Sunday Considerations: Loving Christ’s People

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.
Whoever does not love abides in death.
(1 John 3:14, ESV)

So, Brothers and Sisters, if we can say that we love God’s people, as God’s people, because they are God’s people, that is a mark that we have passed from death unto life! Do you love them for Christ’s sake? Do you say to yourself, “That is one of Christ’s people. That is one who bears Christ’s Cross. That is one of the children of God and, therefore, I love him and take delight in his company”? Then that is an evidence that you are not of the world. If you were, you would love the world, but, belonging to Christ, you love those who are Christ’s and you love them for Christ’s sake.

Another is you love them for the Truth of God’s sake. We are but earthen vessels, yet there is the excellency of the treasure of God put within us, so, when you can say, “I love that man because of the Truth of God he preaches. I do not care about his talents, but I do care about his Gospel”—when you can say, “I love that woman, I delight to hear her speak of Jesus, her experience comforts me because it is full of Christ.” Or, “I love to read the writings of such a Brother because there is a savor of Christ about every letter that he writes” – that is a mark that you have passed from death unto life. If you love the children, you love the Father, I am pretty sure of that. And if you love Him, it is because He first loved you!

It is another mark of our passing from death unto life when we love God’s people for their own sake, when we wish that we were like they are, when we say to ourselves, “I would gladly be the least among them, washing their feet and filling the humblest place, so that I might share the love which is their joy.” It is a sure token that you are a child of God when you love God’s people even when the world hates them, taking their part, being willing to be reproached with them. When you say, “You scoff at such a saint, do you? I am one of the same family, so give me some of your scorn! If you have any rotten stuff to fling and you set this Christian man in the pillory, I will stand by his side and count it a great honor to share the contempt that comes upon a child of God.” If you thus love the saints, you need not be afraid whether you have passed from death unto life.

It is also a sure mark of Grace when we love the company of God’s people as a people, when we are willing to go to the little Prayer Meeting to hear them pray, when we hear them groaning and yet feel, “That is just the kind of sorrow that I would like to feel.” When we hear them joyful and say, “That is the kind of joy I want to feel.” When we hear them tell about what the Lord has done for them, and though we have not felt quite the same joy, ourselves, yet say, “I love them because the Lord has loved them. If He has not yet worked all this in me, I love them because He has worked it in them. I rejoice to see my Father’s finger anywhere, on anyone, whoever he may be.” Well, if that is your case, go your way in peace! It seems but a very small token of the inward life that we love the Brothers and Sisters, yet it is one of the surest in the world, and it is one of which even you high and mighty saints may be glad to avail yourselves in the cloudy and dark day which, sooner or later, may come upon you.

God grant us all to have a share in this precious knowledge, for Christ’s sake! Amen and Amen.
~ Charles Spurgeon. Excerpt from the sermon “Life Proved by Love,” 1898.

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