You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Dear Brethren,

It was foretold by Jesus that in these last days it would become more and more difficult for the saints to maintain their Godly love for one another:

Matthew 24:12-13  Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

It is incumbent on each of us to extend our Godly love to all our brothers and sisters in the faith.  Do we realize that love of the brethren is a salvational issue?  The apostle John put it so succinctly.  Godly love towards our neighbor is a matter of eternal life.

1John 3:14  We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.  He who does not love his brother abides in death.

God is very clearly telling us that in order to attain a place in His Kingdom, we must love our neighbor as ourselves.  We certainly hope for the Kingdom of God, but do we equally desire the same for all?  Years ago, we were readily able to enjoy many like-minded brethren.  Today, there are no longer the many large gatherings of brethren in nearly every city with whom we are able to spiritually stimulate and motivate one another unto love and to good works.

Hebrews 10:24  Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.

Now, for most of the brethren around the world, it takes far more effort to maintain bonds of fellowship.  And yet, we realize that we must with all diligence persist as long as God gives us strength.

Malachi 3:16  They that feared the LORD spoke often one to another.

Many who have gone before us, like the first century Church of God, saw their faithful constituents wax and wane just as we are witnessing today.  At this time, it behooves us all the more to love our neighbor as ourselves as we seek to preserve the unity of the faith.

Ephesians 4:13  Until we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

In our early development within the Body of Christ, we began to come out of the world.  We learned about God's Law—the Sabbath, the Holy Days and the Plan of God.  Some, erroneously looked down on others who had not been given that wonderful knowledge.

God, however, had other plans for our development.  We are privileged to be able to continue to learn the lessons He has in store for us.  In the days of the Worldwide Church of God, "love" was too often considered a Protestant concept.  Never mind, that the Ten Commandments are an integral part of Godly love.  Though the Protestants attempt the practice of loving their neighbor, they lack the Spirit of God which is crucial to fully implementing the Ten Commandments in their deeds.  True Godly love is difficult to perform.

John 15:19  If you were of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Never mind what the world thinks of us, it is of the utmost importance that our evaluation of ourselves matches God's evaluation of us.  We welcome and desire His involvement in our lives.

Psalms 139:23-24  Search me, O God, and know my heart: examine me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalms 26:2  Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.

Does God see us as being humble and respectful of Him?  We show our humility and our respect for His law by the way we feel and act toward one another.

Galatians 5:14-15  All the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another.

So how can we really tell if we truly love the brethren?  We certainly do not want to find out too late!  Here is the answer:

Matthew 25:34-40  The King will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me... Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.

Romans 13:10-11  Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.  And do this [loving our neighbor], knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

Today's Sermon:  "You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself"