know about him. He’s one of those love preachers.” He didn’t mean that as a compliment, but I
took it as one. I thought it placed me in good company.
To that preacher, emphasizing love was the antithesis of standing for truth, upholding sound
doctrine, and opposing error. I do not believe that is so. Love, as taught and defined in Scripture,
does all those things.
He quickly added a second commandment, which was inseparable from the first. “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matt. 22:39). His conclusion was, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:40).
In speaking to His disciples, Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). Think of it. Loving one another is our badge of discipleship.
John, the Apostle of Love, wrote: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). Paul, who wrote more than half of the New Testament, added: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor. 13:13).
This love, of which Jesus, John, Paul, and others spoke, is not some syrupy sentiment or some action based upon fickle feelings. It is a decision of the will which obeys God, puts the welfare of others above our own desires, and does the right thing for the right reason.
It knows how to speak the truth, but it always does it in love (Eph. 4:15). It knows how to stand for what is right, but it is not harsh or quarrelsome (2 Tim. 2:24). It upholds sound doctrine, but it realizes that loving God and one another is itself a matter of doctrine (2 Tim. 1:13).
I have decided that I will keep on being a “love preacher,” as long as God gives me breath. My prayer for myself and others will continue to be, “And above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (Col. 3:14).