Members of the Village Church only really have one real responsibility, and it’s this: …love one another. Jesus said: ‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34-35). This is a command. If you’re a Christian this isn’t an optional extra. This is a duty. This is a demand. And it doesn't mean love one another half-heartedly. Jesus said: ‘As I have loved you – whole-heartedly - so you must love one another.’
But loving one another isn’t easy; loving one another is hard. Love is an attitude and an action. 'As I have loved you - as I have served you – as I have sacrificed for you – so you must love one another'. There are one-hundreds-and-one ways that members can love one another, but here are at least three...
The first way to love one another is by meeting together. The author to the Hebrews says: ...let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25). We meet together not first and foremost for what we can get, but first and foremost for what we can give. I think about how I can spur you on; you think about how you can spur him on; and he think about how he can spur her on. At the Village Church we meet together on Sunday morning for preaching, on Sunday afternoon for prayer, and those two times are a real priority for members. We also say that Home Group is a real priority. It can be easier to spur one another on in a Home Group, to encourage one another, and to love one another in a more personal and a more practical way. If we love one another as Jesus has loved us, even when we’re tired, even when it's tough, we’ll be at the Sunday Service, we'll be at the Prayer Meeting, and we'll be at Home Group.
The second way to love one another is by serving. In a previous post we noted that the church is the body of Christ and that Christians are members of the body. We’re all different members. I need you and you need me. Without us the body is weaker. With us the body is stronger. You might be an unappreciated member – like a finger. Seven weeks ago I fractured a finger. When you fracture one, you really appreciate each and every functioning finger. It might be that you serve in an unappreciated way, but that doesn’t mean you’re not important. You really are! Or you might be an unseen member, like a lung. But like a lung, you might breathe life into the Village Church. You might not do that in a public way. You might not be at the front on a Sunday morning preaching a sermon or playing a solo. But week after week, you breathe life into the Village Church in a private way. Maybe it’s not in a formal way either. You might not have a role but you might have relationships, and week after week you're loving people. For example, if you open your home to people at the Village you will be breathing life into our church.
The third way to love one another is by giving. In 2 Corinthians 8 the apostle Paul says to the church in Corinth: I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love... And he goes on to say that a test of their sincere love is their giving. If we really love Christ, and if we really love the church, we’ll give. The apostle Paul says we’ll give generously, and as much as we’re able, and it will be our privilege. In fact, he says we’ll have a desire to do so, we’ll be eager, we’ll even welcome the opportunity to do so. We won’t give grudgingly, or reluctantly, or under compulsion, but cheerfully, abundantly, and thankfully. We’ll thank God that we have the opportunity to give.
As members of the Village Church, there are one-hundred-and-one ways that we can love one another. Meeting, serving and giving are just three of them.