Shocking statement, isn’t it? But stick with me. The Scriptures remind us that we must approach each day as if we are dead to yesterday. Jesus said, “Whoever will not take up his cross daily and follow me is not worthy of me.” Paul, in speaking of what was valuable in life, said, “Forgetting what lies behind and reaching out toward what lies ahead, I press on. . .” This forgetting of what has happened yesterday includes the good, the bad and the neutral. If you speak of great things that happened in the UB church in the past, they are gone. If you dwell on the failures of the past, those too are dead. So what should we value as we look to today and the future?
We must have the heart of God. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus did not consider His equality with God something to be grasped or held onto (Phil. 2). He left the glory that was His in heaven, the adoration, the praise. He set aside all that was His in order to take on the form of a servant and be obedient, even to the extent of the cross. He did this for the sole, eternal purpose of saving us. How can we not have as our number one priority the seeking out and engaging of unsaved people to lead them to Jesus?
In making these choices, Jesus strictly and strongly held to the truth of the Scriptures. Not the religious and tradition-tainted interpretations of the Scriptures, but the uncompromised, pure, Spirit-inspired Word of God. “I say only what my Father tells Me.” He perfectly fulfilled the Word. This was a high value to Him. Unquestionably, we must hold this as a high value as well.
At the same time, Jesus took on a human body, spoke the language of the people and used metaphors and stories they understood, was identified as a friend to sinners and took great pain to communicate clearly to the people of His day and to us. This clear communication was also a high value to Jesus. It seems that we must also value using whatever means we must to communicate relevantly to the culture around us.
Jesus clearly valued servanthood. “He who would be the greatest among you must be the servant of all.” He set the ultimate example of this and told His disciples to do likewise. Saved to serve, this should be our theme. Serving keeps the focus off us and on others. Jesus valued this and so should we.
Generosity is one other value that is on God’s heart. “Freely you have received, freely give.” Generosity toward God and others is evidence of us being maturing disciples of Christ.
This is not an exhaustive list. But these are some of the highest values that are near to the heart of God. Now, how near to the heart of your congregation are they? Do we merely claim that these are values, or are there strategic actions and identifiable patterns that testify to the truth of these values in your church?
According to the Revelation, lukewarmness, doctrinal purity without love, compromise of the truth, turning a blind eye to sin in the camp, or living on some past reputation but being spiritually dead are not acceptable conditions for churches. In fact, Jesus pledges to come and remove the ministry of churches like this.
Values drive us. If someone were to come into your church and observe it over a period of time, what would be the evident values they would conclude drive your church?