Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Loving Heart of God

Over the next several days I will be posting some devotionals I've written for our church's newsletter. They are all about learning to be on mission with Jesus Christ in the world. I hope they bless and help you, I'd love to hear your feedback.

In John 3:14-17 Jesus famously said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:14-17).
Jesus’ words could not have been clearer: he alone is the way to eternal life, and God the Father made him to be that way. Further, the reason God the Father did this was because he loved the world so much. From the time Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God has been pursuing his beloved creation and working to make a way for them to be saved from the consequences of their sin. Thus, he put his hand of blessing upon Noah. He made his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He compassionately led the nation of Israel for more than 1,500 years before Christ was born.
And when the time was full, he sent his only Son into the world out of the overflow of love that was in his heart. Now, I know that there is some debate out there about what John means by the word “world” and that’s a valid debate, but it’s not my concern here. Rather, my concern here is to show that it was love and mercy that moved the heart of our Father to work for our salvation.
Beloved, love is something you feel, and God feels very, very deeply. He did not send Christ simply to perform a transaction, rather, he sent Christ to reveal and express the depth and strength of the love in his heart. God really, really loves lost people—let that sink into your heart—God really, really loves lost people. In fact, he loves them so much that he’s moved from the depth of his being to seek and save them.
Therefore, as we seek to engage in the mission of our Father here at Glory of Christ, we must know that tapping into our Father’s heart of love is the key to his mission. We must, by his grace, learn to feel as he feels, to see as he sees, to overflow as he overflows, to act as he acts. Religious people “do their duty.” Children of God join with their Father in acting on the things that move his heart.
How do we do this? Well, a good place to begin is by praying over texts like John 3:14-17 and asking our Father to open our eyes and hearts, and to mold us into his image. If we’ll pray this with sincerity he will answer our prayers and equip us to go on mission with him.

Longing with you to feel as our Father feels,
      Pastor Charlie

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