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1Another :: love

one-anotherThis week The Connections Guy and I are doing a series of blogposts where we will be discussing what “being the church” really looks like in a 21st century context. To do this, we will be discussing the “one another” commands found in the New Testament and talking about how those principles translate into practicing church. Why?

  1. We are going through a “why the church” type series in our Sunday services called cannonball.
  2. We find most people, ourselves included, have an extremely difficult time figuring out how to practice “church” without it resulting in good old fashion legalism

These will not be exhaustive, because we have other stuff to do as well, but hopefully helpful for small group leaders & members at the Summit, as well as readers at large, and readers at all other sizes.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Toss aside introductory comments and lets jump right in. I hope you catch the gravity of this statement Jesus makes here. The setting: they just finished “last supper.” Jesus has just washed his disciples feet, and subsequently announced to them that one of them will betray him. He goes outside, and his next words to them are these words about loving one another. This is an immensely intense moment in his teaching relationship with his disciples and this is the command he gives them.
Love one another. What a simple yet profound command. If the church today practiced this simple command as best it could, what would the perception of christianity be today? Would there be a generation of 20 & 30 somethings who abandoned their “faith” when they left home at 18 because all they can relate church to is hypocrisy? I believe there are believers in the local church who do genuinely want to love one another but they lack tangible direction to carrying that out. How do we love one another as Jesus commanded and not as we feel is right?

just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. Sacrificial love is to be the marker of the church. Do not let the significance of this statement get lost on you. This is the heart of the church. It is a simple explanation of the gospel-centered life. AS YOU HAVE BEEN LOVED, so love one another. Do not love out of guilt, force, coersion, or any other motivation, love out of worshipful response to the gospel. Implication? if you have trouble loving other christians in your church, you do not understand the gospel. simple and true. This deserves meditating on. Are you practicing sacrificial love in your church? Or are you just hanging out with those you like?

Ok, catch what he says next for it is the implication of the church loving one another: By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

WHOA! Follow as I quote a great pastor who quotes a great theologian:
“Do you see how high the stakes really are? Do you grasp why we can’t settle for anything less than Jesus’ dream for community? the credibility of the gospel is at stake! As Francis Schaeffer rightly said “Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful – Christian community is the final apologetic.”  – Andy Stanley in Creating Community (44)

We cannot be a church who loves Jesus, loves the world, but is just not that concerned about loving one another. The world will see through it and we will be an incredibly unhealthy church. So here is my challenge to you. Are you in a SummitLIFE group where you can practice this extremely important command of Christ? If you aren’t, get in one on GroupLink Sunday, January 18th. If you aren’t at the Summit, ask a pastor for a place to get connected to a small group of believers.

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