Happy Sunday! Due to human error (my fault…I put the recorder in the wrong bag!), there is no audio this week. Sorry! But, I took notes during the service and will share some of the insights from Pastor Steve’s message titled “One Another.”
Call to Worship Psalm 103:1-12 1 Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
“One Another” is based mainly on John 13:34 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Now, more than ever, is a time to care for the needs, hurts, and praises of others. Jesus wants us to come alongside each other and consider others’ needs as more important than our own. John 13:34 says we are to “love one another,” but you could also read “care for one another,” “forgive one another,” and “support one another.”
Notice that this is not a request or a recommendation: it is a commandment!
And in the next chapter of John, Jesus explains that we show our love for God by keeping His commandments (John 14:15, 23-24). He knows we could never do all this on our own, so in John 14:15-27, He also promises us five supernatural spiritual aids: help (John 14:16); life (John 14:19); union (John 14:23); teaching (John 14:26); and peace (John 14:27).
With these supernatural spiritual aids, we can keep His commandments; and by keeping His commandments, we show we know Him (1 John 2:3).
“One another” is used 59 times in the New Testament for commandments and instructions. One-third of these are commands for unity within the Church (for example: John 6:43; Romans 12:16). One-third of them are to teach Christians to love (Romans 12:10; Galatians 5:13). Many of them talk about humility (Philippians 2:3; 1 Peter 5:5). They all tell us how to treat others (Colossians 3:9; Galatians 6:2; Romans 14:13).
“Love” isn’t a new idea. Look at what God told Moses in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. But Jesus knew that we needed both a new commandment and an example. That’s why He said, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34, emphasis added). He put everything aside for us: His glory, His throne, even His life, so now we have an example of sacrificial love for others.
In these days of chaos, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our own needs. But God tells us to put others first, to sacrifice our own comforts to help others.
It’s also easy these days to get caught up in worldly affairs. But 2 Timothy 2:4 reminds us not to be entangled in the things of this world, but to live to please God. We should always stay alert to and aware of what is going on, but not get wrapped up in the drama. Base everything we know on the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Remember when Elijah was in the midst of chaos, and he went and hid in a cave? (1 Kings 19:1-9) The Lord told him to stand on the mountain and wait for the Lord to pass by. A powerful wind came, but the Lord wasn’t in it. Then came an earthquake, but the Lord wasn’t in it. Then fire raged, but the Lord was not in the fire. Finally, a still, small voice whispered to Elijah (1 Kings 19:11-13). This reminds us that it is in the quiet that God speaks. In the chaos, we can’t hear what God is saying. In times of turmoil, God is still our refuge and our solid rock, but we need to take the time to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
And when we take the time to quietly listen to God, we remember His commandments, obey them, and know peace. Then, we can bear one another’s burdens, we can share the love and peace of Christ with those in need, with those who are lost.
And here’s one final thought, one final command to remember: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32).
Praying you have a blessed Sabbath Sunday and a peace-filled week, listening to God in the quiet and loving one another.