4. What is expected of us
We now know what love is, what the attributes of love are, how God and Jesus have loved us but now, How are we supposed to love? Are we supposed to love? If so, who?
1) Towards Strangers
Leviticus 19:34 (NIV)
The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native- born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
A stranger is someone whom you’ve never seen before in your life. God’s expects you to love this person. We did nothing to deserve God’s love, in fact God would be very justified if he hated us and never wanted to see us again because of the way we have behaved and still behave. Instead he loves us. So, just like God, a stranger does not have to do anything before you can love him/ her. You must love them without any conditions. This is not just any love but, you must love this stranger as you love yourself.
2) Towards Enemies
Matthew 5:43-48 (ESVST)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. ’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Jesus expects us to love even our enemies. An enemy is someone who does not want anything good to happen to you, someone who wishes you bad luck and someone who might even want to kill you or any of your loved ones. This is the person that Jesus expects that you love. Not only must you love them but, pray for them as well. Why must I love my enemy? Why must I love someone who wants to bring harm to me? Jesus says because when God lets the sun rise, does He let the sun rise only on good or does he not let it rise also on evil? Does God send rain only to good people or does He not send rain even to the evil ones?
In other words, because God does not discriminate between good and evil and just and unjust when it comes to the common blessings that he sends on earth, why must you love discriminately? If you don’t love your enemy, how different are you from him/ her because they also don’t love you? Those that are evil, also love each other and hate their enemies. You must be different. Love your enemy as much as you love yourself and your neighbor. You must be perfect just like your Heavenly Father whose love does not discriminate.
3) Towards fellow Christians
John 13:34-35 (ESVST)
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus gave us a new commandment and this commandment was about love. Unlike other love commandments that both God and Jesus have given before, which expected you to love a stranger and your enemy as you love yourself, this commandment demands even more than that. With previous commandments, the amount of love that you gave a stranger or your enemy, depended on how much you love yourself. If you really hated yourself, well, then you would not be able to love anyone. This commandment, like all other old covenant commandments, depended on you for obedience.
Jesus changed this when he gave us the new commandment. Just like the new covenant, this commandment has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with Jesus and God. Jesus says that we must love one another, not as we love ourself but, as He has loved us. So now, wether you hate yourself or not, you will love another person. Now, this totally is not depended on you. The question is, how much did Jesus love us? The answer is,……He died for us! That is how much. This is the same amount of love that we must give to one another. You must love your brother or sister to the death.
Jesus says, if we do this, then all people will know that we are his disciples.
4) Towards your wife
Ephesians 5:25-31 (ESVST)
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. This is the kind of love that is above all other love. To love someone as Christ loved the church is to be prepared to die for that person, since Christ died for the church. This means that husbands must love their wives so much that, they must be prepared to die for them. Husbands must love their wives and present them in splendor meaning gorgeously and without sport or wrinkle or any such thing, so that they may be holy and without blemish. This is how Christ loved the church as well. This simply means husbands must take very, very good care of their wives.
Husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies. Just as much as you would do anything to keep your body from pain and hurt, likewise, keep your wife from pain and hurt.
Genesis 2:24 (ESVST)
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
h1692. דבק dabaq; a primitive root; properly, to impinge, i. e. cling or adhere; figuratively, to catch by pursuit:— abide fast, cleave (fast together), follow close (hard after), be joined (together), keep (fast), overtake, pursue hard, stick, take.
AV (54)- cleave 32, follow hard 5, overtake 3, stick 3, keep fast 2,… together 2, abide 1, close 1, joined 1, pursued 1, take 1;
to cling, stick, stay close, cleave, keep close, stick to, stick with, follow closely, join to, overtake, catch
The word fast is a Greek word called “dabaq” which means to stick to, to follow hard, join to. All these words simply mean to use super glue to keep you to your wife.
h5800. עזב ‘azab; a primitive root; to loosen, i. e. relinquish, permit, etc.:— commit self, fail, forsake, fortify, help, leave (destitute, off), refuse, x surely.
AV (215)- forsake 129, leave 72, leave off 4, faileth 2, fortify 2, help 2, committeth 1, destitute 1, refuseth 1, surely 1;
to leave, loose, forsake ( Qal) to leave to depart from, leave behind, leave, let alone to leave, abandon, forsake, neglect, apostatise to let loose, set free, let go, free
The word leave is a Greek word “azab” which means to let go, forsake, leave behind. This means you need to leave you parents behind and follow your wife. Before your wife, your parents were maybe first priority in your life but now, since you are married, your wife must be first priority. I don’t mean that you must not support or assist your parents but, it must not be at your wife’s expense. Your priorities should look like this:
– Parents and Parents in law
This brothers and sisters, is true love. I can just hear all the sisters going “Amen, Halleluya”. Well, they should because this is how we must love them.