Developing Loving Relationships
In this sermon on Salvation Army church fellowship, we are encouraged to make loving each other well our first priority.
A Corps Without Love
Imagine a corps without love. What might it look like? I would suggest that in short, it would be a corps without God, because God is love.
Corinth: A Church Without Love
Paul wrote to a church without love: Corinth. In his letter he sums up what is at the core of their problems:
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
What a loving corps looks like
1 Corinthians 13:4–7 NEB
Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over other men’s sins, but delights in the truth. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance.
A corps will not save souls, grow saints, serve suffering humanity without love. So what does a loving corps look like?
Comrades bear with one another. They are considerate and helpful to each other. They are not jealous of each other. Comrades do not direct attention to themselves. They are not impolite, discourteous, or crude to each other. Comrades do not always want their own way. They do not throw their toys out of the pram if something doesn’t go their way. Comrades are not touchy, irritable or easily slighted. They are not resentful of every minor offence or misunderstanding. They refuse to gossip harmfully about each other. They protect each other from those who would set out to harm them. They think the best rather than the worst of each other. They deal with conflict lovingly. They look for growth and maturity in their comrades. They strive to hold their relationships together, even when they are disappointed. They continue to trust God, even when the corps suffers setbacks, and they continue to serve God, despite fear and hurt.
Love: The most important priority for our corps
Matthew 5:13 The Message
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.
It is vitally important that this corps keeps first things first. We all have our opinions on what matters most. But Paul reminds us the most important thing, the thing that we need to ensure is at the forefront of our minds and in our behaviour is love.
If we do not do what we do in a spirit of love, then all our leadership, ministry, spirituality, structures, worship, groups, witness add up to precisely nothing.
A loving legacy
We want this corps to grow. We want people to be empowered, to use the gifts the Holy Spirit has given them, to be passionate about their spiritual growth, for the corps to be effective in its mission, for our worship to be inspiring, for our groups to cater for our heads, hearts and hands, and for our witness to cover all of a person’s needs.
We can only leave such a lasting legacy with love.
As this sermon on Salvation Army church fellowship concludes, we want to continue to be a loving corps that gives testimony in words and in action to the primacy of love. A corps that grows all by itself.
If you found this podcast sermon on Salvation Army church fellowship helpful, would you please do something for me?
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