Kingdom Principle: Kingdom Servants enjoy peace & prosperity as a way of life.
Kingdom Servants – Fulfill their Purpose of Love
Proverbs 31:10-31 Psalm 1 James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a, Mark 9:30-37
There are so many love songs and songs about love. What is your favorite?
It has been said that love is a verb : John Mayer and DC Talk put this to music, Bob Goff put it in a book, and Jesus put this on display for the world an commanded us to do the same. To be a verb means love is action. When something is in action, its expression can be seen as it moves or at least the effects of it movement can be seen. Therefore we should also be able to see what it looks like when love ceases to be in action. Love is forcefully opposed by Guilt, Shame and Fear. These three twisted expressions of the soul cause us to freeze in our tracks and became prey of this world. Conversely; Faith, Hope and Love are the counter balance of these three, of which love is the greatest of all.(1 Cor 13:1-13) 1 John 4:18 tells us that perfect love drives out all fear. 1 John 4:9-10 explains that God demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son to die on the cross, giving up his life for us. This is the defense for why in 1 John 3:16 it directs us to give up our lives as an act of love for our brothers and sisters. The roots of Guilt, Shame and Fear are recorded in Genesis 2-3.
The Scriptures this week paint a beautiful picture of love in action. Proverbs 31 depicts the role of a noble and wise wife and the impact she brings to her husband, family and city. It certainly is the one highest displays of Peace and Prosperity one can find in the Scriptures. What we must know is that, it is love that motivates her, not guilt, shame or fear. For in wisdom she fears the Lord only. We will return to this below. Psalm 1 demonstrates the results of a life lived in Faith on the plan of Hope – demonstrating Prosperity and Peace, rather than life wasted, leading to death. James 3 continues to highlight the expression of Faith in our lives and the Fruit which it bears. We shall be Peacemakers, as in Matt 5:9,they will be called children of God. As children of God our love is pure and not corrupted by the world. Then in Mark 9 Jesus highlights the power of fear, guilt and shame to thwart the disciples to be servants of the Kingdom– Jesus calls them to be servants and allows the children to model the exchange of love. Love is not intended to be easy. In Jeremiah 29:7 – Israel is in captivity for 70 years, but it is here that love is to be on its greatest display, lived out in action – seeking the peace and prosperity of the city.
The church today is called to seek this same fulfillment of peace and prosperity and it is the simple command it to Love. True love begins with child-like faith, expressing hope and faith in the one who loves you. This matures through life as we take on the role of a servant, sacrificing our rights to go so far as to even love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. (Matt 5:44)This my friends is to be known to the world as the church. The church is not a building, it is a people (often referred to as aliens and strangers) who are love in action. As the church we are to be set apart from the world, yet actively engaged in the world. We are set a part by our ways of belonging, believing and behaving, not for our benefit- rather for the very transformation of society. We engage the world, being both scattered and gathered. The Scattered Church serves and witnesses to all domains of society much like leaven in bread, or light illuminates a dark room. The Gathered Church edifies one another and is equipped so that the Scattered Church can “rise” and “burn” brightly.
When the Gathered Church attempts to be the light and the leaven in isolation from the very society to which it was sent, the church becomes driven by programs rather than relationships resulting in; conformity verses intimacy, productivity verses fecundity, and consistency verses ecstasy. In order to continually focus our attention on intimacy with the King, fecundity in the Kingdom and ecstasy in Kingship, the Gathered Church must focus is attention on the Equipping and Edification of the Saints.
Equipping of the saints is to prepare and perfect the bride of Christ so that the King will be exalted and we will be identified as a transformed community to proclaim the kingdom throughout the world. Edification of the saints is the building up and strengthening of the body of the Christ, so that the King will be exalted and we will be encouraged as a transformed community to advance the kingdom throughout the world. The Church is scattered for Service and Witness which is a natural by-product of the gathered Equipping and Edification of the Church. All of this is only possible by the work and purpose of Love.
Let me return briefly to Proverbs 31 –Let us also read the text metaphorically as the description given to the Bride of Christ (rather than a standout wife). In this You and I who are prosperous and powerful bride (wife) of Christ are to live fully into Proverbs 31. How might we, the church, live into this description in order that as Proverbs 31:23,28 depicts– Her husband (Christ) is respected at the city gates and He will be given His seat among the elders of the land. This verse highlights the greatest shift and climax of the context of this passage and shows the purpose of wife/bride’s actions. It is not for one’s own benefit, rather that the King might receive the glory due his name.
How do you know if you are fulfilling your purpose of Love?
- You will live a life of Peace and Prosperity.
- You will be filled with Faith, Hope & Love as opposed to Guilt, Shame and Fear.
- You will hear the Spirit of Wisdom calling to you, revealing your identity, granting you authority and power.
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