Who is at the center of your life? Today suggest unique answer. Not obvious in NT. Not seen, for not appreciate OT roots of Scripture. John 14:1ff. But first, must be God. Must see God. Few great books on God in early part of century. Some recent help, but still focus on Christ, Holy Spirit. Who is God? Do I love God? Do you love God? Does this church love God? Have you see the God who is at the center?
God is in the NT, every 46th word in Romans. NT writers, especially Paul, are God-intoxicated. The sovereign God explains a lot of doctrinal misunderstandings. Salvation depends upon God and his nature, his love. Our election, eternity, God's eternal plan and purpose. God is "all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28). All the depths of riches, wisdom and knowledge are his (Rom. 11:33). If Christ is power and wisdom, he is the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24). It is God's power which will raise our mortal bodies in resurrection (Rom. 8:9-11). Our power for living comes from God (2 Cor. 4:7). Civil authorities derive power from God (Rom. 13).
The divine qualities we seek, of which we can partake, are not initially seen in Christ, but are God's. He is living (1 Tim. 3:15), faithful (1 Cor. 1:9), living and true (1 Th 1:9), unable to lie (Tit 1:2), enduring and encouraging (Rom. 15:5), love (2 Cor 13:11; 1 Jn 4:8), peace (Rom. 15:33). These are seen in Christ, but they make us like God. Our God is generous. Nothing we can do on this earth can make us any more like God than to be generous. To be self-sacrificing, to be serving, to be unselfish.
We Should Love God
Jesus is asked about greatest command, Mark 12. What is it? Love God, totally. This is primary. Do we love God whom we have not seen? How can we love God whom we have not seen if not love brother whom we have seen? (1 John 3-4)
Why Love God?
His nature. God is not helpless. God is active, participating in this world, fashioning a moral universe so that those who reject the love of truth end up believing a lie. God is reaching out to us, caring for us, empowering us. Left to ourselves, we would be hopeless. But we are not left to ourselves. God has chosen us, called us. He began this process before the foundation of the world. He does not go back on his calling. No greater assurance exists. Today, because of God, we are saved, we are on our way to heaven, we are walking in light rather than darkness.
How love God?
Imitate him. Become like him. People make talk back to God, argue with God, even disobey God. This all relates to God. This is a dishonoring of God, a failure to fear God, a hostility to God, and more. And God takes knowledge of it. People are responsible for their actions. I am responsible for how I live before God. Do I look like God? Am I being transformed into his image. Proving the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.
Two ministries especially focus our attention on loving God. Easy to miss connections, although one may be obvious. Worship. Not cost much materially, but costs much. Is our continuing commitment. Because of how much you loved me God, this is how much I love you. Worship is to God. We love the things God loves. We honor Christ, we honor God's presence in Spirit, we honor God's family. Our fellowship is not only vertical, but also horizontal. The worship ministry helps connect with God. This requires your presence, your heart, your soul, your time, your life. This is saying, I love God. The second ministry is less obvious. The Finance ministry, perhaps buildling and grounds. This is giving. We do not understand giving. We do not have time to understand it today. It is of God. It is like God. It begins within. It is first giving self. It is our poverty for others' spiritual richness. You cannot outgive God. This is not testing, this is not manipulation. This is truth, right spirit, right heart. Try me, Malachi says. His are the storehouses of heaven. Do right in faith, in purpose, believing, depending, trusting. God is great, God is good. Our elders have really challenged us to focus on our love for God. They are leading. We are trying to follow. What an opportunity, growth, service, genuine ministry. How love God? Worship, resources shared for the things that matter to God.
Where love God?
This imitation of God places us squarely at his disposal, at his feet, honoring him as king, lord, sovereign, controlling. The NT, especially the Gospels, has much to say about kingdom of God. The kingdom involves power, not talk (1 Cor. 4:20). The power of God is especially at work in his kingdom. This present kingdom aspect will one day find fulfillment in the eschatos. It is for this reason that resurrection belongs in the kingdom of God and not outside the kingdom. The resurrection is evidence of God's control. Death does not control, Satan does not control, God controls. He demonstrates it in Christ, will continue it in us. We cannot overcome death, it is too strong. But it is not too strong for God.
When love God?
Today, grow in love. Respond to his love. Our great interest in God is ultimately not centered in his power, majesty, judgement, but in his love and concern for his people. For his people! For you! For me! The totally unexpected thought that God, altho so great and good, regards us not simply with tolerance and magnanimity, but with love. He is ultimately benevolent, caring, thinking the best, giving for the benefit of others.
He demonstrates that love in Christ's death (Rom. 5:8). His draws us with an all-powerful love beyond all other forces (Rom. 8:39). In his love, he works for us and through us. I want you to know today that god is a God who delights to bless. He is calling you. He is calling me. Today is the day of salvation. Today is your salvation nearer than when you first believed. Today, love God. When love God, will naturally love the things of God. This is first. This is foundation, for loving church, loving Christ, loving one another, loving families, loving neighbors, loving self.
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