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Everything in Love (Hope for the Church, Part 6)

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love. 1 Corinthians 16.13, 14

Too much self-love

Part of the problem with the Corinthians was that they loved themselves more than they loved their neighbors.

They loved themselves so much that they vaunted their chosen group over the others, reserved the right to indulge in sinful practices, dragged their brethren into court, and turned the Lord’s Supper into a kind of privately catered party for people with means.

It’s no wonder the theme of love features so prominently in 1 Corinthians (1 Cor. 13).

But, as Paul pointed out, the real measure of a Christian is the way that he loves others; if we have no love for others, then all our other advantages or achievements are just so many clanging cymbals, devoid of grace.  Such self-denying love for others grows out of the love we have for God. But the Corinthians had turned their worship services into a festival of self-vaunting and self-indulgence, where love and fear of God came in under the category, “Oh, yeah, that too.”

Only when the Corinthians renounced their out-of-control self-love and began to look at the world through the lens of love for God and neighbors would they be able to exercise the greatest gift and highest calling God could ever give.

The state of love

In Acts 6 we read the account of the first deacons. They were selected by the church in Jerusalem and ordained by the apostles to take care of a problem that threatened the integrity and continuity of the church. These spirit-filled men handled that situation with such love that even their critics were astonished, for we read that a great company of the priests, when they witnessed this community resolving its differences in love, became obedient to the faith.

I wonder what the state of love is in America’s churches today. I’m sure that some exists, and I’ve seen many examples of it.

But can we say that we are doing everything in love, as the outflowing toward our neighbors of the love we have for God, and with a view to meeting the needs of others before our own needs. Can it be said of our churches that they’re thinking more highly of the needs of others than themselves, serving and edifying others even at great cost to ourselves?


What is the state of self-denying, sacrificial love in the churches of America today? If it were so pronounced, would young Christians publish books about themselves with titles like, They Love Christ but not the Church? Would we see so many young people fall away from the faith once they leave their homes and go to college? Would there be so much divorce, so many scandals, such low levels of giving, and so little shepherding in the churches if we really loved others like Christ has loved us?

Examine yourself

Each of us needs to ask himself: Am I doing everything in my life – at home, school, work, in the community – in the self-denying, sacrificial love of Jesus? Is my worship intended as an expression above all of love for God, or am I always just looking for something for me? Am I the first to reach for the towel and basin when needs come into view, or do I wait for others to do the dirty work? Do I readily sign up to be equipped for ministry opportunities that will put me in contact with people I can love? Do I see others with the eyes of Jesus?

Paul reminded the Corinthians – as he would remind us – that we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).

Now if only we could get more of His love. 

Next steps

How can Christians encourage one another to love God more and to show more of His love to their neighbors? Talk with some fellow church members about this question.

Additional Resources

Download this week’s study, Hope for the Church.

Sign up for ViewPoint Leaders Training and start your own ViewPoint discussion group.

Need vision for a revived church? Order a copy of T. M.’s book, Preparing Your Church for Revival, from our online store.

And men, download our free brief paper, “Men of the Church: A Solemn Warning,” by clicking here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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 the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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