Summary: The only right motive for serving the Lord is to be moved, compelled by, animated by the love of Christ. We love Him only when we are convinced that He first loved us.
How The Church Grows
Pastor Dan Little
The Landmark Church
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
…. Going to verse 35 we read
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
The point that I want to make this morning is that the love of God made know to us through Jesus, is the animating force behind the phenomenal church growth taking places where becoming a Christian and getting baptized is dangerous.
One of many areas in the world where amazing church growth is happening is among the Dalit people who live in the North-east part of India. In former days (and in certain places still today) they are viewed as less than human. In the English language they are called the untouchables. They have no place in any society except their own. They are not allowed to speak to people other than their own untouchable group. For thousands of years they have lived on nothing, been treated like slaves, and even today live on a dollar or two each day.
But something is happening. They are finding Jesus, and in have found His love so complete, so perfect, so healing, so lifting, so freeing and empowering that they now have a whole new view of themselves, others, and the world they live in.
His healing love is such a deep and daily reality in their lives that they continually seek for ways to share what they have found with others. It is with them as it was with the Apostle Paul;
2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, AMP
They still don’t have much in the way of material wealth but the are rich with the love of Jesus. And if you asked them why they love Jesus so much they will say; 1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
He went to the cross in order to forgive our sins. He rose again to give us eternal life. He listens when we pray and every day He is with us and helping us.
The miracles that they see Jesus doing in their own lives and families and villages moves them to ’Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that Jesus’ house may be filled. Luke 14:23
And what is the result?
Thousands of people are being brought to Christ, the churches are filled with joy and expectation and hundreds of new churches are being established every day. These are not mega-churches with sprawling campuses, but local churches that are thriving on the love of God.
So it’s not a church growth program that is behind this. It is happening spontaneously as people hear about and then experience a new kind of life and the amazing and healing love of Jesus.
They find that he defeats sorrow and fear and sadness and depression. He heals their bodies and gives them wisdom, makes them in to new persons and they want to tell everyone about Jesus.
They can’t wait to go tell their families and friends. So what happens is 1 believer becomes 2 becomes 4 becomes 8, becomes 16, becomes 32 and in about 10 or 15 weeks they have hundreds who out of pure joy are bringing others. They begin to see this astounding mathematical progression in the number of believers, all of whom are actively engaged in sharing the love of God with others.
Here in America we very often try to make this kind of growth happen by a means of a church growth program, but among these people it is the love of God that is growing their churches. His love fills their hearts and transforms their lives, and what they have freely received they are freely giving away.
Why do we not see this going on in every church in the United States? Isn’t it because we have all kinds of material things to trust in so we don’t see the need to make a total surrender to a pure trust in God?
We are too busy for God and too busy for each other.
A heart that is convinced and living by faith in the perfect love of Jesus is able to rest wherever it is, or in whatever circumstances it finds. It learns from Jesus how to walk in the unforced rhythms of grace.