A Word for this Week - Pastor Bill Mugnolo

Week of May 20-26, 2019: “The Best Way” … John 13:31-35

What is the best way to show someone that you are a believer in Christ? Some try to show this by being outspoken about Jesus to another as they speak of how He (Jesus) needs to be their “personal Lord and Savior”. Others, like the Amish, look to show that they are in Christ by their outward lifestyle. Still others look to do this by the substances or practices that they avoid (alcohol, dancing, card playing, certain foods), or by what they protest, or even by the bumper stickers on their cars (“Honk if you love Jesus”…).

But the best way that we can show that we are in Christ has to do with what Jesus told His disciples on the night before He died, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:31-35).

This all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? As the Beatles sang about fifty years ago, “All you need is love … love is all you need.” But isn’t this easier said than done? How do we show love to prove to others that we are Jesus’ disciples? What are the essentials? How might we define it “in a nutshell”? There are three aspects of such love that I would like to now spell out:

First, the love that we would show is always rooted in the love that Jesus showed to us first. 1 John 4:10 tells us, “In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.” In the next verse, John then tells us, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” In doing this, we not only look to follow Jesus’ example of love—we are given the very heart to do so (Psalm 51:10).

Secondly, in loving others “as I have loved you”, we show a love that is based on self-sacrifice as we, based upon the mercies of God first shown to us, offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” to Him and to others (Romans 12:1). In doing so, we carry out what Paul has written in the Bible’s Great Chapter on Love, 1 Corinthians, 13 (vv.4-8a). Then, thirdly, this love that we show always looks to forgive others and seek forgiveness for ourselves as we recall Jesus’ very words from the cross, “Father, forgive them—for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

In this is love: that He first loved us and that our love is self-sacrificial—a love based in forgiveness. In this, is the best way that we show others just who we are in Christ!


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