Neighbor Love: How Justified Sinners Show Compassion in Word and Deed
EQUiP - Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down - Session 2
Neighbor Love: How Justified Sinners Show Compassion In Word And Deed
One of the reasons the gospel is so compelling and so believable is that Jesus didn’t just teach us how to live and follow God. He showed us. The world is waiting for that beautiful picture to be demonstrated by each generation. We don’t just show love in word. We don’t just show love in deed. We show love in word and deed.
It’s true that we are justified by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone. Saving faith is an active faith. God’s people are about God’s business. And although we are condemned by the evil deeds we do, our good deeds don’t save us. In response to the good grace of God that saw fit to save us in spite of our sin, the believer who has been justified by that grace should be instinctively engaged in good deeds.
The call of the missionary believer is to take the Bible’s message of justification by faith in Christ to the ends of the earth. You’re called to leverage your job, your family, and your relationships so that others may know Christ. This is the call of every believer. This desire to spread the message of justification through faith is a call motivated by love—a desire for people to know and be freed by truth in the same manner we have been set free. Justice is also a call motivated by love. When it comes to global evangelism, justice says, “It is not right to keep the good news to ourselves when others have never heard it.” The gospel is the cure for the worst of all diseases. If we really care about justice ministry, we will really care about taking the cure to the ends of the earth. Nearly half the world’s people groups live where there is no gospel access. Half. Let that sink in. We need to make this our problem. We need to pray. And we need to go.
There are also those who only champion proclamation and discard mercy ministry. The places of greatest poverty and social need are often the places with the greatest need for gospel proclamation. The argument between gospel presentation and mercy ministry is a distraction. We simply need to go. When we get there, we should serve and speak in love.
You can’t do mercy ministry fueled by love without offering gospel hope for a changed life. You also can’t speak a message of truth without addressing social needs. Alleviating temporary suffering is a tangible illustration of God’s love, which relieves the demands of sin and eternal suffering. Some relationships in your life may make both lists. They need your words and your deeds in order to see Christ. They may remain antagonistic to faith until they see an authentic witness for Christ that encompasses both what you say and how you serve.
Excerpted from Ordinary. © 2014 Tony Merida. Published by LifeWay Press®. Used by permission.