The Renewal of a New Creation - Part 4: Loving Others
I. It is by our love that we are known
John 13:34-35 (NLT)
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples."
II. Love is the fulfillment of the Law
Romans 13:8-10 (NLT)
Pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others. You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God's law. For the commandments against adultery and murder and stealing and coveting-and any other commandment-are all summed up in this one commandment: "Love your neighbor as yourself." [Leviticus 19:18] Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God's requirements.
III. Love must be genuine
Romans 12:9-21 (NLT)
Don't just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.
Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful. When God's children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night.
If people persecute you because you are a Christian, don't curse them; pray that God will bless them. When others are happy, be happy with them. If they are sad, share their sorrow. Live in harmony with each other. Don't try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all!
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.
Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written,"I will take vengeance;says the Lord.
I will repay those who deserve it," [Deuteronomy 32:35]
Instead, do what the Scriptures say:"If your enemies are hungry, feed them.Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink,
and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you." [Proverbs 25:21-22]
IV. Love is foremost and eternal
1 Corinthians 13:1-10, 13 (NLT)
If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. 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 be of no value whatsoever.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear. Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear.
There are three things that will endure-faith, hope, and love-and the greatest of these is love.
- Give an example of when someone has displayed genuine love for you. How did it make you feel?
- In John 13, Christ told us to not only love our neighbors as ourselves, but to love them as He has loved us. What differences does that entail?
- 1 Corinthians 13 lists some characteristics of love. How does knowing that God loves you with that kind of love encourage you as a believer?
- In what way can you experience and express God's love to other believers and the community?
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189 USA. All rights reserved.
Equip God's People
"Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ" Ephesians 4:12 (NLT)