really came together in my mind from John 15:9-11. As I abide in Jesus’ love I will obey his commandments. As I obey his commandments I will experience the fullness of Jesus’ joy in me. That’s straight forward from those verses. Now here is the connection: Jesus commands me to love you and Jesus commands things for my joy. Jesus commands me to love you and Jesus commands you to love me because loving one another like Jesus will produce joy in us.
Okay, think about it. Why do you lack the fullness of joy? Is it because you are surrounded by sinners? Do you lack joy because your husband or wife is living in rebellion? Do you lack joy because your children or grandchildren are so wicked? Do you lack joy because people in this church don’t appreciate you? Or do you lack joy because you are refusing to love those very people like Jesus commanded?
Remember, Jesus was surrounded by sinners. Jesus’ closest friends and family were wicked and selfish. No one in the temple appreciated Jesus. But did Jesus lack joy? Jesus abided in his Father’s love, Jesus kept His Father’s command to love, and Jesus’ joy was complete.
Jesus wants to give you his joy today but it is only experienced through faith. And what is faith? Faith is choosing to live as though God’s Word is true regardless of circumstance, emotions or cultural trends (Proctor, ibid).
Each week I want to close by exposing the opposite of the “one another passage” and point us down the path so that we start obeying that “one another passage.”
Now this is a trick question. What is the opposite of loving one another?
III. The opposite of loving one another is loving yourself
- Selfishness is the anti-love (1 John 3:16-18)
Turn back to 1 John 3:16 and let’s read through verse 18. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
Loving one another, laying down our lives for one another, starts with seeing and meeting one another’s needs. This begins with financial needs, “if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need” he should meet that need. But here’s the problem: we don’t often know when our brothers and sisters are in need and why is that? Basically we don’t see the needs of those around us because we don’t love those around us. Committing to help those in need as long as you don’t have to love them is another form of selfishness; it’s wanting to feel good about doing something without having to love someone. That is just as wrong as not doing anything.
But I think in our culture giving what you have to those in need has more to do with time than it does with money. If someone has a legitimate need and isn’t working the system there are people and institutions willing and able to meet that financial need. What we’re seeing all around is the utter hopelessness of loneliness. We need love.
Now I had to stop here because as I was writing I wanted to say: we need someone to love us. That’s what we think. That is what our culture tells us. But it’s not what God’s word says. What you need is to love someone. You don’t need to wait for a friend if you are lonely. You need to go obey Jesus’ command and love someone. Don’t wait for a friend, be a friend. Jesus didn’t command you to find someone to love and support you. Jesus commands us to love and support one another. Stop waiting on someone to fill your love cup. Abide in Jesus’ love; he’s the only one who can fill your cup and then go out and love recklessly.
So, the opposite of loving one another is loving yourself; hording your time and your resources for the advance of yourself. That must be graciously and patiently rooted out of the church with the power of the Gospel. Let me finish with pointing you down the path.
IV. How to start loving one another
- Look for love in all the right places
1. Abide in Jesus’ love
Jesus wasn’t looking for someone to love him. Jesus wasn’t running around looking for disciples who would make him feel complete or appreciated or useful. Jesus said in John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” Because Jesus was loved by the Father he could love others. Camp out on this: Jesus loves you right now just as much as the Father has always loved him. Your problem is not finding someone to love you. Our struggle is to abide in Jesus’ love.
2. How do you abide in Jesus’ love?
Jesus said in John 15:10, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” Jesus knew the Father loved him so he did what the Father said. What the Father commanded was a product of his love. Jesus knew he could trust the Father who loved and commanded him. Same is true for you and Jesus. Faith sees the fact that Jesus loves me. Because Jesus loves me I can trust him and do what he commands. Do you want to abide in Jesus’ love? Trust him to be all you need and give all you need to obey all his commands.
3. Embrace the command
Some of us have been so badly hurt that the last thing we want to do is obey Jesus’ command to love. No wonder we don’t feel loved by Jesus. Some of us are so self-centered that the last thing we want to do is obey Jesus’ command to love. No wonder we’re always mad at one another and always feel used by one another. We must abide in Jesus’ love and obey Jesus’ command to love.
4. Begin by confessing to God that you have heard His word and tell him you want to obey. May God through his word proclaimed and his powerful Spirit make our love abound for one another. May we be found loving one another and trusting Christ to provide all that we need. By faith let us grow in what it means to love like Jesus.