Loving God’s Beloved

How does God feel about His beloved? Pastor Eugene shares with us what God says about the church—His beloved bride—and how we can love and serve one another for His glory.

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God cares about the church. For many of us, this is so obvious that it can sound like a truism. But it is a profound truth that bears repeating, because when we realise how much the church matters to God, we will be encouraged to glorify God together as His people.

The church is a people chosen by God to belong to Him as His treasured possession (1 Pet 2:9). In eternity past, the Father set His love upon a people. In the fullness of time, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem sinners in order to bring them back to Himself. As Paul says in Acts 20:28, God obtained the church “with his own blood”. God is present with the church, which is a “dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph 2:22).

Jesus’ words in John 10 convey the deep affection that God has for the church. Jesus is the good shepherd who “lays down his life for the sheep” (v 11). The Lord is personally invested in the eternal wellbeing of His flock. He knows every single one of us by name: “I know my own and my own know me” (v 14).

There is so much more we can say from Scripture about the depth of relationship between God and His people, the church. Hopefully this brief survey gives us a sense of how much the church matters to God. Because the church is so central to God’s purpose and affections, it should matter to us too. Biblical Christianity is not merely about our individual salvation; it is about Jesus saving the church – a people – to be His beloved bride.

How can we better love the church?

1) Learn what God says about the church from His word. We should be committed to hear and understand what Scripture says about who we are and how we should live and organise ourselves as God’s people. Let God’s word direct all that we do as a church, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

I encourage us to attend the conference on July 17 on the topic, “What is a Healthy Church?” by Jonathan Leeman, editorial director of 9Marks ministries. Sign up at tinyurl.com/healthychurch-sg.

2) Praise and thank God for His love for the church. Knowing that God cherishes the church should fill our hearts with humble gratitude and worship. This, in turn, will move us to be thankful for our fellow brothers and sisters, who have been bought with the precious blood of Christ. Together, we all belong to God. 

3) Serve God's people. We cannot love God without loving His people, who are His beloved possession. When Jesus asked Peter about his love, he told Peter that such love would be expressed by serving Jesus’ followers. Peter is to love Jesus by feeding His sheep. We love God when we love those who are created in His image, especially those who have been created anew in the image of His Son.

Serving in the church means more than merely carrying out certain tasks. We serve God’s people, in order to encourage one another towards greater Christ-like maturity. As fellow members of the church, we are stewards of one another’s lives. God entrusts us to one another, for our mutual upbuilding and His glory. We serve best in the context of loving relationships, when we commit to knowing and being known by one another. Seek to build deeper relationships with the rest of the church by regularly attending a CG or meeting up with someone during the week. Practise hospitality by inviting others into your lives.

The church is God’s beloved. May He help us to love one another, as those who belong to Him!