At first glance, God’s love doesn’t appear to be much of a theological problem. First John 4:8 couldn’t be clearer: “God is love.” Of all the ways to describe God, that is certainly the most endearing and widely-accepted.
How many times have we heard the phrase, “A loving God would never ____”? What that person is really saying is that I have my own idea of what love is, and I will only accept a god who loves on my terms. That is the subtle form of idolatry that many people—even many churchgoers—buy into today.
The issue isn’t whether or not God loves, but whether the people proclaiming His love have the first clue what they’re actually talking about. True, God is love. But let’s not make the egregious error of assuming that’s all He is, or all He wants us to know about Him.
The problem with God’s love, then, is that the discussion of it is being clouded and confused by people who don’t know what love is or who God is, and yet speak with assumed authority on both.
More Than a Feeling
From The Assembling of the church blog, comes this and the powerful quote below:
Jesus’ disciples enjoyed community simply because Jesus and not a set of dogmas was at the center of their life. They never tried to “build community.” They didn’t have to. Community was the result of being united in the Christian mission; community emerged naturally when they committed themselves to something bigger than themselves. And so it is in the church today. It is my personal observation that most Christians begin to enjoy genuine community only when they begin to serve the poor, evangelize the lost, and plant churches. The glue that unites them is the missional task of loving their neighbors. A shared sense of mission drives them to community. Their congregations are mission-shaped. Like Jesus, they literally go. For them the Bible, not tradition, is normative, and they hold themselves accountable to each other in love even while they work closely with the surrounding neighborhood, developing strong links between Christians and not-yet Christian
by Dr. Jack Graham
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
I heard about a man who wanted to sing in the choir of a certain church. So he went in to meet with the pastor, who asked him, “Are you a member of this church?”
The man said, “No, I’m not a member of the church.”
The pastor said, “Well, are you a member of any church?”
And the man replied, “No, I’m not a member of any church. But I am a member of God’s invisible universal Church.”
So the pastor quipped back, “Well, why don’t you sing in the invisible universal choir then?!”
When we think about church, there are two separate and equally important aspects of church. There is the invisible universal Church to which all believers in Christ belong. And there is also the local church, the visible representation of that invisible reality.
Now yes, it’s possible to be a part of the universal Church without belonging to a local church. But as you see in today’s passage, assembling together is a mandate from the Scriptures that we’re to take seriously!
So if you’re not involved in a local church where you’re meeting with others and growing together, find one and get plugged in. You’ll not only be fulfilling the biblical mandate to assemble together, but you’ll build lasting friendships that will lift you up!
THE BIBLE IS CLEAR THAT BELIEVERS ARE TO MEET TOGETHER. SO IF YOU AREN’T YET, GET CONNECTED WITH A LOCAL CHURCH AND BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER CHRISTIANS LIKE YOU!
Here are a few of the results of not becoming active in your local church
- You are thwarting Jesus’ plan, unconsciously saying that your plan for your Christian life and family is superior to his.
- You are rejecting a chief means he has given you for your spiritual growth, thereby negatively impacting your family.
- You are disobeying Jesus.
- You are teaching your children to disobey Jesus by your example.
~ John Crotts, Loving the Church, Kindle Edition.