Loving, Giving and Forgiving
Welcome to the Raines Road church of Christ, our mission is loving, giving and forgiven. The Scriptures teach that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
In direct harmony with John’s gospel, he also wrote, “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)
God is love. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8)
As we reflect on the love God had for us as sinners, we experience the joy and grace He willingly gave to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Scriptures teach that all have sinned and fell short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The church is a place for the “healing of the nations”. Sin causes untold damage in wrecking our lives. As we seek the message of God and the fellowship of his love expressed in the church, we have an environment for healing of our souls. Love is patient, kind, giving, long-suffering, humble, slow to wrath, unselfish, respectful, does not rejoice in the downfall and failure of others and has a positive outlook on life.
Love has trained the minds of God’s people to think on pure, lovely, just, honest things of good report. It’s not something that happens overnight, but when you have loving people around you to encourage you every step of the way without condemnation, it becomes easier day by day.
Giving is the proof, expression and fruit of love. God so loved the world that He gave. His the giver of every good and perfect gift, (Jas. 1:17). He makes His sun to shine of the evil and on the just. He sends rain on the good and evil. He fills our hearts with gladness and brings to us fruitful seasons.
We reflect on God’s love as we give in our lives, in the lives of our brethren, and to the community and the world. Giving is a way of life. We are always looking for ways to give of our time, knowledge, support and friendship. Those who follow God’s way of giving, first give of themselves to the Lord. When our priorities are in order, everything else in our lives falls into place.
All of mankind is broken. If this were not true, Christ would not have needed to die for the everyone. Some men are deceived into believing that because they’re sins were forgiven and they practice righteousness, they are perfect regarding sin. We never attain to perfect by our own works.
God has made us both good and perfect by our willingness and obedience to Jesus Christ. He did not save us from our humanity, but from the sin which caused us to fail and die within our humanity. Jesus came so that the sin could be removed that kept humanity in prison. He forgave all sin, without reservation.
There was a Master who had a servant who owed him money. He fell on hard times and was unable to pay. He owed him 10,000 (ten thousand talents). A talent was the largest measurement of money in the ancient system of the Hebrews. Each talent weighed about 75 lbs or 35 kilograms. It was a huge amount of money. Each talent is estimated at approximately 1k to 2k dollars each. So, the man owed about 10 to 20 million dollars by conservative estimates. Realizing he couldn’t pay he pleaded for mercy from his master to be patient with him until he could pay the money back. The master was moved with compassion and forgave him all the debt, releasing him totally from the obligation.
After becoming debt-free faster than a Dave Ramsey program, the man found one of his servants who owned him a hundred denarii (about $300). He demanded immediate payment. When his servant couldn’t pay and asked for patience, he grabbed him by the throat. As the servant pleaded for patience and mercy the man refused and had him sent to prison till he paid all the debt.
When his master heard what he had done to his own servant he was angry. He called him a wicked servant because he forgave him of about 20 million dollars all because he begged for mercy. He expected the man to have pity on his own servants. His master then delivered him to the torturers until he paid the entire 20,000,000. (See Matthew 18:21-35)
God says, after we have been forgiven by him, we should be ready to forgive others who sin against us. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. (Eph. 4:32)