Posted by: pastortomvabeach | October 20, 2009

Thought for the Week October 25, 2009

I greet you in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Today, I attended our monthly minister’s meeting and received a wonderfully encouraging word from Rev. Mike Osborn, the youth minister at Harvest Assembly in Chesapeake. It flows along with the topic I have been addressing the last couple of weeks and I felt like I should pass it on to you and not hoard God’s blessing just for myself.

Have you ever considered just how much God loves us? Listen to John’s words in I John 3:1, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” Think about that. John, the beloved, the disciple who got to sit next to Jesus and hear His heartbeat, says, Behold, or “Look at this!” He is so moved by what he is about to say that he says, “Check this out!” What kind of love is this, that we should be called God’s children.

We don’t often look at ourselves from that perspective. We understand intellectually that Jesus died for us, that His blood was shed to forgive our sins, and that we receive salvation as a result, but we still have this notion that we must perform in order to please God and earn His love. In fact, there are large sects within Christianity that major on earning God’s favor through our works. That is because of the view we have of ourselves. We continue to perceive ourselves as sinners, failures, incapable of goodness, etc.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the Lord wants us walking around in pride saying “I’m somebody, I have the strength, I can do it.” It is important to recognize that everything we are and have comes from Him. Jesus said that without Him we can do nothing and Paul added to that by saying that “through Jesus Christ who strengthens me”…“I can do all things.” (Philippians 4:13). He also mentioned that we are what we are and do what we do because of “the grace of God which was with me.” (I Corinthians 15:10)

We are never to think that we don’t need Jesus for everything but I believe that God wants us to understand the fullness of what He has done for us. John says this in the kind of love God has towards us, that we (needy, weak, etc.) “should be called children of God.” God calls us His children! Members of His family! The devil wants us to think we are still his children, wretched, fallen sinners. That is absolutely not true. A Christian is a saint who has been redeemed from sin. The sin nature was killed, crucified, and buried with Jesus (Romans 6). The new you, God’s child, was raised by faith when Jesus rose from the dead.

What does it mean to be a “child of God”? It means we have His DNA active in our genes. It means that our Father loves us the same way He loved Jesus (John 17:26). This means that you do not have to be successful at ministry, prayer, winning the lost, Bible study, etc. in order to gain God’s favor. You have just as much love from God the day you get saved as you will ever have. It also means that by nature, the nature that God has imparted to you, you are holy, pure, and set apart. You are different from the world. Peter says you have been given “all things that pertain to life and godliness”…and…”great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature…” (II Peter 1:3-4)

Being so loved by God frees you and me up to live as God always intended. So we do serve in ministry, pray, reach out, study His Word not to gain His favor but as a result of His favor. We already have the nature of godliness and holiness. He lives in us by the power of His Holy Spirit. We can look at the world and its lusts and temptations and say, “That’s not me. I’m a child of heaven, a child of my Father. He lives through me.”

John continues his thought by saying, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (I John 3:2) Now…now…not when I grow up, not when I learn enough of the Bible, not when my ministry is a success…now I am a child of God. I don’t know for sure what that will look like tomorrow, but I’m sure it will be like Jesus, because He is God’s child too! Wow! Can we find words to express the kind of love God has for us?

So does this mean I can just go on and live any old way I want because God already loves me and I can’t get any more love than I have? What would give us that thought? Let me ask, do you love your children more when they behave than when they mess up? No! You love them the same. You are however, disappointed and hurt when they disobey. You desire better for them. This is our Father. John says further, “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (I John 3:3). If I’m God’s child, if I’m going to look like Jesus, my life always leans as close to Jesus and His purity as possible. My Father thinks this of me, how can I disappoint Him? Do you get the picture?

God’s love is the thing that keeps us, it is the thing that nothing can separate us from, it is the thing that Paul says we need to grasp completely (Ephesians 3:17-19). When we know how much we are loved, the only response is to love back! Loving your Father first and loving others as you love yourself is the key to staying pure. When we fully grasp the love God exercises towards us that becomes doable!

Have you ever just taken time to let God love you? Why not take some of these passages and others that you can find that speak of God’s love and let them bubble in your spirit for a while? Let your Father express to you and show you His absolute love for you. See if it doesn’t motivate you towards leaning closer to Him and being transformed. Just a thought.

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