I’ve noticed that many Christians and pastors who say they “love the local church”, actually mean, they love their local church. Or churches like their church.
No one actually thinks that way. We just act that way.
I know that’s a bold statement and it breaks my heart to know we’ve gotten so far that it could be true.
You may disagree. So let’s put this “love” for the local church to the test based off the Bible’s definition of love.
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” | 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
– Are you “patient” with other churches?
– Would everyone say you are “kind” to other churches?
– Do you celebrate when other churches impact people more than your church, or do you “envy” their favor?
– Do you “boast” about what your church is doing that others are not?
– Is your heart “arrogant” towards other churches?
– Do you make “rude” remarks about other churches and pastors?
– Do you get excited about different forms of ministry that God is using to save people, or do you “insist on your own way?”
– Are you often “irritated” by other churches?
– Do you “resent” any churches that do ministry different than yours?
– Do you “rejoice” when a church you don’t like says something or does something “wrong”?
– Do you rejoice when the same church preaches “truth“?
When we let the greatness of our church hinder us from seeing the grandeur of The Church, we exchange unvarnished worship for unintentional idolatry.
Romans 12:9 says, “Let love be without hypocrisy.” If we find ourself in a place where we say we love The Church, but our actions say we really only love our church, we should repent.
God is faithful to correct, encourage, and redeem us back to a posture of love, especially towards the household of faith.
Unity is not a burden, and it’s more than a command. It’s a gift. Jesus promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against The Church. Not a church; The Church. So we can focus on our castle. Or we can seek first God’s Kingdom.
If you love the local church, how are you working with other local churches? Or better, do the unbelievers in your community confidently say your churches love each other and work together?
If not. That’s a strange way to love the local church. That wouldn’t fly in a marriage. You say you love your wife, you just never do anything together? You say you love your wife, people just never see you together?
The devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Lions don’t attack the pack. They attack the isolated.
So as long as The Church is divided, we give Satan a foothold in our ministry. But as long as The Church is united, even the gates of Hell cannot prevail against us.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” | John 13:35