Summary: Love. It is what sets the church apart period. Covid 19 threatens to divide the church - opinions about it and what we should do about it. As we comeback together we need to remember love.
The difference between us #3
this is a serious message today about something that could become a serious problem.
The comeback 2020.
Here is the New Testament in a nutshell…
Jesus lived… And what an amazing life he lived.
Jesus died… What a brutal death it was.
Jesus was resurrected… What a surprise!
40 days later Jesus ascended into heaven.
10 days after that the church was born.
Jesus said that there was something about this whole church idea that would be different from anything else, anywhere else, at any time else, in the whole world.
- Something that would turn heads.
- Something that would be inviting.
- Something that would amaze people.
This whole church thing would be called by a name that all of us are familiar with; FAMILY.
God created a church family where all people,
of all colors,
of all backgrounds,
from all over the world,
of all incomes,
of all cultures,
of all sexes,
of all languages,
would be one family, one body, one unit, because we all got in the same way - through faith in Christ, and we would be so deeply committed to each other that nothing could tear us apart.
When we are in a family several things happen… We belong to something…
- We have a family name - or an identity.
- We are known - we have a community.
- We are accepted.
- We are valued.
- We have a place.
- We have a role and a responsibility.
- We have a set of common core values - we think alike.
- We have the same common purpose.
A place where we belong.
But a funny thing happened and we read about it all throughout the New Testament and we been talking about it the last few weeks here. Food fights started to break out in the church. People developed different opinions and preferences over what kind of food to eat, over what kind of clothes people should wear, over what role a woman should have in the church, over what color the carpet should be, over our response to politics and government, and many other things that divided people up. It threatened the family.
But Jesus anticipated this and said that there would be something that would set this family apart, this church idea, apart from everything else and keep it intact and it wouldn’t be what you would expect…
It wouldn’t exactly be miracles done in Jesus name.
It wouldn’t be unbelievable healings.
It wouldn’t be supernatural phenomena.
It wouldn’t be that those who follow Jesus would never suffer and live in some bubble of euphoria.
It wouldn’t be because we have halos.
Here’s what Jesus said it would be on the last night of his life: John 13:34 a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
And he would repeat it again John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Jesus said that what would make this church thing stand out was that his individual followers would follow his example and love each other. In a sense we would take the place of Jesus and treat other people how Jesus treated them.
It would be the kind of love that would turn strangers into friends.
It would be the kind of love that would even make someone like me sacrifice something of my life for someone else.
This kind of love,
this kind of doing good,
this kind of valuing and honoring someone else,
this kind of intentional actions for someone else’s good,
this way of going to the mat for someone else,
this way of serving other people,
this way of giving others access to my life,
this way of standing in the gap for others,
above everything else, will show the world that you follow me.
We are talking about radical, head turning, eye-popping, heartwarming, hair-raising, hand reaching, jaw-dropping, go the distance, never give up, barrier breaking, always ready to help, sacrificial love.
That is the thing that would put the church on the map. Love.
The kind of love Jesus showed you, and what Jesus modeled, you would show to others.
These are saying as plain as anything that the leading economic indicator for God’s people will be their love ability.
- Miracle power
- Spiritual gifts
- Great preaching
- Sound doctrine
We will not be notorious for the supernatural but for how we loved. How we valued each other, the way that we would go all out for each other and watch each other’s back. We would be known as the one group of people who really knew something about real love, and sticking with people, and being generous and kind. It would be the one thing the world couldn’t imitate or do.