You became part of humanity and a family when you were born. When you were reborn spiritually, you were born into God’s family. We are a part of the Body of Christ, and together we have the mandate to carry out Jesus’ final instructions. He commanded us to go into every part of the world to share the Good News and make disciples (Matt. 28:18–20). Alone, this is absolutely impossible. But together, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are not only capable, but are anointed to be the Church and share the love of Christ! The Church is the visible representative of Christ to the world. It exists to minister God’s grace to those in and outside the Body.
Healthy local churches are crucial to God’s ministry. God has a purpose for His Church, which extends to every local church worldwide. One of the most key factors for the health of your church, any church, and the Kingdom is how loving we are as Christians. It’s absolutely essential that we lead our churches to be love-filled communities. Love among believers isn’t optional; it is commanded, necessary, and central to God’s calling for the Church. The stronger an individual’s and a church’s relationship with God, the stronger their relationships will be with others.
On the night Jesus was betrayed, one of His final instructions to His followers was about the nature of their relationships. John 13:34–35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Clearly John was paying attention that night, since in his first letter, he teaches that our love for others flows naturally or supernaturally from our experience of Jesus’ great love for us. 1 John 4:9–11 captures the heart of Jesus’ teaching:
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
The Church in Ephesus is a good example of the importance of being a loving Church. The Ephesians had been baptized with the Holy Spirit and had spoken in tongues (Acts 19:5–6), had witnessed amazing miracles (Acts 19:11–12), and had been discipled by Paul for two years (Acts 19:10). Afterwards, Paul even wrote to them one of his most important letters.
The Ephesians had every spiritual advantage a church could have, yet by the time John wrote Revelation, the very same church required a rebuke from the Lord Jesus (Rev. 2:1–7). From the beginning, the Ephesians were doctrinally sound, and the Lord actually commended them for testing false apostles and hating the works of the Nicolaitans. And the Ephesians were not lazy, for Jesus said, “I know your works, your labor… and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary” (Rev 2:2–3). However, despite the good they seemed to be busy doing for the Lord, the Ephesians lacked something vital.
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place unless you repent (Rev. 2:4–5).
Jesus called the church at Ephesus to remember and do their first works. They needed to remember how they once acted back when their labor didn’t stem from busyness but instead from a genuine love for God and others. Truly, love is the glue that holds everything together.
Jesus Christ is the world’s hope, and by His incredible grace, He has chosen us to be His partners in reaching, redeeming, and restoring a lost and broken world. The Church is God’s hands, feet, and voice to the people near and far. May the Church today be marked by love. May we be characterized not only for doing the right things but for doing them as acts of genuine love for God and others. May we be the true family of God who seeks to bring lost people to the table. After all, as Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:1–3,
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
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