1 Corinthians 8:1b – “…Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” NIV
Romans 12:5 – “so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” NASB
It is incredibly clear in studying the Scriptures that “Disunity” is one of the most disruptive things that the New Testament Church faces. It is also, clear that “Unity” is high on the list of the most needed and most powerful force the Church can have. “Unity” can only be realized through the work of the Holy Spirit in the manifestation of “Agape Love.”
I believe it would be impossible to casually read the New Testament without realizing that God has a unique plan for every believer. God desires that every believer become a functioning member of the church. I believe that is revealed by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. He tells us in Ephesians 4:15-16 that as Christians we are to “Speak the truth in love.” As we do, we will “in all things grow up into Him who is the head, that is Christ. From Him, the whole body is joined and held together by every supporting ligament, and grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Repeatedly, the writers of the New Testament exhorted believers to engage in specific activities that would enable the Body of Christ to function effectively and grow spiritually. Frequently they used a unique word to describe this mutual and reciprocal process, it was “Allelon” or one another. It is used 58 times in the New Testament and Paul used in 40 times.
Some of these concepts are repeated from letter to letter, but when all the “one another” exhortations are studied carefully and grouped together according to specific meaning, they can be reproduced in twelve significant actions that Christians are to take toward “one another.”
The greatest of these is LOVE. This Agape Love is the ‘more excellent way’ of 1 Corinthians 12:31 and 13:13. The exhortation to “Love one another” appears more frequently than all the rest. Of the 48 references to what we are to do for “one another”, as believers, 11 times we are told to “Love one another.” Then, if we add the commands of our LORD to “Love one another” the list grows to 16 times. That reveals the importance and significance of us Loving one another.
It goes without saying that “Love” is the most important issue for the believer in the New Testament. To love fellow believers is a basic injunction of the New Testament and is evidence of a Spirit-filled Life and Salvation. In Colossians 3:14 we read, “And over all these virtues put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Then in 1 Peter 4:8, we discover, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
When we consider the directives of our Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples it comes as no surprise that the New Testament would place such an emphasis on Love. In John 14:34-35, He declared, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must Love on Another. All men will know that you are My disciples if you Love on Another.” How’s that for emphasis?
The truth is that all the actions that we are enjoined to take toward “one another” are wrapped up in the singular directive of “Love in Action.” The apostle Paul sensed that truth as he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Philippians 1:9-11 saying, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in the knowledge and depth of insight, so that you are able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Chris, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
We could solve most of the problems of the church and the world if we received and demonstrated God’s, Agape Love! I believe that would produce one of the greatest revivals and awakenings the Church has ever seen. We will address this again in the next devotional but until then may the rich and bountiful blessings of our Lord be upon you.
Have a great day!