The Joy and Power of Authentic Community [Part 2]

By — May 01, 2018

Are you ready for some good news?

You’re deepest, truest identity is not rooted in what you do or love, but in what Christ has done and loves. You are God’s beloved.

Today’s Text: “Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” (Philippians 4:1, ESV)

I’ve adopted Paul’s favorite term for his fellow saints as my term of choice for you as well: beloved.

You are the “agapetos” – the recipients of “agape,” God’s unconditional, relentless love.

To be beloved is to receive an identity that is rooted in God, not yourself. It means that it is who you are, whether you know it or not. The prodigal son was beloved; he just didn’t know it. To be identified as “beloved” means that you are not defined by what you are doing but by what someone else is doing.

Interestingly, Paul often uses the term in connection with an exhortation:

  • -“beloved, do not avenge yourselves….” (Rom 12:19)
  • -“I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons, I warn you….” (1 Cor 4:14)
  • - “therefore my beloved flee from idolatry” (1 Cor 10:14)
  • -“therefore my beloved brothers be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58)
  • -“beloved let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh…” (2 Cor 7:1)
  • -“be therefore imitators of God as beloved children” (Eph 5:1)

I think it’s Paul’s way of saying, “I’m giving you some important instructions, but your obedience to this instruction doesn’t define you; your identity is already sure – you are the beloved. So, be obedient not in order to be loved, but because you are so loved.”

You can’t change it; it’s who you are. You are God’s beloved. And that’s the Gospel!

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Sharing the Light exists to share the light of Jesus Christ, the New Covenant that He has fulfilled, and the kingdom that He has inaugurated, such that people experience God’s love, are set free by fresh understandings of themselves and God, and mature into heirs of deep spiritual riches in Christ so they can fulfill their destinies to change the world.

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