September 29, 2016
God is love. His love is universal and available to every man, woman, and child. He created all things and whether we believe in Him or not, His love is evident everywhere and only those who choose blindness will not see it. Christians are to share God’s love because Jesus says to. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35. Jesus gave this command to His disciples just after Judas left the dinner table to go and betray Him. As a general rule it’s important to show God’s love to everyone we meet, but Jesus specifically instructed His followers to “love one another” so everyone would know they were His disciples. That command is still in place today. The un-saved world cannot understand God’s love, but they can look at Christians and see His love shining through us. The way we treat fellow Christians is an example of how God loves us. We should also show His love to those who have rejected Him, but let’s not forget to love the brethren.
There is evidence that Christians care for the lost through many charities that reach out to them, and that’s good, but sometimes it seems we forget Jesus’ command to love the brethren. How do we show God’s love to each other? Helping in times of need is a good way to show our love for the brethren. The early believers knew the sacrifice they were making by accepting Christ as their Saviour. Family would reject them and they were expelled from the Temple. Both of these things made daily life very difficult. In order to help each other survive the hard times, these first Christians took care of each other. “And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” Acts 2:44-45. Today people rely upon the government for food stamps, welfare, and whatever other needs may come along. Instead of looking to the local Christian fellowship for help in times of struggle. Even Christians look to secular government for help. The government looks for ways to spend money, but does not care at all as to the condition of our soul. Where will help be found when those “government benefits” aren’t there? When the US Government fails many people will find it hard to survive. God will provide for those who love and serve Him and Christian love towards fellow Christians will be important then. Can the non-Christian community see our love one for another and understand that Christ lives in us? “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. Good works by a Christian are a beacon of God’s love.
Missionary work is very important in winning souls to Christ. When Christians reach out to needy people in foreign countries we show God’s love. Christ’s last command was to teach the Gospel. His command was to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.“Matthew 28:19-20. Evangelism is a command, but do we really follow Christ’s words? So often missionaries seem to just build houses, give farm animals, or do other charitable works to help the needy. That’s nice but is it actually teaching the Gospel? It isn’t an easy life in the mission field, but Christ specifically says to “teach” the unsaved what He had taught. That’s what Paul did. He never asked for money for himself or for the people he was reaching out to. Wherever he went he taught people the Gospel. When he ask for money it wasn’t for himself or the lost, but for fellow Christians in need. We read in Acts and also in his letters about the collections for the brethren. “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea” Acts 11:29. “For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.” Romans 15:26. “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.” 1 Corinthians 16:1. This money was not to provide for Paul’s mission work, but to provide for needy Christians. There are many Christians today who need financial assistance, but instead of turning to the local fellowship they turn to government. The “Church” (institutional organizations based on religion and not necessarily based on Biblical teachings) sits back and watches Christians turn away, and walk away, from Christ. Jesus said it’s by our love for each other that non-Christians would know us. Have we dropped the ball? It may not only be money that is needed but Godly advice or someone may need a ride to a doctor’s appointment. Whatever the need, Christians show God’s love by helping fellow Christians. It isn’t wrong to give money to non-Christians in the name of Jesus because that may be what opens the way for them to come to salvation, but Jesus said to teach them. Peter and John demonstrated this when they came across a crippled beggar at the Temple. He wanted money, but needed Christ. “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Acts 3:6. If they had given him money he would have gone right on begging, but they shared Christ with him and he was healed. Because of that healing he praised God and many people saw the miracle and heard his praises.
Sin is a problem for everyone and God loves us too much to ignore it. That great gulf that separated us from God could only be bridged by God Himself. So, Jesus Christ entered His creation and shed His blood to purchase our salvation. Do we demonstrate God’s love when we ignore sin? When Jesus walked among the people He never ignored it. When confrontations with the Pharisees happened He got right to the point. “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” Matthew 23:33. The Pharisees should have been leading the people in faith, but instead they were hypocrites who served their own self-interest rather than serving God. Jesus cut them no slack. On the other hand, He showed love and mercy to lost sinners like you and me. When a group of men lowered their sick friend through a roof for Jesus to heal him, Jesus showed mercy. “And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.” Luke 5:20. The woman taken in adultery should have been stoned for her sin, yet Jesus showed her mercy and forgave her. “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8:10-11. He didn’t condemn her, but he told her to stop sinning. We need to take note of those words: go, and sin no more. There are more examples of the love and forgiveness that Jesus has for sinners, and He is our example. When we know someone who claims to be a Christian but is caught up in a sin, we need to lovingly bring it to their attention. Take them to Scripture and show them where they’re going wrong. The Holy Spirit will convict them and bring them to repentance. If the person isn’t a Christian, your concern for their sin and the condition of their soul just might bring them to a saving faith in Jesus. Sin is ugly. It causes disease, anger, turmoil, hatred, and many other hurtful things. If you love someone you’ll try to lead them away from sin. It’s always a good idea to take a good look at your own life and see the sin you need to repent of.
The ultimate love was shown by Christ. “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” John 15:12-14. Notice again that Jesus is talking to those who followed Him. He was talking to His disciples and said to “love one another“. Will a non-believer desire to be a part of the fellowship you attend because they can see Christ’s love there? Our love for each other should also cross denominational lines. We are one in Christ and His love is what binds us together.
Heavenly Father, please show me how I can be a better instrument of Yours to share Your love. I may not have silver or gold to give, but let me share the gifts You have given to me to help my fellow Christians in times of need. Lead me in ways that I can also teach Your perfect love to those who are lost. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Can everyone see that you’re a Christian by the love you have for the brethren? Look for ways to share His love and you just might be surprised at how many opportunities there are.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.