The Church Is The Answer

I am preaching on John 13 at our Maundy Thursday service because Maundy Thursday is about the mandatum novum, the new commandment, from Christ in John 13:34.

John 13:34 is huge, however the primary purpose Jesus gives for the giving of this command is in the following verse, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). There you have it. The evangelism plan for the church in the world is for church members to love one another as Jesus has loved His disciples. In this context, Jesus got up from the table, took of His outer garments, wrapped a cloth around His waist and washed His disciples’ feet, even that hypocrite Judas Iscariot.

This here is love. The King of heaven and earth, the One with all authority, the Commander of heaven’s armies, the God-man stoops in humility to wash the feet of those who follow Him, even the one who would betray Him.

Jesus says that love like this, a love that comes forth from humility in service to one another, this love will show the world that we belong to Him. When people come to our churches, do we attempt to win them with entertainment and gimmicks or love? The organ is so outdated, you know. If we only had a praise band the people would come to church. Our pastor’s sermons are a little dry, if he had more illustrations and personal examples people would come. Catechizing children is so old fashioned, what we need is music videos and pizza parties, then parents would bring their children. We can’t have liturgy, we need to be spontaneous and lively (read disorganized) to show people that we are authentic. I was once at a church that had smoke machines and lasers during the worship songs, no kidding.

None of that shows the world who we belong to, except maybe that we have too much of the world in the church. We cannot make the church like the world to draw the worldly, that does not make sense. We are not drawing people to the same things they can get anywhere else. We are drawing them to Jesus and His Gospel.

Jesus says that the best way to do this is for the church to exhibit sacrificial love for one another. We disarm the hostile world with love, not entertainment. We evangelize with the Word of the Gospel and the love we have for one another.


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