Jesus is risen from the dead! Sin and death no longer have the final say. This good news fully revived and overflowed from those who first heard it. So much so, that disciples who had been paralyzed with grief and crumbled expectations suddenly didn’t care if the political powers that be killed them! They were preaching in the streets, healing the sick, selling their possessions and giving away the money—advancing this good news simply mattered more than anything else in life. (Acts 2) The scared-then-unreasonably-bold followers of Jesus together—as a group—answered God’s call to love God and love others.
Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” These good works flow out of his call to love. Jesus-followers scattered across the globe (the capital “c” Church) are meant to embody love for God and love for others not just individually but as a Church.
Before we can do these good works, we first have to embrace that the Church is God’s handiwork. It’s His. He made it. It is good. It was made for a purpose. The corruption of sin can certainly distort or even obscure how the Church reflects who God is, but even the worst soiling of sin can itself become an opportunity for the transforming power of the Gospel to shine forth. We the Church are God’s handiwork and we’re created to do good works!
We as the Church do the good work of loving God when we worship Him, obey Him, depend on Him, and testify to His greatness through our collective words and actions. Something amazing happens when the Church is united in love for God. As is explained a little later in Ephesians, “And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22) We become a place where we and others can experience God’s presence!
We as the Church are also called to love others, both those who already love God and those who do not yet love God.
Jesus’ final words to his followers were: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
The Church loves others when we explain and demonstrate God’s rescuing love to all nations, including our own, as well as when we lead those who already love God into greater depth. Making disciples involves helping others mature in their experience of who God is and how loving Him changes how they live. [Read “God’s Call to Love Others”]
We are on a journey. Pressures, dangers and confusion surround us. But it is not an individual quest, and we are not solitary heroes. The Church is on a journey and it’s as messy and complicated as herding cats. But it is beautiful because in the moments when we are realizing our mission to love God and love others, God-dwelling-in-us is revealed. Joy and worship overflow. And we understand that being a part of this simply matters more than anything else in life.[Read “God’s Call to Love Others”]