Friday, April 29, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Mission in Christ’s Spirit
Jensen Varghese

Carmel MTC, Boston MA
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  Genesis 1:27

To understand what being created in God’s “image” or “likeness” really means, we need to  fully understand God Himself. 1 John Chapter 4 offers a simple, but powerful explanation of God’s character. Verse 12 states “ No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” In verse 16 we read further: “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” By contrast, without love, we can not know God - “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (verse 8).If we love one another, we reflect God’s love, and we are able to see that we are all equal - each of us made in God’s image.
Jesus did not sit on the sidelines during His ministry - He was out in the community, interacting with the people. He preached God’s word, but He also healed the sick and the suffering. He fed the crowds that came to listen to His teachings. He washed His disciples feet. He served the people that He ministered to - that is how He loved His followers while He was here on earth, and that is how He commands us to love. Not passively, but with intentional action to help those that we love.
“ 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36) If we truly want to count ourselves as disciples of Christ, it is not enough to simply profess our love for our brothers and sisters in need - we must roll up our sleeves and get to work. “ If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:16-17) Jesus also reminds us that whenever we are compassionate and show this type of love to those in need, we are also showing our love for Him “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Putting our love into action and serving others forms one of the basic principles of mission work - the humanitarian aspect.
At the end of His ministry, Jesus demonstrated the ultimate act of love when He laid down his life on the cross for the sins of all mankind, so that we could all be forgiven and reconciled with God.We read in John 3:16 “16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Because God loves us all, He wants the whole world to be saved! That is why Jesus commands that the Gospel be preached the world over. Simon Peter also illustrates this when he affirms Jesus’ second coming: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) And we must bear in mind that Evangelism is also an act of love - It should not be carried out simply for the sake of converting people to the Christian religion, but rather because God loves us all and it is His will that the Gospel of Jesus Christ be shared with all people, so that through His grace, we may all experience salvation and eternal life.

PRAYER

Dear God, Help us to be vessels of Your love in this world. Help us to see Your image in our fellow human beings. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
“ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40