Here in Rock Hall, we have tried to stay focused on developing as followers of Jesus as we Gathering to worship; Growing in relationships; and Going to serve.
Growing in our relationships includes growing in our relationship with Jesus. This leads us to develop his character in our lives and understand his calling on our lives. This GROWING happens as we learn more about him and put it into practice.
This is the way that our experience of God's power at work in us, it doesn't stop with us, it makes a difference in the world around us.
This series of talks from City Changers, a ministry who's purpose is to help disciples live out their calling as disciples in such a way that their community is changed. That's our desire here in Rock Hall.
Consider this from Matt 5: 13-16 in the Message paraphrase of the Bible
“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Nothing causes our hearts to respond with greater spontaneity than the discovery and acknowledgment of God’s love initiative. For us to be moved to Compassion toward others, we need to come to an understanding of God’s thought, revealed in this redemption through Jesus Christ.
It is not that God can love. It is that God is love.
There has only ever been one motivation in the heart of God. Love. It’s not that God is loving. It’s not that God will love the people who obey Him. It’s not that God will love you and bless you, if you accept him. It’s that God IS love and God’s relationship with you is love.
Some of us think that love is tribal: God loves those on His team.
Or that God’s love is a consequence: God loves those who obey.
Or perhaps that this love is a reward: God loves those who perform.
But here’s the truth: Whether you’re a hard-working clean-living devout Christian, or if you’re a ragged rebel; if you’ve kept every moral standard, or shattered every commandment a hundred times; no matter what your parents said, no matter what some Christian told you, no matter what you think of yourself–right now, this moment, the way you are today – God loves you.
That is God’s only motivation toward you. What would motivate this love toward man?
What motivated God to redeem mankind and reconcile us to Himself?
What was it that caused Him to go to the expense of the cross?
We need to discover Love as a Value Statement. For God loved the world and therefore gave His Son as the ransom. God saw worth in man. That explains the price that God was prepared to pay to ransom and redeem mankind. The preciousness of the blood can only be understood in relation to the value of what the blood redeems.
1Pet 1:18+19 NKJV
“knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot;”
THE POWER OF THE DISCOVERY OF YOUR VALUE TO GOD
The world system wants to attach its applause to a person in terms of your noble birth, your job description your achievement or address. God reveals only one value – the value of His image in man. Christ died to redeem every human being’s inherent value.
Ps 8:3-5 NKJV
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels,[b] And You have crowned him with glory and honor
THE MOTIVATION OF LOVE
2 Cor. 5:14-15 NIV
“Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again”
Love is a calculation, there is a logic in love. Only the love of Christ can make a calculation of such enormous proportion! The same all who died in his death were raised together with him! Paul understands that mankind co-died in His death and were co-raised with Jesus and are now co-seated with Him in heavenly places. He sees us fully included and represented in this once and for all sacrifice. The obedience of this one man Jesus outperforms and supersedes the effect of the disobedience of the one man Adam!
When you begin to see the love of God unveiled you cannot but respond in love, because love awakens love.
Rom 5:5 NKJV
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
1 Corinthians 16:14 NLT
Everything you do must be done with love
1John 3:16 Amp
By this we come to know (progressively to recognize, to perceive, to understand) the [essential] love: that He laid down His [own] life for us; and we ought to lay [our] lives down for [those who are our] brothers [in Him]. 17 But if anyone has this world’s goods (resources for sustaining life) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him? 18 Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity).
In other words, love always requires tangible expression. It needs hands and feet.
This would be an impossible task in the absence of a realization of inherent value. Our ability to see value in another have become crusted over with prejudice, fear, disappointment and hatred. The regenerated human, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, mirrored in Christ, continues to be the dominant force against all manner of darkness. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, integrity, humility and self-control, are not fragile, fading emotions, produced by willpower. They are powerful expressions of the spirit; they are the fruit of spirit knowledge.
These are forces of light and life that can never be underestimated, as they reflect in fact the very nature of our redeemed design. They are our blueprint, the mirror image of our Origin. Our awareness of this truth, is what sets us free to be who we now are in Christ.
1 John 4:12 NLT
No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
THE LOVE OF GOD is most tangibly expressed in COMPASSION. The working out of heartfelt compassion is foundational in bringing true transformation. As we reach out to the hurting in society–being the hands and feet of Jesus by offering real help, this becomes a tangible manifestation of God’s love and hope, proclaimed to the entire community. This is the conspiracy of kindness we are called to.