A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34,35)
Friend, I believe in being fundamental in the faith. I believe in the inerrancy of the Word of God, in the verbal plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that He died on the cross for the expiation of sins; that He died a substitutionary, vicarious death for the sins of the world. I believe He was raised bodily and ascended back into heaven and that He is coming personally to take His church out of the world.
But I want to say this, and I want to say it very carefully: Believing those things does not convince the unsaved world outside. The world is dying for just a little love.
When I was a boy, I stayed with two aunts and a bachelor uncle. One aunt was a Baptist, the other a Presbyterian, and my uncle was an unbeliever. Every Sunday he would get up just in time for the noon meal, [during which] we heard all the Baptist dirt and all the Presbyterian dirt. Years later when my uncle was in the hospital, one of my aunts wept and asked me, “Vernon, why doesn’t he come to Christ?” I almost told her. Friend, we do not win the lost by being Christian cannibals. “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another” (Galatians 5:15). This is the type of thing that is turning the unsaved away from the church today. This is the reason they don’t come in to hear the gospel. They hear the gossip before they can hear the gospel! Do you realize that the most important commandment for a Christian is not to witness, not to serve, but to love other believers?Tertullian wrote that the government was disturbed about the early church. [Roman] spies went into the Christian gathering and came back with a report something like this: “These Christians are very strange people. They speak of One by the name of Jesus, who is absent, but whom they seem to be expecting at any time. And, my, how they love Him and how they love one another.” If spies came [to your church] from an atheistic government to see whether Christianity is genuine, what would be the verdict? Would they go back to report how Christians love each other?