It has been a long break since the church went out to the neighbourhood for BCS neighbourhood visitation. Covid-19 has changed the world, and it will never be the same as before Chinese New Year 2020, which was the last time we visited our neighbours. As we go out this month, let’s look at how Jesus Christ would want us to do it.
1 Corinthians 13, the great passage about love, ends with “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love”. The virtue of obedience is essential behind these three great pillars of faith, hope and love in the Kingdom of God. Faith is putting belief into action in obedience to God’s will. Hope has to be directed towards God’s will. Of what use is love if it does not obey God?
Love, faith and obedience
At the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:40-46; Matthew 26:36-46), Jesus Christ had agonised on His upcoming death, sweating blood, knowing full well the supernatural suffering that He had to go through. Yet in perfect obedience, faith and love for His Father, He confirmed His Father’s will that mankind, whom God loved, would be saved by the innocent and substitutionary suffering of Him (Jesus Christ) on the cross.
Jon Bloom a staff-writer for desiringGod.com wrote: “Supreme love was made visible in Jesus’s death on the cross, where “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) pursued his, and our full, eternal joy (John 15:11) through his obedience in the midst of the greatest suffering (Hebrews 5:8). God wore his love on his bloody sleeve. Jesus did not merely “love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). “By this we know love.”
The love and obedience of Christ is the fuel for our love
Jonathan Aitken, a politician who found Christ, wrote: “For at its essence true worship is a passionate love for God, not moralistic rule keeping or feats of self-discipline. For sinners like us, the fuel of that love is a profound realization, in the words of former slave trader-turned-pastor, John Newton, ‘that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.’”
With growing faith, love as He has loved
Jesus Christ has demonstrated his love in many ways for his disciples, and instructed them how they should love in John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
What appears to be new is the way we are to love, namely, “as Jesus has loved us.” The Son of God showed what love is when he came into the world and laid down his life for his people. Loving one another the way Jesus loved us is only possible with the divine power of God to help us grow in faith (2 Peter 1:3-8).
Loving God means keeping His Commandments
John in 1 John 5:3 pointed out: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us with them (John 14:16). We know God’s great love and compassion for the Lost. The opportunity to share the Good News comes when the Lost see and feel God’s love and compassion for them in us.
Let us therefore go forth into the neighbourhood this month, in love, faith and obedience to the Lord our God, so that the Lost may be found and have hope. Whoever serves, let him serve by the strength that God supplies in order that in everything God may be glorified (1 Peter 4:11).
By Lum Weng Kiong (YCKC Bulletin 18 Oct 2020)