Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Jesus said, "By this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another." There are many areas of our Christian walk that the North American church could do better at, but this one is near the top of the list. I wanted to take just a couple of minutes to look more closely at this statement from our Lord.

"By this..." It begs the question, "by what?" By the love we have for one another. The love that Christians have for other Christians is the "this" that Jesus is talking about. We are all baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit. If we are all in Christ, and if we love Christ, we must love the people of Christ. It is not optional. If you love Christ, you must love his people. The Apostle John addresses this in his first epistle when he says, "If any man say he loves God but hates his brother, he is a liar."

But more than this, people, lost people, the world, will know that we are Jesus' disciples by the way that we love one another. The way I read this is that (even) the world will know that we are followers of Jesus by the quality of the love we show towards our Christian brothers and sisters. Our love for each other is supposed to be such a love that even unsaved people will mark us as Jesus' people by what they see passing between us.

Now, the reality is that I know few people who are more grouchy than those who claim to be Christ's people. And they are rarely so grouchy as they are when they deal with fellow Christians. All those things the scriptures tell us ought not to be known among us (slander, back biting, gossip, evil speaking, hypocrisy, lies), these are the things that are much more common among Christians than the things we ought to be known for. In some churches, the members are in open warfare with other members. I knew a pastor once who was so hated by his congregation that some members actually hissed at him when he would enter the sanctuary (no, not me). As a group, we love getting the dirt on each other and magazines still write articles asking "Why do Christians shoot their wounded?"

Isn't it time we started becoming known for godly things, good things? Wouldn't it be a blessing to be known as a Christian for the love we show? I fear we are far too fond of our flesh because we seem to enjoy living in it. But I look to a day when we love living in the Spirit more than we love living in the flesh. I am resolved to do better at being known for my love towards the brethren. When I die, perhaps even lost people will examine my life and mark me as a Christian instead of a curmudgeon. But if they do, it'll be by the love I have for others.

One preacher once said that Christians don't tell lies, we sing them. Let's make that old church song truth and not a lie ... you know the song I mean ... "And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes they'll know we are Christians by our love."

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