Scripture: 2 John 1:
5 … I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
Observation: The only way to be obedient to God is to walk in love.
Application: I’ve heard people say that preaching about love and acceptance is all “fluffy feel good” stuff meant to lull people into carelessness and disobedience. I disagree, love and acceptance is more than fluff, it is a command that we as Christians are given. If we fail to make love our most prominent goal, our largest ministry, our greatest outreach then we are not being obedient even if we were to follow every other command found in the scriptures.
Love should encompass everything we do. I have spent my entire ministry in the rural churches of TN and I can tell you, many churches are in trouble. Many of the rural churches are failing. It’s not because people are not concerned with spiritual things anymore, and it’s not because there are not enough people who aren’t already going to another church somewhere, it’s because the average person who is not going to church ,even though many of them believe in God, does not see the church of today as a place where they can be loved. The people outside of the church, (*you know, the ones we are supposed to be ministering to*) most often see us as judgmental and exclusive, they see us as people who think we are better than others and they don’t care to be a part of our group because they don’t want to be like that themselves.
How do we change the public opinion of the church and turn things around again? We walk in love. I like the way John puts it here – walk is an action, it’s a verb, and so is love. We may say we love the lost, we may say we have a burden for them, but what are we actually doing about it? Are we reaching out as best we can or are we hoping someone else will do it for us? People are not going to beat down the doors of the church because we have a revival or a singing or a dinner. They will come only when we truly start walking in love by reaching out to them in a personal way.
Many times people use the phrase “when I found Jesus” or “when I turned back to God” I’m sure I’ve said those things myself, but they are not really accurate, I didn’t find Jesus, HE found ME. I didn’t go to God, God came after ME. It has to be the same with the church – we have to meet those we seek to minister to where they live and before they will ever listen to the good news we have to preach, they have to trust us and see that we love them by our actions of love toward them. And then once people respond, we have to be willing to allow imperfect people among us so that God can deal with them as He does with us, one day at a time. And during that time we have to keep loving them.
It’s more than fluffy feel good stuff – it’s a command. Walk in love!
Prayer: God of love,
Thank you for loving me before I loved you. Thank you for finding me though I was lost in a pit of self despair. Thank you for showing me that you cared for me even when I didn’t care for myself. Help me now to do the same for others who need you.