What am I preaching about?

  • Post category:Thinking Trinity
  • Reading time:6 mins read

Since coming to Malawi, I have had the honor and responsibility of preaching to our congregation. We started with a series of messages on being devoted – to that which the early church devoted themselves to (see Acts 2:42). More recently, I have sought to get right to the heart of what it’s all about, what I believe to be the crux of Christianity. Read below to get a summary of the teaching:

What does that Billboard say?

Some time back, after a church service one Sunday, driving home on the Johannesburg highway, Sheree and I saw a gigantic billboard with simple white lettering surrounded by a sea of red, advertising the words, “Jesus loves you.” I appreciated the attempt to communicate this glorious truth to all the passersby, but I wondered about its effectiveness, I wondered what these words would mean to someone who had no knowledge or experience of Gods love. To be honest, though I’ve tried to follow Jesus for over 35 years now, I wonder if I fully grasp or understand the love of Jesus. Sometimes it’s a struggle to figure out how a man who lived 2000 years ago, someone I can’t see in front of me, actually loves me. How does that work?

Paul’s Prayer

And I don’t think I’m the only one. If I were to guess, I would say most people reading this (maybe you included) would admit they don’t fully get it. It seems Paul, the Apostle, understood this struggle too. When he writes to the Christian’s in Ephesus, he prays for them, and you can almost hear the impassioned plea he puts forth. It’s as if He has been to the promised land, eaten its delicious fruits, drunk its revitalizing water, and breathed its fresh air, and he is desperate for his friends to taste and see for themselves. So he prays that they will – saying, “Heavenly Father, may they have strength to comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Jesus, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge,”
‭‭(Ephesians‬ ‭3‬:‭17‬-‭19‬)

The Greatest Thing to Learn in Life

Without going into all the details of the original Greek words used, Paul is praying that these followers of Jesus, and us as followers today too, will know the amazing love of Jesus, not just with our heads but with our hearts as well, both intellectually and experientially, and that we will be so full of His love that it will overflow out from us. I don’t know about you, but I want to grow in my knowledge of what Paul is speaking about here. In fact, I believe, the greatest thing to learn in life is God’s love, and to love Him in return.

The Place to Start

I don’t have all the answers, but I do think it starts with knowing that the greatest expression of the love of Jesus was demonstrated for us on the cross. Where Jesus was prepared to lay down his life for you and for me, paying the price for sin. Surely, there is no greater love than this. And by doing this, Jesus opened the way for us to be forgiven and to have a love affair with God. We can, and we must, devote our lives to learning more about God and His great love for us, but more than this, I can only add my agreement to Paul’s prayer, I pray that you and I would experience God’s love and that it will fill us to overflowing.

How Will We Respond?

The question then becomes, “what can we do?” God has pursued us with His love. He loved us first. But how will we respond? How will we arrange our lives to learn His love, and to love Him in return?
It has to start with quality time, setting aside regular blocks in our schedules to sit at the feet of Jesus (who was raised to life again and is alive) to seek Him, to speak to Him, to study His word, and to simply be with Him. The more we do this, the more the Holy Spirit will show us, the more He will saturate our lives, and the more we will grasp of the incredible love of Jesus.

Imagine with Me

Imagine if you (and me) could understand and experience the love of Jesus like Paul prayed we could, with both our heads and our hearts. Our lives would be forever changed. Our identities would be forever changed. Knowing that the Creator of the Universe loves you, accepts you, that you belong to Him, that you have been adopted into His family as a son or a daughter, that He has promised to never leave you nor forsake you, that He has promised you an eternity with Him in perfect love; imagine living from that place, we would be unstoppable, we would be on fire, we would be filled with all the fullness of God.

My prayer is that we will learn Gods love, that we will love Him in return, and that our lives would be the billboards, bold and clear, saying to a world who desperately needs to hear it, the most incredible truth anyone could come to know, “Jesus loves you.”

__________________
PLEASE NOTE:
Paul’s prayer was directed to followers of Jesus, and so is this particular blog post. For those still searching, the place to start to fully know the love of Jesus is to surrender to Him (through asking God to forgive you and believing in Jesus Christ), thereby starting the journey of following Him. If you need someone to pray with you about this, please feel free to contact us.

Leave a Reply