Christ’s church is a loving church. If you are in a church that does not emphasize love, you are not in Christ’s church. But love is more than a feeling and more than words. It finds its beginning in God and ends with our active participation in the benefit of others.

ROBERT >> Jesus had just washed the feet of his disciples. That night he would be arrested and then crucified on the cross. This is when he gave a new commandment to his disciples. And it was Jesus that made that commandment new. What was this new commandment, and how did Jesus make it new? Stay tuned. We’ll be back in just a moment.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> What was this new commandment Jesus gave his disciples, and how did Jesus make it new?

Let’s read it together in John 13:34-35. Here’s what Jesus said: “A newcommandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

You see, the new commandment that Jesus gave was to love one another as I have loved you. It was Jesus that made the commandment of love new. Never before has there been such an example of love as that given to us by Jesus Christ; and never before had anyone experienced such love as that that was made possible by Jesus. And only those who know him can love like he loved. The word is agape. It means that you want the very best for others. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have done; you still agape them, you still love them. It means you’re willing to humble yourself and to serve them. It means you’re willing to sacrifice yourself for them. Just as Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and then told them to love one another as I have loved you, just as he was going to the cross to give himself for them, so we must serve and sacrifice ourselves for one another. It’s a self-emptying love.

It is the love of God. John 3:16, the Bible says,“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.”

In Romans 5:6 we learn that while we were still weak and without strength, Christ died for the ungodly. Verse 8 says that “God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

That’s the unconditional love of God for all men, even those of us, all of us, even though we’re sinners.

In Galatians 2:20 the apostle Paul said,” He loved me and He gave Himself for me.”

In Ephesians 5:1-2, he commanded us to walk in that same love, reminding us that Christ loved us and gave himself for us.

In Philippians 2:5-8 we learn that “though Jesus was on an equality with God, in the form of God, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Paul says you have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, this mind that would say I’m going to empty myself, I’m going to humble myself, I’m going to be obedient, I’m going to serve others even if it means giving myself for them, as we read in 1 John 3:16, where John reminded us how that Christ laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for each other.

In 1 John 4:9-11 we read about the love of God, how“that he gave his son, how he sent him to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins; and if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

We love him, the Bible says in 1 John 4:19, because he first loved us. Yes, the commandment is to love one another. I feel kind of like the apostle Paul when he wrote to the church in Thessalonica. In 1 Thessalonians 4:9 we learn that Paul didn’t feel the need to write to the church in Thessalonica about brotherly love because they’re taught by God to love one another. And I don’t feel like I have to tell you who are Christians today to love one another, because you know to do that. You know how to do that because you know how God loves you. You know how he loves the church. Every day I see evidence of the love of Christians for one another. But also like Paul goes on to say, I urge you to increase in that love more and more.

My desire is like that of Paul in 1 Thessalonians 3:12 when he said, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another.”

We can’t love one another too much. We can always love one another more. So I want those of us who are Christians who are listening today to think about what it really means to love one another and how we can grow in our love for one another. And I hope those of you who do not know the love of Christ will come to understand better how much God loves you, what Jesus has done for you, that you might respond in love to his love. But let’s notice together what the Bible says about this love that we have in the body of Christ, his church, because of our experience of God’s love in our own life. Let’s notice that this love is an affectionate love. I want to read with you from Romans 12:10.

In Romans the apostle Paul was writing to the saints in Rome about how that the mercy of God had been experienced by each and every one of them and how they needed to show this kind of love to each other. Notice what it says in verse 10. “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love.”

You see, we as Christians, we have feelings for each other that we don’t always have for others. Special feelings. Don’t you kind of light up, Christian, when you learn someone at work or at school is also a Christian? Here’s my brother. Here’s my sister in the Lord. Our love in the family of God is tender, it’s dear. We cherish one another like family. Like a family, we weep with those who “weep and rejoice with those who rejoice”, as Paul said in Romans 12:15.

We truly care about one another and what’s going on in each other’s lives. Love is affectionate. Let’s notice also today from this same
passage in Romans 12:10 that love is respectful. Look at the end of that verse. Here it says, “In honor giving preference to one another.”

Out of honor, out of respect he says we’ll put others before ourselves, we’ll give them preference. We’ll let them go first, we’ll let them be first, we’ll give them place in our life. We’ll listen to their opinions, hear what they have to say, and defer to them. In the body of Christ we ought to try to out-do one another in showing honor to each other. I want you to see how the apostle Paul deals with this in 1 Timothy 5:1-2. In this passage to the young preacher, he explains to him how we ought to behave in the church, and he gives some very good advice for us.

1 Timothy 5:1-2, he talks about the relationships that we have in the family of God, his church. He says, “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father; younger men as brothers; older women as mothers; younger women as sisters, with all purity.”

You see, he calls for us to be a family of honor. God’s church is to be a family of honor. We respect those who are over us, who are older than us, and we treat them like a son might his father or a son might his mother. And we treat each other as brothers and sisters with honor and respect. God’s church is a family of honor. Love is respectful. But then let’s notice a third thing today. Love is also serving. We’ve already seen this in the example of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, humbling himself to do that menial task for the others. He didn’t mind doing that. He was setting an example for them. But look what Paul has to say about this in Galatians 5:13.

In Galatians chapter 5 Paul has much to say about our liberty in Christ, how we’ve been set free from sin. But he tells us in this verse how to use that freedom. Here he says, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

You see, Paul is talking about the liberty or the freedom that we have from sin. We’ve not been set free from sin so that we can go on sinning, no; but we are set free from sin so we can live for God. And that means according to this verse that we will voluntarily out of love become slaves to one another, to serve and to be helpful to one another. It’s not a chore, it’s not a burden; it’s a joy and a blessing for us to serve one another in the family of God, his church. You see, our love is not just a saying love; it’s demonstrated.

And it’s demonstrated in very practical ways, as John wrote in 1 John 3:18 when he said, “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

John says it needs to be more than just words. We need to show our love by our actions towards one another. Perhaps some of you who are listening today remember Dorcas. We read about her in Acts the 9th chapter. She was a wonderful lady, and she’s described there as one who is full of good works and charitable deeds. Here is one who passed away.
When she did, those she helped, they came and they brought the things that she had made for them while she was alive, the tunics andthe garments. We learn very quickly that Dorcas was a woman who used what she had to help and to serve others. And all of us, we need to be looking out for the needs of others and look for opportunities to serve one another. Maybe you can sew and make garments. Maybe you can mow somebody’s grass, or you could cook for someone. Maybe you could help them with plumbing or carpentry around the house. Perhaps you could provide transportation to and from church or to the doctor or perhaps to get some medicine. Maybe you could help someone with their computer. Maybe you could go by and just visit and encourage and see what you could do to help others. There’s so many practical ways, so many things we could do to help those around us to show our love for one another in the body of Christ, his church.

You know, Christians, one day Jesus is going to say to us, “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in; I was make naked, and you clothed me; I was sick, and you visited me; I was in prison, and you came to me. And you know what we’re going to answer him: Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or naked and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick or in prison and come to you? And he’ll answer, Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me,” Matthew 25:34-40.

What’s Jesus saying? He’s saying that love serves. Yes, love is affectionate, and yes, love is something that shows honor and respect, and certainly love serves; but I also want you to notice today that love is forbearing.

Look with me in Ephesians 4:2. When Paul writes to the church at Ephesus, he’s concerned not only that they get things right in their teaching, but they also have the right attitude and the right heart to promote unity in the church.

And he says here in Ephesians 4:2, “With all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.”

That’s the attitude that we must bring to our hearts. And it tells us a little bit about this love that Christ wants us to have for each other. Love, he says, is forbearing. We’ve got to be lowly and humble ourselves and be gentle with one another, we’ve got to be longsuffering or patient, we’ve got to be bearing with one another in love. Love puts up with others, it bears with others. It will endure. It will suffer the faults and the weaknesses and the differences of others. It may be the preacher and the church. Sometimes the preacher persecutes the church and sometimes the church persecutes the preacher. The fact is none of us are perfect, and some of us are very hard to get along with, and some people may get under our skin; but the Bible teaches us to love them anyway, to bear with them, because love is forbearing. Notice also that love is sincere.

Turn with me to 1 Peter 1:22. Peter reminds us of our conversion to Christ and how that again ought to affect our hearts and our relationship to others in the body of Christ, his church. Here he says in this verse, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.”

You see what Peter calls for here? An unfeigned love. He tells us here to have a sincere love of the brethren, a pure heart. He doesn’t want us to pretend. He doesn’t want us to be hypocritical about our love. Anybody can see through that. But rather he says you be real, authentic, true, pure, genuine. You be open and honest with one another, because he says love is sincere. And did you notice at the end of this verse, to love fervently? When we love sincerely, we love fervently. And this is the last point I want us to consider this morning, that love is not only sincere, but it’s fervent.

Peter had more to say about that in 1 Peter 4:8. Look at this verse with me. Here he says, “And above all things, have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.”

Do you see from this verse that our love is not to be cold and formal, but it’s to be fervent? That means it’s to be ardent. It’s to be strong. It is an intense affection. Love that Peter calls for is earnest. It’s not just polite. You know sometimes we’re very polite with each other and we get along to each other, but there ought to be a passion in our heart. A fervent love is a passionate love. There ought to be a fire there that we have for one another.

I know it’s hard to be that way with some people, isn’t it?

That’s why Peter says that love will cover a multitude of sins. Yes, love hides sins, it overlooks faults, it looks beyond the person’s personal problems, because, you see, love is kind and it’s compassionate and it’s forgiving. Like Jesus, we love in spite of the many imperfections we see in one another. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Like Christ, love is fervent. Oh, what a passionate, fervent love our Lord had for each and every one of us. You see, it was Jesus that gave new meaning to love. Nobody ever loved like him. This is how others will know whether or not we are his disciples, his followers. The undeniable mark of the Christian, it’s not a cross around your neck, it’s not a church T-shirt on your back, it’s not a WWJD bracelet on your wrist.

It’s the love of God in your heart. That’s the litmus test for God’s church. If the world doesn’t see love in us, they will not care what we teach or what we practice. Baptizing by immersion for the remission of sins, going to church three times a week, taking the Lord’s supper every first day of the week, not using musical instruments in our worship, condemning denominationalism, calling people out of that and preaching the one church of the Bible, that’s not going to convince them that we are disciples of Christ. And just preaching and teaching that does not prove that we are. Only when they see Christ’s love in us will they know
that we are his disciples, that we are his followers. Let’s be that church, that church we read about in the Bible that loved one another, because any other church is not that church.

I want to ask you today who are listening, do you love the church? Those of you who are Christians, do you really love one another?

I love you so much because you’re my family in the Lord. There are many who I know I talk to each week through this television program, I don’t know your name, I don’t know anything about you, but because of our common faith, because of our common love for Jesus, I love you. We have that love for each other. I love every one of you, and I love you because you’re part of the family of God, my brothers and sisters in Christ. I love you because of all you do for the Lord and for his church. I love you because of your love for him. And I love you because so many of you have encouraged me in so many ways.

Hebrews 13:1, the Bible says, “Let brotherly love continue.”

If you love the church, you keep loving it, and you love it more. If you’re loved by the church, return that love. Share it. If you’re not loved by the church, you love the church anyway. Don’t ever stop loving one another. Let brotherly love continue, because when we stop loving one another, we stop being Christians, we stop being Christ’s church. If you’re a Christian today, I hope you see God’s love, that you will continue to grow in that love, and that you’ll want to do what you can to love God’s church. But if you’re a Christian who’s left your first love, you come back, because God’s love is so great he always is ready and willing to take those back who would return to him.

If you’ve never known his love, will you not respond to his love?

Will you not come to him with love in your heart for Jesus, believing, repenting, confessing, being baptized into Christ so you can be saved, so that you can become a part of his family today?

It’s because we love you that we invite you to come to the Lord, to let us know how we can help you towards heaven today. Whoever you are, God loves you. He wants you to know his love and to share with us all in the love of Christ.

SINGING>> Years I spent in vanity and pride,
caring not my Lord was crucified,
knowing not it was for me he died on Calvary.

Mercy there was great and grace was free. Pardon there was multiplied to me.
There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan.
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man.
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.
Mercy there was great and grace was free.
Pardon there was multiplied to me.
There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.

SINGING>> Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?
Are you fully trusting in his grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?
Are you washed in the blood,
in the soul cleansing blood of the lamb?
Are your garments spotless, are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?
Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin
and be washed in the blood of the lamb.
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean.
Oh, be washed in the blood of the lamb.
Are you washed in the blood,
in the soul cleansing blood of the lamb?
Are your garments spotless?
Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you would like more information about the lesson today or if you would like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

Remember, all our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low,
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

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