By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.
I. CHRIST WOULD HAVE EVERY CHRISTIAN KNOWN TO BE A DISCIPLE. And this cannot be otherwise. The fire of grace will ever show itself both by smoke and light. But wherein must we show ourselves disciples of Christ? In five things.
1. The disciples were called by Christ's voice, and depended on His mouth for instruction and direction. So must we be made disciples by the word of Christ. But if thou carest not for the preaching of the Word, or canst content thyself in thy ignorance, or with some confused knowledge, thou showest thou art no disciple.
2. The disciples being called, denied themselves, left all for Christ, and acknowledged no master but Him alone (Matthew 4:22; Matthew 23:8, 10). If thou likewise be a disciple thou must renounce all other masters and all employments which will not stand with Christianity.
3. The disciples were called to be near attendants of Christ and perform all His commandments (John 8:31; John 15:14, 15).
4. The disciples were glad of Christ's presence, and when He was absent their hearts were full of sorrow. If thou art a disciple thy soul rejoiceth in the presence of Christ, in His ordinances, in the directions and consolations of His Spirit.
5. The disciples had commission and commandment to make other disciples, accordingly were diligent in their callings, spending themselves in doing good to others. Dost thou gain others to Christ and form thine own course to His?
II. CHRIST WOULD HAVE ALL KNOW HIS DISCIPLES BY THIS BADGE OF LOVE (1 John 2:10).
1. What is this true Christian love?
(1) The act — love; it is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). No natural man is capable of it, nor any but such as are entered into God's school (1 Thessalonians 4:9).
(2) The object of it is good men, and all good men (Ephesians 1:15), even the poorest and meanest, without accepting of persons; it must not offend one of the little ones.
(3) The bond of this love is goodness. Christian love loves not only in the truth, but for the truth (2 John 2).
(4) The rule of this love is according to Christ (ver. 34). Thus —
(a) He loved us first, before we loved Him.
(b) When we were enemies.
(c) Not for His benefit, but ours.
(d) To make us better.
1. Constantly, even to the end.
2. This is a badge of a true Christian man. And that for these reasons —
(1) It is a note of God's child, or one that is born of God (1 John 4:7, 8; 1 John 3:14).
(2) It is a note of the Spirit's presence, who dwells nowhere but in the heart of a sound Christian.
(3) A lively and inseparable fruit of living faith is a badge of a true Christian, but true love of the brethren is such a fruit of living faith (Galatians 5:6).
(4) A note of a true member of the Church is a badge of a true Christian, but it is a note of a true member of the Church when the lion and lamb feed together, etc. (Isaiah 11:7, 8), that is, when a man brought into the kingdom of Christ putteth off his fierce, lionish, and poisonful affection, and is now become tame and tractable as a lamb of Christ's fold, or as a child resembles his heavenly Father, who is loving and merciful.
Parallel VersesKJV: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.