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  • Writer's pictureAngie Chestnut

Bound Together by God's Love

We are a family of believers, broken by sin, bound together by God’s love…

As most of you may know, we are in the middle of a series on our identity statement – the statement that we’ve constructed to remind us of who we are and who we hope to be. In week one, we visited Ps. 133 and talked about what it means to be a family, what it looks like to live in genuine community and what a blessing it is to live together in harmony. In week two, we came face-to-face with sin and we named it – we dared to give a name to the destructive power of evil that destroys, corrodes and alienates every one of us. We heard John Wesley say, ‘Know your disease, know your cure’ and we talked about the fact that a robust understanding of sin is necessary for us to be able to battle against it appropriately. Finally, we considered sin as disease, and left longing for a Healer, a Great Physician who could cure our sin-sick souls.

This last Sunday, we moved to the center of our Identity statement, which reminds us that we are bound together by God’s love. When we considered the full biblical picture of sin we realized that it is not just an individual problem – sin literally breaks us apart from the other, rips and divides and separates us from our fellow creatures, just as it separates us from God. When we envision God as a Healer, He doesn’t just heal us as individuals (although that certainly is a part of the marvelous work of Christ on the Cross), He also heals us corporately, collectively. We considered the beautiful picture of God’s love for Israel in Hosea 11 and 14, heard God’s plaintive call to His wayward children to come to Him and accept His love and healing touch. And we heard Our Father calling to us as well, heard Him remind us that He loves us and that He longs to heal our brokenness, both individually and corporately. He wants to bind us together, mend and heal our separateness, dispel our pride and anger and fear and make us One!

As we came to the end of the sermon on Sunday and began to prepare our hearts for the Lord’s Supper I pointed to the importance of 1 John 4:19: ‘We love because he first loved us’, and our benediction came from 1 John 4:11: ‘Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.’ This last verse is where I’d like to invite us to take some time and meditate upon God’s call, God’s desired intent for each of us. We are not random strangers who meet up accidently at the same place each week. We are not isolated individuals who live life as ‘deserted island Christians’. We are not solitary souls walking the pathway of private faith. We are a family, we are a Spirit-formed community, the body of Christ himself! As we strive to live a Christ-like life, we must do so together. In fact, over and over again we see a phrase popping up in Scripture, one that calls us to a very particular way of life. Take some time to look up some or all of these texts this week and pray about what actions God may be calling you to as a result of this holy refrain:

“…Love one another…” (John 13:34)

“…Love one another…” (John 13:34)

“…Love one another…” (John 13:35)

“…Love one another…” (John 15:12)

“…Love one another” (John 15:17)

“…Love one another…” (Romans 13:8)

“…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (I Thessalonians 3:12)

“…Love each other.” (I Thessalonians 4:9)

“…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (I Peter 3:8)

“…Love each other deeply…” (I Peter 4:8)

“…Love one another.” (I John 3:11)

“…Love one another.” (I John 3:23)

“…Love one another.” (I John 4:7)

“…Love one another.” (I John 4:11)

“…Love one another.” (I John 4:12)

“…Love one another.” (II John 5)

I leave you with this blessing, and a reminder that God has set the example for us regarding life in a loving community: ‘May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.’ (2 Corinthians 13:14)

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