Rest for Moms

by Pastor Patrick Cho

A few weeks ago, we were pleased to have Pastor Mark Chin from Lighthouse San Jose come to speak for our annual Grace Life Weekend Conference. Mark addressed the theme of “Time, Work, and Rest: Ours or God’s?” The messages were timely, convicting, and extremely helpful. One of the principles Mark walked through was the importance of maintaining a time of spiritual rest amidst our hectic lives. A question that came up several times was: How can moms do this effectively when their responsibility to their children is seemingly endless? Here are some practical helps to consider:

  1. Turn Off Your Phone. This obviously does not apply to all mothers, but many who complain about not having time for the Word of God spend significant time on social media. Understanding that this seems outrageous in today’s culture, consider uninstalling Facebook and Instagram (or at least severely regulating your usage). Enjoy life’s moments without the incessant need to capture every one of them. You might be surprised at how much time this frees up!
  2. Maximize Nap Time. If you have young children, chances are they take at least one nap during the day. It is easy to utilize this time to catch up on chores and emails or even to nap yourself! But if you are one who really struggles with finding refreshing time in Scripture, take this time to spend with the Lord and feed your soul. You can discipline your children to help you with chores, but they cannot spend time with God for you.
  3. Go to Bed Earlier. God has designed us to need rest. He is the only one who neither sleeps not slumbers (Ps. 121:3-4). Implement a stricter schedule that will allow you to go to bed and wake up earlier. If it is not practical to spend time with the Lord before the children wake up, at least you will have greater energy throughout the day.

Any husband who has taken care of the kids while mom was away understands how incredibly challenging it can be. Whenever Christine goes out even for a little while, and I have to watch the kids, I can hardly get anything else done! This should clue you in to the fact that your wife needs a break from time to time. Dads, what are some ways you can provide your wives time alone to spend with the Lord or even to recuperate from the daily challenges of motherhood?

  1. Give Your Wife an Evening Off. If this can’t be weekly, then plan for at least twice a month. This time could be used to enjoy some much-needed fellowship with other ladies in the church, or it might best be spent going to a coffee shop to read her Bible and pray. Since you know that your wife needs these times to rest in the Lord and that she seldom gets time when she is home with the kids, this is a great way to serve her and encourage her faith.
  2. Institute a Quiet Time. Most families understand that with young kids there is hardly a quiet moment in the house. One thing fathers can do is to implement a quiet time in the evening before bedtime. Try starting with a fifteen-minute period and over time extending this to half an hour. The way this works is that you, your wife, and your kids enjoy some quiet reading time together before the kids go to bed. If your child is too young to read, they can work on a puzzle or draw, but they have to do it quietly. This might seem impossible for your kids, but with perseverance and discipline it could develop to be a refreshing oasis in an otherwise spiritually barren day.
  3. Weekend Retreat. Consider providing your wife a weekend retreat away with friends. One great way to implement this is to send your wife to a biblical women’s conference. Usually, groups from church will attend these conferences together. Plan ahead to clear your schedule and watch the kids. This also gives you a chance to have some extended quality time with the kids. Take them to the park, the beach, or the zoo. Or better yet, encourage them to help you clean the house or do chores to serve Mommy.

Introduction: Love

by Jenna Kim

“I love In-N-Out!”

“I love the Chargers!”

“I love your eyebrows!”

“I love this song!”

“Love” is a word we use a lot, which isn’t necessarily bad or linguistically heretical. But in an era of shouted superlatives, it’s too often much easier to spend more time occupying the space of innocent, facetious affections than that of the infinitely profound love of the divine.

Century after century, every pocket of humanity has attempted to define and elevate the swirly, ethereal concept of “love,” but ultimately every iteration is a mere echo (some echoes more perverted than others) of love’s original, defining source in the nature and person of God. This love is less easily confined to a cursory definition and better marveled at through the rich crescendo towards Calvary’s hill in the ultimate display of grace and mercy extended to the undeserving and in the living hope therein of future grace to come, and all this on top of the panoply of common graces enjoyed universally.

Now the love of God is something we sing about often. It’s a topic that’s seemingly basic “milk” compared to the big, meaty guns of controversial secondary issues and finer heady theological nuances. However, the number one issue underlying every human problem from relational discord to political discord comes down to a failure to love as we ought. It’s easy to love people in theory, or at least to say so.

  • But it’s not easy to love your roommate who isn’t aware that dishes should be washed.
  • It’s not easy to love your co-worker who schmoozes and weasels their way up the ladder.
  • It’s not easy to love your male significant other when he’s being denser than a brick.
  • It’s not easy to love your female significant other when she wrongly assumes upon your motives.
  • It’s not easy to love your screaming babies who don’t let you sleep more than minutes at a time.
  • It’s not easy to love your kids when they won’t stop fighting during vacation.
  • It’s not easy to love your teens when they treat you like an enemy.
  • It’s not easy to love the awkward wallflower that you’d rather avoid.
  • It’s not easy to love the abrasive jerk who always knows the wrong thing to say.
  • It’s not easy to love the selfish mooch who takes more than they give.
  • It’s not easy to love the needy person who always wants you when you’re busy.
  • It’s not easy to love the gossip who slanders you.
  • It’s not easy to love the former friend who betrays you.

If asked if we have anyone hard to love in our lives, it’s not hard to picture specific names and faces. But this is no surprise. We are a broken people living in a broken world, and love does not come naturally. But for the broken that have been redeemed, we have been immersed in an outpouring of divine love that forgives, welcomes, heals, and transforms. And for those who partake of this limitless reservoir, there is more than sufficient resource with which to love the unlovable.

Though a seemingly simple concept, there is much about love that we desperately need to reflect upon again and again. We know it’s more than feeling warm and fuzzy, but often fail to take actionable steps to move beyond that perspective. And while it’s certainly not easy, it’s an endeavor that ultimately will draw us closer to the One who first loved us. And just as sure as we become what we behold, our growing likeness to our Savior will be one that increasingly extends genuine compassion, care, and sacrifice to surrounding friends and foes alike.

In the coming months, we will be going through a four-part series on the practical outworking of love based on 1 Corinthians 13:7:

  • Part I: Love bears all things
  • Part II: Love believes all things
  • Part III: Love hopes all things
  • Part IV: Love endures all things

Brothers and sisters, we all fail to love as we ought on the daily, but thank God for His patient love which does not expire upon our stumblings, and thank God for His active love which works in and through us to slowly but surely grow in our resemblance to Christ.

Recommended Listening

Editor’s Note: This series is based on a number of sermons that Pastor John preached on the text of 1 Corinthians 13:7-8 titled, “Unfailing Love.”

Whom Shall I Fear?

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Psalm 27:1

‘The Lord is my light and my salvation.’ Here is personal interest, ‘my light,’ ‘my salvation’; the soul is assured of it, and therefore declares it boldly. Into the soul at the new birth divine light is poured as the precursor of salvation; where there is not enough light to reveal our own darkness and to make us long for the Lord Jesus, there is no evidence of salvation. After conversion our God is our joy, comfort, guide, teacher, and in every sense our light: He is light within, light around, light reflected from us, and light to be revealed to us. Note, it is not said merely that the Lord gives light, but that He is light; nor that He gives salvation, but that He is salvation; he, then, who by faith has laid hold upon God, has all covenant blessings in his possession.

This being made sure as a fact, the argument drawn from it is put in the form of a question, ‘Whom shall I fear?’ A question which is its own answer. The powers of darkness are not to be feared, for the Lord, our light, destroys them; and the damnation of hell is not to be dreaded by us, for the Lord is our salvation. This is a very different challenge from that of boastful Goliath, for it rests, not upon the conceited vigour of an arm of flesh, but upon the real power of the omnipotent I AM.

‘The Lord is the strength of my life.’ Here is a third glowing epithet, to show that the writer’s hope was fastened with a threefold cord which could not be broken. We may well accumulate terms of praise where the Lord lavishes deeds of grace. Our life derives all its strength from God; and if He deigns to make us strong, we cannot be weakened by all the machinations of the adversary.

‘Of whom shall I be afraid?’ The bold question looks into the future as well as the present. ‘If God be for us,’ who can be against us, either now or in time to come?

16.9

Weekly Links (8/25/2017)

“Calling and discipling all the peoples saved by the Lamb is the primary mission of missions. Whatever other good things a church may choose to do, that great vision must be our most fundamental objective and the joy toward which we labor. Would anything less be worthy of the one who “came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15)? Evangelism and establishing Christ’s church is our first priority in missions.” (Andy Johnson, Missions: How the Local Church Goes Global)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! I pray your week has gone well, in honoring the Lord in all you do. I pray your weekend will be all the more glorifying to the Lord, so here are links to help you through it.

  • Josh Brahm at the Equal Rights Institute tells a story about having a conversation with his shuttle driver about abortion that tells a lesson for us all: don’t treat every hypothetical scenario as if it is. Philosophy professor David Hershenov deals with 10 (bad, but popular) arguments for abortion. This can definitely help you engage in the issue of abortion with confidence.
  • Tim Challies highlights, from Jim Newheiser’s new book, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage, 10 common but illegitimate reasons many, including Christians, give to divorce one another. Challies also wrote a post on how to treasure your marriage, which I found to be very energizing to meditate on. Brad Hambrick recently re-posted his seminar on gospel-centered communication in marriage in audio (videos available here). I thought it would be a good refresher for the marrieds to go over.
  • David Powlison wrote a letter for those who feel debilitated over their sexual sin, and speaks to what the ultimate goal of sexual renewal ought to be. Both are nuanced, compassionate answers to questions strugglers in this area may find help from.
  • Have you ever wanted to seek out a mentor to help you grow as a Christian? Here are five simple ways to go about pursuing an older, godly man/woman.
  • New Testament textual critic Dan Wallace has regularly presented the vast number of manuscripts we currently possess (over 5,000), and yet has been criticized in his ‘rejection’ of the vast majority of them in helping to reconstruct the original text of the New Testament by way of textual criticism. Wallace has offered a response to this claim of inconsistency. It’s more interesting than it sounds (make sure to read the post that led to his response).
  • John Piper was asked if people don’t like us, does that mean we have ruined our Christian witness? Not only does he point out what Scripture says, but he also provides his method for answering some thorny questions as a model. May we be the same in our dependence upon the Word of God to be our source of counsel.
  • Professor David Murray highlights a new study that argues the mere presence of your smartphone may drain your ability to pay attention to whatever task you face without it. Murray draws some implications from this, which, if you’re reading this from your smartphone, you may need to give your whole attention to.
  • Professional sports have unanimously expressed support for the LGBT movement, placing believers who play in a dilemma: should they cave in or take a stand against the organization and fans who help pay for their salaries? I don’t think I’ve seen much written about this issue, and would even ask Christians what it will take to give up consuming sports if this continues to be the trend.
  • Living Waters, the evangelistic organization Ray Comfort founded, have produced a new film called EXIT that deals with the issue of suicide, and where one can find hope. You can watch the entire film here. Watch, pray, and share.

That’s all for this week! See you all on Sunday, both at church and at FITS!

Soli Deo Gloria

And They Shall Never Perish

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

John 10:28

The Christian should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For a child of God to mistrust His love, His truth, His faithfulness, must be greatly displeasing to Him. How can we ever grieve Him by doubting His upholding grace?

Christian! it is contrary to every promise of God’s precious Word that thou shouldst ever be forgotten or left to perish. If it could be so, how could He be true who has said, ‘Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I never forget thee.’ What were the value of that promise-‘The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.’ Where were the truth of Christ’s words-‘I give unto My sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.’ Where were the doctrines of grace? They would be all disproved if one child of God should perish. Where were the veracity of God, His honour, His power, His grace, His covenant, His oath, if any of those for whom Christ has died, and who have put their trust in Him, should nevertheless be cast away?

Banish those unbelieving fears which so dishonour God. Arise, shake thyself from the dust, and put on thy beautiful garments. Remember it is sinful to doubt His Word wherein He has promised thee that thou shalt never perish. Let the eternal life within thee express itself in confident rejoicing.

‘The gospel bears my spirit up:
A faithful and unchanging God
Lays the foundation for my hope,
In oaths, and promises, and blood.’

6.16a

Weekly Links (8/18/2017)

“No one should treat people as merely rational beings in need of instruction, nor as merely emotional beings in need of healing, nor as merely decision-makers who need the right motivation. The truth is broader than each of these…Human experience is three-dimensional. The human heart responds cognitively, through rational processes based on knowledge and beliefs. It also responds affectively, through a framework of desires and emotions. It also responds volitionally, through a series of choices reflecting the willful commitments of the heart. These three aspects of the heart’s response are all a part of how people were designed to worship God.” (Jeremy Pierre, The Dynamic Heart in Daily Life: Connecting Christ to Human Experience)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Feliz Friday! Another week has flown by, and another set of links ready to be read. So here they are!

  • Glenn Stanton points out the lack of consistency among the Human Rights Campaign, which is the largest gay lobby in the world, in praising Target and Walmart as 100% gay friendly. Target degendered their bathrooms last year, while Walmart has the same bathroom policy as North Carolina, which was excoriated by HRC for their “discriminatory” policy. A tad ironic, no?
  • What are four money principles millenials need to hear? Ron Blue explains.
  • Student, why should you join a local church? Caroline Lee gives you four reasons. Erin Davis over at True Woman writes about having a stick-with-it mentality in the church, and not a startup mentality. You need to click the link to understand what she means.
  • Over at the Life Training Institute blog, Clinton Wilcox highlights a report of scientists editing human embryo DNA with severe genetic defects. The implications are worth paying attention to. Also, Iceland is becoming the country with the least number of births of children with Down Syndrome. Joe Carter explains, however, the way they went about it. In both situations, Gattaca easily comes to mind.
  • How do you stay Christian in college? John Piper was recently asked this question. His thoughts are very helpful.
  • Jordan Standridge gives some thoughts on the five crowds of Charlottesville, VA. Jesse Johnson points to the utterly sinful nature of racism.
  • What should you know about the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses in order to faithfully witness to them of the true God of Scripture? Justin Taylor highlights a very informative article from the ESV Study Bible.
  • How can we be faithful witnesses of Christ here at home, especially in light of the many cultures and ethnicities currently in the US? Pastor Andy Johnson gives six practical ideas that you can start with, even today!

That’s all for this week! Please pray for tonight as we will be having our all-church Bible study tonight, as well as those who will be getting baptized Sunday evening. See you all tonight!

Soli Deo Gloria

Tongue Un-Twisted

by Josh Liu

Our lives are filled with words (e.g., speech, communication). Many of us acknowledge the power and influence–and source of problems–speech and communication have. However, very few of us discipline our speech with careful discernment. Paul Tripp has said,

…even though we aren’t always aware of it, every day of our lives is filled with talk. Every moment is infected with talk. Every relationship and situation is dyed with words. We’re word-ish people. You could hardly identify a more formative aspect of our daily lives than our world of words. Yet whenever I begin to think, speak, or write about this topic, I experience a bit of frustration. What frustrates me is the vocabulary of communication. The terms are so mundane–words, talk, dialogue, conversation, communication. They just don’t seem to carry the freight of how profoundly significant and important this area of life actually is. (The Power of Words and The Wonder of God, 23)

Words are ultimately significant because of what God reveals in Scripture concerning our words (the Book of Proverbs contain over 100 verses related to speech). Our words are a window into the human heart. We speak thoughts, intentions, desires, wishes, beliefs, and so on contained in the heart (cf. Prov. 18:4; Matt. 15:18; Luke 6:45; Mark 7:21). Our words command power and can be a source of destruction (cf. James 3:2-12). Our words are so important that Scripture describes controlling the tongue as one of the keys to a successful life (cf. Prov. 21:23; 1 Pet. 3:10). Frighteningly, God will judge our words (cf. Matt. 12:33-37).

So, how aware are you of your speech and communication? Do you think before speaking, or do you more often find yourself regretting your words? Is there any sinful speech you need to repent of and work to root out of your life? Is there any edifying speech that you to include more in your life? What are some helpful communication skills to practice in applying biblical principles on speech? These are important questions to reflect on.

Christ’s servants are commanded to silence sinful speech. In other words, believers are to silence, put away, stop, mortify, mute, reign in all speech that dishonors or disobeys Christ and tears down others (cf. Eph. 4:29). This is not exclusively about profanity; this is any speech dishonors Christ and tears down others. E. Bradley Beevers says,

Evil speech isn’t just talking when you should be silent or saying things you immediately wish you hadn’t said. Some things we say are bad for other reasons. For example, with some speech, we determine whether it is evil or good by asking when, to whom, under what circumstances, with what tone of voice something is said. At the other extreme, we distinguish “foul language” from the rest of language; “foul language” is inherently bad. It’s not a matter of saying something at the wrong time or to the wrong person. Such “evil talk” is always wrong, always to be avoided by the believer. (“Watch Your Langauge!”, 24)

Believers’ speech is not to be characterized with the world’s speech. The Bible describes a variety of sinful speech that must be silenced. Below is a summary of a personal study on sins of the tongue with questions for reflection.

Sinful Speech Description Scripture Questions
Sinful Speech About Others Gossip The spreading of unfavorable information about someone,
even if that information is true.
Prov. 11:12-13; 18:8; 20:19
  • Do you sweetly cherish secrets so that you can talk about it with others?
  • Do you inappropriately pry for information so that you can talk about it with others?
  • Have you said, “don’t tell anyone else” for fear of repercussions by sharing something that was shared with you in confidence?
  • Will you betray anyone’s trust by sharing?
Slander Speaking about another person (whether false or true, an accurate or inaccurate/misrepresentation) that defames or damages the person’s reputation (or character). Prov. 16:28; Eph. 4:31-32
  • Would what you say impugn someone’s reputation or character?
  • Would it cause conflict if discovered?
Lie Making a false statement; exaggeration for selfish reasons
(e.g., greater recognition); intentionally withholding the whole truth for sinful reasons.
Prov. 10:18
  • Do you lie or exaggerate truth claims to create a certain perception about yourself or someone else?
  • Do you intentionally mislead because you rejoice in deceit (for compulsive liars)?
Critical speech Negative comments about someone that may actually be true but doesn’t need to be said, but said for the purpose of tearing that person down. Prov. 21:9, 19
  • Do people seem to walk on eggshells around you, afraid of provoking you to typical negative comment?
  • Do you mostly criticize and not praise?
Instigating Stirs up strife or conflict; to provoke. Prov. 17:9; 23:9
  • Do you call out individuals to specifically set a certain context? (i.e., romantic relationships)
  • Are you a hype-man just shooting out “oh” to any comment that would normally be regarded as innocuous?
Sinful Speech About Others Harsh words Words spoken inconsiderate, thoughtless, reckless, imprudently, impetuously. Prov. 12:18
  • Are you brash or rough in speech?
  • Do you excuse bluntness as simply a personality trait or basis of perceived intimacy of friendship, excusing a lack of discernment in words and tone?
Joking or sarcasm Crude or coarse humor (words or actions/pranks) intended to amuse oneself at the expense of others (ridiculing, putting down, belittling, provoking a response, etc.). Prov. 26:18-19
  • Do you find your jokes often hurting others?
  • Have they been the source of conflicts or misunderstandings leading to conflicts?
  • Do you often excuse the shock value of your words by saying that you’re only joking?
Insults To wound, put to shame, humiliate, disrespect, dishonor. Matt. 5:22
  • Do you directly insult others without remorse?
Discourage To put down, shut out, or sadden Num. 13:31-14:4
  • Do your words remove biblical hope from someone?
Boasting To exalt self above others, and to belittle others Luke 18:11
  • Are you the hero of your stories?
  • Do you make comments to compete with others (e.g., you slept for 5 hours? I slept for 3 hours)?
Unbiblical counsel Communicating a choice, decision, or expected response as biblical yet purely based on opinion, preference, experience, or worldliness. Job’s friends; Prov. 18:2
  • Do you misrepresent or misapply God’s Word to someone’s situation?
  • Do you counsel out of personal opinion, preference, or experience and place it as God’s standard?
Internal speech Indicting God’s character, entertaining sinful fantasies (e.g., immorality, vengeance), excusing or justifying sin, or internal complaining Prov. 20:22; Mark 2:6-7; Phil. 2:24
  • Do you think about what you would say as a comeback to insult someone?
  • Do you rationalize or make excuses to sin in your mind?

Christ’s servants are also commanded to speak sanctifying speech. In other words, as a servant or disciple of Christ, you seek to do all things, including communicating, for the glory of God. Seek to not bring reproach or stain upon the testimony of Christ with your words. Rather, be known as one filled with the sweet words of your Lord and Savior. This is not about saying sweet nothings, tickling people’s ears with what they want to hear or what makes them feel good. This is about honoring Christ and loving your neighbor. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Some examples of sanctifying speech about others are giving the benefit of the doubt (cf. Prov. 18:13), believing (or speaking) the best about another (cf. 1 Cor. 13:7), commending others (cf. Rom. 16:1), and giving thanks to God for one another (cf. Rom. 1:8; 1 Cor. 1:4; Phil. 1:3).

Some examples of sanctifying speech to others are words that build others up (cf. Eph. 4:29; consider the timing, Prov. 27:14), encourage (cf. Acts 11:23), exhort (cf. Prov. 27:6; Heb. 10:24), comfort (cf. Prov. 15:4; 16:24; 18:23; 2 Cor. 1:3-4), confess (cf. Prov. 28:13; James 5:16), and seek understanding (cf. Prov. 15:1; 18:13). Do you build others up and encourage? Kevin DeYoung helps to describe encouragement,

Encouragement means highlighting the evidences of God’s grace in the gospel or in a gospel-centered person to the glory of God. Each part of that definition is important. Encouragement is not spotlighting a person but underlining God’s grace. It is not about commending nice people to make them feel good but about commending the work of the gospel in others to the glory of God. The definition above can help differentiate encouragement from flattery. Encouragement is based on what is true about a person. Flattery affirms through exaggeration or falsehood. Encouragement keeps human praise in proportion, lifting everything up for God’s praise. Flattery gives too much influence to human agency. Encouragement blesses for the sake of the blessed and the Blessed One. Flattery harbors ulterior motives and looks for favors or reciprocal affirmation. While God despises flattery, He delights to see Christians encourage each other. (“Encourage One Another”)

Be careful of becoming the tongue or speech police. This is first and foremost an opportunity to examine your own life and heart to discern any spiritual logs in your eyes. Take this as an opportunity for you to consider how to honor Christ with your words and love your neighbor.

Loving the Truth

by Pastor Patrick Cho

After giving it a lot of careful thought, I have concluded that I do not like Brussels sprouts. If you know me or have ever eaten with me, you might think this strange because when I eat in restaurants I order Brussels sprouts all the time. I thoroughly enjoy Brussels sprout dishes served at many restaurants, but I would still contend that I do not like Brussels sprouts. How is this possible? This revelation came to me when I asked myself if I would enjoy a Brussels sprout in all its naked glory. Would I enjoy a plain Brussels sprout simply cooked without all the accompanying accoutrements? Of course not.

I realized that it is not so much the Brussels sprout that I enjoy but the butter and bacon and caramelized onions and garlic and the other ingredients used to dress a Brussels sprout and make it not only edible but even enjoyable! You must admit that with enough butter and bacon, onions and garlic, you could probably make a bike tire sound somewhat appetizing.

What does this have to do with loving the truth? The truth is everything to a believer. It is by the grace of God, which leads us to the knowledge of the truth, that a person is saved (2 Tim. 2:24-26). Without a proper understanding of the truth, one cannot know God. Jesus emphasizes our need for the truth when He tells His disciples that if they continue in His Word they will know the truth and the truth will set them free (John 8:31-32). Truth is so vital to the believer that the Apostle John equates a person’s salvation to having the truth in them (1 John 1:8; 2:4).

But as you examine Scripture, you also see that true believers not only have the truth, they love the truth, as well. This is one of the marks of saving faith, that a person loves the truth (cf. 2 Thess. 2:9-10). The psalmist gives praise to God and thanks Him for His lovingkindness and truth (Ps. 138:2). Think of how often the psalmist proclaims His love for God’s Word, which is His truth (Ps. 119:47, 48, 97, 113, 119, 127, 140, 159, 163, 167). The sad indictment given in John 3 is that Jesus came as the Light of the world, but people loved the darkness more than the Light (John 3:19).

Many Christians will say that they love the truth, but their lives portray the exact opposite. When you read some of the accounts in Scripture and question God’s good character, when you dismiss biblical principles because to you they are not realistic or practical, when you would rather heed the counsel of your own heart rather than the counsel of the Word of God, you are not loving the truth.

Seeker sensitive ministries across the globe are filling their pews by offering an attractive service – amazing music, appealing stage design, shorter sermons, compelling drama, and delightful food. People will confess their love for Jesus and yet will often stand against clear biblical principles. When they come across scriptural teaching that does not sit well with them, they justify their unbiblical positions by arguing that God must have changed or that the Bible is somehow applied differently today. In the end, people are not submitting to the truth of God but forcing the Bible to fit into their own personal belief systems and agendas. This is not loving the truth. This is going to church because you like the dressing.

One mark of spiritually mature believers is that they love to hear God’s Word preached. Spiritually immature believers place a disproportionate value on the preacher or the delivery. You might prefer some preachers over others because of their style, but do you outright refuse to listen to pastors that do not appeal to you? Or do you find yourself constantly criticizing the delivery of a sermon rather than meditating on its truth?

As believers, we need to be very careful that we do not love the dressing more than the proverbial sprout. Do you love the truth? Do you come to church because you love the Lord and want to hear His Word, or do you come to church merely for social reasons or because you simply enjoy all the frills? With the psalmist, we ought to agree that God’s Word is “more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb” (Ps. 19:10). The truth of God is everything to the believer.