Especially love the church?

Galatians 6:10 says, "So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  Why does it say, “…especially to the household of faith, or the Church”?

Three reasons:

1. We’re family

And family does good to one another, even after we hurt each other. This verse implies that as Christians we need to have good done to us, as if Paul has the church’s health in mind when he writes this. So, in the spirit of how we needed God to do good to us through his Son to save us from our sins, we need to do good to those who are being saved so as to help them persevere in the faith and catch a glimpse of God’s present-day love (not just past love) for them in Christ.

You could say that the idea of “doing random acts of kindness” is less at the heart of God as is “doing particular acts of kindness towards the Church.” God cares deeply about his redeemed family loving one another, like a parent loves to see his or her children play with, laugh with, love, and serve one other.

 

2. The Church is Jesus’ body

Doing good to the Church is—biblically—linked closely with revering Christ himself and responding to his matchless grace.

In Matthew 25:34-40 Jesus says, in what serves as a picture of future judgment, "Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

The phrase “my brothers” in verse 40 is a reference to the Church. For who are the “brothers” except those who—together—call God “Father”? Jesus is saying to Christians, “When you loved other believers, you loved me,” because the Church is Christ’s body on earth in a way that others are not. So to respond to a Christian’s need in your local church is akin to responding to the grace, love, and forgiveness that Christ himself offers us through his death and resurrection. The inverse is true as well: to not love the church is to not love Jesus. As he says later in the passage: “When you didn’t love the brothers, you didn’t love me.”

So there is something to say about a lifestyle of belief in the grace of Christ that’s closely linked with a transformed life of love towards others who profess the same faith. What other Christians in your church do you know who are in need, hungry, thirsty, poor, sick, or otherwise in trouble?

 

3. It’s evangelistic

In John 13:34-35, Jesus says, “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 you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Christian love for one another puts Christ’s love for the world on display. True love only comes from God, for he is love. So, to love other believers, particularly, publicly, is to demonstrate physically what we preach spiritually. It may very well be the thing that gets a non-Christian into your church gatherings, or the very thing that will knock down the remaining obstacles between them and true faith in Christ.

So, hang out with other believers together around those aren’t yet saved. Let them see how much unity, love, and mutual submission you have with other Christians. It will scream the gospel to them, maybe without them initially realizing it.

 

Christian...love the Church!

Love outsiders, yes. Love lost people, yes. But do not neglect the particular call to sacrificially love your local church family. The Bible commands it!

 

CHRIS WACHTER / LEAD PASTOR