Without a doubt, all Christians will answer the above titular question with an emphatic “Very much!” This encourages me greatly, because the Christian who would readily confess a lack of love for the institution that Christ died for (Acts 20:28) would by doing so manifest a serious spiritual deficiency. However, as the proverb says, “actions speak louder than words.” It is relatively easy to profess a great love for anyone or anything, but what one does (or does not do) for or against the church PROVES the degree of love one actually has for her. So if Christians truly love the church, what will they do? What will they NOT do? Several things come to mind…
For one, those who love the church will actually go to church, and go to church often (Heb. 10:25). They will do this because they love their Lord who commanded them to go to church (John 14:15), and they love their brethren who make up the church and want to build them up (Heb. 10:24-25). Most of all, they will do this because the church is the kingdom of God’s Son (Col. 1:13; Rev. 1:6, 9), and Christians are supposed to put the kingdom first (Matt. 6:33).
Those who truly love the church will make the evangelism of the lost a top priority (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19-20). The reason God redeemed Christians was so that they could tell others about him (1 Pet. 2:9). The church will truly grow only when each and every Christian goes about preaching the word (Acts 8:4). This is the primary mission of the church, and those who truly love the church will make it their primary mission as well.
Closely related to this, those who truly love the church will be committed to every good work of the church (1 Cor. 15:58). This would involve not only bringing the gospel to the lost, but also doing good to all at every opportunity (Gal. 6:10). Each of us must use the abilities and talents God has given us for the building up of his Son’s body (Matt. 25:14-30; Eph. 4:15-16). Only then will our love for the church truly shine forth.
How much do you love the church?