Easter 5
May 13, 2001
John 13:31-35
"A New Commandment"

+++

INTRODUCTION:  "A new commandment I give to you…" Jesus tells us - What is this new command and what does it involve? What is it that is new? Doesn't the old way suit us just fine? Why do we need a new directive?   What are the requirements, what are the particulars?  And what, pray tell, are the penalties if we choose not to follow this new imperative?

A commandment? Not a suggestion, not a trial? Commandments suggest something that we've gotta do! And you know how it feels when someone tells you - "this you must do!"  We bulk and buck at such a suggestion! The words, which Jesus gives us, are plain and direct: "A new commandment I give to you - love one another!"

I.                   The new command is to love.

A.     We love as Christ has loved us. "Greater love has no one then this that one gives up His life for His friends" Jesus has told us. Then, He adds, "…and you are My friends!"  This is how we see the reason to love as God in Christ has loved us. We love only because He first loved us.

B.     Because the Father loved us we now are given the power to love one another. Snoopy, from the comic strip Peanuts carried the sign, which read: "I love the human race - it's people I just can't stand!"  What do we do with those who are unlovable?  What about those who have hurt us?  How can we love those who refuse to show compassion toward us?  In short, we love! 

Transition:  By ourselves we can not love as the commandment suggests. But with God's love demonstrated to us; and God's power working through us He will help us follow this new directive to love.  The command to love is more then philosophical - there is a practical reason why we love with the power of God working in us.

II.                The command is give for a divine purpose.

A.     Jesus tells us "By this all men will know that you are My disciples."  Words mean something. Actions speak louder then words.  It is one thing to say: "I love God". But we back up our words by demonstrating our love with acts and tokens of love.

We put our words into action for a purpose - a divine purpose.  We love so that all men will know that we are the very disciples of Jesus Christ.  The world is watching. We are all witnesses. We live our lives deliberately and painstakingly so that others will know we are the followers of Jesus Christ.

THERE ARE LITTLE EYES UPON YOU

There are little eyes upon you,
And they are watching night and day.
There are little ears that quickly
Take in every word you say.

There are little hands all eager
To do everything you do.
And a little boy who’s dreaming of
The day he’ll be like you.

You’re the little fellow’s idol
You’re the wisest of the wise.
In his little mind about you
No suspicions ever rise.

There’s a wide -- eyed little boy
Who believes you’re always right.
And his ears are always open
And he watches day and night.

You are setting an example
Everyday in all you do.
For the little boy who’s waiting
To grow up to be like you.

--author unknown

B.     There can be no separation from the faith and the acts of the Christian. It stands to reason that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. Only the blood of Jesus Christ saves us.

We are saved only by grace through faith. However, if we have faith, then that faith will be lived and demonstrated by words and acts of love.  We can not claim a life without sin  - neither can we live a life of faith without acts of compassion and love. The two go hand in hand.  Mark the Scripture well; "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins; God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness. This is our life; expressed by this; loving and loving. By this men will come to know that you are Christ's disciples.

CONCLUSION:  Thus we are moved to pray; " Lord Jesus Christ You have demonstrated Your love for us - teach us to love - Help us to demonstrate and live a life of love! Amen.

+ Soli Deo Gloria +