I want to get back to my study of Dust and Stars because I have been attempting to show you how we can bring all I have been teaching together. As I showed you, Jesus said that he had a new command, and we haven’t hit on that yet.
The Old commandment was the minimum degree of love. It was a love with limits. It depended on our love for ourselves. It meant loving my neighbor so long as I am not in danger. But Jesus said, “A new command I give you, that you love one another . . .” You won’t find it recorded, but I bet when Jesus said that, the disciples shouted back, “Hey, we already know about that.”
So Jesus continued, “As I have loved you.” Ooh. Now that was new. The Old Commandment said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” the new commandment said, “Love your brother as I have loved you.” Now that will require much more from us.
How did Jesus love us? Did he love us as he loved himself? No, He loved us more than that. He gave his life for us. In this kind of love, self disappears. We must love and love and love until forever. Even if it costs us our lives. This is much more than giving half the plate of food. It is giving the whole plate, and ourselves as well.
This is the type of love Jesus intends for the Church. It is the love that is meant to rule our Christian community. I cannot love my brother as I love myself because self is gone. Remember Paul’s statement? “It isn’t I who lives, but Christ in me. And this life I now live, I live by faith in Him.”
Everyone knows John 3:16. However, did you ever notice I John 3:16? It reads: “We understand what love is when we realize that Christ gave his life for us. That means we must give our lives for other believers.”
The Apostle John has again come up with a very simple test for us. Do we know what love is? It is very easy to tell; you do not need the gift of discerning spirits or anything. Just ask yourself whether you are willing to lay down your life for your brother. Stop and think of a specific brother in your congregation. Would you die for him?
The Lord taught this to me back in 1981 while I was traveling back from Texas and picked up a hitchhiker. When he saw my Bible lying on the dashboard, we started talking about the Lord. I very quickly found out that he indeed believed in Jesus, and was in fact, one of my brothers.
He was very tired and fell asleep as I drove us north. As he slept, the Lord began to open my heart toward this brother. I kept saying to myself, “If this was really my brother (referring to my physical brother, Dave) there isn’t a thing I wouldn’t do to help him.” I had picked this hitchhiker up in the south where it was warmer, and I realized as we crossed the Mississippi River, that it was much colder where we were heading. It was early October, and he wanted to go to Chicago.
As he slept I kept repeating, “If this were really my brother . . .” and the Lord said, “He is really your brother.” I replied, “Yes Lord, I understand that, but if he were really my brother (again referring to my physical brother). “But, He is your brother . . .” “yes, I understand that, but if . . .” (sometimes I am a little slow to catch on).
This went on for a few minutes, and finally, it hit me what the Lord was saying to me! He was my brother! He was my brother as much as or more than my physical brothers. That’s when I finally saw my full responsibility to this hitchhiker. I wasn’t familiar with Chicago, and he said I could drop him off at a rest stop near the city. So when I finally let him out I gave him my leather jacket; my sleeping bag; and a couple of phone numbers of ministries that I knew in Chicago. I also gave him all the money I had on me at the time that was about fifty-five dollars, and since he was about my size, I gave him some pieces of clothing out of my suitcase.
I am not sharing this to show how Holy (or gullible) I am, but rather to illustrate the reality of what the Lord is calling us to. Some may call me a sucker for falling for this guy’s needs. Maybe even a fool, but that is okay. First of all, he never ask me to do any of those things, but also Jesus was taking the foolish things in the eyes of the world and confounding their wisdom. (Some may think I am a “nut,” but that is okay, too. At least I am screwed onto the right bolt!)
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.