July 28, 2014

Love Works.

Sometimes I really wonder how things would be if Jesus still physically walked the earth. Would there be as much crime, hate, racism, riots, or would it be a more peaceful place full of never-ending love?
Yesterday Sean and I went to church and I left feeling like I was ten feet deep in my chair. As I have mentioned many times, my church is HUGE on loving others. We have a huge "Love Works" statue as you enter our church just reminding us what we are here to do. The biggest goal they want to accomplish is to make others feel welcome with an over-pouring ocean of love.
 
Jesus had this. He showed people more love and acceptance than we could ever imagine. In Luke 15:1-7, Jesus fellowshipped and showed compassion for the sinners. Yet. He was ridiculed for being a friend with the sinners.  One point that stuck out to me like a sword yesterday....the church isn't representing what Jesus wants to represent. When those words came out of my preachers' mouth, I just stopped and thought about what he said over and over and over.
The church isn't representing what Jesus wants to represent.
 
"Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."
 
We live in a city that is not only known for its blues, but it is largely known for its crime. From out of the millions of people who live in our town, less than 300K were in some type of church yesterday. I jotted down reasons why I thought there were less than half of our city in churches.
1. people put other priorities above going to church
2. people think they do not need church
3. there are those who do not know Christ
But then again, after I jotted these notes down, I did a little reflection. What if others are not in church, because of the way Christians act? We see and hear stories of churches who literally shut the doors on others. The doors are shut on the cheaters, liars, homosexuals, prostitutes, drunkards...the list could go on and on. Now do I agree with these lifestyles? No, I do not. But would I ever turn a person away for their lifestyle? Definitely not. I feel like I could never stress it enough...Jesus FELLOWSHIPPED and LOVED the cheaters, liars, homosexuals, prostitutes, drunkards...and so on. He would never turn anyone away for what they have done. Instead, He invites them to put away their lifestyle and follow Him. Just as we are to do as Christians, love the sinner, hate the sin. Never turn anyone away but instead, let them in. Be their support so they can learn about Christ and turn over a new life to following Him.
You can never influence people that you reject.
There are people who are interested in loving God, but not loving the church. For one, some churches just have bad reps. They are known for being people who will judge you for what you have done down to the small things of how you didn't wear the fanciest dress to church. For two, People think perfect people go to church. Most think you have to be perfect before you walk in the door, a clean slate with no sins associated with your life. Truth is, we are all sinners. The only difference in those who attend church and those who do not...we know Christ. We know there is  a God who will forgive us of all sins and who will show us love that is deeper than the ocean. Reach out and show the same thing to those who are scared to enter the church.
 
2 Corinthians 5:14-20
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
 
For Christ's love compels us. Its guides us and focuses us. It moves us to love others. God is making his appeal through us. As stated in Luke, if there are ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent, yet one sinner who wonders afar...go after that one sinner.
Because in all seriousness, there is no greater joy that the lost being found.
 
Honestly, this is not the post I had planned for today. But yesterday really put things in perspective for me. Help others reach Christ. Stop rejecting people who do not agree with what you believe. Stop rejecting those who do not know Christ, because they are the ones who need love the most. We learned from the Great Commission, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything Christ has commanded us.
Show others Christ.
Be the light that this earth is so desperate for.
Show others that love truly does work.

3 comments:

  1. The first and second commandment are what Jesus says is most important. For some reason, a lot of us like to forget the second one applies to us and that we are actually commanded to love others. How the world would change if all Christians loved like Jesus did. I've been reading Radical by David Platt this week and have been inspired by the way he challenges people to a life of obedience. We can't believe the promises in scripture are written for us without also believing that the commands in scripture are for us as well. May we love out of the overflow of the love we have been given.

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  2. Lauren. Thank you for recking me and I'm sure many others. You have such a big heart for Jesus. I'm so encouraged reading this :)

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