Summary: this is the 2nd in the series of the purpose driven Church entitled Loving community.
Our Church statement is that we are a Church building community where everybody is somebody and Jesus Christ is Lord. That will only be a reality when reqal love is expressed to one another and others around us.
When Brandon Moody visited his uncles Church. There was a play being performed, it had reached the final scene. It was the ascension of Jesus . The actor was being pulled up when suddenly the pulleys snapped dropping the actor to the stage. With a great presence of mind the actor got up and said ¡"one more thing, love one another.¡¦
This is a true hallmark of a Christian Church?
Love for one another. What is love?
We live in a world where people fall in and out of love like changing a pair of socks....It rocks families when one says "I love you no more!" Were they ever loved?
Wayne Hudson in his book many a tear has to fall writes, "Since God is love and we must compare our love to him, we come short if we define it in any other way. You see love is a commitment with a beginning and no end."
Agape love draws us to the revelation of God in Christ, it cries out I love you and I can’t help loving you even though we are totally unworthy objects of his love. His love is not based on feelings but is demonstrated through actions.
Believers have received Gods love and it has to be the overriding evidence of a Christian Church:
Acts 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind
We see they had love for God in their worship v46, 47, breaking bread, prayer, praising God.
Love for one another in their fellowship v42,44 fellowship and sharing,
Love for the wider community v47 And the Lord added to their number.
So a true hallmark of the Christian Church is a loving community, with this supernatural love, which can only be manifested because he first loved us and laid down his life for us which has brought us into His community.
Mother Teresa was once asked by an interviewer: "What’s the biggest problem in the world today? she replied, "we draw the circle of our family to small we need to draw it larger everyday."
Jesus commands us to be known by some call the 11th commandment; Jhn13: 34,35 Read.
The Vine and the branches
He reiterates the same command in Jhn.15:12,17 love each other as I loved you. In Chapter 15 its in the context of him earlier speaking about himself as a Vine and that genuine disciples will bear fruit. To understand this parable embraces all Christian profession whether real or not.
1.A loving community will remain in Christ
Jesus referring to himself as the vine (Church) v1, God the Father as the Gardner who cares for the branches v1 and you and I as the branches v2,3
Two types of pruning
V2 the Fruitless: They are cut off to prevent disease from the rest of the plant. These are people who profess to be Christians, they are in the vine (The Church) and yet don’t bear fruit for God or who continually try to block the efforts of Gods followers. All who are fruitless will ultimatly be cut off from his life giving power.
V3 the Fruitful he cuts them back, to promote more growth and bear more fruit. In other words God must sometimes discipline us to strengthen our character and our faith. So that we begin to bear more Christian fruit.
V4, the only way we become attached to Christ is through faith, repenting of sin (turning around) and receiving him as Saviour and Lord. And then we will be able to remain in him and bear fruit v5 apart from me you can do nothing.
v8 The fruits of the Spirit. The Lords desire for us is that we remain attached to Christ so as the Father prunes (cuts away the old) new shoots will sprout with new fruit. Because we attached to Christ we will be rightly nourished from the vine.v7 In this way we will show ourselves to be His disciples v8.
What is that nourishment? V9 Remain in my love (Love is the key fruit in which all the others are wrapped up in: Gal5:22-24 2Pet1:5-8.
The Clause V10 If you obey my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love
2. A loving community will obey Christ v12
We live in a society where there are many dysfunctional people from adults to children. Recently there has been a lot of media attention about hoodies od ASBO youths who go around in large groups causing a lot of trouble for others (south Wigston). John Prescott the labour MP was recently provoked by hoddies.