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“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. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35


Love one another

Sadly, society today often has a very watered-down idea of what real love is and looks like. We are surrounded by popular music, TV programmes, and social media posts that talk about ‘love’, but so often this is not reflective of the love that Jesus commands of us in John 13:34-35. We are often guilty of playing down ‘love’, like society around us, instead of seeking to really understand and live out Biblical love. Unpacking these verses in John will help us to grow in love for Jesus, and for one another.
 
1. What are we called to do? It is important to understand the context in which Jesus is speaking here. Jesus has just predicted His own death and knows that His time on earth will soon be over. These are some of His final instructions to His followers, just a few days before He would be crucified, and He commands them to ‘love one another’. In fact, this command appears many times in the New Testament, so it is something we need to take notice of too!

There are various different types of ‘love’ mentioned in the Bible, and it is important to be clear about what Jesus is commanding of us here. The Greek word used here is ‘Agape’ – which talks of a deep, sacrificial, unconditional love, like the love which God has shown towards us. In love, God sent Jesus as a sacrifice so that we might know restored relationship with Him. His love is completely selfless and faithful; He chose to love us, and is committed to loving us, for eternity. We are called to love like this – what a huge challenge!
 
2. Who are we called to love? Jesus is talking here to His disciples, His faithful followers. The words apply to all his followers in the time between His ascension, and His return; that means us too! The command here is to love one another; that is, we are to love other followers of Jesus, other Christians, the Church. The instruction is not a new one; as early as Leviticus 19:18, God’s people had been told ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ But what is new here, is that we are called to love one another as Jesus has loved us. We are to love our church family and other Christians in obedience to Jesus’ command and His example.

As we think about our church family, many of us will feel a real sense of joy. But sadly, we live in a world that is spoiled by sin, and too often this applies to our relationships with other Christians. We find it hard to forgive those who may have hurt us, or we feel frustrated by others and wonder how it is possible to love them with the true, agape love that Jesus commands of us in these verses.

The Bible gives us a series of helpful images that can help to shape the way we view our church family and other Christians in our lives. They show us how God views the church; and how we, by the work and help of the Holy Spirit, should view our ‘one anothers’ too.

1 John 4:10-12: We are God’s beloved people. He loved us so much that He sent Jesus to die for us. If God loves us that much – so we ought to love one another – even those who we’ve been hurt by or feel frustrated by.

Romans 12:4-6: We belong to each other. Because we are in Christ, we have a deep connection to our fellow Christians that cannot be broken. We belong to one another; God has given us one another as a gift to help, love, encourage and support one another.

1 Corinthians 1:2: We are a holy people. God calls us to a life of holiness; but this is not something we can achieve quickly, or on our own! Holiness is a community project. Our personal holiness is connected to the holiness of those around us and Christ is making us holy together.

1 Corinthians 12:18-20: We are one body. We are a diverse group of people with different personalities, different backgrounds, different views. But we are also a united body of people because we all trust in Jesus. Every member of the body has different gifts, and every member of the body is important. We shouldn’t judge one another based on what gifts we do, or don’t have – rather we should appreciate the grace of God in each of our lives and seek to work together in unity.

2 Corinthians 13:11: We are family. Christians are addressed as ‘brothers and sisters’ throughout the New Testament. The reality that we are family affects the way that we interact with one another and care for one another. These are not temporary relationships – these are eternal relationships!

As we meditate on these, and other images in the Bible that describe the church, our view of and love for one another will be shaped by what God says about it, and our joy at belonging to one another will increase.
 
3. How are we to love like this? When considering how we are to love one another with true, agape love, Philippians 2:5-11 is really helpful because it points us to the ultimate example of love – in Jesus. From these verses, we can draw four defining features of Jesus’ love.

Jesus love was selfless (v6). Even though Jesus was the Son of God, He chose not to use that to His own advantage, and rather looked to the interests of others. He was completely selfless, always giving of Himself. He was not judgemental, rather accepted anyone who saw their need of Him and was willing to trust Him. For us, selfless love might look like:

  • Letting someone else pray or speak before we jump in.
  • Letting someone else do something instead of you, so that they might grow in grace and in their gifts.
  • Selfless love affects the way we think – accepting others rather than judging them; battling against our own pride; building others up instead of putting them down.
Jesus loved by serving (v7). Jesus took ‘the very nature of a servant’ – He gave His life to serving God and others. Jesus was willing to perform the most menial of tasks (for example washing his disciples feet) in order to show His love for His disciples and to teach them a servant nature. Each of us can seek to bless others by our actions. For example:
  • Serving practically at church e.g. setting up chairs, serving refreshments etc.
  • Serving informally e.g. giving lifts, babysitting, providing a meal.
  • Meeting regularly with another woman from church to read a book/the Bible and pray together.
Jesus loved with humility (v8)The world puts pressure on us to strive for success and put ourselves first, but if Jesus, who is God and deserves all praise, humbled Himself in order to show love to us, we should strive to be humble and truly love one another. Maybe we need to:
  • Take time to really listen to others.
  • Teach someone how to do something because you want to see them grow in their gifts and in holiness.
  • Humble ourselves and admit when we are struggling – this allows others to bless and love us.


Jesus loved sacrificially (v8) by becoming ‘…obedient to death, even death on a cross!’. This is the ultimate example of sacrificial love. Jesus gave His very life, for us. We may not be called to give up our lives for one another, but we are called to love sacrificially, perhaps by:

  • Sacrificing our time to bless others and to deepen relationships.
  • Sacrificing our money so that we might encourage others with a gift or meal.
  • Giving of ourselves – admitting weaknesses, bearing others’ burdens and facing challenges together – so that relationships deepen, and love grows.

We are called to love selflessly, by serving, with humility and by making sacrifices. This is a huge challenge and can feel impossible. But we can be encouraged that:

  • Growing in love for one another is a lifelong process, until we reach Heaven. We are to try and grow, and to commit to working on loving one another as Jesus has loved us.
  • We aren’t called to do this alone. God has given us our Church family as a gift, that we might spur one another on and help one another to keep going and keep growing in love and holiness.
  • God is working in us to help us love one another. 1 John 4:7-16 tells us that ‘God lives in us and His love is made complete in us’, and ‘This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit’. We can only love because God first loved us, and we are able to grow because His Spirit is working in our hearts. As we deepen our ‘vertical’ relationship with God, so our ‘horizontal’ relationships with one another are enriched with greater agape love. 

4. Why are we to love like this? John 13:35 tells us ‘By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’. Yes, loving one another encourages fellow Christians to keep walking with Jesus. But also, when we love one another, it displays the love of Christ to the world around us. When we love one another with true agape love, people know that we belong to Jesus, and see the attractiveness of the Gospel. We must disciple one another, and we must share Jesus with others – both can be achieved when we love one another with agape love.
 
In summary, we are commanded to love one another. Not with a worldly, watered-down version of love – but with true, sacrificial agape love; the greatest example of which is seen in Jesus. We are commanded to love one another – to appreciate the church as a gift, our family, a place to belong. We are commanded to be selfless, to serve, to be humble and to make sacrifices – just as Jesus did those things for us. But we don’t do this alone – we encourage one another to grow in love, and we are empowered to love by the Holy Spirit, who lives in our hearts. Loving one another well allows us to encourage others and points the world around us to Christ.

 

Sarah Roberts, 23/05/2022
Hello
Hello and welcome! If you are a new visitor, please click here to find out what to expect at one of our Sunday services. If you would like any more information, please get in touch with the Church Office

 

Planning your Visit

New to Church? New to the area?

We are a growing family of Christians, committed to sharing the good news about Jesus, loving one another and loving our community in Pontprennau/Pentwyn, and beyond.

We'd love you to come and visit us for one of our Sunday meetings. Here are some answers to common questions, to help you know what to expect when you visit:

   

Where & when do you meet?

We meet every Sunday at 10am for our Sunday meeting in Pontprennau Primary School. If you are planning to visit for the first time you are welcome to send us a note to office@bridgechurchcardiff.org so that we can guarantee you a space and give you a warm welcome.  It helps to get there 15 minutes early to get a parking spot and find your seat in time for the meeting to start. Parking spaces are limited so please park considerately. We meet at:

Pontprennau Primary School

Heol Pontprennau

Cardiff

CF23 8LL

  

What can I expect on a Sunday?

Our meetings are currently being managed in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidance.  As a result some of the activities listed below are restricted or look slightly different.  However, we can  assure you or a warm welcome and an informal, family feel despite the restrictions that may be in place when you visit.

You will be welcomed at the door, where we can answer any questions you might have and direct you to where you need to go. The service will last about 60 minutes and will 
include Bible reading, prayer and a sermon during which the Bible reading is explained. 

Tea and coffee are served after the service - there is plenty of time to meet new people and ask more questions. Click here for more information.   

What happens to the kids?

We have a programme for Children and Young People during the morning service. Children will leave the main service  when announced by the service leader. 

Creche (up to 3 years). Led by our Crèche team, the youngest in our congregation enjoy a time of Bible stories, singing, craft and play.

Sunday School (reception to Year 6). Our Sunday School team lead the children as they learn about God from the Bible through videos, activities, games, and craft. 

Youth (years 7-13). Our young people stay in the service and meet afterwards to discuss and apply the sermon together with one of the youth leaders.

For more information, click here.

Is there a dress code?

No! Please just be yourself and come dressed in your 'normal' clothes. 

Will I have to join in?

Not at all! You are very welcome to simply observe or participate as much as feels comfortable for you.   

I have more questions, how can I ask them?

Please feel free to contact us, or speak to one of the leaders or welcome team on a Sunday morning.