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Showing posts from April, 2007

When your life is on the line...

What will YOU do? I found this article Dated on Thursday, April 26 entitled, " A letter to the Global Church from The Protestant Church of Smyrna." The City of Izmir (Smyrna) - The article begins by saying, " Smyrna is an ancient city (today known as Izmir in Turkey) that was founded at a very early period at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. It was the second city to receive a letter from the apostle John in the book of Revelation. Acts 19:10 suggests that the church there was founded during Paul’s third missionary journey. Due to the fact that the port city of Izmir houses the second largest population in Turkey today, the site of ancient Smyrna has been little excavated. Excepting the agora, theater, and sections of the Roman aqueduct, little remains of the ancient city." The tragedy - The article notes, "On Wednesday morning, April 18, 2007, 46 year old German Christian and father of three Tilmann Geske prepared to go to his

A Practical Way to Share Your Faith

I'm not joking. I was in Bank of America today and standing in line studying my Greek vocabulary cards. Then the lady in front of me said, "Next in line, please!" So I proceeded to her window and handed her my checks. I didn't really do anything abnormal and I wasn't acting any different than I usually do. Then the lady said, "Do you live out here?" I answered, "Yes, I'm studying out here." She said, "Oh, at the Master's College." I responded with a smile and said, "I graduated from there but now I'm finishing up at the Master's Seminary and I work in a church." I could tell almost instantly that she was intrigued that I went to Master's and that there was something different . I don't think these window tellers always get the friendliest people. So I preceded to tell her that I majored in biblical languages and told her that I love studying the Bible ( transition into the Gospel conversation ). She


As we continue our look at 1 Timothy 4, I would like to bring to your attention six verses this morning: 1 Timothy 4:11-16 1 Prescribe and teach these things. 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed upon you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things; for as you do this you will insure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. In this short section of verses there are 10 imperatives. That is amazing. Let me break them down for you and hopefully this will spur you on towards Godly living! 1) P

Pornography Wickedness

I have been informed over the past few weeks that Southern California, specifically, a city in Los Angeles, is the headquarters for the pornographic media distributed throughout the whole world. I have heard this before and I've been told that these people are spoken of as if they were just a "normal business woman going into Bank of America." Yesterday I was handed a map of this city in the L.A. area, and there were little black dots on the map representing each of the pornographic studios. There were over 130 in an area of no greater than a few blocks. I have never noticed these studios, nor do I ever want to. However, I wanted to post about this so that we can pray for these people specifically, be awakened as to how really dark, wicked, immoral and " godless " our culture really is. Sex the way God created it is beautiful! It is to be enjoyed only in the context of marriage . Every other way is absolutely forbidden and wicked in the sight of God. Let us so

Go to the Gym Baby!

Paul notes in this fabulous section in 1 Timothy: 1 Timothy 4:7-9 7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. I know I will be repeating myself from posts that I have done in the past, but I want to focus on just a few aspects of this text this morning as we continue to crawl through 1 Timothy. Notice the phrase "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness" (v.7). Notice the very first two words, " discipline yourself ." "Discipline" comes from the Greek word gumnazo from which we have derived our English word "gymnasium." This word gumnazo was used very often in ancient Greek secular writings. It is an athletic term. Spe

What is Real Biblical Forgiveness?

You may be surprised. Biblical forgiveness is absolutely foreign to our culture. What you may think of when you think of "forgiving" someone or someone asking you for "forgiveness" may be vastly different than the biblical concept of forgiveness. I would like to attempt to explain it simply this morning. In so doing, I need help from my brother, Lou Priolo, who wrote a very fine work that I just finished entitled, The Complete Husband . This was a fabulous work. I recommend it to every single man out there. You can buy it on Amazon for $15 and it is definitely worth the read. He notes that according to the Bible, when you forgive: 1. You are promising not to bring up the offense again to the forgiven person in the future 2. You are promising not to speak to others about the offense 3. You are promising not to dwell on the offense yourself Think about it. When we often forgive, we are often quick to say "I forgive you." But often what we really mean is, &q

Prayer for the Gospel to Run

2 Thessalonians 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; It is in this text that Paul asks the Thessalonians for prayer that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly. The word literally means "to run." Let us pray for the following individuals that I know as they are ministering the Word of the Lord at Virginia Tech this week. They will be on campus to be available for biblical counseling. This is nouthetic counseling . It is biblical counseling. This is upholding the Word of God as the completely sufficient and inspired Word of God that is able to comfort us in our time of trials.

Training Your Mind as a Servant of Christ

I would like to encourage you today as I myself have been encouraged from my study in 1 Timothy 4 this morning. It is in this marvelous section that Paul writes: 1 Timothy 4:6-8 6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. I only want to focus on verse six this morning and do verses seven and eight tomorrow. In verse six Paul notes that in pointing out (Lit. "entrusting") these things to the brethren. What are these things? I take it to be referring to that which precedes this verse. Namely, it is referring to verses one t

Apostates from 1 Timothy 4:1-5

As of late, we have been going through the book of 1 Timothy at a fairly slow rate. I would like to speed this up so I could get through the rest of the Pastorals! :=) This morning, we continue where we left off last time with Paul in the first verses of 1 Timothy four and his prediction that in the latter times (that is, the church age in which we now live) some will apostasize from the faith thus giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. This is what he says: 1 Timothy 4:1-2 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, Now we must continue to the next few verses and hear how this plays out in these hypocrites and apostates : 1 Timothy 4:3-5 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believ

Directions for Singing in Church

John Wesley has directions for singing. Did you know that? His Directions for Singing are found in the front pages of most Methodist hymnals. It reads as follows: 1. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please. 2. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can. 3. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a single degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing. 4. Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, then when you sung the songs of Satan. 5. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not

Trying to Uphold the Sanctity of Life

Almost every major newspaper today leads with the news that the Supreme Court reversed course on abortion on Wednesday, upholding the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in a 5-to-4 decision that promises to reframe the abortion debate and define the young Roberts court. Here is what the New York Times says: The procedure that has been banned is known medically as “intact dilation and extraction,” involves removing the fetus in an intact condition rather than dismembering it in the uterus. Both methods are used to terminate pregnancies beginning at about 12 weeks, after the fetus has grown too big to be removed by the suction method commonly used in the first trimester, when 85 percent to 90 percent of all abortions take place. Though the paper says, While the ruling will thus have a direct impact on only a relatively small subset of abortion practice, the decision has broader implications for abortion regulations generally, indicating a change in the court’s balancing of the var

Israel...Still Around?

I was reminded once again today in my Exegesis of Zechariah class that God still has a plan for the nation of Israel. The ethnic, Jewish, descendants of Abraham are still in God's plan. Supercessionism (or replacement theology) is a faulty hermeneutic of the Scriptures. This concept is also found elsewhere in Scripture. Take these verses for example: Jeremiah 31:33-36 33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 "And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." 35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day, And

One Impactful Book

Last night I just finished one book that has been on my "to-read" list for quite some time (and unfortunately, my "to-read" list just gets higher and higher and higher). I have about four more books that I intend to read before the wedding day (May 12) in addition to all the seminary work but I think it can be done) and it was absolutely spectacular. Stuart Scott in his book, The Exemplary Husband, clearly and biblically laid forth the mandate that Christian husbands have to God, to their wives, to their families and to holiness. By far, the most impactful thing to me in the book was that in nearly everything that he said (literally, almost every point), he had a Scripture verse to back it up . It was absolutely awesome. That is a practical example of the sufficiency of Scripture. The Word of God is truly sufficient for all aspects of life - whether it addresses an issue directly or indirectly, the Word of God is all-sufficient. Hebrews 4:12 12 For the word of G

A little transition for 'ol G-poppa

I am looking in my closet right now and I have only three articles of clothing there. I have one pair of dark gray dress pants, one white collared dress-shirt and one pair of blue-jeans. That's kind of sad eh? I am moving and I am so "discombobulated" (is that a word?) with all my stuff being scattered in two different apartments. I am departing from Villa La Paz #211 - with Tyler, Sean and Chris. What a bunch of goofy fellaz. This picture gives you a good idea as to what goes on here I am departing to Villa La Paz #101 - with my new wife, Elizabeth - well... May 12 is our date. I will be getting situated there and getting the rest of my semester coursework done at this new apartment these last few weeks that I have before marriage :=) This is a good idea of what I'll be like these last few weeks before marriage as I crank out Aramaic, Zechariah homework, sermons for homiletics class and book reviews for Historical Theology: Genesis 2:18 18 Then the LORD God said,

Apostates from the Church

1 Timothy 4:1-2 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, In this text, Paul writes that the latter times some will aposteisontai from the faith. The idea chronologically is that the "latter times" refers to the period from the ascension of our Lord continuing through the present until that future day when the Lord Jesus returns again to receive His church. The terms "last days" (Heb 1:2) and the "latter times" (1 Tim 4:1) are those marking the present "church age." The Spirit says that some during these last days will "fall away" (NASB); "depart" (KJV, ESV); "desert" (NET); "abandon" (NIV) from the faith. The Gk verb here aposteisontai has the root idea of "withdrawing," "to depart,"

Little Miss "Julie" Carrying Quite a Load

If you happened to see "Julie" (that is, the honorable name given to my 1997 White Honda Civic with 140,000 miles on it) driving down the 5 freeway with all the boxes, mattresses, couches, desks, bookcases, blah blah blah swaying in the wind and you were a little nervous - let me assure you, it all made it there safely :=) So this is the blessed representation of what we went through yesterday. God bless Julie . She is a trooper :-) P.S. This is all just for fun. We had two trucks and one large minivan to carry all the cargo from one apartment to the other. No worries. Julie is safe. She is healthy. She is still moving!!!

Can You Handle It?

Today, G-poppa is moving all the big stuff to our new apartment . It is a very nice apartment. It is a two-bedroom, two-bath with a big living room. Of course, it has a kitchen, which I am very excited about :=) This will be me by the end of the day - but I'm in no way boasting... ;-) So I hope that today I get a good workout moving the couches, the bed, the tables, the bookshelves, the dressers, the patio furniture and whatever else is on Elizabeth's list that I must move ;-)....I love you babe :=)

The Mystery of Godliness

One of the greatest hymns in all of the Bible is this one found in the New Testament in Paul's letter to Timothy: 1 Timothy 3:16 16 And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Beheld by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. Before we get into the actual hymn, the introductory line states that "by common confession." This word in the Greek, homologoumenos , is from the verb homologeo meaning "to confess" or "profess." Here the adverb, homologoumenos means "by the common consent of all," "confessedly," or perhaps even best, "without controversy." That is to say, what Paul is about to write regarding the mystery of godliness is absolutely without controversy. The genitive euseibios ("godliness") is a subjective genitive giving it the connotation that it is the mystery that produces godlin

The Church of the Living God

Here we come in our study in 1 Timothy to the purpose of the book. Paul states it outright in chapter three: 1 Timothy 3:14-15 14 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. There are a few elements that I want to highlight this morning. The first is that Paul is writing to young Pastor Timothy in the church at Ephesus (1:3) in telling him how to practically do church ministry in the local assembly. He states his purpose in verse 15. The purpose of the letter is so that " you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God..." (v14). The household of God is further explicated by Paul. Namely, it is the church of the living God. Not only this, Paul elaborates once more by saying that the local church is the " pillar and support of the tr

A Husband's Decision-Making

Of course this whole concept of "biblical husbanding" has been on my mind as of late, for I'm getting married in 33 days :=) As I'm working my way through Stuart Scott's book, The Exemplary Husband , I came across a great quote last night that I want to share with you: Here, Scott is speaking in regards to leadership in the home and he says the more the husband knows the Scriptures, the more direction that husband will have not only in his own life, but for his wife and for their marriage together. Then Scott quotes J.C. Ryle, the Bishop of Liverpool in 1880 who gives a great quote on "decision-making:" The Bible must be our standard. Whenever we are confronted with a question about Christian practice, we must apply the teaching of the Bible. Sometimes the Bible will deal with it directly, and we must go by its direct teaching. Often the Bible will not deal with it directly, and then we must look for general principles to guide us. It does not matter wh

The Dangerous Sin of Pride

In writing to young Pastor Timothy in Ephesus, Paul tells him that an elder must not be: 1 Timothy 3:6-7 6 and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. 7 And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he may not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. It is amazing to do word studies on these words and the wealth of information that can be gathered when studying these characteristics. What I want to focus on today is the sin of pride . Paul commands Timothy that an elder must not be a neophutos (that is, a "new convert" or a "new sprout; newly planted one"). Timothy must abstain from this because this elder then may be tempted to become conceited (Gk. tuphotheis - from the Greek tuphoo meaning "to be filled with smoke;" thus meaning metaphorically to be "clouded with pride"). Then Paul notes that this one may then fall into the condemnation incurred t

An Encouraging Note on the Believer's Hope

1 John 3:1-2 See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. Excerpt from FF Bruce “1 John” “These first two verses of 1 John 3 [3:1-2] celebrate the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose concerning man. This purpose finds expression in Gen. 1:26, where God, about to bring into being the crown of creation, says: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” In other words, he declares his intention of bringing into existence beings like himself as it is possible for creatures to be like their Creator. In words which echo the language of Genesis 1, the status and function of man in the purpose of God are celebrated in Psalm 8:5ff: “thou hast made

The Power of the Word of God

I am going to deviate from my 1 Timothy devotional just this morning because I want to share with you what I recognized this morning in my study in the book of Acts. I have been reading through the book of Acts and trying to focus on the preaching of the Apostles . That is, how did Peter, Paul, Stephen and the rest preach? What was their method? Did they have one? So I read Acts 13-14 this morning- the record of the first missionary journey of Paul, Barnabas and John Mark (though he later abandoned them). In reading this text in the original, I noticed a phrase being repeated over and over, ton logon tou theou . Translated into English it is: "The Word of God." This phrase is found 7x in chapter 13 alone (13:5, 7, 12, 44, 46, 48 and 49). There is one place when an equivalent phrase is mentioned, te didache tou kuriou . Translated into English it is: "The teaching about the Lord." This was the overarching message of the Apostles. They preached the Word about Christ!

Can We Really Live Up To These Standards?

By way of introduction, Paul tells Timothy that: 1 Timothy 3:1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. If there is a man who aspires to be an overseer (Lit. episkopos ), it is a good work he desires to do. The word for 'aspires' is orego which means "to stretch oneself out in order to touch or grasp something." Furthermore, this verb form is in the present middle . Thus, the present indicates that it is a constant, habitual desire. The middle indicates that he longs for this position for himself (a reflexive nuance). In fact, the Homerian Greek, orego was used for "exerting oneself or stretching oneself forth" with all his might. If a man desires to be in the office of leadership in the local church with this kind of stretching oneself out to the point of exhaustion - desire, then it is a good work that he desires ( epithumei - "to desire, long for, lust"). Now, it will

Monday/Tuesday of the Passion Week

Did you know that in the Passion week of our Lord, that Monday and Tuesday he was controlling the Temple area? It was only on Sunday when people hailed him as King as he approached and entered Jerusalem on a donkey that they shouted "Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD." It is these same people that will cry out "Crucify, Crucify! in a matter of days to put him on a cross. Why the sudden change from hailing him as the majestic King on Sunday to shouting Crucify! later in the week? The answer is the events that transpire during Monday and Tuesday. It is during these days that Jesus is showing his authority over the Jewish leadership of that day. He is approached by all of the Jewish "sects" (for lack of a better term) of the day with questions seeking to trap him and test him - Chief priest and elders (Matt 21:23ff), the Pharisees and Herodians (Matt 22:15-22); the Sadducees (Matt 22:23-33), and the Pharisees again (Matt 22:34-45). Listen t

Men, Step Up to the Plate!

In this section, Paul gives specific attention to the role of women in the public worship service , that is, the corporate assembly of believers (cf 1 Tim 3:14-15). Here is what Paul says: 1 Timothy 2:9-10 9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; 10 but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness. In the same way that men are to lead in prayer in the public worship setting, so also ( likewise ), the women are to adorn themselves (Gk. "cosmeo" from which we get our English "cosmetic") with all of these traits. Notice, the point is not that these are inherently wrong in and of themselves , but rather these can be abused with the wrong motivation when gathering together for public worship. In other words, if a woman comes to the public setting of worship NOT exercising: 1) Modesty - this is the idea of preceding and preventing