September 2, 2011

Emotions in Christ

Part Two

The Love of Christ

John 15:12

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Eternal Life

     We saw yesterday that God seeks to control our feelings, and that our feelings relate directly to our spiritual activities.  If we keep the commandments of Christ, then we abide in His love.  God commands us to be controlled by His love.  Jesus emphasized time and time again that we should love one another.  While the New Testament concept of love expands beyond feelings, it certainly includes an emotional sense within our hearts.  We do not love God in a dry and dusty emotional landscape where nothing phases us.  In fact, His love fills our hearts and flows like a fountain throughout our inner selves.  The Holy Spirit promotes this love and God’s love directly influences how we feel.  Do not miss the point, however.  Jesus commands this love, and demands this love from us.  Without His love, we can do nothing.

John 15:12, My Commandment
This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

        The Love Commandment.  Jesus has preached love and demonstrated love to His disciples for their entire time with Him on earth.  According to Jesus, the greatest and foremost commandment of the Law is “You shall love your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).  Jesus then continued: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).  Love has always dominated the relationship we have with God.  God commands love, and lavishes His love upon us.  God empowers us to love Him and to love one another.  As Christians, we should be known for loving people the way that God loves them. 

       Love One Another.  We need to keep clearly in mind that Jesus did not tell them in John 15:12 to love God, but to love another.  These disciples had issues related to loving one another, and had disputes about who was the greatest among them (Luke 9:46; Luke 22:23-27).  They had a problem with sin controlling them.  They needed to hear Jesus command them to love one another.  You may think of your relationship with God as separate from your relationship with other people.  For Jesus, He drew no such distinctions when it came to love.  Our love for God directly controls our love for other people.  They are linked together by God’s plan and purpose.  We would never have known the depths of God’s love, except that He gave His only Son to die for us.  Our lives today need to focus upon sharing God’s love with the people around us today.  Can you imagine a personal, daily ministry of loving people with God’s love today?  Perhaps you will accomplish nothing more today than helping one person on earth to know that God loves them, no matter what.  Nice day it will be.

     As I Loved You.  In John 15:12, we see that Jesus made Himself the perfect example of love for the disciples.  He told them to consider the way He loved them, and then go love other people.  When we think about the way that Jesus loves us every day, it provides the perfect example of how we should the love the people around us.  Jesus illustrated His point in John 15:13, page 1686 by saying that no one has greater love than laying down his life for his friends.  When you consider this statement, Jesus was plainly telling us He had friends.  Do you have friends?  I know people who think they have no friends.  They would like some true friends, but they do not think they have any.  Jesus made friends with His disciples by loving them.  You love them, no matter how they treat you.  You lay down your life for them, no matter what they do for you or to you.  Jesus loved the disciples with sacrificial love, which means that you sacrifice yourself and your well-being to love them.  Are you in the process of laying down your life for your friends today? 

        So we learn more about the love of Jesus today.

    ●  Jesus commanded us to love today.

     ●  Jesus told us to have friends and to love them today.

     ●  Jesus commanded us to love our friends like He loves us today.

Application for Today

     As I live today, I want to obey Jesus by loving God, so that I can share His love with my friends today.  I want to expand and deepen my friendships with people today, by loving them as Jesus loves me today.  Will you love your friends with the love of Jesus Christ today?

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As we study, we seek to love Jesus more because His word has instructed us so that we learn His ways. Eternal life consists in knowing God the Father, and Jesus Christ Whom God sent. As the eternal God of Glory, One with His Father, the Son of God took flesh and dwelt among us. Because of His death, He used His blood to purchase our redemption. He was raised for our justification. We now live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved us and gave Himself for us. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit abides in every born-again believer and fills us with His presence and blessings. He leads us into all truth. Jesus is the truth, and the way, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Jesus, our Lord. 
We look forward to His imminent return to the clouds of earth, to snatch away the believers alive on earth, so that we may be forever with the Lord. When He returns to the clouds, He will bring with Him all those people in Christ who died before His return to the clouds. We encourage one another with the promises of God, Who makes our path grow brighter and brighter, until the full light of day shines forth. We love Jesus and look forward to seeing Him soon. After Jesus removes the believers from the earth, then a terrible period of seven years follows where God brings measured and precise judgments upon the people alive on earth. God cut those days of  Tribulation short, or no flesh would have been saved. Jesus will then return to earth, slay His enemies, and place His feet on the Mount of Olives where He ascended to heaven. He will then reign on earth for a thousand years, and believers will reign with Him. After the Millennial Reign of Christ, all unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne Judgment, and they will suffer according to their deeds done on earth. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire, a place of torment night and day for eternity, because they never received the free gift of salvation while alive on earth. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God. Today we invite you to come and see Jesus, and learn from Him, for He is gentle and humble in heart. Take His yoke upon you, for His burden is easy and His yoke is light. He will give you rest for your soul as you trust Him. We receive salvation only from Jesus, by faith alone in Jesus, Who gives us the free gift of eternal life. 
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