John 15:12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.
17 This is my command: Love each other.)
We are to Love one another. This is not a request. This is a command. We are to “Agape” love others. “When everyone is sitting in rows…you can’t do any one anothers". (Andy Stanley.)
Our challenge is to recapture the essence of “Ekklesia” i.e. “The local Church (Ekklesia) is a gathering of those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, who are committed to meet regularly for worship, teaching fellowship, prayer and who help make disciples of all peoples.” (By Steven Cole).
Jesus’s promise to us who believe, we will bear much fruit and the fruit we produce will last. The fruit will have eternal significance.
But wait. This is more then just a promise. Jesus tells us this is why He chose us.
We are chosen to bear fruit, i.e. to live a life so that our life reflects Jesus Christ. Our life being lived as a witness to our Lord and Savior. Our fruit, those who come to know God because of our life, because our life is a reflection of Christ, because of our verbal testimony, our verbal witness of our Lord and Savior. This is how we are to “Love one another”. As Jesus said “ This is my commandment”.
For far too long the term “Church” has veered far the meaning of the greek word we have translated as “Church”. The greek word, “Ekklesia” is poorly translated as “Church”. The meaning of “Ekkleisa” is referring to an assembly of people who have given their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. But today many people identity “Church" as one of the local buildings where people go on Sunday to attend a “Church Service”. This concept was far from the thinking of Christ who using word play told Peter the meaning of his name “little rock” but where as referring to Himself as the side of a Rock mountain.
Matt. 16:18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.
In continue with this metaphor, Peter then uses in his letter describing the Church, the people of God as living stones that is being built into a spiritual temple.
1Pet. 2:5,9 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God… for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
The spiritual house is “Ekklesia” the assembly of People. It is this assembly that is God’s holy priest offering spiritual sacrifices for the pleasure of God. The “Ekklesia” owner is God himself. It is He who called the Church into being and to be used as God’s light shining out into the darkness.
So if we are not operating as an assembly of people, what do we need to begin doing to become an assembly of people bring glory and honor to God?