September 17, 2018
Dear Central Members and Friends,
As each of us reflects on the many blessings God has granted us, we have much to be thankful for this week!! Please continue to keep our brothers and sisters in North Carolina who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Florence in your thoughts and prayers. We will again partner with Wal-Mart as a church to assist the victims of this hurricane. Please see the last paragraph of this letter for the details on how to give if you desire to participate with us.
We often, with the best of intentions, fail to demonstrate Christian love to the extent we should!! I know on occasions when I am busy and exhausted that I don’t always greet everyone with a smile or exhibit patience in listening to the extent that I should. I am often thinking about the next business topic that I must address at work or the next issue that is important for me to address at church. However, for the individuals who are impacted by these interactions with us, when we are not on our best behavior, they don’t quite experience the love of God through us to the extent they should!!
How do we slow down in the heat of the moment, during the crisis of the day, and behave in a loving way that demonstrates to the world we have been touched by Jesus’ love?? This is not easy to do. However, it is possible for us to do it if we maintain a relentless focus on treating every interaction with people as a precious opportunity to allow people to see that we have been touched by Jesus’ love. A great way to start is to demonstrate more kindness to the people who make annoying solicitation phone calls to you to purchase something or vote for a particular candidate. Practice being in the moment by demonstrating the “Fruit of the Spirit” as noted in Gal. 5:22 when you interact with them. Expand this to your interactions with other people that you find challenging or difficult!!
Remember we all have been touched by God’s grace and love and none of us are worthy of it!!
I hope you enjoy the attached slides from the new sermon series I started on “Touched By His Love”. We started this sermon series by examining John 15:12-13, noting that the text is extremely clear about the below items:
1.) We must understand that from God’s perspective the Supreme Command for Believers is: to Love one another
2.) The Supreme Standard for Believers is: The Love of Jesus
3.) The Supreme Bond of Friends: Relationships based on Truth and The Word of God made known by Jesus Christ
Jesus is giving us a strong message in this text about the “Relationship” He expects of Believers! John 15:12-17 is about the Relationship of Believers to Believers.
How Believers relate to other Believers is of critical importance. Division will destroy a body of people quicker than any other single thing. Division can:
* Destroy the body of Christ
* Destroy a fellowship of Believers
* Destroy the witness of Believers
* Destroy a human soul seeking God
Too many in American churches are known more for their grumbling, griping, complaining, murmuring, and divisiveness than for anything else. Nothing cuts to the heart of Jesus more than such self-centered and divisive behavior.
A.) In verse 12 We discover the “Supreme Command of Believers: To love one another.”
B.) In verses 12 and 13 We discover the “Supreme Standard of Believers: The love of Jesus.”
Jesus reveals to us in verse 12 that He gives us a new commandment and that commandment is to love one another just as He has loved us. We must understand beyond anything else Jesus is very serious about what He is saying in this text.
This is why John writes in chapter 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another”. We live in a sin sick, selfish society that does not display love. Jesus is saying that If you truly are born again and “Touched by My Love” you would demonstrate love one to another!!
• We know the tree by the fruit it bears!!
In concluding, our desire must be to demonstrate the real love of the Father toward our brothers and sisters in the world. We must remember that God graciously chose us and set us apart by the Lord Jesus Christ, and because of His finished work on Calvary for us, we are to go into the world and bear fruit!!
He has sent us into the world according to John 17:18 as His personal Ambassadors to tell others about the King and His great salvation. When we witness to others and win them to Christ, this is bringing forth fruit to the glory of God.
The real evidence of true “Son-ship” discipleship (John15:8) and friendship (John 15:15) is fruit!! “Wherefore, by their fruit you should know them” (Matt 7:20).
Where there is true fruit, it remains; and man-made results eventually disappear. Fruit has in it the seed for more fruit, so the process is continuous action of fruit producing more fruit!!! Whatever is born of the Spirit of God has the mark of eternity on it, and it will last!!
Now back to how to contribute through our ministry to the victims of Hurricane Florence if you desire to give through our church website. We will update you next week via my letter on the donations made. Please visit our church web-site at www.centralbaptistkingsport.com, click on the “Give” tab and select Hurricane Florence Victims as your designation in the “To:” option field.
Our collective giving is a tangible way to demonstrate God’s love toward people, especially during a crisis like this in North Carolina.
Grace & Shalom!!
Pastor Perry Stuckey