There’s a great threat looming over the Church right now. In my opinion, it’s the Church’s greatest threat. And it’s not doctrinal error, poor exegesis, a lack of discipleship, or even the contemporization of the Church.
I believe the #1 greatest threat facing the Church right now is a lack of love — real love that is.
The kind of love that crosses enemy lines.
The kind of love that lives out the gospel in the midst of those who oppose it.
The kind of love that’s willing to lay down its life.
This kind of love doesn’t come easy, but it’s the Church’s greatest weapon. I think that’s why Paul wrote what he did in 1 Corinthians 13.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Our churches can have incredible preaching, incredible doctrine, incredible music, and incredible programs, but if it’s only offered to those we agree or feel comfortable with, we’re missing the point.
If the Church has any chance at changing this world, it will be through its love for its neighbors — real love that is.
And if you want to know what real love looks like, take a look at the cross. Not just the bloody crown that adorned Christ’s forehead. Not just the torturous crucifix. Not just the whips that ripped the skin off His back. And not just the jeering crowd that screamed at His feet.
No, if you want to know what real love looks like, look deeper. Look at the debt that He paid. Look at the sin that He covered. Look at the death that He conquered. And most importantly, look at who He offers it to. EVERYONE.
Yes, that’s what real love looks like. Real love is the kind of love that loves with no strings attached. No qualifications. No pre-requisites. To love in this way, we have to first receive this kind of love. And we can only receive this kind of love from the Father (1 John 4:7).
Real love — the kind that loves enemies — is the kind of love that separates Christianity from empty religion.
This is the kind of love Paul knew and exemplified when he was miraculously freed from prison and instead of escaping to safety, he took it as an opportunity to preach the gospel. For the sake of love, he risked his life.
That’s what real love does. Real love loves “everyone.” And when I say everyone, I mean it in the truest sense of the word.
Every skin color.
Every political affiliation.
Every track record.
Every sexual orientation.
Real love doesn’t look to a news channel to see who it should love.
Real love doesn’t look to celebrities or influencers to see who it should love.
Real love doesn’t look to a President or a political party to see who it should love.
Real love looks to Jesus.