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Only One risen Saviuor

Only One risen Saviuor
There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved - Jesus

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Love Is A Game Changer

Philippians 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."
 
I took a larger portion of the letter today to underscore the whole tone and theme. Paul is upbeat and happy because he sees in the Philippian church not just an embrace of God's forgiveness but growth. There are in reality two parts to the gospel story which can cause confusion. Some ignore the second part and remain dwarfed in their walk with Jesus. Some focus exclusively on the second part and make it a case like Colossae and Laodicea where it is Jesus + ________. Both of these are wrong and cause damage.
 
You can clearly see here in chapter one that Paul’s focus is grace and his joy is in their continuing growth. Grace is the unmerited favour that God showered on us in Jesus. He came to us to die for us without our asking or even wanting or even understanding what was happening. As Romans 5 clearly talks about, we as humans might die for a deserving person but Jesus demonstrated His love for us by dying when we were crying "Crucify Him". In simpler terms His love was not a response to our love. His love just is. His forgiveness is freely offered even if we spit on it. It is entirely foreign to our thinking and our system of acquiring everything by purchase. His radical free undeserved offer of Himself is simply called grace.
 
Our love for Him is in response to His love. As the Bible says "We love God because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19) This is what the Bible calls the gospel, the Good News.
 
Before we go any further it needs to be firmly established that we can't purchase grace. It is not for sale. Were it for sale it would cease to be grace. Secondly we are also incapable of becoming better people in nature. Yes we can modify our external behaviours for periods of time but our nature is fixed. The prophet Jeremiah said "Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard his spots? Than can you do good who are accustomed to do evil?"
 
So the good news is despite our broken nature that is bent toward selfishness and pride and greed etc... Jesus loves us anyway and has offered His life in exchange for ours to show how genuine and passionate His love is.
 
So all that being said what is this growth and change Paul speaks of? What is this misunderstood "second part" to the gospel that some reject and others warp into something dangerous and destructive?
 
May I quote a country song?
 
"I Like It, I Love It"
 
Spent forty-eight dollars
Last night at the county fair,
I throwed out my shoulder
But I won her that teddy bear.
She's got me saying
Sugar-pie, honey, darlin', and dear,
I ain't seen the braves
Play a game all year.
I'm gonna get fired,
If I don't get some sleep,
My long lost buddies
Say I'm gettin' in to deep.
 
But I like it, I love it,
I want some more of it,
I try so hard,
I can't rise about it.
Don't know what it is
'Bout that little gal's lovin',
But I like it, I love it,
I want some more of it.
 
My Mama and Daddy
Tried to teach me courtesy,
But it never sank in
'Til that girl got a hold of me.
Now I'm holding unbrellas
And openin' up doors,
I'm taking out the trash
And I'm sweepin' my floors.
Crossin' my fingers,
And countin' every kiss,
Prayin' that it keeps
Goin' on like this.
 
But I like it, I love it,
I want some more of it,
I try so hard,
I can't rise about it.
Don't know what it is
'Bout that little gal's lovin',
But I like it, I love it,
I want some more of it.
 
Got to wash my truck and dress up
To pick her up to watch tv.
And she sits down on the sofa,
She'll move a little closer...
She can't get enough of me.
 
And I like it, I love it,
I want some more of it,
I try so hard,
I can't rise about it.
Don't know what it is
'Bout that little gal's lovin',
But I like it, I love it,
I want some more of it.
 
 
You see love is a game changer. Change does not generate love. Love generates change. Trying to purchase love which is what most religion is about is called prostitution. Prostitution in the context of religion is called paganism.
 
We can't buy what is free and we can't add to perfection. The growth Paul is excited about is simply the natural change created by grace. Love changes everything. smile emoticon
See you tomorrow smile emoticon

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