27th April 00:20
DN Speaking the Truth in Love 8/7/2003 (prophet friend faith gospel brethren)
Speaking the Truth in Love
"If I have the gift of prophecy . . . but do not have love, I am
nothing" (1 Cor. 13:2).
Love is an indispensable ingredient in the learning process.
I have the privilege of spending time each week with hundreds of
young people who attend The Master's College. As I observe their
progress, I see the impact godly teachers have had on their lives,
and I'm convinced that students learn best when they know their
teachers genuinely care about them.
Isn't that true in any relationship? Don't you respond more readily
to those who love you and have your best interests at heart? That's
certainly true in ministry. Think of the pastors and teachers who
have meant the most to you over the years. They're probably the ones
who have loved and ministered to you in special ways.
Whether it's a pastor, teacher, family member, or friend, whoever
speaks to people on behalf of God must do so with genuine love and
concern. That's the positive side of Paul's negative statement in 1
Corinthians 13:2. Jeremiah was such a man. He loved the people of
Israel deeply and was grieved at their apostasy and impending
judgment. "Oh, that my head were waters," he said, "and my eyes a
fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of
the daughter of my people!" (Jer. 9:1). That's the spirit of a loving
prophet, and typical of Jeremiah's lament over his people's sin.
Loveless preaching and teaching misrepresent God's character and
hinder the gospel; loving proclamation is winsome and effective. That
doesn't mean all who hear you will respond positively--quite the
contrary. The people of Judah didn't listen to Jeremiah so they
incurred severe judgment. Similarly, some to whom you speak will
politely reject what you say; others will react with hostility. But
those who respond in faith will appreciate your loving concern for
their spiritual well-being.
Suggestions for Prayer:
Thank God for those who have ministered to you in love. Seek to
follow their example as you reach out to others.
For Further Study:
Read Acts 20:19, 31; Romans 9:2-3; and 2 Corinthians 2:4, noting the
things that prompted Paul to weep for the people he ministered to.
Drawing Near, Copyright 1993 John F. MacArthur, Jr.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.
19 "serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials
which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews
31 "Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not
cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.
3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my
brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh
2 Corinthians 2:4
know the love which I have so abundantly for you.
These devotions are posted with permission from John MacArthur's
first (1993) devotional work, _Drawing Near_, and they are also sent
out daily for free to several folks via e-mail.
In addition, John's second (1997) devotional, _Strength for Today_,
is also available free via e-mail only. _Strength for Today_ follows
the same format as what you have seen here from _Drawing Near_, but
with different monthly themes.
If you would like to receive daily devotions via e-mail from either
of these series, just let me know (via e-mail), and I will gladly add
you to the list(s) of your choice.
You can hear John MacArthur daily via the Internet by visiting:
NOTE for those of you reading via newsgroups: If you wish to reach
me, please contact me via e-mail for quickest results.
Peter G. Chase :: Columbus, Ohio, USA
To f****ve is to set a prisoner free, and to discover that the prisoner was you. -Alistair Begg