Preaching for Love

In your preaching, aim at love.

Healthy, Growing Churches (8)

“On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Matthew 22.40

Fragment 251
Cyril of Alexandria (375-444)
“Therefore the first commandment teaches every kind of godliness. For to love God with the whole heart is the cause of every good. The second commandment includes the righteous acts we do toward other people. The first commandment prepares the way for the second and in turn is established by the second. For the person who is grounded in the love of God clearly also loves his neighbor in all things himself. The kind of person who fulfills these two commandments experiences all the commandments.”

Every pastor will insist that the aim of his preaching is to build-up the local church. But if we do not clearly define what we mean by “build-up,” we may exert our efforts in preaching merely toward attracting more people, as if building the local church were a matter of numbers. But Paul says a church growing in maturity as the body of Jesus Christ “causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4.1). Unless our preaching aims at growing individual members and the church as a whole in love, we will not be fulfilling Christ’s stated purpose for giving us the Law and the Prophets. And if we don’t get the Old Testament right, it’s a cinch we’ll miss the point of the New Testament as well. The Bible has been entrusted to the shepherds and people of Christ’s churches to equip them for every good work of love (2 Tim. 3.15-17). Aim at love, preach consistently to grow church members and the congregation in love for God and neighbor, and you will be working for a healthy, growing church.

What criteria do your church’s shepherds use in determining whether the congregation is being built-up in love?

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Quotations from Church Fathers are from the
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, published by InterVarsity Press.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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