Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I've decided to set aside one day a week on the blog for my Dad's comments. It should be interesting, especially since we've been going through some archived tapes and finding great little gems that haven't been heard in quite a while. Here's one of my favorites:

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." John 13:34 NKJV

This verse is what I always refer to as the lost commandment. Why do I call it that? Because it’s so absent in the lives of Christians. Now, you may say; “I love my fellow Christians. I hug them. I pray for them. I care for them.” But just think for a second: Do you love as He loved you?

We need each other in the body of Christ. We need to be fed. We need to share our feelings. We need to be able to confess our faults one to another. We need to learn to love one another as Christ loved us.

I don’t mean phony love where everyone hugs you, pats you on the back and says, “Glory to God! Hallelujah! I love you!” Sometimes they’re patting you on the back just to find a soft spot in which to embed the blade! I’ve found this to be very true, particularly in some of the circles I’ve worked in. So, I don’t go along with all that “sloppy Agape.” But there is nothing wrong with telling someone you love them or giving them a hug or a squeeze on the arm, if you really feel for the person. Don’t do it just because it’s expected of you. That’s hypocritical.

There are some people I like that I have difficulty loving. There are people that I love that I have difficulty liking. There are people who neither love nor like me! We all have our problems, but you can’t become an icicle when someone demonstrates some form of Christian love toward you. We have to learn to love each other.

There is a quality of love of which Jesus spoke. It’s a quality of love that when manifested, testifies and convinces the world as nothing else can. It is the love of Christ in us for each other; a far greater love than any kind ever before experienced by mankind. That’s why Jesus said, “A new command I give you.”

How did He love us? He loved us unto death. How did He love us? Vicariously—He was willing to suffer in our place. Do we love each other that way? Do we put other people’s interest above our own? Is it what we want or what someone else wants? Is it for the Glory of God or for our own glory? What is the quality of love you have?

If it’s the love of Christ, then it will be a selfless love; a sacrificial love. It will be a giving and enduring love. And if it’s the love of Christ, it will be an exemplary love. It will not be something that you put on to impress people. It will be something that flows out of you because Christ is in you. Because He loves you, you are capable of loving each other. Love one another in the same manner, says the Greek, as I have loved you.

I believe every Christian should pray: “Lord Jesus, give me your love, so that I might have that love for the body of Christ.” One of the greatest problems with the Church today is that we can’t see any further than our own noses. It’s always our own denomination; our local congregation; our program; our TV show; our missionaries; our this and our that—instead of recognizing that the whole body of Christ is one. We are to help each other for the cause of Christ.

True Christian love transcends all denominational barriers. It goes beyond all sexism and beyond the color of skin. It transcends all normal values. True Christian love transforms us.


JohnD said...

Hey Jill,

Great idea.

Your Dad's words sound a lot like the late Dr. Peter Marshall Sr. and Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse whose preaching
removed the Christian walk away from platitude to practicality.

God bless and Merry Christmas.


9:59 AM  
Dwayna Litz said...

Thanks for this post. I have certainly been reminded of this in 2006. We must have love-- not just for the lost, but for one another in the body of Christ! Perfect love casts out fear, where we can speak the truth in love to one another, confront sin, show grace...walk in the freedom of loving God FIRST, enough to care more about what people think of Jesus than what people think of us...but we must show love to each other.

We do need each other in the body of Christ. I have been reminded that we don't do our work for our own glory but for the Lord's. If we keep our focus on Him, we can continue to all work together for His glory. We have to make sure that it is the Spirit who is dividing (and the Holy Spirit does at times separate people) and not our own flesh.

Grace upon grace,


10:24 AM  
Jill Martin Rische said...

Thanks, John! Happy New Year!

12:19 PM  
Jill Martin Rische said...

Dwayna, You are one of the people who made a big difference in my life this year. Thank you. :)

Happy New year!

12:20 PM  

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