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Showing posts from March, 2007

Keep Up The Prayin'

1 Timothy 2:8 8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. This has been a hard verse for many because of a few issues: 1) Where does it fit in relation to the preceding and the following verses; and 2) What does it mean to pray lifting holy hands ?; and 3) What about the women, are men only to do the praying? It seems clear from the conjunction oun ("therefore") that this verse is referring back to the previous verses. In other words, in most translations, the paragraph break comes after verse seven and then verse eight begins the new section continuing until 2:15. However this should not be the case. With the oun ("therefore"), it is referring to what has just been spoken. In essence, Paul has just stated the need to pray for governmental officials and how it is God who desires all men to be saved (including those in political leadership). Furthermore, Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer for the sins of a

There is One God. Period.

Paul in his letter to young Pastor Timothy notes that it is God who " desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth " (1 Tim 2:4). We must know that there are two desires mentioned in the Scriptures. First is what we may call God's desired will. This is what God would want and desire . It is the Greek word thelo meaning "I wish or desire." This is the word used here in 1 Tim 2:4. Second, there is God's determinative will. This is what God determines and there is nothing that can ever thwart his purposes. This is the Greek word boulamai meaning "I determine or desire." It is here when Paul says that God desires ( thelei ) all men to be saved. In God's grace, mercy and loyal love, he would want all men to be saved an to come to the knowledge of the truth of the Gospel. Yet, because of the justice of God, he must punish sin. Furthermore, his desirous will is that all humans would be saved and not perish in hell forev

A God of Strength

Every morning, as I begin my prayer time with the Lord, I read through a Psalm in the Hebrew and endeavor to pray my way through it. This morning, I was on Psalm 86. I read through the Psalm, put down my text, and prayed and worshiped. I worshiped God. I was so overcome with the majesty, glory, protection, honor and loftiness of our great God that I simply worshiped Him in adoration. Furthermore, as I read through the text a few more times, a sermon outline became clear to me: Here it is: Psalm 86: A God of Strength I. The Petition of the Godly (vv.1-7) II. The Preeminence of God (vv.8-13) III. The Protection received (vv.14-17) Let me just go through very quickly and give you a few tidbits that greatly encouraged my heart this morning as I experienced the glory of God. First, the Petition of the Godly (vv.1-7). Psalm 86:1-7 Incline Thine ear, O LORD, and answer me; For I am afflicted and needy. 2 Do preserve my soul, for I am a godly man; O Thou my God, save Thy servant who trusts

Prayer for Leaders

1 Timothy 2:1-4 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. The first note that I want to make is a rhetorical one. In the Greek, the first verse of chapter two has twelve words in it. Six of these twelve all begin with "p." Furthermore, when this letter would be read aloud by Timothy (and his hearers), this alliteration would be unmistakable for emphasis and to grab the listener's attention. Read it transliterated: " p arakalo oun p roton p anton p oesthai deeseis, p roseuchas, eneuxeis, eucharistais huper p anton anthropon ." Just a rhetorical note that I think is significant. Second of all, it seems that from verse one, Paul is en

Devotion from Paul's Letter to Timothy

There are two things to observe this morning: First , 1 Timothy 1:16 16 And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Have you ever noticed this verse before and meditated on it? It says that Paul was shown mercy in order that Jesus Christ may demonstate (or show) his perfect patience. The word here is endeiknumi. It has the idea of one who demonstrates or proves something (whether by speech or by act). Thus, Jesus Christ here is the model for demonstrating biblical patience. And he demonstrated this patience with sinners! Furthermore, it goes on to say that he demonstrated his perfect patience as a hupotuposin . You may hear the "tupos" in hypotuposin . This is the word for a "type." Jesus Christ is our prototype and example as to how to exercise biblical patience. He bore with sinners patiently until the perfect t

A Savior For Sinners

In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul makes the (familiar) statement: 1 Timothy 1:15 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners , among whom I am foremost of all. One thing worthy of note regarding this verse is that Christ Jesus came into this world as a man (yet still fully God) for one purpose, to glorify the Father in redeeming a people purchased for His own possession. Jesus Christ is that Redeemer. Yet in this verse, Paul's argument and reasoning is marvelous. For we must keep this in its immediate context. Remember that in verses eight through eleven he writes: 1 Timothy 1:8-11 8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liar

Superabundant Grace of God

Paul writes: 1 Timothy 1:12-14 12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service; 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant , with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. This text is amazing. Paul is expressing his joy and thankfulness that God has entrusted him with a ministry for His name's sake. In fact, even in v.12, Paul notes that "I give thanks," but literally in the Greek it reads, " I have thanksgiving/grace." Though Paul was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor (a dioktein; that is, one who is pursuing something with the degree of fervency as an athlete would so as to receive the prize), and a violent aggressor ( hubristein ). In v.14, the first word in the Greek is uperepleonasen which literally means: "

A Study of the Pastorals

I have been completely overwhelmed by the Pastoral Epistles as of recent months and so I have determined to make it my ambition to know - I mean, really KNOW - them in and out. I want to make it my goal to understand these letters so well that I understand Paul's thought in every chapter and in every verse. I will make it my goal to be able to know and read the Greek text without any problem. This will come with work, time and labor, but it will be worth it. This morning I read 1 Timothy 1:1-4 in the Greek repeatedly. I was struck by one significant (and yet fairly uncommon) word that Paul used: 1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope; What struck me this morning is that this word for "the commandment" is the Greek epitagein which means "authority or command." It is a very strong word. It is a military term that is not found very often in the NT. It is also found i

Honored by God

John 12:26 26 "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. This is one of those verses that I read this morning that seemed new to me. I must have skimmed over it before. But to think that Jesus - and this is a week before he is crucified - tells those who are with him that if they have the desire to serve Christ, they must follow Him . How important it is for us to heed this command. We must serve the Lord but it requires a life of total allegiance and unreserved commitment. Jesus drives the point home by saying that wherever He may be found, His servant (who is constantly and unequivocally following him) will be as well. Furthermore, This last phrase is what really encouraged me. Jesus says: "if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him." Can you imagine what it will be like on that final day when we who have been faithful to the calling of following Christ will be ultimately

Best Dance Video

If everyone is as much into dancing as I am, then you will appreciate this lovely video that is perhaps one of my favorite scenes in all of " moviedom ." Watch it HERE .

Cat Lover

Deep down I do enjoy cats, but these make me laugh. Watch the one and a half minute funny video of CATS here .

Is Inspiration Historical?

Norman Geisler has a great quote regarding the historicity of the Word of God by saying: “ The history of the Christian church is in overwhelming support of what the Bible claims for itself, namely, to be the divinely inspired, infallible, and inerrant word of God…this is true of the earliest Fathers after the time of Christ, as well as down through the centuries following them up to modern times" (Geisler, Systematic Theology, 1:282). Here is some more evidence of the inspiration and authority of the Word of God believed through the centuries... 1. Belief in Apostolic Father’s View (70AD-150 AD) a . Testimony of The Epistle of Pseudo-Barnabas (c.70-130 AD) It cites the Gospel of Matthew after stating that it is what ‘God Saith’ (5:12). Furthermore, this letter also speaks of the New Testament as ‘inspired’ or ‘breathed out’ by God (2 Tim 3:16). b. Clement of Rome’s Epistle to the Corinthians (95-97 AD) This man – a contemporary of the Apostles – says that the s

Know Your Greek, Baby!

Tomorrow a good friend of mine is out of town and he asked me to fill in for him in teaching the Greek class at the Master's College. I am excited. As I was preparing for the course, read some of these quotes I came across. I am encouraged by these: Martin Luther said: “The languages are the scabbard that contains the sword of the Spirit; they are the casket which contains the priceless jewels of antique thought; they are the vessel that holds the wine; And as the gospel says, they are the baskets in which the loaves and fishes are kept to feed the multitude…As dear as the gospel is to us all, let us as hard contend with its language” John Piper says : “Weakness in Greek and Hebrew also gives rise to exegetical imprecision and carelessness. And exegetical imprecision is the mother of liberal theology." George Whitefield said : “I now studied much, about 12 hours a day, chiefly Hebrew…and committed portions of the Hebrew OT to memory; and this I did with prayer, often falling o

Your Personal Meditation with God

George Muller , (1805 – 1898) who is famous for establishing orphanages in England, joyfully depended on God to meet all his needs and the needs of the thousands of children under his charge. In the text below, he lays out how he sustained a vital daily time with God. I have read nothing better: It pleased the Lord to teach me a truth…I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished…Before this time my practice had been, at least for ten years previously, as an habitual thing, to give myself to prayer…Now I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, re

The Pleasure of God in God

1 Timothy 1:11 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. In this text, Piper says that this is "the good news of the glory of the happy God." One thing that impacted me this morning in reading a chapter of Piper's from the book The Pleasures of God was the fact that "God is most glorified and happy in His Son." The radiance of Christ's face shines first and foremost for the enjoyment of His Father. Furthermore, the Father delights in the Son's supremacy and servanthood. Note this: God did NOT take a holy man up to deity. Rather, he clothed the fullness of deity with a virgin-born human nature, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the God-Man, in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Col 2:9). Mind boggling huh? So the Son in whom the Father delights is the image of God and the radiance of the glory of God. He bears the very stamp of God's nature and is the very form of God. He is equa

The Silent Enemy

Listen to this helpful quote I came across today: "The idea that Christianity stands chiefly in danger from the forces of materialism, or from secular philosophy, or from pagan religions, is not the teaching of the New Testament. The greatest danger comes rather from temptations within and from those who, using the name of Christ, are instruments of Satan to lead men to believe a lie and to worship what in reality belongs to the demoniac ( cf. 2 Thess 2:3-9; Rev 13:11)" (p.259). Furthermore... "Instead of believers in the apostolic age being directed to listen to all views 'with an open mind', they were told how to 'test the spirits, whether they are of God' (1 John 4:1). For there are 'deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons' (1 Tim 4:1); false teachers 'who will secretly bring in destructive heresies' (2 Pet 2:1). There are words which 'spread as a cancer' (2 Tim 2:17)" (p.260-61). and... Cyprian, a bishop in the city of

God's glory in everything

It seems to me that Deuteronomy 28:36 is a good verse to recognize in understanding God's sovereignty: Deuteronomy 28:36-37 36 "The LORD will bring you and your king, whom you shall set over you, to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone. 37 "And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a taunt among all the people where the LORD will drive you. We know that from this text, The Lord is prophesying that Israel will have a king (monarchy) in about four hundred years and how they will be driven out of their land. Later in the chapter, Moses writes... Deuteronomy 28:63-64 63 "And it shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you ; and you shall be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. 64 "Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the ear

The Pastor's Piety

Pastors, "Be Holy." This is the cry that is blasting forth from the seminars here at the Shepherd's Conference @ Grace Community Church. I just attended a seminar by Rick Holland (who is the man to the right in this photo) who did a seminar on "The Peril of Becoming Too Familiar With God." Sound like an oxymoron? Trust me, It can happen. In fact, trust the Biblical account: Leviticus 10:1-3 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. 2 And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, And before all the people I will be honored.'" So Aaron, therefore, kept silent. It is here in this account that Nadab and Abihu - on their in

Bestsellers at Borders - Man is this depressing...

So today I had an hour to spare while I was waiting for a ring to be resized so I decided to walk to the Borders which is close by. I figured that I'd spend 30-40 minutes in no other place but the front shelves that hoist up the "Borders Bestsellers." Upon entering Borders, this was the first book I found by Terrence Real, The New Rules of Marriage . Upon opening the book I read that two of the six chapters of the Table of Contents had something along the lines of "Are you getting what YOU want? as the chapter title. So I decided to flip through these chapters. I didn't get very far before I came across this statement: In speaking to the reading, Real writes that our view in marriage ought to be : " what can I give you to help you give me what I want." Though to be completely honest, I wasn't shocked to read these kinds of selfish and psycho-therapeutic phrases throughout the book. Then I moved to the other side of this shelf. My eyes immediately

Agonizing in the Pulpit

Yesterday I preached twice at church. It was a long day and a tiring day. Paul says it this way: 1 Timothy 4:10-11 10 For it is for this we labor and strive , because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 11 Prescribe and teach these things. When Paul says that we labor, he uses the Greek word kopiao which means "to toil, to labor; to toil with wearisome effort. In secular writings of the first century AD it meant "to be utterly exhausted." Then he uses a second word, strive , which comes from the Greek word agonizomai - from which we get our English "agonize." It is an athletic term which was used in "contending for a prize;" "in training with such struggle to earn the reward." It also means: "to endeavor with strenuous zeal" and "to contend." This is what Paul is saying. When it comes to the Gospel message. I am laboring and I am striving - Literally "

Evangelicals who do NOT read

In his excellent work, Disciplines of a Godly Man , R. Kent Hughes mentions a quote by a famous radio talk show host. Bear in mind he is a Jewish man, not even claiming to be a Christian. Read his observation on p.78: " One thing I noticed about Evangelicals is that they do not read. They do not read the Bible, they do not read the great Christian thinkers, they have never heard of Aquinas. If they're Presbyterian, they've never read the founders of Presbyterianism. I do not understand that. As a Jew, that's confusing to me. The commandment of study is so deep in Judaism that we immerse ourselves in study. God gave us a brain, aren't we to use it in His service? When I walk into an Evangelical Christian's home and see a total of 30 books, most of them best-sellers, I do not understand. I have bookcases of Christian books, and I am a Jew. Why do I have more Christian books than 98% of the Christians in America? That is so bizarre to me." Christian, train yo

Transcendent and Immanent God

Deuteronomy 4:7-11 7 "For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him? 8 "Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? 9 "Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. 10 " Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when the LORD said to me , 'Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.' 11 " And you came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens: darkness, cloud and thick gloom. This text shows both the transcendence (th

Study Station

You may think that locking yourself up in corner may work to study. And it may. But may I suggest a better (haha) "station" for studying? If you have iTunes , 1) Go to the "radio" icon on the left bar; 2) Then click on " electronica " under the music genre; 3) Finally, 12 stations down is one called: " 1.FM trance: Top selection of UK and European Trance." I am convinced this is the way to go :-).... Try it!