Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Daily the church gathered together to listen to the apostles teach the things Christ had taught them. Among the things the apostles taught was the importance of Christlike love. We know that because of how the early Christians related to each other. Many were willing to deny themselves of the luxuries of this world so that they might have the resources necessary to meet the needs of others. As a result, the early church had a tremendous impact upon those around them. Scripture says that even the non-believing looked upon them with favor and daily the lost were coming to Christ for salvation.
Christlike love is a vital part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. John writes – “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” (1 John 3:14) As some have said, love is one of the birthmarks of the believer.
But it’s not always easy to love others. Sometimes were are called upon to love the unlovely. How can we as followers of Christ demonstrate Christlike love to a lost and dying world?
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
Paul tells us that there is a great spiritual war going on inside of every believer. This war is between their old and new natures. The old nature (the flesh) tells us – “Stand up for yourself. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But the new nature tells us something different. “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Mt 5:44) The natural tendency is to listen to our flesh. It takes something supernatural to enable us to love the unlovely. That supernatural strength comes to us from the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness…
The word used here for love is agape (love that is selfless, sacrificial and unconditional). Such supernatural love is the result (fruit) of the Spirit’s control over our lives. Paul tells us – “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25) In other words, those who will follow Jesus must make the choice to die to their old nature so that His new nature might live in and through them.