September marks the beginning of the school year and we often use it to re-launch the different ministries of our church. As we have done in previous years we have also arranged a week of prayer (2-9 September). While preparing for that I read this sentence by Vaughan Roberts describing the Christian life,
“But, above all, the Christian life is about Christ: being served, known and loved by him and then in response, serving, knowing and loving him.” (Battles Christians Face p.129)
It is wonderful to know that as Christians Christ serves us. He did that primarily when, as God He became a human being and lived here on earth in order that He might die in the place of all of His people. That was not just a random event for all who might want to benefit, but it was for people that Christ knew and knows. This is stated clearly in John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” Every Christian has the assurance of knowing that they are known personally by God, but Vaughan Roberts goes on to say that we are loved by Him. Not only are we loved by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God; but also by God the Father who sent His Son into the world to die for us. It is also true to say that we are loved by the Holy Spirit, because He is the One who has changed our hearts that we might believe the truth of the Gospel. This is the wonder of the Christian message and it is as relevant today as it ever has been. We, each have to respond to this love if we are to be saved by our God.
Many of us reading this know the privilege of being loved by God, but what is our response to that love? Roberts expects that we serve, know and love Him. So as we re-launch our ministries and commit ourselves to prayer let us ask ourselves how much we know, love and serve Him. I have purposely reversed the order, because in reality we cannot truly serve God unless we first know Him. We know Him most clearly in the Bible, because it is in that book that God has chosen to reveal Himself. We so often want to make a god after our own design, but we have to see and understand the picture of God that is given in the Bible.
God first shows us that He is the Creator of this world, but goes on to show that He is the Ruler of this world. He does that by telling us what He requires of us as human beings, but also showing us that there are direct consequences if we choose to live in opposition to His requirements. God however does not want to stand over and against us in judgement rather He has shown Himself most fully as The God of Love, who has paid the price of our sin and continues to make that love known.
Those of us who have experienced that love in the forgiveness of sins and a restoration to an intimate relationship with God are to demonstrate that love in our service for God. Scripture is clear that God has given many gifts to the church and each member of the church has been gifted in different ways, in order that we might support and complement one another.
I trust that as we approach this week of prayer and a new year of service that we would each be willing to ask “Lord, what will you have me to do?”
Let us each commit ourselves to know, love and serve Him more fully.
Your fellow servant,
Bernard Lewis Sept. 2017