Thursday, April 08, 2010


When we get serious about loving one another, we will learn that love must be practical.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1 John 3:16,17).
Love is more than holding hands and singing “We are one in the bond of love”. Love requires sharing with those in need. Sharing was normal in the early church, as they expressed their love for Jesus and commitment to others.
Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need (Acts 2:45).
Christian love produced a radically different attitude to possessions. Instead of being something to enjoy, they were seen as a gift from God to be used to strengthen the Church.
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them (Acts 4:32-34).
Sharing is important because it makes the gospel visible. Jesus promised that if we love each other, people will be drawn to him.
A new commandment I give you: Love one another
As I have loved you, so must you love one another.
All men will know that you are my disciples
If you love one another (John 13:34,35).
I when I am lifted up from the earth,
will draw all men to myself (John 12:32).
The people of the world are entitled to look at a Church to see if its members love each other. The problem is that love is not easy to see. Forgiveness and encouragement will often not be visible to those outside the Church.

The best way for Christians to make their love visible is by sharing their possessions. People who live close by will see John driving Bill’s car. They will wonder why George still lives in comfort, when he has just lost his job. In a world where riches and poverty are normal, a Church with “no needy people” will be a very visible witness to the love of Jesus.

Churches that are serious about doing the One Another Stuff will start sharing quite naturally. Every Christian will aim to have something they can share with other members of the Church.

A sharing Church would be a tremendous testimony to people living close by. Christianity is not just a personal relationship with Jesus. His death on the cross also broke down the barrier of sin that divides us from other people. His people must demonstrate their restored relationships. In a world that is hungry for love, the best witness may not be a believer saying “Jesus loves me”, but a group of Christians freely sharing their possessions.

Sharing must always be voluntary. It must motivated by love and not by peer pressure. Demanding that someone share is never acceptable. It is a privilege, not a right.

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