May 19, 2017

You Were Created To Be A Sign Of God’s Love In The World (Easter 6)

Many people have read Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life and reflected on the purpose of their lives. The readings for today begin with the Apostle Paul telling the people in Athens that the God he speaks of is the one who created the world. Paul goes on to explain that the purpose of creation is “ that men would seek Him...”(Acts 17.27). In the very next verse he explains that God wants to live inside us and through us. This is how the spiritual dimension intervenes in the physical world as the Holy Spirit. It happens when we “ and move and have our being in Him...”.

1. The God of Christians is behind creation
We do not want to get sidetracked into an argument of how God created the world. This would distract us from the key fact that creation cannot be random or an accident. There had to be something behind it, creating it. We believe this is the God that revealed Himself to the Hebrew people and us through revelations in history, and particularly in the form of Jesus.
  • The readings also tell us God also created a spiritual dimension which seems to inhabit the same space.
  • 1 Peter 3.22 adds to our understanding of creation by mentioning heaven, angels, principalities and powers
  • Bad news is some of the angles, principalities and powers rebelled against God and have engaged in spiritual warfare for human souls since the time of creation.
  • Paul warns us that creation is going somewhere. There will be a final judgement. Each individual will have to give an account of their response to God’s reaching out to them.
  • Test will be how well you lived this life as a sign of God’s love.
2. Good news “... Christ died to bring you to God...”. (1 Peter 3.18)

The Resurrection is Gods’ cosmic yes to Jesus sacrificial death. It is hard for us to understand or believe in love so great. We believe Jesus death for all human sin has created a way for us to find forgiveness and come back into in right relationship with God.
  • Challenge is that we are surrounded by temptations
  • Deceived by destructive advice from the powers of darkness.
  • It is impossible for us to completely avoid destructive and rebellious things that destroy our relationship with God.
  • Often fail to love God and act as a sign of God’s love
  • Good news is that when we fail, we now have the opportunity to repent, plead the blood of Jesus to cover our guilt, and be restored through grace to right relationship with God.
  • Important detail is that grace is conditional, not automatic.
  • When we humble ourselves in repentance we become more of a sign of God’s love in the world.
  • God’s love is not mushy - God’s love is sacrificial and tough.
 3. God lives in us through the Holy Spirit
In the Gospel Reading (John 14.15-21) Jesus is comforting the Disciples - and us, with the good news that the Holy Spirit will come to them. This is the Spirit of Truth. This is the continuation of Jesus as “ the Truth” (the way, the truth and the life) that we read about last week.
  • Holy Spirit will come to those who love God and Jesus
  • Test of love is obedience.
  • Only those who both believe and obey in their hearts will have this love relationship with Jesus.
  • They are the ones He and the Father will come and live inside
  • This love relationship - not knowing a lot of theology makes us a serious Christian.
  • Knowledge of the Bible and Christian Theology is only helpful if it helps us believe in, love and obey Jesus.
  • Many people have never experienced the love of God and the mind blowing “ truth” of the Holy Spirit.
  • Believing Christians need both Bible knowledge and personal experience of the Holy Spirit to develop this love relationship

The challenge is to grow and protect our relationship with God
God has created us to be a sign of His love in the world. God is reaching out to each of us to reveal His love. He has reached out in creation, in coming as Jesus, in the Resurrection and in coming to live inside us as the Holy Spirit. We need to grow this relationship by continuing to seek Him and listening to Him when He comes to us through our Bible study and the Holy Spirit. We need to protect this relationship by resisting the temptations to rebel against God.

We are all to be visible signs of Gods’ love in the world!

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