Sunday, November 24, 2019

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Love One Another

The ancient and highly regarded author of Greek tragedies, Euripides, wrote a long time ago, “Love is all we have, the only way that each can help the other.” 

In just a few words, Euripides managed to capture the essence of life. We may go through a great deal of difficulties in our lives, but it is love for one another that gets us through those moments. Without love, we would soon find ourselves alone and forgotten. No one would even care if we lived or died. It would be an empty world full of despair that no one would desire to be a part of.

When you think back to the Pilgrims who came to this new world in search of “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, they had to depend on one another to get through the worst of times. They faced disease, crop failure and harsh weather. Success or failure depended on one thing. They had to be united and do everything together. The cement that bonded them as one was caring for and loving one another. They shared provisions and whatever they had with one another not out of duty but, rather, out of love.

Jesus, in chapter fifteen of the Gospel of John, tells his disciples, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

When we follow the teachings of Christ Jesus and apply them to our lives daily, we can easily obey the commandments given to us by the Father. By following those commandments and doing His will, we remain in the love of the Lord. Jesus gives his disciples one of the greatest commandments anyone could ever receive. He told them to love one another in the same way that he loved them.

It is the greatest form of love we should have for one another. The Greeks used a specific word for this type of love. It is “agape”. This word refers to "the highest form of love, charity" and "the love of God for man and of man for God". When we look at this love coming from God, it is unconditional and is given freely. It is up to us to accept that love by acknowledging Jesus as our Savior and Lord of our lives. Our love for the Father is that of it being complete and total. It means that we do not hold anything back from the Father. We give ourselves over to Him totally and completely.

As God has shown us love, we must also show those around us love. We must be willing to do whatever whenever even if it means sacrificing for the other. The early Pilgrims knew exactly what that meant. They rationed food and took care of each other during periods of illness. They loved one another and could count on the other during the worst of times. A love like that is so very pure and special. When given, it is freely given without any expectation of return or debt.

Paul, in his letter to his Christian brothers and sisters in Rome, writes in chapter thirteen, “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. For the commandments say, ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.’ These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.

Think about Paul’s words and apply them to our own legal system. If we just loved one another, there would be no need for any laws. All of the requirements of God’s law would be fulfilled in that one simple commandment to “love one another”. 

Charlie Chaplin, in the movie, “The Great Dictator”, gave a heart-rending speech to his people. He said, “You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don't hate! Only the unloved hate—the unloved and the unnatural!”

It truly is unnatural for us to hate and loathe one another. We want to love one another and, as Mr. Chaplin put it so eloquently, “We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We want to live by each other's happiness. Not by each other's misery. We don't want to hate and despise one another.”

We were created out of God’s love and we must remember that. Since we have fallen prey to this fallen, sinful world, we have learned to despise and hate one another. We no longer help our friends and those in need. In some cases, some even profit from the miseries of others. This is the way of a fallen world. This is the way of a sinful world. We were created for far better.

In his first epistle to the Corinthians, Paul, in chapter thirteen, writes, “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

If we do not love one another, nothing matters and we have gained nothing. Our lives would be empty and incomplete. When we show godly love to the world by loving not only our neighbors but also our enemies, we are proclaiming to the world that God is truly love.

Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount as recorded in chapter five of the Gospel of Matthew, said, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

It is so easy for us to love our neighbors. Anyone can do that. What Jesus calls upon us to do is so very difficult. We are to not only love our neighbors but also love and pray for our enemies. That sort of love helps us to become perfect in the eyes of the Lord. We love, not out of duty, but because the Father loves us so we should love those around us.

As you look at the fourth kernel of corn, thank God for loving you so much that He gave His only son as your sacrifice. Thank God for those who love you and for giving you the opportunity to love others. 

When you love others, you show the world that you not only understand the teachings of Jesus but live in accordance to his words. As you continue to live in His word and by faith, you can stand firm in His grace.  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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