A Heart for Jesus, A Heart for Each Other And a Heart for Others
by Impact Church
If we can summarize the greatest motivations for living the Christian life, we could conclude that the regeneration and new life we have with Jesus is the starting place. When we believed in Jesus’ death for our sins and the resurrection of His body and our life (1 Corinthians 15), God credited us with Jesus’ righteousness and we have peace of God (Romans 5:1). That is the beginning of a new life: living in the light of God’s Revelation; In the light of Jesus’ life in us and His Word.
The Bible is God’s revealed truth for His people. It is pure and trustworthy, providing us with knowledge, wisdom and encouragement so that we can please the Lord (2 Tim. 3:16). It instructs, rebukes and admonishes His people to love God through Jesus Christ and to love others. That love of others comes in two relationships: inside the Church and with those outside.
The Church of the Resurrected Jesus is the most important institution in the world. Paul told Timothy that it is “the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). It is the Bride of Christ for which He died and He will present her as pure and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27). Jesus takes His relationship to the Church as directly reflective of Him – to attack the Church is to attack Him (Acts 9:5). Our attitude and involvement with the church establishes the most important relationships we have with other people. The warnings and cautions of 1 Corinthians 11:17-22 and James 2:1-9 involve not thinking about other members of the body of Jesus in unseemly or lowly ways. Being a member of the Body of Jesus is a cherished relationship and is protected by Jesus’ love. He is the Good Shepherd and we are His sheep.
A worshipping church is a church that will supernaturally love the other members and collectively love those outside. Reaching out to those outside of the church, to those who don’t know Jesus is a commandment from Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20). Rather than seeing evangelism and outreach as a laborious obeying response to a command, which is sufficient, we should see it as the divine invitation to share His character and nature. In the words of Jonah, “you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” 4:2. Coming from the words of a called prophet who resisted sharing God’s love with the world, those who were his enemies, we can admit that we sometimes resist sharing with others what we have experienced in our life.
A year ago, our church geared up for a mission trip to the Dream Center in Los Angeles. In the past years, it was to Columbia. This summer, there is no mission trip to a remote location. Rather, we are staying in Greensboro and reaching out to those around us. It’s a response to the realization that God’s love has been extend to us and we should reach out to others in the same way.
Beginning this coming Wednesday night, we will embark on a 4 week study of the prophet Jonah. We will read and learn about God’s heart for the lost and the struggle His people have for sharing that love when a bias exists against others. We will learn how to overcome our cultural and personal bias for loving others and how to live with the heart of Jesus for others.