“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)
To me, one of the saddest sights is when church members do not get along. I’ve seen it from all sides: as a church member, I’ve seen the way in which people struggle and fight, and on staff with one or more other people, I’ve seen jealousy, anger, bitterness, pain and strife (According to Galatians 5, these are fruits of the flesh!). These are worldly qualities and should not be! Consider what Jesus said “by this, all people will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). When we do not love one another, we are not witnesses of Christ Jesus. Let’s consider Paul’s words in the above passage: let Love be genuine. We must love one another from the heart. We should not love one another with brotherly affection, seeking the welfare of one another.
Jesus’ command wasn’t merely to love one another; He added an addendum “Just as I loved you, you are also to love one another” (John 15:12). And how does Jesus love us? He became one of us, He lived in perfect obedience to the Father for us, He got messy with us (though without sinning), He served us, He suffered for us, and He died for us. So what does this mean we should do? We, too, should get down on one another’s level, model God’s will for one another, serve one another, suffer for one another, and, if the Lord should call, (figuratively or literally) die for one another. We should love one another with a genuine love. Now, let us also define that same tone of love: Paul maintains that we should hate what is evil, and cling to what is good. We should hate and have no tolerance for the things which offend God (within ourselves first, and the world second). Scripture is clear on this! What God has called sin, He has not changed His mind on, and, in spite of revisionist scholars best efforts, He’s always consider certain things to be sin (the Kosher Laws and others were specific within the nation of Israel!). We need to stand firm on God’s word. What is evil is always against God, and what is good is always of God. Hold fast to that! Be in the word! Stand firm on God’s promises, and He will guide your steps. And, until we meet in His presence once for all, love like Jesus, and let that love be genuine. John 15:1-17
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.