Definitions and displays of love abound. Yet, for all its sentiments, the world is no expert on love. The spirit of the age produces violent and broken relationships, abandoned and abused people. The world has traded authentic love for mere affection. The Deceiver has done what he does best—deceived—so that the world seeks self first in every way, delights in evil, and dishonors all who threaten these false substitutes for authentic love.
BUT GOD’S LOVE IS LOVE IN ACTION.
The previous issue of DTS Magazine explored “Teach Truth,” the first half of Dallas Theological Seminary’s slogan. This issue champions the other part of the slogan: the call to Love Well. To love well is to love with excellence and action. And Scripture is filled with examples.
There was Israel’s faithful son, Joseph. He not only forgave his brothers who sold him into slavery and subjected him to injustice but also provided for their needs when their families suffered famine (Gen 27–50). This is love in action.
Then there was Ruth, the overcomer. She turned her back on all she knew, clinging to and providing for her Jewish mother-in-law, thereby experiencing God’s abundant provision and a future blessing through Boaz (Ruth 1–4). This is love in action.
We can’t forget the humble, unnamed woman who broke cultural expectations by pouring out her expensive perfume to worship Jesus. Her action honored Him, and Jesus says to the other guests at the dinner that “she loved much” in response to the forgiveness of sins that Jesus offered (Luke 7:36–50). This is love in action.
The encouraging news for us is that God’s people learn this love from the author of love, Jesus Christ. Shortly before demonstrating love by giving Himself as a sacrifice for humanity’s sin, Jesus challenged His disciples to follow His lead: “Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Think about that. When Jesus’s followers put love into action, other people experience God’s love. They display God to those who need to see Him.
The Apostle Paul makes active love one of his great focuses:
Love must be without hypocrisy.
Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another with mutual love,
showing eagerness in honoring one another.
Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic
in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in
hope, endure in suffering, persist in
prayer. Contribute to the needs of
the saints. Pursue hospitality. Bless
those who persecute you, bless and
do not curse. Rejoice with those who
rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Live in harmony with one another;
do not be haughty, but associate
with the lowly. Do not be conceited.
Perhaps Paul thought of Jesus when he wrote these words under the leading of the Holy Spirit. After all, Jesus remains the perfect example of love in action. Jesus loved the lost, the outcast, and the needy. But He loved with more than words and sentiment—He sacrificed Himself for others. We see God because of Him.
Believers worldwide continue to see thousands of people coming to faith daily, especially in the Global South. There is no doubt that God is working through believers who put love into action in the name of Jesus Christ. To love well continues to be the heartbeat of DTS as we seek to equip godly servant-leaders to reach the world with the gospel. Join us in Jesus’s call to love one another.
About the Contributors
Dr. Mark Yarbrough serves as the sixth President of Dallas Theological Seminary and is a professor of Bible Exposition. He has been in a variety of positions during his tenure at DTS: Research Assistant to the President, Executive Director of Information Technology, Associate Dean for External Education, Vice President for Communications, Academic Dean, and Vice President of Academic Affairs.
His love for the classroom draws him to the Bible Exposition department where he serves as Professor. Along with his responsibilities of leading DTS, he serves as an elder of Centerpoint Church in Mesquite and travels extensively leading tours and speaking at conference centers. Mark has recently authored Jonah: Beyond the Tale of a Whale and Tidings of Comfort and Joy. He has been married for thirty years to Jennifer, his high school sweetheart. They have four adult children, one son-in-law, and reside in Sunnyvale, Texas.