Leviticus 19:18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. Continue reading “A Feast of Love”
The Christian life is a life lived by the grace of God, under Christ’s law, in God’s world, in the presence of God himself. We love because God first loved us (1st John 4:19). The Triune God instigated a relationship with us. He created us, redeemed us, sustains us and gives us hope for a future life with him without sin, pain or death (Romans 8:30). This is the work of the Father, Son and Spirit who are a community of love creating a community of love, on earth, to share in their eternal glory.
This self-revealing, instigating love of God shapes our lives. It shapes ethics, behavior, schedules, faith, science, study, vocation, the arts; our very understanding of the world and our place in it.
Our first Trimester will be focus on this amazing reality. You Are God’s children (John 1:12-13) and heirs of the promises of God (Eph. 2:12) who are called to devote yourselves to the glory of God in all you do (Matthew 22:36-40).
The Westminster shorter Catechism begins with this question;
Question. 1. What is the chief end of man?
Answer. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
Living by the grace of God
Conversion (Titus 3:5)
Living under Christ’s law.
The Law of Christ (John 13:34)
Repentance (Luke 13:3, 5:32)
Forgiveness (Luke 17:3, Col. 3:13)
The fruits of the spirit (Gal 5:25)
Living in God’s world.
Walking by the spirit (Gal 15:16-17)
Bible reading (1st Tim. 3:15, Rom. 15:4)
Living in the presence of God Himself.
Worship (Heb. 13:15)
Christian Fellowship (Rom. 12:5, Acts 2:42)
Prayer (Luke 11:1)
A Series on Love, Part 5
What overcomes you and prevents you from loving other people like you are supposed to? How could you be more like Jesus in expressing love? Consider John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Jesus overcame His enemies with Love. God so loved the world He gave and His giving overwhelmed the need of fallen man. It united all believers from every tribe into one Body. Our sin was not too much for Him. Jesus overcame evil with love. He cast out the darkness with His perfect light. This is our story. This is our hope. This is the reality in which we repent, marry, raise children, go to the bank, commune in worship, gather in each other’s homes and greet our neighbors over the fence. This is what we are to imitate. Jesus commands us to love like He has loved.
1st Corinthians 13:7 “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Love overcomes. We are going to consider a few specific examples, over the next couple of posts, of Jesus’ love overcoming.
People brought Jesus their needs and Jesus responded by giving them what they needed and then some. Think of the paralytic who Jesus healed on the Sabbath. The guy just wanted to walk, but Jesus also forgave his sin. He gave the paralytic a better life and eternal life. More poignantly, Jesus saw people in need that hadn’t come to Him and He gave them what they needed and then some. Continue reading “Jesus Doesn’t Meet Needs, He Exceeds Them”
So Jesus took on flesh; the infinite took on the limits of creation. The king became a carpenter’s son. He slept in open boats and ate meals. He argued with self-righteous hypocrites and endured the confused bombastic yapping of His apostles.
The Maker let His creation slap him, tear His beard out and nail iron into His flesh. Iron, which was made in and through Jesus, Jesus allowed to be driven through the flesh He didn’t need, to die a death we caused, to win us back to a Father we rejected.
The Trinity teaches us that our identity only exists in community. The universal gives meaning to the particulars and vice versa.
The Covenant is how particulars and the universal have a relationship.
The Covenant is a relationship of love in which each party commits himself to sacrifice and self-denial for the blessing of the others.
Creation is a symbol (a living metaphor) of the Trinity’s relationship. Creation is a gift of the Father, through the Spirit, to the Son, which the Son perfects through the Spirit and gives back to the Father.
The Father is the speaker, the Son is the word and the Spirit is the breath.
Creation is a gift of the father to the son through the Spirit, which the Son prefects through the Spirit and gives back to the Father.
We were created to participate in this story.
Jesus leads us into the happy land of Trinity where the diversity and unity of creation find completion and fulfillment in the eternal community of love.
History began in the Trinity and is fulfilled in the Trinity
Conclusion to the Sign of Jonah series
All the signs of Jonah point to Jesus. The signs that reveal Jesus’ presence in our lives are sacrifice, death and resurrection, God’s word and Repentance that leads to life. Are your lives defined by these signs?
Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh as the representative of God’s people to do the work of God. We will see next week that Jonah’s flight from God was consistent with kind of prophet he was. Jonah and Israel did not understand that their mission was not separate from their life as the people of God. That was the lesson Jonah was learning to teach Israel. It’s the same lesson we need to learn.
Your mission is not separate from your life as the people of God. I can ask all kinds of questions about missions. How many of us are foster parents? Support a missionary? Visit lonely old widows tucked away alone in retirement homes all over the Puget Sound. But our problem is more fundamental than that. Why would we want to add to our church? How are we doing loving the people we already have? How many different families have you had over in the last two weeks? The last two months? The last two years?
We don’t reach out to the world because we do so poorly reaching out to each other. Reaching across the street starts with reaching across the pew. I know you do not have an affinity with everyone. And being nice is not the same as loving people. You may not feel animosity toward anyone in this church but how many people’s welfare in this congregation would you say you are passionate about? We think that because we are polite to the bank teller and the barista and are courteous drivers that we are loving people. We think if we ask someone how work is going while standing around the cookie table or make some amusing comments about baseball in passing conversations that we are loving people. But love is defined differently by Jesus. Continue reading “Be a sign that points to Jesus”
This is where the Christian Faith begins. This is the paradigm of your relationship with God. It requires that you do not have closed off spiritual, emotional and private relationships but relationships that begin in your heart and end at the four corners of the world. It begins privately and intimately but extends through your hands to your neighbor, town, county, state, country and world.
This is God’s program to perfect creation. It’s the overpowering force. It’s you responding in the only appropriate way imaginable to His instigating love; with total abandon, complete surrender, utter adoration and all engrossing subordination.
Heart, soul and mind don’t consist of compartmentalized aspects of life, but here signify the total self; the whole man.
This command becomes the engine, the roadmap, the structure on which your life’s work is built. It becomes the modas operandi. The beginning, the end and the content of life. This is the sum total of who you are and what you do.
This command, applied to your life, becomes the antithesis, cultural mandate and great commission in action. This is the chief command from which all obedience is derived. It’s the fountain head of culture, ethics, science, theology, art, family, community and meaning that pleases God.
This requires proximity and consists of productivity and praise.