As you know PW and I do a lot of counseling and mentoring in the body of Christ , there are so many hurting people and because of these hurts, I feel prompted to share some thoughts with all of you.
When Jesus was on the earth, He spoke so many deep truths into the lives of His followers. Today we are privileged to tap into these truths and apply them to our own lives. One of the last things He said to His disciples was recorded in John's gospel.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Sounds like good advice especially since He knew that the whole world would be watching His followers after His resurrection. He knew that His kind of love was so against the flow of the culture that He wanted His followers to be defined by this characteristic. Note it is not a suggestion and so we can know that this kind of love is not a feeling, one cannot command feelings, this kind of love is an act of the will. It is considering what is best for the other, it is dying to what we want for their good, it is unconditional, undeserved. It is an action kind of love. Note in Verse 35 what the result will be.
John 13:35 By this (love) all men will KNOW that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
As the early church grew and time went on the writer to the Hebrews gave another command.
Hebrews 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another ; and all the more as you see the day(end times day) drawing near.
There must have been some lack in the love and good deeds dept. or the writer would not have told them to consider how to stimulate one another for these things. Imagine having to encourage someone to love and do good. But that is exactly what was happening then and what is happening in our day in the modern day church. Humans get on each others nerves, they offend each other, they hurt each other and our natural tendency is to remove ourselves from them and say who needs this. But we cannot give in , we must hold fast our confession, we must encourage one another more and more to gather together.. Why? Well note the verse below.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these.
Might I suggest that the world is getting worse and worse. This verse gives a pretty accurate description of the days in which we live. All of us, our children included are being confronted with the viscousness in our culture. So could it be that the writer of Hebrews seeing into the future was saying, look as you see things get worse, there needs to be a SAFE PLACE for believers to gather and encourage one another. I think he was onto something.
I have a dream, it is to see a place where kids and adults alike feel SAFE. SAFE to be themselves without criticism, SAFE to try out their gifts and not fear failing, SAFE to be accepted and enjoyed for who God made them to be, SAFE to share hurts, SAFE to ask for help, SAFE to escape from the world and find something so incredibly different that they long to be there more and more. A place where they not only feel loved, but are shown love. A place where there are no factions, no cliques, where no one is left out but reached out to and included. Where everyone is honored and respected. A place where old and young alike can fellowship together. Where those who are older are given honor, where we consider one, prefer one another. Where the older generation is honored because we include them in our planning of worship, where we include a few hymns for them, where the young get some wonderful contemporary worship music so all can enter into worship our Lord, where older people are asked advice because they have lived longer and have wisdom, where young kids, teens and young adults are allowed to serve along side older more mature saints so they can learn. A place where His love is so evident that the world outside wants what we have….forgiveness of sins, eternal life, joy and peace all found in Jesus. Where God is adding to the church daily those who are being saved.
Might I suggest that this might be what Jesus had in mind when He died and called us the CHURCH.
Grace and Peace,