Love One Another
June 20, 2022
These things I command you, that you love one another (John 15:17).
Jesus again reminds the disciples that they are to love one another. This seems almost painfully redundant that Jesus should remind us again and again that we are to love God, love Him, love fellow believers, and love others. But the motivation behind the command is warranted - we don’t love God, we don’t love Jesus, we don’t love fellow believers, and we don’t love others as we ought to. I can only speak from my experience in my generation, but the burden is a heavy one.
As a boy, my family attended church every time the doors were opened. This continued through my teen years. One of the marked characteristics of the church through those years was a love for the Lord, His church, His people, and others in the community. Love for the lost sinner was also a marked characteristic in those days. We held revivals twice a year. We were out on evangelistic visitation every week. People were being saved constantly. The church membership loved being together in worship, Bible study, fellowship, and ministry. It was Acts 2:42-47 being lived out before my very eyes in those days.
In the mid to late 1970s, things began to change. Attitudes changed. In one church I attended African-Americans were not allowed. In another church I attended the ‘Jesus people’ were required to honor the church’s dress code or attend somewhere else. In another church the King James Bible was the only acceptable Bible to be used in Bible study and preaching. Of course, this was not true in every church, but it became more and more prevalent.
Today churches have changed radically. Rather than fellowship together as sister churches, each church seems to be its own little ‘kingdom’. Association and cooperation among churches is all but gone. Evangelistic ministries (revivals, evangelistic visitation, etc.) are no longer on the church agenda. Prayer meetings are a thing of the past. Most of the time church members don’t see each other, or have little to do with each other except on Sundays and special events. Church life is a far cry from what it was in Acts 2.
In John 15:17-27 Jesus spoke to the disciples about being prepared for opposition and persecution as Christians and evangelists. Before engaging in the subject, He reminded them one more time that love would be the basis for their ministry and perseverance in ministry through difficult and trying times. Previously, the motive for the disciples loving one another was based on His great love for them. Now a new motive is introduced - Christians need to be united in brotherly love because the world they will minister to will be their common enemy; the world will not receive them because it hates Jesus whom they represent. It is a sad commentary on our day that even among various groups of Christians (denominations, etc.) there exists a noticeable disconnect, even animosity toward each other. Do we really love Jesus like we sing and say we do? Amen.