I need to bear my heart to you today. I think that God wants to do something bigger in the church at large than we’ve allowed as Christians. We’ve so valued being right spiritually that unknowingly we’ve driven away the very people that the Father wants us to reach. As one brother put it in our men’s meeting this morning, we’ve so sought to steer clear of the yeast of sin that we’ve unwittingly embraced the yeast of the Pharisees.
Our mission is clear. We are to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations. How are we going to make disciples of people who don’t know the Lord if we won’t let our guard down and love them in their sin? Why do we have this unspoken thought in us that somehow the unsaved must in some way meet our standards before we love them unconditionally? Are we somehow afraid that we are going to be tainted and spiritually adulterated if we rub up against unbelievers and their sinful lifestyles? What kind of Pharisee have we become?
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day demanded excellence of the populace with respect to keeping the Mosaic law. In their eyes, nobody connected with God better than they did. Jesus hated their mentality and challenged the Pharisees and other religious leaders for their harsh judgments against others.
Jesus said that His goal for us is that others know that we are believers by the love we have for one another. The love He speaks of in John 13:35 is unconditional, self-sacrificial love that cares for others even when they don’t fit our mold. Do you love others unconditionally when they don’t measure up to your standards? IF you don’t love is lacking in your life.
Our culture needs God. They will only find Him in the church, for we are the Father’s ambassadors. Can we love others enough to invite them to our church meetings and embrace them even while they are unclean in sin? Jesus would. He had a meal in a tax collector’s home. Tax collectors in His day were the worst crooks in town, everybody hated them. He also extended love to a lady who was caught in the act of adultery. The law of the land in that day said that she must be stoned. Jesus loved her and told her to go and sin no more. The woman at the well in John 4 was a Samaritan. Jews would not even walk on the same side of the street with Samaritans. To them, they were untouchable. Jesus gave her water on a hot day. People were aghast! She went and told her friends in the city where she lived about Jesus and what He did for her and a revival broke out there. All because Jesus loved her in her untouchableness!
Are you a Pharisee? Do you look down your nose at people who aren’t like you or don’t believe the way you do? Can you love people while they are in their sin without forcing them to be like you? Can you remain untarnished by the sins of those you are seeking to reach while you extend God’s care to them?
Unconditional love will breed revival. Let’s go there!