I want to try and challenge you this weekend, I want to engage you, because loving God lies at the very heart of who we are and what we are. Tomorrow morning I am going to begin by asking the question, ‘What is love, where does it come from’? and then I want to address you very personally and ask the simple question, ‘Have you, as an individual, actually received the love of God for yourself in your own life?’
Because if you have not received the love of God then you may be sitting here physically for the rest of the talks, but in terms of being spiritually involved and engaged in it, you won’t be. It won’t be an absolute waste of your time, but you won’t get a lot out of it. So I’m going to begin tomorrow morning by asking that question, ‘Have you received, have you experienced the reality of the love of God in your own life’?
Tomorrow evening we’re going to be considering, ‘How do we actually respond to God’s love?’ and again I’m going to make it personal, I want to challenge you to think about how you, as an individual, actually thinks about the facts that God has loved you with such an amazing love, and how you should respond to that love. It’s very easy for us, especially many of us who’ve had the immense blessing of being brought up in homes where God’s love has been demonstrated and has been shared. It’s very easy for us just to receive that love and never really stop and think for ourselves, How do I, as an individual, respond to that love? We can get into good habits and good patterns of behaviour, habits and patterns of behaviour that are commendable in many ways, and yet at root we never really stop and think, ‘How am I called by God to respond to the manifestation of His love in His Son Jesus Christ?’
On Sabbath morning then, the issue of growing as a Christian through remaining in the love of Christ, is going to be a subject. You, like I, only have one life to live – it’s an incredibly short life, I probably have lived about two-thirds of my life. I don’t know how long I’m going to live, I don’t have a secret card tipped in my back pocket telling me the day and hour of my death, I’m thankful that that’s not the case. But in terms of the threescore and ten, I’m in the last third. I know you looked at me and thought, ‘You couldn’t be that age’. My wife when she was cutting my hair this afternoon thought, ‘ah, you’re older than that age’, I’m not normally this grey, when my hair grows longer it looks more red, but that’s the want of not getting it cut when you should, so it’s more grey. But you’ve got to imagine me with beautiful red hair, okay? Be sympathetic towards me. Our lives are incredibly brief, our eternities are forever. How do we who have received the love of Christ, as we respond to that love, how do we then remain in that love and thereby grow in our love for Christ?
In the last week, how many times have you thought about what you’re doing to grow in your love for God? How many times have you stopped and thought in the last week, I’m doing this that I might grow in my love for God. Is that a thought that dominates your life? Do you seek to remain in the love of God day by day, or is your Christian life lived on a different plane?
And the fourth thing that I want to look at on the Lord’s day evening is how we reveal or manifest the love of God to the world around us. Church in Scotland is in huge decline. The Church of Scotland, and we take no joy in this at all, is declining at a rate of 17-18,000 per annum. By 2050 that church will be in a real serious situation. The smaller reformed and Presbyterian churches in Scotland have not showered themselves in glory during the past 30 years. Foremost in that is the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland. No Reformed and Presbyterian church in Scotland has and can say we have excelled, in seeing God work through us to bring many many people who are going to a lost eternity into a new living relationship with Him. It’s not the reality, sadly, in many situations, and that’s a serious point, because we are living in days of amazing opportunity, we’re living in days when people are going to start asking the question about God. Who is God? What is the way of God? And we’re going to be living in days when those who truly love God and those who truly have received the love of God and those who truly respond to the the love of God and those who truly remain in the love of God are going to have great opportunities when it comes to revealing the love of God. It’s really really exciting being a Christian at this time in the history of Scotland. It’s not a sad situation, it’s a time of immense opportunity, but how do we reveal the love of God to the people in society around us in such a way as that it will make them stop and think, ‘Who is this God?’. And so that’s going to be the topic of our consideration on the Lord’s day evening.
- Tomorrow morning, Have you received the Love of God? Audio. Video.
- Tomorrow evening, How are you going to respond to that love? Audio. Video.
- Lord’s day morning, How are we going to remain and grow in that love? Audio.
- Lord’s day evening, How do we reveal that love, in real, telling ways to the world around us? Audio. Video.
That Christ might build His bride, to His glory, that’s our theme for this weekend.
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