God is real. The Christian life works. Those are the bedrock presuppositions and assumptions I work from each and every day of my life and ministry. If I did not believe those statements I would be knee-deep in the muck of church work with little to offer people. Because I believe that Christianity works for people, I also confidently hold that the correct response to the reality of God is faith, hope, and love. Any response to God less than this will result in an inability to function well in the Christian life.
The path to maturity for any local church is to bring all thinking, desires, attitudes, aspirations, and actions in harmony with trusting God, loving God, and making Him the object of our hope.
At first glance this might sound difficult. But this is really not rocket science. It is only confusing if we have not been taught correctly according to the Word of God. If we have lived in error when it comes to how the Christian life works, then there are established patterns of thinking and behavior which are neither easy to identify and evaluate, nor to defeat.
Therefore, the very first step in solving this kind of problem is to get back to the bedrock belief of God. We cannot effectively respond in faith, hope, and love to a God we do not know much of.
Knowing God, then, is an absolute necessity to the Christian life in order to experience spiritual freedom and be fruitful in ministry.
God is a Person. He is the infinite God, the Creator of all things and is thus worthy of all our trust and affection (e.g. 1 Samuel 17:20-51; Daniel 6:1-28; 2 Chronicles 14-16). God is absolute truth, love, and holiness. God will always remain true to himself in all of his relationships and actions with us. He does not act out of harmony with his basic character. Therefore, God can be trusted.
God has revealed himself through the Christian Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. The Bible is God’s Word to us. The Word of God cannot fail because God cannot fail. God is always true to himself and to his Word (e.g. Psalm 119:49-50; 146:5-6; Jeremiah 32:1-44; Romans 4:21; Hebrews 2:1-3). The Word of God is living and is therefore powerful.
To the degree that we know and practice the Word of God, we have the experience of the grace of God and therefore have the power of God.
It is a wonderful and tremendous privilege to possess the Word of God with all of its potential to effect change in our lives; its certainty concerning who God is; and, its assurance of pardon through faith. So, then, each and every believer has a sacred responsibility:
We must be aggressive in knowing the Word of God; we must be confident in believing God; we must be active in claiming the promises of God; and, we must be intentional about living according to what God has revealed about himself and his creatures.
Church ministry, then, has a sacred trust to help people know God better. No matter what the ministries, programs, or activities, our greatest aim is to connect people with the God who is real and who has given us guidance by means of his powerful Word. Faith, hope, and love are the logical and heartfelt responses to knowing God. The promise we have is that when we seek God will all our heart, we will find him. Amen and amen.