Monday 15th February 2021
The New Command
Pastor Soong Kok Kee
John 13: 34-35 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
On 8th February we looked at the Greatest Commandment (Mark 12: 29-31) being one of the three and first priority for us – Upwards towards God. Today we will look into the Inward towards one another in Christ. Two weeks from now, we will look at the last being Outward towards the world at large. As God’s children, we need to live out those three priorities simultaneously – our love towards God, our love towards one another, and our love towards the world.
Gene A. Getz, a Professor in the Pastoral Ministries Department at Dallas Theological Seminary said the Great Commission to reach the world with the Gospel did not begin with Christ’s final words to His followers in Matthew 28: 19-20. Rather, it began with His words to the disciples in the Upper Room, prior to His death. It was at the Last Supper that Jesus began laying down a profound plan for reaching all men with the truth of who He was and why He had come into this world.
On that night, our Lord made three important statements to them:
• A new command I give you: Love one another.
• As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
• All men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.
Our Lord’s basic concern in each of these three statements stands out boldly – love for one another. But each statement also contains a unique concept. First, to love one another was a new commandment. Second, Christ’s love for them was to be their model in loving one another. And third, this love was to be the means whereby the apostles could communicate to all men the One whom they were emulating in their relationships.
In a sense “to love one another” was an old command (Lev 19: 18) but for the disciples it was new, because it was the mark of their brotherhood, created by Christ’s great love for them. As mentioned earlier, these three priorities must be lived out simultaneously and not one after another. So if we truly live out the greatest commandment (Matthew 22: 37-39; Mark 12: 30-31; Luke 10: 27) to love God with everything we have, then we must obey this new command to love one another. The command to love is the most repeated command in the New Testament, appearing at least fifty-five times, and to love one another sixteen times.
The apostle John puts it vividly “If anyone says, ‘I love God’, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must
also love his brother.” (1 John 4: 20-21). If at this moment, the Holy Spirit reminds you of a brother or a sister or even an unbeliever that you hate and cannot forgive, pray and ask God for the grace to love and forgive. Without God’s help, none of us can do that.
Secondly, “As I have loved you” is the standard by which we must love one another. Christ’s love for us is unconditional and sacrificial and that is the love we must have for one another. And our Lord continues in His third statement to tell us why we must love one another, so that “All men will know you are my disciples”.
Our Lord’s unique plan was that non-Christians will come to know of His love through Christians who love one another with His unconditional and sacrificial love. Though our Lord would no longer be physically present, people could learn of His love through you and I who would continue to love one another as He had loved His disciples while He was on earth. That was why John wrote “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us” (1 John 4: 11-12).
And that is exactly the Vision of our Church: To be a loving and caring church that glorifies God in evangelism and disciple making. If we are not a loving and caring Church, we can forget about evangelism and disciple making. Someone had wisely said that people don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.
If you are someone reading this out there who has not experienced the love of God, we sincerely want to share that love with you. Call us and we will get one of our Pastors to talk to you.
PRAYER: Father God, we confess before you that we have often forgotten to love one another with the love you have for us, unconditional and sacrificial. We have no problems loving those who loved us but we do have problems loving those who do not love us. We have forgotten your command to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Forgive us Lord and help us to love one another with the love you have for us. In the precious name of our Lord we pray AMEN.
2月8日，我们看了最大的诫命(马可福音12:29-31)，三个优先事项之首要优先： 向上 – 向上帝。今天，我们将探讨 向内 – 在基督里彼此相向。两周后，我们将看最后一个优先事项 向外 – 向整个世界。作为上帝的儿女，我们需要同时实践这三个优先事项 – 我们对上帝的爱，我们对彼此的爱，以及我们对世界的爱。
达拉斯神学院牧养事工部教授吉恩·A·盖兹(Gene A. Getz)说，把福音传遍世界的大使命并非从基督在马太福音28:19-20中对跟随祂的人说的最后那句话开始，而是始于祂去世之前，在楼房与门徒的那一席话。正是在最后的晚餐上，耶稣开始制定一个深远的计划，让所有的人都认识祂是谁，以及祂为什么来到这个世界的真理。
我们的主在这三句话中最基本的关注点都很突出 – 彼此相爱; 但每句话也包含一个独特的概念。首先，彼此相爱是一条新命令。其次，基督对他们的爱是他们彼此相爱的榜样。第三，这爱是使徒向所有人传达他们在相交关系中所效仿的人的一种方式。
使徒约翰生动地说：“若有人说 ‘我爱上帝’，却恨自己的弟兄或姊妹，他就是撒谎的；他既然不爱那看得见的弟兄或姊妹，怎么能爱那看不见的上帝呢？所以，基督这样命令我们：那爱上帝的，也必须爱自己的弟兄和姊妹。” （约翰一书4:20-21）。如果此时此刻，圣灵让您想起一个您讨厌并且无法原谅的兄弟姐妹，甚至一个非信徒，请向上帝祈求赐予您爱与宽恕的恩典。没有上帝的帮助，我们谁也做不到。
其次，“就像我爱你们一样” 是我们必须彼此相爱的标准。基督对我们的爱是无条件的和牺牲的，这是我们必须彼此拥有的爱。我们的主在祂的第三句话中继续告诉我们，为什么我们必须彼此相爱，这样 “世人就知道你们是我的门徒”。