Love One Another

Key Verse: “If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
—I John 4:11

Lesson Scripture:
I John 3:11,14-16; 4:7-16 

IN THIS TEXT WE NOTE that the Apostle John uses the Greek word agape, which has been translated into our English word ‘love.’ He does not use another Greek word, phileo, which is found in many other scriptures in the New Testament. The word phileo carries the thought of brotherly love, or affection, on a personal or emotional level. Agape, on the other hand, embraces a wider and more powerful meaning of love which is governed by principle.

John consistently uses this word agape throughout this week’s scriptural lesson as shown in each of these passages: “This is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” (I John 3:11) “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (vs. 14) “Hereby perceive we the love …” (vs. 16) “Let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born [begotten] of God, and knoweth God.” (chap. 4:7) “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” (vs. 8) “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (vs. 10) “If God so loved us, we ought also to love on another.” (vs. 11) “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”—vs. 12

God’s wonderful character is manifested by his unspeakable love for his people in each of the above scriptures. Love is the central theme of this week’s lesson, and is one of the most beautiful evidences of a footstep follower of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever among the Lord’s people thus finds his heart full of love and devotion to our loving Heavenly Father, as well as to our brethren, may be assured that they are New Creatures walking in the way of Truth and righteousness. “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (chap. 3:14) As emphasized by the apostle, whoever may have sentiments lacking in this grace needs to address the matter seriously.

All of the Lord’s consecrated people, who have evidence of being begotten of the Holy Spirit, are thus walking in that Spirit. “By one spirit are we all baptized into one body.” (I Cor. 12:13) As prospective members of the body of Christ we are walking in newness of life and purpose, striving to be faithful and acceptable sacrifices to God. The development of love, as well as other graces of the Spirit, is a mark of growth in Christian character.

Exercising love toward our brethren in Christ Jesus suggests that we would do them neither wrong nor injustice, and that we would not speak improperly concerning them. Wisdom dictates that in proportion as we come into harmony with these true principles of love and Christian character we shall be at peace one with another. Where love abounds, peace will also abound.

As the days grow more evil, as the end of the Gospel Age harvest draws near, let each of the Lord’s people diligently strive to exercise greater faith in making their calling and election sure. May we all abide by the principles of love which have been so firmly established in the Word of God.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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