Passage :John 13:34-35
Sermon Title:Love One Another
Today’s passage is on the last words Jesus gave to his beloved disciples before he finished his three years of public ministry and died the atoning death on the cross. Jesus gave a new commandment that was engraved for a lifetime on the hearts of Jesus’ disciples who he taught for three years and it is: “favorite proverb, motto, maxim.” In other words, “Love one another”!
This new commandment is not only for Jesus’ original disciples who heard the Word directly from Jesus and received the truths of the kingdom of heaven, but also for all the believers living in the Global Mission Age in the 21st century. So, we should engrave the words as our motto in our hearts for the rest of our lives. Based on the Bible passage today, I want to share my sermon with the title of “Let’s love one another!”
Firstly, we must love God.
Nowadays, many people are groaning in pain everywhere. There are many people who believe in Jesus, who go to church, and live a life of faith but do not give thanks to God. There are so many people who live daily with grudges and resentment without a meaning in life, dreams, and vision.
What do you think the root cause is? This is because the relationship with the living God is not solid or lost. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world, assuming human flesh about two thousand years ago.
The righteousness of the law that sinners cannot achieve was accomplished through the sinless life and the atoning death on the cross. Adam ate the forbidden fruit of the knowledge of the good and evil in the Garden of Eden as the representative head and broke the covenant of works. But Jesus Christ as the Last Adam fulfilled the requirement of the righteousness of the covenant of works through his earthly and sinless life. Furthermore, the sins of the elect were fully paid by Jesus Christ, the mediator of the New Covenant, through the atoning death on the cross.
Because of sin, the relationship with God had been cut off and sinners became the enemies of God. However, you who believe in Jesus Christ, God forgives your sins once for all and makes you His children. Now he has given you the extraordinary privilege and blessings, restoring the loving and intimate relationship with the living God, Creator God, and Almighty God. You may call him “Abba Father!” Therefore, you who believe in Jesus, above all, must restore and keep spiritually intimate and beautiful relationships with God daily.
One day a Pharisee asked Jesus what the greatest commandment of the law is. Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37).
Please look back at your own life this time. Reflect on what kind of relationship you have had between yourself and God so far in your life. I hope and pray in the name of Jesus that tonight you may restore a fully loving relationship with the living God in his grace.
Secondly, we must love our neighbors.
Believers who believe in Jesus must all train to love people and treat them with honor and respect. One of the main reasons many people live unhappily today is because their relationships with people are not good or broken. People are suffering because of broken relationships everywhere. Those who cannot love people and cannot treat them honorably can never live as happy believers. Therefore, you have to train yourselves to love people and to treat people honorably and to maintain a good relationship in Christ, wherever you go and whatever you do and whoever you meet this year.
By the grace of God, I had the opportunity to visit China during summers of 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2010. The main mission was to lecture theology to the Korean Chinese church leaders in Yanbian, Manchuria, China.
I met poor North Korean defectors who had no food and had to cross the border to get food and clothes desperately for their survival. I was so sad to know that North Korean people were treated so poorly even poorer than American dogs. An American dog lives in a good house and lives with the owner. Dogs eat freely. If the dog gets sick, the dog goes to the hospital. America is a paradise for dogs.
God did not create human beings as North Korean communist’s regime treats their people without honor and dignity. He created man in the image of God as a holy and righteous ‘royal priest’. The sinners have lost their privileges of royal priests, but whoever believes in Jesus Christ God restores the mission and blessings of the royal priesthood. Therefore, according to I Peter 2: 9-10, God calls all the Gentiles in Christ to be a royal priest:
“9. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet. 2:9-10).
In this way, God gave the blessing of being a royal priesthood to you who believe in Jesus. As we believe in Jesus Christ as the Lord of salvation, the Lord of our lives, we have to treat each of our family members as a royal priest with respect and honor.
When God created the heavens and the earth in the beginning, He created it with the Word. Jesus used the medium of language to proclaim the blessings when proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom or healing the sick. He also used the medium of language when he cursed a fig tree that could not bear fruit. This shows how much language we use every day has a big impact on our lives.
The Bible teaches that believers should live the life of sanctification or holiness, and use words that are spoken outside of your mouths to use gracious words. Paul says in Colossians 4:6, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so you may know how to answer everyone.” Therefore, through the language of your daily life, you must sow the seed of blessing in the grace of God. You must sow the seed of gratitude. You must sow the seeds of love.
Let us return to today’s passage John 13:34: “34. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Jesus emphasized the words “love one another” to his disciples. The example of loving one another was demonstrated by Jesus who loved his disciples through life and through the sacrificial love he gave himself on the cross.
In today’s Bible passage, John 13:35, Jesus told his disciples to love one another, saying that the non-Christians of the world would also acknowledge Jesus’ disciples: “35. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Jesus Christ’s word indicates that, in the church, when believers regard each other as a royal priest and maintain a good relationship and love, the church becomes the light of the world. In addition, the church can become the light, salt, and carries out prophetic mission as a sign of heaven in a fallen and broken world.
The word “love one another,” which Jesus gave to his beloved disciples, as you know, is a word, given before his crucifixion at the end of public ministry. However, Jesus focused on the words “love your enemies” rather than “love each other” in the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry towards his beloved disciples. In doing so, Jesus anticipated the evangelism and mission for all nations, tribes and tongues after the Pentecost event.
In the Bible, even people, who do not believe in Jesus, often quote, saying, “Love your enemies,” a passage from the well-known Sermon on the Mount. You know Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), who did not believe in Jesus but was regarded as a national political leader in India in the 20th century and had a political philosophy of ‘non-violence and non-resistance movement’. Gandhi, according to his autobiography, read the Bible, which he received as a gift from a pastor and his wife, while studying in England, and was deeply impressed with the message of “love your enemies” in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. And he created and promoted the idea of ’nonviolent non-resistance’ political philosophy which he learned and borrowed from the Sermon on the Mount.
Let’s look at Jesus’ famous words from Matthew 5: 43-44: “43 ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy 44. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5: 43-44).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ message to His disciples, “Love your enemy,” is the message of love that all believers living in today’s Global Mission Age must engrave in their hearts. But before you love your enemies, you must first train yourself in your home and church to love, honor, and maintain beautiful relationships with family and church members.
How can you love your enemies if you do not love each other among family members in your home? How can we spread the gospel to our unbelieving neighbors and open our hearts to join to the mission to all nations if we don’t love brothers and sisters in our church? Love each other with honor and respect as God loves you.
You are the blessed Heavenly people who are the recipients of the eternal love of God in our Lord Jesus Christ. Please live a life that loves God for 2019. In addition, I hope that you practice daily the new commandment of Jesus, “loving each other,” and make your home a loving community. Moreover, make your church as a community of God’s love. And all of you as a member of the Drim Mission may dedicate to evangelism and missions to all nations in God’s grace for the glory of God together. Amen!