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Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Community of Love

In John 13:34-35 Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NIV)

This wasn't a new command for it was found in the Torah (Leviticus 19:18). It was new in the sense that Jesus as The Son of God demonstrated how love should be manifested. In John 13 he washes his disciples' feet demonstrating an act of a servant.  He came to serve and not to serve (Mark 10:45).  He gave his life on behalf of his sheep (John 10:15).  His disciples, his Church are now commanded to show that same love. It will be their distinguishing mark. It will not be their Theology, though it is important. It will not be their type or mode of worship though it is important. It will not be the eloquent preaching. It will not be their orthodoxy. It will not be their programs. It will be their love for one another.  

Today I was reading the introduction for a book called Satan And His Kingdom.  The author points out that as the Church we need to have a spiritual warfare mentality.  We cannot live in a mentality of peace. Why? Because our enemy is seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).  What does this have to do with love?  I believe Satan's strategy is to undermine God's purposes for His church.  It is obvious that he does not want a community of love for God's church.  He knows that as such it can have a great impact in people's lives.  

So you say, "This is not a problem in my church! Everyone loves each other?" Really? Look around! I believe that Satan strategy is a much clever one.  He will have us love our little circle of friends and neglect all others. In many churches you can be anonymous for a long time. New visitors go in and out! I've done this! I once attended a large church for over a year and never met a single person. So you say, "It's your fault! You need to get involved in a small group." Really?
So Jesus said, "By this they will know you are my disciples, if you show love in a small group"?

I recently started working in a private religious school and I was blown away by the attention we newbies got. Multiple people approached us seeking to help us and not one time but many times. Everyone we ran by, shook our hands and introduced themselves. They welcomed us! The church in the school has not been any different either. They make the best coffee for teachers every day. I thought to myself, "If The Church was like this, man would we make a difference!"  

Today I heard again the story of Stanley. Stanley was a survivor of one the Twin Towers. He was on the 81st floor and saved by a man named Brian. He was pulled out from the collapsing floor by this man. What impressed me was what Brian said to Stanley after he pulled him over the wall. Stanley recounts the following: "This man looked at my palm, looked me in the eyes and said, “All my life I lived as an only child. I always wanted a brother.” On his left palm he had a gash. And this man took my right hand and looking me in the eyes and rubbed them together and says, “From today, you’re my brother.”

And he meant this. He is part of Stan's family now. That's love! 

We need community love. We need community life. We need to stop the talk and do what Jesus told us to do.  We need to seek those whom God loves.  We need to serve those whom God loves. We need to stop pretending we love people when just walk right by them in church or anywhere we are!

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