The world’s concept of love, even much of the church’s concept of love isn’t always what the Bible teaches us about love. One concept of “church growth” is to “love people into the kingdom.” What they mean by this is to be extra nice to people, invite them over for food, develop relationships with them, things along those lines. Those things are great. There is nothing wrong with them and we should do them, but not with some ulterior motive in mind, even one so noble as getting people saved. Those kinds of things ought to be an out-growth, a fruit, a byproduct of genuine Biblical love.
What kind of love did Jesus practice? When He was with hookers, tax collectors, and “sinners” He pointed out their sin (John 4), but not in a condemning way. These people already felt condemned. They recognized their need of a savior, someone who could take their guilt and shame away and not throw it in their faces. That’s what Jesus did. When Jesus was with the Pharisees and self-righteous religious rulers, he most directly pointed out their sin, their pride, their spiritual faults. Did He do it in order to condemn them? Did he do it to shove it in their arrogant faces? Nope. He did it with the same heart and same goal in mind He had with the other “sinners.” His desire, His heart for all of us is to have a right relationship with Him.
What does this mean for us? How do we love someone into the kingdom? We show them Jesus. We reflect Him in our lives. When someone knows that they have blown it, they don’t need us to make them feel better about themselves, nor do they need someone to hold it over their heads. They need someone to point them to the forgiveness and restoration that comes through Jesus. When someone is a bit too full of themselves, when they think they have it all together spiritually and go around pointing out the flaws in others, we need to show them Jesus too. We need to point out to them His example of humility, self sacrifice, and what their true position in Christ is. All of these things are examples of Biblical love in our lives for others.
So, all you need is love. Jesus’ love.
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