Thursday, May 31, 2007

1 Timothy 2:3-4 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.

Some have seen two wills of God in this verse: 1) A determinative will; namely, what God sovereignly determines what will happen and 2) A desirous will; namely, what God wishes or wants to happen.

For example, God wants (desirous will) all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth, but God's sovereignly determines (determinative will) that only a few be saved.

Here is what Piper notes at the end of his book, The Pleasures of God:

"My aim in this appendix has simply been to show that God's will for all people to be saved is NOT at odds with the sovereignty of God's grace in election. There are "two wills in God" when it comes to salvation. They do NOT contradict. They are ordered according to God's infinite wisdom and one holds sway over the other when it is fitting in God's unfathomable mind. Thus, I have tried to give extensive biblical support for the statement of I.Howard Marshall: 'We must certainly distinguish between what God would like to see happen and what he actually does will to happen, and both of these things can be spoken of as God's will" (339).

Piper continues:

"My answer to the question about what restrains God's will to save all people is this: It is God's supreme commitment to uphold and display the full range of his glory through the sovereign demonstration all his perfections, including his wrath and mercy, for the enjoyment of his chosen and believing people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. This everlasting and ever-increasing joy of God's people in all of God's perfections is the shining forth of God's glory, which was his main aim in creation and redemption. God's delight in being God is the ground of our joy and God's glory" (339).

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Martin Luther was one man who knew how to pray. I read Dr. Archie Parrish's book yesterday entitled A Simple Way to Pray: Life and Wisdom of Luther for Today. It was a very simple read, yet a very convicting, encouraging and challenging one. When I finished the book, I had a greater passion for prayer and for communion with God than I did beforehand.

I would like to highlight just a few parts of the first section of the book for you in hopes that you may find great encouragement and lasting joy in your prayer life with the Living God.

Frederick Hieler declares of Luther, "After Jeremiah, Jesus, and Paul, the German reformer is indeed the most powerful among the eminent men who had a genius for prayer" (15). Did you know that historical records show that Luther prayed for four hours each day?

Helmut Thieliche wrote, "Luther prayed this much, not despite his busy life, but because only so he could accomplish his gigantic work without praying and without listening means only to grow and spread oneself upward, without striking roots and without creating an equivalent in the earth. A person who works this way is living unnaturally" (15).

Pastors must also be men of prayer. They must prove to be examples for all their flock to follow (1 Tim 4:12; Titus 1:6-9). Pastors must be people of high spiritual and moral character so that when they multiply after their kind, they will be the kind that should be multiplied. Godly pastors produce Godly followers! Martin Luther is this kind of example for us to follow.

On July 17, 1505, Luther entered the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt. As far as Luther knew, he was conforming to the Roman Church's teachings. Namely, that "those who desire to develop lives of holiness should enter monasteries or convents to escape from the wicked world through contemplative prayer. This was the life that Luther would undertake" (20).

It was during these years that Luther - with dauntless courage - almost entirely alone opposed the power structure of the Roman Church. It was on April 17, 1521 - 4 years after the 95 Thesis were nailed to the door at Wittenburg - the archbishop of Treves asked him two questions:

1- Would he acknowledge these books that were laid upon a bench before him to be his productions?

2 - Would he recant the opinions contained in them?

Luther answered yes to the first question and then before answering the second, he asked if he could have just one day to consider his answer.

It was that night he went home and prayed this prayer:

The bell has been already cast,
judgment has been pronounced.
Ah God, ah God, O YOU must do it, You alone!
The matter is not mine, it is yours. O God, do you not hear?
MY God, art Thou dead?

No, You cannot die; You only hide yourself.
Stand by me. Lord, where do you tarry?
Where art You, O my God?
Come, Come!

I am ready, even to forsake my life for this, submissive as a lamb, for righteous is this cause which is Yours.
And should my body perish for this cause, should it fall to the ground, yea, be broken to fragments, yet your Word and your Spirit are enough.
And all this can happen only to the body; the soul is Yours and belongs to You and will remain forever with you (p.22).

It was that night that Luther after praying turned his heart to pray through and meditate on Psalm 46:

Psalm 46:1-3, 10-11 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah..."Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

Then after meditating on this Psalm, still that very same night, Luther wrote:

1. A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevaling.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.

2. Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabbaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.

3. And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.

4. That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,
thru him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever.

Then, the very next day Luther - on April 18 - appeared before the council and the question was repeated, "Will you recant these writings?" Luther replied: "I cannot unless I am convinced of error from Scripture and reason...Here I stand: I can do no more: God help me. Amen" (p.26).

In sum, "Through his private struggles in prayer at Worms, Luther received from the Lord unshakable strength, assurance, and confidence so that he was able to defy a world of enemies. God used this man of prayer to begin a great Reformation, a new era in the history of Christianity" (p.27).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In my theology class today we were discussing how the Mosaic Law is no longer active in the life of the New Testament saint. The Apostle Paul testified to this truth in his own life with many Scriptures showing that he is not bound by this Mosaic Law.

In studying this section, I came across this quote by Arnold Frauchtenbaum in his massive tome, Israelology where he notes:

"The Law of Moses was based on the conditional Mosaic Covenant and so the motivation was: do, in order to be blessed. The law of Christ is based on the unconditional New Covenant and so the motivation is: you have been and are blessed, therefore do” (Frauchtenbaum, Israelology, 641).

When I read this, I gave a hearty "Amen" in my soul/spirit. Any comments? Agree? Disagree?

Monday, May 28, 2007

1 Timothy 6:5-6 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. 6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment.

It is here that in verse five, Paul introduces the topic of the opponents' greed. Then in vv.6-10, Paul enlarges his discussion which is the second paragraph in this section. Godliness is of great value if it is accompanied by contentment. This means realizing that people will die as they were born: without any material goods. So then the question is begged: "Is it not then irrational for them to pursue wealth?" The answer is that the godliness that the opponents pursued was not one of contentment. Rather, they wanted to be rich, and because of their desire they fell into snares that issued in their destruction.

Commentator, William Mounce notes that, "This is one of the most powerful condemnations in Scripture of the destructive lure of possessions" (341). Also Gordon Fee notes, "Why would anyone want to get rich" (145)?

In this context, the idea of contentment is rooted in a faith that denies his own ability to perform his tasks and asserts the need for total reliance on the all-powerful God. Furthermore, the contentment that is of great profit is one that seeks it security not in worldly riches but in God (Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 341).

Do we recognize that our Godliness with contentment is a means of great gain. In fact, it is the best gain that could ever be gained. Far better than all material goods, all wealth, accolades or praise. May we be those that are consumed with a passion to be satisfied in our all-sufficient God and find our contentment in Him.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, 341.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

1 Timothy 1:17 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

It is here in this glorious doxology that the Apostle Paul breaks forth in a shout of jubilant praise and worship exalting the royal sovereignty of God. Pastor/Teacher David Guzik says, "Paul could not think of how bad he was, and how great the salvation of God was, and how great the love of God was, without simply breaking into spontaneous praise."

First of all, Paul notes that we serve the King. He is the reigning ruler. Everything is in subjection to Him. There is nothing that has ever escaped the reigning sovereignty of God. God is in control. He is the wise and omniscient Ruler.

The God we serve is eternal - that is, he endures through the ages. He rules and reigns in complete power and glory (Guzik).

God also is immortal - that is, that he cannot die. He is the ever-lasting Living God. He is the God who has existed from all eternity past and the same God who will exist for all eternity future. As we human beings have a starting point in past history, God Himself had no beginning. He has always been. That is the root Hebrew word for Yahweh, that is, that God is the "self-existing eternal One."

He is also the invisible God - that is, that God is the one who is "not able to be seen." God is not in corporeal form like we are. He is invisible. He is the God who is knowable to us, but only in part. We will never fully understand even one aspect about God. We can know about God and aspects about God. But, we will never fully exhaust even one subject about God in our finite knowledge on this earth.

Finally he is the only God - that is, there is no competitor with God. He is the sole Ruler. He is the only Sovereign King. There is no polytheism here. All other so-called gods are "idols."

Paul concludes by exclaiming that to this sole King be honor, and glory forever and ever! Keeping this phrase in the immediate context, Guzik notes well that, "This description of God gave Timothy still another reason to remain in Ephesus. He could and should stay there when he considered the greatness of the God who he served. This great God is worthy of His service and can empower his service in Ephesus."

May we remember - this Lord's day - the Sovereign Ruler that we serve.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

So I take it that no one cares about my posts except if they are about that telling me something? :=) Well, anyway, here are some pictures of our wonderful honeymoon in Mexico. When you arrive to a city called Tulum that looks like this, how can it not be a wonderful time:

Most of our days consisted of just hanging on the beach enjoying some reading, talking, eating and the like:

It is rough when you have to have a nice breakfast with a big pot of coffee on your table overlooking the ocean as you have prayer and a quiet time with your wife!

Furthermore, our resort had activities going on throughout the day, one of which was beach volleyball. I know, I know...sounds rough. But I sure had a great time. Believe it or not, my wife is actually really good at volleyball. She is very aggressive :=)

We also enjoyed 5 wonderful restaurants on the resort property in Tulum - French, Italian, Japanese, World Cafe and a Mexican. We ate like kings...literally.

We would get all dressed up and enjoy the night "on the resort" overlooking the ocean!

All in all, we had a great time overlooking the teal ocean waters:

Psalm 34:1-3 I Will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear it and rejoice. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.

Andrew Bonar (a good friend of Robert Murray M'Cheyne) said this:

“Tried this morning specially to pray against idols in the shape of my books and studies. These encroach upon my direct communion with God, and need to be watched” (Andrew Bonar - Saturday, September 17, 1850).

This impacted me in many ways this morning...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This morning as I began my prayer time I meditated on Psalm 117. This is the shortest of the Psalms in the book. Furthermore, it is the shortest chapter in all the Bible.

Psalm 117:1-2 Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! 2 For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD!

There are many interesting features of this Psalm, but I only want to bring out one nuance for our meditation this morning. In verse two, the Psalmist notes that "His [God's] Lovingkindness is great toward us."

Two things:

1) The Lovingkindness here is the chesed - the loyal, steadfast, covenant-keeping love of God for his people. This word encapsulates the idea that God is faithful to keep all of his covenants.

2) His love is great toward us. The verb great is gavar. The noun form (gibor) is often used in the OT as referring to a military warrior or some sort of strong man. This is interesting. The psalmist notes that the loyal covenant keeping love is mighty toward us (Lit. "upon us"). Have you come to this realization in your Christian life? Have you meditated on the loyal and faithful covenant-keeping love of Yahweh God and how it is mighty towards (or upon) us?

Picture this: the love of God is like a military warrior wearing his armor, marching to the front lines in battle. He is prepared. He is focused. There is a sense of urgency in his eyes. He is ready for war. This chesed love of God is mighty toward us just as this warrior is mighty as he goes to the front lines in battle to wage war.

May we find great comfort today knowing that the Love of God is Mighty!

Monday, May 21, 2007

I will resume to my study in 1 Timothy in coming days, but I want to blog about something that has been on my heart for quite some time and it was inflamed once again upon reading this excellent little work by my hero, Steve Lawson, The Expository Genius of John Calvin.

In this book, Lawson gives a brief biography of Calvin in the first chapter. But the entire rest of the work is devoted to observing Calvin's ways of preaching and heralding the Word of God. One thing I now know for sure. Calvin was an absolute believer in the sufficiency of Scripture.

I want to post a few quotes from the book. Hopefully it will be an encouragement and challenge to your soul as it was to my own.

"Calvin's deeply embedded convictions about the supreme authority of the Bible demanded an elevated view of the pulpit. He believed the pulpit must be primary in the life of the church because Scripture is sovereign over the lives of the people" (24).

"As a result [of holding to 'sola scriptura' - that is, the Sole Authority of the Bible] he held that the minister's chief mandate was to preach the Word of God. he wrote, "Their [minister's] whole task is limited to the ministry of God's Word; their whole wisdom to the knowledge of His Word; and their whole eloquence, to its proclamation"" (25).

"He said it is the expositor's task, he believed, to bring the supreme authority of the Divine Word to bear directly on his listeners" (26).

"This understanding of the preacher's role produced a profound sense of humility in Calvin as he rose to preach. He saw himself as standing under the authority of the Word...he believed that as the preacher, he himself was preaching the Word of God. Thus, he saw himself to be the servant of the Word...For Calvin the message of Scripture is sovereign, sovereign over the congregation and sovereign over the preacher. His humility is shown by his submitting to this authority" (26-27).

For Mr. John Calvin, the word of God was absolutely sufficient and wholly authoritative. How do we treat the Word of God in our churches, in our families, in our lives, in our very hearts? Do we hold it above all else as the absolutely sovereign revelation of the Almighty Creator God? If not, may be repent and fall more in love with the God of the Word who has revealed Himself through the Word of God.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

This was a prayer in a puritan prayer book that I have and it expresses my heart as I approach marriage in a few days and a life of serving the Lord in full-time ministry - if that be His will.

Here is the prayer:

Thou God of my end,
Thou hast given me a fixed disposition
to go forth and spend my life for thee;

If it be thy will let me proceed in it;
if not, then revoke my intentions.
All I want in life is such circumstances
As may best enable me to serve Thee in the world;
To this end I leave all my concerns in thy hand,
But let me not be discouraged,
For this hinders my spiritual fervency;

Enable me to undertake some task for thee,
For this refreshes and animates my soul,
So that I could endure all hardships and labours,
And willingly suffer for thy name.

But, O what a death it is to strive and labour,
To be always in a hurry and yet do nothing!
Alas, time flies and I am of little use.

O that I could be a flame of fire in thy service,
Always burning out in one continual blaze.
Fit me for singular usefulness in this world.
Fit me to exult in distresses of every kind
If they but promote the advancement of thy kingdom.

Fit me to quit all hopes of the world’s friendship,
And give me a deeper sense of my sinfulness.
Fit me to accept as just desert from thee
Any trial that may befall me.

Fit me to be totally resigned to the denial of pleasures I desire,
And to be content to spend my time with thee.
Fit me to pray with a sense of the joy of divine communion.
To find all times happy seasons to my soul,
To see my own nothingness,
And wonder that I am allowed to serve thee.
Fit me to enter the blessed world where no unclean thing is,
And to know thee with me always.

This is the prayer of my heart. Elizabeth and I both want to be exerted for the Lord and give all of ourselves for the Work of the Lord and for the Word of the Lord and for the advancement of the Kingdom.

May Jesus Christ receive all glory, honor and praise. He is our Savior. He is our Redeemer. He is our Delight. He is our Joy.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

This is an absolutely hilarious video that I found. The groom was...well, let's just say, a little excited to get married. It is worth the 1 minute and 21 seconds :=)

Elizabeth, if it happens...I love you :=)

Watch it HERE
In his excellent and biblical work, Hell on Trial, Dr. Robert Peterson has this quote that I want us to think on this morning:
"Shockingly, the wicked are happier in hell than they would be in heaven because 'the unsubmissive, rebellious, defiant, and impenitent spirit prefers hell to heaven" (Peterson, Hell on Trial, 133).

Along these same lines, I was teaching my youth group last week on eschatology (that is, the end times) and uttered this line:

"It would be an extreme injustice to take an unbeliever to heaven, because he would be miserable for eternity. Christ is there, and he hates Christ." (Professor John Hannah speaking of Jonathan Edwards and his view of hell).

Do we consider the absolute glory of God as revealed both in heaven and in hell? May this sobering reality of the eternal damnation, punishment, pain and torment be ever in the forefront of our minds so that we are more aggressive in evangelism.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

He's a good one, Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843) was a man passionate for preaching the Word, for holy living and for the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

Listen to this Song of Zion as written by McCheyne from the foot of Mt. Carmel in 1839:

"Beneath Moriah's rocky side,
A gentle fountain springs,
Silent and soft its waters glide,
Like the peace the Spirit brings."

The thirsty Arab stoops to drink
Of the cool and quiet wave,
And the thirsty spirit stops to think
Of Him who came to save.

Siloam is the fountain's name,
It means one sent from God'
—And thus the holy Saviour's fame
It gently spreads abroad."

Oh! grant that I, like this sweet well,
May Jesus' image bear,
And spend my life, my all, to tell
How full his mercies are."

May we all have a passion for the image of God as being evidenced by the way each of us live. To God be the Glory!

Monday, May 7, 2007

I finished last night an eight-week course that I entitled Basic Bible Introduction with my youth group at church. As I was concluding last night with eschatology (that is, the end times), I got to the part on heaven and hell and thought to myself, "If we as Christians really understood the TORMENTS of hell, we would (1) act much different and (2) we would evangelize a lot more."

So, I would like to post just a few quotes that I included in my class syllabus and gave to the youth. The first two are from Jonathan Edwards and the last one is a quote from Dr. Robert Peterson:

“Natural men are held in the hand of God over the pit of hell; they have
deserved the fiery pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, his anger is as great towards them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of his wrath in hell, and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold ‘em up one moment; the devil is waiting for them, hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them…thus [the sinner] has nothing to take hold of, all that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted unobliged forbearance of an incensed God” (
Edwards, A Jonathan Edwards Reader, 95)


“The God who holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider,
or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times so abominable in his eyes as the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince: and yet ‘tis nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment: ‘tis to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night, that you was suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep: and there is no other reason to be given why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up: there is no other reason to be given why you han’t gone to hell since you have sat here in the house of God” (
Edwards, A Reader, 98).

Finally, Dr. Peterson notes...

“How does our urgency to warn the lost of the danger of hell compare to
the policemen’s efforts to spare the motorists from accident and possible death? May God stir us to be faithful to him and to our fellow human beings who need to know him who died to redeem sinners from hell. To God Alone be the glory!” (
Peterson, Hell on Trial, 242).

Here are a few biblical verses to support this:

Revelation 20:14-15 14 And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8 8 "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and
murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

Revelation 14:10 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is
mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

May we as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ be those that are so aggressive in evangelism that everything else in life is secondary; sharing the gospel of hope, of salvation, of life, of peace, of eternity with God must be our primary goal in life. Remember, we cannot understand the glory of heaven until we understand the absolute and horrific torments of eternal hell. May God alone be glorified.

Friday, May 4, 2007

These were actually found in church bulletins. I call them Bulletin Church Bloopers:

"Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.


The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church basement Friday at 7 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.


Thursday night Potluck Supper. Prayer and medication to follow."

Or how about this one...

"Weight Watchers will meet at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance."

Be sure to proofread those bulletins now...

"Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa will be speaking tonight at Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa."

I hope this is never said of me when I'm absent from my pulpit...

"During the absence of our Pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit."

One more...

"Announcement in the church bulletin for a National PRAYER & FASTING Conference: "The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals."
It is here that Paul speaks to the church to declare to them that the teaching and preaching elder is worthy of double honor. It is clear from the context that this is speaking in terms of money, and not simply just "respect."

1 Timothy 5:17-20 18 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages."

It is amazing that some churches pay their preachers so little because they think that "it is just supposed to be that way for a pastor/teacher.

Here are a few helpful guidelines in determining a pastor's salary (I derived these three principles from Dr. Bob Somerville at TMC):

1) Each congregation must arrive at a way that is just and fair of determining how they can arrive at a salary scale that will allow their pastor to share in all the good things in which they participate.

2) If the pastor is clearly laboring hard in preaching and teaching his remuneration should be one that exhibits double honor.

3) The pastor must also clearly demonstrate that he is not serving for financial gain but is serving the Lord and living a godly example before his flock.

1 Timothy 5:19-20 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning.

Finally, these remarks at the close of the chapter are good for every church member to heed - especially pastors. There will always be those within the flock who rise up and raise false accusations against the hard-laboring Shepherd. It is absolutely imperative - No, it is necessary for the life and growth of the church - that one not receive this accusation from just one person and assume the validity of it.

Furthermore, if there is one who is continuing in sin (tous hamartanontas, present tense - ongoing action), he must be rebuked in the presence of all. I take this to be referring to the elder who is continually in sin. He must be rebuked before the whole congregation to instill fear in the body so they see the seriousness of sin.

Have we lost the biblical value of church discipline in today's evangelical church? It seems to me that - for the most part - we have. We must get back to the Scriptures. The reason is simple - we must present to our True Shepherd a clean, spotless, unblemished bride. Not one with stains, wrinkles and adulteries written on the dress.

1 Timothy 5:24-25 24 The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. 25 Likewise also, deeds that are good are quite evident, and those which are otherwise cannot be concealed.

These last verses serve to assure Pastor Timothy that there are many who are falling into sin in this earthly life. He is to convict them, to reprove them, to exercise church discipline (in a loving way) when and where needed. Furthermore, Timothy is also playing a part in the eschatological judgment of God that he will finally dispense upon those who refuse to repent and live Godly lives in this present age.

May we be those today that live holy lives. May we be different. May we be ready to give a reason for the hope that we have - but let's not simply "just" be ready. Rather, let us live so radically that people ask us why we are different.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

I want to post a few pics of my beautiful fiance. We only have about a week or so till the wedding. Things are crazy - but things were crazy in my life even when there were no wedding plans, but the Lord has been good. I have the best fiance ever.

You better watch out though - she can play a mean came of "UNO" - but don't worry, I can still beat her :=)

She's cute huh?

This is when we went to Griffith Park for a picnic. She took me to Costco to get a hot dog cause she won't make them for me. She says they are too "unhealthy." I mean seriously...who doesn't like "HOT DOGS"?
Paul's treatment of the widow's is the most extensive treatment on one issue in the whole book of 1 Timothy.

Some of the active feminist advocates cling to this chapter to say that the women must play a more "up front" role in the church than what Paul previously stated in 1 Timothy 2:12-15.

It is in this section that Paul goes into detail to show what genuinely makes one a widow. And he continues by showing that the church must love and care for those who are really widows. However, young and wealthy widows are not to be supported (financially, that is) from the church, but were rather to reenter an appropriate marriage. In the case of other needy widows, the bottom line again appears to be Paul's insistence that the church step into the gap where the "anamalous situation" (a widow without kin) truly existed (cf. Towner, Letters of Timothy and Titus, 336).

The bottom line:

1 Timothy 5:8 8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.

May we be those that are sensitive to the needs of the older widows in our local congregations. May we love them, cherish them, help them, serve them and financially support them if they are in need.

After all, this is what the Lord's brother said about true religion:

James 1:27 27 This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

In his book, The New Covenant Ministry of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Larry Pettegrew (one of my profs at The Master's Seminary) said something that really grabbed my attention this morning and it is worthy of a blog: READ IT CAREFULLY AND THOUGHTFULLY:

"Of course, all Christians need to read the Scripture, pray, and worship God regularly. But such acts still fall short of the demands of genuine spirituality...."walking in the Spirit" emphasizes that we must yield to the direction of our Lord through the Spirit moment by moment.

Almost every minute of our days is fraught with a conscious or subconscious battle as the flesh wars against the Spirit. Will our thought life be pure and clean? Will our attitudes be spiritual or fleshly? Will our actions be in agreement with biblical teachings? Will our decisions follow the guidelines of biblical ethics? Will our intellectual powers be biblically or secularly controlled? Will we treat our fellow human beings in a Christlike manner? Will our recreation and amusements be influenced by anti-Christian worldviews? Will we follow the biblical principles for being Godly husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, or children? Will we choose a work of the flesh, or a fruit of the Spirit? Will we be spiritual or fleshly as we face the realities of the daily grind? According to the teaching of the New Testament, we will be spiritual only as we continually yield to the Spirit, who guides and empowers us to obey the Word of God" (Pettegrew, New Covenant Ministry of the Holy Spirit, 209).

So, I ask you, HOW ARE YOU LIVING?
What we are called to here in the first few verses is to respect others in the church, that is, the local assembly of believers. This is what Paul writes:

1 Timothy 5:1-2 Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, 2 the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity.

Paul begins by commanding young Timothy not to sharply "rebuke" an elder. The word for rebuke is epiplesso which means to "strike at," "to rebuke sharply." The root from which this word is derived is also found in Revelation eight during the events of the Tribulation:

Revelation 8:12 12 And the fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were smitten (plesso), so that a third of them might be darkened and the day might not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.

It is in this kind of hard, stern, smiting way that young Pastor Timothy is to respect his elders - not only functionally in his body of believers but also in terms of age as well. Those who are older are to be respected as fathers.

Second, the younger men are to be exhorted as brothers. Timothy is to exhort the young men (from neos) as one would a younger brother. These are the "youthful" men that need the loving, tender and authoritative counsel.

Third, it is the older women (the presbuteras - feminine form of presbuteros, "elder" in v.1) are to be respected and exhorted as one would treat his mother. Do you treat the older women in your congregation with the tenderness, the love and the respect that you would your own mother? If not, we should. This is the biblical mandate.

Finally, this final one is of emphasis. Timothy - the young Pastor at the hedonistic and pagan city of Ephesus is commanded by Paul to exhort and encourage the younger women as one would a sister. But Paul elaborates with a short phrase further explaining what he expects. Timothy must treat all these women as sisters with absolute purity. There must not even be any hint of sexual impurity going on in the "exhorting" from Pastor Timothy.

In the pagan and Hellenized city of Ephesus, they certainly knew sensuality. The boys and girls certainly were familiar with sexual immorality - for it was everywhere at that time. Timothy is exhorted - as their Pastor - to be absolutely above reproach. Do with the women in your congregation what one would do with his sister. Treat them with respect. Love them. Nurture them. Guide them. Counsel them. Be tender with them. Teach them. But do not even give a hint of impurity with them.

May we as Pastors heed this advice and be all the more careful to never let a hint of this sexual temptation creep into our ministries. For after all, Jesus Himself said:

Matthew 5:28-29 28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 "And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
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