Napoleon Bonaparte once wrote: Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love.
What a powerful quote from an influential figure from history. A man known for his immense force and brutality admits that the greatest conquest that the world has ever experienced was not propelled by violence or warfare ingenuity, but by something completely different. In his short statement, Napoleon isolates a very important thread in the Christian tapestry and the main ingredient of its worldwide impact: Love.
Love is the currency that every Christian must have and every Christian must exchange. When asked which commandment was the most important to keep so that someone could please God, Jesus replied: “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandments. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
Likewise, when talking to His disciples, Jesus said: “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 all men will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).
As you can see, Napoleon was right: the movement that Jesus Christ founded, the Church, is not built upon force or regiments, but built upon the foundation of love.
In the Greek language, the language that most of the New Testament was written in, there are several different words that we translate into English as love. However, in the verses mentioned above the word used to describe that attitude and actions that not only please God, but demonstrate true marks of Christianity is the word, agapaó (Gk #25). This word, sometimes pronounced agape, means to take fulfillment in, desire the best for, to truly care about. The Bible is clear that this is the type of love that God has for humanity (“For God so [agapaó] the world…”), this is the type of love that men and women are called to have for God & their neighbour, and this is the type of love that is the biggest characteristic of a church that follows Jesus.
I will openly admit, Calvary Pentecostal is an imperfect church full of imperfect people but we serve a perfect God. Christ Jesus guides us, trains us, and propels us to love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love one another.
Every day we work to expand the movement that Jesus founded—growing it not by force but by the overwhelming power of agape love.