Love Grows with Church Planting
Jesus said it himself. As he planned for his continuing witness in the world, after his resurrection and ascension, it is all about love. Love of a particular quality and direction.
‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’.
Love. It is to be the chief characteristic that defines Jesus’ followers today. It is love found in a particular setting as well.
In context, Jesus is speaking not only about his imminent departure, via his cruel and wrath bearing crucifixion, but also about the intense dislike the world will show toward his people. It is a dislike so intense that he himself choses his words very carefully when he calls it nothing short of ‘hatred’ (John 15:18). But it is in this context that he speaks about love. The church that he was dying to redeem was to grow in love for him and display this in their love for one another. Having been brought into God’s eternal family by Jesus’ all sufficient sacrifice, his people were now to demonstrate the power and reality of their new status before a hostile world by the quality of their love for one another. This is to be one of our greatest apologetics.
Love therefore should grow with church planting. As new people entrust themselves to Jesus, he not only lavishes on them the gift of forgiveness, but pours out his Holy Spirit to empower them to grow out of and beyond their selfishness, pride, envy and arrogance. Instead of living for themselves and using others, his new people can now lay down their lives in service and pour themselves out for the good of others.
Where Jesus’ word is taught, and when his people hear and obey it, who wouldn’t want to be part of his new family? Forgiveness would be quickly given. Patience would be in ample supply. Sincerity and truthfulness would be highly valued. Practical help would be generously provided and warmly received.
Churches defined by this type of love will never go out of fashion. Sadly at present, in many places, they are in short supply. But any church, new or old, founded upon the word of Jesus, empowered by his Holy Spirit, cannot but be a blessing to all those who come within its reach. And for those who join together and intentionally commit themselves to Jesus and his word selfless love will grow, a hostile world will have no answer, and one day God will be glorified perfectly in his people forever more.
This is yet another reason for church planting. Love grows with church planting and there could be nothing worth living for more than this.