Posts Tagged ‘faith’

IMG 0647

“A want of love to one another,” is a serious issue, it cannot be ignored. So many people want love, but do not have love. There are those who will do anything to get love, but fail to grasp Love. Few comprehend, it is in giving that we shall receive. The love sick masses line up for romantic tales, paltry images of feigned love-illdefined, or just lustful escapades that promise fulfillment, only to discover their love quest leaves them empty once again.

The past few blogs I have written concerning the problems that face the church. C.H. Spurgeon wrote that one of those things was a want of love to one another. Now, this is not love as the world would define it, but it is defined as God would command. It is something that our society wants with great urgency. There is a demand for love, but and unwillingness to truly seek genuine love.

Scripture communicates the necessity of love. We are to love at all times, we are to love the unlovely, we are to even love our enemy, all of which are not terribly romantic ideas. Apart from Christ these manners of love and charity are impossible.

Love is not only for those who affirm us, or whom we like, but it is also for those whom we have a mutual sharing in the things of Christ. If Christians hate each other they must question their profession of faith in Christ. In 1 John 3:14 we read, “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.”

If a want of love for Christians is in a Christian’s heart, repentance is in order. A Christian’s response to this admonition is important. Some will respond with self-doubt & loathing, which is wounded pride; others are irritated with the teaching, while justifying their own actions; others fail to see their loveless hearts, denying their need, and the truth. Self-examination leading to repentance is necessary for all. Followers of Christ cannot reflect the world and its ignorance regarding love.

A quick look in the Word evidences love as a felt need of the Word. 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…” Romans 12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection.” Galatians 5:13, “…only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Natural man doesn’t love appropriately, if at all. Christians receive from God’s Word the call to love over and again. Leading to the maybe-not-so-obvious-need, for those whom are in Christ, to love one another.

It may be in vogue to slander the church, produce de-conversion stories, or simply blame the church for rejecting God. God’s Word beckons His children to love one another. If honesty prevails, people, all people, even Christian people, struggle to let love be genuine. A supernatural response of people is to love one another, thus in Christ, His people labor to figure love out.

Even though the natural man is constantly searching for somethings they may consider to be love. Apart from Christ this itch will never be satisfied.

Ephesians 4:15–16, “…speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

We have known churches where the members can scarcely sit down at the Lord’s Table without some disagreement. There are always people who are finding fault with the minister, and there are ministers finding fault with the people; there is among them “a spirit that lusteth to envy,” and “where envy and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”… Alas! How continually do we hear accounts of disputings and variance in churches!” C.H. Spurgeon

problem goat

“A want of love to one another,” is Spurgeon’s descriptor. Hundreds of years ago the want of love was present, even in the early church the want of love was present, thus the plentiful Scripture passages regarding the need of love to one another.

Please don’t misunderstand, my intent isn’t to slander of the Bride of Christ. All too common is a slanderous spirit toward the church, where people are all too willing to join in and say the church is loveless. Spurgeon’s point isn’t that of a disgruntled church goer who is disenfranchised.  Those deprived and marginalized souls who accuse blame, and condemn the church for almost every slight, injustice, or social problem are those who view the church as a service provider and who are part of the problem.

Somehow the cutting edge of some modern religious movements has become the rejection of systematized and organized church. You aren’t cool and Jesusy if you don’t bemoan the errors of the church and meet in someone’s house. It is as if spirituality is measured by how much one can reject anything that is a tradition handed down.

What is replacing the old models? It has been replaced with either chaos, or modern consumer driven paradigms that provide the product of choice, at the moment, according to fickle consumptive desire. With this attitude the Bride of Christ is despised and not loved. This rejection is a multifaceted cacophony of opinion, where authenticity, genuineness, and spontaneity presume to fix all that ales the church.

The church always can mature, we always need to be reforming and cutting away the cultural blinders. Loving the church and love for our brothers is part and parcel of this demeanor. Jesus loved the church, he commanded that we love the church, and the manner of love for the church we possess is a marker of our faith in Christ. John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It is not as though Christians need to love ecclesiastical structures, heritage, or traditions. What is being stated, is that the manner of love for one another determines the manner in which those items are handled.

The church is the vehicle of God’s own choosing for spreading the fame of His name among the nations. We gather to love one another, worship, and be sent out into the world as missionaries; to be salt and light to the world. Let us not give way to the cultural religious trend of rejecting the church. Let us not fall victims to the classic blunder of getting so deeply involved in church structure that we fail to actually love the church.  A want of love for one another undercuts God honoring actions of the church, but love for one another demonstrates the glory of the One we worship.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24–25


Posted: March 30, 2016 in Blog, Pastor's Corner
Tags: , , , ,

Being moldable in the hands of The Maker—is a good idea, which goes along with the whole new years resolution idea; and yes three months into 2016 and I’m still talking about resolutions for the Year.

Being moldable clay in the hands of the potter isn’t a bad idea. Being malleable in the makers hand to be made into something awesome, is a great notion. It is common then to bring biblical passages with potter and clay imagery as justification for staying pliable in God’s hands, so that He can, again, make you into something awesome. You know what I mean, being made all Jesusy and what not.

It seems that this common notion leads to a common conclusion, that is, our job is to remain moldable. However the last time I was around a potter, even though I crushed an unbaked cup, which surprises no one, I noticed something important—the clay was inanimate and kept moldable by the potter. Great efforts were taken to keep the clay perfect for making the pottery.

What mustn’t be lost in biblical potter and clay images, is that God in His sovereign might, takes clay and fashions it as He pleases.  Jeremiah 18, uses the pottery imagery as a call to repentance for the people of God. God’s people were not walking God’s covenant by faith. Potter and clay imagery is a warning that God has absolute authority to judge man as He pleases; at other times it is a statement of man’s subservient stance in relation with God.

Even so, the concept of being moldable isn’t without biblical backing, and it is spoken more negatively and in terms of repentance. What will happen to the stiff neck sinner? One who doesn’t respond to the Word of God in repentance? Judgment or sudden brokenness without healing is the result; which sounds like judgment, and sounds like the need to be pliable, or repent, is the superior option. Proverbs 29:1, “He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.

Let’s not sugar coat the obvious and what is commanded and warned in the Scriptures. The concept of being moldable is akin to the idea of repentance. Repentance is always in conjunction with faith in Jesus Christ. What happens to hardened and stiff things when they are worked and shaped? They either become moldable and malleable, or they break in a sudden and brittle fashion.

During this Year have you been malleable? Have your resolutions to live or do a certain thing taken shape in your life? Will you allow the Word of the Lord to shape you?  Will you be characterized by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ?