Love What He Loves
"…just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her." Ephesians 5:25, NKJV
We need to love what Jesus loves.
Jesus loves His Church! He loves it so much He gave His life for it! Jesus is the Head of the Church and we are His Body – the global group of believers who have been called out and recognized by Heaven as His Church! Do you love what He loves? Do you love the Church?
Plenty of people don't. Unfortunately, there have always been critics who’ve scorned and persecuted the Church. The enemy loves it when people make sport of church stuff; making a mockery of churches, Christians, pastors, TV preachers, hypocrites, requests for money, accusing the church of being completely irrelevant or too relevant, being too charismatic or too stiff and stoic and a host of other things that are easy targets. While there is no such thing as a perfect Church or a perfect Christian, we can and should esteem and build up what Jesus loves. That means we will need to make a choice to guard our hearts and our mouths when it comes to the Church. We don’t want to find ourselves laughing, scorning or mocking the very thing Jesus loves and gave His life to build.
While the Bible tells us that Christ and His love for His Church are a great mystery, there are a few things the Word reveals about the Lord's love for His Church. These things help us love what He loves.
Jesus loves His Church and...
He is adding to the church those who are being saved. (Acts 2:47, 6:7, 12:24)
He answers the prayers of His church. (Acts 12:5, James 5:16)
He appoints those who lead His Church. (Acts 13:1, 14:23, 20:28, 1 Corinthians 12:28)
He gives the gifts of the Spirit to build up and strengthen His Church. (1 Corinthians 14)
He is the Head of all things – including the Church. (Ephesians 1:22)
He has established the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth. (1 Timothy 3:15)
He is building His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
I love the way the Message Bible describes the Church, “All this energy issues from Christ: God raised Him from death and set Him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from His rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ's body, in which He speaks and acts, by which He fills everything with His presence.” (Ephesians 1:20-23, Message)
In other words, the Church is front and center on God's heart! I love this line, "The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church!"
Recently, we received a powerful note from one of our staff members. This staff person gave us permission to share their story. “Growing up in the church I had witnessed and experienced so many negative things, I had a bad taste in my mouth about church and church leaders. I built up many walls about church. I had major trust issues, and struggled with allowing ‘church people’ to speak into my life. I wasn't sure who to trust or who was real. When I joined the staff at VFC, God made it very clear to me that my time on staff was supposed to be an 'investing and learning' season. So, that's what I did – I invested and learned. I invested my heart and my time into the church and I learned about God's grace! I realized that even though no one person or church is perfect, we all still love God and love his people and most importantly He still loves us. I really can't put into words the change I've felt in myself, but I know it's real and it's because of my time here at VFC. My love for church has been restored."
Isn't that a great testimony? Do you need your love for His Church restored? Jesus wants to help us love what He loves!
Say It: “Father, I ask You to fill my heart with Your love for the Church. Jesus, I want to love what You love. I know there is no such thing as a perfect Church or a perfect Christian. Thank You for loving me – and Your Church – in spite of our failures, mistakes and shortcomings. Today, I choose to love what You love. I love the Church, the Body of Christ! I pray for my church and Your Churches around the world…strengthen us, unite us and fill us with more of Your love. Help us Lord to be the Church – a Body of believers that live by faith, obey Your Word and represent You well. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
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