“Heard From the Beginning” ( 1 John 3:11 GNV ) by Carley Evans


When you’ve known some important truth from the very beginning of a movement, you’ve essentially no excuse for not understanding it. John writes that from the beginning, we’ve heard that we ought to love one another.

“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”

We therefore have no reason, no justification for backbiting, backstabbing, name-calling, undermining, belittling one another. We’ve no excuse for accusations against one another especially the excuse some call “tough love.” Tough love often looks like hatred. I’ve seen it mock, name-call, belittle, dismiss, accuse, and harm too many over the years and I deny its value in “building up the church.”

Paul calls us to build, not to destroy. We are to enhance one another’s walk with Christ, not demean those walks.

We’ve heard this from the beginning. Let’s act on what we know before others turn and devour us.

“A New Commandment” ( John 13: 34-35, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Jesus tells His disciples that He gives them a new commandment. Up until this point, is love not expected? Are we to gather no motivation exists for loving others who are not best friends or family? Essentially, Jesus says this is true. He says:  love each other because henceforth you belong to the same family — the family of God. You are My friends and as such are friends of each other. Treat one another with love just as I love you.

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.”

So, what makes this commandment new? Jesus, of course. His presence makes His commandment to love one another not like the old commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Christians are to love one another as Jesus loves us — in the same manner: unconditionally.

By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Jesus’ new commandment to love reaches above the ‘golden rule’ to a level previously unknown in the world. The Spirit of the Living God enables Christians to love others in ways beyond their own power. And this love for each other demonstrates to the world that we belong to God.

“The Night Is Nearly Over” ( Romans 13:12, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


Paul encourages us with these words, “The night is nearly over;” “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed;” (Romans 13:11) and “the daylight is near.” Because the night is almost finished, and the light is dawning upon us, Paul exhorts us to “discard the deeds of darkness” since it is fading away and “put on the armor of light” since it is shining already and soon is to be in full glow. We are to “make no plans” to remain in darkness, but are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:14) We are to actively avoid “quarreling and jealousy.” (Romans 13:13)

Notice Paul exhorts us to put off arguing which creates barriers between we who are brothers and sisters in the Lord. Paul says, “Let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in [our] brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13) “Accept anyone who is weak in faith, but don’t argue about doubtful issues.” (Romans 14:1) “Who are [we] to criticize another’s household slave? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand. For the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4)

Therefore, Paul encourages to be accepting of one another in Christ for we are all members of the same body, who is our Lord.

“Watch Out” ( Galatians 5: 15, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Christ set us free from the law of sin and death and we are “not [to] submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) Since we have died to the world in and through Christ, Paul wonders why we “submit to regulations” of the world as if we were still alive to the world. (Colossians 2:20) “For [we] are called to freedom, brothers, only [we are] not [to] use [our] freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love [we are to] serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13) In love, we serve one another and so fulfill “the whole law.” (Galatians 5:14)

In our efforts to conform to regulations which “indeed have an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but have no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:23); sometimes we attack one another. “But if [we] bite and devour one another, watch out that [we] are not consumed by one another.” Instead, we are called to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10) Notice Paul calls us to “do good to everyone.”

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

“The Gospel In Which You Stand” (1 Corinthians 15: 1, NIV) by Carley Evans



Take your stand on and in the good news of Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead. Take your stand on realizing you are unfit to untie and re-tie His sandals. Take your stand on Jesus washing your feet. You do not wash His.

Jesus tells Peter, “Unless I wash you, you have no part in Me.” When Peter hears this, he demands that Jesus wash “my hands and my head as well!” But Jesus says, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.” (John 13:8,9,10)

“Do you understand,” asks Jesus, “what I have done for you?” (John 13:12)

I don’t think we do, at least not fully. I don’t think we understand the abundant life of which Jesus speaks; or the command He gives that “[we] also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14) I’m not sure we even understand that “no servant is greater than his master, nor is the messenger greater than the One who sent him.” (John 13:16) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Jesus says, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:17)

Friday, April 15, 2011 at 9:13pm

“The One Rule” ( Romans 13: 9-10, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“For the commandments, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet’, and any other commandment there may be, are all summed up in the one rule, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ Love cannot wrong a neighbor; therefore the whole law is summed up in love.”

 

Anyone who claims to have never violated the one rule is lying. Those who claim this complete love are deluding themselves — for love does no wrong to its neighbor — ever! Jesus tells the young rich man who wants to know how to enter heaven, “‘If you wish to go the whole way (i.e. if you wish to be perfect), go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and then you will have riches in heaven; and come, follow Me.'” I don’t see many who sell all of their possessions, give all to the poor, and then follow after Jesus. Or, who give the very little they have as does the poor widow; leaving themselves completely dependent upon God.

 

Rather, many of us — if we are honest — weakly follow after our Lord. Which of us will cut off our offending arm rather than enter the fires of hell?

 

But, God in His great mercy, sells all He has and gives it to us — the poor. We are the poor in spirit who rely on His shed blood to enable us to love as He loves. Jesus continually points us to Himself, saying to us that if we wish to succeed in this life and in the life to come, we must leave ourselves behind, stop trying to ‘do good’, and rather just ‘be good’ through His Holy Spirit.

 

“Love cannot wrong a neighbour.” God is love. May He always be allowed to love others through us. Let’s get out of His way.

“Perfect Love : A Binding Contract” ( 1 John 4: 11-12, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“If God thus loves us, dear friends, we in turn are bound to love one another. Though God has never been seen by any man, God Himself dwells in us if we love one another; His love is brought to perfection within us.”

 

And how do we love as God loves us? “This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit. And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent His Son as the world’s Savior. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God — God remains in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.” (1 John 4:13-16, HCSB)

 

We love as God loves by “confessing that Jesus is the Son of God.” Through His Holy Spirit, we “are bound to love one another.” A binding contract exists forever among God and us and our brothers in Christ. The contract calls for love — selfless, giving, understanding, tolerant, helpful, generous, caring, kind, heartfelt, committed.

 

“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, for fear has to do with punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:18-19, HCSB)

“No New Command; Yet Again New” ( 1 John 2: 6 – 8, NEB ) by Carley Evans


The author of the letter 1 John offers us a test — a test of whether “we are in Him,” who is Christ the Lord. If we “claim to be dwelling in Him” then we “bind [ourselves] to live as Christ Himself lived.” And, in living as Christ lived, we will follow what the author refers to as “no new command. It is the old command you always had before you; the old command is the message which you heard at the beginning. And yet again it is a new command that I am giving you — new in the sense that the darkness is passing and the real light already shines. Christ has made this true.”

 

“Only the man who loves his brother dwells in the light; there is nothing to make him stumble.” (1 John 2: 10-11)

 

The darkness which is passing is hatred — hatred of God, of self, of neighbor, of brother and sister, of strangers, of the world God has created. If we hate, then we necessarily dwell in darkness. “The one who hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in the dark and has no idea where he is going, because the darkness has made him blind.” (1 John 2:11)

 

The darkness which is passing is blinding — hatred of God, of self, of neighbor, of brother and sister, of strangers, of the world God has created makes us sightless, wandering about directionless and literally lost.

 

“Do not set your hearts on the godless world or anything in it.” (1 John 2:18) Instead, set your hearts on “the real light [which] alr

“An Obligation To Love” ( Romans 15: 1-2, HCSB ) by Carley Evans


“Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us must please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”

 

“Therefore,” says Paul, “let us no longer criticize one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in your brother’s way.” (Romans 14:13)

 

If we are strong, we may be able to genuinely say “that nothing is unclean in itself.” But if we are weak, we may find our conscience pricked by that very act another finds acceptable, perhaps even finds suitable. If we are weak, we may protest against the other. If we are strong, we are to bear up under this protest. In a sense we are to deny what we know to be true –“that nothing is unclean in itself” — and avoid participating in that activity in the face of the one who is weak. In this way, we (who are strong) will not harm the one who is weak.

 

James say, “Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door!” (James 5:9)

 

Peter says, “Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you are called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)

 

“Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

“Love Manifests Itself” ( Deuteronomy 13: 4, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“You must follow the Lord your God and fear Him; you must keep His commandments and obey Him, serve Him and hold fast to Him.”

 

Walking along the Sea of Galilee, Jesus sees two fishermen brothers – Simon and Andrew. “Jesus says to them, ‘Come with Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ And at once they leave their nets and follow Him.” (Matthew 4: 19-20)

 

Jesus may have told them, “Come to Me, [you] whose work is hard, whose load is heavy; and I will give you relief. Bend your necks to My yoke, and learn from Me, for I Am gentle and humble-hearted; and your souls will find relief. For My yoke is good to bear, my load is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)

 

The Pharisees want to know what is the greatest commandment. Jesus answers, ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. That is the greatest commandment. It comes first. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Everything in the Law and the prophets hangs on these two commandments.’ ” (Matthew 22: 37-40)

 

Love manifests itself, says Jesus. He speaks of the final day when “those on His right hand” receive God’s blessings. “For when I was hungry, you gave Me food; when thirsty, you gave Me drink; when I was a stranger, you took Me into your home, when naked you clothed Me; when I was ill you came to My help, when in prison you visited Me.”  But, those to His right hand do not realize what He is saying to them, so He clarifies: “I tell you this: anything you did for one of My brothers here, however humble, you did for Me.” (Matthew 25:35-37, 40)

 

“In a word, there are three things that last for ever: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of them all is love. Put love first.” (1 Corinthians 13: 13-14:1)