Christianity is not a religion of information but of transformation. The gospel begins as information but leads to transformation.
When you cook, you might choose to follow the recipe. There is a difference in rotely following the recipe, putting in exact measurements and following the recipe in exactness in order to produce a "finished good" and in following the recipe, but infusing your cooking with the joy that comes from desiring to produce a good, tasteful, healthy meal.
It's the same with our service to God. We can either follow his rules by rote and without joy, or we can obey God out of the sincere desire of a heart that loves him. In the latter case, the "rules" still matter, but obedience to God arises out of one's love of God, from the transformation that comes when technique is abandoned for God alone.
As children we're often taught not to talk to strangers, to avoid strangers. But the bible teaches us the exact opposite--to regularly show hospitality to strangers. The difference is clear--as we grow older and mature, we are to learn how to love people and share God's grace with them. We do this through hospitality.
We had some recording problems on Sunday, so this is a short recap of Sunday's sermon.
When we struggle with who to serve and who we should love, we are not loving our neighbors as Jesus told us to (Luke 10:25-37).
Part of transformation--whether with God or with others--deals with overcoming our prejudices and sacrificing ourselves for others. Jesus taught the hypocritical "expert" that very thing when he taught that a Samaritan, an enemy of the Jews, was a true neighbor to a Jew who was beaten up, surpassing a priest and a Levite who were more concerned with their "ritual purity" than with helping one in need.
Our neighbors are those in need. We love them, and transform our relationships with them, when we serve them by using the time and resources God has given us.
This is a recap of my sermon from Sunday. The audio file failed, so I presented the sermon material in a shorter, more casual format.
Sometimes we view each other as the "necessary evil" that gets in the way of our loving God. When we view each other this way, passages like Hebrews 10:24-25 that exhort to continue meeting together are understood slavishly, as a way to obey God.
But when we realize that God expects us to love each other as brothers and sisters, and to keep on doing so, we learn that we need to encourage, serve, and mentor each other. We're called to more. We're called to love better.
In this sermon, I examine how encouraging, serving, and mentoring each other will transform our relationships with other believers, and with God. I also look at a simple concept called Life Transformation Groups and how these small, biblically-focused groups can help us achieve all three...and the transformation that God desires for us.
Loving God should be transformative, not transactional. In this sermon, learn the difference between the two and how the spiritual disciplines of bible reading, prayer, and worship can transform your relationship with God.
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