Christ's Love is Life
Recently theHeart spent three weeks walking through our mission statement line by line. Being reconciled to God. Being reconciled to each other. Through Christ's Love. Simple. Pastor Josh Anderson shares more about how the love of Christ can be experienced in our own death, life, and resurrection.
If you were able to join us for our Sunday gatherings at Watauga High School on September 22, you know that I decided to ditch my teaching script and simply speak from my heart about Christ's Love. For someone who is nervous about public speaking and scared to say the "wrong" thing, this was an incredibly vulnerable moment for me.
And yet my leap of faith was met with such amazing grace and love. The hugs, handshakes, and words of encouragement I received after teaching from my heart are a cherished and holy reminder of how real God truly is. I will always remember how people moved towards me, both physically and with their hearts.
I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you what I actually wrote about Christ's Love. And how the simplicity of it, I believe, can be found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. You can read my message below. I've also included audio files of all three messages about The Heart of theHeart.
Today we're going to finish up our short teaching series called "The Heart of theHeart."
If you've been with us over the past couple of weeks, you know we’ve been going through our mission statement, which is…Reconciling people to God and each other through Christ’s Love. Simple.
And we’ve been looking closer at each line.
—Reconciled to God—Jason talked about how we are invited to move towards God, who is always moving towards us.
—Reconciled to each other—Graham talked about how we are invited to move towards one another in the difficult and joy-filled moments of life.
This morning I’ll be sharing on the last line of our mission statement:
—Through Christ’s Love. Simple.
Essentially, our mission at theHeart is a focus on 3 basic disciplines: Follow God, Share Life, Love People.
But for us to do this well, we cannot rely on our own strength or our own abilities. It can only be done well when we understand the fullness of Christ’s Love.
How do we do that?
Paul writes this in Ephesians 5:1-2:
"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."
Some translations of the Bible say, "Be imitators of God..."
Sounds simple enough.
But is it easy?
Paul is instructing us to follow the example of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
When we talk about “through Christ’s Love” we are talking about following Christ in every way.
Let me explain how I think we can experience reconciliation when we commit ourselves to our own death, resurrection, and life in Christ.
Let’s start with death. Yay.
Death is Personal
Through Christ’s Love, we are invited to die to ourselves.
We are invited to be made new.
And yet dying to our old selves can be the most difficult proposition. The most difficult step. Because it is the most personal.
"We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin."—Romans 6:6
For many of us, years of hurt, heartache, and hopelessness build up in our lives. And for some reason, we hold on to these things as though they are priceless to us.
We cherish these things. We hold tightly to them.
We won’t let go of the old regrets and mistakes because we believe these things are who we truly are.
Maybe someone convinced us of this lie. Or perhaps we’ve come to this awful misconception because of our circumstances.
We are enslaved by our shame, guilt, insecurity, and despair.
Death through Christ’s Love is personal because as Paul writes in Romans 6:6, we are brought to nothing.
Death is Costly
Death through Christ’s Love is also costly.
Paul writes in Galatians 5:24:
"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
We are invited to throw off the shackles of our own selfish desires. Not because they are necessarily bad in and of themselves. But because the promise of Christ’s Love offers us so much more.
The trappings of this temporary world can distract us from the glory of God. And they continue our enslavement to an unfulfilled existence.
"The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ.”—C.S. Lewis
That is because death through Christ’s Love costs us everything.
Death is Liberating
And yet, death through Christ’s Love is liberating.
The cross means we no longer have to crucify ourselves because Christ was crucified in our place.
Again in Galatians 2:20, Paul writes these incredible words of freedom in Christ:
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Our dreams and desires are no longer ours alone. They are all driven by the love of Christ.
We can let go of the resentments and regrets that have built up in our lives.
We can lay the past to rest. Not because we bury it but because we have been liberated from the lies and deception. And we can move beyond all of it.
Death through Christ’s love is personal, it’s costly, and it is liberating.
After death is our resurrection through Christ’s Love.
Resurrection is Renewal
Resurrection is renewal.
And renewal is to be a way of life; not a one time, or once in a while, event.
Directing our love toward Christ, moving with Him in obedience to His voice, and clinging to Him. This is how we give up our life and receive the life of Christ. This kind of relationship with God brings constant renewal and revival into our lives.
Colossians 3:1 says,