FBCWest 589 | A New Commandment
Recorded On: 01/14/2024
Hymn # 428 “In the Garden”
SCRIPTURE READING – 2 Corinthians 5:6 - 8
Giving of Selves and Our Offerings
OFFERTORY MUSIC – Pru Hungate
Praise and Worship
“God You Are”
“At the Cross”
Proclamation of the Word
Message by Pastor Joe
“A New Commandment”
PRAYER TIME / Time of Reflection
“Love Is War”
Benediction “The Lord’s Prayer (It’s Yours)”
John 13:34 A new commandment
Matthew 22:34 – 40 The two greatest commandments
John 13:35 How the world knows that we are His
Transcript of Service
In the Old Testament there is approximately 630 laws or commandments. Some of them deal with religious matters, others deal with civil law, and others deal with moral law. During the Passover Seder, Jesus gives his students, his disciples, one more new commandment. And in that commandment he says that them following that commandment would make them distinctive in the world. Come hear what that commandment is and what the distinction is.
Now again the context of this is the last several messages have been during the Passover Seder, the last supper that we call it, where the communion portion of Christian churches have. All of this has been taking place during that evening meal and it continues on and the next several messages hereafter are going to be during that time frame. And so what Jesus is doing is teaching both by example and by word his disciples and he's also telling them beforehand certain things that will happen so that they might have faith after these things happen. And so because this is the last opportunity for Jesus to really teach and instruct, we need to pay attention as probably the disciples didn't grasp it at the time.
You can understand that if you were facing your last days or hours that whatever you had to say, if you had anything to say, you would want to make it important and to tell the people that you loved certain things that maybe you didn't have the opportunity to say or you didn't because of your personality or whatever and you wanted to make sure that they understood that. So Jesus is reinforcing some of the things that he taught and is also going to introduce a couple other things. And so in verse 34 it says this, "A new commandment I give to you that you love one another even as I have loved you that you also love one another."
So in the Jewish context there are about 632 laws and commandments within the Old Testament.
They are comprised of moral laws, they're comprised of religious laws and they're comprised of civil law. And there's all these requirements and within those contexts there's what we call the Ten Commandments. And unfortunately in our society they're simply the Ten Suggestions because nobody really follows them and we argue, well do they apply to Jews only or non-Jews or whatever? And one of the things that I'd like you to consider is which of the Ten Commandments wouldn't help to have you have a better life and our society have a better life?
Should we kick out "Thou shalt not murder?"
It kind of seems like a good law. "Thou shalt not steal."
The one that would kind of rampant our society, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Some of these laws are good even whether we're Jewish or not. But Jesus has now added to the Old Testament situation, He's going to take a look at His students, His disciples and He's going to tell them, "I'm giving you a new commandment."
Now, there used to be a commercial many years ago about a brokerage company and you would have people in a dining room and they would say, "Well my broker says X, Y and Z." And then the other person would say, "Well my broker is." And then all of a sudden everybody would stop and take a listen to what the advice of that broker was.
Whatever Jesus had to say or teach, it should be like that. What are you saying Jesus?
So when He taught, "We should pay attention." So when He taught about how many times should a person forgive and He said 70 times 7, all these types of things, He was teaching and we should pay attention and apply that to our lives. He also told us things that He didn't necessarily say as a commandment. He said things like, "You shall be my witnesses."
He didn't give us an option. He didn't say, "You know if you feel like it, you're going to be my witnesses." "Shall has a command to it. You shall be my witnesses." But this is a unique situation where Jesus says, "A new commandment I give to you." Not a new suggestion.
It is a new commandment that you love one another even as I have loved you, that you love one another. Now notice He doesn't say that we just love one another.
He says that we are to love one another as He has loved us.
Which means that we need to consider how has He loved us.
Because if we are going to love one another the way He loved us, then we need to know how He loved us.
And so too often what we are limited to do is, "Well, He forgave us of our sins."
So people say, "Okay, well then I need to forgive you."
But then we corrupt that by forgiving everybody.
So if I went up to Kyle and slapped him in the face and his bride said, "I forgive you,"
that would be nice.
But I didn't slap her, I slapped him.
So we tend to have this society now where people who aren't wronged forgive people who didn't get wrong.
Jesus yes, He forgave us. Why? Because we sinned against God and because Jesus is the Son of God. He has the authority to forgive sins against us. But as believers in Him, we are to forgive one another. When you have wronged me, then I am to forgive you.
But Jesus does more than forgiveness.
Because this is where I have a problem that I have to follow Jesus, is that I may forgive you and wives you know this will.
You may forgive you, but you never forget.
You are to forgive and to be reconciled as if it never happened.
So when Jesus forgives us, we have peace with God and we don't have to fear the wrath of God because there's reconciliation. It's not just we are forgiven, but we are not like it never even happened.
And so one of the things that we need to do is loving one another as Jesus loved us is to forgive and to be reconciled.
The other thing that Jesus did was that He served. He came to serve not to be served.
And so He demonstrated that during the Lord's Supper, during the Last Supper by washing their feet saying, "You don't understand what I'm doing now, but you're going to understand later." And Jesus being the Son of God, being God, not only came to earth and be a man, He served men. He washed their feet and we say, "Wait a minute, but I'm too important to do that."
How did Jesus love His disciples?
He served them.
And all too often our ego gets in the way.
But you don't understand how important I am. I'm the pastor, therefore I'm special. Now I'm special, alright.
But there's that's it. So we need to consider all the ways that Jesus loved us and then incorporate that love into one another.
Now I'm not saying this is easy.
It's also different because Jesus and a young man who's known as the rich young ruler had a conversation about the Old Testament and the laws and he said, "Well, which are the greatest law?" And it was agreed between the rich young ruler and Jesus that the greatest law was that you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength.
That's a number one. You don't do that. You're not doing the rest.
The greatest commandment is to love God.
And he said, "The next one is like it, that you love your neighbor as yourself." And then there's always the, "Well, who's my neighbor?" But it was to love your neighbor as yourself. And as I've constantly said, that is a very high bar for me because I love me a lot.
I think I'm special.
I think that everything I have to say and think is important and you ought to listen. That there's wisdom there that you should pay attention to. That I'm so funny that I laugh at all my jokes.
I like me so much I take me wherever I go.
I make sure that I'm well fed and maybe too well fed.
That if I'm cold, I make sure I get something warm on. I take care of me because I love me.
Jesus is insane in this new commandment that I am to love you the way I love me.
I am to love you the way he loves you, which is an even higher bar.
Incredibly, Jesus loves me more than I love me.
Because he gave himself up for me.
And so we need to consider and to develop what it is it means to love one another as Jesus loved us.
And to make sure that those needs are cared for.
And that he supplanted his need for ours.
He didn't need to go to the cross. We needed it.
He didn't need to suffer and die with the sin and painful death that he did, but we needed it.
So all too often, our first thought is, "Well, what about me?"
And how many churches have had splits and problems because nobody recognized me?
Well, I taught Sunday school for 20 years and no one ever gave me a pen that said I taught Sunday school for 20 years.
Jesus knows, so what if I forget?
Jesus didn't say, "Well, you didn't recognize me, therefore..." No, Jesus loved because he loved. God is love. Not something he does, it's something that he is.
And we need to love one another not because that is something we do, but because Jesus so loved us and that we've so committed ourselves to being his that we are love and therefore we just love.
A new commandment, not a new suggestion that I give to you that you love one another even as I have loved you.
To love one another.
And I'm going to skip because I already talked about those verses.
But then Jesus is going to say something very significant.
We're to love one another as he's loved us.
And then he's going to follow up this by a distinction.
By this, all men will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.
Jesus is saying the distinction between we believers and the world is that we love one another. He didn't say that we love the world. He didn't say that we love the lost. He didn't say that we love each other.
Each disciple loving each disciple is how the world will know that we are his.
Now there are religions who dress a certain way to distinguish that they are a follower of that religion.
And there are others who will dress a certain way and then have certain colors that they wear that will distinct between what level they are in their religion.
Jesus is saying it's not how you dress that will distinguish you as being my believer.
The other thing that all too often happens is that churches are more concerned about building buildings than doing what he commanded.
Because while building a building is hard and raising the money is hard, it's easier than having us love one another.
Because sometimes you are not that lovable.
I know it's easy for you to love me but sometimes you're a little more difficult.
So therefore a lot of pastors will build buildings.
Because then they can go to another church and say you know when I went to so and so church they had a little dinky building and we filled it and then I built a bigger building so you ought to hire me because I can build buildings. And the church goes oh yeah we should hire you because we want another building.
Now I thank God that over 50 years ago people who were members of this church sacrificed and gave and gave offerings of money and their time and their talent to build this building.
And a couple of you are still here.
And my family even bought a few.
But except for a few of you the rest aren't here.
While this building may be a testimony to their dedication, it is not a testimony of their love for Jesus.
Again I'm thankful for this building because it's a little cold in here. It'd be really cold out there. So it's good that we have a building. It's good that we have a heater.
But Jesus didn't say that they'll know that you're my disciples because you have a great building. If that's the case then we ought to hope that we can someday get the Crystal Cathedral. Because that's kind of a cool building. You get to look outside while you're having church.
I think it's kind of neat.
But he didn't say, "He who builds the neatest most special building is my disciples."
He says they'll know you're my disciples.
Not because you worship on Saturday or Sunday.
Not because you don't swear. Not because you're given the offering. I'm not saying you shouldn't.
But we seem to contradict. The other one we seem to contradict a lot of pastors is that you've got to win the lost.
We need to win the lost. I'm not being critical of that. But again, Jesus didn't say, "They'll know that you're my disciples because you've notched your Bible more than anybody else."
He told us, "You shall be my witnesses."
But he didn't say, "They'll know that you're my disciples because you make believers."
He says, "They'll know you're my disciples because you love one another." Not that you love the lost. You're going to love the lost because he loved the lost.
When we love people, when we love one another.
You see, I want to concentrate on because Jesus loved, he didn't say, "They'll know you're my disciples because you love the world." He said, "They'll know you're my disciples because you love one another."
There are pastors and there are churches and there are books written about a new word.
I'm looking for a new word so that God, whatever. I'm going, "God, I want to follow your commandment and I want people to know that I'm your disciple,
that I'm your student, that I'm following you. But I'm having trouble with this one, so it'll give me a new one until I get this one done."
And it seems to me there are not that many churches of any denomination that has this locked in.
Oh, sure, we'll have building programs and we'll raise money. How many conferences have you seen on loving the person next to you and the pew?
I can't recall one.
Well, we've had Bible studies and we've had building programs and we've had worship conferences and we've had music conferences.
I don't see any conferences in our denomination or anywhere else. It says, "We're going to focus on loving each other.
Because while it's tough to get my wallet out and sticks some money in the pew, it's a lot harder to set aside my ego and say, "Your needs are more important than my needs."
That I'm going to love you, whether you're worthy of it or not.
I'm going to wash your feet, even while mine stinks.
I'm going to make sure that your needs are met.
I think it's important for it to be fed and I'm going to make sure the disciples are fed.
I think it's important to be warmed and I'm going to make sure that the disciples are warmed.
We should be distinctive.
Not with our clothing, not with our hair, not with our speech, not with what car we drive.
But to say, "Wouldn't it be awesome?"
When it comes that time that you're in a casket or a little box because we cremated you,
we had the service, instead of recounting how many years and how many children and how many grandchildren and what jobs and what successes and how many people at work showed up, there was a simple statement, "He or she loved God's people."
Now let's love God's people.
Because that's the distinction.
Oh, you might be president of some big organization and you might be richer than...
whoever the richest guy, that kind of changes, but they're all multi-billionaires. So you become richer than them.
Unless they know Jesus, their future's not all that great.
Wouldn't it be awesome to hear people when they think about you, wasn't how successful you were, but how much you loved the people of God.
Let's be distinctive.
Oh, sure, there may come a time when we need a new building and we'll do whatever we need to do. I suspect if we need a new building, there'll be a new pastor because he'll want to build a new building and hopefully some of you will say, "Yeah, but I remember Pastor Joe saying we need to love one another. Let's do that first."
Because the way most Baptist churches are formed, we get mad at each other and start a new one.
What if we loved one another and we wouldn't need 87 churches in Westminster because we're all here loving one another and we simply have 87 different services because we all can't fit in one building at one time.
They say, "Not Heywood.
That building was so great I could see the sky while I was worshipping God as opposed to..." You know, when I walked in that building, I felt the presence of God because I felt the people truly, truly, truly, truly loved one another.
And I want to be a part of that.
And I think that is the greatest testimony that we can give to the world and to the believer.
In all God's people said.