How many believers would willingly eat something they knew contained pork?
How many would cheerfully go off to work on the Sabbath? Certainly not!
Now for the hard question:
How many would treat a brother or sister in the faith with anything less than the type of love we have already received from Yahshua?
I think we all have in the past;
but today is the day to change that!
Yahshua commanded us to love one another in the way that He loved us - what an assignment! The love Yahshua commanded in John 13 and in John 15 is FAR MORE DEMANDING than any we usually have in our human relationships. If we are to follow that path we need to understand just what he is asking of us.
A married couple needs to show a lot of love to be sure of having a good family. But the husband and wife at one time did like each other enough to get married. On the other hand, Yahshua commands that we love the brethren even though we did not pick them (Yahweh did). Yahshua did exactly that to his disciples. He did not pick his disciples; they were given to him by his Father. He said to the Father, "Of all those YOU HAVE GIVEN ME I have not lost any except the son of perdition to fulfill the prophecy," John 17:12. Even though the father had chosen the disciples, Yahshua loved each of them enough to MAKE CERTAIN that they stayed close to the Father.
Besides the fact that a marriage
usually starts with love, married people only have to earn about a C+ to
get by. (Of course it's much more rewarding to earn those A's in your marriage.)
Yahshua said the love He commanded is to be like His love. What does that
mean? A+ in every way. Our love for the brethren must be pure in heart,
intelligently directed to the highest goals, and so vigorous in application
that it involves our entire soul. Of course this love MUST include our
wife or husband.
"OLD TESTAMENT" LOVE
The Messiah said, "'You shall love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is similar to it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:37-39.Yahshua was quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. Mankind already had a Torah commandment to love our neighbor in this exceptional way. Yahshua said the Torah and the Prophets were based on these principles, (Matthew 22:40). How great a love it is when we can love someone else as much as we love ourselves! That means we forgive them readily, give them the things they need without them asking and without thought of repayment, and support them in many other ways.
1 Corinthians 13 explains many characteristics of this love.
Who can love like that? What a challenge! Even this ancient command from the Torah seems to be more than we could ever naturally fulfill.
Yet Yahshua did fulfill this type of love in his life on earth. The evangels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are the record of this man's great love:
Matthew 9:36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Matthew 14:14 And Yahshua went forth, and saw a great crowd, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
Matthew 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!"
As we see in the sermon on the mount
in Matthew 5 to 7 Yahshua was not in the habit of doing things in
small measure. He amplified one law after another and showed that they
applied to situations others had not imagined they covered. His emphasis
was on attitude and love toward others. He said, "Do not be angry."
"Do not look at a woman to lust after her." and, "Do not stand up
against someone who does you wrong," and He used those principles as
guides for His own life. He said, "Love your enemies. Pray for those
who persecute you." and these principles were a part of HIM. They represented
the way he actually lived; even to the point of praying for those who were
driving nails through his hands into the tree, "Father, forgive them
because they don't understand what they are doing."
But even this love was not enough for Yahshua. He appointed and set aside a particular love to be shared among those who were his disciples. 'Disciple' means one who learns. For those who want to learn from Him, our teacher gave each of us an assignment to love the others in the assembly with a love like the love He had for us. He did not give this merely as an example, a goal or a suggestion; The Messiah gave it as a command. He explained that the love He was talking about was the love that motivated Him to give up His life for us (John 15:13). Yahshua did not only give up his life for us in the sense that he died for us. He also gave his body to be beaten to the point of great disfigurement just before his execution and besides that he dedicated the time of his life to teaching men the right ways which please the Father and beginning a work from which each of us today has benefited.
I feel this all shows that the focus of Yahshua's mission on earth was to bring all the brethren to the point where they could have a closer relationship with the Father. The new command Yahshua gave us in John 15:12-13 & 13:35 might be paraphrased:
'Dedicate your life completely to improving the relationship of the brethren with Yahweh because you love them so much. That is what I am doing and that is what I command you to do. That is how people will know you really arelearning from me'.
I may be taking some liberties with
this text but I believe the Messiah would strongly agree with this shading
of the meaning. After all, the law, the prophets, the writings and certainly
the evangels are all directed to the task of getting people to be clean,
pure and without sin so that they may draw near to Yahweh. When the Son
presents the entire purified creation to the Father, it is the end, the
goal, the consummation of that process.
HOW TO DO IT:
"As the Father has loved me,
so have I loved you: you continue in my love. If you keep my commandments,
you shall remain in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments,
and remain in his love. I have spoken these things to you so that my joy
might remain in you, and so that your joy might be full, John 15:9-11.
The secret to loving the brethren as Yahshua commanded seems to depend on one thing - loving obedience to Yahshua. We must do all the things Yahshua has told us to do. If Yahshua shows us that we must do anything then we must have the mind to do it 100%.
It will also help to keep in mind
that those you are commanded to love are shortly to inherit a great position.
They will soon be kings and priests before Yahweh and even children of
the almighty Father along with Yahshua!
WHAT IT MEANS
A few of the challenging examples of this love which Yahshua gave are:
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, He himself took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses, Matthew 8:17.
Then Yahshua called his disciples unto him, and said, "I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I -will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way," Matthew 15:32.
"For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine, and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray?" Matthew 18:11-12.
"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid," John 14:27.
"And for their sakes I set myself apart to Your purposes, that they also might be set apart through the truth." John 17:19.
"You call me Master and Teacher:
and you say well; for so I am. If I then, your teacher and Master, have
washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have
given you an example, so that you should do as I have done to you." John
The apostles understood Yahshua's teaching and passed it on to us in many places with instruction and encouragement. Spend some prayerful time meditating on these scriptures:
Looking to the author and finisher of our faith, Yahshua, who for the joy that was set before him, endured execution on the tree, dismissing the shame, and has been set down at the right hand of the throne of Yahweh. For consider He that endured such hostility of sinners against himself, so that you will not be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood, as you strive against sin. Hebrews 12:2-4.
I am executed with the Messiah: nevertheless I live; yet it is not I, but the Messiah that lives within me: and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of Elohim, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20.
Bear you one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of the Messiah. Galatians 6:2.
I pray that from the treasures of his glory that he will empower you with inner strength by his spirit so that the Messiah may live in your hearts by faith. Also I pray that you will be rooted and founded in love, so that you, with all the saints, may be able to grasp the breadth, length, depth, and height of the Messiah's love, and to know it even though it passes knowing, that you might be filled with all the fullness of Elohim. Ephesians 3:16-19.
And walk in love, as the Messiah also has loved us, and has given himself for us: an offering and a sacrifice to Yahweh for a sweet smelling savor. Ephesians 5:2.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the execution on the tree. Philippians 2:8.
For you know the grace of our master Yahshua the Messiah, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that through his poverty you might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9.
As we have seen, obedience to Yahshua's new commandment is not a light or easy thing. It is difficult but it is the very heart of what it means to follow the Messiah. He said that seeing that special love is how people will know we follow him. That love is the greatest fruit of the spirit Yahweh gives his people. Yahshua has given us the example, the apostles have given us instruction and encouragement and Yahweh has given us the ability through His spirit within us. Now is the time to rededicate ourselves to obeying the master, following his example, and loving the brethren with all our heart and soul.
We perceive the love of Yahshua
in this: because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down
our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16 And be you kind one to another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as Yahweh for the Messiah's
sake has forgiven you, Ephesians 4:32.
Br Tom Schattke
Read the article: A Loving Family
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