For those of you who joined in yesterday’s time of worship you heard me talk at the end of service about my upcoming change from being a paid employee at C2C Church to being an active voluntary pastoral assistant during the times when I am not working a full-time job that will serve and further financially support my family. I am mentioning this change again, because just like Pastor Mary’s message yesterday from Matthew, today’s message from Paul is all about growing to love more like God intended us to love, like Jesus.
When I decided that God was calling me to make this change for my family at home, I immediately thought about my time with our spiritual Family. Jesus allowed me to see that I would still be able to attend Tuesday morning prayer, Wednesday night Bible study, Sunday worship, and many other times of gathering with our spiritual Family at nights and on the weekends. I immediately praised Jesus for this knowledge because much like Paul, every time I pray with and for our spiritual Family I am filled with great joy. As Paul mentions, the joy that we feel when we are together as a spiritual Family is because we are living out the Gospel message and spreading the Good News in an effort to further grow God’s Kingdom.
Friends, Jesus does not care about our attendance, nor does He tally our good deeds, He is concerned with our hearts and how we love Him and how we love one another (Matt 22:37-39). Pastor Mary reminded us yesterday about this sacrificial, obedient, and serving love. You and I are called to love like Jesus by loving our enemies, praying for them (Matt 5:44), and forgiving anyone who sins against us (Matt 6:14-15), because that is how Jesus loves you and me. He is our High Priest Who has all authority, and as we grow to love more and more like Him, we bring Him glory and much deserved praise.
Philippians 1:3-11 (NLT)
Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
7 So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. 8 God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.
9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for loving us and for setting the example of how we are called to love. Help us to love deeper and more authentically like You. Allow us to love those who hurt us, to forgive them, and to trust them and their actions, in actions, and/or words in Your Hands. We want to continue to grow individually in our faith walk, we want to grow collectively as Your Church, and we want to be used to further grow Your Eternal Kingdom, Lord Jesus. Please use each one of us today. Help guide us, Holy Spirit, to be a container of Your perfect love. All of this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.