Love: The mark of maturity. (A Balanced MInistry)

When Beth and I started to plan and dream about Netcast, one of the things that continued to stick out was this idea of being a balanced ministry. Many ministries lean heavily in one particular way and un-intentionally neglect something in the mix.

For example:

  • Balanced Philosophy: Missional Living vs Attractive Sunday Service.

At Netcast want to raise up people who don't just come to church on Sunday to be entertained but to leave on Sunday to be on mission. We think that in order to be a healthy church we need to have equal emphasis on living in community and on mission together as we have on putting together an awesome Sunday product.

  • Balanced Approach: Making Converts vs Making Disciples.

At Netcast we don’t want to be solely about Evangelism and seeing people converted, but have equal emphasis on seeing believers grow into more knowledgable and committed disciples of Christ.

  • Balanced Theology: Reformed vs Armenian

Although I am definitely bent towards reformed theology, we have some very faithful people in leadership positions who are bent Armenian. We find it most important that we believe both truths when it comes to these extremes. Yes, God is totally in control of everything in the universe and absolutely sovereign. And...Yes, God absolutely gives us free will to make our own decisions and holds us eternally responsible for those decisions. We agree that there are unknowns in how this works out but feel that having a balances view is most biblical.

  • Balanced Doctrine: (Spiritual Gifts)

As Netcast pursues a balanced ministry, it is vital that we have balance in our views in the Spiritual gifts. Here are 4 of the most common views when it comes to the Spiritual Gifts.

Types of Positions:

  1. Cessationism: This doctrine teaches that the certain miraculous gifts of the Spirit have ceased to exist after the foundation of the early church. So gifts such as tongues, prophecy and healing are no longer given to members of the Body of Christ.

  1. Pentecostalism: This is a theology within Evangelicalism that puts a special emphasis on experiencing God the Holy Spirit through a baptism of the Holy Spirit which typically leads to the speaking in tongues.

  1. Charismainiac: This is my definition of movements within Christianity that has no boundaries or biblical bias for the gifts of the Spirit. Just about anything goes. The Shake and Bake, The Tap and fall, The Bark, The hick-up, The Chicken Chirp, the meow and the isle runners.

  1. Charismatic: Charismatic Christianity is a Christian Doctrine that maintains that modern-day believers experience miracles, prophecy, tongues, and other spiritual gifts described in the scriptures.

At Netcast, I would define us as Charismatic Christians with a Conservitive theology. As of 2006, Charismatic Christians numbered at least 500 million people, a quarter of the world's 2 billion Christians. This means that charismatics are the second largest branch of Christianity after the Catholic Church.

LOVE: The Mark of Maturity:

The corinthian church was measuring maturity by the gifts of the Spirit. And we also do this. We look at those who are Good Teachers, Generous, Strong Leader, have the gift of Tongues or Discernment or Serving; and we say.....They are mature. But the bible says that maturity is measured by your ability to love.

That is exactly what vs.1-3 is saying.

1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

The mark of maturity is the ability to love, to love the unlovely, the selfish, the distasteful, the ungrateful, and to not let that change your attitude or your actions toward them but to keep on working fully for their best interests.

[4] Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant [5] or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; [6] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. [7] Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love is a choice not a feeling. As much as I love and adore my wife and as much as my wife loves me, we do not always have the warm and fuzzy's about each other. Love is choosing to react in a certain way. As the great writer Gary Chapman would say; "Love is a Verb."

  • Patience is Love choosing to wait and not lording your timeframe on others.

  • Kindness is Love choosing to react gently when it seems more natural to react harshly.

  • Not having envy is Love choosing to be content with what God has given you and happy for what God has given others.

  • Not boasting is Love choosing to be quite about ones self and avoiding the temptation to always tell people how great you are.

  • Not being arrogant is Love choosing righteousness over being right. In my marriage, there are times where I have to choose to be wrong even though I am right for the sake of Love.

  • Not insisting on your own way is Love choosing to be selfless.

  • Not being irritable or resentful is Love choosing to forgive and relating to others as if they never committed an offensive against you, even though they have brought hardship or suffering or pain to your life.

That wasn't I was taught growing up.

Most of us were taught that Love is about compromise. You do for me and I do you for. Lets meet somewhere in the middle. But thats not what the scriptures teach us. The bible says that love is about death.

This is what Jesus says in John 13:9-13

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

The most tangible way that you can show love to someone is to literally choose to die to your own desires, your own wants, your own feelings, your emotions. To die to your self.

But, is it even possible to love like that?

Jesus is our example: Jesus lived a Spirit led and empowered life. Jesus emptied himself of certain attributes that he obtained while in all of his glory in heaven so that he, like us, would have to rely fully on the Holy Spirit. He was not superman, he was the God man who was led by the spirit. This is why Hebrews says that we have a high priest who can sympathize with us.

Philippians 2:5-7

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 
7 "but made himself nothing", taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.

In the same exact way that Jesus emptied himself and walked with a supernatural empowerment by the leading Holy Spirit, so are we to do the same. And one of the greatest things that the Holy Spirit leads us into is the ability to choose to love.

All of that being said, Non-christians cannot love in a selfless way. It is a fruit of the Spirit of God.

Galatians 5:22-26

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.

Your NAME in the place of LOVE

Matt is patient and kind; Matt does not envy or boast; Matt is not arrogant or rude. Matt does not insist on its own way; Matt is not irritable or resentful; Matt does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Matt bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Now ask those closest, how those statements resonate with them?

Here Paul drives the point home.

[11] When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

How do Children....

Speak: Children want things their way. They say things like. "No, Mine, Gimmie."

Think: Children think that the world revolves around them.

Reason: Children are never satisfied with what they have and rarely content.

Children love selfishly. Mature believers in Jesus, love selflessly. Because that's what Jesus did, and thats what the Holy Spirit empowers Jesus's people to do.


Forevercandid Photography said...

Fantastic sermon!

Kent B. True - perhaps one Harold N. Orndorff, Jr. said...

In the post about balance, you use the word "Armenian" when you almost certainly mean "Arminian." The word "Armenian" refers to something connected to the country of Armenia.

Danielle said...

Thank you...I needed this.