We’re glad you’ve joined us this week. Hope you had a lovely time last week with the rest of the speaking team! You mentioned in a older interview that you love to communicate to others what God is like, and I am curious to know if you have any attribute of God that you make sure to emphasise when you’re speaking to a group of people in an evangelistic context? Do certain things about His character strike you deeper than others?
Is there any attribute of God that you make sure to emphasize when you’re speaking to a group of people in an evangelistic context?
That’s a great question. Like many on our speaking team, I’ve been touched by the ministry of Tim Keller. He puts into words an attribute about God I seek to emphasize in my evangelism, which is that in Jesus God offers us the chance to be “fully known and fully loved.”
Keller explains what he means by this by breaking it up into parts. First, to be fully loved but not fully known is shallow. If someone loves you that way, you can always wonder, if this person really knew you, would they still love you?
But then, to be fully known and not loved, is our greatest fear. To have someone see you at your worst and then to be rejected for what they see – what could be worse than that?
But to be fully known and fully loved, that is our heart’s greatest desire. That’s the kind of love we’re all looking for. In God’s love for us in Jesus and the cross, we are fully known and fully loved. “Fully known” because we see in the cross that God knows us at our worst – he has taken our sins on himself. But we’re also “fully loved,” because we read it was for the “joy” set before him that Jesus went to the cross on our behalf.
I find myself often asking people, do you know what it is to be fully known and fully loved? I think many resonate with Keller’s language, because we know there are parts of ourselves that aren’t loveable – parts that we’d be inclined to hide. Many of us know also the feeling of being rejected by someone once they’ve learned something unflattering about us. To have someone know us at our worst, and still love us like Jesus – that’s the kind of love that can change your life!
I think this idea of being “fully known and fully loved” also introduces the idea that love without knowledge – or love without judgment – is really quite shallow. Michael Ramsden is fantastic at expressing this Santa Claus offers love without judgment. But who has their life changed by Santa Claus? I think discovering that true love is to be “known and loved” opens us up to realize that if God is all loving, he will love us, as Michael often says, “not in the absence of God’s judgment but in the presence of it.” God in Jesus has taken our judgment. But that means too that, in some cases I should expect to feel God “judging me” in the sense that he lays down expectations for my life and character – because that’s how true love really works. It always goes together with judgment, and with knowledge. Hope that’s a helpful answer for a start!