Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here’s this week’s question: “Dear Dave and T.A., I greatly appreciate your ministry and I believe that it is much needed in the church today. However, I once heard Dave mention that he would much rather talk about devotional things than address problems within the church. What are your favorite devotional topics?”
Tom: I like this question, Dave, because, you know, we do say that from time to time.
Dave: I’m being misquoted, Tom. I haven’t really said it in those words.
Tom: Okay, but it’s still a great idea.
Dave: I don’t think I said “devotional” things. I’ve said I’d much rather talk about the Lord…
Dave: …and the gospel, the cross…
Tom: All right. What about? Give us some examples.
Dave: Well, we’ve been talking about it when we talked about The Passion of the Christ. This is the heart of the Bible. Paul said, “God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And we’re having the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ misrepresented—acting it out on the screen, contrary to what the Bible says the way it should be done. It’s the Word.
We are born again, Peter says, by the Word of God. This is the living Word of God. This is the gospel that is preached to us.
And so, I want to talk about the Lord—I mean, for example, Tom, Scripture says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good.” David says, “I have one desire: to dwell in the house of the Lord; to behold the beauty of the Lord, all the days of my life.”
What do we know about the beauty of the Lord and tasting and seeing? And you think about tasting—you’ve got to have taste buds, you know? I’ll make a confession—I like to have ice cream (if I take it. I try to avoid it!) but when I have it…
Dave: …in a cone!
Tom: When?? Oh, okay.
Dave: In a cone. You know why? Because you can lick it! You just get—wow! Those taste buds are just exulting in that flavor, rather than just kind of in a spoon you swallow it down. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” But God gave us taste buds. That’s wonderful, isn’t it? Now, how do I have a taste for the Lord? How do I develop a taste for the things of God rather than the amusements of this world?
And, remember: “a-musement,” a-muse—it’s “against thinking.”
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord. In his law doth he meditate day and night.”
Tom, I could go on forever and forever talking about the Lord—how wonderful He is, the beauty of the Lord, and what He has done, His grace, His mercy, you know, the redemption we have in Christ Jesus, and His…the wonderful Word of God. So I must prefer that to talking about the apostasy, the heresies, and so forth…but Paul spent a great deal of time about that. Most of the epistles are written to correct error. So I could hardly deal with the epistles and with Paul’s life and ministry without talking about error, can I?
Tom: Dave, also I know that when you preach—we have tapes here, we have CDs, in which your joy is to talk about the Lord. And when you say that “Taste and see,” from the scriptures, “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” there’s also an experiential part of that.
Dave: Of course! That’s what it is.
Tom: In other words, time after time after time—you did it on this program—the person that God puts next to you on a flight, you’re tasting and seeing that the Lord is good. The Lord is guiding and directing you, putting you in a situation in which He wants to use you to His glory for the benefit of others—that’s tasting and seeing that the Lord is good, isn’t it?
Dave: Well, yes, it’s seeing—it’s experiencing God’s guidance, but I think that tasting and seeing…
Tom: But don’t you experience what He is…how He is using you in that particular situation?
Dave: Oh, of course…
Tom: To me, that’s a taste of heaven…
Dave: Of course, but I want to get more into His character and His love, and so forth. Everybody doesn’t appreciate that. They don’t have a taste for the Lord. We talk about, “Well, that’s your taste, this is my taste,” and so forth. We all should have a taste for the Lord. But we have to develop that, really. How do we really increase—how does our love for Christ increase?
Tom: Good question…
Dave: We meditate on His Word—it tells us of His love. We spend time in His presence. He really does communicate to us, and communicates as by faith we believe what the Bible says about His concern for us, His compassion. The psalms are full of that, for example. You can meditate on—in the psalms, on the Lord.
So, Paul, Acts 20: He said…he’s telling the elders at Ephesus, he’s warning them about apostasy that’s coming. And he says, “Of your own selves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them.” Then he says, “You know by the space of three years, I ceased not to warn every one of you night and day, with tears.” Now, I’ve been criticized, now you’ve been criticized, The Berean Call’s been criticized: Well, we’re “too negative,” we spend too much time talking about the apostasy, about false doctrine, pointing out what’s wrong with Catholicism—they have a false gospel, or even what we just said about this film. “Can’t you just be positive? Just leave it alone!” When you think of Paul, for three years, night and day, he is weeping. He is warning with tears! With weeping. Tom, we haven’t even begun to get concerned yet. We are really out of it. We need to be more concerned.
Tom: Look, let me just interject this: Paul didn’t have—certainly there was apostasy, there were all kinds of things going on, false teachings and so on, but he didn’t have the media—whether you call it Christian or secular, or whatever, it’s just…Wow!
Dave: It’s a…the heart of man the same, but it’s a worse world. They have developed a whole lot more, and particularly inside the church. The things that Paul is correcting of the Corinthians, or the Galatians, or, you know, works gospel, or whatever it is—wow! Scarcely comes close to what we have today.
So, Tom, on the one hand, we love the Lord so much we would prefer to talk about Him, and we do—and praise Him, and worship Him, and communicate to others the wonder of His grace and of His love. On the other hand, you have to talk about these things in the context of the error that otherwise would obscure it, and there is no way you can escape that responsibility.