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The Love of the Great Body (14th in Church Series)

Matt: 24:11-13: And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12: And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13: But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

The general understanding of this passage is that those who get caught up in iniquity will not love the brethren as they should, but it could also mean that because iniquity abounds even among those who call themselves Christians, it is hard to do the loving things Jesus wants us to do for one another.

For example, the Christian Spirit wants to be hospitable with those in the church–invite them for a visit, but because Christian identity is so undefined these days, experience teaches that the effort will not accomplish anything, but for the giver to be taken from.

You may say, “So, at least I gave.”

But the point of this article is that though the true Christian Spirit is a giving spirit, the recipient merely takes it all for granted that the giver will give. He or she has no true gratitude. The New Testament exalts gratitude because the one who has gratitude will be in a humble state of mind whereby he or she will be able to receive more than material things. They will be open to good teaching. The humble state is a teachable state.

But where iniquity abounds and the gospel is too broad, the giver has no opportunity to really help with good advice or sharing a testimony because the recipient does not have an ear to hear or a heart to understand. They are still caught up in the mentality of expecting Christians to bail them out of their difficulty. It does not dawn on them that they may be able to avoid trouble by making better choices. Because of the way things are handled, they just want to do their own thing and get a helping hand when they need it.

What’s wrong here is that the person claims to be a brother or sister in the Lord and yet they have not repented of their sins or willfulness. This is wrong. This is due to a mishandling of the gospel.

In this day and age the gospel is mishandled, misrepresented, shortchanged, and adulterated. This is why iniquity abounds so that the true Christians cannot be the helper or witness that they so desire to be.

This is why they can’t call or visit those who have quit coming to church because they will get an earful of accusations, gossip, and self pity. The well intentioned person leaves feeling as if their ears have been assaulted and wondering what they should have done that they didn’t do and what they shouldn’t have done that the did do. The selfish Christian only had in mind to tell tales and recruit malcontents. The giver is robbed of the reward of knowing they were making a difference in the person’s life.

This may sound like a bitter writer to some, but I believe that it is important to point out to people the inevitable results of mishandling the gospel. This is the main reason for Christian burnout.

God had in mind for Christians to help one another in a Spirit of Christian love. The church is built on Christian love. All who profess Christ are to live by this Spirit. It is a Spirit of humility, unselfishness, and genuinely caring for the other party.

What’s missing in this accepting everyone as a Christian who says they are one is the beneficial interacting that Jesus had in mind when He set up His church.

Jesus had guidelines for believers and Paul also shared some:

Lk: 9:23-26: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.24: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25: For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26: For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

Lk: 14:26-27: If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27: And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Jn: 10:27-28: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Jn: 15:1-2: I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2: Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

I Cor: 5:9-13: I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11: But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12: For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13: But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Rom: 16:17: Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

2Thess: 3:14: And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

© Sylvia Huffnagle

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