UCAN sharing: Unbreakable relationships
Scripture: 1 Jn. 3:11-16
24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Heb. 10:24-25
It is easy to love in part, to give a portion, to keep just the right amount of distance so that separation is possible. We have all experienced this kind of love. It is a love that speaks much but has many limits. It is a love that can’t be rely on because there is little behind it. No more is given than is necessary to maintain what looks acceptable but has no depth. This is the love that humanity is born in to. No one can escape it or change the way it molds us in to people who measure the extent of how much they love. In to this world came a light that brought with it a hope. A hope founded not on man’s love but on the heart of God. Rom. 5:5
5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
When Jesus came to earth he came by the power of God, which is a love that man does have. Of the three kinds of love, phileo or brotherly love, eros being sensual love and lastly agape love which is a love not based on the merit of the person receiving the love but is unconditional. It is always there. This is the love that motivated God to give His only son as a sacrifice for a sinful world. Jn 3:16
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
All Christians come to know this love because we begin at the cross where Jesus demonstrated this love. He being God and innocent allowed Himself to be crucified so that through His death and resurrection we may live and gain a victory over sin. For most this is received because it is relevant to us here in the life we live. Who doesn’t want the blessing of salvation? We often make light of the work of Christ and how salvation came to us. But at the cross we are shown the way God is and what it means to be part of who He is. Examine Jn. 3:16 closely. God being love is motivated by that love to act. What kind of action did God take? God shows us what agape love is all about when he gave up what he loved most to save man. The love led God to do what is characteristic of agape love, give. It is not just giving but a giving that disregards self (Phil. 2:4). It is unconditional, meaning that there are no requirements for man to be loved by God. Man is and always will be totally loved by God. This is directly opposite to man’s love which is centered on self. Even people who try to love by giving do so to gain something. Their motivation is self and this always leads to wanting something in return. But this is not so with God. His love requires nothing from us to exist and work in our lives. It is a truly blessed revelation to a world that knows nothing about what love really is.
What this means to the church is deep. Because the church according to God is directly connect to Him the Father by Christ Jesus the Son who is the head (Col. 1:18); the church being the body. As a result of this to be really part of a church is not a function of what we do but what is inside us. Many groups call themselves churches but are not directly connected to Christ thus they are not His. The result is a form but not the power of God’s love. This is so foundational that Jesus reduced all the commandments to just two based on the love of God.
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
God is establishing what the relationships within His church are to look like. He wants the body to be like the head, full of love for others unconditionally. It is a giving love not a consuming one. It forgives and builds up. It is faithful and devoted, full of commitment like the Son. God made this possible not just for church goers but the entire world. The power to change lives is not in the doing but rather the presence of God. When the people are filled with His love. The manifestation of that love will be a group so lifted that how we relate to one another becomes completely different. Transformed by God’s love we live to touch others because this is what God’s love does. For a hungry and empty world nothing could be more attractive.
A body of Christ, a church that is seeking God with all its heart will show this by how they treat each other. The relationships within if it is really a church of Christ must be one of selfless love. This idea is repeated many times in the New Testament. It is a command that Jesus told his disciples before he left Jn 13:34.
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
So any true believer must set as a goal to learn to allow God’s love to touch his fellow church members. This kind of relationship can’t be shallow. It is not just simple “Hello, how are you?”. It demands of the giver to sacrifice something. It is a heart issue in that we are no longer governed by worldly standards that say put self- first but rather we are now lead by the Spirit of God that is love to show God’s love to all but first our brothers in Christ. Gal. 6:10
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
It is clear that no amount of organization or programs can produce this kind of result. If unsafe water is put in nice, well organized jars and decorated is the water good for consumption? No. The church can’t be a function of what we do of ourselves but rather what God is doing in us by His Spirit. Only when a group genuinely pursues God and his love that brings conviction and repentance that changes a person can that group reach the love God has for them.
The problem for churches is that the idea of sacrificial selfless love is not popular in Christianity where so often the mindset is about what the individual can get out of the service. We attend church to get not to give. If the service is not to our taste or there are weaknesses we do what the world does, we leave. If Christ had had this attitude what might have happened in the Garden of Gethsemane?
The scriptures are clear that for a church to walk in the power of God’s love it must love with the same committed, tenacious, forgiving, giving love that Jesus had. Defining all our relationship by His love. For God’s love doesn’t measure how often we fail but is faithful regardless.
Each Christian must decide what kind of relationships they will have. Whether it will be modeled after Jesus’s love or the world’s love. If we are of Christ we must give and we must bind ourselves to others to form the union that represents God. Consider today what your motivation for going to church is. Why do attend? Are you willing to become a part of it sacrificially or are you looking for something? The church in Corinth was a mess but the Spirit of God turned it around. It is when “I” the individual decides and commits that God can move and use them to build His church. Consider what a group of people loving like Jesus would be like.
Unbreakable relationships. Amazing! Acts 2:44-47
44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.