What are the essentials?
I believe we need to reconsider our list of essentials for the sake of unity. I believe love is one of the essentials to our shared faith. If we don't highly value loving all those who follow Christ (and everyone else), we are not placing high value on the word's of Christ.
Is it possible to love God and not love other Christ followers?
"We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." (1 John 4:19-21)Just love those I fellowship with?
"If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?" (Matthew 5:46 NIV)Loving others is the sign of who we are.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:33-35 NIV)Jesus chose me... to love! I think this is amazing, why me?
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. "(John 15:16-17 NIV)Isn't correct theology more important than love?
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Matthew 22:36-39 NIV)Again, we are commanded to love.
"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:11-13 NIV)
I think we can all be challenged by this. We may know better than using the word "hate" to describe our feelings towards someone, but do our actions and words demonstrate our love towards our brothers (and sisters)? Even those brothers and sisters who don't have all the same beliefs as us?
The scriptures are clear that placing a high value on love is essential to our faith.
I propose that whenever we encounter an issue that is dividing Christ's Church we ask this questions:
Is this issue more essential to my faith than Christ's command to love? Then how should I respond?
- Commanded to love
- Because he first loved us
- Respond to disagreements in love
- Permanent residence in a life of love
- I was made to love you (song)
- Graham Cooke Inheritance
- A. W. Tozer on fundamentalism and love
- He loves me (book)
- Do you believe in love?
- How can I gain your love?
- Dearly loved children
- Love Your Enemies