Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Feb 19th 2013-- Sandy's post

Today's scripture focus: Leviticus 9-10, Psalm 36, Mark 8

Today's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 1 John 3:11-18

Love One Another
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers,[a]that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 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? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

1 John 3:11-18

I love what MacArthur says about these verses.  Check it out if you've time.  

This is a big command.  One that sounds simple in theory, but oh so difficult in application.  Easy, because hey, we all love right?  I love my kids, I love my husband, I love my mother-in-law.  But do I love - the verb - them?  Love as a noun, a thing, a feeling is easy most of the time.  Love the verb is a whole 'nuther animal.  
Love, the verb is hard to live.  It's hard to actively love someone who say, drives you bonkers.  Or who chooses to hurt you.  How do you verb-love a spouse who maliciously attacks God and refuses to love you as Christ loves the church?  How do you verb-love a co-worker who makes fun of you for your beliefs?  How do you verb-love someone who would gladly kill you because you claim the name of Christ?  
What does love even mean in these cases?  How do we love someone who may not love us back?  Who may in fact, hate our very being?

We love them with the Gospel.  We have no choice, for if we truly love Christ, we *must* preach Him.  we must, with every fiber of our being, exude love to those around us, not only by bringing forth the fruits of the spirit (Gal 5), but by proclaiming the truth in word and deed.  Because if we truly love our fellow man (and woman), we want them to have what we have.  Don't you want to share something glorious and wonderful with people you love? 

But it's not just non-christians obviously.  And these verses are speaking of us loving each other.  As in fellow christians.  That gets a bit stickier.  It can be incredibly hard to love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.  You wouldn't think so, but ask anyone who's been part of a church body.  There is always someone who is hard to love.  Maybe several someones.  But darnit, we must love them.  We even verb-love them in the same way we verb-love those who aren't believers, with the Gospel.  Obviously, not as simply as we'd love one who isn't a believer, but same idea.  When we verb-love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we do the hard things, like, gently call out sin.  Or spur them on to take a leap of faith.  Comfort them in pain.  Rejoice in joyful times alongside them.  We sharpen each other, like iron sharpens iron.  (Proverbs 27:17).  Our commitment and obligation to love our brothers and sisters in Christ is serious, and important.  

MacArthur said something very striking in his sermon on these verses.  "Indifference is evidence of the unregenerate" (My paraphrase).  Indifference is a pretty serious heart condition when it comes to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Do you have the symptoms of that heart condition?  You'd better pay a visit to the Great Healer.  Quickly.  


1 comment:

Roxie said...

Wow. So very true and definitely something that I struggle with. It is an incredibly difficult thing to "gently call out sin"...no one likes to be called out. It is difficult, as well, to be called out!!

May we learn to encourage others to keep on the path of righteousness while doing so ourselves!!

Amen, Sandy. Well said!