Because of Christ’s great love and commitment to me, I covenant to love His bride and to show the same commitment to one another in His church.
I promise to be members of one another, to honor one another, to live in harmony with one another, to build one another up, to be like-minded toward one another, to accept one another, to care for one another, to serve one another, to bear one another’s burdens, to be kind to one another, to forgive one another, to abound in love, to comfort one another, to encourage one another, to stir one another up to love and good deeds, to confess my sins to one another, to be hospitable to one another, to greet one another, to fellowship with one another, to submit to one another while not passing judgment on one another, not provoking one another, not envying one another, not to hate one another, not to slander one another, and not to bear grudges against one another.
I do all this because Christ has loved me in each of these ways and this frees my heart to love one another as Christ has loved me (John 13:34).
What loving is not
Loving is not only sex
Loving is not getting only what you want
Loving is not winning an argument
Loving is not giving in to her ungodly desires
Loving is not lording over her
Loving is not speaking negatively about her to friends
Loving is not comparing her to other women
What loving is
Loving is giving yourself in all ways to her that honors Christ
Loving is gentle
Loving is kind
Loving is forgiving
Loving is not rude
Loving is peaceful
Loving is forgetting wrongs
Loving is seeing her difference as a blessing and not a curse
Loving is seeking to best understand and model the gospel
Loving is wanting to provide and protect her
Loving is wanting to spend time with her, not under guilt or compulsion
Loving is delighting in and desiring your wife
If men and women who are married spent time cultivating their love for God and submission to Christ’s Lordship, they would find themselves less in distress over submission and sacrificial love. When a woman love’s Christ above her husband, she is able to submit freely and willingly to Jesus first, which then empowers her to submit freely and willingly to her husband whom her Father in heaven has blessed her with. If a man loves Christ first, he is then able to receive the love only Christ can give. This then empowers and frees him to live in response to this amazing love and thus share it in abundance with the wife of his youth whom his Father in Heaven has bless him with.
It is only through the gospel of grace that we are able to possess and exercise these two great relational virtues. It is only through Christ’s submission and his faithfulness in love that we are able to submit and love as we ought.
I was reading Isaiah 43 this afternoon and I just got this beautiful image after reading the text. I see God calling us to Him, protecting us and washing us clean.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.”
“Let them bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified; or let them hear and say “It is truth.””You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; therefore you are My witnesses,” Says the Lord, “that I am God, indeed before the day was, I am He; and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I work, and who will reverse it?”
“…To give drink to My people, My chosen. This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare my praise.
“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. Put me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted.”
Last Sunday Caesar an elder at Soma communities in Tacoma Washington spoke on the different ways Christ has called us to celebrate. Caesar also questioned Kaleo on how we celebrate Christ today, in our lives.
To find out more about Soma I decided to go online and see what they’re about. I was pleasantly surprised to read that Soma Communities are radically working in their city to change lives. Some may say it’s radical and that may be true, but if it’s bringing truth to a people who don’t know Jesus in an honest and loving way, then I’m all for it. Here is a quote about their missional communities:
. . .and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart…” (Acts 2:46)
We believe that we don’t just go to church but that we are the church. Practically, this means that whether we meet at a coffee shop, bar, home, or in a large building we are to be God’s Church wherever we go. Come and enjoy dinner and stories with some of our families.
I just think it’s awesome that there are churches out in this world that want to reach the community in a way that welcomes people in rather than keeping them at a distance. Some Christians would rather call the lost and misguided “those people” rather than “my brother”. From what I’ve read and heard, Soma is a “my brother” church. One that welcomes people into their home and joins the community rather than building walls to keep “those people” out. It really is a beautiful thing.
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that[i] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] 2because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in sinful man,[d] 4in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
5Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6The mind of sinful man[e] is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; 7the sinful mind[f] is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. 10But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.[g] And by him we cry, “Abba,[h] Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
1 Chronicles 16
8 Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
9 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
11 Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.
12 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
13 O descendants of Israel his servant,
O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.
14 He is the LORD our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
In America we have so many freedoms that others do not experience, so why do we bind ourselves with fear? Is some fear healthy? I don’t know for sure, but I do know from my experience that when I educate myself in the areas where I find myself afraid, I find understanding and peace. And when I choose to dwell on the unknown and hope for the best, I am plagued with anxiety and stress. I guess that’s the key…facing a fear head on. Then why is facing a fear such a challenge? Let’s start by describing the attributes of fear. Fear = anxiety, apprehension, cold feet, consternation, dismay, distress, dread, fear, fright, horror, nervousness, panic, scare, strain, stress, tension, terror, trepidation, unease, uneasiness. Think about how unhealthy we would feel if we experienced these emotions on a dialy basis. This is not how God intended us to live our lives. For God said in Phillippians 4:6-13:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
By trusting in God, fear is not what controls a Christian any longer. Relinquishing control and fear to God is actually freeing and lightens the daily burdens we carry so that we can rejoice through our trials. If you were able to take all the attributes of fear out of your life, how would you feel? Joyful and at peace-right? How could you not! I’m not saying that being a Christian means that you won’t face fear, but we have a God who promises to give us strength and encouragement through our trials as well as courage and wisdom to fight the good fight.
I attend Kaleo Church of San Diego and I love how they don’t hide behind walls, but instead they come right out and say it. The way they describe the gospel is the same. Read below and you will see what I mean.
The Gospel’s core meaning.
The Gospel is not that we demonstrate our own righteousness before God and then He owes us something, but that He demonstrates His righteousness through Jesus Christ and then freely imputes His righteousness to us (2 Cor. 5:21). The Gospel is not that “it doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you’ve been good,” but that “it doesn’t matter if you’ve been good, as long as you believe in Christ as your Savior.” The Gospel is not that we go from being irreligious to being religious; it’s that we realize that our motives for both religiosity and irreligiousness were essentially the same and essentially wrong—that we were seeking to be our own saviors and thereby keep control of our own lives.
To the degree that we rely on something other than Jesus to save us (such as moral performance, career, romance, family), we experience anger, fear, guilt, and despair.
To the degree that we rely on something other than Jesus to save us (such as moral performance, career, romance, family), we experience anger, fear, guilt, and despair. But when we trust in Christ as our Savior, we no longer trust in our own self-determination or self-denial for salvation; neither do we trust in moralism or hedonism for our security and comfort.
Kaleo assumes that most people have not heard of or thought through the implications of the Gospel. We exist to bring things “in line with the gospel” (Gal. 2:14), which renews us spiritually, psychologically, corporately, socially. The Gospel avoids the errors of legalism and liberalism, moralism and relativism, yet it does not produce something in between, but rather something different from them all. The Gospel critiques both religion and irreligion (Matt. 21:31). It shows us a God far more holy than the legalist can bear (Jesus had to die because we could not satisfy God’s holy demands) and yet far more merciful than the liberal can conceive (Jesus had to die because God loves us). The Gospel affects everything we do at Kaleo.