One of the most profound passages of Scripture in all of the New Testament is a simple, but convicting verse from the Gospel of John:
"By this shall all men know you are My disciples when you love one another." (Chapter 13, I'll let you look up the exact verse...).
Jesus had just finished what many scholars will call the "Upper Room discourse"--the last meal before His betrayal, trial, murder, and Resurrection. He had invited them to "eat bread" and then showed them how to "wash" each other's feet. These activities are far more than just symbolism to be preached on once a quarter. These were commands of Christ that we should be observing, and better yet, fulfilling.
One of the reasons I wanted to write about this command/admonition is because it has been so easily and often ignored by those who claim to be Christ-followers.
Some things that I've observed in "church" for the last 38 years:
1) We want to have great music, and good participation. (I love great music, and I always want to participate...one reason I am not a Catholic, I'm sure)
2) We want to have great preaching and teaching, and we want people to "grow" in their knowledge of God's Word and God's ways. (No argument from me here either...I'm all for it...absolutely. I need to grow in God's Word and in His ways.)
3) We have bought into the idea that "another conference" or another "advertisement" or another "method" of evangelizing will reach people, will get them in the "door" and will win them to Jesus.
So here's what I think:
Do what Jesus said. Love one another. Love one another so fervently that this same "love" will spill out on the streets--where the unloved, the unlovely, the unchurched, the unbeliever all dwell--and will reach them. No one has ever loved us like Jesus has, did, and still does!
But how do we truly "love one another"?
This "love" that Jesus was talking about must extend far beyond the sanctuary, and the Sunday School room. This "love" that Jesus was talking about must be visible and functioning Monday through Saturday--long after the songs have been sung, the offering has been counted, and the parking lots are empty.
I'm convinced that Christ was absolutely correct when He said, "By this shall all men know..."
Not by anything else...not our slick advertisements, evangelistic campaigns, or our "new and improved" methods.....
What say ye?