The Lord's People Are to Love One Another (John 13:34-35)
1. Shortly before His arrest, Jesus instructed the apostles to love one another. a. The apostles had participated in some unloving behavior, especially when they were concerned about who was greatest in the Lord's kingdom. b. To be successful in carrying out the Great Commission, the apostles would have to love one another. 2. By examining a number of passages, especially 1 Corinthians 13, we can understand how the Lord's instruction applies to all of His followers.
I. THE LORD REQUIRES HIS PEOPLE TO LOVE EACH OTHER
A. We have shown how Jesus gave this command to His apostles (John 13:34-35). 1. Jesus described His command as being "new" [in John 15:12-13 Jesus explained how His love is the pattern]. 2. The Lord's followers are to be identified as such by their love for each other. B. The New Testament letters repeatedly teach Christians to love each other (Ephesians 5:1-2; Colossians 3:14; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 4:10-11). C. While these passages teach Christians to love each other, . . .
II. 1 CORINTHIANS 13 EXPLAINS WHY CHRISTIAN LOVE IS ESSENTIAL
A. The letter we call 1 Corinthians shows that the church in Corinth was plagued by a number of problems that were actually symptoms of a more serious problem. 1. The members of this congregation: a. were divided into various factions (1:11-12) b. were extending fellowship to a fornicator (5:1-2) c. were settling their differences by going to court (6:1, 6) d. were experiencing difficulties over eating meat offered to idols (8:12) e. were not observing the Lord's Supper properly (11:20-21) f. exalted certain spiritual gifts and looked down on others (ch.12 & 14). 2. These matters indicate that the church in Corinth suffered from a lack of love. a. Christians are to do everything with love (16:14). b. However, love appeared to be lacking in everything these Christians did. 3. (12:31) Paul said he was showing this congregation "a more excellent way." B. In ch.13, we are shown three reasons why the more excellent way includes love. 1. (vs.1-3) The more excellent way includes love because without love we are nothing. a. (vs.1-2) This principle applied to spiritual gifts. b. (vs.3) It also applies to all acts of benevolence and sacrifice. 2. (vs.4-7) The more excellent way includes love because of its characteristics. a. Negatively, love does not envy [is not jealous], does not vaunt itself [brag or boast], is not puffed up [arrogant], does not behave itself unseemly, does not seek its own [insist on having its own way], is not easily provoked, does not think evil [hold a grudge], and does not rejoice in iniquity [unrighteousness]. b. Positively, love suffers long [is patient], is kind, rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. c. True love is determined by behavior -- not by words (1 John 3:18). 3. (vs.8-13) The more excellent way includes love because love is everlasting. a. Love never fails, but spiritual gifts would end when "that which is perfect" came. 1) If the Corinthians continued using their gifts without love, when the gifts disappeared, only strife and division would remain. 2) If they used their gifts with love, when the gifts no longer existed, love would continue. b. Even though faith will eventually become sight and hope will become reality, love will continue and is therefore the greatest.
1. In 2019 let us allow our lights to shine through our good works. 2. Let us also practice the Lord's command to love one another.