Many of these blogs come from our E-prayernetwork in Kingswood, and today I found an amazing old message from my friend (and founder of the e-prayernetwork) Sam Sheppard who is a top bloke, and a lovely man of God.
He wrote in 2013…
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we behave.
More specifically how we behave towards each other and how we behave towards the world outside.
Obviously how we behave in private, and how we behave in general, as in the way we live is essential our personal lives must reflect our public lives otherwise we are nothing more than hypocrites, preaching a gospel that we do not live, but whether or not you are doing this or how it is done is not for me to say, it’s between you and God and I strongly recommend that you bring it before him.
Now this is not a deeply theological piece, it is not an eloquently put together sermon. This is really just the thoughts of a tired young man trying to make some sense of the area he is in and the work God has put before him.
It seems to me that how we behave to each other is directly linked to how we behave towards everyone else, how can we love Gods wayward children if we cannot love each other?
And as far as I can tell it all comes down to love, if you feel I’m incorrect on the matter you may feel free to tell me as long as you understand that I will feel free to disagree with you.
The very popular verse in Corinthians I think sums it up quite well
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13 verses 1 to 3
Love is the cornerstone of our faith, and you can pour all the theology you want on it, it still boils down to love. If it is true Christianity, it is love.
Is it an act of love when we say things about our brothers and sisters behind their backs that we would not say to their face? Is it an act of love when we say things to the faces of our brothers and sisters that only serve the purpose of hurting them? It is true that the truth hurts and we should rebuke our brothers and sisters when they need rebuking but how often when we say hurtful things are we truly saying it to rebuke and therefore correct them, in doing so acting in love by assisting them in their faith? And how often do we use that as an excuse when in truth we are hurt and want to hurt back?
My brothers and sisters, I am tired.
I am tired of seeing a Church that cannot coexist.
I am tired of seeing Gods servants fail to reach the people of Kingswood.
I’m tired of seeing a Church that preaches love and practices arrogance.
I am tired.
But I am not giving up.
Because I am convinced beyond the ability to be persuaded that Love is the key, in everything and to everyone, no matter what. “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13.8)
It was not the soldiers that made Jesus walk to the cross, nor was it the nails that held him on there it was love.
And the only adequate response to that love is love.
Start with each other, and I am convinced, beyond the ability to be persuaded, that it will spread.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Corinthians 13.13”