At Grace Church we believe that the gospel – God’s good news through Jesus – is about more than just personal salvation, essential though that is! Once we’ve understood God’s grace for ourselves, we naturally want to share it with other people and show God’s love to them, especially to those in need. We do this in a number of ways, such as our GraceWorks ministries and through events like the Community Fun Days we hold regularly.
The problem is that this can often be hard work and it can be emotionally, financially, and physically draining. This naturally leads us to ask questions like, “Why do we even bother?”, “Is it worth all the effort?”, “Are we really seeing enough benefits from it all?”
In this article, Joe Leach shares some of his thoughts on why it is worth the effort, and why the cost really is worthwhile.
God drained himself for us by his grace
The primary reason that we bother with the effort is because God, in his unfathomable grace, has bothered with us. And he hasn’t just been bothered enough to send us instructions on how to live, but he has sent his Son to die in our place. We have all individually turned our backs on God and God would be wholly within his rights to have forsaken us, and given up on us, and make no efforts to restore us. But, at the cost of his Son, God the Father has extravagantly poured out his riches and blessings over us, so that we can enter into a relationship with Him. This is the gospel we believe in.
So what is our response to God’s grace?
Everything we do as individuals and as a church is a response to the grace that God has already shown us. Here is how we can respond to God’s grace:
- Accept it (Salvation): The first thing we need to do in response to God’s grace is accept it as true, and be saved. The grace of God is available to all of us and accepting it is all there is to becoming a Christian.
- Reflect it (Worship): Having accepted the grace of God in our lives, we should respond in worship. This doesn’t just mean singing songs on a Sunday morning, it is about an entire life that is devoted to glorifying the giver of grace.
- Share it (Fellowship): We live our lives of worship in community with one another. Those who accept God’s grace are brought together as one family, with God as our Father.
- Declare it (Evangelism): When people hear and understand good news they don’t keep it to themselves, they tell the world! We have not properly understood God’s grace to us if it does not create in us a desire to share it with our neighbours. It would be possible to stop there. We have a truth that the world needs to hear and so we can be tempted to exhaust all our efforts on that; believing there is no value in anything else. But the truth is:
“The world won’t care how much we know, until they know how much we care.”
- Demonstrate it (Serving our World): If we want to see the lost saved, then we first need to show them that we love them. It is not a sense of duty which motivates us to share the grace of God, but our love for the world. This love also motivates us into lives of service to the world. God’s grace to us is unlimited, and as we accept it, it overflows from us to the world in acts of love and service. It is in light of this grace that we are moved to serve our communities by praying for them, blowing up balloons, and giving out burgers for free.
So do we just serve people to try and get them saved?
No. We are desperate that the lost in our communities come to know the grace of God for themselves, but the only agenda when we serve and bless our communities is to share something of what we have received from God. We have been richly blessed by God and we want to richly bless the people in our villages, towns and cities.
In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus says: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” This was Jesus’ mandate, and the baton has now been passed on to us to do likewise. How these people respond to our service is down to them and God.
Yes, it can certainly feel draining at times. But remember that we are a family working together and, more importantly, God is with us by his Spirit. He is renewing our strength day by day, and His Spirit & power flows to us like a mighty river that will never be drained.
Let’s make Grace Church a church of grace
It all starts and ends with the grace that God has lavished on us as an undeserved and unmerited gift. Let’s hold fast to this wonderful grace and continue together to be a church of grace, where we lavish unmerited gifts on our community, as well as giving to one another.