But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5).
Strong biblical teaching will produce a church that knows how to love. The better your understanding of the character of God the richer your love for Him will be. The deeper your appreciation for the sacrificial work of Christ the more passionate your love for Him and for others will be. Anyone and everyone who is genuinely saved by the grace of Jesus will become more and more like the Master.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another (John 13:34).
The aim of all our learning at Calvary is not merely to increase knowledge but to mature into a congregation centered on Christ and overflowing with His love. Only a church that knows the Scriptures and is grounded in sound theology can become a people who love God and love others in a way that makes the world say, “Wow!”
What the world needs now is God’s love on display. The Bible promises that in the last days terrible times will come. We are at least closer to the last days than the Apostles were 2000 years ago! Only the church that is rooted and grounded in His love and truth will be witness to His transforming love in our day. This is our call and mission at Calvary.
We face a couple obstacles. COVID has forced many of us into a retreat toward self-protection. While a degree of this caution was wise at a certain level, I fear there is an unhealthy trend toward not engaging with other people. This inhibits the free expression of loving others in a sacrificial way.
Additionally, a friend recently shared an article about the widespread problem of lassitude, a cultural consequence of forced isolation. I had to look it up – but lassitude is the state of physical or mental weariness; a lack of energy; sluggishness and exhaustion. Then I had to ask God for forgiveness. Something about the last year has recalibrated our levels of energy and passion. It’s been hard; and we’re tired.
Jesus understands and can help us. In Revelation 2:1-7, He told the Church at Ephesus that He knew of their toil and patient endurance; but warned them that they had abandoned their first love. He encouraged them to repent and do the works they first did when they came to know Him. It is a helpful reminder that in our weariness Jesus calls us back to Him to do the first things.
One of those first things is a rigorous study of His living Word. People who know their Bible and understand good theology emerge into a loving community. So, we’re returning to a mark-it-up series in 1 Thessalonians beginning this Sunday. Our aim: to be a learning community and a loving community. And as we do this, may it be said of us as it was of the Thessalonians, “your faith in God has gone out everywhere.” That is God’s plan for His church in a world that needs Him so deeply.