In 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul commends that church for their love. He emphasizes both the individual and congregational dimensions of love. The love that every individual member of the entire congregation had for each other was increasing. And as a church, they had more and more love for each other.
How beautiful it is to be a people known for the love that each one of us has for each and every one of us. Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (NASB). The thing that lets the world know that we belong to Christ is our love. When people come among us, they should experience the love of Christ.
People know that we love each other by the care we show for one another. When people outside of the church hear us encouraging one another and lifting up each other instead of gossiping and back-biting, they will know we love one another. Our love will lead others to speak well of Christ and His church.
So how does a church grow in love for one another? It starts with each member loving God above all else. We love others out of our love for God. The love that we have for God empowers us to love others.
We also grow in love as we get to know one another. Our knowledge of others brings us closer to them and allows us to dispel any myths or preconceived notions that we have.
Fellowship guards against us looking at the cover thinking that we can accurately determine whether or not we like the book.
We grow in love by experiencing life together. There are some people that we love because we have been through some things together, both good and bad. As a church we weep together and we rejoice together. When we are there for one another through sickness, death of loved ones, operations, births, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and everyday life, we grow in love.
But none of this happens unless we are willing to grow in love by taking the risk of being hurt. In order to love others, we have to allow ourselves to be open to the possibility of being hurt. When we share life together we are arming one another with the tools to hurt each other, but trusting each other not to use those tools against one another. We praise God for people who love us enough to have our back and not stab us in the back. I’m glad to be a part of a church that is increasing in love.
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.