Love One Another (Week 1 – One Another Series)
Jason White




There are 59 one-another passages in the New Testament. Love one another is listed more than any of the others. Today we lay the foundation for this series and talk about what it looks like to love one another. (John 13:34-35 Ephesians 4:2-3)






Sermon Audio Transcript
Well, today, we are starting a brand new message series, as you can see titled one another, we're going to do this a little bit differently today, this isn't normally up here, if you're a guest, you would know that but you guys who are members know, and so I'm going to, I'm going to attempt to use this and all of our slides are going to come up. So you're going to, you're going to see if I'm any good at technology in front of people and the pressure that comes with that. And, and the other thing we're going to check to see is all you guys who are sitting on the back row, you're gonna get a good eye test today, it will be a good vision experiment to be able to see if you need to go get some things tested out, because I don't know we're gonna we're gonna see how the font is. And hopefully everybody can see it here. But this new series is all looking at several of the one another passages that are found in the New Testament pages of scripture. And I don't know if you know this or not, but there are 59 times that the phrase one another appears in the New Testament of our Bibles 59 times is a lot of times that this one another phrase is used and you know this, but anytime something gets repeated over and over again, it's there for emphasis. It's there because it's important. And so evidently, this is something God wants us to know, it's essential for us to know. And of course, these one another passages are essential because they show us how we are to relate to each other how we are to behave and how we are supposed to treat one. Another pastor and author Andy Stanley is quoted as saying that the primary activity of the church was one another ring, one another. This is what we are to do, as the church we are to love one another. Encourage one another, forgive one another, were to accept one another submit to one another bear with one another, were to live in harmony with one another, build up one another serve one another, we are to be devoted to one another. We're supposed to be kind and compassionate to one another, and live in peace with each other. And this is just to name a few of the one another's that we see in Scripture. Evidently, again, God wants us to know how He expects us to live with one another how we are to relate to one another. So let me ask you, as we get started with this message series this morning, how are you doing in these areas? How are you doing when it comes to loving and serving others? How are you in being kind and compassionate to others? How are you doing when it comes to forgiving others and those who have offended you? Are you building others up? Are you living in peace with others? Are you submitting to other people? Are you living in harmony with others? If you're like me, then the answer to these questions may be sometimes sometimes not. Or maybe in certain categories, a lot of times not? Well, here's the deal. This is what God expects of you. This is how you are supposed to be relating to one another. So do better. Good luck, let's pray and you'll be dismissed. But what if there really was like that? Right? I mean, how horrible would that really be and a lot of times that's the message that we even kind of get, you know, you're not doing very well at these things, you should be doing better at these things. So go be better at these things. And good luck with that. This is not the gospel, thank goodness, this is not the good news of Jesus Christ. So I want to talk about this from a gospel centered perspective. And as we start this new series, we're going to look at the command to love one another here in a little while. But I really want to spend a lot of time today also just laying the foundation for this command these commands these one another commands that we find in Scripture and all of the other ways that God is instructing us to live with one another. And here's kind of the foundation right up front. If you are a believer in Christ, if you've put your faith and trust in Jesus for salvation, God is commanding these one another's because they are descriptions of who you are their descriptions of who he's remade you into as a new creation in Christ as someone who is now a part of the family of God as a born again, child of his. And when you start to see things from this gospel centered perspective, then that changes the commands that we see in Scripture. And specifically, we're talking about these one another commands here, it changes the way that you see them. And of course, the way you relate to them as well. Because it's really not God's saying, Okay, so now that you know what to do, again, go and get better at them work hard at loving others work hard at serving others work hard at forgiving others and all the other things. It's no, no, no, no, I've made you into the kind of people that are loving. So, go love one another. I've made you into the kind of people who are servants. So go serve one another, I've made you into the kind of people who are completely forgiven. So go forgive one another. So again, the commands of behavior are really descriptions of who we are in Christ, who God remakes us into. It's God saying, Go live this way. Because it's who you are, to have made you into as a new creation in Christ. And we see this all throughout the New Testament, we see it in a number of places. And one of the places that we see it most clearly is in the letters that the apostle Paul writes to the New Testament churches. He's writing, of course, after the death, after the burial, after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he's writing after the sending of the Holy Spirit. And now we're under this new covenant here. And so he's writing to people who have accepted God's free gift of grace, by placing their faith in Jesus to be their Lord, and Savior, in these people he's writing to have become new creations in Christ's themselves. And he's writing oftentimes to first of all, help them see what has happened to them. A lot of times, if you've put your faith and trust in Jesus, you don't know how different you really are than how you used to be. And so Paul's helping to share the truth about what's happened to them, and how different they really are now that they've put their faith and trust in Jesus, and how that then also impacts the way that they now live. One of the clearest places letters that we see it from Paul in is in Ephesians, Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus. And this, though, is one of those places where we're also given the instruction to love one another. And so if you started right in the middle of Paul's letter, you were just flipping through the pages of Scripture, and you went to Ephesians chapter four and looked at verse two, Paul says, Be completely humble and gentle, be patient bearing with one another in love. So you would maybe read that one verse and say, Okay, well, I'm being commanded to love one another here. So again, I better get after it, I better start really trying to love other people. But you would miss all of the other things that Paul says before this, which really sets him up to now be able to give this instruction here. It's so important that we take these things in context, right? And so I don't have time to go all the way through Paul's letter to the Ephesians. But again, in laying the foundation for what he says, as a command to love one another here, we need to at least see some of these things, right. So here in chapter one, verses 13, and 14, let's see, here's the test. Can I get this going? Let's try blue, blue might show up. Well here, I says, and you also were included in Christ. Notice this phrase here, when you believe we heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, when you believedyou were marked in him with a seal the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession, to the praise of his glory. And so we see a lot in even just one of the opening verses that Paul writes here in this letter, he's saying that when you heard the message, when you heard the message when you heard the good news of Jesus Christ, and when you came to believe when you put your faith in Jesus for salvation, you received His free gift of salvation by His grace, through faith, you are marked in him with a seal, there is something different that happened, you were at that time included in Christ, you entered into this spiritual union with Him. You didn't before you weren't in a spiritual union with him before. But you are now Paul even mentions that in the very, nope, I gotta get rid of that first owner mentions that in the very next chapter, right here. All right. And so he says, As for you, you were notice the past tense here, you were what you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live. So he's writing to people who were now in Christ, when they believed they had already experienced belief, right. But he's saying in your past, at one time in the past, before that happened, the reality of it is that you were dead. Now, of course, he wouldn't be writing to them, if they were physically dead. He's talking about a spiritual death here. They were spiritually dead, they were separated from God who was meant to be their source they were created to be in union with from the beginning. And of course, if you're missing that union that we were all created to experience, then you're going to feel that if you're here today, and you're even just checking this whole thing out, you haven't even yet to experience, belief and what we're talking about and what Paul's writing about, to those who have received His grace than you, you feel that separation, there's an emptiness there that you're always chasing, to feel, there's some times you will fill it up with something and begin to feel satisfied and fulfilled in some way. But you'll notice, it always disappears, it always goes away. There's this law of diminishing returns, that that thing provides that you're going to, and so you have to go be filled up again by it, and then it diminishes again. And then it doesn't have the same effect later on. And so this is a result of us being separated from our Creator, who we were meant to be in union with, and experiencing that spiritual death. So Paul says, this is true of all of us. And it was true of those who he's writing to at one point in time as well. The good news comes in verse four here, where he says, but because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ, even remember where earlier we said, dead, right, you were dead. But now you are alive. Even when we were dead, in our transgressions, it is by grace, you have been saved. And God has raised us up, already raised us up with Christ, and seated us with him already in the heavenly realms in Christ. And so once again, you were spiritually dead. This is what happened to you. You are someone who is different. Now you have been made alive. And Paul goes on and on. And he keeps going until he gets through, you know about verse 10 or so and even talks about how we're Christ's workmanship, that he's were recreated in Christ now for these good works, that he planned for us to do long ago that we would just walk in them, we can walk in those good works now that he's leading us into and empowering us to be able to carry out because we're different than who we used to be. We couldn't do that before. But now we can. Now this is really good news. And a lot of us are familiar with a lot of the things that Paul says in the first several verses of Ephesians. But a lot of a stop once we get to verse 10, because it's such, you know, a great word about who we are in Christ. But when we stop there, we miss a very important aspect of this new creation, this spiritual union that we enter into, because what Paul begins to say next here is so important. He says, this beginning of verse 14, for he himself again, referring to Jesus is our piece who has made the two groups what two groups is he talking about here? That Jews and Gentiles did I go back Jews and Gentiles, right? And so we were talking about these two groups who were hostile in their relationship with one another. He's made these two groups one group now it has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall that existed of hostility that existed there how, by setting aside in his flesh with the law, its commands and regulations, his purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace and in one body, to reconcile both of them to God through the cross. In other words, when you enter into this union with Jesus and are born again, you're not just born again into this union with Jesus, but also with other people, there is a corporate aspect to this new identity that we now have in Christ, God saying, This is what's been done to you, as a new creation in Christ, you've become one new humanity. Jesus, of course, is the head, we are part of his body. And we are all united together in this new life that we have in Christ. Now, Paul has been saying it and he says a few other things. But again, he's unpacking all of these truths about this new life that we have in Christ, he hasn't given us any commands about how to live or anything to do like that. It's all these imperatives about who we are in Christ and making sure we understand those things. And then Paul kind of begins to make a transition. And one of the ways he does that is he begins to pray, he begins to pray for them right here. And we've talked about this prayer a number of times, I'm not gonna read the whole thing to you. But again, Paul says, I pray that you being rooted and established in what in love may have power together with all the Lord's holy people. Why? Because we're all united together, to grasp here's his prayer, to grasp how wide long, high and deep is the love of Christ. And to know this love to really know it that surpasses knowledge, and that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. And so Paul's saying, You've been rooted in this new creation, this this spiritual union that you now have with Jesus, you've been rooted in love, you've been established in love. And I'm praying now that you know these truths, that you'll really begin to grasp how loved you really are, how full of His love, you really are, and that you'll begin to experience that love. And then he even closes out the prayer by saying now to him, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or a man imagine according to His power, that is at work within notice, this doesn't say within you, plural, within us, we're united together, it's at work within us as the church as the body of Christ, to Him be the glory in the church, us again together, and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. So we're at the end of chapter three, which leads us now back to where we started just a second ago. Now we finally make it back to Ephesians chapter four, where Paul begins to make this transition. And from here on out, you'll see Paul share a lot more imperatives, a lot more commands. But do you see how important it is to not just flip through it and look for the command to go? Okay, thereit is, I guess that's what I need to just go do. You would miss all of the things that Paul said before about saying, now go do this. Because I just told you for three chapters. It's who you are. And we miss that a lot of times when we're saying, and we've just skipped to the commands and all the things that we're just supposed to go do as Christians. But again, he says, and we didn't we just read verse two, but he starts off in chapter four, it says, as a prisoner for the Lord, then I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling. What what calling? Well, he just shared it with three chapters, right? You've been called out of this old life and into this new life with Christ and with other people. So now we're going to talk about what it means to live the new life that you've been given in Christ. And again, it's been received. You didn't do anything to earn this new life. Forget it. It's all been gifted to you, you've received it. So then here's our verse, Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bear ring with one another in love. And then make every effort. This is important to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Leah this phrase right here, unity of the Spirit. Now notice what he says, Make every effort to what? Create the unity. Now to keep it why did he say keep and not create? It's already been established. Right? He just showed that in chapter two, he made the two groups, one new humanity, we've already been united together, he's already established the unity. The question is, are we going to live within the unity that he's established for us all ready, so make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. And one of the ways that we're going to keep the unity that he's established already, is by loving one another. This is once we get to the command, we see it in its context, with all of the other things that Paul said about it being who we really are, Paul, is it saying, okay, because you're not very loving people get better at it, work at it become more loving. Again, he's saying, You, in Christ are a loving person, you are a loving family, you've already been rooted in established in it, my prayers that you really know all of those things. So because of all that being true, therefore love one another. And so this is what we have to see, as we begin this series, we can't really talk about loving one another or any of these activities and actions, serving one another, being kind and compassionate to one another, and on and on without first knowing that we have been given new hearts, again, that are loving, that are kind that are compassionate. And so you'll hear me a lot of times you'll hear us as a church talk a lot about grace here. And some people will think that that means soft on sin soft on behavior and action. But that, of course, isn't really the case at all. The Grace message says that behavior and actions are important, because they are a reflection of who God has already made you into in Christ and the reflection of his life that's been deposited in you, and that gets expressed through you by His grace. So again, I've said it six times already in Christ, you are a loving person in Christ, we are a loving family. It's who we've been remade in Christ into their for love. Let's love one. Another question is, what does that look like? Right? If we're talking about loving one another, what does that really look like? Well, this isn't the only place that we see it in Scripture, there's a number of them out of all the one and others as a matter of fact, the love one another comes up the most in it. And we're not going to look at all of them today. I think the reason it does is because again, it kind of lays the foundation, there's kind of it's kind of the driver behind all of the other one another's that we see. But one of the love one another passages that really stands out among all the other passages is found in John 1334 and 35. And it's where Jesus says, A new command, I give you Love one another, as I have loved you. So you must love one another by this, he says everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. Love one another comes up what three different times in just these two verses here. But Jesus says, A new command I give you, but is loving one another really a new command. Not a new command. If you know the Old Testament, and you know a lot of what was said already, it wasn't a new command to love one another. What was new, is what he says right here. As I have loved you to love in the same way that Jesus loved the disciples he was saying and so the question becomes How did Jesus love the disciples? Well, first of all, we have to acknowledge that Jesus He loved them with the Father's love that was being expressed through him. Remember, Jesus said in John 519, that he could do nothing apart from WHO? The father, like he say, I can do nothing apart from the Father. We're even told by Paul, the apostle Paul in Philippians. Two, that Jesus made His deity as if it was no account. What does that mean? Well, Jesus was 100%, God, he was 100%. Human, right. But what this is saying is that he set his deity aside, he did not become deity, he was still God, but he made it as if it was no account and lived 100%, fully dependent as a man on God the Father, to live his life and express his life in and through Him. And so God is love, right. And if Jesus was living fully dependent on God, the Father to do that in and through him, then it was his love, that was loving the disciples, good Father's love that was being expressed through him, a reflection of who God is, again, as love itself. So part of what it means to be a new command here, I think, is that the disciples, were now going to be able to truly love one another, in the same way that Jesus was loving them, because the Holy Spirit was coming. And there was going to be this union that we just talked about all throughout Ephesians, to where they could now have Jesus's love, God's love actually being expressed through them. And they would be loving each other in the same way that Jesus had been loving them, then they couldn't do that without the Spirit. And that's why even a few chapters later, he really keeps saying, it's to your benefit that I go in the spirit comes, right. So this is the one of the things that I think it means to be a new command here. And one of the ways for even us what it looks like to love one another. It's us being dependent on God who is love dwelling in us to express his love through us to one another. The other thing we look at when we're talking about as he has loved him, we've been getting to look practically though, well, what does that practically look like for Jesus to really love the disciples in the way that he loves us. And what we see is that he loved them and us unconditionally, sacrificially. And servant heartedly, Jesus picked these men to be His disciples, not because they were such great men, not because they were so talented, and we're so much better than all the other ones that he could have picked. They were ordinary men, who we see throughout the pages of Scripture messing up a lot. Right? He unconditionally loved them even didn't put all the conditions on them when he chose them and said, Now, you're gonna have to make sure you do all of these things and check these things off the list and perform in this way in order to really be loved by me, he just loved them unconditionally.So if there's the way Jesus loved them, then we're talking about being the commanded to love one another, then that's what it's going to look like for us to love one another as well. We're going to love other people unconditionally. This is very different than the way the world loves each other, or the love we find out in the world. Allah, the world says, I love you, if you love me, I love you. If you perform well, I love you if you meet certain conditions. But Jesus has made us into the kind of people who love without condition we simply love because others are made in God's image. And because God loves them. The next thing we see about the way Jesus loved the disciples were sacrificially I mean, you just look all throughout the pages of Scripture describing his earthly ministry, and he sacrificed his time to be with them, to invest in them, to teach them to answer their questions to help them with things, and of course, the ultimate sacrifice that he made for them. And all of us was to lay down his life for the forgiveness of our sins and so that we could receive His abundant life. And so again, if we're going to love one another, the way that Jesus loved them and the way that he loves us, then we'll also love each other sacrificially to love one another means we love unconditionally and we love sacrificially. We've been given sacrificial hearts and he's going to lead us to give give of our time for other people. He's going to lead us to invest in others and make sacrifices to be able to make investment in other people. He's going to lead us to lay down our own lives, for the sake of others. Final thing we see about the way Jesus loved his disciples was, of course, servant heartedly. Jesus says this in John chapter 13, verses 34 and 35. But do you know what we read about at the beginning of John chapter 13, Jesus, washing the disciples feed him serving them. Jesus loved them, by doing one of the most humbling things that someone could do. This was what the servants did. And yet Jesus made himself a servant and washed their dirty, smelly, nasty, yucky, gross feet. And so if we are going to love one another, the way Jesus loved the disciples and loves us, then will serve others will look for other ways to be a benefit, and a blessing to someone else. What does it look like to love one another, to do so unconditionally, to love sacrificially, and to serve other people. So as the kind of people who have been filled up rooted and established in God's love, we, therefore love one another. And Jesus said, as we do this, it will cause other people to know that we are His disciples, they'll see him, they'll see his love being expressed through us, and they'll go, Oh, those people have been with Jesus. And so a lot of this when we talk about the one another's, comes from this unity that God has, has has done through his finished work on the cross to unite all of us together as believers in what it looks like and how we, as the church brothers and sisters in Christ relate to one another. I mean, this is a lot of what it is that we see in the New Testament pages of our scriptures. But we cannot ignore that when we talk about loving one another, that there's not also this manifestation of it, that also occurs with others out in the world. I mean, Jesus gives the command to love one another. And we see this in the way he unites us together. But that wasn't just the only way that we saw Jesus loving people. There wasn't just the disciples wasn't just those who came to believe in Him. He was loving people out in the world, he loved them unconditionally. He sacrificed His own time. For others in the world, he served others in the world, he was always hanging out with who the New Testament Scriptures labeled as sinners, that he was sacrificing his time to be with them. And he was sacrificing to serve them in some way. We're even told, of course, in John 316, that God so loved the world, right. And so again, while we primarily look at this, and a lot of ways through how we relate to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, and these one another passages, we cannot ignore that there is a way that Jesus wants to manifest his life through us, that also applies to how we love one another. Outside of the church walls, as well, we're gonna of course, have the opportunity to do that today to put that into practice and rely on Jesus to love other people through us as a number of people will be on our campus and many of them that may not be believers, many of them may not be a part of a church, many of them don't have much of a church background, even potentially a know much about Jesus at all. And so let's be looking for how Jesus might lead us in those three areas to love someone unconditionally. They don't have to look like us. They don't have to act like us. They don't have to believe everything like us, for us to be able to love them. Because God's given us the kind of love that loves people unconditionally, no matter who they are, and where they've been and what it is that they've done. Let's be looking for ways to make sacrifices today. It would be easy to walk around and just hang out around the food tents, you know, and just keep sneaking samples the entire time, which, you know, I mean, there's grace, you can enjoy those too. But let's be looking for ways to make sacrifices for other people and leave some ice cream for some other people to enjoy and any other ways that we can Sacher twice to make sure that others are having a good time and feel welcome here today. Let's be looking for specific ways that we can serve others in our community today and not ways that we can serve ourselves be served right? Of course stretches beyond just today. stretches into the week. Who is Jesus calling you to love this week? In what way is he asking you to love them. Make yourself available to Jesus and allow him to lead you to love unconditionally sacrificially and servant heartedly to all who you come in contact with. Amen.