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If we love Christ we'll love the church

From the end of Richard Sibbes' sixth sermon in Bowels Opened. The argument is simple - Jesus loves the church, so if we love him can we really claim to not love that which he loves?
1. Let us not claim to love Christ but not the church.

Let us be like our blessed Saviour, that where we see any saving goodness in any, let us love them; for should not our love meet with our Saviour's love? Shall the church of God be the love of Christ, and our hatred? Shall a good Christian be Christ's love, and shall he be the object of my hatred and scorn? Can we imitate a better pattern? Let us never think our estate to be good, except every child of God be our love as he is Christ's love.

Can I love Christ, and can I not love him in whom I see Christ? It is a sign that I hate him when I hate his image. It is to be wondered at that the devil has prevailed with any so much, as to think they should be in a good estate, when they have hearts rising against the best people, and who, as they grow in grace, so they grow in their dislike of them. Is here the Spirit of Christ?

2. Let us love the church.

Let them likewise be here reproved that are glad to see any Christian halt, slip, and go awry.

The best Christians in the world have that in part, which is wholly in another man; he has flesh in him. Shall we utterly distaste a Christian for that? The church was now in a sleepy condition, and yet, notwithstanding, Christ takes not the advantage of the weakness of the church to hate her, but he pities her the more, and takes a course to bring her again into a good state and condition.

Let us not therefore be glad at the infirmities and failings of any that discover any true goodness in them. It may be happen to us before long. It casts them not out of Christ's love, but they dwell in his love still; why should we then cast them out of our love and affections? Let them be in our love as they are in Christ’s love, notwithstanding their infirmities.


  1. 1 John 4:19-21- 'If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar.'

    Love is at the heart of everything, we cannot claim to love Jesus if we do not love those he loves.

  2. Absolutely - the measure of the reality of our love of God is our love for his people... and yet we're so ingrained in our pelagian view that "every man is an island" that we still make it a private relationship of me to Jesus without the church...


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