Romans 12:3-8 – “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. 4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” NASB
1 Corinthians 8:1-3 – “Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But the man who loves God is known by God.” NIV
This might be a good devotional for Valentine’s Day but I’m offering it today. We will not focus on Romantic Love but one of the greatest needs among humans today, LOVE! More specifically I want to address AGAPE LOVE! I have observed through the years of ministry and Christian service as well as through studying God’s Word that Disunity is the most destructive thing that the New Testament Church faces today. I believe that even a cursory reading of the New Testament reveals the Unity is one of the greatest needs of the church and can only be realized through a manifestation of AGAPE LOVE!
I believe it is impossible to read the New Testament without realizing that God has a unique plan for every believer. God desires that every believer is a functioning member of the Body of Christ and in so doing be a Member of the Family of God which lends itself to being a part of a local congregation. In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (4:15-16) he addressed this issue of Body Ministry and Love.
Repeatedly the New Testament writers exhorted believers to engage in specific activities to enable the Body of Christ to function the most productively and thereby grow spiritually. Frequently they used a word that described that mutual and reciprocal process: Allelon – “one another”. You find that word 58 times in the New Testament and Paul used it 40 of those times. You find it a common thread in his letters and lists 12 significant actions that Christians are to take toward “one another” to build up the Body of Christ.
Love is the more excellent way according to 1 Corinthians 12:31 and 13:13. In fact, “Love one Another” occurs more frequently than all the rest. Of the 48 references to ‘one another’, eleven times we are told to love one another. If you add the direct commands of Jesus from John’s Gospel that list climbs to fifteen times. Therefore, without question Love is the most significant issue for the believer in the New Testament.
Colossians 3:14, “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
When you consider the directives of our Lord to His disciples it comes as no surprise that He would place an emphasis on Love. Remember His commandment in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give you: LOVE ON ANOTHER. As I have loved you, so you must LOVE ONE ANOTHER. All men will know that you are my disciples if you LOVE ONE ANOTHER…” (Emphasis Mine).
In truth, all the actions we are enjoined to take toward ‘one another’ are simply Love in Action commands. That was the basis of Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-11, “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in the knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.”
I have learned and observed that when there is a sufficient flow of Agape Love in the Body, all divisive factors shrink and diminish. Agape drives the devil back into darkness because Love brings Light, and the devil cannot stand the Light. Increasing Love will cover all the differences concerning the nonessentials and bring oneness to the Church in a most powerful manner. Therefore, I believe that one of the singular greatest needs of the church is Agape Love! We are family and 1 Corinthians 12:27 declares, “Now you are the Body of Christ, and each of you is a part of it.”
Let me conclude with three specific things the church needs to understand:
- No Individual Christian Can Function Effectively by Himself.
- No Member of Christ’s Body Should Feel He is More or Less Important Than Any Other Member of That Body.
- All Christians Should Work Diligently to Create Unity in the Body of Christ.
There is no difficulty that enough Agape will not conquer. There is no disease that enough Agape will not heal. There is no door that enough Agape will not open. There is no gulf that enough Agape will not bridge. There is no wall that enough Agape will not pull down. There is no sin that enough Agape will not redeem.
Love defeats the devil-like nothing else will or can. So, as you put on love and walk out into your world today, go with God and He will go with you.
Blessings abundantly are my desire and prayer!