XI. THE ONE WHO DOES NOT LOVE ABIDING IN DEATH
First John 3:14b says that he who does not love abides in death. We may think that we are living, but we are dead because we do not love. If we do not love our brother, we abide in death and are dead, but if we do love him, we abide in life and are living.
XII. PURSUING LOVE
First Corinthians 13 speaks of love, and then chapter fourteen begins by saying that we are to pursue love while we desire spiritual gifts (v. 1). Our desiring of gifts must go along with the pursuing of love. Otherwise, the gifts will puff us up.
XIII. PURSUING LOVE WITH THOSE WHO SEEK THE LORD OUT OF A PURE HEART
To overcome the degradation of the church we need to pursue love with those who seek the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Tim. 2:22). We have to pursue love with a group of seekers of the Lord. This is a vital group.
XIV. A SIGN THAT WE BELONG TO CHRIST
Loving one another is a sign that we belong to Christ (John 13:34-35). We do not need to bear an outward sign that we are of Christ. If all the saints in the Lord’s recovery love one another, the whole world will say that these people are of Christ.
XV. THE LOVE OF GOD MAKING US MORE THAN CONQUERORS
The love of God makes us more than conquerors over our circumstantial situations (Rom. 8:35-39). If we are to be more than conquerors, we need the love of Christ and of God.
XVI. LOVE BEING THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY
The end of 1 Corinthians 12 reveals that love is the most excellent way (v. 31b). How can one be an elder? Love is the most excellent way. How can one be a co-worker? Love is the most excellent way. How do we shepherd people? Love is the most excellent way. Love is the most excellent way for us to prophesy and to teach others. Love is the most excellent way for us to be anything or do anything.
Love prevails. We should love everybody, even our enemies. If the co-workers and elders do not love the bad ones, eventually they will have nothing to do. We must be perfect as our Father is perfect (Matt. 5:48) by loving the evil ones and the good ones without any discrimination. We must be perfect as our Father because we are His sons, His species. This is most crucial. How can we be a co-worker and an elder? It is by love in every way. We must love any kind of person. The Lord Jesus said that He came to be a Physician, not for the healthy ones, but for the sick ones. The Lord said, "Those who are strong have no need of a physician, but those who are ill" (Matt. 9:12).
The church is not a police station to arrest people or a law court to judge people, but a home to raise up the believers. Parents know that the worse their children are, the more they need their raising up. If our children were angels, they would not need our parenting to raise them up. The church is a loving home to raise up the children. The church is also a hospital to heal and to recover the sick ones. Finally, the church is a school to teach and edify the unlearned ones who do not have much understanding. Because the church is a home, a hospital, and a school, the co-workers and elders should be one with the Lord to raise up, to heal, to cover, and to teach others in love.
Some of the churches, however, are police stations to arrest the sinful ones and law courts to judge them. Paul’s attitude was different. He said, "Who is weak, and I am not weak?" (2Cor. 11:29a). When the scribes and Pharisees brought an adulterous woman to the Lord, He said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" (John 8:7). After all of them left, the Lord asked the sinful woman, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." Then Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you" (vv. 10-11). Who is without sin? Who is perfect? Paul said, "To the weak I became weak that I might gain the weak" (1 Cor. 9:22). This is love. We should not consider that others are weak but we are not. This is not love. Love covers and builds up, so love is the most excellent way for us to be anything and to do anything for the building up of the Body of Christ.
(The Vital Groups, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)