Teachings of Jesus on Discipleship
Lesson #9: Love One Another

 

  by: Bill Bratt         Email: info@icogsfg.org

  A disciple is a person who subscribes to the teachings of a master and assists in spreading his teachings. A Christian is a person who is a disciple of Jesus Christ, who is our master, and the disciple has a strong desire in spreading Jesusí teachings and His message of the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Love Your Neighbor

Jesus instructed us to love our neighbors: "Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him (Jesus) a question, testing Him, and saying, {36} "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" {37} Jesus said to him, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' {38} "This is the first and great commandment. {39} "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' {40} "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" Mat 22:35-46.

Jesus also gave us the the Golden Rule to live by: "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Mat 7:12).

What is Love?

The apostle John reveals to us what love is: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. {8} He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. {9} In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. {10} In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. {11} Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" 1 John 4:7-11 (NKJV).

1 John 4:18-19 continues: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. {19} We love Him because He first loved us."

Perfect love comes from God because God loves us very much. We are all familiar with John 3:16 which says: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Notice how the apostle Paul said we need to Love our Neighbor in Romans 13:8-10 "Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. {9} For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." {10} Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

Did you notice that we are to owe no one anything except love? Have you ever thought of Godís ten commandments as being a law of love?

Godís Ten Commandments is a law of relationships. The first four reveals how we are to love God and have a good relationship with Him and the last four of the commandments reveals how we are to love our neighbors and have a good relationship with them.

Love Your Enemies

Jesusí teachings to His disciples about love goes beyond loving your neighbor: "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, {28} "bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. {29} "To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. {30} "Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. {31} "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. {32} "But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. {33} "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. {34} "And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. {35} "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil" (Luke 6:27-35).

Jesus is instructing His disciples to "love their enemies" and to "do good" to them.

Love One Another

During Jesusí last Passover while He was here on the earth, He was with His disciples and after He had washed their feet, He gave them some very important instructions. These instructions are recorded in John 13 through John chapter 17.

Letís pick up the story flow in John 13:31: "So, when he (Judas Iscariot) had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. {32} "If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately. {33} "Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, 'Where I am going, you cannot come,' so now I say to you. {34} "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. {35} "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:31-35).

Jesus gave His disciples a very important teaching in verse 35: "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Jesus is telling His disciples that they are to have a special love for each other, the brethren, the people in Godís Church.

Notice in verse 34 that Jesus mentions a "new commandment": "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another." The commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" is an old commandment that was given in the Old Testament: 'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD" (Leviticus 19:18).

Why would this be a "new commandment"? Notice the connective word "as" in this passage: "as I have loved you, that you also love one another." Jesus loved us so much that He gave up His life, was beaten, crucified and died on the cross for our sins so that we could be resurrected and be with Him and live forever with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Jesus took this command "that you love one another" to a new and higher level.

Letís continue on in Jesusí last Passover message to His disciples and glean a little more about this new and higher level for this commandment.

Letís notice what Jesus tells His disciples to do if they love Him: "If you love Me, keep My commandments. {16} "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever; {17} "the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. {18} "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. {19} "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. {20} "At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. {21} "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." {22} Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, "Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?" {23} Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. {24} "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me. {25} "These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. {26} "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:15-26).

Jesus is telling His disciples to keep Godís commandments and His words. Matthew recorded Jesus as saying: "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).

Jesus continues His teachings to His disciples and tells them that they must bear much fruit to be His disciples: "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. {9} "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. {10} "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. {11} "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. {12} "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. {13} "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. {14} "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. {15} "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. {16} "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. {17} "These things I command you, that you love one another" (John 15:8-17).

Notice in verse 12 how Jesus refers again to this commandment to "love one another." Notice again the connective word "as." Then Jesus continues with the phrase: " as I have loved you."

How did Jesus love His disciples? He was willing to die for them. In verse 13 is where Jesus takes this command to a new and higher level: "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends."

Godís Church has been battered. shattered and scattered and the brethren are sometimes at odds with each other. Godís "little flock" (Luke 12:32) has to learn a very important lesson that Jesus gave to His disciples "to love one another."

One of the biggest questions that Godís people have asked since the days of the apostles is: When will Christ return? A question that we ask today is: What is God doing at this point in time? Could God be holding end time prophecies from happening because the disciples of Jesus need to learn how to "love one another?"

In Conclusion:

Love is outgoing concern for others. Our love for the brethren in Godís Church must grow and we must be willing to lay down our lives for them just as Jesus laid down His life for each and everyone of us.

One of the most important lessons that Jesus gave His disciples is to "love one another."

Do you love the brethren in Godís Church in whatever group that they attend? Are you willing to obey Jesus and "love one another?"


For more information, pick on the following links:

Love Your Neighbor
Love the Stranger