Thursday, April 22, 2010

Loveless Christians?

Jesus said the world would know we belong to him when they saw that we loved one another. So loving one another is the most important distinguishing characteristic of the Body of Christ. That also means that loving one another is our purpose, our goal, and the single most important quality He wants to see in His church. He didn't say that the world would know we are his disciples if we "seek and save the lost," though that is certainly something we must care about doing. He didn't say the world would recognized us as His people if we were the MOST doctrinally correct group on the block, thought it's clearly important to follow the Holy Spirit's writings, which also include the fact that "love covers a multitude of sin." He certainly didn't say the world would see us as His followers if we "do church" just like they did it in the 1950's - or the first century for that matter. Love for one another is the spiritual billboard that shouts to the world that WE BELONG TO JESUS! It's how we learn to know God, draw close to God, and build our relationship with God! Growing in love for one another is not A ministry of the church but THE ministry of the church. It's not an activity but a pursuit, a purpose, and a goal!

How arrogant and worldly is it for us to turn loving one another into an extra-curricular church activity, or a side benefit of fellowship? How much does it sadden God when we let anything in our church life become more important than loving one another? Whatever causes a person to leave a congregation, other than normal transitions in life like moving and transfers, is something that to them is more important than the love they have for one another. When someone mentions that they left a church because of something they didn't like in "the worship," they are saying whatever it was is more important to them than the loving relationships they have with the church family. As far as what Jesus wanted His church to being doing - they didn't "get it."

It's sad to see how much we've failed to understand the real purpose of the church, and how so many folks think "doing church" has little, if anything, to do with building loving relationships. I am so thankful for those who do - get it! I have a terrible mental picture of Christians standing before God at Judgment reciting all the "ministries of the church," and all the "acts of worship" they performed every Sunday, and all the neat "outreach tools" they invented and used, and God holds up His hand to stop the religious resume' reading and asks, "Yes, but did you love one another?" The Christians, with blank looks on their faces, stare at him and say, "Do what?"


Anonymous said...

Mike, I'm not sure I understand. If you feel comfortable with how a church conducts it's "worship" service, are you not a better christian because your not worrying about it and can focus on what's really important?

I think it's the same reason a Methodist (or whatever denomination) will look for a Methodist church because that's what their used to and comfortable with. If you change how that service is conducted from what the individual is used to and that individual now feels uncomfortable with, why is it wrong to want a setting you feel most comfortable with?

We all prefer a method of "worship" that we are comfortable with. I don't see where that is a wrong expectation.

It sounds like your church is going thru what FXCC is although I assume it's on a smaller scale. Maybe I'm wrong. It's been sad to see Fairfax suffer a significant split in the last two years for just this thing.

Thanks for listening.
Kyle Holcomb

Anonymous said...

Mike, one more thing.

I really enjoy your blog. I check it every other day to see what's new. This is the first time I've felt the need to reply.

I still have the bible you gave me (autographed no less) when you baptized me in 1979 when I was 11.

I'm not trying to make you fell old. :)

Thanks agin.
Kyle Holcomb

Mike said...

Wow - it's too late - I feel old when I saw how long ago it was that you were baptized. Of course, I was just a kid too (ha!). Thanks for you comment. I'm honored that you read it. My goal is to be thought provoking. This was not in response to anything about the church family here. It's the most loving church family I've ever been a part of. I understand your comment, but it all goes back to why did God want us to get together. Worship is a life given in obedience to God. The assembly is/was a giving experience for Christians to help each other grow in Christ. Culture and tradtion has turned it into a receiving experience rather than a giving one. As a family, giving transcends comfort and preferences. It makes every assembly experience meaningful. That's more than a blog comment needs to deal with. Keep thinking and growing. God bless.