The C.O.R.E. of Who we Are
(This is Part III in the series of messages based on the CORE Values of LWCC)
What is “The C.O.R.E.?” Simply put: this is what I believe to be some of the non-negotiable make-up of the church and the life of a Christ-Follower. There are far too many churches and people who have allowed a variety of things to rip them from the basics of the faith and today they find themselves confused about their identity and purpose. It’s my prayer and hope that by sharing this series of messages we’ll be clear on who we are and what we’re to be focused on. Through that understanding we will not be swayed by other good things to forsake the best thing in following Jesus Christ.
The Core Values of Living Waters Community Church:
- C – Christ: It’s All About Him
- O – Outreach: It’s All About Them
- R – Relationships: It’s All About Us
- E – Equipping: It’s All About Me
Over the next few weeks we’ll be unpacking this in greater detail to discover what it means for our church fellowship and what it means for each individual believer. Today we continue by taking a look at the clear command given to us by the Lord Jesus, to love each other with an authentic and visible love.
C.O.R.E. – R: Relationships – It’s All About Us
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him. 32 If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself and will glorify Him at once. 33 “Children, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, ‘Where I am going you cannot come,’ so now I tell you.
34 “I give you A NEW COMMANDMENT: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
A NEW COMMANDMENT WITH AN ANCIENT TRUTH
WHY THIS PART OF THE C.O.R.E. IS ESSENTIAL
- The Reality of Our Experiences in Churches
- Fighting Faithful
- Battling Believers
- Christians Cutting-Down Christians
- Judgmental Jesus-Followers
- Selfish Saints
Church everywhere are wounded and they bleed with the broken hearts and souls of people who have come expecting to find love and hope only to be stabbed by some harsh word or cut-down by a carnal attitude. Where love is anticipated we discover a lack of love, and the truth is:
The only holes that are not filled in are pot-holes on the roads. Where something is missing in our lives there is something else that will fill the gap. Where love is lacking there are carnal and negative elements that will flood in to fill the void. Selfishness, jealousy, greed, anger, hatred, judgmentalism, carnality, etc… These things spill over onto and out of the lives of the church community. The results are: a stunted church, a skeptical community, and a grieving Spirit. Consider what the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit is as given in Galatians for a moment:
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar, about which I tell you in advance—as I told you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. 26 We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Jesus commanded (COMMANDED: not suggested or urged, but COMMANDED) His followers to love one another. We’ll pick this apart today because it’s so critical for us to understand and to employ in our lives. My prayer is that by the time we depart we will have been adequately convinced and convicted of the need for love—real love – Christ Love—in our church relationships, and really in every aspect of our lives.
COMMANDED TO LOVE: THE C.O.R.E. OF WHO WE ARE
THE CLARIFIER: LOVE one another…
- · We are expected to do a lot for one another in our relationships
- · Some of the “One Another” statements of the Scripture include:
- o Forgive
- o Be Kind
- o Rejoice With
- o Pray for
- o Show Patience
- o Encourage
- o Assist
· All of these are Built on the Foundation of Love (Agape-Love)
1 Corinthians 13.4-8 Offers us the Schematic of this Agape-Love
4 Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; 5 does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs; 6 finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.
THE QUALIFIER: JUST AS I HAVE Loved you…
- · JUST AS I HAVE: Who Do You Compare Yourself With?
- · JUST AS I HAVE: The Ultimate Comparison for us is Jesus Christ
- · JUST AS I HAVE: The Qualifier of Love Causes us to Evaluate
- The Internal – Our Heart Motivation-is it “Just as I have?”
- The External – Our Christian Occupation – Is it “Just as I have?”
- The Eternal – Our Soul Salvation – Because of what He has done
THE FORTIFIER: You MUST love one another…
MUST MUST MUST
- Does this sound like Jesus was leaving it up to our own choice?
- Does this sound like Jesus was giving us options or conditions not to love?
- But we are given free-will and we can choose not to do something if we want.
- I can decide not to take the medication the doctor prescribes.
- I can determine not to observe and obey the speed limit signs on the road.
- I can disobey the rules and regulations where I work.
- I can declare that I will not adhere to the vows I made on my wedding day.
- And I can deliberately refuse to love select people
- But for any and all of these acts of disobedience, defiance and disrespect there will be a penalty, a consequence, and the result is not desirable.
- · Jesus tells us that this is
- A New Command
- A Modeled Activity (Just as I…)
- Something We MUST Do
- An Activity that will cause ripples around us (By THIS….)
THE AMPLIFIER: BY THIS all people will know…
- Why did so many people flock to Jesus when he was alive?
- Some for the Signs and wonders
- Some for the way he put the authorities in their place
- Some for the “newness” of this latest “craze.”
- But I believe most because they experienced Love…REAL LOVE
- The Prostitutes
- The Adulterers
- The Criminals and Thieves
- The Demon-possessed
- The Despised Tax Collectors
- The Wealthy and Well-to-do
- The Spiritually Confused and Seeking
- The poor and outcast
- The Diseased and Dying
- Now, let me make a bold declaration and a clear prediction:
- If a church –and by that I refer to every individual believer—will strive to live a life of love—CHRIST LOVE—in their lives and in the church then the make-up of the congregation of that church will include many of the same types of people, because these people…and all people…are hungering and thirsting for real love. When they find that they will flock to it and they will eagerly tell other people who are searching like them about it.
- It won’t be about compromising values on things that are sin.
- It won’t be about making it comfortable by watering down the message of Scripture
- It won’t be about changing the way or why we are doing things
- IT WILL BE ABOUT PEOPLE LONGING FOR LOVE DISCOVERING REAL LOVE
- Can our community of faith at LWCC be that church?
- We can if we keep love at the CORE.
- Maybe you have been looking for love in all the wrong places and it’s time for you to stop searching in all those things and turn it over to Jesus Christ for real.
- You know that none of us can get it right all the time. The key is to recognize that and when we flop to quickly ask God for forgiveness and to get us back on the love track. We need to do this for our sake and the sake of the fellowship of the church.
- Perhaps you have publicly “blown it” in the area of love. One of the hardest things to do is to go to someone and apologize and ask them to forgive you, but you might need to do just that. See, if love is how they will know we are His followers then what does a lack of love say about us? About our Lord?
- Who needs to experience the depth of Christ’s love around you?