No Longer Lovers of Self
- Date: July 30, 2018
- Teacher: Pastor Star R. Scott
- Scripture: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35)
- From No Greater Love
We'll pick up where we've been in our study in John's gospel and quickly look at a couple of verses. John 13, verse 35 and John 15, verse 12, these are foundational verses that we've been working off of. "By this [John 13:35] shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." We've been talking about the fact, out of John 17, that when people look into our fellowship, look into our lives, and see a genuine love, it's so unnatural, so unnatural. Love is so unnatural to Adam's children. We seem to think it's a natural thing to love our families, to fall in love with individuals but that's not the love that God is talking about. He's talking about agape. He's talking about a love that originates in the heart of God. He's talking about a love that loves others better than we love ourselves.
Basically, what the Holy Spirit is saying to us is that we, by nature, are self-lovers. All that we seem to think is love is being able to somehow receive gratification back, edification back from those that we're calling the love of our lives. "What's in it for me?" We're being called to an unselfish love. How much can I empty myself to edify that object of love, that child, that spouse, the body of Christ? How can I come into that place when I become the servant, when I become less? How can I come to that place when I stop thinking of myself more highly than I ought to think and truly let the love of God flow through me? Because I've been freely loved, then it makes it natural for me to love others. It's a very difficult thing.
We throw the word "love" around so much, and yet in our nation today, the divorce rate is over 50 percent. Tragically, in your fundamentalist churches, people that say they're Bible believers, there's no difference. I was watching a program the other day on TV. It was on the National Geographic Channel about a sect of Christians that came from Europe called the Hutterites and it was very interesting. I heard one of the old ladies say, "We do not believe in divorce at all. We have a lot of miserable marriages, but we don't believe in divorce." I thought that was a great statement. It reminds me back when I was a child, many people looking to divorce but, "We're staying together for the children." Right? But it's become so blatant in our society today, the love of self. "Forget the children; I want what makes me happy." Tragically, within the church, it's no different. And so here we are, being called into a commandment to love one another, which means that we, then, have no right to demand self-gratification, but how we can seek to edify those that are around us. It's a tough calling, isn't it?
John 15:12 says, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another [and here's the kicker, we've been looking at this for a while now], as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." So the question we want to ask is, what kind of love is manifesting itself here in our midst? Is it worldly love? Is it, "I'll love people as long as I'm getting something out of relationship?" Oh, we'll love one another, we'll bake cakes for one another and we'll go to one another's houses for parties and whatever's necessary, but what about when they're not doing things the way you want them to be done? What happens to the relationship when somebody begins to love your child by speaking the truth and your perception of truth doesn't agree with that? Is there conflict to the place where there's sedition, where there's division among us? What happens when people begin to speak the truth into your life, "Speaking the truth [to one another] in love" (Ephesians 4:15)? And so we're just asking a very simple question, "Is this our love?" "To love one another as I have loved you."