Love's Significance

Love's Significance

It is virtually impossible to exaggerate the importance of love. Nothing is more basic to true spirituality than this singular virtue. Nothing is more central to Christian living. At the very heart of authentic discipleship is love. Without love, we are nothing. When Jesus was asked, “Which is the great commandment in the Law?” (Matt. 22:36), He answered, “You shall love the Lord your . . . 

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Wanted: More Weather-Beaten Christians

Wanted: More Weather-Beaten Christians

Few pastors in church history have communicated gospel truth with more grace and compassion than John Newton. Today, Newton is best known for composing the best loved hymn in the English language, Amazing Grace, as well as for his dramatic conversion from a life of slave-trading to Christian faith. Newton was also a pastoral counselor par excellence, and a mighty . . .

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Vital Signs of Saving Faith

Vital Signs of Saving Faith

God wants each of His children to know beyond a shadow of any doubt that he or she has eternal life. The apostle John writes, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life" (1 Jn 5:13). God does not desire that we be uncertain about our eternal destiny; He wants us to be absolutely sure that salvation is . . .

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Discerning God's Will

Discerning God's Will

I remember the day my counseling professor stood before our seminary class, ticking off some of the main issues we should expect to encounter, and recommending resources to prepare for them. One topic he mentioned surprised me: discerning God’s will. “You will be amazed at how often you will be called upon to help a sincere Christian who is agonizing over God’s will for his or . . .

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A Pure Instrument in the Hand of God

A Pure Instrument in the Hand of God

The young, zealous pastor of Dundee, Scotland, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, who flamed out for God at age 29 and gave himself to the work of God as perhaps no young pastor has so uniquely given himself to God’s work, said before he died, “The greatest need of my people is my personal holiness.” M’Cheyne understood that the effectiveness of his pastoral ministry, including his pulpit . . .

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George Whitefield and Preaching the New Birth

George Whitefield and Preaching the New Birth

While reading in George Whitefield’s sermons and journals for an academic project I found the grand itinerant helping my preaching. Whitefield is instructive for many reasons (Spurgeon said if he had any model in ministry, it was Whitefield), but I have especially been learning from his clear communication that “you must be born again!” If these words of Jesus are true (and of course . . . 

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The Convicting Power of Scripture

The Convicting Power of Scripture

The Scripture possesses divine power to convict human hearts, exposing sin and revealing one’s true need for God and grace. “Convict” refers to the judicial act of indicting one who has broken the law with a view toward sentencing them. The idea of conviction pictures a courtroom scene in which the guilty are accused before a judge and justly condemned. So it is with the ministry of . . . 

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Deserting the Gospel

Deserting the Gospel

Paul begins this epistle to the Galatians by expressing his astonishment over how easily they have been led astray. He writes, “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him” (Gal 1:6).  This word, amazed (thaumazo), means “to be astounded, bewildered, or shocked.” Paul is dumbfounded and perplexed with the Galatians. He is stunned that they have so quickly deserted the gospel he had preached to them. He had just been with them in person and proclaimed to . . .

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