Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.
- 1 John 5:1
Some people who claim to be Christians actually will say, "You know, I love the Lord. I just don't love the church."
Sorry, but that is impossible, because 1 John 5:1 says, "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too."
When I become friends with someone (and I have friends that I have known for 25 or 30 years), I become friends with their kids, too. If I love them, my love extends to their family. In a way, their kids become like nieces and nephews to me.
In the same way, when we love God, we also will love His children. And if you don't love His children, then one has to question how much you really love God.
As a pastor, I have had people disagree with me on certain things, and I don't take offense to that. But it is a different matter altogether when it comes to my wife. A surefire way to offend me is to insult her. I take that personally.
The church is the bride of Christ. We belong to Him, and He loves us. In fact, the apostle Paul used that analogy in Ephesians 5 when he wrote, "For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God's word" (verses 25–26). It is popular today to criticize the church. But understand this: When you insult the church, you are speaking critically of someone whom Jesus loves.
Some people claim to be Christians, yet they don't attend church. But if you are a Christian, then you will long to be with God's people.