February 23, 2022, 2:00 PM
We have some really funny ideas about love. On any given day you might hear someone say how much they “love” their pet, a kind of food, their job, exercise, or a game. Like Inigo Montoya’s famous quote from the movie, The Princess Bride, “I don’t think it means what you think it means,” King Jesus corrects our misguided notions of “love” through God-breathed Scripture.
Rather than some subjective, nebulous, amorphous, ambiguous concept of love, Scripture reveals very specific things about what love is, and what it isn’t.
In John 17:20-21 King Jesus prays to the Father, saying, “I pray also for those who will believe in Me (Jesus) through their (disciples’) message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
In this one short passage we find:
1) True love is always functional, that is it’s always accomplishing God’s will through joyful sufferings and faithful obedience. If it’s not accomplishing God’s will, it’s not love.
2) True love is always about the will and mission of God, that is it’s always externally focused to reveal Christ as Lord. It’s not a consumer oriented, “what’s in it for me?” selfish “wealth & prosperity” thing. If it’s not advancing the kingdom for God’s eternal glory, it’s not love.
3) True love always abides in the Presence of God to reveal Christ. If it’s not the supernatural expression of God’s Presence to reveal Jesus as Lord, it’s not love.
4) True love is always being sanctified, that is growing, maturing, producing, and conforming to the image and full stature of Christ. If it’s stale, stagnant, routine, retired, or fruitless in the economy of God, it’s not love.
5) True love only exists in and flows from Gospel-Community.
King Jesus didn’t pray for the unity and ministry of individuals, parachurch groups, organizations, leagues, associations, clubs, businesses, and guilds.
In fact if that’s one’s primary or exclusive “Christian” affiliation, He said we won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. “I’ll tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.’” (Matt 7:21-23)
No other entity can (or should) ever endeavor to accomplish or replace the ministry of the church, i.e. the “good works God prepared in advance for us (Christ’s Bride and Body) to accomplish” (Eph 2:10).
If it’s not functional, missional, the residence of Presence, ridiculously productive in ministry, sourced in and flowing from Gospel-Community… then we can call it a lot of things, but it’s not the dry-bones-come-alive, eternal-residence-changing, lay-down-one’s-life kind of love, which means it’s not love at all.

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