The Act of Love
“The Act of Love”
John 15:17; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
Pastor Tom Millner
November 7, 2010
LET THE REVOLUTION BEGIN!
If God created us in His image and our greatest purpose is to reflect that image back to Him, the task of the Christian is to reflect less of self and more of God. God desires relationship with us. That is the reason He created us – relationship. The foundation of that relationship today is our restoration to wholeness in His sight by the act of love that is grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. God is love and the very nature of Jesus Christ is love. We are charged with responding to God’s love by loving Him back through living in the character of Christ. The character of Christ is written all over the New Testament. It isn’t exclusionary, dispensational, full of damnation, legalistic, or religious; His character is the very nature of love. We’ve heard it said that life is a stage, we are the actors on that stage, and Jesus is the play. That play was written before recorded time and shall remain when time is no more. If we are to truly live, we perfect our role in the drama that is love. If we’re living to promote something other than the love described by, to, and for Him in scripture, we’re acting out the wrong drama!
The apostle Paul was not the paragon of Godly love throughout his life, yet he knew the character of Christ for which to strive. In his letter to the Corinthians he was attempting to intervene in their rude and unloving actions toward one another that is the culmination of “me” first thinking. In chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians Paul lays out the foundation upon which all relationship is built – demonstrated by God himself. This chapter gives us a glimpse of what the Corinthians were like. While instructive as to what love looks like, Paul was casting an indictment on the Corinthian behavior that did not measure up. Let’s look at how The Message translates 1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, doesn’t have a swelled head.” So Paul is saying that the Corinthians were impatient with each other, self-centered, always seeking something more than they thought they had, showing off what they did have, and let their egos be at the center of their actions. Could that be our community? Could it be our city, State, or perhaps our nation? Before we look out there, let’s begin to look in here…(our own hearts). You and God can do the examining; I’ve got my hands full right here. However, His call to us is not in condemnation, but in the power of grace and mercy to act out of the love He so freely lavishes on each of us, no matter how many times we take it upon ourselves to do it all ourselves. That’s God’s demonstration of love’s patience with us.
I have struggled my entire life with the notion of patience. When I wanted something, I went after it. I think with the end in mind; that is, the destination becomes first. By doing that, however, I’ve learned that the greatest lessons are not at the destination, but within the journey. This doesn’t mean that having a destination in mind is not a good thing; it just means that the destination doesn’t justify every unkind behavior to get there. To strive for what we want at the sake of everyone else demonstrates what Paul states in verse 5 as “self-seeking.” To understand the depths of this notion of patience, let’s look at how God has demonstrated His patience with us.
The Old Testament is a chronology of God’s patient acts toward His creation. You see, He desires a relationship with us. That relationship is based on His very nature – love. He created Adam for relationship. He created Eve for relationship. He blessed Abraham for relationship. He brought Israel out of bondage for relationship. He gave us commands out of His desire for us to have loving relationship. He sent His very own Son that we might have life in relationship with Him. Throughout the history of mankind we see God’s loving action towards us and His enduring patience, waiting for us to get the picture. God has the destination in mind and He has it secure…He calls us to the journey. That journey is living the character of Christ. Thankfully He patiently abides our very own impatience with ourselves, each other, and even Him! The greatest witness to the love and grace of Jesus Christ is the love and grace we demonstrate in our own lives. We witness less with flowery words than with actions that show the love of God.
Romans 5:8 tells us “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That’s patience! John 15:9 records the words of Jesus: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” Be patient with yourself and therefore with others! See what a revolution it will create in your life and in this community! The act of love is the act of God in your life. Want more of Him? Let Him in to act through you! You can’t out love Him but you can act out in Him!
God has called out a group of folks from this Body to become even greater servants than they have been in the past. God doesn’t call the perfect – He has no need of them. He calls the moldable, the gifted, the not so gifted, the well-equipped and the not so well-equipped. He calls and says “follow me.” Today we are ordaining into the service of our Lord, Jesus Christ, five who are to be called Deacon, or servant.
THE ORDINATION OF DEACONS
Sister Carol Watson
Brother Marc Beard
Brother Joe Caliri
Brother Alberto Cobos
Brother Joe Talluto
1 Timothy 3:1-8 outlines Paul’s Pastoral instruction to Timothy concerning Elders/Overseers and Deacons within the church. Today, we ordain five humble servants of our Lord to the lowly position of Elder or Deacon. I say lowly because each position is a call to serve the greater needs of this Body of Christ, sacrificing self interest and concern to the greater good of His Kingdom. The office is not one of convenience or of glory. Rather it is one of great joy in service to others through the sacrifice of self and the giving back of gifts the Father has bestowed upon you. This call and appointment should be entered into solemnly and with great faith. We are not sufficient of ourselves for such a responsibility. But God, who has called you “is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8.
It is imperative that you guard your behavior and your words. In a special sense, you are examples and models. The measure of your godliness and your enthusiasm for Christ will be copied by others. Your back will be a clear target for all who are disgruntled or take issue with your direction. However, do not cause others to stumble – ever!
Be concerned for the needs of the church family. Be full of the Spirit and of wisdom. Be versed in the scriptures and ready to witness for your savior. Give careful attention to the office entrusted to you. Fulfill all its functions as unto the Lord. By accepting this trust, you indicate without reservation your commitment and loyalty to the message, doctrine, constitution, leadership and worldwide program of your church.
Charge to Deacons:
Having prayerfully considered the nature and purpose of the work for which you have been chosen, will you consider your appointment a call from God? Are you willing to accept the duties of your office as responsibilities committed to you by the Lord of the Church? Will you seek to fulfill your responsibilities in the power of the Holy Spirit, and as unto the Lord Jesus Christ?
The medallion being placed around your neck… “This is the symbol of the fish, or the cross, or the Holy Spirit (as the dove)…is to remind you of His commission to spread the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness to a world hungry for Him. It is to remind you of the awesome responsibility placed upon your shoulders and that your yoke with Him accomplishes magnitudes more than you alone.”
Elders, Deacons and Pastors anoint and lay hands upon the new Deacons.
Charge to congregation:
Brothers and Sisters; these women and men have been called from among us as the carriers of extra burden of service to this Body. Do you, the members of this church, acknowledge and receive these servants entering with them into the spirit of the vows they have just made to God and this church? Do you promise to honor them, encourage them, as the Word of God admonishes?
I present to you:
Deacon Carol Watson
Deacon Marc Beard
Deacon Joe Caliri
Deacon Alberto Cobos
Deacon Joe Talluto