Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Blogs and articles abound in promoting myriads of ideas relating to preaching and of being relevant to the audience and clever in the delivery. My commitment has been and will continue to be simple: to open the Bible, to read a biblical text, to explain that biblical text, to press home its application to the hearer’s heart, and to proclaim the saving gospel and call sinners to repent and believe. In doing this, I preach with an open Bible -- always. I’ve compiled a few reasons why I preach with an open Bible.

1. it conveys my only authority.
When the preacher speaks, he has only one authority -- the voice of God that goes forth in the declaring of divine truth as it is sourced in the written Word. Other than that, the man has nothing to say. When I open my Bible and preach from it, it conveys to the congregation that my only authority to stand before them and speak is simply and solely is the written and sufficient Word of God. I want it to be seen. I want the audience to understand I’m a man under divine authority as I speak God’s truth to His people.

2. it models biblical hermeneutics.
Preaching is hermeneutics publicly spoken. To preach the Word means that a man has prayed and studied and done all the hard work so as to present biblical truth in a clear, compelling, and understandable way. I preach with an open Bible because I want to model biblical interpretation -- good hermeneutical principles and practices -- even in the act of heralding God’s Word. I don’t want people to ever come away and say “I believe this because Pastor Geoff said it!” Rather, I want people to leave convinced of theological truths because they say: “I see this in the Bible!” I want to model for them the art and discipline and proper methods of arriving at the proper meaning of the biblical text. And preaching with my open Bible aids me in this endeavor.

3. it prevents self-contrived ideologies.
Preaching with an open Bible prevents me from inventing self-contrived ideas and self-promoting messages. How easy it would become to start tickling the ears of the audience and fall into the cunning trap of people-pleasing. But to preach with an open Bible prevents me from creating and crafting my own fabricated ideologies and sermonettes and it causes me to preach what God wants me to preach in the following paragraph as I preach expositionally and sequentially through entire books of the Bible. I don’t want to be in charge of what I say or preach; I want God to dictate what and how I preach. And to prevent my own ideas infiltrating in, I believe that having an open Bible on the pulpit before me and constantly referencing verses in the Bible helps prevent self-contrived ideologies.

4. it visualizes the Headship of Christ
Jesus rules His church. I don’t think very many people would argue with that. But when you observe much of American Christianity you see something vastly different. One way, I believe, to emphatically show that Jesus rules this church is to preach from an open Bible on the pulpit so that all the congregation knows and hears and understands that Jesus Christ speaks to us now through the exposition of sacred Scripture as it is read and expounded through God’s appointed messenger. I don’t want to neglect anything that would downplay the headship of Christ. I don’t want to pick and choose verses and paste them on a screen. I want people to see the truth in their own Bibles. I want people to see me hold my Bible. I want the congregation to see me point to my text of Scripture. I want them to see my authority comes from Christ as it is codified and revealed in the inerrant Scriptures.

5. it proclaims its own sufficiency
Preaching with an open Bible in front of me is a simple proclamation in and of itself. It declares the sufficiency of the Bible. I don’t need gimmicks, or dramas, or entertaining techniques. I don’t need visual aids or clever anecdotes or humorous stories to catch people’s attention. God does that. So in opening my Bible, reading it, explaining and applying it, and pressing it home to people’s hearts and consciences, I believe that this testifies to the Bible’s own power and sufficiency.

6. it enhances frequent cross-referencing
One key principle of rightly interpreting the Bible is the analogy of Scripture -- comparing Scripture with Scripture and interpreting texts in light of other biblical texts that speak to the same truths. When I preach, I want the congregation to all know that the Bible -- though containing 66 uniquely inspired books -- comprises a glorious unity of divine wisdom. Nothing ever contradicts itself. No part of Scripture will ever diminish or negate or eliminate another. So in my preaching, I want my Bible to be open so that I can readily tell the congregation: “turn to…”, or, “let’s see this further in another portion of Scripture…” So in the open Bible before me as I herald, I want the freedom and readiness of turning to many Scriptures throughout the entirety of the message to aid and serve the message going forth. An open Bible helps with this.

7. it reminds me of my grave responsibility.
Quite simply, preaching is a sober calling and a majestic task. In a sense, the preacher always fails when he preaches because he can’t due justice to the beauty and glory of the God that is being presented, nor can human words adequately convey the splendor of Christ and the efficacy of His atonement. Nevertheless, all biblical preachers fearfully and joyfully take up the divinely-given call to preach. No greater joy exists in the world than to open God’s clear word and explain its meaning to the people God has brought to hear it. Preaching with an open Bible serves as an ongoing reminder that my responsibility is great and my duty is lofty. I am a mouthpiece, a messenger, an ambassador, a prophet-like man, to take God’s given revelation and speak it faithfully, unchangeably, and powerfully to all who have assembled. Having an open Bible serves to continually bring the weight of sobriety on my soul that I am a man under obligation, a man devoted to God, a man enslaved to Christ, a man in love with souls. Thus, I preach God’s Word to God’s people with an open Bible with joyful trembling and sober expectation that God will work in and through the going forth of His word to accomplish His perfect will.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Just read The Song. Yes, open the book of Song of Solomon and marvel at how Solomon verbally affirmed his bride. And let this serve as a Spirit-inspired, divinely given model for godly men to speak affectionately, honestly, and encouragingly to their own wives. It may accurately be said that there is no example anywhere in all of Scripture of a husband and wife so passionately, tenderly, and edifyingly affirming one another to the glory of God!

All things must be done for the upbuilding of God’s people. The Apostle Paul states this truth throughout 1 Corinthians 14. If this applies to the Christian church at large, how much more does this apply to Christian couples at home! Let all things be done for the edification of the saints. So, then, dear husbands, affirm your wives for their edification, for their strengthening, for their encouragement, for their upbuilding. It should be said at this point that the husband has the duty of edifying his wife simply because he is to lead her and love her selflessly and proactively. He must not affirm her or verbally adore her for the purpose of getting something (sex, submission, etc.). The husband must affirm his wife regardless of how she responds.  

With this said, what are some practical tips on how to do this?

Affirm your wife specifically. Solomon models throughout the Song of Songs a husband who specifically affirms and admires his wife. Just read chapter seven, for instance. He goes from the bottom of his wife to the top of his wife. He speaks specifically of her feet, the curves of her hips, her naval, her belly, her breasts, her neck, her nose, her head, and her hair. It’s specific. It’s passionate. It’s thoughtful. It’s absolutely appropriate! This is far from the tendency of men to simply say nothing to the wife or simply provide some generic: you’re beautiful! The more specific you can be, the better. It shows thought. It shows care. It shows intentionality. And it shows creativity. Specifically make it your ambition to notice features, body parts, attitudes, patterns of growth, and aspirations for holiness and affirm her with intentionality and joy.

Affirm your wife proactively. At the outset of the Song of Solomon, he speaks tenderly and verbally to his dearest lover even when she battles fear and worry. He initiates and proactively verbalizes his love and care for her. He tells her that she is the most beautiful among women. He showers her with overwhelming affirmations of love that she is beautiful, his darling, his lover, his dove. She has captivated him. And he does not wait for something to get right for him to then bless her verbally. Rather, he initiates, he proactively pursues and deliberately creates ways of affirming her, her body, her heart, and her character. Let all husbands learn from this. He proactive in leading your wife in verbal admirations. Don’t wait for her to do something before you then respond with loving words. You initiate it! Proactively affirm your precious bride.

Affirm your wife lovingly. Love, by definition biblically, means to give of oneself sacrificially to another for their benefit regardless of how they respond. It is always self-giving and others-benefitting. It is always self-sacrificing and lavishly-abounding. Love is not selfish. It is not merely taking or receiving, but giving! This means that husbands can verbally affirm their wives selflessly and sacrificially. A husband may quip: ‘but what if she doesn’t respond and encourage me back?’ Then, keep lavishly showering her with tender love! Or, ‘but what if she doesn’t respond with giving me sex?’ Love her expecting nothing in return. Love her deliberately and intentionally and happily -- just as Christ has loved you! Or, ‘but what if I can’t find anything to affirm her for or speak well of?’ Then, remember the gospel and how there was nothing for which Christ could have spoken well of you and yet notice how he initiated such overwhelming love in the gospel by showering you with grace, with love, with tenderness, with affirmations and promises! Go and do likewise!

Affirm your wife tenderly. Be tender, O husbands! Speak to her in winsome and warm ways that she will appreciate. This means you need to know your wife. Learn her. Study her. Know her heart and her longings. Know what she loves and appreciates. Then speak tenderly and admirably to her and praise her with husbandlike tenderness and Christlike warmth.

Affirm your wife continuously. A husband may be of the mindset that he told his wife he loved her on the wedding day and that’s sufficient throughout the marriage. Wrong! Lavishly affirm her. Constantly admire her. Repeatedly embrace her. All through the Song of Solomon there are occasions of verbal admiration and acclamation of beauty, of longings, of attractiveness, of exclusivity, of togetherness. Husband, seek to continuously lavish your God-given bride with warm and wooing words of tender affection and love. You can’t praise and admire her enough!

Indeed, O husbands, consider how Christ our ultimate Bridegroom speaks to and affirms His blood-bought bride! Consider how ultimate His promises are! Consider how tender His words are! Consider how thoughtful His affirmations are. He finds His bride supremely beautiful as she is robed in His glorious righteousness and washed in His blood. And O how He has spoken clearly, warmly, tenderly, and lavishly throughout the pages of Scripture! Do likewise, dear husband with the wife that He has mercifully given to you!

More articles available at Pastor Geoff's articles web-page.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Husbands should be the leading repenters in the home. This does not intimate that he does so merely to earn a prideful title. Rather, it means that out of every person in the home, the husband must be the one who leads the entire household in a proper understanding of God which will lead him to a proper understanding of self which will then cause him to realize a deeper understanding of his sin which will then catapult him to a regular lifestyle of repentance. The husband must lead his wife by repenting first. The husband should lead his family by repenting honestly, humbly, and quickly.

This requires, however, that the man have a proper understanding of the biblical doctrine of repentance. Some suggest that repentance means no more than a change of ‘mind.’ Though repentance certainly includes a changing of the mind, true repentance always includes much more. To repent is the vomit of a soul over a sin as it is seen in comparison with the blazingly holy character of God. To repent means that the penitent sinner views his sin rightly. It means that he hates his sin vehemently. It means that he mortifies his sin violently. It means that he turns from his sin decisively. It means that he replaces that sin with godliness. It means that he journeys on toward Christlikeness continually. To repent is synonymous with ‘turning around’ in the Bible and ‘changing one’s ways.’ 

The husband following after Christ seeks to model repentance in the home. He sets the example for the rest of the family to see. He shows how to repent. He shows what godly mourning is like. He exemplifies what godly sorrow and true repentance really is. How can be demand his wife and children to do that which he himself does not do? Thus, a biblical husband is a repenting husband. He rightly believes that repentance is at the very heart of the gospel call to salvation and that the only proper response to the gospel call is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance toward God. Like the call of John the Baptist, the biblical husband bears fruits in keeping with repentance!

The biblical husband knows also that our flesh and sinful tendencies within us cause us to want to ignore sin, or refuse to deal decisively and violently with such sins -- even so called ‘respectable sins’ -- and for this reason, he sets himself on course to teach and instruct repentance in his household. He must not only model it practically in the home but he must instruct doctrinally so that everyone understands what God says in the Bible about this most important -- yet often misunderstood -- doctrine. He teaches during family worship. He instructs before and after church services weekly. He uses practical occasions with his wife (or, children) to instruct on what true turning really involves. He goes after the heart, not merely the actions.

Because he loves Christ so supremely, he ensures that no sin remains unchecked and unrepented of in his own heart. Then, he ensures that sin does not go ignored or shoved aside at home. He keeps short accounts with God as he seeks to confess quickly and repent decisively and exchange sinful habits for godly habits zealously. He knows that the true repenter is one who continues to see Christ as glorious and sufficient and as he does this, he sees his own sins and shortcomings. As this happens, he comes again and again to the cross for mercy and grace (which always is lavishly available for God’s people) which drives him to heartfelt and worshipful mourning over his sin and a resolve to follow hard after Christ.

Still all the while, the man of God who loves his bride seeks to honor Christ by repenting of sin and living a holy life, all of which is only able to occur through the Spirit’s enabling grace. The godly husband loves Christ so much that he hates sin intensely. He pursues holiness vigorously so he repents continuously and regularly. Repentance, rather than being a momentary act at the initial moment of saving faith, continues to be a lifelong discipline for the Christian who grows in conformity to the likeness of Jesus Christ. Repentance is a painfully joyful and necessarily growing opportunity for Christian men to love Christ supremely and put off sin in the context of their own homes. May God equip and enable all truly converted men to serve Christ and their wives by repenting diligently.

More articles in this Husband's Handbook and the full eBook will be available soon at his website.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Husbands must live with their lives in an understanding way (1 Pet 3:7).
The Greek phrase for “an understanding way” literally could be translated, ‘according to knowledge.’ Every husband must dwell together with his wife in such a way that he knows her -- very well. That means, quite practically, that husbands must date (and continue to date!) their wives. The wedding ceremony doesn’t mean the work of learning one another has ceased. Rather, it only has launched!

What does it look like for husbands to learn their wives?

First, learn her intentionally. This means that the husband must actually try and remember that he must be deliberate and proactive in reaching her heart and learning more about her. Because, naturally, this won’t happen automatically. Men can so quickly fall into laziness and apathy which can be utterly catastrophic for a thriving and holy marriage relationship. Thus, the man must strive to ask questions, pursue her as much after the wedding as he did to win her before they were even dating. Second, husbands must learn her emotionally. Women change as different seasons of life come and go. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just life. Seasons and life and families change. So husbands have the wonderful privilege of knowing and learning and seeking to learn how their wives are doing on the inside. This allows the husbands to shepherd and love their wives well.

Third, learn her repeatedly. It’s not a one-shot endeavor. Rather, this is an ongoing pursuit. It’s relentless. It’s undying. It’s a continual desire to ask questions and more questions and dialogue together and ask good, heart searching questions regularly. Again, this is to remain throughout the entirety of one’s marriage. Fourth, learn her studiously. Husbands can tend to study theology more than their wives. Husbands can tend to study their work and hobbies and sports teams more than their wives. And this ought not to be. Every husband must study his bride. He should be constantly asking and learning. Constantly inquiring and seeking to know why she thinks and speaks and does and reacts and lives the way she does. This comes with time. It’s not a quick, drive-thru, get it done easily and quickly endeavor. This studying of the wife is a life-long pursuit.

Fifth, learn her cheerfully. God has given the wonderful blessing to husbands to live with their wives according to knowledge (understandably). Indeed, this makes for a happy and healthy home life when the man leads well and cheerfully pursues his wife. Few women would say that they feel adequately pursued and happily embraced by their husbands as much as they would like. O husbands can learn from this. Take joy in the study of that amazing gift that God has given you in your wife. Go deep with her. Linger long with her. Embrace her tenderly and gently. Affirm her verbally and constantly. Take delight in the presence of and dialoguing with your wife.

Sixth, learn her pursuingly. This is a reminder that marital harmony and deep one-ness and knowledge doesn’t automatically come when the ring is on the finger or when a certain number of decades pass by. Strangely and tragically, three or four decades could pass in a marriage relationship and, in reality, the couple might not know each other one whit. The duty falls to the man to pursue his wife and live understandably with her. This way he can serve her well and bring happiness and joy to the gracious treasure that God has given to him.  And finally, the husband is to learn her tenderly. This takes patience and consideration. This means that it takes time -- yes, T-I-M-E -- with her and lots of conversations and dialogues to understand her. But keep tenderly pursuing her. Keep gently learning her. Keep intentionally investing in her. Keep asking her questions.

As a husband learns his wife, he will better equip himself to know her wants, her fears, her happiness, her anxieties, her struggles, her sins, her enjoyments, and what satisfies her most. Only in spending much time together, regularly, and making it happen (on the calendar) can this kind of deep, intimate knowledge occur. It’s not a matter of a husband asking to make it work. It’s a husband’s duty to move and shuffle and exchange things if necessary so he can have adequate time with his wife.
How to actively serve in worldwide missions where you are in your local church.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

We must labor hard for the global spreading of the gospel because God’s heart is for the nations. He beckons the nations to worship Him! Indeed, He deserves worship from every creature that He has made. How can Christians who find themselves established in a season of life vocationally in a particular place, serving in a good ministry, and rooted with family in a particular city? How can a Christian actively serve in worldwide missions where they currently reside in the ministry context in which they already serve?

The New Testament can simply be broken down into two imperatives: GO! or SEND! There are no additional options. Apathy is not permitted. It has been said that one either goes, or sends, or disobeys.

Are you a goer?
Are you a sender?

James Fraser, a missionary to the Lisu people in China, wrote to his prayer partners back home, “I believe it will only be known on the Last Day how much has been accomplished in missionary work by the prayers of earnest believers at home.”

When pleading with those who sent him to China to persevere in prayer for his ministry, James Fraser expressed what any faithful missionary believes: “Solid, lasting missionary work is done on our knees.”

You, dear Christian — working full-time, raising a family, established in a church, and serving in that ministry context — can actively serve in missionary work. But it’ll cost you. It’ll cost you time, effort, labor, and earnestness on your knees. The advancing of the gospel thunders when saints bow humbly on their knees.

So how can you serve? How actively can you engage? Indeed, how must we involve ourselves in God’s global plan for His glory to be displayed for all the nations to see?

1. Give generously.
One very tangible and sacrificial way that you can catapult a love for global missions in your own heart and life is to give your money. Why? Your heart follows where your treasure goes. You want more of a heart for missions & God’s plan for the nations? Then put your money there and watch your heart follow! Let us give regularly to the needs of missionaries. Let us give generously to them -- not skimping, not holding more for us, not giving them the leftovers, not heartlessly, but generously and bountifully. Let us give sacrificially. Let us give as if souls depend on it! Let us give so that it actually costs us something. Let us give so sacrificially that we have to say no to something so that we can give more to global missions. Let us give above and beyond. Do we give a certain amount regularly? What if you give more and ask and trust and watch God provide? What if you give for specific needs that arise? Again, if you’re not a goer, then you’re the sender. Give generously and bountifully and happily and sacrificially so that God’s work can spread for His glory.

2. Pray persistently.
Financial giving and fervent prayer go together. A man could give all the money in the world but unaccompanied by the prayers of God’s people it is worthless and worldly cash. Let your money be given to your church for the spread of the gospel globally as it is married with your persistent and fervent prayers. So, then, dear Christian, let us pray individually for missionaries. Don’t know them? Then start by emailing your pastors/elders (or outreach/missions leader) and get the names and begin praying one by one for them, name by name regularly. Pray with faith and believe that God will hear and answer your prayers as you pray in accordance with His will as the Word of God guides your praying (begin with Psalm 67 or Psalm 117 or Psalm 115). Let us even pray for missionaries in our home contexts of family worship so that our spouses and children can learn that God’s plan far surpasses our own immediate context in our own little city. Let us pray for missionaries in our prayer meetings at church. Let us gather with other believers and pick a missionary, or two, or a location, or a school, or an outreach and pray with others at the church gathering for God’s work to spread and thrive. Let us pray with variety to keep things from becoming boring. Pray for revival, bible translation projects, leadership training, church planting, the unreached and unengaged people groups that have never heard, pray for seminaries and bible colleges, and for biblical counseling centers. Pray for the persecuted church that God would use them in the contexts of suffering for the advancement of the gospel.

3. Communicate encouragingly.
Don’t forget that we live in a day where we can communicate around the globe instantly -- literally. We can send emails, text messages, have Skype calls, and engage with those in the far, remote, distant continents across the oceans. Let us utilize these blessings and communicate encouragingly to these dear saints giving their lives in different contexts for Christ’s name. Find the missionaries that your church engages with and send them emails, letters, texts, and encouragement notes. What if one person from your church emailed a missionary each week so that a missionary received a weekly report, update, and encouragement from a fellow believer. Imagine the encouragement. What if you (yes, you, even if you don’t know them very well!) initiated a Skype with them. Better yet, what if you have your children be a part of this Skype call so they can learn and engage and be taught about God’s global plan. Write letters to them and include church bulletins, flyers, and other little booklets. Encourage one another, dear brethren!

4. Host happily.
And when a missionary comes in town, if I may so bluntly say it, cancel everything and clear the calendar to host these dear saints. Sure it’ll bless them to have a bed to sleep on and some warm home-cooked food to enjoy. But you will find yourself the one most supremely blessed as you sit and talk with them and hear how God is working, saving, sanctifying, and spreading His gospel around the world. So, if a missionary comes to town, let us eagerly host them, let us lavishly serve them. Indeed, I would suggest that we shower them ‘over the top’ and overdo it and show them double-honor as those who are giving their lives for the cause of Christ. Give them rest. Let them read and sleep and pray and meditate on Scripture. Enjoy them but don’t make them so busy that they cannot rest.

5. Focus geographically.
As you personally focus on praying and serving in worldwide missions (from wherever God currently has you), the world is big and there’s lots of ministries out there. So start with a specific geographical region. Start a bit smaller, be specific, and be intentional. Maybe pick a few missionaries or a few locations that your church supports (and, thus, where your faithful, regular, sacrificial giving goes) and pray in specific ways. This may mean you need to contact the missionaries and get some specific requests that they have. Then, pray and watch. Pray and watch. Pray and expect. Pray in faith. And see God work. Pick a region of the world and pray for it. Pray for the lost -- by name. Pray for cities and villages -- by name. Pray for unreached people groups -- by name. Pray for the unengaged who have never heard the name of Christ. Focus your time and your efforts and instead of large-sweeping prayers: “God save everyone in China” consider praying more specifically, more intentionally, more focused, and more knowledgeably and watch the Lord use you to further the gospel as your prayers speed God’s Word through His laborers globally!

6. Talk intentionally.
Don’t forget the missionaries. One great hardship in serving overseas is that it can become very lonely -- quickly. You in your local church can begin to talk with others about global missions. Your church doesn’t talk much about it? That’s ok. You can. Start a conversation with a friend and talk about how God is growing you through your praying, contacting, letter-writing, communicating, and family worship as you uphold a missionary in a particular ministry and in a particular location in the world.  Even consider talking with others about going, sending, giving, supporting. Don’t be afraid to ask others what they give to. Don’t be afraid to ask others how they give financially globally. Let’s encourage each other by talking intentionally, helpfully, and deliberately about God’s work going on around the world. Indeed, one profound and powerful conversation that, I believe, should be had often is to encourage young people to go! Young people who are not yet married, who have the time, who aren’t established in careers yet, who have energy and vigor and zeal should be encouraged to give all for Christ and prayerfully consider if God may have them serve around the world and take the gospel to a people group that has never heard of Christ! Of course it’s hard! It’s dangerous! Christ never said following Him would be easy or safe. But walk by faith. Serve Christ happily and eagerly. See how God can use you -- a weak vessel -- to encourage others in your ministry context to prayerfully consider serving Christ around the world.

All that said, never think that missions work is ‘their’ job out ‘there’.  Never fall into the trap of just heartlessly giving a few bucks here or there when a missionary comes in town. Involve yourself. And if you don’t see many opportunities, then find them! Make them! Create them! Initiate them!

Not sure where to start? After going first to your local church for information on the missionaries they support (where your money that you give goes), then go to these websites and pick a region/missionary and begin praying, contacting them, and start friendships and relationships:

TMAI.org — The Master’s Academy International
Heartcrymissionary.com — Heart Cry Missionary Society
Frontlinemissions.info — Frontline Missions International

Let’s remember the solid counsel from James Fraser who pleaded with those who sent him to China to persevere in prayer for his ministry: “Solid, lasting missionary work is done on our knees.”

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Love! It might as well just be one of the most misunderstood words today. What is love? Songs are composed asking the question and countless lyric-poems seek to define what love is. But when God is not the root and when Christ is not the ultimate example and when the gospel is not the foundation, then all endeavors to define and explain love prove, in the end, to be fruitless and empty. True love is a self-sacrificial giving of oneself to another for their good regardless of how they respond.

Who would do this? Honestly, who in their sane mind would embark in a lifestyle of love that is foundationally characterized by self-sacrifice and self-giving -- even if nothing comes in return! Who would do this?

And where in the world can we go to see this modeled? We must turn to the ultimate one who is Love, God Himself. The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8). Indeed, God has loved His covenant-people with an ‘everlasting love’ and indeed He draws her with lovingkindness (Jer 31:3). That means that God’s love fails not! That means that God’s love is a drawing, a winning, a wooing, an inviting love. Indeed, God’s love ravishes His people. It overcomes them! But still, how can we see this kind of love enfleshed and embodied for us to be gripped in our hearts and instructed for our lives?

To this we must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He enfleshed Himself so that He walked the earth as true God and as true man. He came to His own people and tabernacled among them and was full of grace and truth. And this love that He has ultimately was driven by His undying and unrelenting commitment to His Father. And this unquenchable passion and indomitable drive led Him to love and die for the ungodly. Who would do this? Indeed, our great God shows his love by sending Christ to die for us -- ungodly sinners. Moreover, sinners are ungodly, wretched, foul, filthy, and wholly blasphemous through and through and Christ, out of unspeakable and unexplainable and uninfluenced initiative, came to those for whom the Father had given Him in all eternity past, and He purchased them by dying for them. Indeed, love self sacrifices one’s passions for the well-being of another -- even to death. This is what Christ did.

And the Bible commands husbands: love your wives just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. So the blueprint for husband-like love is Christ Himself. What did Jesus do? How did Jesus act? How did He suffer? How did He persevere? How did He prove His faithfulness? And to this, the Scripture tells husbands: do likewise.

Husbands, then, should love the precious bride that God has given with supreme and Christlike love. First, it must be a sacrificial love. Love isn’t easy. It’s a choice. It’s the sacrificing one’s own wishes and desires so that the other can be blessed. Second, it must be a determined love. Love isn’t a feeling. It’s a choice. It flows from the will. It stems in the heart -- the mission-control-center of the man. This eliminates all language such as: “I’ve fallen out of love” or “I just don’t love her anymore” or “she’s just quite hard to love.” All these are erroneously based on the supposition that love is a feeling and it comes or goes. Rather, the truth is that love is a choice of the will. You choose to love and then, always, the emotions and feelings will follow. Third, it must be a dying love. You must love in such a way that you give of yourself so wholly and fully and sacrificially and extremely that you’re willing to die for the well-being of another. Christ did it. And so must husbands. Fourth, it must be a prioritizing love. You, dear husband, must prioritize your wife before everything. Yes, everything. Work, children, hobbies, yourself, TV, football, video games. Everything must take back seat to your overwhelming passion and priority that you have for your wife in your love for and care for her. It’s not enough to just ‘affirm it’ verbally. Does your wife actually know this? If I were to ask her, would she say that you prioritize her before anything or everyone else in your life?

Fifth, it must be a soul-sanctifying love. Any man can say he makes money and gives it to the woman and allows her to buy stuff for herself and call that ‘love’. But remember, true love goes beyond the physical to the spiritual. A man can make lots of money and give it to the wife but that’s not love. Love remembers what’s of utmost priority. And that is the heart of the wife. The husband’s main responsibility is to shepherd and care for and nurture his wife’s soul in sanctification on this life-journey till Christ receives us to glory. The husband, then, is to be the soul-sanctifier of his wife as he (yes, the husband!) is the primary ‘pastor-of-the-home.’ He’s the resident-pastor. He’s the soul-carer. He’s the one who is to feed his wife’s soul, give her time with God, pray with and for her, lead her in repentance, suffering, joy, gratitude, and in family worship.

Of course, when husbands fail, he must be quick to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and also ask for forgiveness (specifically and without justifying it or blame-shifting) from his wife. The God of love is the God of all grace who lavishes forgiveness upon those who sin -- even many times a day. Run into His overwhelming love. Receive His perfect grace that covers all your sin in Christ. And model this humble repentance for your wife. Go to God. Keep short accounts with God; indeed, let no sin linger and fester and grow and gain strength in your life. O men, you’ll fail. Yes, we do. But go again to Calvary! Cling with Spirit-graced resolve to Scripture and Christ! Follow Christ, your glorious Bridegroom, and love your precious wife with the same fervor, care, tenderness, and selflessness that you have have received by Christ Jesus.

More of these articles in this "Husband's Handbook" can be found & downloaded here.

LEAD! How do you lead? Every husband is a leader. The question is not whether the man is a leader or not; rather, the question is, what kind of leader is he really? God calls the husband to lead his wife well and to do so with utmost integrity, faithfulness, care, and gentleness. And wonderfully, God has not left men without an example in this call to lead.

Christ Jesus leads His own people just as a shepherd leads his own sheep. Christ died for His own and cares for them and leads them to pastures. Christ goes before His people and paves the way for them. He never calls them to do something that He Himself has not done. He would never demand a believer to do something that He is afraid to do. A leader leads by example. And yet, a leader leads with integrity. What does this mean?

To lead well demands that one be truthful thoroughly and faithful perseveringly. A leader does not lie or stretch the truth. Nor does a leader give up when times are tough. Moreover, a leader does not just count tally marks and call something a ‘success’ and give up entirely. Rather, a leader is one who is faithful. He puts his heart and his mind to something and he works hard at it and perseveres at it and continues without losing heart. To lead well requires humility, a servant’s heart, a willingness to be last, setting an example, and caring specifically for those allotted to his care. Christ modeled this for all of those for whom the Father gave Him. And this is precisely what the husband must do as he leads his own wife in the home.

To lead in the home context of the marriage means that the husband must lead his wife humbly. He must be willing to sacrifice his own desires for hers. He must lead his wife sacrificially. He must give of himself relentlessly and tirelessly to bless her, nourish her, care for her, and provide for her. He must lead his wife lovingly. He must lead with a Christlike and gentle spirit and never (ever!) with a dominating, heavy-handed, angry and harsh mentality. He must lead his wife protectively. The husband is to protect her as His own cherished possession that he would treat as if she were rarer than the most expensive vase that he purchased in a far away land; because, she is, indeed, rarer than any other precious find! He must lead his wife biblically. The duty falls to the husband to make sure his wife is growing spiritually and in his walk with Christ. He must ensure she has time with God each day and in prayer. He must serve her to be with the ladies of the church and to get time away to meditate on Christ and Scripture. He must lead his wife faithfully. He has the wonderful opportunity to embody the faithfulness of Christ as he lives with integrity, faithfulness to her, exclusivity to their marriage relationship, and faithfulness to Christ in his own heart.

To lead means that people follow. A godly husband strives to lead his wife in such a way that he runs to follow him. Indeed, she cheerfully and happily follows him wherever he leads in life. Even if she finds herself in a potential situation of uncertainty or fear, she will rest confidently knowing that her husband follows Christ, fears God, holds Scripture, and has her best interests in heart. This is the kind of leader that a wife triumphantly follows. Lead her by being last. Lead her by putting off your devices and sitting with her and enjoying her. Lead her by selflessly pursuing her even when she doesn’t seem to reciprocate. Lead her by constantly  and joyfully pointing her to Christ even in the dark trials of the night. Lead her by refusing to do what you want to do (or, always do) for the purpose of doing what you know would bless her and bring her great joy. Lead her by pursuing her heart, engaging her mind, giving her time, shepherding her soul and nurturing her tenderly. By God’s grace and with the Spirit’s enablement, as you’re guided by and full of Scripture, you can lead your precious wife as Christ, your Bridegroom, leads you ever so tenderly and faithfully.

*This is part 1 of a 15-part forthcoming series in "The Duties of Christian Husbands — A Husband's Handbook."
The pdf eBook will be available for download here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


by: Geoffrey R. Kirkland and Mike Stockwell
  1. Because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
  2. Because Christ’s Name is worthy to be exalted in the open air (public venues).
  3. Because the Word of God never returns to Him void and always accomplishes what God sends it out to do.
  4. Because the Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword that pierces and divides.
  5. Because for some it hardens for judgment, for others it softens to salvation and still for others it encourages for growth in sanctification.
  6. Because preaching is the primary means by which God saves sinners.
  7. Because it delivers the one message of eternal life to spiritually dead souls.
  8. Because it is good news of Jesus Christ.
  9. Because it obeys the clear commands of God to preach the Word.
  10. Because the preacher heralds with absolute confidence that only God can save His elect.
  11. Because God’s sheep hear His voice, He knows them and He gives them eternal life.
  12. Because the preacher’s feeble words cannot thwart God’s power and decrees in saving a soul.
  13. Because God is magnified when His Word is publicly proclaimed.
  14. Because a greater number of people can hear the good news of the gospel who might not otherwise enter a biblical church.
  15. Because it is not spoken with wisdom of men but preached by the power of God.
  16. Because it does not come with the gimmicks and pragmatism of this age but with supernatural power.
  17. Because it encourages and empowers believers to be bold in their proclamation of Christ.
  18. Because it is one method of discipleship in the local church for Christians to learn from others and grow in courageous proclamation of the good news of salvation.
  19. Because it tears down strongholds, worldviews, and lofty speculations raised up against the knowledge of God and confronts it with the truth.
  20. Because the message of the cross is the power of God unto salvation.
  21. Because it is one way that God has used throughout human history to take the gospel to a wicked and perverse generation.
  22. Because the proclamation of the gospel opens the door for gospel conversations with the lost.
  23. Because it proclaims the reality of hell and urges sinners to repent before it’s too late.
  24. Because it leads everyone to the cross and all who are ordained to eternal life will believe.
  25. Because it’s an obedient act of confident faith in God’s sovereignty.

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