What church would say of you, “We know you love us”?

The New Testament repeatedly indicates that anyone who does not love the church does not belong to the church, that is, the body of Christ. In other words, anyone who does not love the church that Jesus loves is not a follower of Christ.

One of the best known verses in this regard is 1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brothers.” The “brothers” here is an explicit reference to the church, to “brothers” (and sisters) in Christ, that is, those who comprise the church of Jesus Christ.

Similar is 2 John 1, “The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth.” The “elect lady” here refers to the church, likely to a specific local congregation of believers in Christ.

We might classify the viewpoints of everyone toward the church in four ways. First would be those who would explicitly say they do not love the church. This would include atheists and many of those who are adherents of non-Christian religions.

Second would be those who are indifferent to the church. They might not speak against the church with any frequency or vehemence, but neither do they speak of loving the church. On occasion they may speak with appreciation or respect for the church, but generally they never think of the church unless some item in the news brings the church into their consciousness.

The third group would be those who say they love the church, but whose personal lives contradict their professed love. Many of these would proudly be on the membership roll of a local church. Some might even occasionally attend the worship gatherings of the church. But their priorities betray their “love.” The members of their church do not perceive they are loved any more than a wife feels loved by a neglectful husband.

The final group consists of those who both say they love the church and consistently demonstrate love toward the church in biblical ways. Like a husband who does not just respect women in general but loves the particular woman who is his wife, true Christians do not merely love the church universal, but a particular local expression of it. Their priorities prove their love; not in the maintenance of simply dutiful obligations, but in sincere demonstrations of love and service, actions born of a heartfelt love for the people of Jesus and their common aims.

What church would say of you, “We know you love us”?

2 replies
  1. g
    g says:

    “The final group consists of those who both say they love the church and consistently demonstrate love toward the church in biblical ways.”

    Including loving their local church enough to call out error where it exists in biblical ways and take a firm stand for the truth, even if it means being accused of being “unloving” and “divisive” and getting kicked out of that church. Of course, at that point, it is probably worth questioning whether such an body is indeed a church or not…

    • S Mont
      S Mont says:

      For it shall come to pass in that day that the churches which are built up, and not unto the Lord, when the one shall say unto the other: Behold, I, I am the Lord’s; and the others shall say: I, I am the Lord’s; and thus shall every one say that hath built up churches, and not unto the Lord—
      4 And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.
      5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;


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