Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just heard a heart-stirring sermon from Acts 8:25-40 (to my remembrance, this was one of the 'funnest' sermons I both prepared and preached at Church a number of months ago) where the preacher faithfully provided 3 points of being an effective servant of Christ as modeled by Philip in the text:

1. Be completely surrendered to the will of God.

2. Trust completely in the sovereignty of God.

3. Be totally consumed with preaching Jesus Christ

Then he concluded with this statement which I want to post for your meditation. Really, contemplate this:
"Ninety-five percent of the preachers in the world are in America preaching to only five percent of the world's population."
O may God raise up faithful men to preach Christ just as Philip did wherever Christ calls them.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This is definitely worth watching not only for the content but also for how Mark Dever patiently listens and then asks questions (contra MacDonald and Driscoll).

Multiple Sites: Yea or Nay? Dever, Driscoll, and MacDonald Vote from Ben Peays on Vimeo.

Is it evident that you have been with Jesus?

Acts 4:13 — ἐθαύμαζον ἐπεγίνωσκόν τε αὐτοὺς ὅτι σὺν τῷ Ἰησοῦ ἦσαν
Translation: “They marveled because they recognized that they had been with Jesus”

What an amazing phrase tucked within all the historical events that happened in Jerusalem in the weeks and months after the resurrection and ascension of Christ. The apostles were teaching and preaching in the Temple to the utter consternation of the Jewish leaders. Though they were “unlearned” men (lit. ἰδιῶται, idiotes), they still proclaimed the Gospel with much boldness and the Jews still recognized the men as having been with Jesus.

They recognized them as having been with Jesus because:

1. They boldly proclaimed the Gospel—Do you and I boldly proclaim the gospel that reveals that we have recently been, as it were, “with Jesus”?

2. They faithfully and unequivocally obeyed their Lord—Is it evident in the way that you and I live our lives that we obey our Lord above everything else? Any human authority must be subservient to God’s sovereign authority. Do you obey Jesus Christ with this kind of commitment and intensity? The apostles did. And this is one reason why the Jews clearly recognized that they had been “with Jesus.”

3. The miracles they performed were clearly from the hand of God rather than the hand of men—Does the way we live life evidence God’s working in our lives? Today God does not work through miracles, signs, and wonders as He did in the apostolic era. Nevertheless, God still works miracles as He saves people from sin. Is it evident that God is working through us as His channels to funnel the pure and perfect water of the gospel to the hearts of spiritually thirsty people? Are we faithful conduits?

A fitting reminder for us this morning is to remember that the apostles were those who were seen by their enemies as “having been with Jesus.” Could this be said of you this morning, this day, this week? Is it evident to your spouse, your children, your coworkers, your friends, your Church, and even complete strangers that you have been with Jesus?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

2 Corinthians 4:17--Our "momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison." While suffering does make us stronger now--it makes us able to endure with patience, increases our faith, teaches us to trust God, and leads us to depend on Christ and His Word--it also affects how we will function later. That's why Paul went on to say our focus isn't on the now but the future: "We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (v. 18).
Great words by MacArthur.

Monday, September 27, 2010

When the hard times in life come, remember the character of God in your prayers.

When the hard times strike in life, we can learn from Jehoshaphat how to pray. He focused his thoughts on the character of God when the confusion of life seized. Second Chronicles 20:6-12 reveals the magnificent prayer of the King of Judah when three armies were imminent in their judgment. The best thing to do when the worst times in life come is to remember the “bigness” of God.

Jehoshaphat riveted his thoughts toward the following attributes:

1. The Sovereignty of God (6)

2 Chronicles 20:6 "O LORD, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You.

Amazingly, he remembered that God is the God of the heavens (cf. Ps 115:3; 103:19). God made the heavens, dwells in the heavens, and owns everything. Indeed, He is the ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations—including the three nations coming against him for war (cf. 20:1-2).

That all power and might are in God’s hand unequivocally suggests that God has all ability to deliver His people from the hand of the enemies.

2. The Power of God (7a)

2 Chronicles 20:7 Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel

This hearkens back to the entire conquest when God defeated the enemies before His people, Israel. They entered the land by the hand of God. They defeated their enemies by the power of God. They struck down city after city, king after king, idolatrous people after idolatrous people by the strength of God. God supplied the power for them to inherit the Promised Land.

3. The Faithfulness of God (7b)

2 Chronicles 20:7 and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?

God gave the land to His people Israel just as He promised to Abraham (cf. Gen 12, 15, 17). God is a faithful God because He led His people through the wilderness to the Promised Land proving His utter faithfulness. God cannot—and does not—break a promise. He is faithful. The Lord’s mercies are new every morning, great is Thy faithfulness!

4. The Holiness of God (8)

2 Chronicles 20:8 They have lived in it, and have built You a sanctuary there for Your name

They lived in the land and built a sanctuary for God’s Name. That sanctuary was the Temple. By the hands of Solomon, Israel constructed a dwelling place for Yahweh among His people. The Temple was a physical manifestation of the holiness of God—no one can approach God on his own terms. Rather, by the stipulations and decrees that God Himself has ordained, this is how man can approach God; and even that is from a distance.

5. The Nearness of God (9-11)

2 Chronicles 20:9-11 Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.' 10 "Now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom You did not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them), 11 see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from Your possession which You have given us as an inheritance.

Though evil, sword, or judgment come upon God’s people they resolved in their heart to “stand before this House and before God Himself and cry out to Him! Amazingly, they confidently asserted that God would hear and deliver. How different this was from the other ancient Near Eastern gods. Yahweh, the God of Israel hears prayer and He is able to answer prayer. He is near to His people when they call upon Him.

6. The Righteousness of God (12)

2 Chronicles 20:12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.

They recognize that God will judge them. The Sovereign Judge of all the earth must do what is right (Gen 18:25). Jehoshaphat says that God will judge them. The nation of Israel was unable to defeat the three invading nations by their own strength. Indeed, they are “powerless” before this great multitude. So, God and His righteousness will judge them and do what is right. This is a magnanimous prayer of faith and trust.

I love the concluding phrase in verse 12: “nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” May we never forget this phrase. During times in life when the ocean waves crash upon our heads and seem to thrust us to the sandy, rocky, and sharp ocean floor, let us remember to look to God. When you don’t know what to do, look up and find the Lord. The best thing to do when the worst times in life come is to remember the “bigness” of God.

A fitting conclusion is how the author of Hebrews exhorts his hearers in a similar fashion:

Hebrews 12:1-2 ...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pumped, prepared, and waiting to preach a most excellent passage today—2 Chronicles 20 on King Jehoshaphat.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Justin Taylor compiles a list of important sermons and articles that are worth reading. You may peruse them below. He wisely acknowledges that they are the sorts of pieces that can get lost in the shuffle in the midst of book recommendations, classic and contemporary. For example, a few that came to mind were:

So I thought it might be helpful to ask some pastors and theologians what they would recommend as sermons or essays that have had a special impact on them, or that they would seriously urge students and pastors to consider reading.

I’m thankful for all of the responses. I’ve tried to add as many links as possible to free versions online:

Bryan Chapell

Graham Cole

Mark Dever

Dever also mentioned three books:

Kevin DeYoung

Stephen J. Nichols

Ray Ortlund

John Piper

David Powlison

  • B. B. Warfield, “Imitating the Incarnation“ (“The last page and a half offers the most riveting description of the goal of Christian living that I’ve ever read.”)

Fred Sanders

R.C. Sproul

Carl R. Trueman

Bruce Ware

  • R.C. Sproul, Lecture on “The Locus of Astonishment” (A brief summary is available here. For a similar talk, listen to “When Towers Fall.”)

Donald Whitney

If I could even insert a few that have not been mentioned yet:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I couldn't be more in agreement—
Assurance of salvation cannot be reliably determined by what has happened in the past, no matter how dramatic or meaningful at the time. It can only be based with certainty on the evidence of present fruit being produced by a spiritual life (see 2 Pet. 1:5-11) (from MacArthur, Ephesians, MNTC, 210).
This morning I read John 15 and came to the came conclusion as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm preaching on Eph 5:6-14 tomorrow and have discovered quite a recognizable structure to this pericope. I welcome anyone to peruse my diagram and outline here (both Greek and English included) and give me your thoughts.

Essentially I see one major point: v.6 - don't be deceived into living a life as those who are darkness as the wrath of God will come upon them.

There are two supporting statements:

1. Watch Your Company! (7-10)

2. Watch Your Conduct! (11-14)

Each of the two major statements have two clauses giving the reason (gar).
I use this tool and this is a very simplified explanation of exploring a verse in its context -- to see how verses are interrelated with one another.

This video is well-worth your time. It records footage from a Samaritan sacrifice of a Lamb (excluding some of the most graphic parts) for the forgiveness of their sins. But the video shows how Jesus far surpasses any animal sacrifice that was ever offered and how he finally and fully offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice to atone for sins.

The Sacrificial Lamb from SourceFlix on Vimeo.

1 Peter 2:24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

We are home from Manila. God led and guided us all the way by His sovereign hand. I will soon post some thoughts of my trip to the Philippines.

Psalm 106:1
הַֽלְלוּיָ֨הּ׀ הֹוד֣וּ לַיהוָ֣ה כִּי־טֹ֑וב כִּ֖י לְעֹולָ֣ם חַסְדֹּֽו׃
Psalm 106:1 Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Greetings from the Philippines,

Elizabeth, Kiah, and I praise the LORD for His faithfulness in sustaining us these last few days with a busy schedule while attempting to acclimate to a 15-hour time difference. God is good. We have traveled with Sean Ransom a number of times to different venues where he has taught different courses—NT survey and OT survey. Yesterday we had lunch (fried chicken—Filipino style!) with a number of pastors in the Manila area which was very encouraging. To hear the hearts of dear men who want to preach God's Word expositionally and who hunger for training on how to interpret and preach God's Word is so refreshing. These dear men are open to God's Word and what it has to say. They are moldable, shapeable, and willing to let God's Word guide them in their ministries. How amazing this is!

Today (I'm writing at 7:00am Manila time on Sept 11th but my computer time says 4:01pm LA time on Sept 10th) we plan to travel to meet with a different group of pastors who have been asking Sean to teach and train a group of pastors who want to be taught. They have begged Sean for quite some time to teach but Sean—the only current TMAI missionary on the field—can only teach so much in so many different venues. So we endeavor to hear from these men: what they want, what their plans are, how many pastors they can gather for the training on expository preaching, etc. I am quite excited to be a part of this meeting.

Tomorrow we have church at Greenhills Christian Fellowship and then we travel to Tanay which is about an hour east of Manila where I will be teaching a course next week on Hermeneutics—Bible interpretation.

God is good. We are sitting on the balcony of the missionary house right now in Antipolo overlooking a beautiful golf course and the Manila skyline. Quite beautiful!

I leave you with this final remark from Paul to young pastor Timothy that I've meditated on this week:

1 Timothy 4:12-16 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 on 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 will 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 ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Manila skyline from the missionaries' house

Praise the LORD for bringing our family safe to Manila.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I believe that no man in and of himself would choose God—ever. I believe that God sovereignly calls those whom He wills to be saved and they are effectively and inevitably saved.

"By the internal, effectual call we mean that act of divine power, mediated through the proclaimed Word, by which the Spirit illumines darkened minds, softens stubborn wills, and inclines contrary affections toward the living God, thus leading the unregenerate to trust Christ in a saving relation."

The reason sinners cannot come to Christ on their own initiative is that apart from the working of the Spirit in grace depraved sinners are incapable and disinclined to respond to the general offer of the Gospel. Without a superior power from above, spiritual eyes remain sightless and spiritual ears deaf to divine truth.

It is true that "the message of the Gospel is a noise, not a communication, until God tunes the set of man's heart."

(from Demarest, The Cross and Salvation, 220).
“If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” (Psalm 130:3)

If Jah, the all-seeing, should in strict justice call every man to account for every want of conformity to righteousness, where would any one of us be? Truly, he does record all our transgressions; but as yet he does not act upon the record, but lays it aside till another day. If men were to be judged upon no system but that of works, who among us could answer for himself at the Lord's bar, and hope to stand clear and accepted? This verse shows that the Psalmist was under a sense of sin, and felt it imperative upon him not only to cry as a suppliant but to confess as a sinner. Here he owns [admits] that he cannot stand before the great King in his own righteousness, and he is so struck with a sense of the holiness of God, and the rectitude of the law, that he is convinced that no man of mortal race can answer for himself before a Judge so perfect, concerning a law so divine.

Well does he cry, “O Lord, who shall stand?” None can do so: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Iniquities are matters which are not according to equity, what a multitude we have of these! Jehovah, who sees all, and is also our Adonai, or Lord, will assuredly bring us into judgment concerning those thoughts, and words, and works which are not in exact conformity to his law. Were it not for the Lord Jesus, could we hope to stand?

From exposition of Psalm 130 by Charles Haddon Spurgeon in "The Treasury Of David."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Have you ever wondered how to do the "announcements" in the Church service? They seem so out-of-place and "unspiritual"?

This article offers another way to view the "announcements". Read the new article: the ministry of announcements.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

To hip-hop tunes...

The Greek Alphabet

The Hebrew Alphabet


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

This is how I feel today...

Today and tomorrow consist of me buried in the bottom level of the TMS library working on a dissertation proposal. I think I've got it nailed down but I'm doing some research to hone my presentation (which will be in October @ BBS).

I'm working on Revelation's Use of the prophet Jeremiah. Much of my research comes in Jer 50-51 in Rev 17-18 but I think that John utilizes Jeremiah for a host of reasons and in many various places in his apocalypse for some strategic reasons.

Pray for me as I work on this dissertation proposal...
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