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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

 
Love in Our Hearts MAY 11

"AS I HAVE LOVED YOU"2

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 1 John 4:20.

If you were looking for the right church to join, how would you test it to know whether it is true or false? Where would you begin? If someone had but a short time to live and asked to know the way to God, what would you tell him? It would be no simple matter to give him the whole of what we believe.

For people looking for divine help, the first thing they need to know is that their heavenly Father loves them. That is why Jesus came to earth. God must personally represent Himself as love before people can comprehend Him. That is why we as Christians are to be filled with love for people.

The church as an institution must not stand in the place of God, as an end in itself. It must lead to God. To furnish other people with a test of truth and of the right church to join, we must furnish them with a living Person from whom they can receive love and to whom they can express love in return.

Organization, machinery, ritual, can represent that which is material, the externals, but not the personal God. If Christ is not represented and reproduced in church members who know how to love, then all we have for people is an organization to join.

We face one of our more serious problems here. We have an inclination to do good works by way of organizations. We work by groups. I suppose it cannot be otherwise. Christ's work for the most part was with individuals. We preach to the congregation. We instruct by classes. We give out tracts and literature by congregations. We raise money by groups. I am not saying that something is wrong with that, provided all this is not a substitute for personal work for individuals. We must not allow our personal witness and love for people to get lost in the group or in the organization.

Loving concern for people is a personal thing. Passion for the lost does not belong to groups as such, but to individuals.

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