Last Sunday we started to talk about church health – particularly, how we could know if what we think is God working in our midst is actually God’s work, or not. Jonathan Edwards, the US pastor from the 1700s, asked the same question of the revivals that were happening in his time. What are the distinguishing marks of a work of God’s Holy Spirit?
We saw from I John 4 that we can be confident that if Christ is being “raised in our esteem” – if we come to see more of his excellence, majesty, power and love, then we can be confident that this is from God.
As a follow up from the sermon, I sent a link to a brief survey to ”take the pulse” of our church with regard to “devotion to Christ”. Now, I want to briefly explain some of my thinking with this survey.
Why phrase everything around “growth”? As finite and flawed individuals in relationship with an infinite and perfect God, we can never say that we know God fully. We may know God truly, but we never know him fully. As we continue in the Christian life we should be learning more and more of who he is, as well as grasp more and more of what he has done in Creation and Redemption.
Why ask about motivations and not actions? If you think about it, it is possible to do the “right” things for less than right motivations. A husband might buy some flowers for his wife for a whole range of motivations – out of fear (if I don’t she will be angry); out of an attempt to manipulate her (If I buy flowers then she will be obligated to me); out of love (I want to express my appreciation for who she is and what she does). Some of these are good motives, others less so wonderful. We can do Christian things – serve, witness, give, read, pray – for a whole range of reasons. If we are growing in Christ, if his Spirit is at work in our hearts, our motivation will more and more reflect the great commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’ (Mark 12.30).
Pastor | Trinity Church Brighton
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