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Most organisations have some form of motto, logo or mission statement that sums up in a phrase or sentence what their purpose is. For some time, Bearwood Chapel have used the phrase “Seeking to show the love of Jesus.” What do we mean by that?
Well recently, the elders had an away day where we tried to think about that question to help us prioritise what we should be doing as a church. There are after all lots of things that a group of 80+people could be doing with their time, many of which would be good and beneficial to society. But what exactly is it that a church contributes?
If you want to know what the “love of Jesus” means then you need look no further than the gospels (the first four books of the New Testament). There you will find four carefully researched, historical accounts of Jesus’ life. There you meet somebody who cared deeply about people. He cared enough to heal people from all kinds of diseases and disabilities. He cared enough to set people free from demonic possession. He cared enough to tell them the truth about their lives calling them to repent from rebellion against God. Jesus’ love was no weak, wish washy affair. It wasn’t the sentimental stuff of Valentine’s day. Jesus love was powerful and effective. It brought hope, healing and freedom.
So, one of the things we said that we were here for as a church is “to help damaged people find repair and rehabilitation.” That’s a vivid description that is obviously true of many people in our community. People whose lives have been blighted by abuse, hatred and harm. The good news is that if such a description rings true for you then Jesus cares about you.
Many of us don’t instantly identify with that description though do we? We don’t feel particularly damaged or messed up. However, that is exactly how the Bible describes every one of us. It says that we are damaged by sin because it separates us from God. Sin is far more damaging than any illness; in fact the Bible says that because of sin we are spiritually “dead” because we lack a right relationship with God.
So the love of Jesus did not stop at him healing, casting out demons or speaking truth, amazing though those things are. Because our deepest problem is the spiritual death that sin brings and the future penalty of eternal separation from God in Hell, Jesus did something else, he died. Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t a mistake, wasn’t a victim’s failure, it was the greatest act of love in history. By his death, he took our place, received the penalty that we deserve for rebelling against God and broke the power of evil.
If you ask Jesus to forgive you for sin, he promises that he will do that. This means that God will not condemn you. And if God will not condemn you then no-one else has the right to condemn you either. So for Bearwood Chapel, ”seeking to show the love of Jesus,” means telling people the good news that Jesus died in their place and rose from the dead so that they can receive forgiveness, new life and freedom from guilt and condemnation.
If you would like to know more about this good news, then why not get in touch with us, we would be happy to meet with you and talk more about it, or you can attend one of our Christianity Explored courses that we run regularly.
Link to download our latest News and Views Leaflet