Do You Believe That God Loves You?
That’s the question a professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School asked her class of 120 students, all of whom were preparing for some form of vocational ministry.
Out of 120 ministerial students, do you know how many answered, “Yes, I believe God loves me”? Only two. Now, granted, some probably felt this was a trick question. But still—only two people? The rest of the class gave answers like this, 1. “I know I’m supposed to say, ‘Yes.’ 2. “I know the Bible says He loves me, but I don’t feel it.” 3. “I’m not sure I can really say I believe it.”
This story was told by Pastor Colin Smith of the Arlington Heights church, The Orchard (http://www.unlockingthebible.org/the-love-of-god-and-the-patience-of-christ/). And it has the ring of authenticity to me, because in my ministry—and in my own heart—I encounter this dilemma on a regular basis. We, God’s people, are prone to disbelieve God’s love for us.
The great Puritan theologian John Owen understood how pervasive these doubts are within the hearts of God’s children, and he sought to combat this tendency in his treatise on Communion with God. Owen writes: “The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to Him is not to believe that He loves you.”
Now that’s striking coming from a Puritan. We know John Owen cared a whole lot about holiness. We know he didn’t shrink back from confronting sin head-on. But instead of telling us the greatest grief we can bring to the heart of the Father is when we sin against him, Owen tells us that doubting God’s love grieves him even more.
God wants his children to know that they are loved.
So we are going to spend three weeks in the month of May meditating on this reality, with a three-week sermon series called “Knowing You’re Loved.”
Then we are going to embark upon a more extended series of sermons from the Book of Job, because one of the chief seasons in which God’s children are tempted to doubt God’s love is in seasons of adversity. Lord willing, we will be hearing the Book of Job proclaimed in our worship services during the months of June, August, and September. There will be a break in the Job series as Pastor DeHaan preaches for four weeks in the middle of the summer.
But for the next three-weeks, we will meditate slowly, sweetly, and deeply on a truth that we have known from the beginning, but which none of us has comprehended to its full extent: O how he loves you and me!
Here is the sermon schedule for the month of May—note that I am very excited to hear Pastor Dan Huff preach the last Sunday of May on the glorious theme of worship!
May 4 | Knowing You're Loved (1) | 2 Thessalonians 3:5
May 11 | Knowing You're Loved (2) | Ephesians 3:14-19
May 18 | Knowing You're Loved (3) | Jude 20-23
May 25 | Gospel Rhythms | Selected Scripture Verses | Pastor Dan Huff
Loved with an Everlasting Love,