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To be able to love one another as Jesus loved us when we are fellow disciples is to be expected, don’t you think? It is, after all, the new commandment for His disciples. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”[1] And this He taught to the eleven after Judas had left.[2]

What is the love that Jesus has for us? “Sacrificial, agape,” you say, and that is true. However, one quality of Jesus’ love for us that is rarely practised is the inseparable nature of His love. When you practise sacrificial love without realising that the agape love of God is also inseparable, that is, you can never be separated from His love, you will be tempted to place those for whom you have loved sacrificially under obligation to you, and as such, you would want some form of thanks or gratitude from them, even obedience. However, when you learn to love with not only a sacrificial but an inseparable love, which is that nothing will allow that person to be separated from your love, then, no matter what that person does, says or thinks, he/she will not be separated from your love or aspects of your love.

Notice that Jesus did not command that we are to like one another, but love one another, using the Greek word ‘agape’ to denote the quality of that love. And as Paul has taught us: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.[3]

Not that we are able to be all that with our love for one another at all times, but at the appropriate time we must learn to be patient with one another, at other times rejoice with the truth of each other and so on. Learning to love with an inseparable love as well as a sacrificial love takes away the temptation and burden of needing those you have made sacrifices for to be grateful and gracious, even obedient to you. If it is hard to love sacrificially, then it is even harder to love inseparably. That is why most only practise love superficially.

The apostles, by and large, understood and practised sacrificial love as did many of the early Christians, proving their love for God by their martyrdom, and so watered the seed of the Gospel with their blood, sweat and tears so that we, who are here today, have the liberty to study and examine the Scriptures and practise our faith as we do. However, they failed in practising inseparable love. Even the first two members of the elect of the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Paul (Saul) failed, for when Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them, Paul had a sharp argument with Barnabas and they parted company.[4] Paul chose Silas and Barnabas went off with Mark, and when they did that, they overrode the Holy Spirit’s choice of partnership, for the Spirit clearly said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”[5]

If Paul and Barnabas had become inseparable in spirit, then even if they were separated in the flesh, they would have remained much stronger. Look at what happened to these two great apostles after they parted company. Barnabas fell into hypocrisy through the teachings of men from James,[6] and Paul fell into the hands of the Romans and the Sanhedrin because of the recommendations of the elders led by James.[7] Thus, the development of inseparable love is paramount to this generation of the elect of the Holy Spirit, if we are to escape the mistakes of Barnabas and Paul.

Look at Acts 15:36 and you will see that the cause of the split between Barnabas and Paul is a man called Mark, whom Paul did not want to take with them any longer because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. Paul’s fault is that he kept a record of Mark’s wrong, thus negating what love is, and Barnabas’ wrong was that he chose to side with Mark rather than Paul. After all, who was Mark at that time but just another of a multitude who so often will desert fellowships and not continue in their work. But Paul was the one the Holy Spirit had set Barnabas apart with, for the words, “set apart for Me,” mean, ‘make holy for Me.’ To remain in complete holiness with the Lord, Barnabas had to remain with Paul. Once they were separated, they each then lacked the strength to resist the teachings of the men from James and the proposal of the elders of Jerusalem. One fell into hypocrisy and the other into the hands of the Romans and imprisonment.

They both had been powerful. Indeed, it is written: So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of His Grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders.[8] Thus, they had a powerful ministry. They were able to deliver the blow, but they were not strong enough to receive the blow. So when the situation over Mark arose, they split, and once they were split, eventually hypocrisy and imprisonment were their lot.

Barnabas should have chosen Paul over Mark, for genuine unity is to be one with the one or ones whom the Lord has set you apart with. The Holy Spirit did not set Barnabas with Mark, even though in a general context Barnabas was obligated to be one with Mark in the Lord Jesus, but to be holy, he was obligated to be with Paul.

An inseparable love that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.[9] And since we are to love as Christ loved us, then likewise, neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation should be able to separate us. Yet, many are and others will, who are not prepared to add to their sacrifice to extinguish the superficiality, and to sacrifice inseparably.

How inseparable is Christ’s love for us? He said to the eleven, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”[10] And He prayed, “Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am.”[11] This likewise, should be our prayer and our commitment to one another as the second generation of the elect of the Holy Spirit, that is, those set apart from the church to do the work He has for us, that we will always be with one another even to the end of the age, and where we are, we want those given us to be with us. This is the attitude of inseparable love that nothing in creation can overcome.

If there is a matter of conflict with another elect over a member of the church, you must always stay with the elect even if they are wrong. Barnabas should have stuck with Paul and told Silas to take Mark, full stop. For everything needs confirmation by at least two witnesses and only if there are at least two in agreement will things or can things be done. Without each other, Paul and Barnabas could witness nothing for the Holy Spirit nor get anything done for the Holy Spirit. And so the gangrene of James’ recommendations and the teachings of the men from James spread through the church, leaving her the weak, sick and powerless institution she is, filled with those who are weak for they have no miraculous power or strength but are sick. A church that can only offer palliative care and entertaining distractions like clowns performing to dying children on a cancer ward.

Barnabas may not have liked Paul anymore for being so harsh on Mark, but he had to remain inseparable from Paul, and Paul many have no longer liked Barnabas for suggesting to take Mark with them, but he had to remain inseparable from Barnabas. Inseparable, even after a sharp argument though they may no longer like each other. Inseparable, until God’s Grace and time allowed them to forgive one another again. So inseparable that only the Holy Spirit could separate, for whomever God has put together, let no man put asunder.

And since love cannot be taught nor preached, but can only be lived, then we cannot speak of this love to other disciples until we have it ourselves for one another. Even when you no longer like each other, or even hate each other, you will remain inseparable because you are still focussed entirely on Jesus under the Holy Spirit’s direction.

If you have inseparable love for one another, you will never leave because of a sharp argument or disagreement. You would only leave when the Holy Spirit has commanded you, and even then, leave as one whose very heart and soul are being torn apart, with a tearful farewell, as when Paul farewelled the Ephesian church, they all wept as they embraced him and kissed him.[12] That is between an apostle and his church.

Between fellow elects of the Holy Spirit, it should even be stronger. So strong that death cannot separate us so that if one of us should die, we either raise him up or all die with him. Life cannot separate us, so what does that mean? It means the things of life such as work, friends, husbands, wives or families, do not separate us. You would drop a boyfriend rather than hear them ridicule your fellow elect. The present cannot separate, be it good times or bad or busy times. The future cannot separate, nothing can.

Your political allegiance should never separate. In fact, as elect of the Holy Spirit, you must be free of all political allegiances, for we are bent to have Christ enthroned only. No angel nor demon, no spirits can separate you from one another. No angelic message can separate you, only the Holy Spirit can separate you. As such, you entertain no rumours and no gossip, for if even sin cannot separate you, then what place do speculation or jealousies have? You may not like one another, you may have nothing similar and no great friendships blossom, but your love is inseparable. No matter what, you remain patient and persevere with each other whilst all the other aspects of love like kindness, gentleness and trust blossom as the season permits. But dogged, unrelenting patience and perseverance must remain, like a pine tree through the snow of winter awaiting the warmer climate of spring, to allow gentleness, kindness and trust to blossom.

Inseparable love is the love that endures beyond perseverance, even when all other aspects of love have died. I may not be kind, but I persevere. I may keep all records of your wrongs, but I persevere. I may not trust you, but I persevere, and so on. That is what makes love not only sacrificial, but inseparable.

Power alone is insufficient now, although power with words was able to start the early church so gloriously. Now, two thousand years later, a fellowship that is known for its power alone is insufficient for the day. It requires a fellowship of disciples who are as strong as they are powerful. Powerful, because of the word they live by and strong because of the love they forgive by.

It is pointless to raise up a powerful fellowship without proper strength, for by and by, out of that work would only come many splinter groups, each competing with the other for domination, because unless you learn to be as inseparable as you are powerful, men will come in as they did to the early church and split you. Men who have wise and persuasive words, who are not above rumour mongering and self-seeking opinions, men who had no power before they joined us and still have no power even after they leave us. Thus, you may not agree with one another, you may not like one another, and you may have sharper arguments with one another than either Paul or Barnabas, but you must remain inseparable from one another.

So, do not think that it is lightly that you are called the elect of the Holy Spirit, those of you who know that you have been set aside by the Holy Spirit for His work. In Paul’s and Barnabas’ day, they were not up against an organised church with its many denominational strongholds, you are. So, do not make the mistake of Paul and Barnabas.

Be convinced: Let neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that we have in Christ Jesus our Lord. AMEN


 

[1] John 13:34-35

[2] John 13:30

[3] 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

[4] Acts 15:37-39

[5] Acts 13:2

[6] Galatians 2:12-13

[7] Acts 21:23-25

[8] Acts 14:3

[9] Romans 8:38-39

[10] Matthew 28:20

[11] John 17:24

[12] Acts 20:37

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