Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Yesterday my beautiful wife was sick in bed with a bad cold. It was up to me (problem #1) to do some of the duties around the home and make it look... tidy (whatever that means!).

So, as part of my responsibilities inflicted upon me by my lovely wife, I had to go to the grocery store and buy the weekly quota of food. Now, I always feel weird when I go grocery shopping without Elizabeth. I look around and find many women with small children, women getting off of work, women going to different sample tables and women sniffing the flowers and there is Geoff, walking around with the grocery cart acting like he has some sort of clue as to what he is doing.

Somehow, I ended up with a bill which was way too much for a weekly supply of groceries, but it is absolutely justified in my heart and mind because I bought a nice bouquet of flowers for my sick wife (yes, I permit me to boast for twenty-five seconds...haha).

At any rate, I realized - yet again - that grocery shopping was created to be handled by the gender that knows how to cook... not a guy that knows how to put Ramen in the microwave and hit the "quick minute" button.

Lesson of the day: A man + Grocery shopping = Big Time Chaos!

Praise God that He has given me a wonderful wife. :=)
Here is a great link to Philip Ryken, senior minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church, and his excellent article, Justification and Union with Christ. This is a very clear (and lengthy!) treatment and explanation of these two vital doctrines that we hold to!

This is how he begins the article. It doesn't get much better than this:

If there is one thing I love in life, it is the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This is the biblical truth that liberates me from the crushing burden of ever having to stand before God on my own merit, but covers me instead with the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

He also quotes John Wesley briefly:

If we take the phrase of imputing Christ’s righteousness, for the bestowing (as it were) the righteousness of Christ, including his obedience, as well passive as active, in the return of it, that is, in the privileges, blessings, and benefits purchased it; so a believer may be said to be justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed. The meaning is, God justifies the believer for the sake of Christ’s righteousness, and not for any righteousness of his own.

I recommend it for you reading.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church
October 29, 2007

In his book, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church, Dr. D. A. Carson writes giving clarity to the movement (well, as much clarity as there can be with a movement where proponents have so much trouble agreeing with each other) and the movement’s implications on reformation theology, or, evangelical orthodoxy.

Spencer Burke, Brian McLaren and others are into this new idea of “trying new ideas and putting a postmodern spin on (even) the message!” Listen to what Mike Yaconelli writes in his book, Stories of Emergence: Moving from Absolute to Authentic:

Challenge an accepted belief or confess doubt and you’re the equivalent of a car-carrying communist. Brows furrow. Eyes narrow. Lips purse. Want to earn a place on the Colorado Springs… er, I mean, Hollywood black list? Admit your uncertainty about homosexuality as a biblically condemned sin. Want to be branded as a traitor in your own church? Admit your ambivalence about a denomination-defining symbol such as baptism” (p.30, emphasis added).

This is sad, disheartening and evil. To say that we must admit uncertainty – when the Bible is crystal clear about issues like homosexuality, baptism, salvation, the clear gospel – is to deny the authority and clarity (perspicuity) of Scripture. This is exactly what Yaconelli, McLaren and Burke are doing as the headmasters of this Emergent Church movement.

Note this: in a 2004 Q & A session with the Emergent Convention, McLaren was asked his judgment on the matter of homosexuality. Well, biblically speaking we know what he ought to have said (cf. 1 Cor 6; Rom 1; 1 Tim 1, etc – it’s sinful, wrong and the homosexual needs to repent!). Rather, McLaren said that he did not want to answer directly to the issue. Here is what he did answer: 1) It is not entirely clear that what the Bible means when it speaks of homosexuality is exactly what we mean today when we speak of homosexuality and 2) He wants to stress the crucial importance of treating homosexuals as people, like other human beings in need of grace.

McLaren also noted in his leading work, A Generous Orthodoxy:

And although the debate has been agonizing, liberals have blazed the trail in seeking to treat homosexual and transgender persons with compassion. Conservatives may follow in their footsteps in this issue just as they have in others, several decades down the road, once the pioneers have cleared the way” (p.138).

Frankly, McLaren (as well as other Emerging Church advocates) give me very very little evidence that they are fairly described as being a “biblical” and “orthodox” and “reformed” Christian.

Steve Chalke is another proponent of the movement and writes about it in his book, The Lost Message of Jesus. Well, with a title like this one has to come with some skepticism – for we have no lost message of Jesus. The Scriptures clearly portray the real message of Jesus.

The whole thrust of this book by Chalke is the emphasis on the truth, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8) and he notes that Christians are to “love the loveless, embrace the untouchable, feed the hungry, forgive the unforgivable, heal the sick and welcome the marginalized.” What he does not cover is phrases in the Scriptures like:

Psalm 7:11 11 God is a righteous judge, And a God who has indignation every day.

Romans 9:22 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

Exodus 34:7 yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished,

Revelation 14:10 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God

Romans 1:18 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

And on and on and on…

Furthermore, Chalke now defines God in terms of his one controlling attribute, love. “The Bible,” Chalke says, “never defines him as anything other than love…but more than that, it NEVER makes assertions about his anger, power or judgment independently of his love” (p.63 of his work). I am not sure what Bible Chalke is reading. Yes God is a God of love. But the God that I read about in the Bible is also angry with the sinner and will be glorified in vessels of wrath prepared for destruction (i.e. “hell”). Chalke failed to mention this in his work.

D.A. Carson notes that Brian McLaren and Steve Chalke have largely abandoned what we may call, the biblical gospel. This means that we need to warn our people about these men because they are false teachers. We must pray for them and earnestly seek God that He may bring these men to Himself. We need to recover the biblical gospel that these individuals and the Emerging Church movement has lost.

We need to proclaim boldly that all mankind is under God’s wrath and sin until a person repents of his sin (John 3:36). This is the most fundamental principle of the orthodox gospel that the Emergents are neglecting to recognize.

Let us take a stand for the gospel and be those men and women who are sold-out committed to the full and unadulterated biblical gospel. Soli Deo Gloria.

Your Pastor and Friend,
Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Saturday, October 27, 2007

This verse from Psalm 99 came to mind as I was here these past few days for a men's retreat with our church...
So again, don't feel too sorry for me. I was suffering for the Lord in the sequoia national forest overlooking the marvelous mountains. :=)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Psalm 119:1-8 – Godly Living Stemmed from the Word of God

This morning as I was reading these verses I was encouraged to see that these have a common theme, that Godly living is inseparable from the Word of God. In fact, this is a theme interwoven throughout the Scriptures (esp. the Pastorals). In any case, I want to break down these verses with a brief comment so as to better understand the author’s point in this first stanza of the 119th Psalm:

1 How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.

He begins by noting how blessed (Lit. “the multitude of happinesses”) that those have whose way is blameless. The idea with “blameless” is to be whole, complete, restored and sound. He gives a parallel statement by noting that this is also the one who walks (present activity assumed) in the Law of the LORD. This is the one who walks (“lives his life”) in the Law of the Lord. In a word, this is the man who is blessed and happy who finds himself walking in accordance with what the Word of the Lord says (cf. Eph 4:1-2).

2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.

Here the author begins again with the same phrase, “how many are the multitudes of happinesses that come upon a human being” who observes (Lit. “keeps” or “guards”) God’s testimonies (i.e. “His Word). The one who is happy and the one who is keeping God’s testimonies is also the one who is seeking God’s testimonies with all his heart. One note worthy of mention is the phrase “with all his heart” is fronted in this phrase clearly for emphasis. Literally it could read, “with all his heart he is seeking it (the testimonies).” Could this be said of you?

3 They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways.

Those who are blessed, happy and righteous are those who “do no unrighteousness.” The idea here is “one who is not doing wickedness. It has the emphasis on the action verb. One interesting note is that the LXX (Septuagint) translates this phrase using the verb ergazomai which means “to train so intensely as a businessman would to make a successful trade.” This is the man who does not practice unrighteousness. Rather, in God’s way (path, direction, Law) he is walking.

4 Thou hast ordained Thy precepts, That we should keep them diligently.

This has an emphatic personal pronoun fronted which could be translated, “You, You (O God) have ordained your precepts (statutes) in order that they may be kept diligently. Are we working so hard as to keep God’s word? Do we obey God’s Word so rigorously (not to be legalistic) that we could be reputed as one who “keeps God’s Word diligently”?

5 Oh that my ways may be established To keep Thy statutes!

Could it be said that it is our heart’s desire (and plea!) that our ways might be firmly established so as to keep God’s statutes? Do we really think of it in this light that we make it our heart’s ambition to establish our ways (i.e. our path, lifestyle, conduct, way of life) for the purpose of keeping God’s statutes?

6 Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Thy commandments.

It is the believer in God and the one who lives out God’s Word who can say with full confidence that he will not be ashamed no matter what may come in life – good or bad. This can be confidently asserted because this man has looked (fixed his eyes upon) all of God’s commandments. Do we ever find ourselves ashamed of God and His Word? Is it because we are unwilling to accept all of God’s Word – even the hard doctrines to swallow – predestination, election, retribution, the Sovereignty of God? May we look upon all of God’s commandments and delight and act upon them.

7 I shall give thanks to Thee with uprightness of heart, When I learn Thy righteous judgments.

The psalmist here can say that he will give thanks (same word for “praise”) God with uprightness (straightness, rightness, a sense of proper morality) of heart. Is it our desire to be those men and women who give thanks to God when we learn of God’s righteous judgments? Let us bear in mind that we must never merely listen and learn of God’s righteous judgments but we must also act and do what we hear and learn (cf. James 1:21-22).

8 I shall keep Thy statutes; Do not forsake me utterly!

Here the word order is significant. The writer exclaims: “Your statutes… I shall keep!” He says in a shout of exclamation, O God, I will keep your statutes. It is your Word that I desire to live by. I determine and resolve to anchor my life by what your Word says and how it tells me to live. Then he concludes by recognizing, I will keep your Word of God, yet…I know I’m not perfect, so please don’t reject me utterly when I fail. May we press on with as much diligence and haste as the psalmist did to keep God’s statutes.

Your pastor and friend,

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

This is a wonderful blurb on I. Howard Marshall's New Testament Theology. I am encouraged by this wonderful quote. Click here to read the rest of this brother's blog:
We do not obey in order to enhance our assurance of God’s favor. We obey
because we have already received the ultimate, definitive verdict, pronounced in
the cross and resurrection, that we are perfectly, irrevocably righteous in
God’s sight and entitled to enter heaven on the basis of the perfect
righteousness and merit of Christ. The gavel has come down, the sentence has
rung out throughout the universe: You are mine! No one can snatch you out
of my hand! You are my blood-bought servant, a brand snatched from the burning!
No angel, no demon, no sin can take you out of the favor of being accepted in
the Beloved!

Blessings to you this Lord's day.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Here is an excellent article by professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Escondido, California regarding Joel Osteen. I know I've been posting quite a bit of material on Osteen as of late, but when I think of the numbers of viewers going to his church and watching him on TV, I feel as though I need to do this.

Here is the closing paragraph of Horton's article on Osteen:

This gospel of “submission,” “commitment,” “decision,” and “having a personal relationship with God” fails to realize, first of all, that everyone
has a personal relationship with God already: either as a condemned criminal
standing before a righteous judge or as a justified co-heir with Christ and
adopted child of the Father. “How can I be right with God?” is no longer a
question when my happiness rather than God’s holiness is the main issue. My
concern is that Joel Osteen is simply the latest in a long line of self-help
evangelists who appeal to the native American obsession with pulling ourselves
up by our own bootstraps. Salvation is not a matter of divine rescue from the
judgment that is coming on the world, but a matter of self-improvement in order
to have your best life now.

Blessings to you. Let's stand on the truth of the biblical Gospel with the Word of God as our sure and secure foundation.
The Ten How To’s of Expository Preaching
By Dr. Steven Lawson

While at the Expositor’s Conference in Mobile, I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Dr. Lawson preach numerous times and put into action what he trained us to do. He gave us a seventeen page handout on the “how-to’s” of expository preaching and I want to share it with you to store in your toolbox:

I. Preparation
The preacher must sanctify his life and prepare his heart and life to full and utter devotion and commitment to God. In this step we need to select the book of the Bible that we will study and what our goals are in studying this book.

II. Observation
In this step we need to survey the whole book and it’s place in the canon at large. It is here we observe who the author is, the original recipients, the historical background, the key theme, the book outline, theological themes and interpretive challenges. Then we need to scope out the context of our specific passage in the book as a whole and observe everything, literally.

III. Interpretation
It is here that we must take all the information we gathered in the observation stage and secure the meaning of the text. We must stick with the historical-grammatical interpretation of the Scriptures to ensure that we obtain the intended meaning of the original author for his intended audience. The we must scan the resources, the commentaries, the word study books, the theologies, the dictionaries, etc.

IV. Assimilation
Here we compile the information and set the headings. This is the outline for the text. We must also be able to state the meaning of the text in one clean, crisp, clear sentence. This is a necessity in the sermon preparation stage. Furthermore, we must support our assimilation (outline) with other scriptures – cross-referencing.

V. Application
We must see the principles in the text that are timeless truths and have practical relevance for our hearers today. We know that God’s Word is timeless and thus the truths that were relevant thousands of years ago are still applicable to today’s culture.

VI. Illustrations
It is here that we can use biblical illustrations, illustrations from church history, current events, personal experience, etc. Almost anything can be used as an illustration. However, perhaps the best illustrations are those that are from the Bible – even the Old Testament stories!

VII. Introduction
This is so important in the process. We need to create the interest in the hearer. We MUST show them why the need to hear our message. We must capture their attention in the first minute so they can be drawn into our message. They need to feel the “need” to sit and listen to me preach for 45 minutes. We can do this by talking about current events, historical story, a striking quote, ask questions, tell a story, etc. We must then reveal the big picture of the sermon. We must give them the “roadmap” and tell them where we are going.

VIII. Conclusion
We must appeal to believers here and tell them to 1) know something; to 2) feel something; and 3) to do something. We are to appeal to the mind, emotions and the will as we apply God’s Word.

IX. Internalization
This is where the preacher pores over his notes. He scrutinizes them and reviews the length, the balance, the quality and makes sure he understands the main point and keeps that main point the main point in all of his sermon. This is also for the preacher to saturate his own heart with the truths that he will be sharing with his hearers.

X. Proclamation
It is here that the preacher delivers his message. He must preach with dependency upon the Holy Spirit, with utter boldness, with balance and with passionate earnestness. He is calling them to respond. He is calling them to change. He is speaking with gravitos.

May we as preachers of God’s Word take these truths to heart and always preach for the glory of God.

Ezra 7:10 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.

Your pastor and friend,

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

True Greatness

True greatness is not found in being qualified but rather in being a servant. This is what Jesus said to His disciples:

Mark 9:35 35 And sitting down, He called the twelve and said to
them, "If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of
One of the sermons in our preaching lab today was on this text in Mark nine on true greatness. What a fitting reminder for us seminary guys studying to understand and know God’s Word. It was brought to our attention that Christ does not condemn the desire to be great. Rather, he redirects and redefines the proper desire that we as believers must have to be someone great.

The desire to have the biggest church, to have the most degrees, to have a well-behaved family and a host of other desires are all some of which we face. Yet the desire for these is not bad in and of themselves. Yet, Jesus takes the desire to be great and redefines it, not in terms of numbers or success or prosperity, but he redefines it with humility and service.

Jesus says that true greatness is being last of all and servant of all. It is noteworthy to mention that in the Greek text, the “of all” is found before the nouns. This is for emphasis. It could be rendered, “if anyone desires to be first, he shall be of everyone, last of all, and, of everyone, servant of all.

May this be true of each of us as we all have the desire to be someone great. May we be known by our humility and servant’s heart as we endeavor to be models for Christ’s body just as Paul was to the church in Corinth (1 Cor 11:1).

Your pastor and friend,

Geoff Kirkland
Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Joel Osteen's new book, Become a Better You is reviewed at Challies.com. A little excerpt is worthy of mention here which is pertinent to the issue at hand:

This is Osteen’s second book, and the follow-up to his bestselling Your Best
Life Now. Like the previous title, this one features a picture of the smiling
pastor on the front cover and offers seven steps to a better life. Like Your
Best Life Now much of the book follows this format: “The way to ______ is not to
______. Instead, you need to ______. You might say, ‘But Joel, I can’t do ______
and ______.’ I know it’s hard. Rise to the challenge. Don’t let yourself get
beat up or knocked down. God has so much more for you.” And like his previous
book, this one is maddeningly repetitive. It is a handful of his sermonettes for
Christianettes expanded into 380 pages of mind-numbing repetition.
You can read the whole post here. Let us pray for and live in such a way that the truth and glories of the biblical gospel will be made known in the world through us, God's messengers.

Titus 1:9-13 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. 10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain. 12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." 13 This testimony is true. For this cause reprove them severely that they may be sound in the faith,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Al Mohler has a wonderful post on Christian Higher Education. He notes:
When we speak of scholarship from a Christian perspective, we speak of more than scholarship done by Christians. Rather, we speak of a passion for learning based on the supposition that all truth is God's truth. Thus, as Christian scholars related together in a learning community, we are to seek to take every thought captive to Christ.
May it be that we all seek to grow closer to God and His Word. Read his blog here.
The Canon is Closed

There is much talk today in the Charismatic, Neo-Pentecostal and Pentecostal circles that the sign gifts are still functioning. Furthermore, they would argue, special revelation is still being given by God. The “Thus saith the LORD” formula we find over 2,000 times in the Old Testament can be (and is!) still given today by God through His people. I disagree with this because I believe the Scriptures teach otherwise.

I was reading a recent article entitled, Does God Still Give Revelation? And the answer was a resounding “no.” Here’s why:

1. Christians in the early church applied similar tests to prove which NT books were authentic and which were not. A key test, therefore, was apostolic authorship. Every NT book had to be written by an apostle or a close associate of the apostles.

2. Content was an important test. For example, Acts 2:42 says that, for the first time, the church met and gave themselves to prayer, fellowship, breaking of bread and the apostles’ teaching. Later on, they all asked, “Does it agree with apostolic doctrine?” This test was very important because of all the heretics that tried to worm their way into the church (Marcion, Arius, Montanus, etc).

3. The response of the (early) churches must have been present. In other words, if God’s people accepted it, used it for worship, and made it part of their lives, and if Christians were universally being taught and blessed by the book, that was another important stamp of approval. Therefore, the early church had to be unanimous that this was an authoritative letter which should be incorporated into the canon.

Let it be known that from the time of the last apostle (John) until the present, the true church has always believed that the Bible is complete. God has given His revelation, and now Scripture is finished. God has spoken. What we have is complete, efficacious, sufficient, inerrant, infallible and authoritative. Attempts to add to the Bible, and claims of further revelation from God have always been characteristic of heretics and cultists, not the true people of God.

How important it is, therefore, that we treasure God’s Word as God’s true Word given to us. There is nothing that can be added (Rev 22:18-19). May we rest assured recognizing that we have the exact Word of God which He intends for us to have for “life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3-4). May we rest assured in the absolute sufficiency of the Bible.

SOURCE: John MacArthur, “Does God Still Give Revelation,” TMSJ 14.2 (Fall 2003): 217-34.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Thy cause, not my own, engages my heart,
and I appeal to thee with greatest freedom to set up thy kingdom in every place where Satan reigns;

Glorify thyself and I shall rejoice,for to bring honour to thy name is my sole desire.
I adore thee that thou art God, and long that others should know it, feel it, and rejoice in it.
O that all men might love and praise thee, that thou mightest have all glory from the intelligent world!

Let sinners be brought to thee for thy dear name!
To the eye of reason everything respecting the conversion of others is a dark as midnight,
But thou canst accomplish great things;the cause is thine,
and is to thy glory that men should be saved.Lord, use me as thou wilt,
do with me what thou wilt;but, O, promote thy cause,let thy kingdom come,
let thy blessed interest be advanced in this world!

O do thou bring in great numbers to Jesus!let me see that glorious day,
and give me to grasp for multitudes of souls;let me be willing to die to that end;
and while I live let me labour for thee to the utmost of my strength,
spending time profitably in this work,both in health and in weakness.
It is thy cause and kingdom I long for, not my own.

O, answer thou my request!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This connects with a post a few weeks ago which I blogged about on Joel Osteen and his bestseller book, Your Best Life Now. Contrast that with this MUST WATCH 3 MINUTE VIDEO from John Piper. These are his thoughts on the prosperity gospel today.

As you wait for it to download... read these verses:

Matthew 5:10-11 10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.

2 Timothy 3:12 12 And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Revelation 6:9-10 9 And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Last night Elizabeth and I had a wonderful dinner together. She made steak, asparagus and rice. It was excellent. Though I enjoyed dessert the best -- her homemade cheesecake. While eating the cheesecake we decided to watch the DVD of our wedding ceremony. For some reason our sound did not come through on the DVD, so it's completely silent. However, this made for some really hilarious commentary on our part as we watched different scenes and saw goofy shots of various people.
I am reminded of Paul's exhortation to husbands,
Ephesians 5:25-27 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as
Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might
sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that
He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or
wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.
All of our wedding pictures are online and can be perused through for free. Matt Floreen was our photographer and he did a marvelous job. The pictures are on his website.

Monday, October 8, 2007

This is sad and dissapointing:

Pastor John Rainey's sermons have become virtually unintelligible as he
constantly references Greek and Hebrew definitions, say parishioners at Oak
Creek Presbyterian. On a recent Sunday, only 20 percent of Rainey's sermon was
in English.

The article continues,
"We were scratching our heads the whole time," says one member. "I thought I understood the passage before, but when he got done explaining it, I was lost." During the sermon, Rainey read a passage from Obadiah and said, "The word used for 'provision' is the Greek 'kupkos', or 'chabed' in the Hebrew, meaning 'oikenatilus' or literally 'havet am rabed alshallai.' The original tells us, 'Kepkus oikenate dunamis rikesa,' a fascinating word construction, meaning not just once but continually, or, 'Akinitus kre dormitaron,' which corresponds to, 'Shevet ahim gamyahad.' If I may put it this way, 'Gelli toheron basmat evit yarna, khom harde dir shalom ette ramen novar chemyon.' Amen?" Rainey, who holds multiple seminary degrees, may feel pressure to put his knowledge to use, say befuddled church-goers. They have petitioned him to stick to English. Rainey bridled at the suggestion, saying he is "connecting people to the source material." Instead he plans to offer real-time English translations of his sermons on the church's overhead projectors "for those not sophisticated enough to understand what the Bible is saying in its original language."
So men, let us preach so our hearers can understand. This is what Ezra set his heart to do:

Ezra 7:10 10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.

Nehemiah did this as well...

Nehemiah 8:9-12 Then Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, "This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep ... And all the people went away to eat, to drink, to send portions and to celebrate a great festival, because they understood the words which had been made known to them.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

This past weekend I had the privilege of going to the Expositor's Conference in Mobile, Alabama. I met my dad down there and we attended the conference and, as a result, were tremendously blessed and encouraged. I would like to take a few minutes over the next week or so and give a few lessons that I learned from listening to and observing Steve Lawson.

First, I learned to be warmly hospitable and tenderly loving towards family and friends. This sounds so simple. It sounds so easy. Yet as I observed Dr. Lawson on Sunday night as he interacted with his wife and the other ladies from their church who served some of us guys dinner, I was encouraged by his warm spirit and gentleness with them.

Ephesians 4:1-2 walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love,

Furthermore, I recognized that a spirit of hospitality is more than simply opening the door and having someone over for a meal. Before our meal we interacted with Dr. Lawson for a while as well as after the meal we moved to his living room for a time of Q&A. It was a wonderful time. He guided the conversation and shared his heart with us. It was wonderful.

Specifically, he had studied for the whole day before we arrived and then when we came, he graciously hosted us until about 11:00pm hanging out with us guys, talking with us, showing us how he prepares sermons, and where he does much of his writing.

So, it sounds simple, easy and mundane, but as I observed Dr. Lawson and his gracious hospitality and his tender love throughout the evening, it was a great example to me of what Paul means when he says that a minister of Jesus Christ ought to:

1 Timothy 3:2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Minister of the Gospel

I believe that as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are to herald the Word of God boldly with all authority. This is what Paul tells young Pastor Timothy and Titus to do:

1 Timothy 4:13 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.

Titus 2:15 15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

I believe that a minister of the Gospel is to be one whose basis for everything that is said is sourced from the Word of God. This, however is not in unison with what many contemporary evangelicals are advocating today. Listen to what John MacArthur writes in The Truth War:

“To be an effective warrior in the battle for truth today, several
old-fashioned, Christlike virtues are absolutely essential: biblical
discernment, wisdom, fortitude, determination, endurance, skill in handling the
Scripture, strong convictions, the ability to speak candidly without waffling,
and a willingness to enter into conflict” (146).

This is not what we see in many contemporary movements rising up in the mega-churches and on Christian T.V. In contrast to our basis coming from the Bible alone, listen to what John Armstrong, who is a key proponent in the Emerging Church, said:

“Theology must be a humble attempt to ‘hear him’ [God] – never about rational
approaches to texts.”
It is sad to say but this is the pervading thought among the average American Churchgoer in today’s culture. Along the same lines, Art Azurdia hits the nail on the head when he notes regarding the sad state of preaching in today’s evangelical church:

“I am convinced that preaching is held in such low esteem today because a great
many preachers are so utterly inept at the task.” (Spirit Empowered Preaching,
It is true that Mr. Charles Spurgeon as he would mount the fifteen steps leading up to his pulpit at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London he would mutter to himself on each step, “I believe in the Holy Ghost… I believe in the Holy Ghost…I believe in the Holy Ghost.” This is where the power comes when the Word of God is preached by the minister of God. We are not to give cleverly devised fables. We are not to give our human subjective existential opinions. Rather, we are to declare “Thus saith the LORD” for we, as ministers of the Gospel, are the mouthpiece for God Himself to His people. They don’t need to hear a few stories to make them feel good. That will damn their soul. They need to hear the truth of God’s Word that can convict a soul of their deadness in sin and subsequently reveal the hope and forgiveness in Jesus Christ and His cleansing blood atoned at Calvary some two thousand years ago.

May this be our message as ministers of the Gospel.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I just finished an exam on 1 Timothy 2:15 15 But women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. There are three main issues with this verse that I had to discuss in my essay:

What is the phrase “she shall be preserved” mean? It is the Greek word sozo which has the predominant usage of eternal and spiritual salvation in most of the NT. There are times, however when this does refer to physical deliverance or healing, etc. But, I argue that sozo here refers to spiritual, eternal salvation which the believer receives at the point of salvation.
What does the preposition “through” mean? If we aren’t careful, we could come away with saying that a woman will be spiritually and eternally saved through childbearing. This, of course, is not in sync with the multitude of Scriptures which say that humans are saved by grace alone though faith alone in Christ alone. Surely no woman can be spiritually and eternally saved by merely giving birth to a child.
What does the phrase “the bearing of children” refer to? In Greek, this is one word with the definite article. Thus it is better translated, she shall be saved through “The Childbirth.” Now, I take this to refer to the Ultimate Childbirth, namely, Jesus Christ born from a woman (cf. Gen 3:15).

Regardless of the view that people adhere to, there are problems with each. I recognize this. However, I think that this view does justice to the text, the words and especially to the context (cf. 2:3-5 – speaking of God desiring all humans to be [spiritually] saved and come to the knowledge of truth).

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Guess who this is? I'll give you a hint, I just spent a day with him at the Expositor's Conference here in Mobile, Alabama!
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