Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Part I: The Cape Town Commitment: For the Lord we love...#1

Part I of the Cape Town Commitment is entitled:  For the Lord we love:  The Cape Town Confession of Faith.  Indeed, the whole document is framed in the language of love, because as the Preamble says so clearly:

"Love is the language of covenant.  The biblical covenants, old and new, are the expression of God's redeeming love and grace reaching out to lost humanity and spoiled creation.  They call for our love in return.  Our love shows itself in trust, obedience and passionate commitment to our covenant Lord.  The Lausanne Covenant defined evangelization as 'the whole Church taking the whole Gospel to the whole world.'  That is still our passion."

The question facing us as the 21st century Church is simply this:  What is our passion?

Missions is not a optional extra side dish for curious Christians.  Missions flows from the very heart of God.  From the first heart wrenching cry, "Adam, where are you?", through to the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one focal point of the Lord we love has been to seek and to save the lost.  And, as Jesus said so clearly, as He was sent by the Father, so we are sent by Him in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Love for God and neighbor are the two greatest commandments.  However, the very reason we love Him is because He first loved us.  Without His seeking and saving love, we would not be able to love Him because we would still be lost without Him.  Our ability to love Him is the assurance that we are known by God.  Love for God is the evidence that we have been adopted to be His sons and daughters.  It follows then, that as the expression of the love of the One Who now lives within each believer is a desire to see all of mankind saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, the expression of our love ought to mirror His.  Jesus tells us that it is love that makes our witness to Him visible to the world.  Love for God and love for neighbor is the way others will see a world-view that is different from their own.  Love - sacrificial love - identifies us with our Lord and our Deliverer.

Paul tells us that love is the greatest virtue of the Christian life, and he defines that love as a love that constrains us to partner with the God who loves the world so much that He endeavored to reconcile it to Himself through the willing sacrifice of His Son.  God's love extends to all of His creation.

"We are commanded to love in ways that reflect the love of God in all those same dimensions.  That is what it means to walk in the way of the Lord."

God desires every knee to bow to Jesus - every tongue to confess that Jesus is Lord - we ought to desire the same.

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