Summary: God has loved you, adopted you as His child, and given you the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now God demands our love in return, and instructs us to demonstrate our love in selfless service to others.
How Now Must We Love? – Putting Legs On The Vision
Rom 12 August 28, 2005
How now must we love?
For the past number of weeks we have been talking about our church vision – of Loving God through worship, like a festival. Of loving one another to fruitfulness, like a greenhouse. And of loving others into the Kingdom of God, like a spiritual hospital.
Most of you wouldn’t argue. And after a number of years with me preaching this message, you can all probably quote Matt 22 from memory: “36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " ’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." We would agree that the message of the Kingdom of God is a message of love.
But what does that mean? How do we do it? Where do we as a church not do it currently? How now must we love?? This morning I want to put some legs on the vision. Get specific. Be pretty blunt. I’m planning to cover a lot of ground this morning, so I need you to sit up, pay close attention, and listen with your heart. For every ministry that I talk about, I want you to ask yourself two personal questions: does this excite me? Has God given me a spiritual gift that I can use to see God’s Kingdom come in this ministry?
Romans chapter 12 covers all three areas of our church vision, in order even, and Paul gets pretty blunt. I’m going to use that as a template for our conversation this morning.
Loving God Through Worship: The Church As A Festival
Rom 12:1-2 talks about worship. “1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Here is our church philosophy of worship: worship is a lifestyle, not a once/week activity. I would go one step further even, and suggest that every single person on this planet lives a lifestyle of worship, and you can tell what they worship by how they spend their time and money and energy. Some people worship themselves, some money, some physical health or beauty, some worship personal power or family or TV or shopping or entertainment or sex or celebrities. In your life, what does how you spend your time and money and energy say about what you worship? We, however, are called out of that idolatry into a worship of the living God, “in view of God’s mercy” – in other words, being reminded of how incredibly much God has done for us – and into a worship that is “living”. That is a “sacrifice”. That is different from the world. That, my friends, is how we are to live each and every day. And “this is your spiritual act of worship”.