Christian Love in the Church – Part 1
1 John 3:18
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue,
but in deed and truth. NASB
Believing the Gospel and being saved from sin and death, reconciled to God and to His Son is the most wonderful blessing from God that we could receive. It is a marvelous privilege to have our sins forgiven and to now have a loving relationship restored between us and God. The Christian life is filled with the amazing blessings of joy and peace, and our life takes on new meaning and purpose as we surrender our life to Christ Jesus the King.
This also comes with the amazing benefit of the Fathers love, becoming a child of God and being adopted into His family, the church. As John writes,
1 John 3:1 – See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. NASB
Along with this blessing of being in God’s family, also comes the responsibility to treat one another with love and respect. We are to treat the members of God’s family with the same love that He has loved us with and walk after Him and follow His example of love and care for each other just as He commanded us.
John 13:34-35 – 34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” NASB
In order to examine this responsibility of love to one another more closely, lets look at the passage in Colossians 3:12-17.
Colossians 3:12 – 12 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; NASB
A. And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved – Here the Apostle reminds them of their election by God and of the Love of God which was upon them from the beginning….that they are “chosen of God”…..it is no small thing that they would be “chosen of God,” …..this speaks of their divine election, the decision in the heart and mind of God to save these Colossians from before the creation of the time….. Paul writes in many places of this election….consider…
Ephesians 1:4-6 – 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. NASB
2 Thessalonians 2:13 – 13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. NASB
See here the free grace of God expressed to a helpless people, a people who had earned God’s wrath, but instead received His mercy…..and therefore they have become His “holy and beloved” saints! Paul speaks here that they are both “holy” and also “beloved”…. First that they are “holy,” that is set apart by God to be His special people, the Greek word here is hagios which means sacred or morally pure, consecrated or cleansed for special use, and is also used for the English NT word saint. Moreover he describes them as “beloved,” that is they are dearly loved by God. Notice here God’s disposition toward His church, He “dearly loves” them. And because He has decided to love them, He has “chosen” them and set them apart from all other people in the world for His own purpose, to be His own people, His saints, His holy ones,
Titus 2:14 – who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. NASB
And so Christ’s people in His church are His “chosen, holy and dearly loved” people! Amazing,…. wonderful,…. marvelous! It is for this reason that we have a great responsibility to one another in the church and are to treat the other people in the church around us with the utmost love and respect. Therefore Paul will now describe how we are to treat one another.
B. put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience – He says, “put on a heart”…notice here he gets right to point. If you are going to love and respect your family in Christ, you must do it FIRST in your heart, that is, it must be sincere and genuine(Rom 12:9).….make sure it lives in your heart, in your longings and affections, in the deepest part of your being…..And what should live there…. “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”….Ah Hah! Now this is how a Christian is to live….and this is how a Christian is to love….especially other Christians…in fact it is by this love for other Christians that we know we are really Christ’s disciples….
1 John 3:14-18 – 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. NASB
Here in Colossians 3:12, Paul describes what this Christian love looks like practically in our life….it is, “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”…. Here is how we treat one another in the church….
In Compassion…..are you concerned about others?….we are to be moved in our inner self with concern for others….to be considerate and loving toward others in our hearts, with a godly longing and affection….and to put this concern to action and do something about it….and compassion in our hearts moves us to mercy and kindness with our hands….
In Kindness….we are to be kind to others, to express benevolence and goodwill to people…with real action….in good deeds and kind words…we are to devise ways to bless our church family, not to ignore or to harm them…we must help them when they are in need and we speak to them with words that encourage and benefit them.….we should be a blessing to others, not a curse…we should serve them in love, with mercy in our hearts….
Humility…..we are to humble ourselves before others…we are to lower ourselves before others, to make ourselves of no account and others of much account…. to consider others as more important than ourselves….as Paul writes in Philippians….
Philippians 2:3-5 – 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, NASB
Humility is the chief characteristic of godliness in the Christian Life…..it is the wellspring of all other virtue….Humility is the opposite of pride…..we must forsake our pride if we are to love other people….we are not to be puffed up and conceited toward others, considering them of less account than ourselves, but rather to regard them as higher than us, to make ourselves low, and to do this with sincerity in our hearts….pride is the chief enemy of our souls and humility is the medicine which kills pride…..May God help us to humble ourselves before Him and before our church family…..
Gentleness and Patience …. “Gentleness” is that quality of character whereby we have restraint and temperance in our attitude….it is to have self control over our emotions, in a meek and mild way….and this we cannot do with out “patience,” that good fruit of the Spirit that allows us to bear with others and to suffer long toward them without complaint….to suffer without complaint… we are to be gentle and patient toward God’s people, with meekness and temperance, with kindness and compassion in our heart…we are to treat them as soft and gentle lambs, not as roaring and fierce lions…Christians are to be gentle and patient people, especially toward our brother or sister, for whom Christ died….
Are you having problems in your marriage?…..problems in your family relationships?….problems getting along with people in the church?…Hear the Word of the Lord….. “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility and gentleness, and patience”…….
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