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Jesus’ Nourishing Love in Hard Times: Dane Ortlund

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
March 15, 2024 5:15 am

Jesus’ Nourishing Love in Hard Times: Dane Ortlund

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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March 15, 2024 5:15 am

What does hope look like when life is falling apart? Whether it's stress, financial struggles, or heartache from loss, Dave Ortlund offers hope as he continues to unpack Ephesians 5, showing us that as believers, we are taken care of by the love of Jesus. But how does this look in everyday life?

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God wasn't wondering how to tell us about his gospel and he looked down and he thought, how do I communicate to them what the good news of the gospel is like? I know, they have marriage down there.

I'll use that. No, the whole point, guys, is he gave us marriage so that we would know what the gospel is like. That's the whole point of it. The story of the Bible is a story of God pursuing us and saying, I want you as mine and I will never divorce you. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at This is Family Life Today. So today we get to hear a message from Family Life's Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise, which is fantastic.

Yeah, what is that for those who have never heard of it? I mean, Family Life's been doing this marriage cruise for over 10 years. We call it the love boat.

Family Life doesn't call it that. We sort of privately joke that it's about love and it's about marriage and there's couples all over the boat who have invested four, five, six days of their life to say we are not only going to take a vacation together, we're going to take a vacation with a purpose. So it's relaxing and it is a cruise, but it's more than a cruise because you've got speakers and entertainers and you've got worship bands leading us in worship and you hear incredible messages.

You can go to as much or as little as you want, but all of it's based on what does a biblical marriage look like. Let me ask you this before we even jump into this message. What was your best memory of the cruise, best part of the cruise for you? Oh, I haven't even thought about that. Well, I thought you'd say me. Well, of course. You didn't even think of that. That's just a given.

Sitting on our balcony with our legs on the rail, looking at the ocean, looking at the sun with your favorite person all over the world. That's not what came to your mind? Yeah, that's a given. Okay, what else? That's always my favorite.

What's number two? I mean, I loved all the messages, but at this point, because we've been really busy, we've been on the go, there's something about worship. Like there's worship before every message and the worship was amazing as always. And so to stand in a room with how many people were in that theater? The theater held 1,600 and we did it twice. So 1,600 would come in while the other 1,600 were eating. And then the after dinner crowd would come in and the others would go to later dinner.

And so, yeah, almost 3,500 people on the boat. That was powerful. That was powerful. You know what I was thinking of? What? The food. I was going to say we ate so much. Really, I was thinking of worship and singing. No, that was awesome.

Wasn't it? I mean, you get... How about this? You get a gift every day? Yeah, you get a gift. Like they put a little package on your door every single day. Every night.

That has something to do with the theme of the day and applies to your marriage. But honestly, the food, there's, I don't know, 25 restaurants around the boat. There's free ice cream, soft serve by the pool. Did you see the line for people waiting to sign up for massages? I did. And I did not sign up.

But I did sign up for pizza every night at about midnight, which was really good for my body. But anyway, something that was better for my body and for our soul were the messages given on the boat. We got to give a few. And today we're going to listen to part two of a message we heard part one of yesterday with Pastor Dane Ortlund from Naperville, Illinois, near Chicago. And man, oh, man, we heard yesterday about God's love, which is nourishing and cherishing, which is what we are called to do as husbands in our marriage.

But Dane took it and said, this is the God that you may not understand. He nourishes. He loves you.

He cherishes you. Well, he said it. He said it like this.

Remember this? He said, Jesus lives to nourish and cherish those in him, even when we're at our worst. Enjoy this. Don't think that you need to improve morally for Jesus to nourish you. It's what he lives to do.

It is at the very top of his job description. The Lord Jesus Christ job nourish and cherish Christian stumbling saints. By the way, you know, you are a saint. You are. If you're in Christ, you are objectively 100 percent a saint.

That means a clean one. You and I go up and down in our saintly nest. We're all over the place. We are not all over the place in our sainthood. You are a saint. And if you are a saint, the Lord Jesus Christ nourishes you.

The only other instance of this Greek word here in 529 that is translated nourish is in Ephesians 6, 4, talking about a dad taking care of his kids. I was with our oldest son, Zach, at a college visit. He's been accepted to this school. He went down for a round of scholarship interviews. And one of the interviews we learned was him being put at a table with seven other applicants at each table. And they were given the question, okay, you are able to send three items to these underprivileged children in this African nation. What are the three things that you would send? And the staff of this college were walking around with clipboards and pens assessing who said what, how they interacted with each other.

Just terrible. After that, I took Zach out for dinner. Now, which of those, the guy with the clipboard walking around looking over your shoulder taking notes or a dad, Ephesians 6, 4, taking care of his kid, do you envision the Lord Jesus Christ to be answer a dad taking care of his kids? He nourishes. Secondly, he cherishes. This is even more surprising.

Oh my, how we stiff-arm this. Jesus, if you're a saint, Jesus cherishes you. Have you ever let that sink in? Do you believe that, honestly? Some of us bear wounds from our past, something coaches said to us or something someone did to us in a dark room. Something said to us over and over and over so we finally believed it so that we don't know how to wake up in the morning and roll out of bed and climb up into that tiny little bathroom we're all in and look in the mirror with bedhead and bad breath.

We don't know how not to think, you're disgusting. The Lord Jesus, God says in his word that Jesus nourishes and cherishes you. That also is a word only used two times in the New Testament.

The other one is 1 Thessalonians 2, 7 where we read, Paul says, we were gentle among you like a nursing mother caring for, there it is, cherishing, same word, caring for her own children. One reason we are all having such a heavenly week is we are here without our kids. I haven't seen one kid. You empty nesters may not respond to that.

Do not look, do not engage. You who have kids, has this not been a divine week? I mean, we love our kids. It's going to be nice to go back and see them, but boy, it was nice to leave them. We love our kids.

How did we, how did my precious wife hold any one of our five kids when they were an infant? That picture, just extreme, delicate, strong, tender care, that is the picture that God in his word is giving you and me of how the Lord Jesus Christ handles you. Those messy kids and us messy saints, that's how Jesus deals with us. If you're in Christ by faith and faith alone, then he cherishes you. He delights in you. He weeps with you. He laughs with joy over you, wounded you, not better you, nourishes and cherishes. You're listening to Pastor Dane Ortlund and the message he gave on the Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise.

And I'm just going to say this, I can't hear this message enough. Like, why do you think we have such a hard time believing this about God? I mean, I feel the same way. And when Dane was speaking that night, I was just sitting there thinking, I don't know if I truly believe this most of the time because it's so easy to think God is like us. You know, he treats us the way we treat other people and we are fickle and it's conditional. Our love is conditional, even in our own marriages. And to try and conceive of a God who doesn't love us conditionally, but unconditionally when we don't deserve it, his love nourishes and cherishes us is beyond almost belief.

Yeah, because you think like when we do really well and we've obeyed him and we care for others, maybe he likes us, but most of us think he can't love me when I'm at my worst. And he does. It's I could hear this over and over, like every day I could hear this. Yeah. And in our minds, as we hear this, we sort of have objections. And I love what Dane did. He says, oh, you probably got an objection to this.

Let's deal with that. So you're going to hear one of those right now from Dane. Objection, some of you may be thinking, I'd probably be thinking if I was sitting there in your seat, Dane, you're cheating. You are cherry picking. You are grabbing one verse, just a couple of words out of one verse and trying to build a whole theology of what Jesus is like on it. That is not right.

That is not fair. It comes in a marriage passage, so maybe that's appropriate for our week here. I want you to know the whole story of scripture is a marriage story, starting with a groom and a bride in a garden, ending with a groom and a bride in a garden city, starting with Adam and Eve in the first two chapters of the Bible and ending the last two chapters of the Bible with a divine bridegroom, with his bride, which is you and me at the end of history.

And in between all through the scripture, you've noticed this, haven't you, as you've read and studied the scripture in your life, in between we see God working to pursue his people, to win his people back. And at every point, it's like me trying to hug my sixth grader, Jeremiah, whenever. So far, I mean, we've got two kids under fifth grade and three kids over. When they hit fifth grade and I go in to give them a hug, they go limp. They reciprocated up until then. But at this point, they go limp.

They don't want it. That is just what the Israelites were like all those years, as what you and I are like naturally. Yes, God gives rules in the scripture. He gives commands. Those are there to maintain order in the house, to tell his people, this is how for your joy. This is how life's going to work for you if you obey me in this way. In the same way that we have rules in our homes, not because that's the whole purpose of what we want our kids to be thinking about. We want them to enjoy life.

We want a harmonious home, so we have rules. That's there in the scripture, but mainly the Bible is a story of God's pursuing love. It's what the whole Old Testament is about. Some of you think the Old Testament God was a little or a lot grouchier than the New Testament revelation in Christ.

Not true. No one talked more about hell than Jesus. God talked about what he was really like. The supreme self-revelation of God in the Old Testament is Exodus 34, where he reveals himself to Moses. He says, the Lord, the Lord of God, merciful and gracious, abounding in compassion. Do you know this? He put him in the rock.

Remember that? And he says, my mercy and compassion and has said my steadfast love rolls down to a thousand generations. It's a Hebrew way of saying it doesn't ever end.

Not it's going to end at generation 1001. My judgment rolls down three or four generations. That's you could say the disproportion in God's heart for us. And then we could see as we continue through the Old Testament that he is time and again provoked to anger. Forty-two times in the Old Testament we are told that God is provoked to anger in Deuteronomy and in Kings and in Jeremiah. Not one time, never, are we told that he is provoked to mercy or provoked to love. His love, mercy, grace, compassion, nourishing and cherishing does not require provocation. What requires him being provoked is you and I wandering and rebelling and then it takes time and like takes a while to crank up. We come to passages such as Isaiah 62 verse 5, as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.

I'm just trying to tell you right now, I'm answering the objection. I am not cherry picking. This is all through the scripture. Then we come to Hosea. What's the whole point of the book of Hosea? God says, Hosea, go marry a prostitute who is going to be unfaithful to you because I want you to know what it's like for me when my people, who I am so to speak, married to, I've given myself to in love, give themselves to heartless idols. And we come to the end of Hosea, we read, my people are bent on turning away from me and how does God respond to that? Therefore I will squash them.

No. How can I give you up, O Ephraim? It's a term of affection for his people, Ephraim. How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim?

If you don't know about Admah and Zeboiim, they were in cahoots with Sodom and Gomorrah, those four cities. My heart recoils within me. My compassion grows warm and tender. I will not execute my burning anger. I will not again destroy Ephraim, for I am God and not a man, the holy one in your midst and I will not come in wrath. Did anyone ever point out to you that it is God's holiness that he says here in this passage that means he will not come in wrath? Do you not tend to think God is holy, therefore he's going to come in wrath?

Answer. Answer, oh yes he is if you're not in Christ. His holiness flows down and if you're not in Christ, wrath.

If you are, not wrath. That's what his holiness does according to that passage. It goes on, I will heal their apostasy. Apostasy means screw you, God. I will love them freely.

Leave your wallets at home. I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel. He shall blossom like the lily. He shall take root. His shoots shall spread out. His beauty shall be like the olive. This is nourishing language. They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow.

Perfect safety. They shall flourish like the grain. They shall blossom like the vine. This sounds like nourishing and cherishing to me. We're skipping through the Bible, Old Testament. Come to the New Testament. And time and again, we see Jesus referring to himself as a what? Bridegroom. 15 times in all four Gospels. I'm the bridegroom.

What's he talking about? Then we get to John's Gospel, Chapter 2, and he performs a miracle. For some reason, John wants us to know this is the first miracle he ever did. At what event?

A wedding. And he's cryptic with his mother. When mom comes up to him and says, Jesus, we're out of wine, what does he say? Woman, my time is not yet. My hour has not yet come.

What's he talking about? We're not at Revelation 19 and 20 yet and the wedding supper of the Lamb. There's going to be a wedding and I'm going to turn this water into wine as my number one miracle as a trailer of what's coming. Then we come to Ephesians 5. The whole point of that passage, we just read a bit of it, is that God wasn't wondering how to tell us about his Gospel and he looked down and he thought, how do I communicate to them what the good news of the Gospel is like?

I know, they have marriage down there, I'll use that. No, the whole point of Ephesians 5, the passage on husbands and wives, this is a profound mystery but I'm talking about Christ and the church. The whole point, guys, is he gave us marriage, it's the reverse, he gave us marriage so that we would know what the Gospel is like.

That's the whole point of it. Then we come to Revelation 21 and the new heaven and the new earth and what we read is, I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband start to finish. The story of the Bible is a story of God pursuing us and saying, I want you as mine and I will never divorce you. I want to go into a covenant relationship of deep divine love with you with no prenup. Jesus is the divine bridegroom who loves you the best when you are at your worst and we are not talking about human marriage tonight. I want you simply to bask in and enjoy what it is to be a saint, to be a recipient, to be in Christ, to be a recipient of this divine love, this one who nourishes and cherishes us. That is not a footnote to the story, that is the whole point of the story. However your marriage is doing, that is who Jesus Christ is for you tonight and will never stop being.

You are safe. We've been listening to a message given by Pastor Dane Orlin on our Love Like You Mean It marriage cruise just a few weeks ago as we were floating around in the Caribbean. Floating around, getting our bald head sunburned. But we were listening about this deep, deep love of our bridegroom Jesus for those who are his. You know, that is something that was pretty unique to the cruise.

You're sort of running around the boat all day, you're in the sun, you're having great meals, great conversations, and then you walk into the theater at night, and man, you go deep. I mean, right away you go into worship. And so you go from sort of this horizontal existence to vertical, and you're reminded as you sing and you look around at 1600 other people, there's a God we serve, there's a God who has blessed us with the opportunity to even be on a boat, really a little city in the middle of the ocean of the world that he has created.

And there's something about even that moment that just humbles you. And then you hear somebody like Dane and other speakers, but Dane's message that we listen to today just reminds us that we don't even know the God we claim to know. He said several times in the message about Jesus' interaction with Philip, and he said to Philip, Philip, I've been with you this long, you don't even know me. And I felt like he could say the same thing about us, but Dane helped us understand the amazing love of God that cherishes and nourishes us.

I think part of the uniqueness about being on the cruise is you pull away, because life is stressful, we're so busy, we're at our wits end, our kids are busy, we have grandkids, and so life can feel really hectic, but there's something about slowing down, seeing the beauty of God's creation, and then hearing these messages of God's love for us, his unconditional love for us, it feels like it sinks a little deeper. Yeah, I looked at my notes that I took that night when Dane spoke, and one of the last things Dane said that I wrote down was, how do we apply this? He said, bask in the love of God.

How do you do that? How would you say? I mean, I think you read it over and over, you listen to it, you pray and talk to God, and I think you just don't run, you don't hurry, you gotta take some time. One of the things that I do that I think has really helped me over the years is, when it's nice out, I'll do a lot of walking, and I'm trying to get into this habit of thanking God, that gratefulness piece, Lord, thank you for our family, Father, thank you for Dave, thank you for the way you hear me, you know, it's kind of going through all those things, and by the time I'm done with thanking him and being grateful to him for his hand, his goodness, and I know there's hard things too, but just for his presence, I feel like my heart is different, and I remember doing that on the cruise of just standing out, looking at the sunset, looking at the beautiful horizon in these aqua blue waters.

You feel it even more of, wow, Lord, thank you, even in the midst of hard, you're with me. There's no way you can bask fast. You can't bask quickly. You have to slow down, and we're asking you to do that in a reaction or an application of Dane's message, but I'd tell you something else you really should consider doing, jump on the cruise with us next year. Yes, come with us.

It's a slow down week. You need to unplug, you pull away, you meet new people, you eat good food, you listen to messages like we just heard, and you get to look at a sunset and an ocean that I bet you haven't seen in a while. And I know it costs some money, and I know it's time away, and I'm telling you it's worth every single dollar and every single minute, God meet you. Go to and sign up and be with us on the love like you mean it marriage cruise.

We'll see you there next year. I'm Shelby Abbott, and you've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson on Family Life Today. They have been talking about the love like you mean it cruise, and you know, I have been on the cruise. I remember standing on the back of the ship on the top deck next to my wife, we were in formal clothes because we were going to a nice dinner that night and taking selfies, just me and her. She was kissing me on the cheek, I was making surprise faces with the ocean in the background and the clouds over the water. It was absolutely stunning and a perfect evening, and it was near the end of the week for us when we were on the cruise, and I just really remember being grateful, standing there with my wife, really appreciating the fact that I got to be on this amazing event on this incredible ship out on the water in warm weather during February and spending time with my best friend. Who was I to be able to experience the grace of God like that? Going to a conference on the water where God is using his word to impact my heart and my wife's heart.

It was just a really special moment for me, and I'm so, so grateful that I got to attend. And you know, I want the same thing for you. So it's next year from February 8th to the 15th, 2025. Right now is the lowest price that will be available for this sailing, and so I want to encourage you to sign up.

We expect it to sell out again. You can go to the link that'll be available in the show notes, or you can go to and click on the Love Like You Mean It banner. Or you can give us a call to make your reservation at 800-358-6329.

That's 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. Love Like You Mean It cruise, it's a once in a lifetime experience, and I want you to have that experience for next year's Valentine's Day. Again, that's Now coming up next week, it's our very own Bob Lapine, my mentor for Family Life Today. He's gonna be talking with Dave and Ann Wilson about 12 things related to Easter that are important and are maybe surprising for you. So he's gonna talk about that, along with teaching your children intentionally about Easter. I love it when Bob comes back and visits with us. He will be here next week, so don't miss that. On behalf of my friends, Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-15 12:33:02 / 2024-03-15 12:43:52 / 11

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