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Sermon #64: The Church, the Christian, Grace & Love

Apart from being born again, love is what distinguishes the body of Christ from any other body. After receiving salvation, the next thing that would delight God is for us to walk in love. That's what I believe.

Without love, the Church becomes 'technical' or 'administrative', a mere organisation no different from, say, a local Government authority. 

I also believe that the Church can only function in grace only to the extent that it walks in love. As far as I am concerned, it would be an impossible contradiction for the Church to operate in grace without, at the same time, walking in love.

The grace that we enjoy today came by love, which manifested by way of an act of love"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16 (NIV). God started by 'so loving the world'. 

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13 (NIV)

Look at this: Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV)

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34 (NIV). These are the words of the Master. "The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." - 1 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)

This is probably the most striking teaching on love: "To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." - Mark 12:33 (NIV). 

Sometimes the body of Christ focuses most of its attention on sacrifices, neglecting the more important, which is love. "Do everything in love." - 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NIV), so the  Bible teaches. 

Teaching the Pharisees, Jesus said, "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. - Luke 11:42 (NIV). Here Jesus was telling the Pharisees that they did everything else, but neglected the more important, which is justice and the love. That's why Jesus started started by saying "Woe to you..." Because of their conduct, the Pharisees were not in the best form before the Lord.

So whatever the Church does, it should be within the context of loveA loveless environment is not a Christian environment. 

Are you a disciple of Jesus? Here is how you can tell: "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." - John 13:35 (NIV).             

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV). Indeed, the greatest is love

So "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another." - Romans 13:8 NIV. Love is a continuing debt to everybody around us.

[Please refer to my other article(s) on this blog to learn how to walk in love]