Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Christian Love Involves Doing Good

“We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us.”  (1 John 3:16)
          A group of people were overheard discussing the subject of love.  Words such as “affection, concern, attraction, loyalty, benevolence, passion, devotion, tenderness, caress, and emotion were heard.  Finally, a Christian standing silently on the fringe said, “I believe to understand true love we need look no further than the cross where Jesus gave his life to save others.”  This statement was supported by quoting Romans 5:8, “But God showed (demonstrated) his great love for us by sending Jesus to die for us while we were still sinners.”  (NLT)
          John the apostle further explains this love by quoting Jesus’ words, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  (John 15:13)  Then Jesus says, “You are my friends if you do what I command.”  (15:14)
          Love is viewed by the prophet Isaiah as both positive and negative.  “Wash yourselves and be clean!  Get your sins out of my sight.  Give up your evil ways.  Learn to do good.  Seek justice.  Help the oppressed.  Defend the cause of orphans.  Fight for the rights of widows.”  (Isaiah 1:16-17)
          The test of Christian love is not simply turning away from doing evil to others.  Love also involves doing them good. 
          Cain is our example of false love; Christ is the perfect example of true love that believers should display.  Christ not only wants us to know true love, but he also wants us to experience this love by doing good to others.
          Jesus along with other New Testament writers emphasized showing love by our good works.
Jesus said, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father.”  (Matthew 5:16)
“But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.  Give your gifts in private, and your father, who sees everything, will reward you.”  (Matthew 6:3-4)
Paul said, “Tell them (the rich) to use their money to do good.  They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.”  (1 Timothy 6:17-18)
James said, “Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’ – but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing.  What good does that do?  So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough.  Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”  (James 2:15-17)
Peter said, “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors.  Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.”  (1 Peter 1:12)
          John’s readers were struggling to find out how to share the love of Christ with others.  No wonder he spent so much time and space in this letter dealing with showing love to others.  John pointed them to the cross, where Jesus “laid down his life for us.” 
          How can you show the love of Christ to those around you, especially the household of faith?  When asked by a Pharisee what was the greatest commandment Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-38, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.”  Then notice what he said in verse 39, “A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Did you see the word equally? 
          When was the last time you spoke to your neighbor?  Have you ever offered your services?  Or asked if they had any prayer needs?  Or shared the love of Christ with them? 
          What are some other ways to show the love of Christ? 
1.     Put a note of encouragement in someone’s mail file.
2.     Give a word of affirmation to someone .
3.     Write a note telling someone you are praying for them.

4.     Greet everyone with a smile and happy greeting. 

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