Non gospel preachers talk a lot about human love. They talk a lot about our love for God, and our love for others. They don't talk much about Bible love, or how God's love empowers us to love others.
We hear a lot more teaching and preaching about human love than we do about God's love - the love of God for us. You see, most that is preached is religion - instruction as to how to do good (including loving God and others), and refraining from doing bad.
THE GOSPEL OF JESUS IS THE POWER OF GOD
Paul talks about non-gospel preachers a lot, calling them 'instructors in Christ.' This is because, under the law, they view their job as being one of instructing others how to live life right. The love of Christ in the gospel propels us with the power of God.
Fathers of the gospel (in contrast to instructors in Christ) show how the gospel is the power of God (Rom 1:16). It is what empowers us to live life right. Paul may have been exaggerating, but he said there were 10,000 instructors and very few fathers.
See this difference! The gospel is the power of God in us.
INSTRUCTOR'S SERMONS BEGIN IN SELF
Instructors begin with a life lived in self and they teach 'how to.' If they are truly spiritual, they tack on praying for God's help. But it's a life lived in self, or as Paul would say, in the power of the flesh.
This includes our love for God, and our love for others. They preach human love.
An instructor might say: "Go and try these three things this week: A B C." - "If this doesn't work, come back next week, and I will give you X Y Z to try."
THE BONDAGE OF THE LAW IN GALATIANS
Paul talks a lot in Galatians about being in bondage to the law - to any system of rules. Yet this is the way most people live what they refer to as the Christian life. It's really just coming into bondage to some form of religion.
Instructors convert God's people into legalistic junkies, and religious addicts in need of another 'religious fix' every week. Many sermons bury people under piles of what I call 'religious DO-DO.'
AT TIMES JESUS REFERRED TO THE LAW
The text in Matthew 22:38-40 is one that Jesus stated, and it is used constantly by instructors in Christ who preach a life lived in laws and rules. Here Jesus says to:
(1) Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and
(2) Love your neighbor as yourself.
But if you read the whole passage, we're told in the text itself that Jesus was responding to a TRICK question from a LAWYER about the LAW. He wasn't teaching gospel truth. He was teaching the law that he came to fulfill. He was serving as a 'preacher of the circumcision: the law - but he was doing so to compare it, and contrast it to the truth of God: the gospel (Rom 15:8).
Plus, have you ever thought about this: if you did love God with everything you had, there wouldn't be anything left to love others with. If I only have $2, and I give it all to someone else, I don't have any money left to give to you.
GOD'S LOVE INCREASES AND ABOUNDS IN US
In the last article about love, I closed referencing Paul's words in I Thessalonians 3:12:
"The Lord make you (a) increase - and (b) abound in love one toward another." First notices it is God doing it in us. First of all he makes us increase in his love. The word 'increase' means to become saturated - fat - obese in the love of God, until you are like a balloon so full of air you are ready to explode.
Then, because you are so full of God's love, you about over to others - you spill over onto everyone else around you. But notice it isn't your human love this is talking about. It's talking about the love of God in us that spills over onto others.
This is true Bible love. This is how God's love empowers us to love others.
JESUS GAVE US A NEW COMMAND
In John, Jesus gives us a new command: "Love others - AS I have loved you." He says this twice for emphasis (John 13:34, 15:12). This is saying the same thing as the verse we just discussed, only in a different way. It is as we receive God's love that we are able to love others. But it is knowing Jesus' love for us, and receiving it into us (to 'increase') that enables us to love others with God's love (to abound over to them).
THE GOSPEL HAS US GIVE OTHERS 'USED LOVE'
As we saw, the gospel is the power of God (Rom 1:16 revisited). Jesus told us to believe the gospel and to live in its power. When we do, we come to realize the truth of his words: "My yoke is easy… my burden is light" (Matt 11:30).
Jesus came to proclaim the gospel truth to us (John 18:37). Our job is to believe (John 6:29), and to receive what Jesus came to bring us. When we receive the gospel, it goes to work in us and produces good results in our lives (Col 1:5-6). This is why Jesus way is easy. If we just learn to receive the gospel of Jesus - the power of God into us, then life becomes so much easier. Then Jesus says, "As you have freely received, so freely give."
We simply receive God's love, use it ourselves, and then give it away.
If we don't receive God's love unconditionally, we can't love others as God wants us to. God's love is a continuum -- from him to us to others. If we feel God is demanding, under his law, then we demand things from others. But if we know his love, in grace, -- then we can love others as Jesus loves us!
John knew he was 'the disciple whom Jesus loved.' I'm sure Jesus loved them all, but John had true revelation of the love of God. When we have that same revelation, then love for others becomes easy because it's not something that begins in us. It begins in God, as do all good gospel things.