Volumes of books have been written, sermon after sermon has been given, and debates have taken place in the pursuit of defending positions and answering in the affirmative that one’s organization is in fact the place that Christians should go to congregate. In reality, there is a quick and simple litmus test that will suffice: Is there love for one another there?
If we are genuinely a Christian we will have godly love for our brothers in Christ and they will in turn be displaying the same attitude towards us. The true church is then a collection of these type of individuals.
Because if love for one another exists, then we:
• will be following the example and command of Christ (John 15:12, 17)
• are treating others better than ourselves (Romans 12:10)
• are fulfilling the law (Romans 13:8)
• serve each other (Galatians 5:13)
• humbly bear others (Ephesians 4:2)
• stir up good works (Hebrews 10:24)
• are begotten of God (1 John 4:7)
• have God in us (1 John 4:12)
• keep God’s commandments (1 John 5:2)
It is no small thing that we have been admonished to do. We cannot take this lightly and be hearers only, but because this is an integral part of our calling, we need to be doers as well. So we are to continue to grow, “increase and abound in love to one another” as we have been taught by God (1 Thessalonians 3:12; 4:9).
This was once a new commandment (John 13:34): new at the time Christ gave it and new for us when we first came in the church. Now it is something that we should have been conscientiously living by for some time. And if we have been doing so, then it will be an identifier not only to us that we are His disciples (John 13:35), but more importantly for others that we are Christians in the true church of God.