Foundations: The Love of God
As we begin to bring our foundations series to a close, we hope that you have caught a sense of our desire to establish a God-centered, God-glorifying church here in Medford. Another foundational element that we will cling to as we start this church is the love of God. As Josh explained in our last blog, it is paramount that we love God with all of our heart, but it is also vital that we understand God’s love for us. In fact, the love of God should motivate our love for God. That is what John meant when he said, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). There are a few key ways the love of God is foundational to starting a new church.
First, the love of God has brought us salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we still sinners, Christ died for us.” When we weren’t looking for God, God came looking for us in the person of his Son. His love has transformed our lives and makes us usable instruments in his hands.
Second, the love of God brings comfort and confidence as we strive to start Redemption Hill. To be quite honest, starting a new church in one of the most unchurched cities in America is a daunting task. Statistics show that roughly 2% of the population in Greater Boston attends an evangelical church on any given Sunday. The tangible reality of knowing that 49 out of every 50 people we interact with on a daily basis probably do not have a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ can quickly become overwhelming. Thoughts begin to creep in: “Will our efforts ever make a difference in this city?” “Will anyone be persuaded that knowing Christ is better than anything life can give or death can take away?” “God, how can you use us to make an impact for your name?” But then I’m reminded of one hope giving truth: God loves these people more than I ever will.
Brennan Manning said, “I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a teacup than I can comprehend the wild and unimaginable love of God.” That’s 750,000 gallons of water per second in a teacup! Manning is right. God’s love is so expansive and so infinite that we’ll never be able to comprehend it, not in a million years! So when I feel a bit discouraged and wonder if our church will ever make a difference in our city, I seek to remember God’s amazing love for people. That love is illustrated by one of the great hymns of the last century entitled “The Love of God.” The final stanza and refrain say this: “Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made; were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade; to write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry; nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky. O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure, The saints’ and angels’ song.”
Finally, the love of God provides the motivation for loving others and sharing the good news about Jesus with them. This is what Paul was saying in 2 Corinthians 5:14 when he spoke of “Christ’s love compelling” he and his friends to share the gospel. Our next and final post in our Foundations series will cover our commitment to sharing Christ in greater detail.