"A new commandment I give you," Jesus proclaimed (John 13:34). Think about this. Jesus, Lord and Judge of the universe proclaims a command to His followers. Jesus, who is described in Revelation as having "eyes like a flame of fire" and a "voice like the roar of many waters" and "from His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and His face was like the sun shining in full strength" (Revelation 1:12-16). He is commanding you and me as Judge and Ruler with an expectation to obey.
"Love one another," the Lord ordered. How?
Jesus continued His mandate, "As I have loved you, you also are to love one another." How have You loved us, Lord, that we may love one another in the same way?
Love is patient and kind
Love does not envy or boast
Love is not arrogant or rude.
Love does not insist on its own way
Love is not irritable or resentful
Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things
Love believes all things
Love hopes all things
Love endures all things.
(I Corinthians 13:4-7)
The church is the bride of Christ, and as our Lord took on the form of a servant and washed His disciples' feet, He washes His bride whom He died for with the water of His Word (Ephesians 5:25-26). When our Lord had finished washing His disciples' feet, He said, "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you." Our Lord has given us an example of loving service He is commanding you and I to obey in His church.
This is what a church is to look like who is "bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:1-7). To disobey the love one another command in rebellion to the Head of the Church is to disrupt her Spirit-given unity and peace.
As described in I Corinthians 13, love in the church bought by Jesus Christ who loves His church is a patient, long-suffering love brimming with kindness towards one another. There is no air of arrogance or rudeness. No voice of boasting how much better we perform our Christian duties than others. Love does not demand from each other to accomplish our preferences and get our own way. Love dispels any and all tension of irritability or resentful desire to injure others. Love rejoices in the truth, not at wrongdoing.
Charles Spurgeon comments, "This love both covers and bears all things. It never proclaims the errors of others. It refuses to see faults unless it may kindly help in their removal. It stands in the presence of a fault with a finger on its lips. It does not attempt to make a catalog of provocations."
Spurgeon said in reference to "believing all things,"
To our fellow Christians, love always believes the best of them. I wish we had more of this faith abroad in all the churches, for a horrid blight falls upon some communities through suspicion and mistrust. Though everything may be pure and right, yet certain weak minds are suddenly fevered with anxiety through the notion that all is wrong and rotten. This unholy mis-trust is in the air, a blight upon all peace: it is a sort of fusty mildew of the soul by which all sweet perfume of confidence is killed. (Source)Instead, this love which believes all things
believes good of others as long as it can, and when it is forced to fear that wrong has been done, love will not readily yield to evidence but will give the accused brother or sister the benefit of many doubts. Some persons habitually believe everything that is bad about others; they are not the children of love.The Apostle Paul concludes this thought in his letter to the local church in Corinth with this, "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
In his book, Charity and its Fruits, the Great Awakening preacher Jonathan Edwards writes,
Do not make an excuse that you have not opportunities to do anything for the glory of God, for the interest of the Redeemer's kingdom, and for the spiritual benefit of your neighbors. If your heart is full of love, it will find vent; you will find or make ways enough to express your love in deeds. When a fountain abounds in water it will send forth streams.Let God's love which is poured out into our hearts send forth streams of love for Christ's church. Brothers and sisters, let our love be genuine and love one another in obedience to Christ, our loving Bridegroom. For our Lord's love for us bears all things, is patient and kind with us. He is "merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Psalm 86:15). We love because He first loved us (I John 4:19). Praise be to God for His great love and amazing grace for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!