When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love .... This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:8-9, 12-17
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory .... I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:5-7, 13
Our goal as a church on an individual basis and collectively is to "Live Fully" for God. "Live Fully" springs from the great commandment of Luke 10:27 to love God fully and the promise of John 10:10: "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." We talk a lot about this at Cape Cod Church but we also talk a lot about the fact that God loves us fully. His full and unconditional love for us is the foundation that makes it possible for us to love him fully and to live for him fully. Ephesians 3:19 says it this way: "May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." God's full and unconditional love truly being the foundation of our lives was the emphasis of Pastor Ben's first message at the start of this year. This emphasis is the backbone of his current series: "Hope - The unexpected Power of Love."
Pastor Ben's message for the second week of this series focuses on "Relationships." To begin our week of corresponding Devotionals we look to the two passages above by way of introduction. Below are portions from these two passages that fit nicely together for the good start to our week that we need:
- I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.
- This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you .... Live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus .... Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you.
- I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
God's full love for us is the key to our loving him fully and living for him fully. But God's full love for us is also the key to our fully loving other people. All the work in the world of trying to build good relationships with others is fruitless unless it is vitally linked to and flows from our own experience of God's full love. It is our relationship of love with God that gives us hope that we really can have relationships of love with others.
Lord, we we desperately need you and your love and so we ask you for a Holy Spirit zeal that keeps us seeking your face day after day. Convince us that a strong relationship of love with you is the only way for us to have strong relationships of love with others. Continue to show us what this means in a more full and complete way. Thank you, Lord.
Posted on Mon, April 20, 2015
by Alan Porter