A Powerful Witness Grounded in Love
(Mathew 5:13-16) To paraphrase Matthew Henry,
˜Mankind, wallowing in wickedness, is piled up as an enormous heap, prepared to putrefy. However, Christ has sent us that by our lives mankind may be seasoned with grace and love. If an individual can take up the profession of Christ, and yet remain loveless, no other doctrine, no other means, can make that individual profitable. Our light must shine, by doing such good works as others may see. What is between God and our souls, must be kept to ourselves; but that which is of itself open to the sight of men, we must study to make suitable to our profession [Christianity], and praiseworthy."
Matthew Henry is right on the mark because he knows that a sound biblical doctrine without a sound biblical love is impotent. The Apostle Paul makes it clear in the corrective of 1 Corinthians 13 that even if I express prophetic powers, knowledge, faith, generosity and unswerving conviction, but have not love I am nothing and gain nothing. Our faith and theology must translate into the content of our lives. Love is the litmus test of true Christianity and it is integral to our witness for Christ.
Jesus tells us what the greatest commandment is in Matthew 22:37 "Love God and Love your neighbor". Christ told us clearly in John 14:15 that if we love God we will keep His commandments. People around us will see our love for God only when they see our obedience to God.
People will also see our love for God in our love for each other (John 13:35). All people will know that you are His disciple if you have love for one another. This is the mark of a true Christian, not a cross on a necklace, or a fish on a bumper, or yelling over the tumultuous crowd, "I’m a Christian!" The mark of love for each other is how we, as Christians, "live out loud".
People will see our love for God in our love for them. J.I. Packer once said in a sermon on Matthew 22 that if we love our neighbor we must seek to share with him the lifesaving message of Jesus Christ. Only by seeking to share with him in love do we have any hope of being potent in our witness. We make time for those we love, we go out of our way for those we love, we take on the burdens of those we love, and we seek ways to help those we love. When we make time for, go out of our way for, take on the burdens of, and seek ways to help the lost souls around us, we demonstrate our love for them. Living the Gospel like this, coupled with speaking the Gospel, is a powerful witness grounded in love.
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