‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:39)
Over the past year plus, leading up to the CHRISTmas and New Year Holidays we shared 2 series in line with the 2 Greatest Commands in Scripture (Mark 12:29-31)…1) Worship God alone and love Him with your entire being, and; 2) love others as you love yourself.
Knowing God, worshiping Him alone and loving Him with all we are is the 1st and Greatest Command…and one we spend very little time in our lives and churches helping folks grow and mature in as disciples of Christ. This leaves us empty as we then begin to try to love others as is taught and systemically programmed into our churchianity lives. This was the purpose of our series on the Names of God and I pray that each of us will continue to grow in our love for Him.
Not only are we struggling to fulfill and help others fulfill the most important and greatest command but in so doing we’ve made it nearly impossible to know who we are in Christ and love ourselves in the way that He did so that we can humbly and sacrificially give ourselves away to love others…even more empty in our attempts to show the world His Love! This was the purpose of focusing on our Identity in Christ series so that we are truly equipped through these to continue to mature in our love for God and for ourselves, according to His Love.
In Christ, as we grow in this Love, we can begin to live out this same Love for others….beginning in our love in our families and in the Family of Christ, to strengthen our walk in Him as disciples and together as His Church. Until we do so the world will continue to mock our empty, half-hearted efforts of programmatic service and love.
BTW – there are many effective worldly organizations that meet many of the needs of this world but they can never meet the deepest needs. When we try to meet the same needs with programs and systems rather than in deep loving relationships we offer little more than these organizations.
In near perfect timing we closed out these 2 series leading right up to our CHRISTmas and New Year’s focus and this week we begin our final series on the Greatest Commands…LOVING OTHERS!
Only when we can die to self and learn to love as He did…God first, ourselves next so we can die to self to then love others will we see a world clamoring for His Love!
I pray that Christ’s Church will awaken to doing it His way rather than the world’s way. This is our upcoming focus that is done in relational love and servant-leadership rather than in buildings, systems and programs that reach many but love few…and often a very shallow love at that!
Join us and invite others as we move into this series on loving others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:29-31) but point them back to the previous series and help them grow FIRST in a whole-life love for God and then knowing who they are in Christ so they can truly love as He did. With this as a long introduction for a much needed message let’s dive into this series on…
Loving Others – How to “One Another” in Christ
As we’ve been preparing for this, our next step in this journey of Love is to “love others as we love ourselves and as He loves us (Mark 12:31; John 13:34-35)! Bear with the redundancy here as we prepare to move into loving one another according to His Word.
Remember that in Christ’s Covenant Order commands, we must first have a heart and be learning to worship God alone and love Him with all our being (the “Names of God” series I referenced begins on Oct 18, 2021 through the latter part of January 2022). He then teaches us to know and love who we are recreated to be in Christ and as He does so we learn of His great Love for us and how to love ourselves and then give ourselves for His sake and the sake of others (see “Identity in Christ” series beginning on Feb 3 through March 11, 2022).
Again, my prayer and hope is that as we take God at His Word and the priority of His commands we are much more able to love others as we are called and commanded to do.
Did you know that there are, by most counts, 59 “One Anothers” in Scripture that literally guide us in practical ways as to how we are todo just that…love one another! Over the next few weeks we will be looking at these “One Anothers” and building on the foundation of His Love for us (1 John 4:19; John 3:16) and our love for Him (Mark 12:29-30) and how we can humbly love our self (Mark 12:31)…then we will be much more capable and able to “love one another as He has loved us” (John 13:34)!
This is how discipleship moves from loving God to loving others and must be done in relationships and communities. BTW if you are married every one of these should begin in your marriage and family…how are we going to “one another” in His Church if we can’t first do so in our most intimate of relationships and those which precede His Church in time and priority…how can you lovingly lead in my family if you can’t first do so in your own? (paraphrase of 1 Timothy 3:4-5…keep this in mind throughout this series). For those who are single or single again, remember that your love and identity is in Christ (as is true for all of us) and continue to “one another” where Christ has planted you.
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Throughout this series we will explore all the ways we are called and commanded (remember Scripture is full of commands but no demands – we must lovingly choose to follow in obedience to Him and His truly being our Lord) to love one another and fulfill the greatest commands.
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)
- Spend time with Him in His Word and prayer daily – read and study the Scriptures in this post as a way to start
- Ask The Holy Spirit to teach you
- Find one practical way to love someone close to you on a daily basis
- Pray for someone who may not get along with you (or you with them) and how you can love them
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