The kind of love that we are to live

1 Peter 1:22-25 22) Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23) For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24) For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25) but the word of the LORD endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.

Did you know that major cities across the country hand out thousands of free one-way bus tickets to the homeless every year? It’s called the Homeless Relocation Program. Its purpose is to ship “the problem” somewhere else.

God brings needy people into our lives to give us the opportunity to love one another, serve one another and grow in our faith. To take advantage of these opportunities, we must resist the temptation to pass them on to someone else. The Christian faith is nothing, if not a call to action.

James wrote, “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “[Here’s a bus ticket] Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:15-17).

There is not a greater force known to mankind that can call us to action than love. The love spoken of here by Peter is Philadelphia love, a very special kind of love. It is a love that exists between Christians and is extended by Christians to all of those who are in need through our own personal ministry. It is a love that binds us together in an unbreakable union, a love that is concerned about the welfare of one another; a love that brings us together as family. We love one another because we have the same love.

The soul of a true believer in Christ is cleansed of sin. We are forgiven, purified from every sin we have committed. Peter tells us what it is, that cleanses us – obedience to the truth. When we walk in the light of the truth, the Spirit of God cleanses our soul through the blood of Christ.

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

We only know this love when we are born again. When we are spiritually created into new men and woman by God, cleansed by the blood of Christ, we become brothers and sisters to one another and we are able to love one another in this capacity.

Our natural birth came about through perishable or corruptible seed. If we are born again by corruptible seed, by the work of man we would still be corruptible. If we are guilted into coming to the altar and “giving our life to Christ”; if we are given an ultimatum, “you go to church or else” – I am leaving you, I won’t cut the grass, I won’t do your laundry, I won’t baby sit for you etc., the process of being truly born again will be thwarted.

If we are “religious” to satisfy a demand that man or woman has put upon us, we still are of the perishable or corruptible seed. Our heart and life will not change much. We will still have selfishness, bitterness, self-seeking, prideful ways that include hypocrisy, hate, envy and arrogance. We are not cleansed and purified but we are still continuing in our sin.

By contrast, when the Holy Spirit changes us, His changes are permanent. As we read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, we become a “new creation.” We are born of the imperishable seed and it is the imperishable seed that is planted in our heart where the word of God will live and abide forever.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

If we have this Philadelphia love, it is because we are born again. When we are born again we know that obedience to the word of God is our priority. When we are the new creature we actively and continually receive the word of God into our heart and allow it to take root, so that we can be continuously cleansed and kept pure and continually love each other above self because we love God first and foremost.

I pray that you know this love, I pray that you live this love and I pray that you are known by your love. May the word of God abide in your heart for all eternity! May your witness and God’s word lead the lost souls of this world to saving relationship with Christ our Lord!

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

(“From the Pulpit” is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)