Monday, April 22, 2024

ALTAR CALL: Pastor spells out true love


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OUR SERVICE OF LOVE to others must spring from a personal encounter with God. It must also be selfless and Jesus must be our model of loving, humble, selfless service.

Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) youth and chaplaincy Ministries director, Pastor Anthony S. Hall, issued the challenge during a recent tent crusade in Wildey, St Michael.

He said that since love was usually demonstrated to others by words of affirmation, spending quality time with those we love, giving and receiving gifts, physical touch and acts of service, telling people we love them was only one-fifth of the job.

altar-call-newHe told an attentive congregation that “motivation for love and acts of service, no matter how well-intentioned, must come from nothing less than a pure, surrendered response to God’s love [having been] poured into our hearts.

“Without a vibrant walk with God, we are simply adding to our moral to-do list and in danger of the entrapments of religion, which involves just being good for the sake of being good; and thinking we can earn our way into right standing with God through our noble actions.”

Hall said it was still necessary for people to understand that God’s most basic plan for mankind was for each individual to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind”, as well as “love your neighbour as yourself”.

He used Philippians 2:3-8 as his main text and as “a perfect example for selfless serving and selfless loving”.

The young preacher added: “The thing is, we do acts of service for others out of many motives, some worthy, some not so worthy . . . and not always out of love.

“Maybe we serve out of a sense of duty, or because our arms are twisted. Maybe, just maybe, we serve to feel good about ourselves, to feel important or needed, or because it is noble and cool. On some level, some of us may still carry around the sense that we need to earn some points with God. We may be looking for thanks or perhaps we want to impress others or establish ourselves as good Christians or citizens of our community.”

He charged that sometimes the service was outwardly cheerful but inwardly grudging and resentful.

“Good things, important things may be getting done but we should not fool ourselves. None of that is quite the same as serving out of love. An act of love is about the other person and not about us.”

Hall also noted when people loved and served others, by extension they were loving, serving, feeding and helping Jesus.

“Our impact ministry must be nameless and faceless; irrelevant of who gets the credit, except God alone.”

He said Jesus was the supreme example of humility and selfless concern for others and as He personified humble, selfless service, believers must look to Him as their ultimate role model.

“Jesus’ three-year ministry was typified with showing love in particular acts of service. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, cast out demons, raised the dead and fed the hungry. These acts of love demonstrated the true nature of acts of service. He did not just tell love, He showed love. Everywhere He went He was doing good. His love is more than words; it is alive with action.”

He concluded his sermon by stressing the need for mankind to show and tell love as Jesus did.

“He loved us so very dearly and He showed us. That astonishing love is set before us as our example. Go thou and do likewise! Show and tell! You’re the only Jesus some will ever see.”

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