A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35)
This morning, as I sat in the car, waiting to get some new windshield wiper blades installed, I noticed a prominent sign on top of a little stack of tires. It said: “Goodyear Tires are the Best-Selling Tires in America.” Every time I looked up, there was the sign. When I left, I had new wiper blades on the windshield, and the words of an ad in my head. (We have a good set of Michelin tires on our car.) But, somehow the idea of brand names went with me all day. Brand names have great power. Good Year, Good Rich and Firestone were the three competing names I saw as soon as I could read. Other names have been added. Recently we had to buy a new refrigerator and we bought a familiar brand name.
Out of curiosity I went to Google Images and wrote: “brand names.” I scanned and scanned and studied the great display of brand names of all kinds of products. Big money is spent on promoting brand name products. It’s because that’s the way the human mind works. One of the best pieces of advertising is the Good Year blimp. They began building them for the military during WW1 and then for themselves. Actually, there’s a fleet of Goodyear Blimps. They’re as American as apple pie and part of America. The blimp may be one of the reasons Good Year sells so many tires.
CHRISTIANS HAVE A BRAND NAME: “They Love One Another.” It’s not the brand name of your denomination even if you say your brand name is “non-denominational.” It’s not if you live in a cave as a holy man on a mountain. Jesus said that Christian’s love for one another would be the way all men would know that we are His disciples. It would be easier if He had said that men would know we belong to Jesus if we wore a sign; Or maybe a bumper sticker on the car that says: “Honk if you love Jesus.” I’m not knocking it. But, you’d better drive right and live right if someone pulls out in front of you or gets your parking space. Maybe the bumper sticker is not the best way to tell everyone that you are Jesus’ disciple.
Wearing a gold necklace with a cross on it has been a favorite way of witnessing to others for a long time. Again, it’s a shortcut that doesn’t take the place of loving like Jesus loved.
It’s hard to love someone who smells bad or acts like they have a devil in them. I have preached enough in rescue missions and jails to know that everybody doesn’t smell good. Some people talk bad. It’s hard to love sinners that you might have to shoot to protect yourself. Yes, I have carried a 38 pistol in my pocket many a day. (I started doing that after an attempt was made on us on a stretch of Interstate highway.) Jesus told His disciples: …he that hath no sword (dagger), let him sell his garment, and buy one. (Luke 22:36)
They walked hundreds of miles and slept in the open. Jesus ordained that they should protect themselves with a dagger. Today that would be equal to a small firearm. There’s a place to love people and there’s no conflict between that and protecting your own life and your family.
BUT, OUR TEXT TODAY DOES NOT ADDRESS LOVING THESE PEOPLE. It talks about Christians loving other Christians. Our family and our church are the gymnasium where we practice being decent to one another. It’s not a good idea to have a word fight on the way to church on Sunday morning. It’s not a good idea to call the preacher aside and jump him about somebody’s ungodly behavior right before he gets up to preach. (Please!)
Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: (deception) Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue (pursue) it. (1Peter 3:8-11)
If someone asks me if I’m called to preach, I would have to say “yes.” But I might also say that long before I was called to preach, I was called to keep my mouth shut if all I have to say is something ugly. That’s what the text above says. “Ye are thereunto called.” In the passage above, I am called to not get in a word fight (railing for railing). If I would see good days, I must refrain my tongue from evil and avoid talking out of both sides of my mouth (speak no guile). One of the problems of running our mouth wide open is that God is witness to everything we say and makes a note of it.
If we are going to be good Christians, we are going to have to manage our tongues. In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. (Proverbs 10:19) For a long time I have believed that more relationships are destroyed from misuse of the tongue than from drunkenness and drugs. But, what about the love theme? I’m on the love theme. We don’t love people until our tongue loves people.
We hear frustrated people burst out sometimes and say: “I’m going to give him/her a piece of my mind.” Not a good idea. Words are like feathers in the wind. It’s impossible to get them back after they’ve left your mouth. “But, you might as well say it as to think it.” Not so. A lot of people are in an early grave for something they said. But no one is in an early grave for something they thought.
OK, I need to be more loving toward others. How do I do that? …the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:5) Another part of our loving others is how we manage our inward urges. We learn to love people by remembering what Jesus said: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Everybody who heard Jesus preach, no doubt, had seen someone hanging on a cross in agony and gasping for breath. He did not indulge Himself in saying empty words. He meant what He said. Many times, in this life we are called by God to deny ourselves and to lay ourselves on the instrument of death. We call it “dying to self.”
When we are tempted to let go with unmeasured words, it’s time to nail the tongue to the cross. It has to be done. It will do you great harm if you don’t. In different words, that’s what Jesus said to do…take up our cross daily. Put self to death on the cross. We are to deny ourselves and take up our instrument of death to self. This will change your life.
Our brand name is: I love you! I will deny myself for you if need be. That’s how people will know we belong to Jesus. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
NOVEMBER 3, 2017 – FRIDAY
A.M. Jeremiah 36-37 P.M. Philemon 1
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
For whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:23b
Song for Today:
He Giveth More Grace (3:07) (Gaither Group)
You may have to adjust the volume or delete an ad.