Be Bold in Your Love: The World Needs Your Bold Love

Thursday is for Discipleship

Authentic Christian living in community is radical. It is radical but it is needed and it is powerful. Around A.D. 200, Tertullian wrote that the pagan world was being stunned by the love that Christians had for one another.

For they [Christians] are not [given to] … drinking-bouts, and eating-houses, but to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined now to the house; such, too, as have suffered shipwreck; and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the islands, or shut up in the prisons, for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God’s Church, they become the nurslings of their confession. But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. ‘See,’ they say, ‘how they love one another; ... how they are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves will sooner put to death.’ 1

Let’s get persecuted for living like that!

John 13:34-35 (ESV)
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 15:12 (ESV)
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

When Christians get serious about loving one another they will find that the world comes running to them. When we are powerfully, demonstrably and sacrificially following in the footsteps of Jesus, living passionately for and like Him, the world will take notice and say, “See how they love one another.” That’s what Clarence Jordan was all about as this brief article from Kairos Journal makes clear.

“You Can’t Ignore Them”—Clarence Jordan (1912 – 1969)

Clarence Jordan founded Koinonia Farm, an agrarian Christian community, in 1942 near Americus, Georgia. For decades, its members suffered threats, boycotts, shootings, fire bombs, church expulsion, and other harassment from those who disapproved of the farm’s tolerant, multi-racial character. The “Koinonians,” however, were determined to live out the counter-cultural teachings of Jesus, and the group still endures today (as Koinonia Partners). In the following excerpt from his book-length commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, Jordan talks about the uncomfortable impact that living “Christianly” can have upon those who do not.

It is difficult to be indifferent to a wide-awake Christian, a real live son of God. It is even more difficult to be indifferent to a whole body of Christians. You can hate them, or you can love them, but one thing is certain—you can’t ignore them. There’s something about them that won’t let you. It isn’t so much what they say or what they do. The thing that seems to haunt you is what they are. You can’t put them out of your mind any more than you can shake off your shadow.

They confront you with an entirely different way of life, a new way of thinking, a changed set of values, and a higher standard of righteousness. In short, they face you with the kingdom of God on earth, and you have to accept it or reject it. There’s no washing of hands. These people must be crowned or crucified, for they’re either mighty right or mighty wrong.1

Footnotes:
1


**Source: Roberts, Alexander; Donaldson, James; Coxe, A. Cleveland: The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. III: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997, S. 46Clarence Jordan, Sermon on the Mount (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press, 1952), 32.
Marty Schoenleber, Jr. is the founding pastor of one church, the interim pastor of another and the church planting trainer/mentor of over 200 other church planting pastors. He is adjunct professor of Church Planting at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and has taught Preaching at the International School of Theology, and Evangelism at Moody Graduate School of Theology. He is also the Director of the Saint John’s Pastoral Center, a pastoral care and retreat center located in a growing number of Bed and Breakfast houses across the mid-west. Marty also serves the Great Lakes District of the Evangelical Free Church as a Church Planting missionary consultant. His latest book is Picking a President: Or Any Other Elected Official (CrossBooks, [late May 2012]). To enjoy a free subscription to his blog, log-on to www.chosenrebel.wordpress.com, where you can post your comments, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest reflections on church planting, Biblical Expositions and musings about church, culture and spiritual formation. Follow Pastor Marty on twitter @1Chosenrebel4JC.

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