Church Membership 4: Responsibilities of membership: Loving one another
Picture with me Jesus last evening with His disciples before His arrest: If you could have tasted the air there would have been a strong variety of flavours in the upper room. Different emotions written on the faces of the various disciples. Some would have been slightly euphoric still high from the shouting of the crowds, heralding Christ as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Judas would have been under the cloud of his guilt and shame, anxious for what he was about to do. Others like Peter, who would have been a type of self-appointed body guard, would be very conscious of the danger that Jesus was in because of the various confrontations with the leaders with their loaded questions, you can just imagine him fingering his sword. The disciples would have looked across the table at each other, and when James and John were caught sight of, the Sons of Thunder, there would be a remembrance of their mother asking that they be seated at Jesus right and left hand, and a previous argument about who was the greatest. And then there is Christ, this is His last night before He dies that He gets to spend with His disciples. Full of emotion, probably not understood by those there, during the evening meal—the Lord’s Supper, He gets up; adorns Himself as a slave and out of love proceeds to wash His disciple’s feet (John 13:1). His emotions reach a peak, and He speaks out about the one who will betray Him, “After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” (John 13:21) And after Judas had left Jesus gives them just one commandment to follow, what would you have expected to come? Jesus says in John 13:34-35, “34 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.”
We are continuing in our series on church membership and we are presently considering those responsibilities that every Christian should be doing in the context of a local church. We have dealt with every Christians responsibility to meet together, today we want to look at our responsibility to love one another. We want to look at Christ’s New Commandment given to the disciples and how it defines how we are to love. We will then apply the gospel to our seeing one another and how the gospel should feed this love.