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We Desperately Need a More Sure Word

Never before has the debate been so intense about the nature of truth. On the one hand, our culture argues strongly that autonomous human reason is the final word on truth, that there is no possibility of supernatural divine revelation, and that morality is entirely subjective. On the other hand, wise men and women take refuge in a more sure word from God, believing that God has spoken and has revealed Himself to us in an infallible way in the Scriptures – in the Bible.

Even within Christianity, there is a growing number of leaders who divide God from His Word, presuming to have the capacity to rule out various pieces and passages of Scripture as sub-par according to human reason. But the Apostle Paul declared something that I believe with my whole heart: “When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.” (1 Corinthians 2:13 NLT)

I believe in God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And because I believe in God, I accept that He can speak and can preserve His Words through any medium He so chooses. One of my heroes in the faith, W. A. Criswell, said this about the revelation of God:

“The written word, the spoken word, the incarnate word are all three inseparably tied together. God is identified with his Word and the Word is identified with God – the written Word, the spoken Word, and the incarnate Word. Whenever I receive the Word of God, I receive God himself. When I believe the Word of God, I believe God himself. Spiritually, when I know the Word of God, I know God himself. When I trust the Word of God, I trust God himself. God and his Word are identified forever. The Psalmist says, ‘For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven’ (Psalm 119:89). God’s Word is like God himself, the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

In a world gone mad, we need a more sure word than what human reason has to offer. And while subjective morality has left us floundering and drowning spiritually, God has revealed and preserved His Word for anyone willing to hear it. And this more sure word from God offers an invitation with solid assurance that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13 NLT)

When You’ve Fallen Out of Love

We don’t actually “fall” in love. We choose to act lovingly. Attraction might be instant, but love is cultivated over time. And since we don’t fall in love, we don’t actually fall out of love either. We stop choosing to act lovingly. And when we’re not cultivating a relationship lovingly, things get cold.

Jesus once wrote to a church that was guilty of losing its love for Him. They were going through the motions, holding to the truth, and behaving like a church, but they had stopped acting lovingly toward Him. Something had gone cold in their relationship with Jesus, and His admonition to them contains the perfect plan for any of us who are in the same boat.

“You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first.” – Revelation 2:4-5 NLT

His simple three-point plan for rekindling lost love is simple. 1.) Remember. That is, remember what it was like when we were acting lovingly in the past. 2.) Repent. Change. Turn around. Decide to head back in the opposite direction. 3.) Return. Start doing the things you did at first. Choose to act lovingly again.

This is a good word for a church that has stopped worshipping Jesus with genuine love. It’s also a good word for an individual whose walk with God has grown stale. It’s a good word for married couples, or anyone else who feels that their former feelings of love have grown cold.

After all, love isn’t a feeling. It’s a choice to act – a commitment to do things that are loving. And it’s never to late to start loving again.

If You Love Anything More Than You Love Jesus…

I’m speaking to believers… is there anything in your life you’ve come to love more than you love Jesus? An entire church was guilty of this and Jesus addressed them in Revelation 2:1-7. The Ephesian church was like the average Baptist church as described by Vance Havner, “straight as a gun barrel doctrinally, and just as empty spiritually.”

They hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, an early heretical cult. They worked hard at being doctrinally pure, but they had apparently come to value their doctrinal purity over even their relationship with Jesus. They had left their first love.

So Jesus gives them a simple, three-point challenge…

  1. Remember what it used to be like when you loved Him most of all.
  2. Repent, turn back, change directions.
  3. Do the first works – again pour your energy into your relationship with Jesus.

The fact is, our relationship with Jesus takes work, like any relationship. Marriages don’t grow accidentally, and neither does our walk with the Lord. It requires intentional cultivation by spending quality, intimate time with Him.

If you’re realizing that something else has consumed your affections, then listen to Jesus’ words and obey them. To repent can be thought of in four steps: 1.) see my fault, 2.) feel my fault, 3.) admit my fault, and 4.) forsake my fault.

In all of your remembering today, remember your relationship with Jesus.

The Light of the Knowledge of God

This article is based on a message from Matthew 2:1-12 from a series on the light of Christmas.

I’m beginning to preach a series of Christmas-oriented messages at Bethel on the theme of Light. It will consist of three messages…

  1. The Light of the Knowledge of God. God wants for us to know Him, so He has revealed enough light that we might pursue a knowledge of Him.
  2. The Light of the Glory of God. The shepherds beheld a myriad of angels and the glory of God and I think it dramatically changed their lives forever.
  3. The Light of the Salvation of God. As Isaiah said, “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”

[Read more…]

Strange Outreach Concepts

I just opened my mail and received a postcard in an envelope. There is no return address and no organization or individual named anywhere. Just a postcard. And it reads…. “Friends, Neighbors, Americans, Be hastily preparing all for the fall of ‘That Great City’ as described in Revelations Ch. 18. Repent and be baptized and join Jesus on a white horse as described in Revelations Ch. 19. God bless.” [Read more…]