I truly believe that our primary purpose, when boiled right down, is to receive and to give love and that’s why everyone can be a huge success in life regardless of age, race, gender, intellect, physical ability or status. We are all given the opportunity to receive love and to extend love to others and from my experience over the years, I can promise you that if you sincerely connect with what I am praying God will reveal to us in this teaching series and take the time to re-visit this teaching on our website – then God can and will re-vitalise, re-new, revive, restore and re-focus your life and bring clarity and power to your ministry in the Kingdom of God.
In fact, I will go even further out on the limb here and say that a fuller Biblical understanding of love may well be the greatest need in the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church is in crisis across our nation and throughout the western world. Hundreds of congregations are closing every week across the world. Countless hours have been poured into Church growth conferences, books, courses, training programs, evangelism initiatives and strategies to ‘fix’ the Church. There has been a nauseating number of task forces, committees and councils convened to discuss the problem and the result is always the same: precious oxygen and time are consumed as we knock down another thousand trees to produce the paper on which our strategic plans and vision statements are printed and then filed in a drawer somewhere and forgotten! Year after year after decade after decade we continue to excel at complicating what is so incredibly simple.
Love truly does make the world go ‘round and a full understanding of the priority and place of love is most certainly what is needed for the Church to grow and touch our nation for Christ. Let John remind us again of the source of that love:
1 John 4:15-19 “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us … In this world we are like Jesus … We love because he first loved us.”
Jesus gave us a simple, yet profound secret to life:
Matthew 22:37-39 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbour as yourself.”
Receiving love from God and returning that love to God and to those around us – it’s all about relationships and for all healthy, growing relationships, you need love – God’s love – which “has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 5:4)
If the Church is in crisis it is largely because our personal relationships with God and with each other are in crisis. As we ponder what God might be saying to us and to our Church today, we may like to face some probing questions.
How well do we really know God, personally and intimately? How well do we truly know each other? We share buildings, meetings, services, activities, programs and events – but do we share our hearts and lives, our fears and aspirations? Do we share love, intimacy, transparency and the kind of relationships which are the building blocks of a healthy Church?
Jesus said, “I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). In order to do that He has to overturn the tables in our temples – in our hearts – and drive out all doubt, fear, guilt, shame and wrong theology which prevents us from entering the holy of holies – which is the very heart of God.
Only there will we “know this love that surpasses knowledge and be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)