Church DNA Essential # 3 – LOVE

“All of the law and the prophets hang on these commands (of Jesus).” Does anybody recognize that verse? It comes after one of the most quoted group of verses in the entire New Testament: Matthew 22:34-40 NIV

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All of the law and the prophets hang on these two commands.”

The term “hang” in Greek means that these verses (all of the law and prophets) “find their significance” in the commands of loving God and others.

The modern church read that we are to believe the law and behave how the prophets call us to act and if a person meets those criteria then they are allowed to enter our church, become members, and then belong. In a post-modern culture people want to belong, to be loved regardless of their state of being. If what we believe and how we behave are not founded in love then we have missed the point. Remember that these commandments only find their place when they lead to loving God and loving others. This is authentic biblical community.

That is why scripture says that of faith, hope, and love (amazing virtues) that the greatest of these is love. That is why Christ said of his followers, “They will know you are my disciples if you love one another.”

The final DNA essential for churches is LOVE. Love God and love others. This should be the foundation for all ministries. No one should be left out.


Christian Community is the Final Apologetic

So many people believe they have the cure for the common sinner; that the truth will set them free from unbelief. That may have worked in a modern, rational world, but the climate has changed from rational to relational. People need to first experience faith, hope, and love from Christ-followers who are living a radical life. It all starts with a verbal witness with no words and that provides the relational status from which to share the Gospel when that person is ready to listen.

This next generation needs Christians to do their homework and discover that in context the truth does set you free – free to love. The most amazing apologetic is our love for one another. That is how Jesus said the world would identify us over 2,000 years ago and it is still true today. In fact, the first century church is very similar to today’s church. The difference is that the church described in Act 2 was gaining favor and we are losing favor in a post-Christian world.

The late, great Francis Schaeffer said something similar: “Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful – Christian community is the final apologetic.” People are determining if Christianity is valid by how it impacts your life and mine. What a tremendous responsibility we have! What a tremendous opportunity we have!