“And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.” (Luke 6:33)
How many people do you know that go out of their way to help others, that will take the time to serve others with no thought of themselves, yet are not saved? What is it that sets apart those who have been born-again in this world from those who have not when it comes to this action of love?
The first thing that comes to my mind is prayer, specifically what is called intercessory prayer, we seek the face of God for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we ask the Lord to guide them, protect and heal them, to make His will for them clearly seen in their lives so they can serve Him in love. The lost do not do that. If there is joy and even happiness in your heart as you congregate together on Sunday morning, if and when you say, “How are you today” and you really mean it, not just using those four words as a replacement for “Good morning,” then you are loving with the love of Christ.
But there is one action of love that we are to have for each other that sets us apart when it is truly done as our Lord did, in the same manner that He spent His life, we do not seek our own. “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” (Phil. 2:3) There is one step that goes even further in this regard though, we love them, in fact even the lost and our enemies for the glory of God.
The lost, even in the greatest depth of their love, even if they give their life for another, do not do this.
Every thought of our love, every action of it has its foundation in seeking the glory of God, that the love that we exhibit, no matter how it is expressed, in some way lifts up the name of Jesus Christ all to the glory of God. The lost not only do not do this, but cannot, it is not possible for them for they do not have the Holy Spirit within them and only that which is given to us from the Lord can be offered freely to others.
It is not in us to love as the Lord Jesus Christ loves us, but that love can come through us if we will allow it to. “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” (Romans 5:7)
“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3)
My friends, if the actions of love that you perform for others is not known to them in that you are doing so because you were loved first by the Lord, those individuals that receive that love will think that you are nothing more than a nice person. Now, if you open the door for an elderly person, do you need to say, “I am opening this for you for the glory of God?” Probably not, but what you must do is pay attention in this life and when the opportunity arises to express that love that comes through you then the recipient must know that it is not of you, but because of the love that has been shown to you.
And you must go beyond this when possible, you must seek out those opportunities.
Two verses come to mind here. “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10:16) Also, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) In the first we are sent, in the second we are told to go. In both we are blessed with the power to do so, with a love that is not in us but through us.
You know this as a truth, people that do not like you are hard to love, but if sinners can love those that love them, how much more should we be willing to love those that hate us?
The reason behind our love is the Lord Jesus Christ and the knowledge of Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We cannot match that love, but we can tell others about it, about the One who died for them, and at this time I can think of no greater expression of that love.