Is It Possible to Love Jesus and Not The Church?

Even though Valentine’s Day has come and gone I have been thinking about what is true love?  Furthermore, how do I demonstrate true love in my life?  In a culture where the word “love” gets tossed around like a football in the backyard, have we lost the meaning of love?  It is becoming increasingly more difficult to argue that society today understands what love truly is.  In a “me first” compulsive society we have defined love not by our own actions, but based on feelings or emotions oftentimes connected to how people treat us.  This will by no means be a comprehensive look at the issue of love, but there is something I believe every Christian and most churches should look at in order to answer the question, am I truly showing love?

Have you ever heard someone say, “I love Jesus but I don’t like the church?”  Other than sounding completely ridiculous, this is impossible according to Scripture.  First of all we see in 1 John 4:20, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”  The word “hate” hear means that we do not love our brother, not necessarily hate in the strongest sense of the word as we think of it.  John is saying, “you can’t love God and not love your brother.”  Why is this the case?  Ephesians 5:25 says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”  Notice Christ loved the church so much that He gave His life for it.  How can I possibly love God and hate something He thought was worth dying for?  Godly love is not based on feelings or based on emotions.  Rather godly love is based on an act of our will.  In other words, I am choosing to love you and I will love you regardless of how you treat me.  Obviously this form of love is very difficult because we are taught by society that it is all about us.  The only way I can love my enemies is to choose to look past what they do to me or say about me.  It is easy to love those who treat you nice or those who say they love you, but as Jesus said, “what are you doing any different from the lost?”  If you were to come up to me and tell me I was handsome, it looked like I lost a lot of weight, and I was the best preacher you have ever heard of course I’m going to love you!  But that wouldn’t prove anything.  Now if I could pray for your and care about your soul when you tell me that was the worst sermon you have ever heard, then maybe I have achieved love for you.  The bottom line is that if I truly love you, then your words and your actions will not affect my thoughts and actions towards you.  That is God’s standard!  No wonder many people walked away from Jesus according to John 6:66, this is hard.  But thanks be to God who gives us the Holy Spirit to help us and gave us His Word that we may learn from Jesus’ example.

By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him

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