Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Loving Church

After looking over last semesters small group stats, and wondering what kind of impact we made eternally, it made me stop and think about the way we as Christians choose to share God's love with others.  As humans, since Jesus has told us in Matthew 22 that the greatest commandment is 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  And then goes on to say that the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’ we must truly learn how to love people.  This relates directly to the nature and character of God.  If we cannot love then we cannot be a true reflection of Him.  We must become like Christ and share our love with the world.    
The problem lies within our own lives as we have the freedom to deny or repress our likeness to God.  Humans can choose whether or not to love God and others or oppose who God really is.  Love is the key towards winning the lost.  As a body, we must be careful not to discriminate against any and we must be the love that the world is constantly looking for every day.  Christ set the example for us in His actions, words, and deeds.  We must in turn, follow these things set before each of us as a body of Christ, and a reflection of who He is.  We must not allow anything to interfere with the purpose that the church or the Christian community is here for as their purpose. 
The "body of Christ" is no mere metaphor; it is the calling of the church to continue the incarnation and mission of Christ by manifesting God's redemptive purposes and coming kingdom. Just as Christ is sent by and discloses God, so the church as the new humanity, renewed in the Imago Dei, is sent by Christ and called upon to imitate his paradigm of self-giving, thus witnessing to God's rule in the concrete shape of their communal life.  The church must be careful in the tools and methods that are used to witness to the world around us.  We need to stay current with the ever changing world we live in.  We must make sure the body of Christ is towards all people and know that our methods must be directed to all. We must be a church seeking the lost, not just a select few.  Come one, come all, come as you are, but just come! 
 In the New Testament we are told that we are to become imitators of Christ.   In other words, we must imitate and pursue the life of Christ.  All that He did was a reflection of who He is.  Everyone that he reached out to was a foundation of who we should become.  We must not let the world around us affect the way we treat or speak of others, but must look towards everyone as equal and know that everyone all race, gender, and ethnicity are equal in God’s eyes and that He is not a respecter of persons.  Jesus shows us that love extends beyond feelings, that love is not merely emotions, but love is motivated by action. I read where a woman said it was not a custom among married people in her culture to always say, "I love you." To which it was asked, "How do you know someone loves you?" She laughed and said, "You know by how they treat you." We must be a church that treats others like we would treat the Father. 
            The body of Christ is made in the image of the Trinity, imitatio Trinitati, in our substance and we are in the process of being conformed to the likeness of Christ in the restoration of our sensual nature to our substance. This means that we pull from human experience, such as the human experience of being, knowing, and willing – three dimensions of the one person.  This is why it is important for our church to work on the direction of being, knowing and the will that God wants for our churches. If we don’t prayerfully look for God’s guidance, we’ll end up following trends, we’ll end up following that which will lead us away from God and stop us from obeying Christ, although we might be doing some “good” things. We have to put Jesus at the center of everything we do. For the church does not exist to please the membership only, Christ allows us to exist because we try to please Him.
           Love is motivated by action. Motivation is that which drives us, moves us, gets us going and keeps us going. Everybody doesn’t to come to church for the same reasons and its best you realize that so that when something is done or said to you, you won’t get your feelings hurt and/or leave. Everyone in the church is not saved. What motivates the child of God? What shows our commitment? Love. How deep our love for God, this should be a reflection of our attitudes towards people. We must always remember the words of the Lord, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” It is my prayer that we share the love of Christ with the world and our community before He comes. I challenge each of you to get involved in what God is doing at Rose Heights today. Connect. Serve. Love.

Pastor Jason 

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