January 2, 2013 by
Categories: Articles | Transfer
Many people of the rising generation have been told that loving Jesus and hating religion is the only way to truly please God. Of course that's true if "religion" means false-teachings, legalistic structures, and creedal conformity without conversions.
But what if "religion" also includes the idea of church--of those gatherings of Christians, committed to God and to one another. Can we really love God and not also love His church? Thankfully, we don't have to wonder or debate, because the answer is provided for us.
“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
According to God, if we don't love those whom God has made our brothers, we do not actually love God. According to God, His people are His project on earth, and will be the visible expression of the power of His gospel. According to God, if we are passionate about God, we must also be passionate about His church. If we want to encounter God and be a part of His mission, loving His glory, proclaiming His gospel, living under His Word, we must draw near to His people.
- Where is the kingdom of God on earth? His kingdom is seen in local churches that proclaim His authority and His redemption and live delighting in His law.
- Where is the character of God on earth? His character is seen in local church bodies that love one another with mercy, forgiveness, and endurance despite their frequent failures and offenses.
- Where is the glory of God on earth? His glory is most clearly seen as his people proclaim the message of a crucified and risen Messiah.
- Where is God on earth? God is present everywhere, but He is especially present within and among His chosen people, enlivening their praises and strengthening their souls and preserving their faith.
We cannot transfer a love for God's glory, God's Word, God's gospel, or anything of God, unless we also transfer a passion for God's People. God's people are His treasured possession, His blood-bought children, His standard-bearers in the spiritual battle, His ambassadors to the world of darkness, His ministers of redemption, His priests, His salt and light to a dying a decaying world, His messengers of hope for eternity.
How are we doing loving God's church?
Join us May 25-28 in Orlando, FL for Transfer, a four-day gathering hosted by the churches of Sovereign Grace Ministries to celebrate and proclaim those biblical truths that are most important to pass on from one generation to the next.
Jon Payne has been on staff at Sovereign Grace Church of Gilbert, Arizona since 2005. He graduated the Sovereign Grace Pastors College in 2005. Jon currently lives in Gilbert with his wife Lory and their 3 children. They are preparing to church plant in Austin, Texas later this year.