Thursday, January 26, 2012

So a fellow pastor may ask: "how do I get out on the street and start open-air preaching?"

I would reply by saying that an option would be to take what you read this morning in God's Word and go out and proclaim that text, exposit it, apply it, enlighten it, and show how that text fits into the greater redemptive plan of God.

For instance, this morning if you read Exodus 13-14 you could go on the streets and proclaim the Exodus account and how God demanded the blood of an innocent animal in order to pass over His people. But those who were not covered with blood were destroyed by the angel of death.

Furthermore, if you studied Matthew 26 and examined the betrayal of Jesus Christ by Judas, the heartfelt prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the evil plotting of the Jews to put Christ on the cross, one could go on the streets and talk about the wretchedness of sinners and the pervasiveness and extremities of our sins. Indeed, Christ died for our sins. One could preach on how Christ prayed to the Father in the Garden because He knew that the infinite wrath of God Almighty was about to be poured out upon Him on Calvary's tree. Preach propitiation! Preach justification! Preach Christ's substitutionary death in the place of god-hating rebels.

Ah, but you say that you're not a preacher. Then I would beseech you to take what you read in the mornings and try to bring those texts or topics up in daily conversation with people (lunch break, coworkers, on the streets, on the subway, etc.).

If we are in God's Word every day and God's Word speaks to our own hearts, we can also try to bring these texts, chapters, themes, and gospel-truths to bear as we interact with others throughout each day.

Try it. Pray about it. See how God begins to open opportunities for you to share the gospel & what you read that morning with folks who desperately need the gospel.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Here are some early Christian writers who held to premillennialism:

Clement of Rome (c. 30-95AD)
Of a truth, soon and suddenly shall His will be accomplished, as the Scriptures also bear witness, saying, 'Speedily will He come, and will not tarry,' and the Lord shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Holy one, for whom ye look (First Letter to the Corinthians, 23).

Let us then wait for the kingdom of God from hour to hour in love and righteousness, seeing that we know not the day of the appearing of God (Second Letter to the Corinthians, 12).

Didache (c.100AD)
And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven; then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and the third, the resurrection of the dead; yet not of all (16:6-7).

Shepherd of Hermas (c.140-150AD)
You have escaped from great tribulation on account of your faith, and because you did not doubt the presence of such a beast. Go, therefore, and tell the elect of the Lord His mighty deeds, an say to them that this beast is a type of the great tribulation that is coming (Visions, 1.4.2).

Polycarp (c.70-155AD)
If we please Him in this present age, we shall receive also the age to come, according as He promised to us that He will raise us from the dead, and that if we live worthily of Him, 'we shall also reign with Him.'

Adapted from Zuck, Basic Bible Interpretation, 233.
From some research on Teens and Porn, mark the following startling (!) statistics:

  • 93% of boys and 62% of girls are exposed to internet porn before the age of 18.
  • 70% of boys have spent more than 30 consecutive minutes looking at porn.
  • 35% of boys have done this on more than ten occasions.
  • 23% of girls have spent more than 30 consecutive minutes looking at porn.
  • 14% of girls have done this on more than one occasion.
  • 83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex on the internet.
  • 69% of boys and 55% of girls have seen porn showing same-sex intercourse.
  • 39% of boys and 23% of girls have seen online sex acts involving bondage.
  • 32% of boys and 18% of girls have seen beastiality on the internet.
  • 18% of boys and 10% of girls have seen rape or sexual violence online.
  • 15% of boys and and 9% of girls have seen child pornography online.
NOTE: That means that only 3% and 17% of girls have never seen internet pornography.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Here's an interesting point to remember regarding the Great Commission & our evangelism:

Matthew 28:18-20 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Matthew 28:18-20 18 καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς λέγων· ἐδόθη μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. 19 πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, βαπτίζοντες αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος, 20 διδάσκοντες αὐτοὺς τηρεῖν πάντα ὅσα ἐνετειλάμην ὑμῖν· καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ μεθ᾽ ὑμῶν εἰμι πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας ἕως τῆς συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος.

Last week I heard a sermon from Kevin DeYoung on the Mission of the Church & he argued that the mission of the Church is the great commission. That should be our foremost focus. I agree with him in this regard. But he made a passing statement that caught my ear & I think it is worthy of mention.

The importance of this commission given by Jesus to His followers cannot be overestimated. He calls His followers to go into all the world and make disciples (μαθητεύσατε). Isn’t it interesting that Jesus used that word for the mission of His followers? Speaking to this, Kevin DeYoung note that “Jesus said ‘Go and make disciples!’ He did not say ‘Go and get decisions!’” I think there is something to this.

Often Christianity in today’s culture seeks to get decisions for Christ and count the number of people that at a camp, a service, a retreat, or a public rally make a “decision” for Jesus Christ. And yes, becoming a Christian does—and it must!—include an intellectual knowledge of Christ and His work on the cross and a determined effort to follow Him as Lord and Savior. But at the same time, a “decision” for Christ does not make someone saved. A one-time choice does not validate someone’s conversion. Search the Bible. Search the New Testament. You won’t find it.

What is it, then, that shows or validates whether someone is truly saved? If someone is walking in holiness, obeying Jesus Christ, and bearing Godly fruit, then his election is sure (cf. 2 Pet 1; 1 Thess 1:4). And this is precisely what our Lord states in the Great Commission. Go and make disciples. And this mission to make disciples involves teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. A true disciple is one who obeys Jesus Christ. A true follower of Jesus Christ is one who determines to follow Christ and it is one who is evidencing the sovereign regeneration in his heart by walking in purity, holiness, godliness, and the enjoyment of God.

Would it be that in our church ministries and as you evangelize with others that we would be less concerned with “decisions” and much more concerned with ongoing, life-on-life, honest discipleship where the sinner who repents of sin and believes in Christ then grows in Christ, matures in Christ, and increases in sanctification thus being conformed more and more to the image of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January is FAMILY WORSHIP month and I want to piggy-back on that and express my heartfelt commitment to this biblical & historical means of grace. I believe that family worship is eminently important.

We are told in God's Word that the husband IS the head of the home (Eph 5:22-25) and that he is to shepherd and wash his wife with God's Word (Eph 5:25ff). He is to instruct and teach his children in the truth (Eph 6:4). This practice of teaching, instructing, and even catechizing children goes back in history to God's people, Israel (cf. Deut 6:5ff).

On our church website, I posted a brief video as to the importance of FAMILY WORSHIP and how we as a family do family worship in our home. It must be deliberate or the business of life will crowd it out. But when it becomes a habit it becomes part and parcel of who you are as a family & it is well worth the effort, time, & diligence!

I have posted on this topic earlier here and here. See this also and my brief article here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

From John Stott:
Our responsibility in evangelism is neither to create a Christ of our own who is not in Scripture, nor to embroider or manipulate the Christ who is in Scripture, but to bear faithful witness to the one and only Christ there is as God has presented him to the world in the remarkably unified testimony of both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures.

FROM: John Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World, p.74.

Friday, January 13, 2012

This following excerpt is amazing.
The purpose of God is "absolute and unconditional, independent of the whole finite creation, and as originating solely in the eternal counsel of His will. God is seen as the great and mighty King who has appointed the course of nature and who directs the course of history even down to its minutest details. His decree is eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise, and sovereign.

It extends not merely to the course of the physical world but to every event in human history from the creation to the judgment, and includes all the activities of saints and angels in heaven and of reprobates and demons in hell. It embraces the whole scope of creaturely existence, through time and eternity, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions, successions, and relations.

Everything outside of God Himself is included in this all-embracing decree, and that very naturally since all other being owe their existence and continuance in existence to His creative and sustaining power.

It provides a providential control under which all things are hastening to the end of God's determining . . . . Since the finite creation through its whole range exists as a medium through which God manifests His glory, and since it is absolutely dependent on Him, it of itself could originate no conditions which would limit or defeat the manifestation of that glory. From all eternity God has purposed to do just exactly what He is doing.

He is the sovereign Ruler of the universe and 'does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?' Dan 4.35. Since the universe had its origin in God and depends on Him for its continued existence it must be, in all its parts and at all times, subject to His control so that nothing can come to pass contrary to what He expressly decrees or permits. Thus the eternal purpose is represented as an act of sovereign predestination or foreordination, and unconditioned by any subsequent fact or change in time."
(From: Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, 13-14). Man, I had to read that a few times yesterday and again today & my heart is uplifted in worship.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gideon Ouseley, an open-air preacher in Ireland in the 18th century was preaching one day in the open fields and then the account is told:
"He closed his [opening] prayer, and began to preach; but evidently his audience were not disposed to hear him. Before many sentences had been uttered, missiles began to fly--at first not of a very destructive character, being refuse--vegetables, potatoes, turnips, etc., but before long harder materials were being thrown--brickbats and stones, some of which reached him and inflicted slight wounds. He stopped, and, after a pause, cried out, 'Boys dear, what's the matter with you to-day? Won't you let an old man talk to you a little?'
Quoted in Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p.248.

I must admit — I've never had that happen while I was preaching. Maybe I'm not preaching hard enough or out in the 'open-air' enough, then.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

There is an obviously universal thrust of condemnation found in Rom 1:18 and 32.

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

Romans 1:32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Thus, these verses make clear:
"that this foolish and culpable rejection of the knowledge of God is repeated in every generation, by every individual. Every person is 'without excuse' because every person—whether a first-century pagan or a twentieth-century materialist—has been given a knowledge of God and has spurned that knowledge in favor of idolatry, in all its varied manifestations. All therefore stand under the awful reality of the wrath of God, and all are in desperate need of the justifying power of the gospel of Christ.

We will never come to grips with the importance of the gospel, or be motivated as we should be to proclaim it, until this sad truth has been fully integrated into our worldview."
From: Douglas Moo, Romans, NICNT, p.98.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

From John Phillips:
"One day, however, [Jesus] is coming back with His glory unveiled to smash the opposition of the world and to wield a scepter of iron. He is coming back in pomp and power to reign backed by the hosts of heaven. His deity, manifest even now to the eye of faith, will blaze forth like flaming lightning then. In the book of Revelation, the Person of Christ is unveiled, and we are given view after view of that glorious Man who fills all heaven with His praise" (from Exploring Revelation, 12).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

If you have not been to the RESOLVED conference, I strongly encourage you to check it out — and then do whatever possible to get out there! — as it is a highlight of the year for me & my wife, Elizabeth.

Solid preaching, gospel-centered truth, deep conversations, awesome music, great fellowship, and lots of fun all describe the RESOLVED conference weekend.

Here are a few highlight videos:

Resolved 2011, Day 1 from Resolved on Vimeo.

Friday, January 6, 2012

From Charles Wesley:

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
and clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Amazing love how can it be?
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

That is filled with remarkable and endless truth to ponder as you live today. See a video of Enfield singing "And Can It Be" at RESOLVED here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hey CFBC family,

Let's meet at the Kirkland's Home at 7:00pm this Friday for a time of prayer & fellowship. We'll have a time to prayer for our unsaved friends & family, for the church, for each other, & a time of focused fellowship as we enjoy gospel-centered conversation together.

If you have any questions, check out the church website.

See you there!
Have you ever realized what kind of message John the Baptist preached? If you read the biblical account of how John preached and what he said, I doubt many churches nowadays would welcome him to fill the pulpit — much less be their pastor!

The very first words we have of him comes in Matt 3:2 where he calls all the people who come to hi in the wilderness of Judea to "repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near" (μετανοεῖτε· ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν). Not only was he a little funny looking (Matt 3:4) but he was a prophet of the Lord. He was called to prepare the way for the Lord (Matt 3:3).

Meanwhile, "many" of the Pharisees and Sadducees came to him and he initiates conversation with them and says the following:

1. You men are a "brood of vipers" (γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν)
2. Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath (φυγεῖν ἀπὸ τῆς μελλούσης ὀργῆς)?
3. Bear fruit worthy of repentance (ποιήσατε οὖν καρπὸν ἄξιον τῆς μετανοίας)!
4. Do not think to say to yourselves: "we have Abraham as our father." (That is, they would pride themselves and find comfort knowing they are reconciled to God simply because they are Jews.)
5. The axe is already laid at the root of the tree & every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire (ἤδη δὲ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται· πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται).
7. The one who comes after me will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
8. The winnowing fork is in His hand and He will thoroughly cleanse His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the storehouse but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire (συνάξει τὸν σῖτον αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν ἀποθήκην, τὸ δὲ ἄχυρον κατακαύσει πυρὶ ἀσβέστῳ)!

NOTE: in John the Baptist's message of proclamation in preparation for the Messiah, a number of key elements are found:

1. The call to repent!

2. The acknowledgement that there is only One Savior & Deliverer — Jesus, the Coming One.

3. There is such a thing as "coming wrath" — and it's harsh and just!

4. It does no good to try and come to God on your own terms (social identity, religious identity, morality, etc.).

5. The evidence of true salvation is "bearing good fruit." And if NO good fruit is borne, then that person is thrown into the unquenchable fire.

6. The hope for true believers, however, is that those who do bear "good fruit" evidencing that true regeneration and change has taken place are surely to receive the blessing of being gathered into the storehouse of the Lord — eternal bliss & blessing.

This is the gospel. I wonder how many of these elements are absent in much preaching in our culture? Let's be faithful to proclaim the truth as we learn from John the Baptist.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!