The seventh sermon in the series of “Making Spiritual Connections” is connecting vertical and horizontal. Christ tells us that the world will know that we are His disciples by the love we have for one another. Then the apostle John tells us that no one can see God loving because God is invisible; therefore, it is extremely important that we love one another, because the only demonstration of God’s love in this age is the Church. So then, the only way the world is going to experience the love of God is through the Church.
It is equally important that we realize that our horizontal demonstration of love is a manifestation of our vertical love for God. In Matthew 25:34-40, Christ says that we do to Him as we do to each other. In other words, I cannot profess to love God and not demonstrate love for my brother.
The apostle John goes on to tell us that disconnection from the family of faith is the major indication that you are not close to God; no matter how good your private devotion might be. Why? Because in the context of your private devotion, you do not have to express love. God created the context of the Church family so that we could address the sinful nature of selfishness. So by creating the Church, God created an environment whereby we can experience Koinonia. Koinonia is agape love in action; it is how we experience the fulness of God’s love for His people and in His people….and it can be found only in the local church.
So then, the measure of a church, in addition to its preaching and teaching of God’s Word, is to have an environment of spiritual connection where people have the opportunity to love one another. You may ask, “Why is this so important?” Because God is love. And John tells us that if you do not know how to love God’s people then you do not know God. Love stems from an intimate fellowship with God, and the more time you spend with God the more you look and act just like Him.
You cannot love vertically if you are not loving horizontally.
Dr. Edward L. Wagner, Pastor
Cornerstone Baptist Church.