Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Grow Up and Love

Dannah Gresh: Pastor and author Chris Brooks says the way you treat others is directly related to how much you’re feeding on God’s Word, the Bible.

Pastor Chris Brooks: The more you gaze upon the Word, the more your hope will be rooted in Him, the more you will mature in your love. You’ll become a better lover of people as you become a better student of the Word.

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Forgiveness, for Friday, April 30, 2021. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nancy, have you noticed? I’m sure you have. The world around us is a little unstable! 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: No kidding, Dannah! Just think about the past year or so, with the coronavirus pandemic, racial tensions . . .

Dannah: . . . all the anger surrounding the election, Capitol riots . . .who would have thought?

Nancy: And now, a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions is at our nation’s borders. It seems like there are shootings in the news every time you turn around!

Dannah: And who knows what else might have happened and will be hitting our headlines by the time this podcast airs?

Nancy: And, Dannah, here’s one of the things that concerns me, and I know it concerns you, it’s not just what we’re hearing about the instability in our world, but in the midst of all this chaos, it feels like the tone of so many believers is belligerent, angry, sometimes just plain mean.

Dannah: So true. My heart is grieved so often. It’s probably never been a more important time for believers of Jesus to be grounded firmly in the Word of God. 

Nancy: And Dannah, I know you and Erin Davis and Portia Collins and others co-host a weekly video podcast for Revive Our Hearts called Grounded. I just keep thinking that topic, that theme, is so timely. That’s why we chose that as the theme for our next Revive Our Hearts conference this fall. The theme is: Grounded: Standing Firm in a Shaking World.

We want to be women who are grounded in Christ, in the gospel, and as Ephesians 3:17 says, “rooted and grounded in love.” 

Dannah: Yes, Nancy. One of our speakers at Revive ’21 will be Pastor Chris Brooks. You may already feel like he is a good friend or a mentor, because he’s the host of Equipped with Chris Brooks, which is a program heard on many of our partner stations. Chris and his wife, Yodit, are the parents of six children.

Nancy: They are. I’ll tell you, every time I’ve heard Chris Brooks or been interviewed on his program or had a conversation with him, I’ve felt like this is a man who is a kindred spirit. He “gets” Revive Our Hearts. He has a heart for revival; he loves God’s Word; he loves people, and he’s going to help us at Revive ’21to be women who are more grounded in Christ.

Dannah: Yes! Yesterday we listened to the first part of a message Chris delivered last fall at Woodside Bible Church, his home church in Detroit. He was preaching his way verse-by-verse through 1 Peter, and he came to these verses at the end of chapter 1.

Nancy: Yes, I want to read those verses. But let me say, the reason this series caught my attention first is because they called the series Unshakable (sounds kind of like Grounded, doesn’t it?). That’s when I felt the Lord put it on my heart to invite Chris to come and speak at the Grounded conference, Revive ’21,this fall.

So let me read the passage that Chris will be referencing in the part of the message we’ll hear today. I’m reading in 1 Peter chapter 1, beginning in verse 22. The Scripture says, 

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable through the living and abiding word of God [that sounds like something that’s grounded, right?] for all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever (vv. 22–25). 

That’s truly unshakable, truly grounded! Now let’s listen to Pastor Chris Brooks.

Pastor Chris: What testimony do you think it is when a world that is weary of bickering and division, vitriol, and polarization come into our community and they see us loving each other—across socio-economic lines, across political lines, across racial and ethnic lines?

What testimony is it when we’re serving one another and caring for one another, embracing one another, there for one another in heartache and hardship? I want the testimony of our church and the testimony of our fellowship to be that we love one another earnestly and deeply! 

There are people in our fellowship who feel isolated, alone, disconnected. I will tell you that this particular commandment is so much easier to live out when we’re in community with one another. Peter is kind of presupposing that wherever they are scattered abroad, that they understand the value of covenant and Christian community.

When you hear our leaders talk about groups—Life Groups and all of these wonderful things—these are more than just announcements, more than just fancy programs. They are our way of encouraging you to create and involve yourself in the formation of a community that reflects the ethos of the New Testament, that allows us to love one another deeply!

How many want our community to be marked by love, to be marked by a Christ-like love, a sacrificial love, a love that gives itself away because it has no fear? What hinders love? I will tell you the greatest hindrance to love is fear. We are afraid.

We are afraid of being mistreated or taken advantage of or not rewarded. But when we put our hope in Christ, we will never be disappointed! Again, this is a barometer of how much is our hope in Christ. Well, you want to know? Look at how you love. If you can love one another with this reckless abandon, trusting in Jesus, then it’s evident that your faith is in the right place.

Now, why can we have confidence? We have confidence because we’ve been born again. We can do this because we’ve been born again—but this time, not with perishable seed, but imperishable. By comparing or contrasting perishable to imperishable, what he’s looking at is natural birth (perishable) versus supernatural birth through the Word of God.

Here’s his premise, that everything that is born naturally will ultimately die. Flowers die, the grass will die, kingdoms of this world will die, our physical bodies will die. But everything that is born of imperishable seed, the imperishable seed of the Word of God, will live and last forever! Why? Because His Word never fails! How many praise God for that!? (applause)

And this Word is the good news that was preached to you, and Peter promises this. In verse 25 he says, “but the word of the Lord remains forever.” It remains through every era and epoch, it remains through every season and situation. It remains and stands strong when the economy is good and when the economy is bad.

If you put your hope in this Word, it will remain strong when your body is sick and when it’s healthy. It will remain strong when your career trajectory is what you want and when there’s a bump in the road. If you put your hope in this imperishable Word, it will remain strong regardless of who is elected!

If you put your hope in this imperishable Word, it will remain strong no matter which direction it looks like your children might be going. If you put your faith in this imperishable Word, your hope will remain forever, because your life will be kept guarded by God’s power, where thieves can’t break in and moths can’t corrupt (see Matt. 6:19–20).God is the only place, my friends, where we can put our hope and have full confidence. 

Now, again, one of the ways that you know that your heart is rightly in line with the Word of God is your response to the Word when it’s preached. There are times when I’m going through my study of Scripture and I say, “God, that does not sit right with me!” It is far easier for me to preach to you, “Love your enemies,” than for me to do it. Right? . . . just full of transparency.

But the reality is, that’s more of a barometer of my own heart, it’s more of a revelation of where I need to grow. This takes us to our next point. Peter expects for us to grow up! He doesn’t expect us to remain babes; he expects us to grow up in love! Grow up in love! Don’t remain an infant; don’t remain a Christian who is still mistreating people, a Christian who can easily cut off people.

How many are professionals at cutting people off? How many can easily do it? I mean, you can easily delete somebody from your contacts and not lose any sleep about it? Anybody have a spiritual gift that knows how to block people on social media? (laughter) That is your spiritual gift; you can block anybody, right!? And you don’t lose sleep over it. 

You can be isolated from the community of believers and be okay with that. You can have conflict with somebody who is saying they’re a believer, and you’re okay with that. You can see a brother in need and say, “Well, too bad for him. He needs to work as hard as I work!” . . . and kind of be okay with that. That’s immature Christianity!

Mature Christianity grows up to the point where you are able to do verses 1–3 of chapter 2. Look at what it says: “So put away [put away what?] all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

“If you have tasted” or “since you have tasted” that the Lord is good, grow up, put off some things and long for better things! First, the “put off.” What are you putting off? This phrase “put off” means to cast aside or to get rid of. It gives us the word picture of the image of a garment that you take off and say, “I am never wearing this again!”

Does anybody have those old photos that you look at and see what you were wearing about a decade or two ago. You say, “How in the world did I ever wear that?!” Anybody experience that? Maybe three of you, praise God. (We should get blackmail photos and just pop ‘em up throughout the service on the screen. Photos of you from the 70s, the 80s, the 90s!)

There is surely a whole lot of that for me, right? There are certain clothes that I feel like I will throw in the fire, never wanting to see that again! Well, Peter is saying this is exactly what it should be like here. You should give up malice . . .

Malice, what is that? That’s just a general way of saying broadly mistreating people, being cruel to people, being evil or unkind to people. Put away deceit; this is deception by misrepresenting the truth. You should not be okay lying or misrepresenting the truth.

In the 90s, there was this business invention known as “situational ethics.” It basically was another way of saying that the ends justify the means. If you have to be a little bit deceptive because it’s going to pay off for your bottom line, then go ahead and do it; God forgives you.

Then we start creating color categories for lies: there are “little white lies” and then there are big lies. Here’s the reality: God wants us to be a people of truth—not situationally, but all the time. Put away hypocrisy! This is playacting. This is saying that you ascribe to a particular moral set of values, but, “really, I’m willing to live that way.” It’s proclaiming one thing but living another.

Put away envy; this is jealousy, jealousy because someone has something that you want and think you deserve. Listen, one of the things that liberates all of us is to know that what God has for you, it’s for you. God is good to you; God is faithful to you.

Another way of freeing yourself from this envy is to say, “I don’t deserve all the grace and mercy that I’ve received!” How many can honestly say that if God never did another thing for you, that He would still be worthy of all the praise, all the glory, and the honor for all He has done? How many can say that from your heart?

If you never gained a promotion, didn’t get the bigger home, didn’t get the accolades, if He never did another thing, He’s still—because of what already has done—is worthy of all of my praise! Put [envy] away!

Put away slander. Slander! Speaking cruel or evil of another brother or sister in Christ. I’m amazed, especially in this hour, how quickly we will turn on one another, how quickly we will misinterpret someone’s actions or deeds and fire off an email or a mean post about someone, a brother or a sister in Christ—in particular, those who maybe are more high profile. 

We don’t even know them, and we just take one statement or one action, and we create a whole profile. It’s so easy to assassinate someone in this hour with your words. Peter says, “Don’t let that be named among you (see Eph. 5:3). Throw it away, burn it up, never to be worn again!”

You know, when I became a husband, there were things I needed to put away. Love requires that. There were other single guys that I was cool with before Yodit Brooks came into my life, but when I got married to her, I didn’t hang out with my single buddies anymore. I even put away video games for my wife! Can I just get an amen for that? (applause)

There are even times—get this—where my wife walks into the room, where I will cut off the game to show her that I love her! Now, when she leaves, I put it back on, but when she’s there, I want her to know, “Baby, you are more important than any of these things!” Some sacrifices for love are hard; these sacrifices for love should be easy. 

It should be easy for us to put away slander. It should be easy for us to say, “No, that’s not how you handle conflict with a brother or sister in Christ. You don’t just leave the church because something was said that offended you. No, you try to work together to reconcile the situation.

You don't walk out of a marriage just because you had a bad week or a bad month or a bad year. No, you show longsuffering. Besides her being your wife, she is your sister in Christ. Which, by the way, should rank pretty high on the list of why you should treat her really, really well!

The fact of the matter, friends, is that our love is of a different quality; it’s of a different standard. “But,” Peter goes on to say, “you need to grow up in it.” Because even after you’ve been redeemed by this imperishable seed of the Word of God, you still aren’t perfect, are you?

How many have come to Christ, love Jesus, but still blow it? Anybody out there besides me? Alright? You still find that there are times when you show malice or deceit or hypocrisy or envy or slander. You don’t have to raise your hand, but the fact of the matter is that we all are at different stages of that. That’s fine, because we are growing. The worst thing we could do is stay a babe.

But how do we grow? By longing for the pure spiritual milk. What is the pure spiritual milk? It goes back to 1 Peter 1:22: it is the “obedience to the truth” that he talks about. It is this imperishable seed of the Word of God, the Word that endures forever. He is not mentioning his convictions here. He is very clear that the sincere milk is the Word of God.

In other words, the more you gaze upon the Word, the more your hope will be rooted in Him, the more you will mature in your love. You’ll become a better lover of people as you become a better student of the Word. Does that make sense to anyone?

I love this metaphor that he uses. He uses this metaphor of desiring milk. Now, for dads like me who still have infants, this is something that is easily relatable to. My little Christiana, I’ll probably make two or three bottles out of the eight or so that she’ll probably have a day, along with steak and potatoes and all the other things that a ten-month-old eats. (laughter)

She’s almost at a fever pitch when she sees Daddy shaking up that bottle, because she knows the good stuff is coming! She wants the bottle! That’s how we should be for the Word: “Give me more!”

I was with a sweet family Friday night from our church who has a daughter. I think she’s fifteen, a tenth grader in high school. We were talking about our services and the mom says, “Hey, our daughter feels like you should take more time preaching! She really loves your preaching!” 

I said, “Please write that letter to the elders!” No, our elders love us, but the reality is, that’s the attitude and the heart that we should have! We should have a heart for the Word that says, “Give me more!”

Now, everything can’t be accomplished in a weekend service. That’s why we have community and groups so that we can talk about the Word, unpack it ,and live it together. But your heart in the morning should crave the Word . . . in the afternoon . . . in the evening.

You wouldn’t go weeks without eating. Why would we go that long without diving into the Word? And as we do, we will grow up. We’ll love one another more; we’ll be more earnest. Why? Because we will taste the goodness of God. And how was that goodness expressed? It was expressed through the cross of Christ.

So, what is your response to that? I pray for the believer that your response will be love one another more earnestly. I pray for the unbeliever who is longing for love that what you will hear me say is that there is a place, there is a Person that can love you like no other and that will love you in a way that will transform your life.

Better than that meal I had in Budapest, Hungary, He will transform your life forever and for eternity from the inside out. A lover of your soul, His Name is Jesus, Who died for you . . . and even more, rose again so that by faith and trust in Him You might be saved!

So after this service, if today you want to give your heart to Jesus or come home again, there will be leaders up here who will gladly pray with you so that you can have your hope renewed in Jesus Christ. And how many thank God that He is trustworthy? How many praise God for that? (applause) Amen!

Nancy: You’ve been listening to pastor and radio host Chris Brooks in a message he gave to his church in metro Detroit, challenging all of us to grow up in love. He called this message “Love Is a Verb, and it reminds me that love is not just something we feel. It shows itself in our actions, and don’t we need that today!?

As we mentioned earlier in the program, Chris will be one of the speakers at the Revive ‘21 conference in Indianapolis coming this fall, October 8 and 9.

Dannah: Nancy, we have Chris on the line right now. Pastor Brooks, thank you so much for this challenging word we just heard from you on loving one another earnestly and how our hunger for the Word is going to affect the way we love others.

Pastor Chris:

Nancy: Thank you so much, Pastor Chris Brooks. We’re so looking forward to hearing what God lays on your heart to bring to us next October 8 and 9 at Revive ’21. Again, the theme for that conference is Grounded: Standing Firm in a Shaking World.

To register for the in-person event in Indianapolis or for the livestream, be sure to visit our website ReviveOurHearts.com.

Dannah: I want to remind you that today is also the last day of our spring sale, so be sure to check out the discounted items there while you’re visiting the website. And that reminds me, one practical way you can show love to a friend is by encouraging him or her with an old-fashioned handwritten note.

The Heaven Rules note cards are a great tool for doing that. Right now, they’re our way of thanking you when you make a donation of any size to support the work here at Revive Our Hearts. Just contact us at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Nancy: And thank you so much for your prayers and for your financial support of Revive Our Hearts. Now, have you thought about the connection between how well you love others and your prayer life? Our guest on Monday has.

Kathy Branzell heads up the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Dannah and I had the opportunity to talk with Kathy recently. Dannah, I know you’d agree, it was an amazing and encouraging conversation! 

Dannah: It sure was. I loved it! I can’t wait to share it with you!

Nancy: Next week Kathy is going to explain that connection between our prayer life and how we love others. I pray you’ll love your fellow believers earnestly this weekend, and then be sure and be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you grow in love. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

*Chris Brooks is the Senior Pastor at Woodside Bible Church in Metro Detroit. https://woodsidebible.org/

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Speaker

Chris Brooks

Chris Brooks

Chris Brooks is the host of the national syndicated radio program, Equipped with Chris Brooks, which is heard on over 200 stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. He is …

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