Archive for June, 2009

Peace, Loyalty and Diplomacy

June 27, 2009

Title: Peace, Loyalty and Diplomacy

Text: Matthew 10:34-42

Date: June 28th, 2009

 

Continuing in The Gospel According to Matthew, this week we look at Jesus’ instructions to his disciples about having realistic expectations about the Christian life and Christian ministry. Today, we almost always hear about the benefits of Christianity or the positive effects of Christian faith upon one’s life. Most evangelists describe all the good things that will result when we place our faith in Jesus Chris and begin to live the Christian life. In fact, it’s become popular today for church pastors to present the Christian faith almost exclusively or solely in terms of positive benefits. “Come to Jesus and he’ll fix your marriage.” Put you faith in the Lord and he’ll give you success on the job or in your career.” “If you trust in God you’ll experience a happier life and a healthier body.” “By applying the principles of God’s Word, the Bible, to your life you can have more money and material resources.” But not only is the blessing of God available to individuals, but it’s also available to nations as well, we are told. We hear that if more people in the United States would only return to church, read their Bibles and pray, and obey God our nation would be blessed. Now the truth is, there is much truth to these statements. By trusting and obeying God we can experience personal blessings. By our nation turning back towards God in respect to laws and policy-making, through its citizens following more closely the moral and spiritual commands of God, we can prosper as a nation. But it is also a fact that the Christian life is not only an opportunity to experience positive blessings, it also comes with negative consequences as well. That’s something overly zealous evangelists and over-eager church leaders often times fail to mention to people. But it’s something that Jesus never omitting from mentioning to his disciples in preparing them for the Christian life and ministry in the real world. Jesus soberly reminds them that they will face opposition. Far from making the world a more peaceful place, the introduction of the Christian gospel might actually increase tensions in families and between friends, even in society, in communities or even within a nation, as individuals and groups decide whether or not to trust and obey the gospel. In addition, Jesus communicates that he demands 100% loyalty from his followers. They must place him in highest priority in their lives – above even family and friends. No one or no thing can take priority over loyalty to Christ – no career, no hobby, no interest, no earthly possession – nothing. Finally, in this section, Jesus tells his disciples that they are to function as his ambassadors, carrying his message and ministry to others. If they are received well, it is because people are receiving Christ; if they are rejected, it is because people are rejecting Christ. These are important truths for us as 21st century disciples of Jesus to remember, especially in a day and age that only likes to hear about only the positive benefits that come from trusting and obey the Lord. We must realize that even in the midst of the many blessings we receive from following Christ, we’ll also encounter negative consequences for our faith as well. We must be ready for this aspect of the Christian life also. With that as an introduction, let’s look at what Jesus teaches his disciples – all of his disciples – about what they will encounter. (more…)

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The Absolute Absurdity of “Gay” Church Leaders

June 27, 2009

Title: The Absolute Absurdity of “Gay” Church Leaders

Text: 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:6-9, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27

Date: June 26th, 2009

 

Last week I talked about the “Absolute Absurdity of Gay Pride,” strongly objecting to the new president’s proclamation of June as “Gay Pride” month in the United States. Also, while I was on a similar subject, I then talked about the “Absolute Absurdity of Gay Churches,” pointing out the impossibility of reconciling homosexual practices with legitimate, biblical Christianity. Now, while still on the same general subject, I’d like to address the whole issue of so-called gay clergy within the church, by calling this talk “The Absolute Absurdity of Gay Church Leaders.” You may or may not be aware of the fact that in a few church denominations and in some local Christian churches there are practicing homosexual church leaders – pastors or elders or deacons or board member or church council members. In denominational structures there are even practicing homosexual bishops or overseers – or whatever the specific denomination may call them. Ever so often these gay church leaders receive attention in the national news reporting on their specific situations. For example, a few years ago news reports described the United Methodist Church embroiled in a controversy involving a lesbian pastor in a local church who was fighting for the right to remain in her leadership position within the Methodist Church. The report also indicated that she had an open lesbian lover. As it turned out, she was permitted to remain in her position as pastor. In a far more important and controversial case, an openly homosexual Episcopalian church leader was installed as bishop in New England. And while the Episcopal Church has been ordaining gay clergy for a number of years, it had never elevated one to the level of bishop or overseer before. A bishop is a position that provides leadership coverage not just on a local church level but also carries with it the spiritual responsibility of a whole region of churches and the leaders and members of these churches. So whether it is right or wrong, whether we like it or not, there are a number of recognized Christian churches that are placing into leadership at all levels openly acknowledging and practicing homosexuals. Now the question is not whether it is or isn’t taking place – it is. Rather, the question is, is it right or wrong, is it permissible by God or is it not? And the only way to answer that question is to return to the Bible, specially the New Testament — which is ultimately the final authority for matters of faith and practice within Christianity, and more specifically, in the Christian Church. When we turn to the New Testament of the Bible we find that there are very specific qualifications for church leaders. Besides the general qualifications for all Christians found in the whole New Testament, there are very specific qualifications for church leaders found primary in two places: the books of 1 Timothy and Titus. Any bona fide church leader must pass qualifications in these two places. So with that, I’d like to review the basic qualifications for church leaders. Then, I’ll review basically what the New Testament teaches about homosexuality. Finally, I’ll show that based on the qualifications the New Testament places on church leadership and based on what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, there is absolutely no way a practicing homosexual can legitimately hold a position of church leadership. I never dreamed that I’d ever have to argue such an obvious case, but because more and more people are confused these days about such things, it’s obvious I need to spell it all out once again as clearly as possible. A practicing homosexual has no business in church leadership – at any level. (more…)

Do Not Be Afraid

June 26, 2009

Title: Do Not Be Afraid

Text: Matthew 10:24-33

Date: June 21st, 2009

 

Continuing in The Gospel According to Matthew, this week we look at Jesus’ instructions to his disciples concerning fear and intimidation. He just gave them their assignment to preach the gospel but now he’s warning them about some of the difficulties they will face and how to deal with these difficulties. But it’s interesting that he talks about the biggest challenge they will face – their own fear. Jesus warns them about what other people will do in opposition to the gospel but then he focuses in on what the disciples will be tempted to do in reaction to what people do to them – and that temptation is to fear or be anxious or worry about it. Fear is a perfectly natural reaction to perceived threats against us. I’m sure we all fear over some things in different situations at different times. We are like the disciples because even though we are separated by over 2000 years, human nature is essentially the same. What made those early Christians fear would make us fear, and vice verse, what makes us fear would probably make the disciples fear too. But Jesus wants to teach his disciples – and that includes us today as 21st century disciples – not to fear. He was qualified to do so because he had mastered the ability to press on in the face of fear during the course of his ministry. For example, remember when the New Testament describes that Jesus “set his face towards Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51) knowing that he’d face opposition, knowing that he’d face persecution, and ultimately knowing he’d face death. That attitude of facing his fears and forging on ahead in the face of them served as a role model for the disciples because we see them later gathering up their own courage and making statements such as “Let us go with him (Jesus) into Jerusalem and even die if need be” (John 11:16). So the disciples had courage, they had loyalty, they were brave, but Jesus had to continually remind them to be not afraid because they were just like everyone else – they had their moments of doubt and fear. That’s the funny thing about human nature. In some things an individual will be rock solid, as brave as can be, but in other moments under other circumstances the same person will act cowardly. That same phenomenon exists in the animal kingdom. Remember the elephant? A huge creature that towers above the other animals in the jungle except perhaps the giraffe, yet this same creature when confronted with a tiny mouse crossing its path will rise up its front legs and scream out in sheer panic. Go figure. Well, people do that too in their own ways when confronted with some situations. Jesus knew that, so he continually instructed his disciples on how to deal with fear as they carried out their missionary assignment. Between verses 24 to 33, Jesus tells his disciples not to fear three times. So let’s take each of those instructions to fear not and look closer at them. Remember, Jesus isn’t just instructing first century disciples; he’s also speaking to us today in the 21st century. So let’s see what we can learn from Jesus about avoiding fear. (more…)

The Absolute Absurdity of “Gay” Churches

June 23, 2009

Title: The Absolute Absurdity of “Gay” Churches

Text: Genesis 19:1-29 (4-5, 29), Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27

Date: June 23rd, 2009

 

Last week I talked about the “Absolute Absurdity of Gay Pride,” strongly objecting to the new president’s proclamation of June as “Gay Pride” month in the United States. This week, while I’m on the same subject, I’d like to talk about the “Absolute Absurdity of Gay Churches.” Yes, that’s right. There are so-called “Gay Churches” in more and more communities throughout the country. These so-called churches, many which identify themselves as Evangelical churches, claim that they are full-fledged members of the Christian church or Body of Christ. Members of these “churches” say that they must gather together in gay-friendly churches because they feel unwelcome and discouraged and discriminated against in typical churches. They say that they must form their own congregations and affiliate with a different denomination – such as the Metropolitan Community Church, in order to pray, worship God, fellowship and receive instruction in Christianity. They claim separate pro-gay churches are needed until the wider Christian community accepts and finally embraces people of different sexual orientations. While some churches in the main-line or so-called “old-line” denominational structure are opening to welcoming and affirming homosexual Christians – such as the United Church of Christ, the Episcopalians, the United Methodists, and the Northern Baptists, for example, most churches and denominations still object to the practice of homosexuality as sinful and therefore something to be discouraged, not encouraged or accepted. Because they are not accepted yet in all churches and denominations, so-called Gay Christians must meet separately for now in separate churches and denominational structures. But wait. Don’t all Christians conclude that homosexuality is a sin? Isn’t in plain from the Bible that homosexuality is contrary to the law of God? Isn’t it clear both in the Old Testament and New Testament that the practice of homosexuality is sinful? Isn’t Sodom and Gomorrah the best-known examples of God’s opposition to homosexuality? Isn’t it clear from the judgment of God that came upon these ancient cities, as recorded in the Old Testament, that homosexuality is a sin? Not according to the so-called Christian pro-gay movement. Despite millennia after millennia of traditional biblical understanding that Sodom and Gomorrah are examples of God’s displeasure and opposition to the sin of homosexuality, according to the members of the so-called pro-gay churches everyone has got it all wrong for thousands and thousands of years. They say the Bible has been misinterpreted; it never really teaches against homosexuality at all. All the familiar verses used to teach that homosexuality is a sin are misinterpreted. Accordingly, one can be a full-fledged Christian and practicing homosexual – and need not repent. One can be a member of a Bible-believing church that teaches homosexuality is not sinful, according to this view. Same-sex marriages can be performed and blessed within the church with God’s full endorsement — and so forth and so on. Now the big question is, what should be the wider Christian community’s response to such claims? I’d like to weigh in on the issue by first of all stating categorically that these kinds of claims are absolutely absurd! They are rationalizations and denials of biblical truths – and not very good denials and rationalizations either. But because they are heard more and more today, I’d like to go through these claims and show why they are false. According to the Bible and authentic Christian teaching, homosexuality is a sin. That is very clear when the Bible is examined carefully. Let me point out three areas that show why Christianity and homosexuality are totally incompatible, and that it is absolutely absurd to speak of “gay” churches or “gay” Christianity with any degree of seriousness. (more…)

The Absolute Absurdity of “Gay” Pride

June 18, 2009

Title: The Absolute Absurdity of “Gay” Pride

Text: Romans 1:26-27, Psalm 2:1-5, 10-12

Date: June 18th, 2009

 

The Following is an absurd “proclamation” released by the new president Barack Obama:

 THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                     June 1, 2009
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER PRIDE MONTH, 2009
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.
LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country’s response to the HIV pandemic.
Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration — in both the White House and the Federal agencies — openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.
The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.
My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.
These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.
BARACK OBAMA

 I’ve never heard of such a foolish thing coming from the highest office of government. Let me explain why I object so strongly as a Christian to the president promoting homosexuality. (more…)

Was Jesus Wrong About His Second Coming?

June 16, 2009

Title: Was Jesus Wrong About His Second Coming?

Text: Matthew 10:23

Date: June 14th, 2009

 

Continuing in our study of the Gospel According to Matthew, last week I skipped talking about perhaps one of hardest verses in the New Testament to understand perfectly – Matthew 10:23. I did so on purpose because there is no way I could cover the rest of the passage and also talk about this one verse because I need a least a whole message to deal with this one difficult verse. If you have a Study Bible you can look at the comments made about this verse and find all kinds of different understandings as to what this verse means. We don’t have time to cover all the many different interpretations of Matthew 10:23, but I’d like to point out a few – some that are legitimate and others that are not legitimate. In other words, while the verse is hard to understand, there are some explanations that are permissible for Bible-believing Christians to hold, while there are other interpretations that are definitely not all right for serious Christians to hold. For example, there are different ways of explaining the meaning of the verse that honor and respect the divine inspiration of the Bible. These different interpretations in no way call into question the authority of Jesus or the apostles, nor do they call into question the authenticity of the Bible itself. These are the kinds of explanations that are perfectly legitimate. On the other hand, there are liberal or radical interpretations of this verse that are definitely out of bounds for sincere Christians who seek to honor God and God’s Word in their lives. For example, one liberal understanding of the verse simply says that the Bible is wrong in this passage. The original author of Matthew – many liberal scholars even doubt that the author was Matthew or that it was written by an eyewitness – was mistaken about the coming of Jesus Christ. The verse is hard to understand because the writer of the Bible here was wrong, they say. Now this kind of thinking, this type of interpretation, dishonors God and dishonors God’s Word because it calls into question the reliability and trustworthiness of the Bible itself. Any committed Christian realizes that his faith is based on the fact that the Bible is true. The Bible is trustworthy and reliable – or as the theologians describe it – infallible and inerrant. Whatever the Bible teaches is true. We can depend on it for faith and practice. If it speaks, it speaks truthfully. So any interpretation, any understanding of a verse or passage must assume that what is being taught is true. In Matthew 10:23, truth is being taught by Jesus himself, “When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” Whatever Jesus is talking about, it’s true. We just need to figure out what he means in order to understand what he is teaching. So let’s attempt to make sense out of this very difficult-to-understand verse. We’ve got to believe everything is in the Bible for a reason, even the difficult verses. We must trust that God wants to teach us something important. Let’s see what that might be. (more…)

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

June 8, 2009

Title: Jesus Sends Out the Twelve

Text: Matthew 10:5-16

Date: May 31st, 2009

 

Last week I talked about the Apostles and in particular the Apostle Peter. This week I’d like to talk about the actual assignment of Jesus to the twelve apostles. What was it that Jesus was actually assigning these twelve men to do? What was the method or methods that he instructed them to use? What kind of message were they supposed to deliver? And what means or manner where they to deliver it? These questions are answered in this brief description in Matthew 10:5-16. We see first of all Jesus giving them a method for their ministry – first going to the Jews not to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, and not taking any extra resources with them, and staying in one location as long as the people are receptive to the ministry and message. Next, we see Jesus giving them a message – to preach the Kingdom of God, that is, the good news of Jesus Christ, salvation of the soul and other spiritual blessings of God’s Kingdom. Finally, we see Jesus giving them a means to accomplish all of this – providing people with helpful human services such as healing of the mind, body and soul, and working supernatural miracles in order to meet basic human needs. It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t send the twelve disciples out to simply preach the gospel with words alone. He sent them out to preach with signs and wonders and acts of kindness to meet the needs of the people. It’s very similar to the ministry the Apostle Paul describes later in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” Now that is not to say that the message of the gospel itself carries no power to save and change people’s lives, but it only shows that it was Jesus’ strategy – and seemingly it was Paul’s and the other Apostles’ strategy also – to minister with more than words, even as powerful as the words were of salvation through Jesus Christ. Evidently, Jesus thought it better to combine the words of the kingdom with the works of the kingdom. In other words, Jesus felt it important not only to talk about the Kingdom of God but also to demonstrate its reality as well in powerful acts of kindness brought about by the power of God working through the messengers. Might there be a clue in this as to what our strategy should be today as we go about trying to preach and teach the gospel of salvation to a lost and dying world? Let’s look closer at how Jesus instructed his disciples to go about the task of evangelism. (more…)

Love is Forever Relevant

June 8, 2009

Title: Love is Forever Relevant

Text: 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Time: July 1st, 2007

 

One of the greatest challenges we face in learning about love in 1 Corinthians 13 is to move from the point of knowing what love is to the point of doing what we are taught. It’s easy to learn what love is, but it’s harder to live it out in life.  How will you respond to this teaching about love? Will you learn some things about love and then just file them away as something you now know? Or will you take what you’ve learned and make an effort to live it out in your life? The Apostle Paul knows that we all need extra motivation, or in other words, simply knowing we should do something isn’t enough, so he gives us an added incentive to apply what we now know about love to our lives. What is Paul’s added incentive? It’s just this: love is one of only a few things that actually applies both in this life and in the life to come. Love is something that we can take with us into heaven with God. Why is that so significant? Because most things are left behind here on earth when we die and pass on into the next life. But love is one of those rare things – there are a few other things too – that carry on beyond this life. So Paul wants to remind us of this in order to show us how none of our investments in love will be wasted. There are so many things in life, so many ways to invest our time, energy and resources in this life, how do we know which things to invest in? Paul helps us answer that question by letting us know that love is always a good investment because not only will it count in this life but it will also count in eternity. Love is never wasted or a bad investment; love is always a good use of time, resources, and energy. Paul spends a whole chapter describing what love really is so we are not investing in something false like the world does. In the world, people invest in something they call love, but that really isn’t love; that kind of investment can be a waste. But the love the Apostle talks about is from God and is never a bad investment, in fact, it’s a good investment because it’s good for now and it’s good for later; it’s something that applies in this life and it’s also something that applies in the life to come, in eternity. So we don’t ever have to feel that learning and living a life of love isn’t worth it, it’s always worth it, both in this temporary life and in eternal life. That should put things in perspective for us whenever we are tempted to neglect love or dismiss it as something optional in our lives. Far from being optional, love is one of those rare things that is in fact essential in life. Now we come to the very end of 1 Corinthians 13 with verses 8-13 (read), and the main theme is the permanence of love over against the temporary-ness of other things; this shows us how very important love is. Three things about this. (more…)

Love Never Quits

June 8, 2009

Title: Love Never Quits

Text: 1 Corinthians 13:7

Time: June 24th, 2007

 

We finally arrive at the end of Paul’s very detailed description of love; the rest of the chapter mostly summarizes what has been said and its importance compared to other things in the Christian life. If you remember, Paul never gives us a simple, one-sentence definition of love, but rather describes what love is and what love isn’t. It’s sort of what you might have to do in trying to define beauty. You might point to a sunrise or a sunset and say, “That’s beauty.” Or you might go to the mountains and use these as a description of beauty. I used to live in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I can testify that the mountains are beautiful. No matter where you might be in the Colorado Springs you could always look towards the mountains and see their beauty. Or you could go hiking in the mountains and experience the beauty close up. You might point to flowers and say, “That’s beauty.” And so on. That’s the same approach Paul takes in describing love; he points to one thing, then another, and tries to paint a picture of what love is. But that’s not all. He also points at things and uses them as examples of what love isn’t like. And in defining beauty we could do the same thing. We could point to an ugly, old, city building and say, “That’s not what beauty is.” Or we could point to an old junk car with the wheels off and the paint chipping and the windows broken and say, “That’s not beauty.” Paul uses that technique in defining love and its opposite. But now we come to the end of the list of characteristics of love, and it’s as if Paul is impatient to get to the end of the list, it’s as if Paul is getting tired of listing characteristics of love and wants to say after he finishes, “You get the picture?” He lists four last things in rapid succession and includes the word “all” with each point. As the King James Version says in 1 Corinthians 13:7, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I’m not going to take each word and spend a whole message on each word as I’ve done before because it seems that Paul wanted to put these four things together for their combined effect and to quickly and generally make this point – love doesn’t quit. Why? Because it’s the big temptation for all of us in life to reach a certain point with people where we simply get tired of loving and quit, just stop loving them any more. It’s human nature to simply get tired of loving someone who takes up a lot of our time, energy and effort. We are tempted to place a limit beyond which we simply can’t or won’t love any more. Sometimes parents know what it’s like to face a child who isn’t acting right, or a teenager whose going through a phase, or even a grown adult child who is hard to love. They are tempted to wipe their hands of them. Sometimes married couples are tempted to give up on love because it’s so hard or it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Love is hard work and sometimes we feel like giving up, quitting, walking away. But Paul reminds us in verse 7 that love doesn’t quit. So today, I’d like to unpack what it means to say love doesn’t quit. (more…)

Love Rejoices In the Truth

June 8, 2009

Title: Love Rejoices In the Truth

Text: 1 Corinthians 13:6

Time: June 17th, 2007

 

We turn again to 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, to continue in our series on love written by the Apostle Paul 2000 years ago. Under the inspiration of God Paul wrote what our generation desperately needs to hear about love. Why? Because our generation thinks it knows all about love, but really knows very little about love. Why does our age think it knows all about love? Because love is talked about in songs heard over and over again on the radio. Because love is depicted constantly on television and in movies. It is written about endlessly in novels, magazines, books, newspaper columns, and Internet chat rooms. It is talked about by people everywhere, more so than at any time before, in any age. So with all of this attention given to the topic of love we would think that our generation would just about know everything there is about the subject of love, and would be best equipped to carry it out successfully. Wrong. In fact, as things stand right now, our age is about the worst ever at this thing called love. More married couples are divorcing today than ever before. More families are breaking up today than in the past. There seems to be more conflict in relationships of all kinds today, not less. So for all of the talk, songs, depictions of love in our culture, for all of the attention love is getting, why is it that our age can’t get it right? The reason is that we are operating under a wrong definition of love, we are getting the wrong instructions how to love, and we are seeing the wrong examples of love illustrated in our culture. Unfortunately, the very worse role models for love – the people in Hollywood – are put forth as role models of love. The least knowledgeable people are made experts on the subject and give us absolutely awful advice. And the source of all understanding and instructions about what love really is, the wisdom from God found in the Bible, is typically ignored. No wonder our culture is in such a terrible state of ignorance and confusion about love, no wonder marriages are breaking up left and right, no wonder people are finding it harder and harder to get along today with each other in all situations. Unfortunately, Christians have been nearly just as confused as the rest of society because like the rest of society they too have neglected to go back to the source of all knowledge and wisdom, the Bible, and instead have listened to the voices of culture in respect to love. Unfortunately, Christians listen to the so-called “love experts” on Oprah just like others. Christians listen to the same love songs, watch the same movies, read the same novels that describe what love is, and Christians unknowingly buy into that false view of love as well – with disastrous results too. Some surveys even find that Christian marriages are more likely to end in divorce than in the general population! Clearly it’s time for everyone, but especially Christians to return to God, return to the Bible, and return to truth in understanding love. So let’s turn again to 1 Corinthians 13 to get the real truth about love from God’s Word. “Love doesn’t delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth, “ 1 Corinthians 13:6. (more…)