Friday, December 29, 2006

Last night Elizabeth and I spent time with one of my hero preachers. Rick Anderson is an amazing man who preaches biblically with absolute passion every time he steps into the pulpit. You can listen to his sermons here. Trust me. They are worth while. Rick's preaching is a modern-day George Whitefield. I plead with you to listen, be convicted and be as passionate for the truth as this man is.

I was greatly encouraged last night as I was able to probe him about his ministry, struggles and family issues. I was able to see his study which, for a fellow-preacher, is an exciting adventure for me.

After spending last night with Rick and his lovely wife, Penny, I have been all the more encouraged to be a faithful preacher of God's Word, to preach it accurately, fully and boldly. I never want to compromise. Rick is a model of a Godly man, a husband, a father, a pastor and shepherd who does this.

God help me.

This is from MacArthur's Book, Preaching: How to Preach Biblically, which he co-wrote with many of the Master's Seminary faculty ( It is some exhortations that the preacher must remember as he studies the text, prepares the sermon and preaches the sermon:

Preach to honor God's Word
Preach to reach the unconverted
Preach to please God
Preach to equip Christians for the work of the ministry
Preach to lift up the downhearted
Preach to be more effective this time than last
Preach to bring conviction of sin and repentance
Preach to compete with no one but yourself
Preach to refresh the spiritually weary
Preach to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ

May we as preachers take these exhortations to heart and preach biblically and passionately.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I recently concluded a series preaching through the whole book of 1 John. I was overwhelmed by the boldness and bluntness of the Apostle John in his preaching to his congregation back in Ephesus.

After thinking back on the theme of the book of 1 John, this is what I came up with:

The theme of 1 John: One who is really born of God will inevitably evidence it by the way he lives in holiness, the way he loves as Christ unconditionally loves, and by what he believes regarding the Son of God.

Any feedback?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I just read (yet again) Piper's classic, The Supremacy of God in Preaching. I think this is a book that all preachers should read at least once a year. It should be on the bookshelf closest to the Bible and other study materials. It is in this work that Piper quotes Spurgeon by noting that GOd's call to the ministry of the Word (that is, to preach) "is an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work" (p.18).

The Supremacy of God in Preaching can be laid forth in a Trinitarian formula:

I. The Goal of Preaching: The Glory of God
II. The Ground of Preaching: The Cross of Christ
III. The Gift of Preaching: The Power of the Holy Spirit

Piper notes, "God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are the beginning, middle and end in the ministry of preaching. Written over all ministerial labor, especially preaching, stand the words of the apostle: "From Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever" (Rom 11:36; Piper, p.19).

One final quote to sum up from the Scottish preacher of old, James Stewart. He said the aim of all genuine preaching is "to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God."
Piper then sums up this lengthy quote by simply saying, "God is the goal of preaching" (p.20).

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

By friend Gunner has a great post here on Simeon and His hope in looking for the Savior. May we all read this and be convicted. READ THE POST HERE:
Today we turn to the third aspect of what it means to be a Godly wife, as defined by the Scriptures. For the Word of God is indeed our only sole authority by which we seek to tune our lives so as to please and bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have seen two aspects of what it means to be a Godly wife as defined in the Scriptures and today we turn to the third.

I. A Godly Wife Practices Submission
II. A Godly Wife Is A Suitable Helper
III. A Godly Wife Is Selflessly Reverent

Our third characteristic of what it means to be a Godly wife is that she must be selflessly reverent.

Ephesians 5:33 33 Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect (Greek, phobeo) her husband.

What does this mean? By being "selflessly reverent," I mean that she fears her husband. The Greek word, phobeo literally means "to fear, to be afraid." But of course from the context we know that Paul is not commanding wives to be "afraid" of their husbands, but rather to have a reverential fear and respect for them. It is NOT in a sense of a scared fear, or a horror fear, but rather a Godly fear.

A Godly fear here in this context is one that the wife is to practice by honoring him, preferring him, venerating him, esteeming him, praising him, loving him unconditionally, unilaterally and unequivocally, and admiring him exceedingly.

Ah, but I hear some women who may respond by saying, "If I did this, it will feed his male ego – he will then be an impossible man to live with." Rather, the wife may say, "Let me remind him of all the wrongs he has done, so that I can keep him on track and keep him sober."

It must be said here with absolute clarity that the Bible says otherwise. The Bible says, when the wife loves and admires the husband, then it has the opposite effect, then the husband will realize how much he DOES NOT DESERVE THIS.

Take 1 Peter 3:1-4 to heart: In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 3 And let not your adornment be merely external-- braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

The wife is to “hold him in the highest esteem within her heart and mind. This is how she is to be selflessly reverent to her husband. Wives must respect their husbands and not seek to revamp everything they do. No one will biblically love someone until they first respect them. You must begin with respecting your husband before you can be totally devoted to loving your husband in a way that gives all of yourself to him.

However, this text in Eph 5 does NOT mean a few things, read it again:

Ephesians 5:33 33 Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself; and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.

The wife respects her husband and submits to him, yet she recognizes that she is NOT his personal Holy Spirit. It is NOT her duty to point out every single problem to her husband "so that" he will change. She must let the Holy Spirit to His work. It is the wife's duty to revere him and not to revamp him.

Listen to this. When the wife makes a willful choice in her mind NOT to reverence her husband, then tension will grow, then destruction/deterioration of her love for him will cease, and then discouragement will come, then depression will come and then a general hindering of GodÂ’s work in their lives will come. Notice this domino effect. However, on the other hand, when she fears him and loves and respects him, then it causes him to really want to care for her. Rather than an adversarial relationship, he notices a radical change in her relationship towards him.

So, wives, may I urge you to seek to biblicalimplementent these three qualities that are biblically mandated into your lives in relation to your husbands:

I. A Godly Wife Practices Submission
II. A Godly Wife Is A Suitable Helper
III. A Godly Wife Is Selflessly Reverent

Sunday, December 24, 2006

This afternoon between our morning and evening services at church, I decided to go to Starbucks and read. Over the course of being in one Starbucks restaurant for two and a half hours, at the same table, here are four things I saw or heard:

1) I heard four individuals talking about Jews who are "for" Jesus and how that is ludicrous. These four women were making fun of Christianity. They were saying those who say they are "Jews for Jesus" are simply trying to convert Jews to Christianity. They thought it was nonsense. That conversation was at the table right next to me for about a half hour. I just sat there and listened as I was brokenhearted.

2) I heard a woman venting for (literally) an hour and a half to two of her friends because the boyfriend that she is living with is not treating her right. She went on and on...and on...and on about this guy she is living with and how fed up she is that he's not treating her the way that she deserves to be treated. In the course of this conversation, she said that most people move in with their boyfriend/girlfriend for convenience and for financial reasons.

3) I saw a boy (couldn't have been older than eight years old) on a cell phone for about 10 minutes in some very "deep" conversation with someone. He was yelling and expressing his emotions in frustration and anger with a raised tone of voice to the person he was talking with on the phone.

4) I saw a young mother buy a Hot Chocolate for her son (who was about 5), while he was waiting for her at a table while playing a hand-held video game. She got the drink and gave it to him and told him, "Let's Go." He said, "No, wait a little bit." Then she just got up, left her boy behind in Starbucks, and headed to her car as if she were going to leave without him.

This is the world in which we live. I was only here for two hours and was grossly reminded of the absolute "foolish" gospel that we have placed our trust in, namely, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. That Jesus, the Lord Christ, died for the sins of the human race so that by faith in Him, those who believe may have eternal life in heaven and not perish in hell, which is the sure and ending result of those who die apart from the free gift of salvation which is ONLY offered in Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I know we are in the middle of a three part series on what it is to be a "Godly Wife," yet I want to take a detour and meander to a topic that I have been doing much reading on, namely, expository preaching. Let me post today on what it is to be a passionate preacher who understands his text and then tomorrow I will return to the third part of a "Godly Wife."

The story of old is like this, George Whitefield's powerful preaching was stirring the hearts of the people of Britain. When he was preaching in Edinburgh, many in the town awakened at 5:00am to gather and hear the evangelist. A man on his way to the tabernacle met David Hume, the notorious Scottish philosopher and skeptic. Surprised to see Hume on the way to hear Whitefield, the man said, "I thought you did not believe in the gospel." Hume replied, I don't, but he does."

The point: When a preacher deeply believes his message, his strong convictions can have a powerful effect on those who hear him. There is no substitute for the preacher being thoroughly absorbed with proclaiming biblical truth (Lawson, Famine in the Land,122).

Montoya takes this one step further and notes that preaching is hart work. MacArthur notes that we must stay in our seats until the work is done!

The preacher must preach passionately. Furthermore, the preacher must be so thoroughly researched on his given text that he could answer (almost) any question in relation to it. The preacher must understand exactly what the authorial intent was (that is, what the writer intended to say to the original audience).

The preacher is an exegete. He must know the Word. He must live it. He must breathe it. He must digest it. He must be changed by it. He must speak of it. He must preach that which he knows.

This is the job description that we as passionate preachers must live up to.

Friday, December 22, 2006

We are in the middle of a three part series on what it means to be "A Godly Wife" from a biblical perspective. This, of course, raises many eyebrows and sours many people as they observe the truth of God's Word and how it confronts our post-modern, egalitarian, feminist culture right between the eyes.

We saw yesterday the first characteristic of a Godly wife. That is, that A Godly Wife must practice submission. Today we will see the second essential requirement of being a Godly wife. A Godly wife must be a suitable helper.

I. A Godly Wife Practices Submission
II. A Godly Wife is a Suitable Helper.

So today, we are looking at the biblical truth of the wife as being a suitable helper for the husband.

Genesis 2:18 18 Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him."

The last phrase, "suitable for Him" in the Hebrew literally means, "according to his opposite," or "according to that which is next/beside him."

We that the wife is a helper for the husband as one who is ideally suited to be HIS helpmate, his supporter, encourager, complementer. She is HIS perfect complement. He needs to go nowhere else to find another complementary helpmate. She is not merely a housewife (though this is necessary), but a completer. In other words, the husband is NOT complete without her.

The second nuance that is found under the idea of the Godly wife being the suitable helper is that her husband is her primary ministry. This is a woman who lets people know and isn't ashamed to make it loud and clear that her main and primary ministry obligation is to her husband. She can spend time with people, minister in the church, disciple younger women, be involved in bible studies and athletics, but if any of these ever get in the way of her ministry and service to her husband, this is the wife that is quick to cease from those activities in order to place her husband back in the "primary ministry spot" of her life.

Third, A Godly wife who is a suitable helper is one who finds her greatest joy and contentment in this role of serving and loving her husband. Here is why: Because she realizes that she is complementing him in such a way that he could never do for himself if he were without her.

Fourth, a Godly wife who is a suitable helper is also a contributing member of the lifelong covenental commitment to partnership.

Titus 2:3-5 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be dishonored.

These are all elements that are part of being that suitable helper for her husband. So we have seen over these last two sessions that A Godly wife has two essential characteristics:

I. A Godly Wife Practices Submission
II. A Godly Wife is a Suitable Helper

Thursday, December 21, 2006

This is an excellent post. It is quite lengthy but ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT. I think Mohler does a fabulous job of quoting these individuals and bringing it all together at the end.

Read it HERE.
A few weeks ago, I did a three part series on what it is to be "A Godly Husband" biblically. I discussed three things that a husband is commanded to do in a marriage. He is to first be a Learner (of his wife); second, he is to be a Lover (of his wife); and third, he is to be a Leader (for his wife).

It is amazing to me (and I'm not even married yet) to realize how common it is (unfortunately) that there are so many wives that are discontent with their marriages, with their husbands, with their sex lives or whatever. May we remember that the very first marriage in the Bible, Adam and Eve, they didn't have any choice as to whom they would marry, especially Adam. And listen, God NEVER makes mistakes. He never has and he never will and sure won't begin with YOUR relationship.

As we begin this three part series on what it means to be a Godly wife, I want to encourage YOU with one thing, the question is NOT who am I married to, but am I going to be a Godly husband/wife to the person I am married to? That is the question we must all answer in our own soul/spirit.

So, the first essential characteristic of being a Godly Wife is that she practices submission.

I. A Godly Wife Practices Submission.

Ephesians 5:22-24 22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,

Here I am with the very first characteristic of what it means to be a Godly wife biblically going completely against the grain of culture. I am speaking in terms that are completely foreign to our society. Women's egalitarian rights advocates would not be happy with these words. Yet the idea of the woman being submissive to the man in the marriage is completely biblical. To do anything otherwise is sin. Period.

Let me prove this. The phrase "be subject" (in Eph 5:22 and 24) is the same Greek word (hupotasso) as "be submissive" in 1 Pet 3:1. hupotasso means "to submit." It doesn't mean that someone is inferior, or less important, or of no intrinsic value. Rather, it does mean that the wife is to place herself UNDER the authority of the husband in ALL THINGS.

Before I give some examples on what being submissive does mean, let me explain what being submissive does NOT mean:
1. It does not mean inequality
2. It does not mean infallibility (of the husband)
3. It does not mean immobility (of the wife)
4. It does not mean inarticulation (of the wife)
5. It does not mean intellectual stagnation
6. It does not mean influence is impossible

But here is what being "Subject" or "Submissive" DOES mean:

1. It is a divine plan of function and order. The wife is to be one who is willing to submit and place herself under her husband because this is the divine plan for marriage. This is the divine order for which the marital covenantal bond was made.

2. It is a way of life for every single believer (both man and woman). Every single believer has to submit (hupotasso) him/herself to the parents while growing up, to the leadership of the church, to the government, etc. Every believer has to be submissive to authorities which are ultimately in place because God has willed it (1 Pet 2, Rom 13, 1 Tim 2).

3. It is a protection for the wife. The wife has freedom because she is under the protective umbrella of her husband's protective leadership. Notice that in Eph 5:22 it says that the wives are to be submissive to their husbands "as to the Lord." This phrase proves that it is a heart issue; not something that is done reluctantly, but that she would worship the Lord from the heart.

4. It is an attitude. The wife has to cognitively decide and determine to submit to her husband.

5. It is an act of the will and NOT a feeling.

6. It is the proof of her love for her husband. You don't love someone whom you don't respect. Put another way, you don't love someone until you respect them. Do YOU respect and LOVE your husband?

7. It is an all-inclusive command. Eph 5:24, "Be subject to your husbands in everything." This excludes NOTHING. The wife is to submit, honor, obey and do what her husband commands her to do in everything that is RIGHT. In other words, the ONLY time a wife is NOT to submit and obey her husband is when he commands her to do something that is against what the Scriptures teach. The wife must desire to be GODLY FIRST and then (only after this first desire), to be a GODLY WIFE second.

8. It is a proper relationship to God's authority. The issue of the wife putting others before self (in this case, her husband) is having a servant's attitude as her way of life. It is showing a proper attitude and submissiveness to God's authority.

So today we have seen the first requirement in being a Godly wife as revealed in the pages of inerrant, infallible and authoritative Scripture,

I. A Godly Wife Practices Submission.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

So last night, I took Elizabeth up to this mountaintop because she thought that we were going to set up the engagement for another couple. So she is setting up the table and putting rose pedals all over the table and the ground around the table.

Then we finished setting up the table and had a last look before we went down the hill so the "other couple" could come and get engaged with everything set up:

Doesn't look too shabby for a guy doing all the shopping beforehand huh? :-)

So we started our journey down the hill and I said, wait, we have time, let's go back there and hang for a few minutes. You see, we were at this mountaintop that overlooked the ocean and the coast on one side and you turn around and it overlooked the L.A. Valley! Then I gave her my speech (which will be omitted from this blog) and asked her if she would marry me. Her answer... "What Just Happened?"...(but then she eventually uttered the words I was waiting for), "YES!"
Then I had my (and "our") favorite restaurant catered up to us on the moutaintop and we had a nice sit down dinner up there in the thirty-two degree cold on the top of the mountain!

Here she is showing off the sparkle on that ring finger on the left hand! Man, I love to see that! :-)

We are most excited about the lifelong covenant of companionship that we are seeking to endeavor upon. We recognize the solemnness of this marital relationship, we understand the self-sacrificial commitment that is also required and we long to serve and honor the other person so as to ultimately bring glory to our most gracious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Praise God! I love you, Elizabeth!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

We all know the day would NOT be complete without another picture of my beautiful girlfriend, Elizabeth!

One more will suffice:
1 John 3:9 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

John says here in his epistle to the church in Ephesus that no one who has genuinely been born of (Lit. "out from"; Gk. ek) God does not practice (literally "do") sin. In other words, the Apostle John wants to make absolutely certain that his congregation understands that a regenerate believer will not have a consistent pattern and lifestyle of sin. For a true believer, who has radically been changed and renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit will repent from sin and turn from it to righteousness and holiness.

John continues by giving the reason as to why believers (those who have been "born of God") cannot sin. Because His seed (Gk. sperma) abides in him (namely, the believer who is born of God). John goes even one step further by saying that this believer (who is born of God) is not even able to sin (Gk. kai ou dunatai hamartein). Once again, John says that it is impossible for a believer to live a lifestyle of sin because (literally) "out of God he has been born."

An unrepentant sinning person who claims to be a believer is an oxymoron in John's terminology. It cannot happen. A true believer will repent. A regenerate person will turn from sin. A soul that has tasted of the kindness and goodness of our great God and Savior will want to PLEASE that God and Savior and thus not sin.

It must be noted that this in no way could be used to argue that there will be those who NEVER sin. That is, those who have attained a state of sinless perfection. This would go against all of John's teaching. For he says earlier in the epistle:

1 John 1:7 - 10 7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

This is clear, you see, that the believer will always have this struggle with the human, sinful, fleshly nature while in this body longing for the mortal to be clothed with immortality someday when it is possible to see the Savior face to face (1 John 3:1-3).

This is black and white. It is cut and dry. There is no gray area. Either one is in Christ, or he is out of Christ. Either he is born "of" God or he is "of" the evil one. For John, the believer is one who is characterized by a consistent pattern of holiness and godliness in this present life (while still struggling with our sinful nature). When a believer sins, it is the responsibility and duty of the believer to repent, turn and pursue Christlikeness again.

May God give us grace to repent and live lives that are consistent with the calling to which we've been called (Eph 4:1).

Friday, December 15, 2006

This book by Steve Lawson (who is my favorite preacher and hero) is now one of my favorites. I sat down last night and read the whole thing as I was picturing him "preach" his way through the book. I guess every preacher would say that they enjoy a new book on preaching, but this one was really refreshing to my soul and passions.

God's primary plan is for impacting cities today only through the preaching of the Gospel. One God-called man armed with one God-sent message, committed to one God-prescribed method - preaching - is always sufficieint for any situation.

John Knox (of whom I blogged about in recent weeks as a hero of mine) was one such preacher. Though he would become the leader of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, Knox entered the ministry ONLY reluctantly. The magnitude of the reponsibility to preach the Word was too great for Knox to assume it lightly. For this reformer-in-the-making, the pulpit was a sacred desk, a stepping onto holy ground. When Knox was extended the pastoral call by his first congregation in April 1547, he immediately burst into tears and withdrew into seclusion, too overwhelmed to accept this call. Knox was all too aware of the divine accountability that accompanied such a calling, to say nothing of his own inadequacies. But God was calling. That undeniable reality arrested his soul.

It was through such a soul-searching experience that Knox knew he MUST preach. Where, it must be asked, are such trembling men today? Where are those who so preach as if by divine appointment? Are YOU this kind of man? (p.62-63)

Furthermore, Knox is known for saying later in his Pastoral ministry, "I have never once feared the debil, but I tremble every time I enter the pulpit" (p.94). Where are such men who, like Knox, tremble when they open the Word of God?

May we hear this call from a man of old who fearlessly and faithfully preached the Word of God boldly!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

So, you wanna see the hockey game that I used to play? Here is a good 3 minute video of some of the hardest hits in the NHL this month! Enjoy it here. And even a more hard-hittin'-body-slammin' video here.

I have been studying for an exam I have today at seminary in a course called "Rapture Systems." In this course, we survey the different rapture systems out there (pretrib, posttrib, mid-trib, partial rapture, pre-wrath, preterist, etc) as well as survey a bunch of the eschatological passages in order to get the overall view of the NT teaching on the rapture of the saints.

As I have been studying for today, I have been immersed in 1 Thessalonians 5. I am convinced that this chapter is teaching about the tribulation. Let me clarify, this is NOT a continuation from chapter 4 (v.13-18) which is clearly speaking of the rapture. We recognize that Paul does NOT continue the new thought but rather he transitions into a brand new thought (or a new topic) from the Greek construction, peri de (1 Cor 7:1; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1). Thus, if Paul was speaking of the rapture in 1 Thess 4, then he begins a NEW topic in chapter 5, thus discussing the tribulation period on the earth (or the Day of the Lord).

1 Thessalonians 5:9 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

There have been 3 main views as to what the "wrath" is here in v.9:

(1) Present, Physical Wrath that the Thessalonians are facing - we know this cannot be the answer because there was much physical persecution of the believers for their faith at this time in the city of Thessalonika. Paul was not telling them that they would have NO problems, no wrath, no tribulations, no trials, etc. in their lifetime.

(2) Hell - this is a viable option, but yet it fails when the immediate context is observed. Even in the Thessalonian epistles at large, soteriology is NOT the main issue here. Paul is dealing with eschatology and the deliverance from the future eschatological wrath (1:10; the Lord's coming (2:19; 3:13); the rapture (4:13-18); and the Day of the Lord (tribulation period (5:1-11). Paul's emphasis here is NOT to tell the believers that they have been saved from the eternal wrath of God. Though this is a good thought, it is not to be found in the context. Furthermore, why would Paul tell them that "God has not destined us for wrath but for obtaining salvation." We do NOT obtain salvation because we are saved from hell. Rather, we obtain salvation because of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Thus the ramification of that finished work at Calvary was that we have been saved from the eschatological wrath of God, but justification is NOT the main theme of Paul's letter here.

(3) Tribulation - this seems to be the best option given the immediate context of chapters 4-5 as well as the whole context of the books of Thessalonians as a whole. Paul has just talked about the rapture (4:13-18) and then he says, "peri de," now concerning a new issue...Let's talk about the Day of the Lord (5:1-11). Then he says in v. 9, but just to let you know believers, that God has not appointed us for wrath in the Tribulation, but rather for obtaining the full salvation that we will ultimately have when we are glorified and with our Lord Jesus Christ. This is eschatological hope here. This is the beautific vision - as Edwards would say. This is the hope of glory of every believer.

V. 11 concludes by saying, "therefore, encourage one another." If the believers in Thessalonika knew that they would HAVE to endure a 7 year tribulation period and THEN obtain salvation in heaven, what kind of encouragement would that be? What kind of encouragement would that be? Most of you will die martyr's deaths in the Tribulation, they will be gruesome and horrible, but don't fret, you will be in heaven? NO. Paul is NOT saying that. Rather he is saying, because you will be completely exempt OUT OF (Gk. ek) the Tribulation period, that is cause for great rejoicing, comfort and encouragement of the believers.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Folks, this really works. It is a marvelous thing. It is healthy. And it really can't be characterized as a "diet" per se. You still eat a lot and much more often. But I know from trustworthy sources, that if you want to eat healthy, feel better, and maximize your workouts so as to achieve the best results, then this is the book for you.

Funny, I sound like a great marketer huh? I'm not even getting paid by Zinczenko and Spiker to do this! But in any case, it may be worth a try :-)

Monday, December 11, 2006

We are in the middle of a three-part study of what a biblical portrait of a Godly husband is to look like. We saw first, that the Godly Husband is to be a Learner. Second we saw that the Godly Husband is to be a Lover. Today we'll see that a Godly Husband is to be a Leader.

I. A Godly Husband is a Learner
II. A Godly Husband is a Lover
III. A Godly Husband is a Leader

Jesus said,
"Matthew 20:25-28 25 But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26 "It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Do you notice a theme interwoven throughout these verses, that the ultimate Leader (i.e. Jesus) did not come to "Lord his authority over anyone," but rather He came to serve. He exercised His leadership through serving others.

A Godly leader is NOT a dictator.
A Godly leader is NOT a dominator.
A Godly leader is NOT demanding.

Rather, he is a helper. Specifically, he is HER helper. He needs the gifts of his wife. He needs the insights of his wife. It is wrong to think of a husband as a demanding husband who forces his wife to submission. In fact, a husband could NEVER force a woman to submit. Why? Because submission has to do with the heart. It is a heart attitude. Yes, the husband may eventually FORCE the wife to obey, but the husband can NEVER force her to submit. That is her own heart attitude towards her husband before the Lord.

So then, what is a Godly Leader look like in a husband?

John 10:27 - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
Here the example is set by the leader who gets in front of the sheep and sets the example for them to follow by his life that is lived. He focuses on needs of others, especially the needs of his wife. He is also goal oriented. He sets goals for the family and goals for his marriage.

Listen, the husband sets an example in every area of life. He sets an example in how much he reads, how much he watches TV, what he watches on TV, how he treats his children, how he treats his wife, how he handles his money, and how he chooses to spend time (or not spend time) with the Lord.

A Godly Husband who is a leader is one who is a problem solver. He is a teacher. He teaches his wife in the Word. He washes her with the word (Eph 5:26).

So, husbands, Mark it. Check it. Learn it. Study it. Apply it. DO it! Be a Leader for your wife.

Remember, a Godly Husband as portrayed in the Scriptures MUST BE:

(1) a Learner
(2) a Lover
(3) a Leader

Saturday, December 9, 2006

I am taking a one-day detour from my 3-part series on "A Godly Husband" because I want to write today on the necessity of biblical languages in the evangelical church. I find it sad, frankly it's depressing, that so many Pastors and even lay people are ignorant of the biblical languages. Though Geoff Kirkland is no one special in them, I am working hard so as to improve my skills to read through the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic comfortably anywhere in the Scriptures.

I was confronted once again with a great man of old, Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) who is known for "carrying his Greek NT, the Hebrew OT, and his Latin Vulgate (notice this) along with his associates at his church.

He was a man who preached from the original texts from the pulpit. He engaged in intense exegesis and study from the original languages.

Why? What is the purpose? Why go through the rigors of learning a "dead" language?

Put it this way. Reading the Bible in a translation (i.e., English, French, Spanish, etc) could be compared to reading about a crime scene in a newspaper. However, reading the biblical text from the original languages may be comparable to actually being at the crime scene and experiencing it all - seeing the sights, smelling the scents, feeling the emotions, etc.

However, this is not to downplay or diminish one's trust in the English translation (ESV, NASB, etc), though it must be remembered that it is simply that, a TRANSLATION.

I have this burning passion in my soul that one day - when I am Pastoring a church (Lord willing)- that I would have a seminary level course always being offered on the biblical languages (from Greek, to Hebrew and to Aramaic) so the pastors and even the lay people can read the biblical text in the original.

The nuances, the emphases, the theology, the rhetorical devices, the poetic features are all absolutely wonderful - yet these nuances are lost in the carrying over from one translation to another (i.e. Hebrew to English).

My point in this post: Take seriously the thought and possibility of working on Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. I promise you (no doubt) you will be greatly blessed for the REST OF YOUR LIFE if you keep up with them and read the Scriptures in the ancient languages that God had originally chosen to communicate his revelation to mankind with.

Here are a few sources I think are profitable:

Hebrew: here
and here

Greek: here

Aramaic: here
and here

Friday, December 8, 2006

Today is the second part of the series on what it means to be a Godly Husband, as defined in the Scriptures. Yesterday we saw that a Godly Husband is to be a Learner. Today we'll see that a Godly husband is a lover.

I. A Godly Husband is a Learner
II. A Godly Husband is a Lover

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. So we see here that if husbands are called to love our wives just as Christ loved the church. That comparative clause (just as) introduces the standard by which something can be measured. In other words, you want to assess how well you are loving your wife, biblically? Then compare it to how Christ loved the church.

It must be noted that our American culture does not help us here as far as learning "how" to love our wives. The popular view of our culture is this macho, sexual conquest attitude. Let me take her to bed and then I'll show her how much I love her. This, however, is far from the biblical concept of love. For anyone can take, but the biblical idea of love is one of giving.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave...

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself...

Ephesians 5:25 5 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave...

True biblical love is defined as giving. In fact, true biblical love is the real test of masculinity. A Godly Husband is a lover who gives himself unconditionally with NO expectation of receiving anything in return. Did you hear that?

Hear it again, A Godly Husband is a lover who gives himself unconditionally with NO expectation of receiving anything in return.

So, then, how does a husband express this love to his wife by giving?

(1) By loving as Christ loved (Eph 5:25)
(2) By loving First just as Christ loved us first (1 John 4:19)
(3) By loving MOST (by giving himself up for her; Eph 5:25a)
(4) By loving unmistakably (in deed and in truth; 1 John 3:18)
(5) By loving as much as we men love our own bodies (Eph 5:28)
(6) By loving in a way that is forgiving and in a way that overcomes wrong (Col 3:19)

This is the second requirement, biblically, of a Godly husband. So husbands, assess yourselves. How are you doing? Are you Learning your wife? Are you Loving your wife?

Thursday, December 7, 2006

There are three parts that I will discuss as far as being a Godly husband. I will break each of these down and present one each over the next three blogs. In sum, a Godly husband must be a Learner, a Lover, and a Leader.

But today, I want to focus on the first requirement of being a Godly husband.

I. A Godly Husband is a Learner

1 Peter 3:7-8 7 You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. Though I must do some exegesis to help you further and rightly understand the text. The phrase literally reads from the Greek, "live (dwell) together with your wives according to knowledge (gnosis). In other words, Peter is saying that the husband ought to live together with the wife according to a deep, intimate knowledge of her. He is to live life with her in a knowledgeable way.

Though the world might say, "So WHO can understand women?" the Bible says, "you can understand your wife and you will not be a good husband until get to know her." The only way a husband can get to know his wife is by SPENDING TIME WITH HER. That means, if you are going to dwell with your wife knowledgeably, then it will inevitably take much time and diligent study.

How well do you know your wife? Are you still learning about her? Or did you peak at the "learning-about-one-another" stage when you got engaged? How about dates? How often do YOU, husbands, take your wife on a date and get to know her?

Peter goes on to say, "live together with your wives according to knowledge as with a weaker vessel (lit. clay pot)." This is not saying that the wife is physically less powerful or physically weaker than the husband - though that may be true. This is saying that the husband is to care for and treat his wife as if she were the most expensive and rare of all clay pots that you had just inherited from your family. You are to treat her with the utmost gentleness and love, tender and compassion.

Why? Peter goes on to say so that your prayers may not be hindered. Some men may say, "I pray and it feels like God just isn't answering my prayers." The first thing that man ought to do is to assess his marriage and see how he is treating his wife. How is he loving her? Caring for her? Is he treating her with gentleness and care and love as he would an expensive, rare china vase?

We are to honor the Lord in this way so that our prayers are not hindered. Husbands, learn your wife. Get to know her. Study her. Learn what she likes. What she doesn't like. Spend time with her. Make her the UTMOST priority in the home - before the children, before the TV, before food, before work, before friends, whatever. You have a responsibility before God to live with your wife in a way that is "according to knowledge." May God give Godly husbands the consuming passion to honor God in and through honoring our wives.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) was noted for saying on his death bed, "Do something bold for God's sake."

Listen to a few things that Zwingli did:

(1)He memorized the Pauline Epistles - in Greek
(2)He wrote in 1516, "Led by the Word and the Spirit of GOd I saw the need to set aside all these [humanistic teachings] and to learn the doctrine of God direct from His own Word."
(3)He began the Reformation in Zurich in 1519 and announced to his congregation that instead of reading "canned" sermons, he would preach straight through the Gospel of Matthew, then with Acts, 1-2 Timothy, Galatians, 1-2 Peter and the rest of the NT. Then when the NT is finished, they'll begin the OT.
(4)Zwingli said, "If you can prove one of my articles false by means of teh Gospel, I will give you a rabbit cheese. Now let's hear it. I shall await it." :-)
(5)Zwingli held ever so strongly to the Sovereignty (or Providence) of God. He said, "I defined Providence as the rule over and direction of all things in the universe. For if anything were guided by its own power or insight, just so far would the wisdom and power of our Deity be deficient." To that I respond with an "AMEN."
(6)Zwingli held to the Clarity and Certainty of the Word of God, to expository preaching and emphasized the illumination of the Spirit. He also believed in the perspicuity (clarity) of the Scriptures.
(7) Every morning during the week, while Pastoring in Zurich, he gathered with students in an hour of intense exegesis and interpretation of Scripture. He would open in prayer, and then read the text in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Appropriate textual and exegetical comments were made. Even lay people could hear the study if they stopped in on their way to work.
(8)Zwingli was a fabulous organist. Though he banned the organ and all instruments from the church meeting place. Thus it has been said of the Swiss reform churches, "these churches are just four bare walls and a sermon." :-)

What can we learn? The importance of understanding church history and those saints who have passed before us who took the Word of God seriously and had great discernment. We must strive to be those - like Zwingli - who proclaim the truth of the word of God at all times.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

What would you do if you were living in 16th century with Mary Tudor ("Bloody Mary") reigning if she required you to recant your faith in order to return to Romanism?

Many protestants at this time were burned because they refused to acknowledge the King (i.e. Bloody Mary) as the sovereign ruler of the church of England.

Would YOU stand up, be bold, be unashamed, unequivocally affirm that Jesus Christ is the only Sovereign because of what the Scriptures teach...even if that meant your life was at stake? Literally?

When we learned today in my Historical Theology class about these Protestants who were burned for their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and refused to recant, it was sobering to me. I desperately want to be one who holds to the truth of God's Word just as these faithful men and women did in the 16th century.

Would we really be willing to die - and at that, to suffer horribly while dying - for the name of Jesus Christ? May God give us the strength to be so bold that if this is the only outcome possible, that we may be bold even to the flames for the sake of Christ.
Last night I was preaching at the rehab center again and I began a series going through Romans chapter 8. In the middle of it, I was on a sidetrack and was talking about how Jesus is our substitution and our high priest. I told them, if you want to sum up the book of Hebrews in one word, it would have to be JESUS. Jesus is better than everything. He is better than angels, Melchizedek, the Old Testament sacrificial system, etc. I hope you find encouragement in that which I was truly encouraged by.

Hebrews 7:26-28 26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.

We have a high priest who is exalted above the heavens (v.26). But listen, we have this exalted priest. Auctor (the respective name for the author of Hebrews which is NOT Paul) goes on to say that he does not need daily, to offer up sacrifices like all the other priests. WHY?

Well because all the other priests had to offer sacrifices not only for the sins of the people but for their own sins as well. But Jesus made an atonement for all sin once and for all when he offered himself on the cross as the spotless and perfect sacrifice.

Now hear 8:1, Auctor says, Hebrews 8:1 "Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." Do you hear that?

Read it again: Hebrews 8:1 "Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens."

Auctor is saying that this is the main point (lit. the "top" or the "head") of what we are saying, "WE" have a high priest. Do you hear the personal relationship intended here? Do you see the intimacy? Do you grasp the reality that WE as believers have a high priest.

This is not just any ordinary Levitical high priest. No, this is one who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.

Our priest has:

(1) Sat down because His atoning work is finished. Remember when Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished" (John 19:30; Gk. tetelestai) which means that the debt has been paid in full. It was a past action with ongoing ramifications. The effects are still going on.

(2) We have a high priest who sat down at the right hand. The right hand was a place of superiority. It was a place of prominence. When you wanted to bless your children in the ancient world, you brought them to your right side and placed your right hand upon them. The right hand symbolized superiority.

(3) Jesus said down at the right hand (notice this) of the Majesty in the heavens. Jesus sat down at the most prominent place in the presence of the Majestic King of kings - Yahweh Himself. Jesus Christ has entered into heaven itself to intercede on our behalf.

This is worthy of contemplation. This is worthy of marveling. This is worthy of a deep and fervent bowing of our hearts before this great High Priest who intercedes for us, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Yesterday, Elizabeth took the day away and did a bunch of activities together:

(1) We went to her nephew's football game. But they lost :-(

(2) Then we played a little bit of frisbee - serious frisbee. :-)

(3) Then Elizabeth and I went to the beach for a walk and felt the absolute freezing cold LA water once again :-)

(4) Then She and I went to the Coffee Bean and did some studying for about 3 hours straight. Seriously. She wouldn't even sit at the same table as me - yet again. :-( I guess she thinks she won't be able to get much work done cause she has to stare at me the whole time ;-)

(5) We went to the Palms restarant. Here at the Palms you make your own steak. Literally. They give you a raw slab of meat or fish - I got the NY strip and she got the Halibut - and you go to this big grill in the middle of the restaurant and grill it yourself. It's a manly man's place :-)

Sitting at the beach in December is not really all that shabby. Those that live in 'ol St. Louis, this is the life eh? ;-)

Friday, December 1, 2006

This is a post by my friend and a tremendously zealous brother for the truth and for God's glory to be manifest. Read it, understand it, meditate on it, live for that day. This is from his blog which you can access here.

Every Knee Will BowNovember 30th, 2006

The great hope of all Christian labor and perseverance is that one day every knee will bow before our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the king of the universe and the rightful ruler of the world. If I didn’t believe this — and if God wasn’t faithful to remind me of it often — I would honestly give up. I would give up right now.

Anything less than eternal, world-wide, universal, face-to-the-ground acknowledgement of Christ as the grand, supreme Lord of all is not worth the toil of Christian service. If your motivation sinks below this high-as-the-heavens standard, I can guarantee that you will soon begin to suffer painful disillusionment and lingering discouragement.

You can work 18-hour days doing kingdom work — “night and day,” as Paul said — and you can do it out of a concrete conviction that it’s right and biblical, but if you do not have the guarantee that a day is coming when the glory of God will cover the earth like the water fills the sea, your spirit will soon expire beneath the suffocating weight of exhausting earthly realities.

Even if I were the pastor of a 20,000-member church that taught and obeyed the Bible, enjoyed biblical fellowship, supported suffering saints, stood firm for the truth in the winds of doctrinal compromise, cared nothing about the values of the world, showed compassion towards outcasts, and gave 50% of its budget to world missions, I would still look out at the dark, needy idolatry of the Muslim world and the plight of innumerable AIDS orphans in Africa and the audacity of Benny Hinn in deceiving desperate millions in India and the spinelessness of American Christianity when it comes to truth and I would simply despair.

Lived properly, the Christian life is simply too hard to bear without the promise of reward. To live as (and feel like) an alien and stranger in a foreign land your whole life is hard. To carry the burden of love for truth in the midst of an evil and adulterous generation is hard. To fight sin tooth and nail and still feel like you’re making no progress is hard. To love your enemies is hard. To swirl in mental confusion over where to ration your time and energy and resources because there is simply so much kingdom work to do is hard. To press on is hard. So hard that Paul said, “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

But there are no pity parties in the Christian life, because we are awaiting the great and glorious celebration of the king’s return. We will shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father because of the bright love that has been rained down upon us from the beautiful and bloodied face of Christ. We will live forever in mansions of glory and endless delight, giving restful service to a joyful, overflowing God. We will lift our voices and clap our hands to Him who has forgiven all our sins and wiped away all our iniquities at the price of the only Son He had. And we will finally see King Jesus on His throne, ruling without end over a stunning new world where justice rules, harmony prevails, lions lie down with lambs, and tears and sorrow are wiped away.

There is coming a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. On that day all wrongs will be made right and all weariness will be replaced with rest. And I can find no better reason — I can find no other reason — to get back up and persevere until that day.

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” – Galatians 6:9
Another hero of mine - as far as the homiletic aspect goes - is the reformer John Knox. When he was in Geneva, Switzerland later in his life -after coming from Frankfurt, Germany - he pastored an English congregation in Geneva and he loved it.

First, did you know that Knox preached three sermons a week, every sermon lasting two to three hours. Knox is well known for his preaching: In his 2-3 hour sermons, Knox typically spent 30 minutes calmly exegeting a biblical passage. Then as he applied the text to the Scottish situation, he would become “active and vigorous” and violently pound the pulpit. Said one note taker in his congregation, “he made me so to grew [quake] and tremble, that I could not hold pen to write."

Second, Knox applied himself to pastoral duties, and in the time left over studied Hebrew, Greek, and the English Bible.

This is a preacher that I want to emulate. May I be a man that is so determined to have as my ambition to fulfill my pastoral duties and to preach the truth (2 Tim 2:15) as well as to study with great diligence Greek and Hebrew.

This is a preacher that was used mightily of God. May I be humble, faithful and yield myself to the Lord for His working in and through me.
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