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Learn Live Lead

The Authenticity of Disciple Making

Month: October 2013

Reformation Day

October 31, 1517

Martin Luther had had enough. The corruption of the church had risen to a level that he could no longer tolerate. The selling of indulgences and the greed of the church could not be overlooked any longer. On All Hallows Eve, Luther marched to the chapel in Wittenberg and nailed 95 written protests against the church to the door. He was making a statement against heresy, corruption, the church, and the most influential world power of the day. Martin Luther had great courage, and began what we celebrate today as the protestant reformation. The following is a translation of Luther’s famous writing.

 Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther
on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences
by Dr. Martin Luther (1517)

Published in:

Works of Martin Luther:
Adolph Spaeth, L.D. Reed, Henry Eyster Jacobs, et Al., Trans. & Eds.
(Philadelphia: A. J. Holman Company, 1915), Vol.1, pp. 29-38

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.

In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.

4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.

6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God’s remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.

7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest.

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory.

11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.

12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them.

14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear.

15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety.

17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase.

18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love.

19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it.

20. Therefore by “full remission of all penalties” the pope means not actually “of all,” but only of those imposed by himself.

21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope’s indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved;

22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life.

23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest.

24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty.

25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.

26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession.

27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].

28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.

29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.

30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission.

31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare.

32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.

33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;

34. For these “graces of pardon” concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man.

35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.

36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.

37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.

38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission.

39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition.

40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them].

41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.

42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy.

43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;

44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty.

45. 45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.

46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.

47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment.

48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring.

49. Christians are to be taught that the pope’s pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God.

50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter’s church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.

51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope’s wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.

52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.

53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others.

54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word.

55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

56. The “treasures of the Church,” out of which the pope. grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ.

57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them.

58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man.

59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church’s poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ’s merit, are that treasure;

61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.

62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.

64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.

65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches.

66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.

67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the “greatest graces” are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain.

68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross.

69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence.

70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope.

71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed!

72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed!

73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.

74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.

75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God — this is madness.

76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned.

77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope.

78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii.

79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy.

80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.

81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.

82. To wit: — “Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial.”

83. Again: — “Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?”

84. Again: — “What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul’s own need, free it for pure love’s sake?”

85. Again: — “Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?”

86. Again: — “Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?”

87. Again: — “What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?”

88. Again: — “What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?”

89. “Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?”

90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.

91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.

92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Peace, peace,” and there is no peace!

93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Cross, cross,” and there is no cross!

94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;

95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.

Tender Mercy

Tender Mercy

I have been dwelling upon this concept for several days now. When I say “dwell” I refer to the all consuming thought running through my brain. I refer to the stark contrast in the concept and the living out of the concept. I refer to the near obsession I find in myself to desire to understand this truth. Tender mercy is a dear friend to all believers. We have been so blessed by God for His tender mercy.

Let’s consider the etymology of the two words and the background of the references in scripture. The word tender is very common in reference, yet less common in production. We desire people to be tender to us, but when it’s time to show tenderness, we are challenged. It means delicate or gentle, and we could use much more of that in our world. Mercy is a tremendous word without the further description of tenderness. Mercy is sometimes confused with grace. Mercy is not getting the punishment that you deserve, and we embrace mercy!

Both of these words have been around a long time in their current state, and the original words from scripture tell the same story. In the Psalms, English translations seem to interchange Mercy and Compassion. It would appear that Tender Mercy, by implication, takes the concept of compassion to a more personal level.

Think about tenderness…that’s good unless you are thinking about a sore spot. Tenderness implies sensitivity, which in recovering from a wound can bring pain. Tenderness, at its core means that something will be handled delicately and gently. Mercy is delicate at its root as well, so consider the two words together. Sensitivity in the act of giving leniency is a large concept. Tenderness married to Mercy is a concept so deep that only God could make sense of it.

I have embraced the TENDER MERCY of God, and that compels me to be a minister of HIS TENDER MERCY to others. Then I am compelled to lead others to understand this same concept.

LEARN, LIVE, LEAD.

Funny Bone

Funny Bone

I really like things that are funny. I love to laugh and giggle with the best of them. I also like bones. Bones are usually attached to the steak that I am eating. Bones are also the things that allow me to stand up and have structure, but I have a problem with the funny bone.

It has never been funny to hit my ‘funny’ bone. I have never thought I was going to split my side because of the laughter caused by my ‘funny’ bone. I have never giggled like a preschooler because my ‘funny’ bone came into contact with something harder than it should have. No, usually I just feel pain. You know, pain that runs down the length of your arm. This is the kind of pain that can be felt in the tips of my fingers. You know, it’s the pain that vibrates your arm, and is not funny.

Could there be a more misleading name? Could there be a bigger let down? Well, I’m sure there could be, but since I’m being over-dramatic for the purposes of this article, we will say NO! We have mislabeled the pain that shoots down your arm when you hit your elbow just wrong. We have called it something that is not accurate. We have allowed this travesty to continue throughout generations of confused people. We do not laugh in the face of pain, therefore it is not and never will be funny!

We mislabel other things as well…like Christians.

They were first called Christians at Antioch. They were people who talked about Christ so much, that a pagan culture in Antioch began to call them Christians as a derogatory reference to the message they were known for. They were called Christians because they looked like Christians. They were called Christians because they acted like Christians. They were called Christians because they spoke about Christ. They were called Christians because they WERE Christians.

There is no doubt in a Christian. Christians are different, and they will be even today.

Dragon Fly

Dragonfly

A dragonfly is neither a dragon nor a fly. It does fly, but it does not breathe fire and has no scales. It is not a flying reptile, and it is in no way related to Eustace Scrubb in The Chronicles of Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Eustace did become a flying dragon in the book and movie, but he was in no way a dragonfly.

So why do we refer to something that is not what we named it? Why do we name things so willy nilly? Why do we not get more creative and come up with new words to describe things rather than recycle words into different meanings. Did we run out of words so we decided to double up on some so we could name everything?

One who refers to him or herself as a Christian today could be saying many things. They could be explaining that they believe in a Christ type messiah figure. They could be stating they believe in good works. They could be telling you they went to church one time. They could be trying to explain that they really desire something in their life, but haven’t found it yet. Or, They could be people who are born-again, regenerate, redeemed, restored, rescued, justified, delivered, and saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ of the Bible.

Today, being called a Christian doesn’t mean as much as it once did. It began in Acts chapter 11 when the followers of Christ were given a derogatory name to degrade and demean…that didn’t work! Today Christian could be a good label or a bad label depending on where you are in the world. It could be a complement or a cut-down, depending on the source. The name Christina still carries weight, and still has influence. In certain parts of the world you will be forsaken by your family for calling yourself a Christian, while in other parts of the world you can be forsaken by your family for not calling yourself a Christian. Both of these are wrong, by the way.

They were called Christians in Antioch in Acts 11 because their actions indicated they were believers in Christ. They were willing to follow him all the way to a martyr’s grave for the sake of the Messiah. They were recognized as Christians because there was substance in their lives. They were recognized by their fruits. They were being called “little Christ” because they were acting like little Christ’s.

Do we act enough like Jesus to be recognized as Christians? I’m not asking if we are perfect, or if we hold ourselves and others to a high standard, I am asking about real actions like Christ. Are we full of Grace? Do we reflect all parasite and Glory to the Father? Do we point people to the message that brings hope? Are we willing to sacrifice our very lives for the sake of the lives of others? Do we demonstrate real love for others? Do we love people even when they spit on us? Do we forgive people even while they are running us through with a spear?

I think we have some work to do. Let us not be dragonfly Christians.

Words never said Before

Words never said before

I love being a pathfinder. I like being the first to discover something and find joy in getting there. Blazing a trail is not a problem! (as long as there is air conditioning) I recently realized that I am the only one who has ever done certain things. I am completely unique and separated from the pack. I am an individual and my life is different from anyone else. I recently realized, after a sentence left my lips, that it had never been uttered before!

I was the first. I said something that had never been said before. I am a one and only! This truth first hit me as a parent. I began to utter sentences that I had never uttered before, and began to notice. I began to say things that I had never thought of before parenthood. Some of these sentences were common amongst parents, but they were new to me. Sentences like: Can I get at least one hour of sleep before I have to go to work? And, I have never seen that color substance come out of a human.

This quickly moved from “first time for me” sentences like “get your head out of the toilet” to more exclusive and rare sentences that surely had to be first timers. Just think about it. There have been billions and billions of people on this globe, yet most assuredly this sentence was never uttered before now. That’s creative! That’s independent! That’s rare! Recently I came across a special, one time only sentence. It was regarding a funeral preparation for a family I had not yet met. In speaking to the funeral director I explained, “I called the deceased’s daughter, but she was at a dolphin show and said she would call me back when it was over.” Rare, I know.

There are special and rare moments in our walk with Christ. There are moments when you experience something for the first time, or hear a verse in a way you had never heard before. There are moments when you share Christ with someone and the truth causes them to respond to His love and they are changed forever. There are moments of great blessing when you are honored with the blessing of a child, or you are partnered with a mate for life. God has so many moments of blessing awaiting us as we follow Him in ministry. He truly is good to us and His love endures forever.

Some of these moments may look a little different. Some of them may be due to great loss and grief. These moments of sorrow are rare and life-changing, but they can shape us to serve the king. These are special moments when we experience the peace of Christ in the midst of a storm. That is an amazing moment.

Stop and recognize the greatness of our God as you are amazed by your moments with Him.

Ephesians 5:15-17 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

OK?

Okay, O.K., K

However you spell it, this is a word you use a lot. Okay is the most widely understood word in all the world. The word OK is used on every continent and is understood across the barriers of language and culture. Okay can be shortened to a simple letter if you are composing a text message and people seem to understand, K. What an amazing influence a little word, or collection of two letters has. I have never paused to consider the importance of this word, but in doing so I also was confronted with another truth.

O.K., or Okay, or OK, or K, all may be understood across the globe, but what is not understood is where it came from and why it is so popular. You might mistakenly think the “O” stands for something and the “K” stands for something else, but the truth of the matter is there is no relation between two word and these initials in any known language. There are rumors of the etymology of O.K. but there is no concrete evidence.

Like many stories in this world, reality isn’t good enough, so I thought I would make up a story to solve the greatest crisis in etymology today. You see, two twin boys started up a nonsense code language when they were preschoolers. Any time they thought about using the words yes, alright, wait, and sure, they would put Okay in its place. Then, anytime these boys wanted to communicate the phrase, “I agree with that.” They decided to implement the letters O.K. Then when they got to be lazy teenagers they shortened it to “K” because they determined that to be cool. These boys then became so popular that everyone wanted to copy their code language…and give them ice cream. (I threw in the Ice Cream part to make it more interesting.)

A nonsense story such as this has no credibility, but it is just as valid an explanation as any other uneducated gum-shoe etymologists. Sometimes the story is not quit as important as the result, because there is no arguing the result. “Okay” is widely used and no one knows the story. No one knows why, how, or when it became the most widely used word, but we know it is.

Let us not allow Christianity to go the way of OK. The story of Christ matters and will change lives for all eternity. The words that make up spiritual talk have no credibility without the story and foundation of scripture. We cannot just keep on assuming everyone knows the story of Christianity and keep teaching spiritual “stuff.” We cannot be satisfied with the message of the church being popular without it having history, scripture, and testimony to give it depth.

Let us not simply be spiritual in word, let us also be spiritual in legacy. Ok?

Strange is not strange to everyone

Strange is not Strange to Everyone

I have the honor of helping families in a time of grief to be reminded of the greatness of our God. I get called upon to do funerals for families from all walks of life. I have led funerals for guys connected to the gun range in which all were carrying firearms. I have led funerals where only Elvis music was played. I have read scripture over a casket that was only mourned by a few, and I have seen thousands weep over the loss of a teenager. I have seen red-neck funerals that included fewer pairs of shoes than people…or teeth. I have been amazed at the things I have been asked to read, including profanity. (I refused) I have been asked, and once again refused, to not include any of that ‘gospel stuff.’

What may seem strange to one person will seem perfectly normal to someone else. I have learned that people are strange, and I am one. It has been said that there is only one normal person in the world, because everyone views normal differently. I have learned to except many different ‘normals’ and look at the heart of the person many would consider abnormal. And then it happened…

I was preparing my heart and mind to celebrate the life of a dear woman that I had only heard stories about as I ministered to her family. The recently departed did not have a pastor, a church home, or an understanding of Jesus, so I was hoping to share the gospel with the listeners and celebrate life created by God. But then the service started.

Very few times in my ministry have I ever been completely shocked and lost all control of a situation, but the music began and I could not help but to look a little surprised…but I was the only one…awkward. The song began in a traditional disco/rock/techno style made popular by the Swedish group called ABBA. Knowing me, knowing you was played loudly from the funeral home speakers. I was supposed to follow this up with a heartfelt prayer and scripture reading. I gave it my best. Then the next song began, I believe in Angels, also by ABBA. At least it mentioned something that was in the Bible (Angels) though it was misapplied. I was supposed to preach after that, celebrate life and honor God, and I did, though the shock had to be seen on my face.

The closing song was appropriate for the continuation of the theme, Dancing Queen. There were several “firsts” for me in this funeral. My shock and complete unraveling was a first. That was probably the first funeral with only music recorded by ABBA. That was the first funeral I had officiated that eulogized the deceased (during the service just before the message) with the statement, “Grandma could drink more beer than anyone I knew.”

Normal or Strange is really dependant on where you became you. God created us all unique, and that is certainly seen when families gather around a loved one at a funeral. Christians are most assuredly specially called out and blessed by God. We are different and we will always be different from this world. We are Strange, but strange is not strange to everyone.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;

God IS Love

God IS Love

There are many concepts in scripture that I would classify as “Big Picture.” These concepts sometimes become cliché and we forget the depth of meaning behind the statement. We can get so familiar with the words that we fail to recognize the awesome God the words are describing. For instance, we often say “God is Love”, which is a big picture concept of awesome magnitude, but we are so accustomed to the words that we fail to realize the depth of the message God is giving us with those words.

The three little words, found in 1 John chapter 4, cause me to tremble at their weight. These are three words that confound the skeptics and the faithful alike. Three words that describe the awesomeness of God reaching into the most intimate need of a person’s life and consuming it. Only 9 letters make up these three words, and they can bring a grown man to his knees in tears and worship. Three short words that describe the most amazing of biblical concepts, GOD truly IS LOVE.

The point of every message that is preached could come back around to this truth. Even a discussion of God’s wrath must include a presentation of His grace, which is an outward demonstration of His love. The God of the Bible defines the concept we refer to as love, and we could not know what love was without God. God defines love with His actions towards men. To say that LOVE defines GOD is a misstatement, because GOD chose the definition of LOVE.

Sometimes Bible students yearn for the deep truths of scripture that helps us to discover the great nuggets and jewels of the faith. We continually dig deeper and deeper as we mine for the more valuable truths in scripture. I would like for us to tap the breaks for just a moment and realize that this concept may not sound deep, yet it will go deeper than any nugget we find.

If we dig deep into scripture we will discover jewels of truth and nuggets of theology, and when we find those things in the deep places of our study, we will find them resting on the bedrock which is the concept, “God is LOVE.”

 

1 John 4:8 (ESV) Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

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