SHOW forth the love of Christ: Purpose StatementJanuary 30, 2019
The last few months in these monthly articles we have been looking at the new purpose statement that we hope will define what we are trying to achieve as a church. The statement reads as following:
Smyrna Presbyterian Church gathers together to:
Know and worship the Triune God
Grow in the covenant family of God as reformed disciples
Show forth the love of Christ as servants and witnesses
For the Glory of God
This statement is to help focus on the main objectives as a church – and not to get loss in the chaos of “doing church” from week to week but “being the church” as the Lord calls us to be. Everything we are, individually and corporately, should be focused on or around these 3 main goals of KNOW – GROW – SHOW. That is because these things summarize the discipleship making process to be disciples and make disciples.
Two months ago, we looked at KNOWand how this is more than just a cognitive head knowledge, but rather the basis for relationship with Almighty God. God being a covenantal God has entered into relationship with man through the Lord Jesus Christ and we must know him to be able to love Him and serve Him. How we know Him is through the Word of God & prayer that the Spirit uses to both birth and increase our faith. To know, we must have knowledge, belief, and trust in our God. As our knowledge and faith increases so does our worship and life’s service.
Last month we looked at the second part of the purpose statement, which is to GROW. Growth does not necessarily mean numerically in size, or financially in the church budget, but rather growth in our depth of spiritual maturity and faith. Theologically that is called sanctification, where we are being renewed in the whole person after Christ and “more and more” reflecting him in our actions, behaviors, words, thoughts, and deeds. In this way, we must never stop growing.
This KNOWand GROW should naturally propel us forward to SHOWforth the love of Christ to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as to the world. I, as you pastor, am encouraged to hear that Smyrna Presbyterian is a very friendly and loving church, which it is! That demonstrates that the spirit of God is at work amongst you, and the seeds of the Gospel have not only sprouted and grown but are bearing forth fruit. For the chief fruit of the Spirit is love. Jesus says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:35).
This showing forth the love of Christ happens in two primary way: first, through service. The above Scripture reference from John 13 comes in the context of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. A preeminent example of love through service, to which Jesus says, “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you” (13:15). All of us within the church have been given one title – it is that of servant – servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those we are to serve are those who are in need of service. “God doesn’t need our good works” Martin Luther said, “but our neighbor does.” Therefore, we are to serve in whatever capacity we see a need and are able to fulfill.
Second, way we show for the love of Christ is as witnesses. This may seem to indicate evangelism, which is surely a part of it. But being a witness is more than just the opportunities you have to tell someone about Jesus. Being a witness means all of your life is to be a witness to him. Jesus again says, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16). The light of Christ should be seen in whatever context that the Lord puts you in. Both by our actions and by our words we are to give testimony to “the hope that is within us” (1 Peter 3:15).
Those are the means, but to whom are we to show forth the Lord of Christ? First, for “for one another” (Jn. 13:35) within the church. Paul says, “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). This truth applies to the whole corporate church as much as it does to individuals. We are to care for and serve one another. This might be through physical acts of service (giving, serving, providing) or spiritually through prayer and words of encouragement and truth. This is how we demonstrate that we are disciples. Yet second, our love must not stop there. Paul says, “Christ love compels us” (2 Cor.5:14). It drives us forward to be servants and witnesses to a world that needs the hope and love of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to be servants and witnesses in our neighborhood, community, workplace, etc. This is to happen individually as we go out as “salt and light”, as well as corporately as we join together to find needs in our community and world.
As we close, what ways are you showing forth the love of Christ in your life? What ways can your grow in your service and witness? What ways can we do better as a church in our community? World? Jesus said to his disciples, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We are called to similar spheres of influence by making a difference in our love and service. Remembering, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).