Summary: The Church, our messes, Jesus' love
LOVE THE CHURCH HONESTLY
Revelation 2-3 (p861-863) June 23, 2013
Do you know how you can tell if someone really loves you or not? It’s not so much if they hug on you and smile at you in your presence…Don’t get me wrong, that’s encouraging and nice, too…but you can tell if someone really loves you by what they do outside your presence…when you’re not together.
Absence between people who love each other makes the heart grow stronger…because they can’t wait to see each other…get rid of the absence. But absence can also create…”Out of sight, out of mind”. And if someone doesn’t really love you…what they do outside your presence…and what they say outside of your presence will reveal something completely different than…Uh, LOVE.
Love for the church can be like that…On Sunday we can be together, smile, shake hands, hug….sing together, open God’s word…even meet around the Lord’s supper together, remembering why we’re here..
But have you ever met someone or experienced someone who Monday-Saturday has a completely different Spirit, or attitude, than what you witnessed on the Lord’s Day…”What’d you think of that sermon?” “I don’t know…pretty stupid if you asked me!” (They could possibly be right!) The conversation becomes a critique and one that reveals…not love, but well, something different. It happens all the time…doesn’t it…Complaining, dissatisfaction….sin begins to change the way life is lived outside the family of God…Outside the walls…in a culture that loves dissatisfaction and the downfall of others. Maybe initially they talked about love…but they’re ready to break up…
There was a girl who said while breaking up with her boyfriend, “I will always cherish the initial misconception I had about you!!... (Ouch)
You see, real love doesn’t happen in fantasy...it happens in reality…You can’t love someone for who you wish they were, you have to love them for who they really are….flaws and all…that’s why Dietrich Bonheoffer said “True Christian community begins with disillusionment. You aren’t really loving your Christian brothers until they’ve disappointed you and you choose to stick by them anyway.” That’s what Jesus does for the 7 churches of Asia Minor in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, and when I read these chapters I too am inspired to love the church more honestly.
I I LOVE GOD’S IDEA CALLED THE CHURCH
Man, when I read Acts 2-4…when I read the book of Ephesians…I catch a vision for this radical, vibrant, victorious community of faith…living it out loud and outside Solomon’s porch. In my imagination I see men, women, young adults…families ablaze with love for Jesus, sharing the good news in the market places, loving the sick…embracing the outcast, digging deeply into scripture together. Church, Baby!!!! I want to be part of the body like that---sign me up.