By: Bro. Sunday Eyanrin (Evangelist)
Brethren, the most important ingredient for the functioning of a healthy body in Christ – Is GOD’S LOVE. Recognizing the importance of God’s love and living in that love is vital for sustaining and growing as the local Body of Christ and as members within that body. When the Church forgets its first love, the body – otherwise called the members become spiritually anaemic (Sick) and be in danger of dying. It is on this basis – The Body of Christ (The Church) must return to her first love, so that the Body of Christ may mature into a Spirit-filled Fellowship that brings glory to the Father through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Brethren, It has become necessary that we define the key word for this discussion. “FELLOWSHIP”
WHAT IS FELLOWSHIP?
“FELLOWSHIP” Can be simply defined as Companionship or Partnership. State of communion with others on the basis of something held in common. E.g. – Christians coming together for fellowship- Acts 2:42 – And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. NKJV
OUR TEXT IS TAKEN FROM – EPHESIANS 5:1-2
Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. NKJV
The Distinctiveness of The Church
The greatest priority of any local congregation of the Lord’s Church, must be love. Because, love is the basic identifying characteristic of the New Testament Church. In John 13:34, Jesus declared. John 13:34-35 – A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” NKJV.
In John 17:20-23 , Jesus declared, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. NKJV
The local body of Christ is made up of those who have individually submitted to one another under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The Church of Christ – Matthew 16:18
THE LOCAL CHURCH IS MADE UP OF THE FOLLOWING – Colossians.1:9-10, Ephesians.5:21-25
- A definite community of faithful Christians
- Members submitting to one another
- Members filled with the knowledge of God’s will – 1 Peter 2:9 – 10
Biblical Concept of Love
The New Testament Christian concept of love was demonstrated at the inception of the New Testament Church in Acts 2:44 – 46.
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, NKJV.
It was the love of Christ that binds every member as one living organism. The love that injects life and vitality into the Body of Christ. John 15:13-14 – 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
What Is This Love?
There are three types of love translated from the Greek to the English word.
- Eros Love – Eros Love is also known as Erotic Love. It is based on strong feelings towards another. It usually occurs at the first stages of a man to woman romantic relationship.
- Philos Love – Philos Love is based on give and take. A love where two people benefit from each other in a mutual way. A love where one partner is still concern with what he / she can take.
- AGAPE LOVE – Agape Love is an unconditional love. Agape love is above Philos and Eros love. It is a love that is totally selfless. Rom 5:-8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us NKJV
According to the New Testament arrangement, the local Church is a group of people who are functioning as members of a living organism, each local Church member is to inject life and vitality in to the body of Christ by Contribution of personal resources and abilities to the local congregation and Its work. The life of any local congregation depends on the functioning of its members, as every joint supplies its own unique contribution, and every member its own Special gift, hence, the local body is built up in Love. Christians are to grow up together in to the likeness of Christ. Jesus said in John 14:21, He who has my commandment and keep them, it is He who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.
The solid foundation for our “pyramid” is God’s love. In ourselves, we cannot love other people as we should. But one of the wonderful things that happens when we take Jesus Christ as our Saviour is that God gives us His Spirit. God’s love is poured into our hearts. The Bible says, “…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us” (Romans 5:5).
God’s love in us makes it all work! It enables us to love other people as we should. It enables us to love our friends as we should. And it enables us to love our marriage partner as God intended so that our home can be a little bit of Heaven on earth.
The Characteristics of Agape Love – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Beloved, it is interesting to note that, “AGAPE LOVE” has two main characteristics: (1) It is completely Unselfish. It seeks that which is best for the one it loves. (2) It is a committed love, it keeps on loving regardless of what happens. Love suffers long. Love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not parade itself. Love is not puffed up. Love does not behave rudely. Love does not seek its own. Love is not provoked. Love thinks no evil. Love does not rejoice in iniquity. Love rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things. Love believes all things. Love hopes all things. Love endures all things. Love never fails.
Beloved, after a comprehensive analysis of (part one) of this message, we must now come to the realization that, the Christian lifestyle portrayed in the New Testament involves a decisive commitment to a definite community of faithful followers of Christ on a day to day basis. Brethren, are we members of this community?