Last September, at our annual Sharathon, WCTS asked for and met our stated financial goal. At that time, we said that that goal did not necessarily represent the whole need, and it didn’t. During May, WCTS will be appealing in a special way to members of our audience who have never before contributed to the support of this radio ministry. We look forward to a kickoff event on Friday and Saturday, May 5 & 6, then we will continue to add to our goal of 50 new friends all throughout the month of May. Please join us for this month-long Friend-raiser. If you are a regular supporter of WCTS, thank you for all you do! But for this month, only new friends will count toward our goal. Please join us for the May Friend-raiser right here on WCTS, AM 1030.
“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” – C.S. Lewis
This is a helpful quote as we seek to live each day in step with the Spirit, rather than gratifying the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). Instead of our lives being marked by impurity, idolatry, and jealousy, we bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is not ornamentation; it is fruit. These characteristics are not attached externally. They are produced by grace and provide evidence of the transforming power of the Spirit. This is a beautiful portrait of a holy, Godly, Christ-like life. There is nothing drab or austere about the work of the Spirit in the process of sanctification.
“The work which His goodness began,
the arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo,
or sever my soul from His love.”
– Augustus M. Toplady, A Debtor to Mercy Alone
The apple trees behind our home produce fruit in a manner that is quiet, unhurried and unspectacular. Similarly, the work of grace in our lives is largely slow and steady and when we are tempted to think that ‘nothing is happening,’ we remind ourselves that God is committed to bringing to completion the work that His goodness has begun (Phil.1:6). This truth is told in the lyric of a really good old hymn titled A Debtor to Mercy Alone.
Our program series, which begins mid-month, provides a closer look at the fruit of the Spirit. As a church family, we were greatly challenged and encouraged by this study and I trust and pray that you will find it to be equally beneficial. I was really helped by Jerry Bridges’ book on this subject and so we are offering it as our second resource this month. Here is another addition to your ever-growing Truth For Life library! As you can tell, we are very committed to providing good books that have lasting value.
As of this morning, we begin our first full week in our new building. It was a strange sensation to see all our belongings moved out of Parkside, which has been our TFL home for more than 20 years. However, we have only moved a matter of 400 yards and will continue to have reasons to shuttle back and forth. The new space is an occasion for expressing our gratitude to you for supporting us so generously in this venture. We are keen to see all that God has in store for us and we seek to walk in humility before Him.
I routinely mark my days with songs and hymns and here is what I have been singing to myself during this transition:
How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend;
His love is as great as His pow’r
And knows neither measure nor end.
‘Tis Jesus, the first and the last,
Whose Spirit will guide us safe home;
We’ll praise Him for all that is past
And trust Him for all that’s to come.
(You can hear this hymn sung by The Scottish Festival Singers at truthforlife.org/adore)
We rejoice in the words of Paul at the end of Romans 11: “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things…”
“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:12–13)
It is February, and that means that our thoughts turn to love. People are always searching for love, aren’t they? But sadly, to borrow the words of country singer Johnny Lee, most people are “Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places. Lookin’ for love in too many faces. Searchin’ their eyes. Lookin’ for traces of what they’re dreaming of.”
When it comes to love, what are you dreaming of? Love is one of those words in the English language that has hundreds of uses. We love our husband or wife. We love our children. We love ice cream. We love that movie. But what is true love anyway?
When I was a senior in high school, the rock band Foreigner released a song that became a big hit. Their song, like Johnny Lee’s country chart topper years earlier, represents the heart cry of millions of people in the world. It goes like this: “I want to know what love is. I want you to show me. I want to feel what love is. I know you can show me. In my life there’s been heartache and pain. I don’t know if I can face it again. Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far. To change this lonely life. I gotta take a little time. A little time to think things over. I better read between the lines. I want to know what love is. I want you to show me.”
Do you want to know what love really is? Let’s take a little time to think things over from a biblical perspective. And we don’t have to read between the lines, because the Bible is very clear when it comes to the true meaning of love. Just hours before Jesus Christ was betrayed and arrested in the Garden, He spent some intimate time with His eleven closest friends in an upstairs room in a modest Jerusalem home. In that special moment, He washed their feet, instituted the Lord’s Supper, and gave them words of encouragement to help them face what was to come in the days and weeks ahead.
He reminded them that true love is a mandate, not an emotion. He said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another.” (John 15:12) Love is command, not a convenience. It is active, not passive. We love others because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
If Jesus’ earthly life shows us anything, it shows us that He was never a “Do as I say, not as I do!” sort of leader. He was not asking the disciples, nor us, to do something that He had not already done. Jesus gave us the model of true love. He challenged us to “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
And just how did He love us? He showed the measure of His love when He laid down His life for us to pay our personal penalty for sin. He said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13) We owed a debt we could never pay because of our sin. That debt is eternal separation from a holy God in a literal place of torment called hell. But Jesus Christ took my place, and your place, on the cross and paid that penalty on our behalf, even though He was perfect and sinless. His love is a limitless, unconditional, and sacrificial love. And that is precisely how we are to love others.
So what is the meaning of love, then? The Greek word love is the word agape. It means, “unconditional affection for another person characterized by a willing forfeiture of your own rights on the other person’s behalf.” Jesus exemplified this definition perfectly when He died and rose again for our sins.
Do you want to know what love is? You must first receive the free gift of eternal life purchased by the loving sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. You do this by simple faith. Have you trusted in Jesus to forgive your sin and give you eternal life?
Once you have trusted Christ for salvation, only then can you experience true love in this earthly life. Instead of looking to find or receive true love, you will start giving it to others. True love gives because it has received. Find someone to really love today…true, Christ-like love.
Subscribe to our podcast by searching for “WCTS Radio” on iTunes and listen to a variety of sermons and Truth Talk with Pastor Matt Morrell!
“The fruit of the Spirit.” It’s a well-known phrase from a much-loved passage of Scripture. The challenge is in the details, as we pause to consider what the fruit of the Spirit is and to reflect on how well it is displayed in our lives.
In this series, Alistair Begg explains that the fruit of the Spirit is the character of God reflected in the lives of those who are united with Christ. It cannot be produced by an outward change of habit or a system of self-improvement, but is cultivated as God works to conform us to the image of His Son. As we consider the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, Scripture guides us to examine our hearts, challenges our progress, and encourages us to trust God’s promise that He began this work and will complete it. The Fruit of the Spirit provides a study in practical godliness, reminding us that faithful Christian living demonstrates the attractiveness of the Gospel to the world around us.
Wouldn’t it be great if children came with an instruction guide? Alistair Begg teaches us that, in fact, they do! The Bible is the ultimate source for instruction and contains everything we need to know about raising children. Navigating the challenges of parenting is particularly difficult in today’s culture, which is confused about the role of mothers and fathers and the unique benefits they each bring to the family unit. Wise parenting begins with the realization that we are all born in sin; when this doctrine is properly understood, it will have practical implications on how we discipline and train our children.
Mothers should embrace their irreplaceable role, and fathers are to lead their families under the framework of Biblical truth. Believing parents can be encouraged by God’s promise: “Train them up in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.”
Acts chapter 8 records Philip’s meeting with the Ethiopian Eunuch, a man who was interested in Judaism, but had not yet come to know the Savior to whom the Scriptures pointed. Alistair Begg reminds us that once God opened the man’s heart to the good news of the Gospel, he immediately responded by being baptized. Like that man, every person who has come to faith in Christ should confess Him as King through baptism, because in doing so we declare that in Christ, we have died to sin and have been raised to new life.
First Peter is a handbook for Christian Living. All of the foundations necessary for building lives of spiritual maturity are contained in these chapters. Peter’s readers were geographically scattered and in the face of all kinds of challenges, they needed to be theologically grounded. Jesus had given Peter the task of feeding and strengthening the sheep. This compelling, practical, vital letter is surely part of the response to that directive. Peter is clear about his purpose: to stimulate their faith, to assure them of the reliability of God’s word, and to encourage them to stand fast in God’s grace.
In volume three of this series, Alistair Begg points us to Peter’s instruction for living a godly life in the midst of persecution. Christians can persevere in times of great suffering by humbly and prayerfully entrusting ourselves to the Lord Jesus, who suffered in our place.