Lessons from Watching Mars Hill Church Burn to the Ground

Kalapana Gardens burning

Kalapana Gardens burning

Five years ago, I listened to Mark Driscoll regularly and followed Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. I’ve heard a good 2-3 dozen of his sermons and read several of his book excerpts. I thanked God for what He was doing there, and I benefited from their teaching and ministry. Unlike some, I don’t have a doctrinal axe to grind. I’m a complementarian who fully supports the Scripture MHC has often stood on to support their position (of course, the ways they have gone about that are questionable). I have lots of disagreements with them, but they are biblical, not stylistic. I’m someone who is, though from afar, a close enough watcher to know what MHC is about.

And what we’ve witnessed over the past 15 months at Mars Hill is the absolute incineration of a a local church. The charges of heresy, plagiarism, money laundering, misuse of funds, workplace bullying, and the like were bad enough – then they were found to be true! And instead of repenting, the founding pastor, Mark Driscoll, resigned. Resignation isn’t repentance.

MHC subsequently announced that they would be breaking up their separate campuses and going their separate ways, which is all for the best.

It sounds rough, but Mars Hill going down was what had to happen.

  1. Driscoll wasn’t going to and didn’t repent. He never showed signs of true repentance, like, you know, listening to other elders, naming and taking responsibility for specific sins, and remaining under the discipline of the church. No, he just left. That’s not repentance; that’s self-removal.
  2. The ongoing leadership structure was harmful, not helpful, to the church. Anytime a group of men can unilaterally make decisions and cover their own behinds, bad things tend to happen. In a local church, this is toxic. See the charges against Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, for another illustration of what happens in a similarly governed body.
  3. Therefore, Mars Hill SHOULD CLOSE DOWN. The leaders their, Driscoll in particular, had a chokehold on their people, their precious sheep they were called to be under-shepherds for. The simple fact that so many continue to defend MHC and Driscoll after every charge has been validated just goes to show that we, like sheep, so often blindly follow even when the truth says otherwise.

Thus, several lessons are in order for local churches and their leaders particularly:

  1. Church Leadership Structure Matters. Please don’t be so naive as to think that MHC’s top-heavy leadership didn’t play a MASSIVE role in all of this. Scripture teaches that churches are to led by a plurality of elders yet governed by the entire body (Matthew 18, 1 Corinthians 5, Galatians 1, et al.). Mars Hill wildly distorted this teaching, turning the elders into various sub-groups and boards that all reported upward to Driscoll’s henchmen. How do I know? When you listen to Driscoll’s teaching enough, particularly to other pastors, you hear him lampoon congregationalism in favor of his corporate America eldership apart from Scripture.
  2. Church Leadership Character Matters. Are we really to believe that these elders, helping cover up Driscoll’s and others’ sins, were men of integrity? Are we really to believe that the warning signs were not present earlier in their lives, in their decisions, in their families? Or were these men so pliable that they had to bow to Pastor Mark? Either way, the first elder cover-up should have been grounds for discipline. Which leads us to . . .
  3. Unilateral Decision Making is a Bad Idea. Every statement out of Mars Hill seems to come from some lofty Executive Elder Board or “Board of Advisors and Accountability.” Where are the poor, lowly members? Mars Hill had no structure for the church to practice accountability and discipline, as in Scripture. What happened at Mars Hill, time and again, is that a select few elders got together and made decisions to keep their own jobs, not to shepherd their people in the gospel.
  4. Elder Idolatry is a Real Thing. Sabbaticals are healthy – take a break, guys! It doesn’t all depend on you; it depends on Jesus. Mark Driscoll, friends, is not the end-all be-all of Christianity in the Great Northwest; and shame on some of you for acting like it. Jesus will march on in Seattle – without Mars Hill Church to boot.
  5. Public Repentance is a Command, Not an Option. So many Driscoll defenders say he repented. I challenge any and all DD’s to find one place in the last two years where he specifically and publicly named his sins. It’s not possible because he didn’t do it. Vague apology letters don’t cut it. Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:19-20, “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.” The charges came from dozens of people, but the rebuking publicly . . . ummm, that didn’t happen.

“Mars Hill Church burns to the ground” might sound tough. People were hurt, right? Sure they were, but this article and the campuses closing didn’t do it. The leaders did.

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Dear Pastor, Why Not Preach the Word?

One of my favorite radio hosts is always reviewing sermons, and I love it. So it made me wonder: why don’t you, dear pastor, preach the Word?

  1. Do you think that your ideas are wiser than God’s? No? Then preach the Word.
  2. Do you fancy your stories to be more entertaining than God’s Word? No? Then preach the Word.
  3. Do you find your topical sermons to be more directly applicable to people’s lives? Never! It canot be that you are a better exegete than the Holy Spirit! Preach the Word.
  4. Do you think your pop culture references are better connections than those inspired of the Spirit? No? Then preach the Word.
  5. Do you long to see souls saved from sin, death, and hell? God promises only one means, so preach the Word.
  6. Do you want to see Jesus Christ exalted over your own means, methods, and mole-hills? If not, leave the ministry. If so, preach the Word.
  7. Do you want to see Christ’s church upbuilt? Then preach the Word.
  8. Do you want to see your wife and children saved, strengthened, and sustained until the end? Your family vacation stories won’t do it. Preach the Word.
  9. Do you struggle with pride in your ministry? Only one means slays pride, so preach that Word.
  10. Do you care about the gospel ministry more than anything else you could give your life to? You’d better, so preach the Word.

Marriage for the Waiting

Vaughan Olman of Perserveronews.com writes “True Love Doesn’t Wait,” an interesting exposition of and response to Gracefortheroad’s popular memoir, “I Don’t Wait Anymore.” Olman and Grace harmonize on a singular point well: the “True Love Waits” movement, complete with chastity rings and holiness-for-husbands roads, misguide teens (particularly young women) into thinking that it’s better to wait for the perfect husband than simply marry a Christian man as early as possible.

As early as possible, as in, “Not later. Now. As soon as the “burning” starts and you are of age, get married.”

As Ohlman quotes, Martin Luther makes this point well:

To sum the matter up: whoever finds himself unsuited to the celibate life should see to it right away that he has something to do and to work at; then let him strike out in God’s name and get married. A young man should marry at the age of twenty at the latest, a young woman at fifteen to eighteen; that’s when they are still in good health and best suited for marriage. Let God worry about how they and their children are to be fed. God makes children; he will surely also feed them. Should he fail to exalt you and them here on earth, then take satisfaction in the fact that he has granted you a Christian marriage, and know that he will exalt you there; and be thankful to him for his gifts and favours.

At the end, Ohlman ties it all together:

True love doesn’t wait. It marries.

If we as believers make that our message, things could be drastically different for a lot of girls wondering why the God they think they learned to follow doesn’t compute.

[Grace for the Road] It doesn’t necessarily stop the desire for a husband or end all feelings of loneliness, but it does show a God who provides, loves and gives infinite purpose even to our singleness rather than a God who categorically denies some who pray for husbands while seemingly giving freely to others.

Our culture, our church, our fathers, have placed our young women, especially, in the position of blaming God for a fault of the church. They were taught to wait, to pray. And then, when the husband they were praying for didn’t come, they were taught, and taught each other, to be content… to find contentment in Christ instead of a husband.

That’s good stuff. Or, rather, it would be good if it were true. If getting married was really supposed to be a thing of waiting and praying instead of a going and doing. I don’t blame these young ladies, I don’t blame this young lady. But I do blame those that failed her. I blame us. We taught her, we taught them, that true love waits.

But true love doesn’t wait. It marries.

So what are our local churches, propelled by gospel love, doing to make this understanding become an expanding reality for our young people? How many would have been saved years of heartache, trouble, doubt, and unbelief in Christ were we to simply teach the Scriptures?

How to Disagree on the Insider Movement

. . . without being disagreeable. Kevin DeYoung posts three questions and three concerns in response to the current Christianity Today cover article on the “Insider Movement,” in which former Muslim converts to Christ decide to stay in their Muslim worship context.

He closes with this:

Christianity Today is to be commended for highlighting such an important issue for the global church. What is less encouraging is the cautious endorsement of the insider movement in their editorial and the many weaknesses evident in this featured interview. Let us pray for seminaries, denominations, pastors, missionaries, mission committees, churches, and parachurch agencies as they think through these significant challenges and try to avoid these attractive compromises.

Isolated and Jointless

Your Body is Meant for a Bigger Body

Reflecting on the recent Atlantic article by Stephen Marche about how loneliness is on the rise, particularly with internet users, I remembered God’s words in Ephesians and Colossians about how the local church is held together by its “joints and ligaments,” in other words, by its relationships.

If people are the parts, the joining-together-ness (to coin a rough word) must be their relationships.

And if, as Marche says, “Loneliness is at the American core, a by-product of a long-standing national appetite for independence,” then we as Americans are particularly tempted to isolate ourselves. Westerners, it seems, are self-separators, more likely to retreat than truly connect.

In other words, since we value independence, we implicitly value our own rights to stay away from other people. Other people are messy, other people are time-consuming, other people are sinners.

Yet the Bible tells us at this point that the sins, time, and gifts of others are exactly what we need. Why else would God tell us to forgive each other and bear with each other in the church, if we aren’t even interacting enough to wrong each other? These are surely not the commands of loneliness.

So we must ask ourselves:

  • Do I feel isolated and jointless?
  • Am I self-apparently a lonely person?
  • Do I invest significant time, daily and weekly, into the people who ought to be most important to me?

Disciplining ourselves for godliness means disciplining ourselves for
costly, time-consuming, needy relationships that matter most in
eternity. God surely didn’t give us those relationships to throw away, and the deepest of them ought to be in the immediate family and in the local church.

Afflicting the Unconverted

Mike McKinley’s Together for the Gospel 2012 talk about preaching to self-deceived unbelievers in our churches is full of gems. Here’s one:

“[Self-help teaching] only creates high-functioning citizens of hell.”

The whole thing is worth listening to, particularly if you don’t realize the effect of so-called “cultural Christianity.”

As McKinley reminds us, Christianity is a radical thing, not something you slide into because it’s convenient. It is our job, as believers, to help people see their true spiritual state.

A Family Better than a Billion Bars

Working the late-night shift lately I’ve seen how easy it is for single men (and, sadly, too many married men) to architect shaky “friendships” with women. These men drink, they party, they say dirty things to these women and their friends. Despite themselves, they might even get a few phone numbers.

But what they never get is a real relationship. Not out there, at the Irish bar at two in the morning anyway.

What’s more is this: I know that I could easily be out there with them, if not for the mercy of God.

I would be out there with them because I enjoy hanging out with women. God made women beautiful, but not mainly on the outside. Ladies have a kind of joy, gentleness, compassion, and love for people that men like me find baffling.

So instead of leaving me to seek such false friendships in an unsafe, foolish, and evil way (read: flirting and fornication), my good Lord gave me a mother who exemplifies each of those. So I was blessed to know and grow up with my godly mother.

Through her prayers, God brought me my wife, whose beauty shines in her character, full of love, compassion, and service, then it shines through in her appearance. She is my glory, and I am blessed to know and be known by her better than anyone.

Though my wife, God gave me daughters to know and love. In their lives, I see how God has particularly shaped young women to show off Jesus.

And through the rest of my family, grandmothers, my mother-in-law, aunts, sisters-in-law, cousins, and nieces to boot, God has give me a family literally full of godly women. In such a family, He graciously protects me from my sin while showing me the beauty of Jesus in the character of these godly women. I am truly blessed.

The Bible teaches the same principle in places like 1 Timothy 5:1-2:

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

While there is always more to the Scriptures and never less, one of the things Paul is teaching Timothy is that, in the Lord, we have safe familial relationships in the church. Men, we are meant to treat younger women as sisters, not lust-targets. We know this because God says we are to encourage these ladies “in all purity.”

In the Lord, I have a family better than a billion bars. I praise Him for my wife and the so many more godly women in my life.

How the Great Commission Will Get Finished

African Bible College professor Larry Brown weighs in:

But I am convinced that the Great Commission will not be completed by a “seeker friendly” church with an in-house rock band, a comedy team, a gift shop and a coffee bar. Nor will it be completed by a mission trip that looks like a church youth group retreat. It will be completed by the career missionary who has just buried his child who died from a tropical disease. It will be completed by the “developing world” pastor who has just been released from prison where they pulled out his toenails with pliers because his government didn’t like his evangelistic activities.

We all know that because of what Christ did for us, salvation is free. But the Great Commission calls for sacrifice. Who will pay that “cost of discipleship?”

God’s Love Isn’t Blank


“Sheilling by Glenmarkie Burn Waterfall” by Sarah McGuire
licensed under Creative Commons License Share Alike 2.0

Often, we hear of “God’s love” as this vanilla, ambling, faceless force in the universe. “It’s all about God’s love, man.” But often professing Christians know neither (1) where this love is from nor (2) where it is going.

From Father to Son to Father
The Bible, however, is clear. “Love comes from God” (1 John 4:7) doesn’t mean that it merely emanates from His person like smoke from a fire. It is an tungsten filament shining out light’s unstoppable beam – because that filament is already white-hot.

So how and why is God already white-hot? God has always been white-hot love because He always loves His Son. This is a perfectly blazing love, because it runs back and forth between two perfect Beings who are One. “You loved me before the foundation of the world,” Jesus says of the Father in John 17:24. What a perfect love is this!

To Children to Son to Father
So how then does God love His children? It is out of this white-hot love for His Son Jesus that He loves His children forever. “In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself,” says Ephesians 1:5. Jesus is God’s chosen means for adopting many more sons into His glory. (This is also why He requires repentance for all who come to Christ, but we leave that for another post.)

God’s love doesn’t ramble over the countryside, looking for a place to plop down and muse over a random knoll or vale. He purposed to save everyone He calls through faith, and He purposed and placed and substituted and saved through Jesus Christ alone.

Further, not only is His love accomplished through Jesus Christ, it is aimed back toward Christ. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers,” (Romans 8:29). In other words, everything God does in salvation returns to magnify the glory of the Firstborn-over-many-brothers, Christ Jesus.

God is the Goal (Not Us)
As application, notice that God’s love neither originates nor culminates with us. We are neither the measure, nor the means, nor the magnification of His grace! He is the Starter, He is the Sustainer, He is the Savior, He is the Shine and Sparkle and Sublimity of salvation! His love is no plain, path-less, mindlessly placating love. It births and bounces and breaks and brings us to Jesus!

And so does all true love. (To be continued . . . )

The Spirit and the Bride Say, “Come”

I love the simple beauty of the Scriptures. Today I was struck by this simple phrase, “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come,’ ” (Revelation 22:17).

Just a few amazing things about this little passage:

  1. Call: After all the judgments, warnings, exhortations, proddings, visions, terror, and joy of the Revelation of Jesus Christ (aka, “Revelation”), the Holy Spirit and the Bride speak together. They say, “Come. Come get some living water. It’s free. Come on, come now, come all.”

    Not to make the Bible out to be merely a book of God’s pleadings, as though (like J.I. Packer so deftly put it in his excellent essay-introduction to John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ) God were pathetic and wringing His hands at how sinners reject Him, but God’s Spirit and His church here close the entire Bible by pleading with sinners! “Come!”

  2. Church and Spirit: The church and the Spirit speak in agreement here. The church and the Spirit are on mission together. The church and the Spirit speak the judgments and the joy of God, then they call, “Come. Come to Jesus. Come take His free water. Come.”

    This must give great hope to missionaries the world over. Wherever we work and whatever we do, we are called to call others to Jesus. It can be as simple as explaining the end of the world and commanding, “Come. Come to Jesus.” His Spirit is speaking with us!

  3. Word: The church says what the Word says, the Spirit says what the Word says, the Spirit says what the church says. The local church is meant to be in full agreement with God’s Spirit and His Word. There is no division. United are the three.

    Hope must spring from knowing that God’s Word, Spirit, and church cannot fail. His Word won’t return empty, His Spirit moves and saves wherever He wishes, and His church even stands against the gates of hell!

So say it with the Spirit and the Word. “Come. Come, take the water of life, without cost.”

Church, Love All Your Families

From Pastor Kevin DeYoung, in “Love for the Big and the Small

Think of all the trouble we get into in the church, and on this issue in particular, because we assume the worst. Big families assume smaller families are being selfish. Smaller families assume big families are out to prove something. Parents assume their children are rejecting their choices when they make different ones. Children assume their parents would have acted like them if they were more spiritual. And everybody assumes everybody else is assuming something about them!

This is not the way of 1 Corinthians 13 love and it has to stop. Let’s assume the best of each other on this issue and not assume we’re being judged because someone else feels strongly about the way they do things.

My Wife Does Work . . . In Our Home

In the past few years of schoolteaching, I’ve often been asked the backloaded question, “Does your wife work?” The mere posing of the question brings me half a laugh and half a gasp. I generally to answer pleasantly, “Yes, she does work, very hard, in our home, with our children.”

But the whole conversation goes deeper than two or three sentences can show. Like the well-written banter of a good drama, every phrase carries meaning:

Does your wife work?” The whole question assumes something, namely, that – lest they be left to gallivant around town on their husband’s money – every wife should be working outside the home. Let’s examine that biblically for a moment. Titus 2:3-5 says,

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

So Paul tells Titus to teach his church about their roles as older women, younger women, older men, and younger men. He tells the older women to disciple the younger, and in that discipleship to teach them to be the kind of family-first women that will honor “the word of God.” That’s a high calling.

So, the very question is at its essence anti-biblical: “Does your wife work (primarily outside the home)? Because she should.”

On the other hand, though, the “work” part of the assumption is a good thing. Proverbs 31 tells us that the excellent, hard-to-find wife is like an nocturnal ant-army:

She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens…
She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.

So, yes, my wife should be working, but not mainly in the way this question means it. The Proverbs 31 woman works hard, mainly for her own family.

“Yes, she does work . . .” Of course she works. If she didn’t, if I didn’t, and if anyone doesn’t, that person is a sloppy, sluggish worm burping, grazing, and floating through life. They don’t deserve even to eat. So that can’t be the question.

So I try to both agree and disagree with the question. First, I’m saying, “Yes, you’re right. She should be working.”

But then I’m disagreeing. . .

“very hard . . .” Before I state my exact disagreement, I want the questioner to know something: my wife works very hard. Whatever you think about what she does, you need to know that she works as hard or harder than your or I do. You need to know that working in the home is no joke.

“in our home . . .” Instead of making my disagreement sound disagreeable, I try to phrase it as a clarification. “My wife does work – just not where you think she should. She works in our home, on our family.” The questioner needs to know that this work I’m describing is the work of a home-maker, and it’s not easy.

“with our children.” The final phrase is meant to point out that God means wives to truly build the family, and not just “keep house.” The excellent wife is the earthly glue that holds a family together. She doesn’t just “cook, clean, and do laundry;” she thinks, plans, acts, and oversees the family while the husband is providing for the family.

She is his vice president of operations; he authorizes her to do everything necessary to care for the family while he is gone. She is her family’s main lover, laugher, counselor, schoolteacher, organizer, purchaser, tailor, caterer, interior decorator, and on the list goes.

Conclusion
While none of this is meant to be a slam on the questioners or wives who work mainly outside the home, we must acknowledge that God’s plan is for the wife to work mainly inside the home, loving her husband so he doesn’t have to do the wife’s job and caring for her family by wearing a million feminine hats. The excellent, home-making wife truly is a gift. I know mine is.

New Series!

In case you’re new here, the list of serial posts grows daily. Here are the last few:

For Those Inclined to “Christian” Mysticism

  1. You Should Read the Whole Bible
  2. The Trinity is a Three-Unity
  3. The Red Letters Aren’t Better
  4. Dividing Up the Gospels
  5. Too Proud for the Word
  6. God is the Good Indoctrinator
  7. Doctrine-less Unity?
  8. Sorry, You’re Missing the Point

The Gospel vs. Legalism

  1. Jesus Taught Justification by Faith Alone
  2. Did Jesus Teach Justification by Works?
  3. What Preaching the Gospel Is, and Isn’t
  4. Matthew 23: More Reasons “Do Stuff” Isn’t the Gospel
  5. “Do Stuff” Isn’t the Gospel
  6. Drink Deeply of Jesus Christ
  7. Hate at the Bottom of Your Heart
  8. Opinions We Make Into Law
  9. Is Your Church Characterized by Commands or Christ?

Biblical Manhood

  1. Lessons on Manhood from the NC Tornadoes
  2. Boys to Boys?
  3. Be a Better Man (to a friend on getting married)
  4. Fathers, Be Happy in the Lord

As always, you can find an updated list on the “Popular Series” page above.

You Should Read the Whole Bible

Since the red letters aren’t better, and all of God’s revelation points to Jesus, we ought to read the whole Bible.

Some folks find the Old Testament – and others the writings of Paul and the apostles – too difficult for regular reading. I can sympathize. For years, I wandered between the Gospels and Proverbs, just praying for answers to jump off the pages and bite me in the brain.

But then I learned this: the whole Bible is about Jesus, and every passage has something to do with knowing and enjoying Him.

These are my words that I spoke to you while I was
still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and
the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.

If you believe that – straight from Luke 24 – then a few other things flow from it:

  1. The Bible is about GOD. The entirety of Scripture, and all its parts, isn’t mainly about me, or you, or our lives, but about Christ – His life, death, resurrection, and return.
  2. Reading the Bible is for our joy in Jesus. The whole thing is meant to promote happy trust in Christ as Son of God, Savior of His Bride, and Fountain of Joy.
  3. Every part helps us know Christ. If the entire Bible is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16), then every word teaches us more about Christ. Every phrase helps us trust Him and fellowship with Him.
  4. It’s all good. Some Scripture passages might be more readable, but no passages are unimportant.
  5. This is where the Spirit speaks. “The Holy Spirit says” Scripture in Hebrews 3:7, and Jesus says in John 16:13 that the Spirit “will guide you into all truth.” That’s the Bible.
  6. This is how God intended it. God wants us to read the whole Bible to know Jesus. Since He inspired the whole thing, and since it’s all about Christ, it is all for us to know Him more fully.

For two years running, I’ve read through the Psalms with my students. We have been amazed both years, more and more as each year went along, at the full, glory-filled, jaw-dropping pictures of Jesus in this Old Testament book! (See my notes on Psalm 101, Psalm 94, and Psalm 80 for more.)

So read your whole Bible. Don’t just camp out in your favorite passages (Numbers, anyone?); read the whole thing. And keep reading it – it’s where Jesus lives. Off to read!

Tied Up with the Local Church

Even the Old Testament has much to say about life in the local church. Consider Psalm 106:4-5:

Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people;
help me when you save them,
that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones,
that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation,
that I may glory with your inheritance.

Verse 4 says that our individual salvation is tied up with that of the church, much like Ephesians 5 says that Christ loved and gave Himself up not for individuals alone, but for individuals gathered as His church. The psalmist here cries out to be included in God’s people for His salvation. He sees his own salvation as tied up with the local church, the believing people of God.

Verse 5 goes even further to explain the biblical “heart” of the matter. It forces us to ask the questions:

  • Do I see my joy wrapped up in the local church’s?
  • Do I enjoy seeing their spiritual prosperity because God has chosen them?
  • Do I rejoice in their gladness? When they are glad in God, am I made more glad in God?
  • Do I glory in their spiritual inheritance in Christ? Are does seeing their future hopes bolster mine?

Questions like these are tough to ask, but they get to the heart of our joys, much as Psalm 16:2-3:

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land,
they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

A singular love for God Himself births a singular love for the people of God. Loving God walks in the shoes of loving our neighbors, primarily the local church. The enjoyment of God is never a closed course; we want to see everyone enroll and rejoice.

Scoffers may have a hard time with it (“Those Christians, only loving each other!”), but Jesus said it would be the mark of His people. Because of the cross, because of the resurrection, because of our together-inheritance in Christ, let us set our love on Jesus and our joys on watching Him work in the local church.

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