Sermon: Holy Spirit & Love

Written by Timothy

Holy Spirit And Love
Year 2002

If we were to boil down our problems in Jesus Christ to any one thing, it would have to be that we don’t love enough. We have not been taught by the Spirit to love one another or love God. We haven’t been willing to be taught how to love. Jesus tells us this is the central problem with man. Man either doesn’t love God, or he says he loves God, but when the amount of love is measured by the second part of the commandment it’s apparent he really doesn’t love God.

Mark 12:28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

I like this man who comes to Jesus. Notice he’s a man who speaks with wisdom and knowledge. He gives a good answer. So he will test Jesus, but not from the same attitude Pharisees had of trying to trap Jesus. Rather he’s trying to see how close Jesus really is to God.

Mark 12:29-30 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’“

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that God gave you a mind and expects you to use it to put your life together, because that’s not why God gave you a mind. God gave you a mind to love him with all of your mind. You need to love God with everything you can muster in your mind. There’s no room for anything else.

Mark 12:31 The second is this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than this.

Notice that wherever this is found in scripture there are two things that go hand in hand. You cannot separate loving your neighbor from loving God. To say the one commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” is to immediately say, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So many people try to separate the two and say they love God without having an overwhelming love for other people. The measurement of how much a man loves God is the measurement of how much he loves you in Jesus Christ. If you want to discover how much someone loves God then ask him or her how he or she loves you. How do they show a Godly love toward you? That will demonstrate for you and honestly show how much they love God.

Mark 12:32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.”

Not only does this man take in what Jesus says, he also expounds upon it. He comes with a noble heart before Jesus to learn from him and he says, “You are exactly right and not only that . . .”

Mark 12:33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.

So many of us measure our love in terms of actions, outward things, prayers we’ve said, or things we’ve given to the church without really asking ourselves whether or not those deeds are motivated by love.

Mark 12:34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

I love this intellectual discussion between Jesus and this man, because it’s not just an intellectual discussion, it’s a heartfelt discussion. This man’s heart is being seared by what he’s hearing Jesus say and it’s like he’s saying, “Amen,” to it. I can always tell when I am talking with someone if they are really listening and taking in what I am telling them from God or whether they are just intellectually understanding it. Usually when someone acknowledges that what I am telling them is true they expound upon it and say, “Amen. You’re really right. I can see that’s really true.” That’s what this man is really doing. Jesus comes to him and explains what love is all about and he says, “Amen. You’re exactly right. In fact it’s more important than all the burnt offerings and all the religious works of going to church.”

So you can measure how much someone is spiritually in tune with you. If they just listen and kind of shake their head, you know they haven’t really heard what you are saying. Because to hear by the Spirit is to acknowledge and say, “Amen. That is really, honestly true.” The thing you have to understand is that you cannot love your neighbor until you love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength. Scripture does not say, “Love your neighbor as yourself and then love the Lord your God.” First of all you have to love God with all your being before you will ever know how to love one another or before the Spirit will really be able to teach you. But most people do not really believe that.

Proverbs 21:27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable how much more so when brought with evil intent!

My mother, as she loved me, fed me, clothed me, and took care of me, was doing something detestable in God’s sight. Grandma, who sends gifts to your children, gives them attention, and calls and talks to them, is doing something detestable. Any type of sacrifice apart from loving God with all your mind, soul, and strength is a detestable sacrifice before God. The reason we don’t believe that is we do not see how corrupt we are. We measure our love by our own standards and therefore we measure it in terms of deeds and actions without asking what is in the heart. But if we realize that God is the God of love and from him comes all sources of love, then we realize that if a man doesn’t have God in his life, he doesn’t have love. There is an evil motive that if we would dig deep enough and have the eyesight of Jesus, we could see what is really in man. Even Jesus said, “Even though you are evil you know how to give good gifts to your children.” He acknowledges that man is evil even though man does in his evilness give good gifts. It doesn’t make the giver good. It doesn’t even make the person who’s doing the act of loving good in any form or fashion. It just means the action he did might be good in appearance. But look at it again.

Proverbs 21:27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable how much more so when brought with evil intent!

What’s he saying? He’s saying, of course, if someone comes with an evil intent to offer sacrifice that it’s detestable. But Proverbs is contrasting that and saying, “Anything that is brought to the Lord by a person who is wicked and doesn’t love God with all of his heart, mind, soul and strength is wicked.” How much more if he is wicked in his intent with what his is doing? So if we will acknowledge to ourselves that we cannot love our brothers and sisters, our children or anybody apart from God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will come a long way in getting ourselves where we need to be. It’s a hard thing to convince Grandma that what she does is wicked. It’s even harder for us to accept the fact that what our parents did and who they were was really something vile. No man can love apart from God.

What happens in Acts 4:32, after the Holy Spirit was poured out? Right after Pentecost it says that all the believers were one in heart and mind.

Acts 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.

Wherever there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, there you will find love flowing. If you are baptized in the Spirit, if you receive communion from the Spirit, what will pour out from you is a life of love. If you have been touched by the Spirit but your love hasn’t increased, then you’ve either hardened your heart or you haven’t been touched by the Spirit. It’s that simple.

In the book of Jude it says that God will suddenly come and convict everyone of all the wicked things they have done. He will show that all the things that other people did in your life that you thought were love were really wicked and vile. He will reveal deeds for what they really are.

Jude 1:14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone . . .”

He’s not just talking about false prophets. He’s saying that these thousands upon thousands of holy ones will come and judge everybody.

Jude 1:15 to judge everyone, and to convict . . .

They don’t have the conviction right now. Those of us who walk in the Spirit and in love can see that what other people do is vile. If we do not walk in the Spirit and have love we will never see it.

Jude 1:15 to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

There will be a mass outpouring of conviction. Everybody will see that the love they thought they had and the good deeds they thought they did before God were utterly vile and corrupt. All because they did not love the Lord their God with everything.

1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

If a man does not have God in his life and love him with everything, then can he have love in his life? The answer is NO! He cannot have any love in his life. It’s just that his sin may not have progressed to the point where we would acknowledge that the man can’t love. Man has learned to cover up and appear kind and gentle. But if we dig deep enough we see the motives are self-centered. We see that they wanted something from it or wanted to get paid back. It was expected of them to do. But love doesn’t do what is expected. Love just loves. My mother in a lot of ways loved me because that’s what mothers are supposed to do. We are kind to our children. We love them because that’s what is expected of us. That’s what society demands of us. But that doesn’t mean we have love inside of our hearts. That just means we are doing what we are motivated to do from an outward basis. Love comes from God. There is no other source of love. You can’t get it from anywhere else. If that is true, then what does that say about our Christian walk? If we expect to learn to love one another then we must have the love that comes from the father. You can copy the actions that I do you can fulfill the commandments of Scripture outwardly. We will see in a moment you can give your body to the flames and give all you possess to the pour and still not have love in the act of doing all that.

1 John 4:7-9 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

You will only get love by living through Jesus Christ. If you do not have Jesus Christ, you do not and cannot ever obtain love.

1 John 4:10-11 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

You are therefore called to lay down your life for your brothers and sisters. This is not a life of a weak type of love, but a love that is very active and powerful. It’s something the world has never seen. You are called to lay down your life for every brother and sister in whatever ways love will demand. Not because you have to or you must but because you find loving to be the source of life, grace and joy. Jesus didn’t come because he was forced or obligated to because of a rule. In fact, what did he say in the garden? As the people came to lead him away, and the mob is there, he said he could call down twelve legions of angels to deliver him. He had an avenue of escape. He was not forced or commanded to die for our sin but he willingly submitted to the Father because that was a source of life for him. If we expect the Holy Spirit to teach us to love we cannot force it or copy it. You have to find it to be the source of life.

1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

So why do we feel so guilty? Because we don’t have his love made complete in us, and we do not love as we need to love. In fact James says love covers over a multitude of sins. (The reason why we feel the full weight of our sin and all the guilt that is associated with it or the reason we are blind to it is because we don’t love.) For he who loves knows that in some ways he’s covering over a multitude of sins he commits. Love makes up for a lot of the sin we commit. I’ve made a lot mistakes in ministry. There’s no doubt about it. If I were to stand in front of some of the people who would accuse me, some of the things they say be might be true, I don’t know. The point is they may come up with things that I made mistakes with, but the mistakes that I made toward them were a result of love. I may not be perfect with what I do or what I say. I may not have all the wisdom as to what needs to be done but at least what was done, came from the love of God even though I’m an imperfect vessel. All of us would rather have a child that loved us but was imperfect in doing things, than to have child that was perfect in everything but didn’t love us. This should be no mystery to us. Again we’re talking about a relationship.

1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

What does it mean to have God living in us, breathing, acting, thinking, working, and moving as a result of learning to love one another. If you do not love others God does not live in you and so there’s no activity of the Spirit, no movement of God or guidance from him. We try to figure out all the ways of God without realizing that if we set out to love, the rest would take care of itself. If you just begin to move with the things you have like your house, your time, and your life and begin to lay down your life with people, don’t you think God will dwell there? He’ll guide and direct and say this is the way you need to go. Of course, he will.

1 John 4:13-16 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

God is love. He is pure, unadulterated love. Everything about God in terms of what He does, what He thinks and what his actions is nothing but pure love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. We are to bathe ourselves in love and be immersed in love. It’s not a matter of understanding the law, all the Greek and Hebrew or all the outward kind of things. Every single action that we take, every prayer, all that we do, we are to be immersed, baptized in a fire of love. But most people are not immersed in love. Most people like to hold on to certain actions that they take to prove they “love.” It doesn’t matter how perfect you do it. We want to know how much love was behind it how much God was in it.

1 John 4:17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.

Why don’t we get people to the cross? We won’t lay our life down. Why is one thing left unsaid or undone? Because we don’t love them enough to tell them the truth. Do you know why we run like cowards and are afraid of other people? We don’t love them enough to speak the truth. We don’t serve because we don’t love. Love doesn’t constantly have to be told what to do, does it? Love doesn’t have to be commanded. We expect the Spirit to come to us and guide us in every single small thing that we need to do and how we need to act, but love just responds. I’m not saying that God doesn’t guide, but a great deal of our guidance is simply whatever love would dictate to do. Love just responds. I don’t have to be told to hug Shelby or love him. I don’t have to be told to go up and hug Josiah. I don’t have to be told to respond to the children that are around me. I don’t have to be told to tell Danielle that I love her. Love just responds not because it’s told to but because it’s the natural thing that love does. So when it comes to serving your neighbor or speaking boldly what has to be present above everything else is love, not all the grand wisdom of scripture, or all the noble rules and regulations on how to serve your neighbor, or the ten ways to bring someone to Jesus Christ. What is so important and what will take care of every single problem we have is if we love them. Then we will persevere in someone’s life. We will bug them, harass them, and lay aside what they want. Even when they say they don’t want it, we make sure they really don’t want it. That is the nature of love.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love.

Why do we fear God in an unholy way? Why do we fear dying? Because we’re not made perfect in love. You see, we try all the rules and regulations, we try listening to this sermon tape, we try to get these three or four concepts into our mind, but what fails to live and breathe in us is love. It’s unfathomable to think that scripture says I will be presented before Jesus Christ with great joy and perfect in his sight. The only way I will ever get that perfect is if I love God with all of my heart, soul, and mind. It doesn’t matter if I’m perfect in terms of behavior or the words of my mouth; it’s whether I love God with all of my heart, mind, and soul. My goodness, look at the life of David, he was anything but perfect, but he was a friend of God.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

If we begin to love other people and pour out grace upon them, we will then experience and taste the love of God in our own life. So we can rest assured knowing if God is willing to use us and to pour out that kind of love into our lives then he will immerse us in his love as we pour it out to other people.

1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.

How few people can honestly say that’s a true statement in their life? They do not love God because God first loved them. They haven’t felt the richness of his grace. They haven’t felt the outpouring of love given to other people and so just turn to God in a breaking heart before him. They love God because they obey the commandment. They love God because they do not want to go to hell. They love God to get peace. They love God because of all the outward things he has given. But we are talking about loving God because he first loved us.

I have experienced the overwhelming love of God that would forgive a sinner like me. I then am able to love other people. I am then able to appreciate God’s love and turn to him with a breaking heart. It’s not an intellectual turning to God; it’s the groaning of the Spirit and the inward part of my man that can’t even find words to express before God. It is a turning of the heart toward God. Words cannot be found to express the love that is before him because I am so thankful for the grace he has put in my life. How many people come to God because outward circumstances pushed them in his direction. The revival group came in or somebody has wanted them to become a Christian for years. Or their wife has been nagging and dripping on them to come to Jesus. They should come because they sense and feel that love being poured out and so they return to God just with a breaking heart that says, “I love you, Oh Lord.”

1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

It is that simple and clear. Anyone who is not willing to live the scriptures, to be obedient and to love me is an absolute liar. You can say it for sure. You can say it confidently and with conviction. It doesn’t take a spiritual giant to discern this does it? Somebody who doesn’t love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, and soul, if they are not just overwhelmingly consumed with God, is a liar if they say they love me or God. They are a murderer. They hate me. For anyone who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot possibly love God whom he has not seen.

1 John 4:21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

The measurement of how much you love God is how much you love each other. The measurement of how much I honestly love God is how much I pour out love toward you. Love doesn’t mean that you count your deeds. Love will respond in deeds, but deeds do not mean that you love.

1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

What does that mean? I can have the gift of tongues and not have love. Love may respond with tongues and love may respond in giving things up, but just because I speak in tongues or I do something outward does not mean that I love.

1 Corinthians 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

You can have the faith that will literally move Pikes Peak down a border and not have the love of God in your life.

1 Corinthians 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

You can give money to the church, serve and do all kinds of things, but if it isn’t motivate and springing forth from love you gain nothing in the act that you did. So what moves me in my Christian life is not outward law and legalism or what has to be done. What causes me to respond in any and every situation is simply one thing, love. Otherwise I gain nothing from the action that I did. How many of us will stand before God will all kinds of good deeds that we count upon, and we think that the deeds somehow demonstrate or prove our love. It doesn’t necessarily do that without looking at the heart to ask what is really there. Do we have a love that comes from the Holy Spirit? How much giving that has been done in the Lord’s name will wind up being ugly and vile?

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Every commandment that we obey and everything that we do must come from love or it’s of no value. Women who wear coverings must do so out of love or it’s of no value. Men who serve and love one another must do it from a sincere love in the heart because they love God with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength or it’s of no value at all.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value.

Anything outward has no value at all. What does he say has value? It comes down to one single thing. You don’t have to go through 50 different tests.

Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Nothing else matters or counts. It doesn’t matter how much you pray, fast or do anything in God. If it doesn’t come from love that springs from faith it means absolutely nothing. And worse than nothing, you probably get in the way of Jesus Christ. The only thing that counts in your life is faith your belief in Jesus Christ, your trust in him, your understanding of scripture, your ability to move mountains, speaking in tongues, all the ways that faith comes out the only thing that counts is that faith expressing itself in love. How many sins we would overcome and be victorious over if we just loved. How easily we could hate and despise money if we loved other people because no one would look at the money. They would merely look at how love can express itself. No one would care how much sleep they’ve had or where they are going, it would just be a matter of love expressing itself. How much we would lose our attention on our own selves if we would just love. Colossians 1:3 tells us we need to go back to the Holy Spirit. If we will be able to love one another as Jesus wants us to love then we have to go before the Holy Spirit.

Colossians 1:3-4 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints—

Notice in scripture that faith and love go hand in hand. There is a love that doesn’t come from faith, but it’s not really love. To have true faith in God will cause rivers of love to flow out.

Colossians 1:5-7 the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf,

Verse 8 is the important verse.

Colossians 1:8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

You can talk about some churches’ love, but you cannot say it’s a love in the Spirit. There is a love, an action that appears to be Christian and appears to be noble that surrenders its body to the flames. It’s a hard thing to look at someone who threw their body to the flames and claimed they did it for God to say they didn’t love God and didn’t gain anything. That would be an extremely hard judgment call to make. Stand up and say that Gandhi wasn’t a lover of man, didn’t care about people, and was totally self-centered and see how much you can convince people it is true. This is about a love that comes only by the Spirit and through the Spirit by living in Jesus Christ. There is no other kind of love.

Colossians 1:8 and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

That’s what we have to begin to say about one another. We have to sense that the person who comes to me and loves me, comes by the Holy Spirit. They love me by the power of the Spirit, not because they want to feel good that day or because it’s the Christian thing to do. It’s interesting that in Colossians Epaphras said to Paul, “They love in the Spirit,” then in Romans 15:30 Paul said the same thing. These guys understood that there’s a love that’s worthless and there’s one that is genuine.

Romans 15:30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.

Do you see what he was trying to do? He wanted to motivate them to do something. He tried to remind them of something, and what did he call upon? He spoke about something so significant and so different that it would make an impact on them. It would be like me calling curses down on my head when I am trying to swear by something. He’s saying, “Pay attention.” How much is this a distinct reality for us? How much could you turn to someone and say, “I urge you by the love of the Holy Spirit to do this,” and have it impact the person you are talking to as well as yourself. To have it mean something. You have experienced it and know what scripture is saying here.

Romans 15:30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.

If he’s trying to motivate someone he’s not using “3 Steps to Powerful Prayer,” is he? He is saying, “Look, if you will pray for me, I urge you to do so by the Lord Jesus Christ himself and by the love in the Spirit.” He can’t think of anything more motivating than that, can he? He doesn’t want to motivate by anything else. He doesn’t want to remind them of anything else. He doesn’t want to urge them any other way. The only thing he is concerned about is that they realize everything they do is to be done by the love of the Spirit and the grace of God.

2 Thessalonians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This scripture shows us again that faith and love go hand in hand. How many of us hear that from the Spirit on daily basis? How many of us experience that letter in our hearts? Isn’t that what the New Covenant is about, the writing of the commandments on our hearts. This is the commandment. This is the terrible good news that we fight so much.

2 Thessalonians 1:2 Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s what the Holy Spirit is trying to write on your heart. That’s what he’s trying to make live within your heart. Not all the burdensome commandments that you think are so hard. He desperately wants to come to your heart and write in grace and peace to you from God the Father. Now rejoice and live the Christian life.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers,

We have permission to thank God for you. We have an authority of why we can do this. It’s not blind, stupid faith or an attempt to puff up the congregation.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.

Rightly so. I can praise God for you. I can say, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” and I have a right to do so. I stand on solid ground. I have an authority in this court of law. The reason I have the authority to do so is because your faith and love is increasing toward one another. Every time I come back to this congregation I see more and more love toward one another. Is that what God sees when he comes to visit us regularly? Does he see an increasing amount of love? No longer do I stop the unwholesome and cutting humor because I know that’s a sin, I stop because it hurts other people and that’s not the way love responds. It doesn’t build up. I don’t stop my unwholesome humor because I will be rebuked for it or because someone will challenge me on it, but because love doesn’t motivate and move that way. Love hurts and grieves whenever my humor hurts someone. As love increases, the worldly motivations or infant things in Jesus Christ that used to motivate us, no longer mean so much because what is so important is loving one another. Your sin offends love, not the law. There is a time when we need those laws to drive us to love. That’s the whole purpose of the law.

When you first come to the Lord most of the changing in your behavior and your heart is due to laws and commandments hitting us fresh and new. That’s all good. Nobody is saying that’s wicked or evil. But you have to move beyond that someday. You have to grow to love so it’s love that motivates you in everything. The purpose of reading the scripture is to see, “Ok, this is the way Jesus Christ is and I want to be like that.” Someday this should lead to maturity. In the same way that you have a child and the child is a day old your fellowship is minimal. You love the child, but as the child grows and you fellowship with it, your loves grows deeper and deeper. It is ever increasing.

1 Corinthians 8:1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

When I first became a Christian, I devoured the Word and read it day and night. I had never read it before. All the knowledge was there but I was not able to respond in terms of love, even though I thought I did. God has to cleanse and purify the heart to show that what we did wasn’t done from love but knowledge. We were puffed up. We were bigger than we really are. We think we’re more important and righteous than we really are because we are puffed up. There’s nothing there but air and talk. As you mature and the air begins to go out, you lose all the puffiness and actions begin to speak louder than anything else. Trueness of heart and ringing of truth becomes more important. Being holy toward one another is more an attitude of love than of law or commandment.

John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Why would he say it’s a new command? It’s new because Jesus Christ showed us how it’s to be lived. It’s new because it’s under grace in the New Covenant. It’s a love like nobody has ever seen before. It is in all respects brand new. Not in terms of law and legalism, since we’ve heard that before. We are talking about something new that no one has ever seen before.

John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Does that sound like something new that no one has ever said before? Confucius, Buddha, all the religions long before Jesus talked about loving one another and mankind getting along together. But Jesus said it’s a new commandment. By the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, it is brand new. I am to love as Jesus loved me. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” This is the crux of the whole matter. This is what men hate more than anything else. This is the scripture that tears them apart because they do not want to love as Jesus loved. This commandment is the same thing as hating your own life and carrying your own cross. When Jesus says all those things all he’s talking about is love. He’s saying if you will love like God loves and receive a love that comes from heaven, then this is how this love will be poured out. But men do not want that kind of love. They want a portion of it. “As I have loved you.” You can’t take any other kind of love. There’s none that’s acceptable.

John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

The only kind of love that shows we belong to Jesus Christ is if we are laying down our lives for each other and growing every day in more and more love for each other. It can’t be any other kind of love. It can’t be socializing. It can’t be like the “get along” gospels that are out there. This is about a radical “new commandment” love. It’s something the world absolutely detests and something they have never seen before except in Jesus Christ. It’s something the church wants to fight against so desperately because they would have to lose their lives. But this is what the commandment is and this is what scripture is talking about – we must love one another this way and no other way.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.

What was he appealing to? What was his longing? Paul knew that he couldn’t love without the immersion of the Spirit and dependence upon God. It can’t increase, grow, or become different without us being in communion with the Holy Spirit. We must plead with the Spirit to give us this kind of love if we are to be a people of God. How much of our pettiness, griping, complaining, and worrying would disappear if we would just begin to move to love one another. My goodness, if I sat and counted all the times I have been taken advantage of, slapped in the face, and deserted, I would have quit loving a long time ago. There has to be an ever-increasing love. You cannot get it, contain it, or have it. You must let it go and it must flow through you. If you take living water and put it in a container, it becomes stagnant. It becomes diseased and nobody can drink from it. But he who has rivers of flowing water has water that is clean and clear. People can drink from it. How much we would lose sight of our petty problems if we had rivers of living water flowing through us just being poured out for other people. Let me tell you right now, people won’t say “Thank you” as often as you think they should or respond the way you think they should. It’s not a question of whether somebody will take advantage of you. They will do that. Be more amazed when they say thank you. Love just loves to love. It just responds in love with no thought of return or gaining anything. If love had to have a return, I would have quit a long time ago.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

If you want all of those things in your life then fan love into flame. Love will talk. Love is not timid because love has to speak. Love isn’t worried about what somebody else will think because love has to speak. Love has to turn to somebody and say, “You will go to hell if you do not repent.” It’s not self-righteous, arrogant, or haughty. It’s just love. I am just telling you the truth because that’s not where I want you to go. Of course God will be there with power and self-discipline because love flows. All of those things come from the Father who is love.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.

Of all the passages that we are looking at this is the one that’s the center of the wheel. It’s the one that we are talking about that causes everything to turn. It’s the oil and the turning mechanism that causes everything else to fall into place.

I don’t need to preach a sermon to you on how to love each other. I don’t need to write a tract or tell you about it because the living God has taught you how to love. You are the tract. It was written before I came to you.

1 Thessalonians 4:10 And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.

Let’s praise God that we have pastors who are never satisfied. Let God teach each of us how to love. We don’t know how to love. There will be times when we call down fire from heaven but we’re not supposed to. Go back and look at the life of the disciples and see all the different ways love comes out. You’ll see that they had to be taught how to love. My goodness, they went into a town to preach the gospel and the town didn’t receive them so what did they suggest to Jesus? “Let’s call down fire from heaven and just wipe these guys off the map.” Jesus rebuked them for that because it didn’t come from love. Another time Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees and the disciples said, “You are offending them.” The nature of man’s love is that the people you ought to offend you don’t offend, and the people you are calling down fire upon are the ones you are supposed to love and be patient with. There is no way to figure it out. You will often wonder, “What in the world is going on?” I do this one little thing and someone jumps all over me, but someone else does something and nobody says anything to him or her. What in the world is happening? You are being taught by the Spirit to love. Love is motivating everything that is done and it does things differently for each person. Love is individual and God’s seeks to break as it’s poured out. You have to be taught by the Spirit.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.

You will get this love by a true kind of faith, the faith that also comes from spurring one another on. When I give you suggestions and say, “Go talk to this person and hand them this tape,” it’s not a cultic thing to get you to do that. I’m not laying down some type of rule. That is the commandment of being obedient to Hebrews 10:24. I want you to love the other person. I want you to have every reward before Jesus Christ. I want whoever you talk to and are in a relationship with to experience the love of God so that they are at least accountable before God and can say that they heard.

Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

This is what we are all to do, not just me but everyone. Jesus Christ came down from heaven and preached the gospel, so why are you surprised when I turn to you and say, “Did you share with that person? What did you say? Go back and say this.” It’s all a part of love. You have certainly learned by this time that numbers is not the motivation, because what I have you say to them brings them in, does it? So the motivation isn’t out of numbers, it’s out of love. Either that or I am a very strange person. “Let’s consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” I will figure out how I can spur you on to lay down your life. You are to look at me and consider how you can encourage me to lay down my life more and more. Yes, it’s by faith, but a faith that spurs. You have to pursue it. This is where most people fail. We don’t pursue it. We wait for God to convict us and box us in a corner. We wait for him to tell us we have to do it or put the situation right there. We wait for the baseball bat to hit us over the head and then say, “Oh, did you want something?” We have to pursue love.

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

You have to pursue love. You have to go for it. You have to exercise and move toward it. I don’t want to hear any more whining about being in the flesh or any other excuse you might come up with. I don’t want anybody to say, “I don’t want to love because I might be in the flesh.” The odds are you are probably in your flesh, but you will never love in the Spirit until you step out to do it. My goodness, my kids will never learn to make a bed with joy until they learn to do it without joy. No kid is born enjoying making his bed. Pursue love. Seek it. Find ways to serve. Get the zeal and fan it into flame. Confess it before God when you don’t have it. You have to go after this stuff. Why do we have to be told anyway? Is it that terrible? Is it such an ugly commandment that we have to be told to pursue it? Are we so slow of heart that God has to come along and say, “You really should pursue love. It will bless your life”? It comes by being obedient.

Let us plead with the Spirit to write the following passage in our hearts so that with everybody we meet we have discernment.

1 John 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

This is how we know we belong to Jesus Christ. This is how we know that we call upon him who we say we call upon. This is how I know that I am a Christian: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

1 John 5:3-5 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

As we move to be obedient then that love is worked and is made perfect. No commandment that we looked at is a burden. They are not meant to be hard. We have so little faith that we can’t even appreciate the commandments that we obey. We are too short sighted. We want a reward here. Let’s be a people who move in obedience.

This ought to be the goal of every preacher, but sadly it’s not. With most preachers it is numbers, building projects, maintaining the building they have, or ministry they offer.

Colossians 2:1 I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.

His purpose in all this is not a worldly goal. He has one purpose in mind and one only. Let us demand this and nothing else.

Colossians 2:2 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,

United in love. To be united in love by the Spirit is to know Christ. The more each of us come in contact with the living God, begin to know him, surrender our thoughts and lives, and give up who we are, the more we will love one another. It’s just a natural thing because God will teach us.

Let’s pray:

Father we plead and pray that your Spirit will come and teach us to love one another. Give us the new commandment, Father. Make it new and fresh everyday. Work it in terms of its death and its meaning. Father, we know that we do not know what we pray, we only know we want you to work it. Teach us to love with ever increasing love that comes from your Spirit. Bring the Spirit that divides bone from marrow and soul from Spirit that we can see, Father, that the times that we love it’s not you loving through us, but it’s something much different than that, Father. Teach us to do what is best for everyone in every circumstance. To do only what is beneficial for others and not for ourselves. We pray this that you and you alone might be glorified. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional. The original audio tape can be ordered free of charge by contacting Sound Doctrine Ministries.


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Host of The Consider Podcast
Examining today’s wisdom, madness, and folly.