The catechism teaches us that our purpose, our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. It’s worth noting the catechism points to our chief end. It’s saying our ultimate purpose is to glorify God. There are many things in life we must do, we have many purposes, many ends – yet the chief end. In other words, everything in life, everything we do, be it caring for children or an elderly parent, be it sweeping the streets or running the country and everything in between, the point of it all, is that we would glorify God.
Jealousy is at the heart of so much of what we know as sin. Think about the relationships we have the most trouble with. What’s at the heart of those difficulties… is it that we’re jealous. Jealous of how much a person is loved or appreciated; we believe we’re more deserving. The story of Christmas is one of humility, it’s the story, which is the opposite of envy, it is a story of self-sacrificial love. Jesus who set aside his glory, position, power, magnificence, his royal nature, his position of creator, his greatness and out of love gave of himself… in terms of the life he lived; he loved the life of a pauper, in terms of his appearance; unlimited glory for the form of an infant, child, adolescent and man, in terms of his life; death on a cross.
When we talk about kindness then we’re talking about more than being nice to some people. Kindness is one of those qualities found in God; God is kindness. Therefore, true kindness is a gift from God, it is the fruit of God at work in our lives through his Sprit. What does this Godly kindness look like?
What is patience, the Greek word which we have translated as patience means to be long tempered, to have humility and gentleness. It’s a word that is connected to how we treat one another. Therefore, when scripture talks about patience it is talking about our relationships with one another. We also know that patience is one of the fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5: 22-23, ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’
As a church we can have all the right words; stand for all the right things; have a perfect understanding of the gospel; preach the most powerful sermons; but if we don’t have love we’re only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If we believe in a rule-based system, then these rules only serve to condemn us. They don’t show how good we’ve been, they only highlight our failures. Rules, or the law, can only condemn. John tells us that it was because of God’s love that he sent his Son into the world not to condemn it but to save it through him. This salvation is not earned but freely given through faith in Jesus Christ… ‘that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16)
This morning's service continues are series asking some of the questions people have about God. This morning we ask do all religions lead to God? We will read John 14:1-6 as we try to answer this, showing why it is important for us that Jesus is only way, the truth and the life.
Suffering is just as much a part of the Christian life as the promise of new life. Jesus himself had to endure suffering to pass into new life. We do well not to forget the cross came before the resurrection. But there is a resurrection, there is an end; but as James tells us we must first endure and persevere.