Which great evidences of faith have the most power to convince a watching world? Bible reading? Church attendance? Prayer? Giving? Read what Jesus, Himself said in this regard:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:20-21).
True Christian love is all encompassing in its nature. It loves all who sincerely love the Lord Jesus Christ. A party spirit is often found within specific sects or denominations. But Christian love steps beyond these narrow boundaries and is able to recognize a true brother or sister in the humble believer who exemplifies the fruit of a born again life.
When we love those of our own party exclusively or those who hold to our own particular way of thinking, what we really love is ourselves in them. We see in them our own image and admire it. But when we love those who differ from us in non-essential areas of faith and practice, because we see in them the humility and love and patience and mercy of our Redeemer; then, our love is truly Christian, for it is the Christ in them that we love.
Jesus thoroughly understood the human heart. The heart of man is naturally selfish and bigoted and full of jealousies. It often suspects a foe where love finds a friend.
One thing that has helped break Christians out their sectarian cubicles is the increase of what we call para-church ministries, ministries with no particular denominational bent that have concentrated Christian energies on a particular need or theme. Most of us are familiar with such groups as the Wycliffe Bible Translators, Evangelism Explosion, Focus on the Family, YWAM, the American Bible Society, Gideon’s International, World Vision, Samaritans Purse, the Providence Foundation, and many, many others. Each of these operates for the glory of God with a particular focus. Their ranks are made up of individuals that represent virtually every major Christian denomination. These organizations are blessings to the world, motivated by God’s love, seeking to proclaim the truths of Christ and His kingdom in many and varied ways, touching places and lives that the organized church will seldom touch.
There is no contradiction in preferring our own particular church or denomination and in loving those of other communions who bear the image of the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives and in their work. How does the world most effectively see Jesus? Through the lives of those who genuinely love one another and endeavor to walk together as one.