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  • Matt Jewell

Day 5: Love and Unity Inside of the Church

Updated: Jan 11

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35

Over the past several years, I’ve experienced several people I know walk away from the Church or even become openly antagonist toward the Church. This absolutely breaks my heart. Perhaps you can relate to this experience, or at least relate to a yearning for the Church to have greater impact as it carries out its God-ordained mission to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Jesus too cares deeply about the Church and about its witness. During an intimate conversation with the disciples shortly before He was crucified, Jesus issued a command– “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35, NIV). According to Jesus, the witness of the Church is directly tied to the love that those in the Church have for one another. If we’re committed to loving Jesus, we should be just as committed to loving those who also love Jesus. Whenever we’re tempted to lament over the Church’s waning influence and its witness in the world, we should humbly ask ourselves– what do our words and actions toward those in the Church communicate about God and His gospel to those outside the Church?

Jesus’ command to love one another would be an easy one to follow, except for the reality that people do and say things that make them hard to love. Being part of a local church body doesn’t mean being part of a community where sin, relational conflict, and turmoil are totally absent. This was true from the earliest days of the Church (just read 1st and 2nd Corinthians) and it’s true now. Why? Because none of us, even though we’ve placed our faith in Jesus Christ, have been perfected on this side of eternity. We still battle with our flesh and desires in ways that put us at odds with others. But as the Church, we’re called to love one another in ways that overcome sin, relational conflict, and turmoil and champion the public witness that comes through unity. As the Apostle Paul declared, we’re to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:1a-6, ESV)

Why should we pursue unity through love? Because the God who saved us and who Himself perfectly exists in loving unity– Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–should be more precious to us than any personal preference, grievance, hurt, or conflict we have with another person in the Church.

Thankfully, Jesus didn’t command us to love one another– no matter how hard it might be–without empowering us to do so. He’s given us the Holy Spirit, our Helper and Counselor (John 14:26, AMP), who produces in us the fruit of the Spirit– love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, ESV). Is there a person in the Church who needs to experience your love and forgiveness? Is there a person in the Church you need to reach out to and ask for their help or forgiveness? If so, don’t delay. The world is watching!

Pray with me: "Father, we thank you that you have adopted me into your family through the work of your Son. Would you help me to know your love more truly so that I may go and love those at All Church in a similar way. Convict me of where I look at others with pride or a sense of superiority and replace it with a humility that longs to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ. Would the world see the way the people of All Church love each and be drawn to your love. Amen'


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