SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Grace Church invited Mike Hess, GARBC national representative, to speak at its morning worship service Aug. 22.
Christians “are not better off going it alone,” Mike says, explaining the purpose of the GARBC. “And that’s true of churches as well. So you lock arms with other churches for the purpose of church revitalization, church planting, and resourcing churches.”
The GARBC comes alongside churches to assist in those endeavors, and they are all centered on one thing: the Word of God. Scripture “is what will change hearts and lives,” Mike says.
With that statement, he focused the rest of the service on Scripture. Speaking on Matthew 5, he shared this big idea: “Living for Jesus entails loving like Jesus.” And loving like Jesus means loving those who have wronged us.
“One of the most difficult times in life to trust in God is when we’ve been hurt, when somebody else has wronged us. And then we come to a passage like this,” Mike says, referring to Matthew 5:44, “that we just frankly wish wasn’t in the Bible that day—where Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies.'”
“Ungodly anger, resentment, bitterness, even a seething animosity that we may have toward someone else” are attitudes that God wants us to refrain from. When we have hatred in our hearts toward someone else, God equates that with murder, Mike points out.
So how can we love our enemies? Loving others means “trusting God and blessing others instead of retaliating and seeking revenge.”
When we think someone is difficult to love, we can remember that God loves all of us, and we’ve all wronged God. Despite our sin against God, He has chosen to love us—not just good people or deserving people or those who’ve earned it, but “100 percent across the board” those who don’t deserve it.
Grace Church has been part of the GARBC since 1960. “We’re grateful for the influence and impact this church has had and continues to have, namely because of Pastor Dave’s commitment not only to this church but to also help other churches,” Mike says.
Dave Fox has been on the pastoral staff of Grace Church since 1992, first as associate pastor and now as pastor. He is also a member of the GARBC Council of 18 and the council for the Illinois-Missouri Association of Regular Baptist Churches.