Here is a simple "Bible quiz." What is the common
element in the following verses from John?
John 13:34 - A new commandment I give to you, that you love one
another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
John 15:12 - This is My commandment, that you love one another as I
have loved you.
John 15:17 - These things I command you, that you love one
I John 3:11 - This is the message that you have heard from the
beginning, that we should love one another.
I John 3:23 - Believe on the name of His Son Messiah Yeshua and love
one another, as He gave us commandment.
I John 4:7 - Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and
everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
I John 4:11 - Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one
II John 5 - Not as though I wrote you a new commandment, but that
which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another.
The answer is: Love one another. The challenge is not the theory,
but the application. This is the only thing God is really asking of us.
Of all the things we do "for God," only our loving relationships will
last for eternity. Everything else will end in this world.
To love we must obey God's commandments. But we must also enjoy one
another. Yeshua decided to suffer on the cross so that He could enjoy a
relationship with us forever. The Holy Spirit enjoys playing and having
fun with us (Proverbs 8:31).
Yeshua paid the price for us to love one another. We offend one another
all the time. He took our offenses upon Himself. He bore not only
what offends God, but what we do to offend one another. What offends you
about your brother - He took that on Himself.
He loves us so much, that He was willing to pay such a price. If He loves
us so much, how can we not love one another? Parents are most happy when
they see their children loving one another. It makes God happy when we
love one another. It causes God pain when we do not love one another.
What holds us back from loving? Pride, honor, lusts, expectations of
other people, hurts, disappointments, frustrations, etc. To love we must
let go of all those selfish things.
Luke 20:20 - They sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they
might seize on His words...
The religious hypocrites did not think they were pretending to be
righteous. They thought they were righteous, and that Yeshua was the
fake. They were right. Everyone else was wrong. They looked for a single
word or reason to disqualify Him
Many of us are the same way. We are confident that we are right and
everyone else is wrong. We notice one mistaken word in others, and that
proves to us that we are right and they are wrong. That is a spirit of
religious condemnation and criticism.
Religiosity is not whether we use cultural symbols in our worship, but
whether we condemn and criticize others for not doing
things the way we think is right. In our congregation, people are free to
wear a kipah (Jewish head covering) or not. We don't want
anyone to feel that he must wear a head covering (I Corinthians 9:20) or
that he is not allowed to (I Corinthians 11:4). Where the Spirit of God
is, there is freedom (II Corinthians 3:17).
I Corinthians 12:4-6 - There are different kinds of gifts, but the
same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord.
There are different activities but it is the same God who works in
Notice the word "different" here used three times. To love others, we
have to let them be different. Not in the sense of sin, but of
style. We must appreciate that others are different in their gifts,
callings and ways of expressing themselves. It is the differences between
us that make us interesting and beautiful when working together.