LOVE DOES WIN, Congregational Dynamics Empowered by the Gospel
Congregational Dynamics Empowered by the Gospel
Love Actually DOES Win…
by Pastor Scott Slaughter
In his popular book “Love Wins,” Rob Bell works to establish the belief that the supreme thing within Christianity is love. Because of this, he argues that in the long view and the final case, love wins. Of course, his teaching has since been demonstrated to be an unbiblical view of Christian love and of the love of God Himself. Nevertheless, whether intentionally or unintentionally the book paved the way for those who refuse to repent of their sexual sins and self-justifying identities to shove their way upon an unsuspecting church under the guise of God's love.
We can over-emphasize love so that it becomes permissive which results in an essential change to our understanding of the biblical doctrine of love and of God’s love. God’s love does not cancel or override or cause Him to overlook His intrinsic holiness and absolute righteousness. We must remember that the Levites in the Old Testament did not have “Lovingness to the LORD” on their miter but “Holiness to the LORD.”
We must be diligent to gain our theology from Scripture itself. We should not allow the earnest desire to defend the purity of the gospel to cause us to forget to expound the historic belief of the Church that it is in fact God’s holy love for the world that He sent His only begotten Son to offer Himself a sacrifice for sin. Far from promiscuous, permissive, or perverted, God’s love is so holy that He Himself dies in our place, taking the punishment for our sins.
What is real Christian love? How do Christians obtain it? Is it moral? Is it forever? Is it holy? Second John is a brief letter to an unnamed congregation dealing with these issues.
Close study bears out that the Apostle’s overarching point is to encourage them to apply true Christian love. Let’s see what John has to teach us in his Second Letter.
Christian Love is Supernatural (2 John, vs. 1-3). In John’s second letter, he confronts the same issues of “knowing” by defining Christian love biblically. True Christian love is from God through Christ. It is first supernatural.
Christian Love Is Joyful (vs. 4 & 5 & 12). The bond of faith and obedience to Christ that believers within the congregation have is a deep source of rejoicing even in the face of great trial and suffering. (additional reading: 2 Corinthians 1:3–7)
Christian Love Is Holy (v. 6). Holiness is not an experience. It is not a feeling. It is not an event or a place. Holiness is a life of faith in Christ lived out in obedience to His Word. By holy we mean what the Bible means, that our moral and spiritual character is more and more in agreement with Christ and His Word. (additional reading: 1 Peter 1:13–19)
Christian Love is Theological (vs. 7-11). Unfortunately, the standard by which the Christian church in our time judges truth from error is most often not by doctrine but by “suppose sentiment.” As long as we think those who are in question are sincere, they are given the benefit of being right with God and then granted access to our hearts and minds. But this is the exact opposite of what Christ Himself told us. Our Lord taught us to discern (judge) teaching by its fruit, not by its sentiment.
Christian Love Is Ecclesiastical (vs. 12-13). Christian love is to be found and exhibited within the Christian Church. Separating the practice of Christian love from its expression with the local congregation of believers has had devastating effects on churches across America and Europe.
Look carefully at John’s words as he closes his letter. He rejoices in the local congregations and the ‘face-to-face” fellowship of believers. He undergirds Christian love and its power to keep us in the truth of Christ by rejoicing in the fellowship and connection of faithful congregations who hold close to the Bible.
It is imperative that local congregations recover true Christian love with its doctrinal faithfulness, purifying power, and deep wells of joy flowing from Christ and His Word.
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