I gave a preach at a youth meeting on the Faroe Islands. The theme for the summer youth meetings was ‘Loving your neighbor’.
This was the season finale!
I want to end this summer with a challenge of a new beginning… By dying as a means of loving… dying to ourselves is the only way to let the love of God grow in us and around us!
Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
Let go – Leap of faith – Life to the Fullest
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Live for something Bigger
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Enjoy the TRANSFORMATION journey
1 Thessalonians 1:6
You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
Enjoy who YOU are in CHRIST
Paul addresses three modes of imitating Jesus for us:
1. Imitate His Suffering
1 Thessalonians 3:2–4
We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.
Message version –
When we were with you, we made it quite clear that there was trouble ahead. And now that it’s happened, you know what it’s like.
How did Jesus say to handle sufferings or persecution?
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Live in joy and be overjoyed!
2. Imitate His Love
1 Thessalonians 3:12
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
What kind of love should we imitate?
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
Your love’s not fractured, It’s not a troubled mind, It isn’t anxious, it’s not the restless kind
Your love’s not passive, It’s never disengaged, It’s always present, It hangs on every word we say
Love keeps its promises, it keeps its word, It honors what’s sacred, cause its vows are good
Your love’s not broken, It’s not insecure, Your love’s not selfish, your love is purePieces by, Amanda Cook, Steffany Gretzinger
You can only love the way you allow yourself to be loved
3. Imitate His Holiness
1 Thessalonians 3:13
13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
1 Thessalonians 4:7
For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
When God says be holy because I am holy, how does God or Christ for that matter display it?
Holy can mean ‘to be set apart’. God wants us to set apart our lives, plans, and worship for Him!
But how has He set apart Himself for us?!
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
JESUS SET HIMSELF APART AND DIED FOR US… AS A MEANS OF LOVING!
So the challenge for us? Is to enjoy being like Christ and stop making it a hardship. It’s not hard to be like Christ, it’s exciting, adventurous, mysterious, overwhelming, breath-taking!
It’s not about you, only. By dying to yourself and living for Him and others, all your needs and desires will be met…
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
This is my prayer for you!