Friday, October 26, 2007

Don't Just Make Noise

"Nothing brings back feelings of being cared for as much as being in a community that feels. There is hurt and loneliness on a rampant scale today. Nothing will speak to our society as much as a community that reaches out with the love of Christ." ~ Ravi Zacharias, Cries of the Heart

We live in a broken world. That fact is not hard to see. From high profile murder cases, to rampant drug use, and to the explosion of internet dating sites we understand that things are not what they should be. People are hurt, lonely, scared, and without hope.

I don't think people who are broken do not need lectures on the evil of sin. Why? They don't need the lectures because they are experiencing the consequences of sin each and every day. Nor do I think they do not need facts about the reliability of the Bible. Why? These facts fail to meet their deepest needs. What will speak to their hearts is the clear demonstration that they are not facing the hardships of life alone. In other words they need compassion, love in action, to be made real in their lives. Jesus established His Church to be the instrument of love in this broken world. If people are going to discover the love of God then it will be through the Church sacrificing to help and care for them.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciple (John 13:34-35; NLT). Jesus tells us that our love for each other, fellow believers, shows the world that we belong to Him. For this reason I believe if we are going to reach out to a hurt and broken community we first must look at ourselves. We, the body of Christ, need to learn to love each other and care for one another so others can understand it is possible to experience the love they crave. Too many people have been turned off to the Gospel of Jesus Christ because the church they knew was far from loving. Why would people want to be part of a fellowship, if that is what it can be called, that is filled with gossip, fighting, and divisions?
The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay (1 Peter 4:7-9; NLT).
Peter reminds us of the importance of love. Love is so important for a Church not only because it will help people overlook mediocre preaching, terrible singing, and inadequate teaching, but also because it will become the source of what they are truly seeking: love. The world is an unloving place, the Church should stand out because of our love for each other and for the rest of the world. Being a loving Church also allows people to see the Gospel message fleshed out which helps them understand that Jesus can make a difference in their lives.

The Bible makes it clear that we, the followers of Christ, are the body of Christ. It is our responsibility to live in such a way so that the world can see the love of Jesus. When we insist on fighting with each other and having power struggles which divide the Church we show a hurting and lonely world that Jesus makes no difference in the lives of people.

If we really want to make difference in this world it will begin with our love for each other and our compassion for the lost. That is what will draw interest from the world to the message and hope that we have. Without love our message will be lost amongst all the competing philosophies and religions of the world.

The apostle Paul tells us:
If could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1; NLT
If we don't love it doesn't matter what else we do all we are doing is just making noise. Let's not make noise, let's make a difference.

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