Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tired of talking about love?

I really try not to re-preach my Sunday sermon the next week as a blog, but sometimes there are some truly crucial concepts that stick in my mind and I just can't drop them and move on to the next lesson so easily. This past Sunday I posed the question, "Is is possible to be a loving church and not be an obedient church?" Depending on how you define love, the answer may be either yes or no for you. If you use the world's definition for love, and tend to think of love as the warm, fuzzy, and subjectively emotional feeling that makes ladies dream and gives men nightmares, you've seen loads of love that wasn't supported by loving actions. On the other hand, when you understand that agape, God's love, is choosing to love the way God loves, you understand that nothing of any true value to God actually happens without love. If it's real love - God's love - it's impossible to not be driven to please him.
There is no such thing as "just being a loving church" and not being a committed church. Maybe the problem is that we don't understand what it really means to love our Father with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love others as we love ourselves.
* Do we mistake friendliness for love?
* Do we mistake peace for love?
* Do we mistake talk about love for really being in love?
I have actually heard church leaders moan about "Too much emphasis on love and not enough on ministry, outreach, and giving!" Where do we think these things come from? REAL LOVE LEADS TO COMMITMENT! To demand commitment without building love is why churches can't get members to volunteer, witness, and increase their contribution!
We need MORE LOVE, but it must be THE RIGHT KIND OF LOVE. Here are the reminders I pointed out Sunday - they are but a few on the complete list.
1. Love is the ONLY command of God that is number one! Mk.12:29-31; 1 Tim.1:5
2. Love is the ONLY thing that gives value to every spiritual act! I Cor.13:1-3
3. Love is the ONLY answer for fear! 1 Jn.4:18
4. Love is the ONLY way to know God & live in God! 1 Jn.4:7-8; 11-12
5. Love is the ONLY thing that covers a multitude of sins! 1 Pet.4:8
6. Love always builds up! 1 Cor.8:1; Eph.4:15-16; Heb.10:24
7. Love motivates us! 2 Cor.5:14; 1 Jn.4:19
8. Love is the ONE thing that Jesus said identified us as his disciples! Jn.13:35
9. Love is why Jesus was crucified! Jn.3:16; Rom.5:8
A. Nothing of value happens without love
B. Nothing is Christ-like without love
C. There is no commitment without love
D. Without commitment ALL the ONE ANOTHER stuff doesn't happen! (I have 24 one another passages on my list) With love/commitment - WHAT DOES HAPPEN? All of it!

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