Posts Tagged ‘Church


God’s Presence In Us

How do you know if God is living in you? How do you know if His presence in you is real? The evidence of God’s love and presence in our lives is when we love one another. The Apostle John wrote:

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. – 1 John 4:12 (NIV)

It is so incredibly important that we love each other in the church. Jesus said that everyone would know that we are His followers when we love one another unconditionally. It’s not enough to sit next to someone at a pot-luck. It’s got to be more than just shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries on a Sunday morning. We need to go deeper with one another and truly reach out in love to one another. Even if we disagree on so many topics, we can agree on one – Jesus is the risen Lord. If we can agree on that and love each other in spite of our differences, we can show the world the love of God.

Do You Really Know How To Love?

When it comes to love in the church, we can talk a pretty good game. We can say that we love God. We can say that we love our brothers and sisters in Christ. But do we really know what that means? The Apostle John wrote:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

If we do not love our brothers and sisters in the church, then we do not know God. It is utterly impossible to truly know God and not love others because God is the very definition of love. God is the very source of love. Love has to be more than words. Love has to be put into action as well. If we do not love with actions, then we don’t truly know God because God not only says He loves the world, He proved His love for us by sending Jesus to take our punishment for our sins. In your relationships with your brothers and sisters, focus on how you can put love into action and not just give it lip service.

More Than Words

It’s easy to tell someone that you love them, but much harder to show them that you love them. We can wish people well and tell them that we are going to pray for them when they are going through hard times, but are we willing to do something about their hard times? We’ve got to take the next step and put love into action. The Apostle John wrote:

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

We’ve got to show love and not just talk about it. Love has to be more than empty words from the lips of God’s people. Is love that is not demonstrated really love? We can talk a good game about loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, but what are we doing to prove that we love them? If we’re not willing to do something to show love to people, then we don’t really love them. Love is more than an emotion. Love is action.

It’s Not Our Stuff

True love is love in action, not just empty words. In the church, we need this kind of love for one another. We need the kind of love that reaches out to people in their times of need instead of just hoarding our stuff all to ourselves. John wrote:

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? – 1 John 3:17 (NIV)

If we don’t love and care for one another with compassion in the church, have we really experienced the love of God? After all, God’s love is an action kind of love. He has blessed us with the things that we have as far as material possessions are concerned. He saw our greatest need and sent Jesus to bring forgiveness. He has blessed us with material possessions on top of that, too! The stuff we have is not our stuff to begin with. Our stuff was given to us by God for the purpose of blessing others. The action love of God is not in us if we don’t use our blessings to put love for others into action.

Love Is Action

One of the themes of Scripture is love in action. Perhaps the most famous Bible verse, John 3:16, tells us that God put love into action. He GAVE His one and only Son. The Apostle John also writes about love in action in 1 John 3:16:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. – 1 John 3:16 (NIV)

Jesus laid down His life to show us what love is and what love does. True love is sacrifice. If we want to demonstrate our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to lay down our lives for them. On a practical level, this means looking out for and meeting the needs of others. Whether they are emotional, spiritual or physical needs. We are to sacrifice our own desires and preferences to do what is best for someone else. That is love in action because love IS action.

A Matter Of Life And Death

Love is life and hatred is death according to the Apostle John. He wrote:

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. – 1 John 3:14-15 (NIV)

John is calling for love in the church. If you look around your church family and you hate the people with whom you worship the Lord, you are guilty of murder, John says. How can you claim to love God and yet hate His people who are made in His image? How can you say you love Jesus and yet hate people for whom He died? Love is what is supposed to set the church apart! Love for God and love for people is what breathes life into the church. Do not let anger boil over into hatred. Deal with your anger before it leads to death.

Do Not Hate

In the church, we’ve got to love each other. John gives an example of hatred and what it can lead to. He wrote:

Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.

The world, John says, will hate us. Jesus said it first in John 15. He said to keep in mind that if the world hates us that it hated Him first. This is why it is vitally important that we love each other in the church. We’re on the same team. All we’ve got is each other. So let us put aside our differences of opinion and preference and learn to love each other. If we in the church won’t love each other, who will?

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