Summary: Three truths about loving one another
I LOVE MY CHURCH
Video – (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCOyhqKRrv4) Disabled Player Gets a Shot. Why did the audience respond in the way they did? Why was there such celebration? It is because they had just seen love in action. In this dog eat dog world they saw something different. They saw that it was not about winning the game, it was about loving a person. It was such a powerful thing that a player from the other team saw what was happening and helped.
Today we are beginning a new series called “I Love My Church.” Over the next 5 weeks we are going to look at what it means to love your church and some ways in which we can do that.
John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
Jesus is speaking here to his disciples. In this scripture Jesus is saying three things about love;
1. Love is EXPECTED
Jesus starts here in verse 34 “a new command I give you.” Love is not optional for us as believers. It is commanded of us. Jesus EXPECTS it from us. He not only tells us that we should love but He also tells us WHO and HOW we should love. He says here that we are to love ONE ANOTHER. In the context of this scripture, Jesus is speaking to his disciples. He is saying that we should love other believers. This does not mean that we should not also love those outside the church, it just means that love should start inside the church. He also says that we should love one another “as I have loved you” Our love for the church should be the same as the love that Jesus has for the church. It should be a complete and sacrificial love.
What does it mean to love your church? Is there a particular thing that you love to do or place you love to go? I ‘love’ fishing. Some people love to cross stich, or scrapbook, or golf etc. Have you ever visited a restaurant that you really enjoyed? The food was amazing, the service was excellent and the price was reasonable. If someone were to ask you what your favorite place to eat out was you would say that restaurant. You just really ‘love’ eating at that place.
Compare that kind of love with the love you have for your spouse or your children. I love my wife and I love my daughters. I now have two girls who have left for college. It was great having them home for the summer and it is hard to say goodbye when they left. If you want to see Naomi cry, just mention the girls away at school. To see me cry just mention the cost! The love that I have for my wife and kids is far greater than the love I have for fishing or for things like a restaurant.
So what are we saying when we say, “I love my church”? What does it mean when Jesus commanded us to love one another? Does He want us to love one another like you loved your favorite activity or experience at the restaurant, or does He want me to love the church like I do my daughters?
With restaurants there is an internet service called Yelp. It is a place you can go where you can rate your experience. If the food was great and the service was good and the price reasonable then you could go ahead and rate it on Yelp. That would be your way of recommending that place to others. If it was a bad experience then you could give a poor rating to tell others to avoid it.
With my family, it isn’t about service. It is about relationship. I love my family for who they are, not necessarily what they have done. I am intrinsically connected with my family. My love for them is unconditional and sacrificial. There are good times and there are bad times, but you don’t try to rate your family on Yelp. You just love them.
The church was never meant to be like a restaurant; it is a family. Our love for one another is based on relationships. This begins first and foremost in a relationship with Jesus, and through that we are connected to one another. Jesus loves us and has brought us into relationship with Himself. This morning we are going to celebrate that love by having a time of communion together.
In being brought into that relationship, we aren’t only brought into a relationship with Jesus but also into relationship with one another. Being in a relationship with Jesus means being part of the church, part of His kingdom, part of the family of faith.