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.