By a Guest Blogger
If you love me, keep my commandments.
Membership of the church local is the context in which I obey God’s commands about how I am to treat fellow believers. I can’t imagine how such obedience can happen apart from within an actual, specific fellowship of believers, regularly worshipping together and sharing life. I do, though, have some appreciation of how much easier it is to love one another, bear with one another, forgive one another, be kind to one another, give preference to one another … from a distance, rather than when people are in my face and treading on my toes.
Committing myself to loving others in the context of the church local demands actions, rather than merely feelings or words. It will require me to put others’ needs before my own; it will test my patience and my willingness to forgive; it may require self-sacrifice, either small or great; it may simply require plodding faithfulness in small things, possibly without recognition or thanks. But loving the church local is one of the means God uses to make me more like Christ, and it is a witness to the world (John 13:35). Moreover, it’s a demonstration of my love for God through obedience to His Word.