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Effective Leadership

The Call to Love

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
What trivial matters does your church fight about?


"I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought."1 Corinthians 1:10

1 Corinthians 1:10; 4:1-2; 6:9-13; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 9:7; 5:20

What trivial matters does your church fight about?

Key point:  We can either say God, your will be done, or He will say, I will let your will be done; us and our congregation will live with the consequences!  The church leadership is called to love and we build this by real, spiritual growth and to facilitate the improvement comes from surrendering our will--not opposing or imposing upon His will.  We are always called to keep Christ-centered for the Glory of God.  Pointing to ourselves is not Christ-centered.  Keeping Christ-centered leads the love to the people in our care in the will of God. This is our learning about Christ as LORD, worshiping and following His decrees, and building fruit and character with and to one another.  In seeking that, we can make good decisions and not be false teachers.  Seeking to place Jesus first and foremost, so to follow only Him, and thus love, trust, and obey Christ is a mindset and lifestyle (Matt. 6:33; Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:17; 1 Thess. 4:3; 5:18; 1 Tim. 2:4; 1 Pet. 2:13-15; 4:19).

We must heed Christ as our Head or we will never get it right with God or our call to those around us.

One of the main problems in the Early Church is some of the church fellowships and were disconnected with conflict and insolent and not centered on what Jesus was all about.  Trivial matters were taking center stage and causing Early Church and strife, when the Gospel is meant to bring people to Christ and create healthy relationships.  Thus, if one is immoral or doing the opposite of God's call, the evidence of faith and fruit is absent; that person is not following the principles of the Gospel.  Why is this so important?  Because, as Christians, how we treat people reflects on our Lord.  We are His ambassadors, and we represent Christ.  He was never rude, except to point out hypocrisy in leaders (Matt. 23; 2 Cor. 5:20).

We have a call to use Love, we are to do nothing and say nothing without love!

If you can speak any kind of language, do any kind of thing beyond what you think you can do, and you do not have love working in and through, then what do you have?  You have a life that is meaningless, noisy, stressful, disconnected, and even miserable. You would be just like a pagan, clanging his instruments of noise and war, if your words were without love and deeds were without joy.  Our efforts and ministry would still be aggravations and a detriment to others, even those who are close to you or those to whom you want to be close.  There would be no effectual relationships, no contentment or joy. Even if you were the greatest statesman or Christian preacher, writer, or famous personality the world over, would this be meaningful if you did not have real, effectual love taking place in and out of you?  What about having a great amount of faith and able to do the impossible?  Does life matter without love?  The fact is, nothing of either greatness or simplicity matters unless there is love!  The question is what is love (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).

Half of the descriptions of love, are positive and the other half in the negatively of how we are not to be.  Paul is showing the Church the reason for our problems, and he is showing them the solution they need for positive relationships and reconciliation.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

We must know and heed the importance of Love--nothing is comparable to it.  Love is the essence of the Gospel. 

To be a healthy Christian and to have a healthy church, love must impact us so we are influenced by His love.  On, through, with and because of Christ's love for us, we ponder love, are energized by it, and let it flow from us even when we do not actively think of it or in times of stress.  Love is used as the subject of the hymn and was sung of in the early church.  Love was and is an essential instruction on how we are to be and behave. There is no vocabulary or prose in the history of humanity that can correspond to that which God is clearly communicating to us. The point is that in order to be real, love must move us beyond our culture, our time, and ourselves.

The point of love is the point of the Gospel.  Even if we live out our Christian lives with great commitment and diligence and we do all we can in ministry and service to our Lord, it will be meaningless and of no value unless we are fueled by love.

The Greek word for love in 1 Corinthians 13:1 is Agape, which means "self-giving" and "sacrificial," that is more concerned with others than self.  It conveys the idea of a person giving all his or her love, or favor, to someone else other than one's self.  It is a love that is not earned; rather, it is relational and given freely.  It also refers to parents giving all of their love to their child as God gives to each of us all of His love. It is a love that is bestowed without expectations of a response from the other.  It takes the initiative, as Christ did with us, and fosters the Fruit of the Spirit and brotherly love.  Agape love is also the most common word used both as a noun and a verb in the New Testament.  The greatest example of agape love is what our Lord Jesus Christ did when He died for our sins.  God showed His love by taking our place and the wrath and punishment for our sins.  He kindly took our interests over His and paid that price through His sinless life and His sacrifice on our behalf (Mark 12:28-31; John 3:16, Matt. 22:34-40; John 3:16; 13:1, 34-35; 14:1; 15:9; Rom. 1:31; 5:10; 12:10; 1 Cor. 13; Eph. 2:4-7; Phil. 2:2; Col. 1:1-6; 3:12-14; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2:8; 3:6; 12; 4:9-10; 5:8; 13; 2 Tim. 3:3; Heb. 10:24; 1 John 4:7-12).

In the midst of our difficulties, we pray.  We get into the Bible.  We trust Christ.  We think through with His precepts. We love!

We take hold of the Truth of the God's Word, and we are better able to accept and stand with others, believing in the best in others.  We can swallow our anger and the bitterness that some relationships can bring us by acknowledging the extreme favor of the Lord and practicing patient and kind love.  So, we should trust in God's timing and providence.  It is because of God's patience that He has the will to save us, for we tempt His patience all of the time (Gen. 6).  We are just in God's sight; we are just because He declares us so!

The evidence of faith is demonstrated by the love that is confirmed by how you lead your life--how you treat people.  

Christianity and our churches are demonstrated by our actions.  Our actions are determined by our thinking, faith development, and behavior.  The Church is either hindered or it grows by how we treat one another inside our walls and outside of them.  Christ is glorified by how we incorporate His principles into our lives.  If you really are a follower of Christ, it will be proven by the way you lead your life.  If you are a person who is rude or prideful, then proof exists that there is no impact of faith in you.  You can be saved and be a rotten person, but there is no fruit from your attitude or action.  You are an "emperor with no clothes".   Faith in the saving blood and body of Our Lord Jesus Christ and our gratitude for God's amazing Grace will be evident by how we let Him work in and through us.  This is not always a quick process, but it is evident.  As they great hymn goes, "And, they'll know we are Christians by our love.  Yes, they'll know we are Christians by His love."


© 2016 R.J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development


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