Friends and Enemies

Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)

What is love?

What is the world?

What does it mean to love the world? Do you love the world?

This is an important question, as the consequences are rather serious.

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

Are you an enemy of God?

Or are you His friend?

How do you know?

The Master told His twelve disciples, "You are My friends if you do what I command you."1 But what was His command? This is My commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you.2

So what is love? Is love a feeling?

How did He love His disciples?

The answer to this question settles the matter of whether you are a friend or an enemy of God. Do you want to know?

Friends of God

The Greek word translated love in the verses above means the direction of the will towards whomever or whatever one finds his joy in,3 which is inescapably revealed in how one spends his time, money, and energy.

The gospels show us exactly how Yahshua spent His time and energy. He did not take one thought for Himself. His attention was always on His disciples. He was always serving them, teaching them, encouraging them, and correcting them. It was His full-time occupation. And then He died for them.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. (John 13:1)

That is how He loved them. And that is how He commanded them to love one another.4 They were to lay down their lives for one another daily.5 It was to be their full-time occupation. It was no accident or mistake that the church began as a community, as the book of Acts records:

Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:44-47)

Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. (Acts 4:32-35)

Living together in community was the only way they could practically obey their Master's commandments, to give up everything to follow Him,6 and to love one another as He had loved them,7 and to seek first His kingdom without worrying about what they would eat or what they would wear.8

How can anyone not worry about where his food and clothing will come from? Only if his brothers and sisters are taking care of his needs. In the true Body of Messiah all are continually serving one another according to each one's particular grace and gifting,9 doing the works prepared for them to walk in.10 That is how each one practically obeys the command to "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness," with the result that each one has everything he needs.11 Someone has the grace and gifting to take care of the clothing needs for the community, while someone else makes sure there is healthy food on the table, while others work to provide an income, to maintain their dwellings, to teach the children, to shepherd the flock, etc. Every member of the Body labors on behalf of all, and none need be anxious for their own life.

That is how disciples love one another. They direct their will toward the One they love, who lives in their brothers and sisters. Only by loving and serving them can they practically love and serve Him.12 He lives where they live, and He honors those who serve Him where He lives13 -- in the community of the redeemed. They are His friends, and He reveals Himself to them because they obey His commandments.14

Enemies of God

So who are His enemies? They are those who claim to be His friends, but do not obey His commandments.15 They claim to love Him, and even to love one another, but the lion's share of their time and energy is consumed in making a comfortable life for themselves in this world.

Remember, what the Bible calls "love" is not a feeling. It is the direction of your will towards the object of your love. Your love is measured by what captures your attention, by what you take delight in, and by where you spend your time, money, and energy. That is the fact of the matter, regardless of how you feel.

Whom or what do you love? What is the direction of your will?

Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)

What is the world? What are the things of the world?

For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:16-17)

There are the obvious things -- television, movies, sports, luxuries, lust, pursuit of wealth and power. But these are merely the outward manifestations of living for one's self. That is the root of the problem. You must hate your life in this world.16 Until you reach that point, you remain a friend of the world and an enemy of God.17

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:26)

Love versus Hate

Just as "love" in the Gospels is not merely a feeling of good will or affection towards someone or something, neither is "hate" a feeling of animosity or malice. When the Master called His disciples to follow Him, He was demanding nothing less than a 180" turn in the direction of their will. That is what it means to repent, to hate one's life in this world, and to begin serving Him where He is.18

Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him. (Matthew 4:21-22)

Until that day all their time and energy had gone into making a living with their father, and suddenly the direction of their will changed and all their time and energy went into serving their new Master. Their father might well have taken their newfound love for this Messiah as hatred towards himself,19 but they could not serve two masters.20 They had to forsake the gods of making their own living and pleasing their parents in order to follow Messiah.21

It was the same with all of the disciples, as Peter declared, "See, we have left all and followed You!"22 The Master's reply to Peter reveals the result of this redirection of the will, the result of hating one's life in this world in order to love and obey Him:

So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time -- houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions -- and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:29-30)

The result is the common life described in Acts 2 and 4 (quoted previously), the community of those who were redeemed from their lonely, futile existence in the world, and given the full-time occupation of loving one another just as He loved them. In place of whatever they left behind they would receive a hundredfold new brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, children, houses and farms -- along with persecution from those who love this world and hate the true message of the gospel and the abundant life it produces.

Friend or Foe?

What is the direction of your will? What consumes your time and energy? Is it love for the world and the things of the world? Or is it love for the people and the things of God?

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. ... By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:14-18)

It does not say, "We know that we have passed from death to life because we asked Jesus into our heart." How would you know whether He accepted the invitation?23 The validity of our belief is tested by what we do24 -- by the direction of our will, not by what we think or feel. It is according to whether we do the principal thing that the Master said would distinguish us as His disciples:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

How can you love your brothers just as Yahshua loved His disciples, laying down your life for them, if you only see them once or twice a week? Living your independent life insulates you from actually seeing your brother in need (materially or otherwise) so that you can comfortably withhold your life and livelihood from him and spend it on yourself. But the true gospel produces a life of true community in which it is possible to obey the commandments, the foremost of which is to love one another -- to lay down your life for your brothers each and every day. It takes a community.

Apart from the common life of true believers dwelling together in unity,25 demonstrating that the love of the Father is in them,26 all that remains is the love of the world, and the things of the world -- the life of those who are...

...separated from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (Ephesians 2:12)

So have you arrived at a conclusion? Are you a friend or an enemy of God? Are you with Him or against Him, gathering or scattering?27 What is the direction of your will?

We would like you to gather with us in one of the places where He has caused His name to dwell, where brothers are living together in unity. Perhaps you didn't even know there was such a place. All our communities worldwide are listed here. You are always welcome!

  • 1. John 15:14
  • 2. John 15:12
  • 3. Hebrews 12:2
  • 4. John 13:34-35
  • 5. John 15:12-13; 1 John 3:16-17; Luke 9:23; Acts 2:46; Hebrews 3:13; 12:15
  • 6. Mark 10:29-30; Luke 14:33
  • 7. John 13:34-35; 15:12-13
  • 8. Matthew 6:31-33
  • 9. Romans 12:1-13; Ephesians 4:16; 2 Corinthians 5:15
  • 10. Ephesians 2:10
  • 11. Matthew 6:31-33
  • 12. 1 John 4:20; Colossians 1:24
  • 13. John 12:26
  • 14. John 15:12-15; 14:21
  • 15. 1 John 2:4
  • 16. John 12:25
  • 17. James 4:4
  • 18. John 12:25-26
  • 19. Matthew 10:34-39; Luke 12:51-53
  • 20. Matthew 6:24
  • 21. Even the Master Himself had to make this choice to risk offending His earthly mother in order to do the will of His heavenly Father (Mark 3:21,31-35).
  • 22. Mark 10:28
  • 23. John 2:23-24
  • 24. John 13:17; Matthew 7:24; John 14:15,21,23,24; Rev 22:14 (NKJV)
  • 25. Psalm 133; John 17:20-23
  • 26. Romans 5:5; 1 John 3:17
  • 27. Matthew 12:30

The Twelve Tribes is a confederation of twelve self-governing tribes, composed of self-governing communities. We are disciples of the Son of God whose name in Hebrew is Yahshua. We follow the pattern of the early church in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, truly believing everything that is written in the Old and New Covenants of the Bible, and sharing all things in common.

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