Sunday, October 09, 2011

Love is the Message

{1 Corinthians 13:1; NLT}
If I 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.

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 increasing presence of pornography through out our entertainment. People are hurt, lonely, scared, and without hope.

People who are broken do not need lectures on the evil of sin because they are experiencing its consequences. They do not need facts about the reliability of the Bible because those facts don't speak to their deepest needs. What they need is  love, compassion, and understanding which becomes a reality in their lives. They need to experience Jesus in a real and personal way, and the only way the broken will experience Jesus is through His Church.

The way we share Jesus with the broken world is through love:"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 it is our love for each other that will make it possible for others to know that we belong to Him. Reaching out to the world begins with how we love and serve each other. We, the body of Christ, need to learn to love each other and care for one another so others can see that the love they crave actually exists. Too many people have been turned off to the Gospel of Jesus Christ because the church families they know are not loving.

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 the Church because it will help people overlook mediocre preaching, terrible singing, and inadequate teaching. Being a loving Church allows people to see the Gospel message fleshed out and helps people understand that Jesus can make a difference in their lives.

The Bible makes it clear that Christians 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 God which flows into our love for each other which then spills out for our love for the lost. Our love will draw interest from the world to the message of hope that God has given us to share. Without love our message will be lost amongst the broken and hurt people of the world.


f said...

Very well said. Philip Yancey wrote, "Others of us, rightly concerned about issues in a modern 'culture war,' neglect the church's mission as a haven of grace in this world of ungrace." If Christians were know for the love and grace they showed to all, people would flock to our churches. Thank you for your post.

Paul Steele said...

Thanks for the comment. I think this becomes even more important as people look for places to connect in the real world and not just online. The Church should be a place people can feel connected to others, and especially to God.

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