Oct 22, 2009

Loving the Church - Ligonier Leadership Conference (X)

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"How can you love Jesus and not love who He loves?" -- Ligon Duncan, "The Church and Sacraments," Ligonier Leadership Conference Ligon Duncan's message on the church is all about the need of Christians to love His church. So many of us are indifferent to the church and its people. We might pay lip service to its importance but then act as if gathering with the people of God is the least important things in our lives. All too often, public worship and fellowship gatherings take a back seat to other demands on our time. This is unfortunate as we are going to be with our fellow Christians forever. We should be doing all we can now to get to know our fellow believers and how we can meet their needs. This is the essence of 1 John 3:11-18 wherein John lists the love for the brethren as one of the defining marks of the Christian. The love John commends is costly, where we must be willing even to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ. But if dying for a fellow Christian seems a bit unrealistic in this comfortable society of ours, consider how John himself describes this love (vv. 17-18): "If anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." Which of us, in this materialistic society, is willing to give away our goods to a brother in need? It is a question we should be asking daily, and it is an action we ought to be seeking actively to fulfill. If we were more committed to the people of God, the world would see our love and more people would know that we are the disciples Christ, perhaps making them jealous for that same love (John 13:34). May we all strive towards that love for God's people that the Lord demands of us. Robert Rothwell is associate editor for Tabletalk magazine.