Paul writes to a church he started in the first century the following words:
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
Christian leaders SHOULD give thanks. For what? For the church! For those who have placed their faith in Christ. But what about the church should we be thankful for? Notice: “because your faith is growing abundantly.” But how do we know they are growing in faith? Because Paul says there will be evidence. Notice the evidence he lists: “the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing.” A Christian’s faith is evidenced by love for other Christians. When we serve each other, care for each other, forgive each other, serve one another and bless each other… THAT is the surest sign of true, genuine and growing faith!
A lot of Churches get excited about building projects and large numbers of people coming. Those things are great, no doubt. But in the economy of heaven, serving and loving one another is the most valuable commodity we can have. If you can find a group of people to do life with that genuinely care about you and you genuinely care about them AND you’re always welcoming in NEW people to be cared for and loved – NEVER LEAVE! That’s the most precious gift you can find in life! That is the community Jesus came to create. It is a community reflective of the Trinitarian love of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. It is the kind of community Jesus prayed for us to be in John 17. If you have genuine friends you have are NEVER poor.
So with that in mind, Waters Church:
Cheryl and I are so very thankful for you! We are not thankful for this church just because we have a new building. We are not thankful for this church just because we have so many people coming. We are thankful for the increase of love we see in this church for each other!
This past weekend I shared a story of a Hindu who came to Christ on Mother’s day because of a perfectly placed popped balloon! But I didn’t tell you so much more of the story. I didn’t share how instrumental the small group he attended was for him to explore Christianity while he was A HINDU. I didn’t tell you how that same small group came and visited him and prayed for him AFTER his car accident while he was still NOT a follower of Christ. I didn’t tell you that the small group leader of that group allowed him to speak freely of his Hindu beliefs at the small group. They did not shut him down or debate him. They just let him BE THERE and SEE loving Christian community. Those stories are the signs of God’s work through the small groups of our church! Join one!!!
THAT is why we are so very thankful for you. To hear about the love and grace of God being so evident at our church in so many ways is music to our ears. So we, like Paul say thank God for YOU… because loving people increasingly is a sure sign that your faith is growing abundantly.