“…because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
After John’s convincing argument for no fear in death, he once again returns to explaining the power of God’s love in and through each Believer. The disciple whom Jesus loved presents the source of love, the power to love our ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ – those with whom we share this faith walk. John clearly states we are able to love… we are empowered to love supernaturally, because He first loved us. This precept cannot be dealt with in a casual way. Believers are called to love each other as the signature of their discipleship to Christ. (Read John 13:35)
John is summarizing the primary thoughts which were presented earlier in the letter:
(1) Love cannot be authentic, unless validated by actions and shown in truthful forgiveness. (3:18)
(2) Loving each other fulfills the requirements for the new commandment Christ presented to His disciples. (3:22-24; 4:21)
(3) A Believer cannot declare love for God while hating his brother or sister in the faith. Hating someone is obvious, observable, and obstinate toward God’s development of peace.
Has anyone in your faith family ever made you so angry that you refused to speak with him or her. Have you ever been treated so unfairly by a Brother or Sister in Christ that you wish you could exact revenge upon the offending person(s)? Many pastors have been treated so harshly within a church as to be brought before a tribunal of sorts, faced with the embarrassment of being ‘defrocked’ before some group of self-appointed ‘leaders’. It’s no wonder there is such a high turnover rate of pastors in churches, especially in smaller churches.
It’s been happening since the first century church. If Christ’s own people were willing to crucify Him, why should it be any big surprise to pastors to be treated in better? There are arguments that occur within churches concerning teaching styles, teaching materials, preferred musical styles, the treatment of one’s children, the length of the worship service, and even the color of the carpet. It is never pleasing to God to see His own children locking horns over peripheral issues which distract the church from the great commission. (Read Matthew 28:16-20)
Satan and his imps of darkness wreak havoc within the church as one Believer contends with another Believer. When we fail each other in the redemptive courses of love, we prostitute the name of God before the world, thereby acting as a barrier to the message of salvation. Could we be charged with the obstruction of God’s message before the judgment throne of God?
There is not much talk of God’s judgment these days. Much of the world is presented with a picture of all roads leading to heaven, with no standard of righteous living expected. Perhaps the most righteous act we can ever do is to love our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith, and work together to bring God’s love to the world.
Connecting hearts to the heart of God… it’s always been God’s plan. All of us might want to take a second look at the Great Commission and consider what we are doing to fulfill it.
Have a blessed week…