Reviving Our Love for God was the theme of our men’s retreat at Camp Skyline in Mentone, AL last weekend. Chris Presnell (the minister of the Flint Church of Christ in Decatur, AL) joined us for the weekend and led us in four thought-provoking sessions of Bible study. We covered a lot of ground during our discussions with Chris, but it is our final session of the weekend (entitled “The Church of Love”) that I want to recall in this article.
In Revelation 2:1-7, we read Christ’s words to the church in Ephesus. Christ was pleased with them for their patient endurance and their opposition to evil, but He was disappointed in their lack of love: “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” (2:4). Patient endurance and opposition to evil should be present in God’s people, but love should remain ever-present above all else (Matthew 22:37-40). Here are two difficult things that a loving church does:
- A loving church hates sin and loves people – much like GOD Himself. Sadly, many people wearing the name of Christ today point their hatred of sin in the direction of any person practicing sin. A loving church is full of people who hate sin but will be the very first ones to reach out and care for the people who have been deceived and ensnared by the most deplorable sins. A loving church does not kick sinners to the curb – a loving church helps them.
- A loving church is willing to suffer loss in order to do good. A loving church is full of people who will help others regardless of what it might cost them. Neither time nor money serve as hindrances to doing good among the people of a loving church.