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The Sign of Identity!
 "BY THIS ALL PEOPLE WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES
IF YOU HAVE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER"
The Lord
Jesus, the Christ of God, also said:
"YOU are the salt of the earth,
but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?
It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
YOU are the light of the world.
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works
and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven."
Matthew 5:13-16.
  "You have heard that it was said [by the Jewish Pharisees], 'You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.'
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven.
For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors
[for the Romans] do the same?
And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
You therefore must be perfect, AS your Heavenly Father is perfect.
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them,
for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in Heaven. "
Matthew 5:43-6:1.
"A
new commandment I give to you
 
  that you love one another: just AS I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
By THIS all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
John 13:34-35.
  "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends
if you do what I command you."
John 15:12-14.
So the
apostle John then wrote:
 
  "By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him,
how does God's love abide in him?
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth."
1 John 3:16-18.
But love does not mean trust, and Christ is our example of this –  
  "Now when He [Jesus] was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in His name
when they saw the signs that He was doing.
But Jesus on His part did not entrust Himself to them,
because He knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man
[humanity],
for He Himself knew what was in man
[human nature]."
John 2:23-25.
Yet this truth remains: "BY THIS ALL PEOPLE WILL KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY DISCIPLES, IF YOU HAVE LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER" John 13:35.
The effect
of this sign-element in Christian relationships, attitudes, and actions, is the authentication of the Gospel to a watching world, and
in this Christianity has consistently failed Christ.
 
Marxist idealism strove for equality using coercive means because humanity is aware that the moral goal of equality is higher than any self-interest.
Christ's
Church was intended to display this character of equality to an aware world. Therefore God's Word of the New Covenant taught that 'in Christ', that is within authentic Christianity,
there is no national or racial identity (no 'Jew', 'Greek', or 'Scythian', Col.3:11),
and no social inequality (no 'slave' or 'free', Gal.3:28)
 
In South
Africa, the 1994 political change from a so-called Apartheid system based on race to an equal political vote for all persons irrespective of race, religion or gender, was expected by many to lead to a social-equality utopia, and it did not. For social inequality is deeper than a political system. It is inherent in the selfishness of human nature to favour one's own above others by whatever means available, and this uncurbed leads to all the abuse of which history testifies.
 
The
ultimate answer does not lie in any political or economic system, but in a transformed humanity found only in Christ, and this His Church was meant to make visible in human terms observable by an unbelieving world ("by this shall all people know").
 
It is this which leads to the Gospel's impact affecting "the whole world as a testimony [of God's true character, as shown in Christ] to all nations",
which is the precondition to the ending of this present age (Matt.24:14).
 
It is not a story about Jesus! It is the revelation of God in Jesus, continued in His disciples!
 
This principle
of equality/fairness is in the mind of the apostle Paul when he address the Christians of Achaia –
"For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened,
but that as a matter of fairness
(ἰσότης/equity) your abundance at the present time should supply their need,
so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness
(ἰσότης/equity).
As it is written, 'Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack'
[quoted from Ex.16:18]."

"equality"
2 Corithians 8:13-15.
This
equality is the natural way of love.
 
 
This is why 1 Corinthians 13 (on the absolute priority of love) comes between a listing of Spirit-inspired potential ministries in Chapter 12, and the practice of those ministries in the gathered congregation in Chapter 14. This love centre sets the tone for all!
Not the inspired 'gifts';
not the tradition; but
the welfare of others!
Thus just as the essential liturgy of the Christian congregation was meant to have no fixed form except selfless love,
so also the lifestyle of Christ's people everywhere is to tangibly demonstrate this same love for one another to a watching world.

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