Our commitment to Christ: Love His Church
Part 2, Rediscovering Love Series
Friends, many people have a wrongful view of the church. Some view the church like a club, where its members expect to receive perks more than they give. Some view the church like a secular corporation and runs it like so. Some view the church as a place of entitlement, where members and leaders demand rights and privileges. Some view the church as a place of entertainment where they expect to be amused. None of those are the biblical view of church.
So, if you ask me, what is my view of the church? My view of the church is that it is the congregation of believers of Christ whom God called out from the world to His marvelous light. (See 1 Peter 2:9-10). As God’s special people, we have been privileged to carry the image of God. Love is one of God’s attributes and if we abide in Him, then His love also abides in us. And admittedly, we are all still learning how to outpour God’s love to others.
The church in Corinth was a messed-up church because they got it all wrong. If you look at 1 Corinthians 11, Paul wrote about the proper way to approach God in worship and correcting an abuse in the commemoration of the Lord’s Table. These things have brought disorder within their rank. And then in chapter 12, Paul taught them the different spiritual gifts and their proper use to address disunity in the body of Christ. And then in 1 Corinthians 13, he showed the early church the most excellent way of using those gifts to create unity even in their diversity and that is love. He describes love and what it does. Finally, in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul urged them to take the pathway of love to get their worship pleasing to God.
So, now the question is, how do we avoid such mistakes? I’m sharing three things that would help us improve how we behave as a church.
1. Recognize that every member is important.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
· Every member of the church is an important part of the whole.
· Every believer has been given a spiritual gift for the overall healthy functioning of the church.
“12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-14
· Just as every part of the human body is important, every member is also important for the normal functioning and health of the church.
· Our commitment is to recognize diversity and unify the body of Christ.
2. Follow the pathway of love.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
· There were some members of the Corinthian church, who used their gifts for personal gain, and have no regard for others.
· Spiritually gifted members in Corinth, compete, each one championing a certain gift and wanted to be better than the others.
· Without sincere love for one another, our spiritual gifts would fail to bring praises to God because it would only cause divisions and strife.
· Biblical love seeks the ultimate good of others.
· As you stay in the pathway of love, aim for God’s example of steadfast love.
3. Pursue God’s example of steadfast love.
“8 Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:8.
“Follow the way of love.” 1 Corinthians 14:1
Consistently loving one another is a daily struggle. We struggle to forgive; we struggle to pray for someone’s blessings when he or she irritates us. We struggle to meet their needs. We struggle to serve. We struggle to love the church in all its imperfections.
“2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” James 3:2.
· Our struggling to follow the pathway of love is good if it leads us to pursue God’s example of steadfast love.
· Make every effort to love.
· Follow the pattern of God’s love.
“22 The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never ceases, For His compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentation 3:22-23, NASB.
· In the day of Jeremiah, the Israelites failed to love God completely, but nonetheless, God remained faithful to them because of His steadfast love.
· Don’t stop loving your church, no matter how imperfect the members are.