Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Regions Beyond leaders gathering - Session 5 | Tim Davies
This message was preached by Tim Davies who leads a church that is a part of Regions Beyond. which is a part of Newfrontiers. Newfrontiers has now multiplied into many apostolic spheres across the world that are united on global mission by core values and genuine relationships. Regions Beyond is one of the Apostolic spheres which is led by Steve Oliver.
When we look at the Apostle John’s he writes- no one has ever seen God. And then he says, but God has made himself known through His son Jesus. He repeats the same phrase in his first epistle- that no one has ever seen God, but he doesn’t end it with the spotlight on Jesus. He says, but if we love one another... Suddenly, the spotlight is on us. It’s a shock when you don’t expect such an ending. This value is so close and so essential to what we are.
John again makes that statement- God is love. It’s a startling stand-alone statement. It’s the very essence of God’s nature.
When John writes, he expects some kind of mocking laughter, when somebody walks in and says that he knows God but doesn’t love. If you know God and are born of God, you love one another. Jesus says, “They’ll know that you are my disciples if you love another.” It’s the sign of being in Jesus- the sign of the knowledge of the father is that we love one another. We see it in the New Testament life- the life of the Apostles, a community working it out because that’s what Jesus called them to.
In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul says- if I speak in the language of angels…and have no love…it’s nothing! Would we dare to say it so starkly if it is not in the scriptures? If there’s no love, it’s nothing. What do we gain if everything in heaven says, ‘it was nothing’? Love is absolutely central.
Q. Can we have that and go for the nations?
This is not a question in the heart of God. Jesus says, “In the same way the Father sent me, I am sending you” the progression- father sending and we being sent- there is intimacy and mission. The intimacy in the Godhead- and the mission of the Godhead.
Love is just essential to Paul. It’s truly a better way. He believed that. It’s not just team dynamics, its love. In the problem with Barnabas, we see that this is actually important to Paul. We can’t do this without love.
The thing that can spoil it is:
· our own insecurities,
· our own selfish ambition and
When there is fear- ‘What about me?’ ‘What does this mean for me?’ Let’s be honest about our hearts. Competition kills the sense of deep relationship.
In Mark 10- when James and John were asking for glory, Jesus said, the gentiles lorded over one another. “Not so with you.” Just that phrase- “it’s not going to be like that with us.” Only a couple of verses later John is saying, that we stopped someone from casting out a demon because he was not with them. They did not get it. The night before Jesus lays down his life, there was an awkwardness in the room because they’ve been discussing about who is the greatest. Then Jesus takes off his outer cloak and washes their feet. He says, there is blessing in doing this for one another. Not so with you- there is a better way.
Friends, wouldn’t you want to be a person who does not need honour – nor is afraid of it? Someone who does not lust for recognition – nor, on the other hand, is frightened to death of it? … Wouldn’t you like to be the kind of person who, in their imaginary life, does not sit around fantasizing about hitting self-esteem home-runs, daydreaming about successes that give them the edge over others? Or perhaps you tend to beat yourself up and to be tormented by regrets. Wouldn’t you like to be free of them? Wouldn’t you like to be the skater who wins the silver, and yet is thrilled about those three triple jumps that the gold medal winner did? To love it the way you love a sunrise? Just to love the fact that it was done? For it not to matter whether it was their success or your success. Not to care if they did it or you did it. You are as happy that they did it as if you had done it yourself – because you are just so happy to see it.
(The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness - Tim Keller)
He takes it from Paul in 2 Corinthians 3. He is not talking about self-esteem. He is not even playing that game. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be free like that?
It’s saying, there is nothing in me that needs recognition, but I’m not going to scared of it either being afraid of what people are thinking about me. We are here for one another’s success! We are seeking first the kingdom.
Paul is like that. When in the jail, in Philippians and hears news of people preaching Jesus due to competition, he says, “I rejoice … Christ is proclaimed!” Even when you suspect of the motives, Christ is proclaimed and you rejoice in that.
Q. how do we get there?
Just enjoying the grace of God- that he loves you, forgave you, adopted you as His son, every spiritual blessing given, the hope for the future- never to forsake you, never to leave you. It’s embarrassing to add anything else to that. Pride isn’t about what you’ve got but about what you’ve got that others do not. No one is proud about being rich. They are proud about being richer! The things that are true of all of us, they are enough. If nothing else were to happen, I’ll be happy. Let’s just enjoy Him and wherever he leads us- into obscurity or moments of acclamation- let our treasure be him and him alone. This means, I can become a servant of all. It looks like a dead- end, to become everyone’s servant. But its great in the kingdom- to lay down your life for one another. Trusting a father in heaven who will keep His promises. Like Abraham, we can say, ‘I’ve got the promises.’ We don’t give up the promises as we lay down our lives for one another. We are going to do that- it’s a faith decision.
One of the prophetic words we got is a picture of a huge ball going down a hill and all of us in the ball. Things change- you’re at the top one moment and the ball is moving and you are under someone but we are all moving together. That’s a good picture! Things change and no one can lord themselves over the others. We are born of the spirit and the wind blows where it will. It’s like that for those born of the spirit.
The other option is- as Paul describes in a graphic way- that we devour one another. It’s a great one another! They are the extremes. If it is like a crossroads, what is it going to be? We devour one another or we lay our lives down for one another? We need to say, you stay God and I’ll be quiet. You tell me what to do- give me the opportunity. I will run like the wind but I don’t have to. If someone else does it, it’ll be glorious as well.
God is at work among us and this is what he is doing. In John’s letter where he says, love another. He gives the picture of the cross. The story is that whenever John was asked to preach his message was “dear children, lets love one another.” Can you imagine the frustration when someone like John comes to talk and all he says is, love one another? John was there just meters away from the cross. So he says, I was there when Jesus poured out his life, so little children, let’s love one another.
Also at the cross, Jesus tells John, “this is your mother”. John went to the cross without a mother and came back with a mother he never had before. It wasn’t just a message, something happened with John there at the cross. So Paul says, be eager to keep the unity of the spirit. The cross is not just an example. Something happens at the cross. This is a present reality- we are a family because of what happened at the cross. It’s not about trying to make something happen. It’s something that God has done- a tangible reality on the cross- we now belong to one another. Paul does not say, make every effort- he says, ‘be eager’!
The thing about our personal ambition- we need to say, “not so with us”. We are here for one another’s success. I believe God has given us faith for this. There is incredible fruit from that. No one’s ever seen God, but when we love one another people see God.