I know it has been a while, but in all fairness, I have been a little busy. I have recently accepted the call to lead a congregation in the small town of Washington Indiana. These people are a great group of folks that are easy to love and they have a heart for their community. Now that is out of the way, I have a few thoughts to share as I have been preparing the latest sermon. I honestly wrote this last week but did not want to publish until the sermon titled “Never Alone, the Sequel” was given. Now, back to the previously scheduled post! That said, my intended audience is the fellow believer – male and female. The Word calls us “brethren.” This is not intended for the non-believer as I believe those of faith have a higher standard. We are supposed to hold each other accountable – society thinks that would be “judgmental.” To fellow believers, its accountability.
This may not be a popular post with many today. But then again, nor is the Christian faith popular within today’s discussions. Where a society calls to open the love gates and love everyone and “it’s all about love” (there is a certain biblical truth here until we peel back the layers of motivation), we are focused to start with ourselves. There are even many television preachers that will preach what most of us regular pastor types call “prosperity gospel.” If you just give us a check, God will flood you with blessing – says the Bible nowhere! Yes, we are to give Him an offering, but it must be out of love. It is, however, all His to begin with. The problem with this “prosperity” message is (other than the only one that prospers is the preacher!) the same as the love gates movement many progressive thoughts are pushing – motivation. I agree that we are to love one another. I agree we are to show compassion to one another. I do it out of love for them and putting their needs first before my own. Jesus calls that servitude (Mark 10:45).
Today, we are taught to look out for number one. Take care of yourself first. I deserve better. I deserve the best! Sound familiar? This is nowhere in the Word of God and I would challenge all who read this to prove otherwise. We are encouraged to actually do the total opposite! “Less of me, more of you Lord” (John 3:30) comes to mind here. This was modeled in the first church. There was a sense of community and charity within those 3000 that came to faith during Pentecost. They shared their possessions, ate together, attended services daily and listened with anticipation to every word of the apostles (Acts 2: 42-47). Why? Not because they were told to. Not because it is written somewhere and not because they were shamed into doing so. They did all of this willingly. They did this because they loved God first and themselves last – yes even after others.
This is the embodiment of the word “charity.” You know how “charity” is defined as biblically? Love. Not just any love, but agape love – the highest form of pure love. Charity does not include self. It does not take into consideration of personal needs of the supplier. This almost sounds like the love shown on the cross. The needs, anxiety, and fear of Jesus did not matter when it came down to the actual act of suffering and crucifixion. This pure and full love is what that first community of believers exhibited toward one another. This was not a surprise but an actually answered prayer. Who would have prayed for such unity you ask? None other than Jesus moments before His own arrest. John 17:20 reads:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
I would like to point out the pain and anguish the Son of God was under at this very moment. As one of the last things He prayed before His arrest, He was focused on you, focused on me. “Those who will believe in Me because of their message.” That’s us folks. In the midst of overwhelming anxiety of what He knows is about to happen, He thinks of us.
Our unity. One would almost read this as the Son of God Himself pleading for unity, and agape love amongst the first church and beyond. How we have lost track of this request. I often get requests for prayer and I welcome them. Why can we not look at the request of our Savior, that we can fulfill? We have the ability and power to give an affirmative answer to the prayer of our God!
So yes, it is all about love. Putting ourselves in the mix was never part of that plan. In fact, He wants us to surrender ourselves to His desires, His will, and His plans. This is charity. This is agape love. This is biblical. This is real Christianity. If we take this seriously, we would not argue and fight over anything. This includes topics of politics, what we deserve or anything else. First, we are to Love God and all He stands for, then to love each other. Let’s take the “me” out of the equation.
If you want to be part of that real agape love type of body of Christ, connect with me. Send me a message, connect on social media through the church Facebook or email me through this site. God bless and I will be praying for unity within His church.