Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Love: the goal of ministry

Are involved in some kind of ministry?
What is your goal? What are you trying to do? and how are you trying to make it happen?

Here's Paul's advice to Timothy

"The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith" 1 Timothy 1:5

It seems to me with all the silly debates about the necessity of a social gospel etc, people get one of two things wrong.

1. The goal is love.
The goal of gospel ministry is to see changed lives and a changed world. The goal is to see God's love flowing through people, not just to make sure they have an entry pass to God's future. If our goal is to see people with pure hearts, good consciences and sincere faith, but don't then love as Jesus did, we've got things seriously messed up. We are lovemakers, not information feeders.

or 2. The goal issues from a pure heart etc.
People aren't going to change without a gospel of grace, of acceptance of the outcast. We are incapable of Godly love without his Spirit. If we don't have a sincere faith , then we won't follow Jesus to the cross. If our consciences are marred, we will probably act manipulatively, self justifying, ie. not loving. This message of purity, of forgiveness, of simple and sincere faith IS the way to change hearts and the world. You can't take short cuts, cutting out purity, consciences cleansed and strong faith, and expect to reach the goal.

We can neither cut corners, nor sit on corners instead of pressing forward in love.

God of love and purity,
give me a pure heart, a good conscience, sincere faith, that I might love. Keep this vision before our eyes in ministry, unleash your Spirit of love in your people.

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