Friday, November 09, 2007

The Center of Christianity is Love

I love the prayer of Jesus in John 17, especially the last part of the prayer as he prays for us striving to be one as He is one.
I believe that when it boils down to it, Christianity is all about love. The center of Christianity is love. As Christians we are to love. God is love. It is all about love.

Listen to these wonderful passages:
John 3:16-17, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that who ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
John 13:34" A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
John 14:15 "If you love me, you will obey what I command."
Mark 12:28-31 "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, 'Of all the commandments, which is most important?' 'The most important one, is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord O God, The Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.'"

Paul's letters stress the importance of love.
Romans 12:9-10 says, "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."
1Cor. 13: 1-8;13, "If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, alwas perseveres. Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

So even the things we do if we have not love it means nothing!

Love is the first fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.

Paul prays to God that the church in Ephesus might grasp how wide, long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that they may be filled to the full measure of all the fullness of God, in Ephesians 3:19. In Col. 3, as Christians we clothe ourselves with various virtures and in verse 14 we read, "And over all the virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity."

John tells us in 1 John:
3:11, "This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another."
3:13-15, "Do not be suprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death" I don't know about you but I want to live!, so we need to love. "Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." Wow, Oh, no, so we need to be on our guard about love.
4:7-12, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who love has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live though Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one anther, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. "
4:16b.-18, "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him." There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
5:13, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."


So, I obey Christ out of love.
It is a love relationship that I strive to have with God.

What do you think? Is Christianity about love? Is it about a love relationship with God? When it boils down to it, are our motives driven by love, fear, or other emotions? Has the church missed the point of love being the center of Christianity? Has it been about works? Has the Church of Christ focus been on other things than love? Do you think the Church of Christ in the future will be known for their love? In what way can we be known by our love within the brotherhood? Outside the brotherhood? How can we make a difference?

Is it important to achieve a balance between love and hell in the pulpit? Should grace and love be preached more than hell and the judgment? What is it that makes a Christian- fear of hell or love of God and are the two actually the same thing? If so, why?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts.


Blogger Lisa said...

I agree, Kinney -- it's all about loving each other and loving the hurting people in our world and loving God.

12:27 AM  
Blogger Neva said...

I think love has to be the motivation behind all that we do, church discipline is for the specific purpose of bringing the soul back to the Lord. In psychology classes they taught us that the universal need of mankind is love--and I John teaches us that God is love. I think that pretty much sums up that the world needs Him and we are to go about speaking the truth in love and loving souls.


12:39 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Thanks for stopping by and addingyou thoughts and comments to the discussion. I totally agree with you thoughts on loving the hurting the people in our world and loving God. Thanks. I hope you have a great week.

10:03 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Yes, love needs to be the motivation for everything we do, especially bringing a soul back to Christ and bring people to Christ. Eccl. 3 tells us that God has set eternity into the hearts of men. I believe that is exactly what you are talking about. Universal need of need for God's love.
Thanks for your thoughts and comments.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Terry said...

I would love for the future Church of Christ to be known for love. I want to be looking for ways to show kindness continually. Also, the reality of hell motivates me to keep reaching out to people who are in danger. I know that God wants everyone to repent and that he wants to use me in some way to help people who are in danger.

5:41 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Excellent points brother.
I as well want the Church of Christ to be known to be known for love.
I believe that in the past we have been known for hell, fire and brimestone. Judgementalism and Elitism to the world.
In the future may the Church of Christ be known as a body of Christian's who love. Love God. Eachother. The Lost. Show mercy and grace to those in need. May the Church of Christ be known for their benevolence. May we be known for our kindness. May our love be known worldwide. In the future when people think of the Church of Christ let them say, "Yes, those are the people who love."

As, Jesus, said, "All men will know you are my disciples if you love one another."

Amen Terry!

6:34 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

From what I remember of D.L. Moody and what he said, I mean he would say, LOVE.

Me too. "The Jesus Creed" of loving God and our neighbor seems to indicate that Jesus thought the same as well.

Fear of the Lord certainly has its place. But its a fear meant to usher us into his love. Though at the same time we should never become trifling careless with God. I do think God and Jesus are too domesticated (cf. Psalm 2).

But while Aslan is not tame, he certainly is good- and God is love.

Oh, and I want to mention the Trinity, the perichoretic union of love, that in Jesus, God brings us into (John 17 and other passages in John).

Kind of my take.

Good words Preacherman.

7:22 PM  
Blogger David Kirk said...

Someone wiser than me said that we need to touch people where they hurt instead of hurting people with our touch. I think as a church body we are doing better at loving people than we have in the past, but we still have so far to go. I am encouraged when I read posts like yours!

10:34 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I want to thank you so much for dropping by and adding your wisdom to the discussion. I love the quotes, your view of the trinity and everything you have said, about how we should love. Thanks brother. God bless you as you continue to serve Him. Scot McKnight really loved your post this past weekend. As did I brother. You were right on as far as Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Community Church.

10:28 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I am honored that you love my blog and are encouraged by my posted like this one. I just believe that the Church of Christ if we are to make a difference need to focus on the love of God, one another and the lost (instead of all the would be problems of other churches. I think we forget we are autonymous.).

10:31 AM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

The ten commandments are all about loving God and each other.. the heart of the law wasn't following the rules it was all about walking a path of love.

In the sermon on the mount Jesus got below the skin and addressed the motives behind our actions.. got to the heart of why people obey and why they don't obey.

Bottom line: love is the only true Christian motive.. it was Jesus' motive.. and it should be ours.

Not that we have our act together or anything :)

7:50 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:49 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:51 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Kansas Bob,
Thanks for your comment.
Imagine what the Church of Chris would be like if we did have our act together and love one antoher!

8:57 PM  
Blogger Jeff Garrett said...

Thanks for the post on my blog. If you lived near me I would give you some deer meat! I love you blog. Grace and peace,
Jeff Garrett

12:11 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Sorry man I'm in Texas.
If your ever hunting in Texas I'll take you up on the offer. :-)

8:05 AM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

Thought of your post this morning when I read this quote..

"Love is the best medicine, and there is more than enough to go around once you open your heart." -Julie Marie

Good to remember that love needs to be received as well as given.. for some of us it is harder to receive than to give.

9:58 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Kansas Bob,
What great quote!
You make a excellent point.
I agree it is harder to recieve it than to give it. Wow. I am going to chew on that one for a while today. Thanks.

11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good post on love, Kinney. And a much needed one.

I think we should focus on love and not so much on hell and damnation, myself. I mean, I grew up more in the hell and damnation time and think I was baptized more in that mode of thought (fear) than in thinking that Jesus really LOVED me, unfortunately.

But, fortunately, I learned better as I grew older and have come to deeply know of God's love for me. Thank God!

Cheers & Blessings to you all today!

of Finding Direction: The Wind Vane Chronicles

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, i think that God is Love.

we do not completely understand this "power" Love, which is God.

and our relationship with God is out of His Love, to and for us.

and out of that RELATIONSHIP of Love of God and with God, we are FILLED with what is our basic need, and in turn can give God's Love to others.

now i want to make clear that i mean the Love of God...not the love of man.
Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Father.
God works his Love in us and through us.

in my post today i wrote a contrast.
the world's way - fight to the death.
God's way - Love to the Life.

4:49 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I totally agree with your comment. Love is what is going to change people today I believe. I believe that is what our relationship with God is all about. I think it is a fearful thing when many people get caught up in legalism. In the gospels people will says didn't we do this and that in your name. And Jesus will say, depart from me...I never knew you. Knowing Jesus. Loving Him is what life is all about. Paul said, "But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of KNOWING Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christa nd be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to KNOW Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow to attain the resurrection from the dead."

So, again it is all about know God and loving him with everything. Heart, soul, strength, mind. Second, loving your neighbor as your self.

Dee, thank you so much for your encouraging words and comments. I appreciate them alot. It means so much to me.

2:20 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Amen Sister!
Thanks for your comments.
Their is no way our love for God can compare with the love that we have for man or the love that he has for us that we can even be begin to even imagine.

2:21 PM  
Blogger cwinwc said...

I think at times we've been so obsessed with replicating the mythical First Century Church that we missed what they were trying to replicate - the love and ministry of Jesus.

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:57 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Thanks for agreeing.
God bless.

9:40 PM  
Blogger William D said...

good stuff. Check out the book Leading with Love by Alexander'd enjoy it.

3:54 AM  
Blogger jel said...


and thank U

12:46 PM  
Blogger David Heflin said...

One lady once told me that love was around long before Christianity. True, but it is in Christ that we have the greatest demonstration of love. Love is the supreme ethic of faith (and ultimately even superior to faith, cf. 1 Cor. 13). Why is it so? Because Jesus on the cross was the supreme act of love, which in turn created a community defined by that same love.

Love is best understood (as is grace) in the context of God's holy wrath. That is why I oppose setting love and wrath against one another. If it were not for God's holy wrath against sin, we could not have known the signifcance of God's love at the cross. If we were not deserving of eternal damnation, what would eternal salvation even mean? "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves" (Col. 1:13).

Preaching wrath without love is hopeless. Preaching love without reality of God's wrath strips the content away from love. Christ died for us while were God's enemies. God's wrath made us his enemies and his love rescued us from the consequences of being his enemy. So, yes, it is all about love...and wrath.

5:50 PM  
Blogger Don the Baptist said...

Dude! Great message. I'm (almost) jealous of all the comments you receive. Give 'em Heaven!

11:18 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

William d,
Thanks you so much for stopping by and for the book recommendation. I will add it to my list of books to read. I apprecate it greatly. I apprecate your comments. Please feel welcome to comment any time on this blog. God bless you as you serve God Almighty.

12:22 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Good morning to you also.
I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
God bless you girl.

12:23 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

David Heflin,
I appreciate your perspective and view about how you feel about God. We all have different views and oppinions and can still be brothers. I see your oppinion. I see you view. I understand where you are comming from and appreciate it. I don't agree. I but love you and thank you for sharing with us your point of view. I want to welcome you to this blog family and to share your thoughts and views anytime. I am also looking forward to reading your posts on your blog as well. God bless you brother.

12:27 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Don the baptist,
Thanks for stopping by and adding to the discussion. You are welcome to add your thoughts and oppinions any time. Love your blog as well. It is great! Keep up the great work. God bless you brother as you serve Him. Remember it is all about the love of God and our relationship with Him.

12:30 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I understand that Christians are going to have different ideas about who God is and what the center of Christianity is all about.

This is just my personal view.

I believe that center of Christianity is love. God is love. He wants us to love Him with everything and to love each other as Christians and the lost.

I hope that if you don't think this is the center of Christianity that you will really think about it for a while. Meditate on it. Read the scriptures I posted. I pray that you will have the relationship that God desires you have with Him.

12:33 PM  
Blogger David Heflin said...


Thanks for following up. I am curious what don't you agree with? I didn't feel I was saying much different from you other than just adding the point that we understand God's love the most when we recognize that we deserved his wrath. This is true from a Christian perspective, right? "God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished..." (Rom. 3:25). My point is only that we understand God's love the most when we understand that Jesus received what we deserved on the cross. That enhances our appreciation of God's love and grace. Agree?

12:51 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

David Heflin,
I think I miss understood what you were saying. I understand that we deserve death with out the cross. I understand the wrath of God is God is upon those who outside of Christ. But, the center of Christianity, the motivating factor of Christianity, what God wants us to be all about is love. We don't have to worry about wrath. Christianity isn't centered around wrath. We don't have to worry about wrath. We are saved. We are loved. God is love and we love one another. I guess I miss understood you.

3:41 PM  
Blogger David Heflin said...

Well, I probably could communicate a little better! :) Also, I totally agree that Christians have been saved from wrath and we don't have to worry about it. But it is always good to remember what we have been saved from...Paul does it often! Anyway, I read your touching blog about GBS. I will keep you in my prayers. I don't know what GBS means, but I am about to find out on-line. Blessings, brother.

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