…the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
The message this week at Newstart was titled “Being Religious Can Be Tragic.” I love titles like that.
Sr. Pastor Greg McNichols gave a bit more favorable perspective of the Pharisee than I had. Yes, the Pharisees were extremely legalistic but the motivation was not a lot different than many of us today.
The Pharisees greatest desire was to protect the Law of Moses. I would equate this to hitting someone over the head with the Bible. I’ve seen that done. The motive seems good to the person attempting to share truth but it seldom motives the one being struck.
Yesterday, I attend an Aglow meeting where the speaker was addressing the same issues. Debbie Hopkins of The Potter's House passed on a statement she had heard from another pastor. As he tossed his Bible to the floor he said, “Jesus is more important than the Word.” They are not one in the same.
Our church culture seems to be more impressed with Knowledge and acts of kindness in the name of ministry than with Jesus himself. Yet the distinction of being a follower of Christ rather than any other “prophet”, religious leader, or morally good person is the ability for the Christian to have a personal love relationship with Almighty God. Oh how this must hurt our Creator who desires to lure us to him – not just to his ways.
Debbie and Greg both offered great hope.
Greg referred to the story of Moses and the bronze snake in Numbers 21 as he reminded us to simply “look to Jesus and believe and be saved. To believe is not complicated but you do have to participate in it.” We participate in believing in Christ the same way we participate in believing in an intimate friend or lover. Look and believe in who he is. Then let your actions be a natural response to the relationship.
Debbie used 1 Corinthians 13 to point out that lust is the complete opposite of love. How often does our ministry fail because it is built on a lust rather than a love for ministry? She then used Hosea to remind us that even though we have been unfaithful to our first love, God himself will allure his bride back to him.
When we see Jesus face to face, it won’t be our titles, knowledge or ministries that matter. Those things may be good. But as Debbie stated, you will be known for knowing the Lord. Do you know him?
Which is more important to you, Jesus or what you know and do? How will you respond to the invitation of marriage to Christ? Are you focused on the tasks of the wedding celebration or presenting yourself to the groom?
Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself.