Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Loving the Church and Loving the Lost Go Hand in Hand

I often say that the gospel and the church exist in a symbiotic relationship. Where the gospel is weak, the church will be weak. Where the church is weak, the gospel will be weak. If we love others and want them to enjoy the blessings of knowing Christ, then we must love the church Christ died to save. So, when I came across these "16 Ways to Demonstrate Love and Unity in the Church," I had to share them. These are from J. Mack Stiles' book Marks of the Messenger as posted by Andy Naselli.

  1. Attend a church that takes the gospel seriously (Hebrews 10:25). . . .
  2. Become an actual member of a church. I’m serious; membership shows your loving commitment to one another. . . . And just think, the less cool the church the more opportunity to demonstrate real love!
  3. Read C. J. Mahaney’s book Humility once a year. . . . Mahaney gives us practical tools for demonstrating love and unity in the context of community.
  4. Turn down jobs that might take you away from church even if they pay more.
  5. Arrange family vacations around your church’s schedule. Or better yet, take your family on a short-term mission trip with other members instead of a family vacation. This will blow people’s minds.
  6. If your church doesn’t have a church covenant, think about developing one that expresses your love for each other.
  7. Move to a house closer to the church [building] and use your house as a place of hospitality (Romans 12:13).
  8. Practice church discipline. . . .
  9. Respect, even revere, the authority in the church (1 Thessalonians 5:12–13).
  10. Turn heads—really practice the biblical teachings of giving and receiving forgiveness. . . .
  11. Take care of people who are in need physically in your congregation (Romans 12:13).
  12. Pray for each other (Ephesians 6:18). Don’t just say you’ll pray. Actually put into place some ways to pray for each and every member.
  13. Sympathize with other believers (Romans 12:15). Check a critical spirit.
  14. Focus on caring for one another spiritually by discipling one another (Galatians 6:1–2). . . .
  15. Share your faith together (Philippians 1:27). . . .
  16. Read Mark Dever’s 9 Marks of a Healthy Church.
. . . [T]his kind of radical love leads to radical evangelism.
To be a healthy evangelist means to love brothers and sisters.

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