Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

To preach is to lift one’s voice and cry out with an urgent message. Preaching is not synonymous with teaching although true preaching must always include teaching truth. The act of preaching is when a man is called and commissioned by God to take God’s message and lift up the voice, cry out, and urge men and women to hear the meaning of God’s message and how it must affect their lives. Christ commissioned men to preach. The art of preaching should always include a number of key characteristics.

To preach a biblical sermon, a man must have plunged into the Word of God and prayed over it during the week. Preaching must be biblical if it will have any effect whatsoever. To preach without a Bible is to eat without food. To preach a sermon void of biblical truth is to indulge in a meal without substantive food. Cotton candy will not sustain a person for long. He needs solid food, healthy food, good food, and a steady diet of it. The sermon that pleases God is one that points back to the biblical text constantly. As it were, one finger is always pointed down to his text before him and the other finger is pointing at the audience to heed God’s message!

Preaching must not only be biblical in the act of preaching but it must also be exegetical. To preach exegetically means that the preacher has done the work privately of poring over the Word of God so as to ascertain the meaning of the original author. This includes a careful study of the original languages, the grammatical structure and syntax of words and phrases, and the various background studies that enhance the understanding of the pericope. Not only must the preacher must preach from the Bible but it must be an accurate sermon from it.

To teach truth without applying it to the lives of the hearers is in fact a lecture. To preach is not to lecture. To preach includes teaching and instructing. But it also conveys the idea of urgency, the tone of immediacy, the art of persuasion, and the goal of change. Heralding God’s Word must include the imparting of God’s truth accurately revealed from the study of the Word and it must also have the applying of the text to the heart and life of the hearers. Preaching is not only instructing the mind but it is persuading the will and wooing the affections. Every biblical preacher has preached his message to his own heart first and after it has affected and changed him, he longs for it to affect and change all of his hearers also. This must be included in preaching. Preaching changes lives. It tells people how God’s truth must change them and how they must now live in light of the doctrines they’ve heard.

Every text leads to Christ. Every verse in the Word of God may not directly speak of Christ but every text in every book always points to and leads to God’s redemptive plan in Christ. Every sermon must be a Christ-centered sermon. A sermon without Christ is like the sun without heat. A sermon without Christ is like a family without people. To truly preach the Word of God, the man of God must show how every text in every sermon he preaches points to man’s need for a Savior and God’s provision in Christ and in His substitutionary work at Calvary. Preach with Christ in every sermon. Never apologize for preaching Christ. Men must hear of Christ! Believers must keep hearing of Christ. The lost must be exhorted to trust in Christ! Preach a glorious and irresistible Christ!

Preaching is not mere speaking. To preach the Word of God, the man of God is filled with the Spirit of God and powerfully heralds divine truth as it thunders forth to the hearers carried on the invisible and irresistible wings of the Spirit’s Almighty power. A sermon without unction is a mere pep-talk. A sermon without the Spirit’s empowering is like trying to drive a car without the engine. It will go nowhere and accomplishing nothing of any eternal profit without the divine quickening and enabling. To receive the unction of the Spirit, the man of God must earnestly beg God and regularly beseech the Spirit for help in the preaching act. The people of God must intercede regularly on behalf of their preachers so that God might infuse him with power from on high so that he would speak God’s Word with God’s power. True preaching always is Spirit-empowered. True preaching rejects entertainment and it refuses manipulative, emotional ploys. Rather, God’s men take the Word of God and preach in the thunderous, unstoppable, irresistible, and consuming power of the Spirit. Men, pray for such an anointing of the Spirit to fall upon you!

Preach for eternity! Souls live on forever. Nothing is as important in all the planet as a person who finds himself sitting under the proclamation of the Word of God. The preacher knows this and preaches urgently as if the hearers must all make decisions at the immediate moment. No preacher desires his hearers to procrastinate. Rather, he preaches God’s truth with heart-fueled urgency because he knows that souls hang in the balances. Eternity is at stake. Heaven and hell are future realities. Men of God take God’s message and preach with a sense and tone of urgency so that all men would see the man who has received a message from God and who preaches with fire! Men will come to watch the man burn! Preach for change! Preach as if men would die the very hour they depart from hearing the Word preached. Urge men to be converted!

The full article is here.

Paul’s Use of Psalm 112:9 in 2 Corinthians 9:9
— A Brief Exegetical and Theological Study
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Context of Psalm 112:9
Psalm 112 provides a glorious portrait of the man of God. The man of God primarily is known because he fears His God (v.1). And this God-fearer lives his life with a consuming love for God’s Word (v.1b). Some of the blessings that God brings into this godly man’s life are spelled out in vv.2-9. He will have godly, mighty (גִּבּוֹר) descendants on the earth. This is the parabolic, general principle that godly parents who diligently live holy lives and train up their children will see them also fear God. They God-fearers also have a God-like character—righteous, gracious, compassionate (vv.3-5). God has saved them and so they endeavor to emulate their Savior (cf. Eph 5.1). Furthermore, they live with the spiritual eyes of faith and thus a light arises for them in the darkness as they live upright lives and follow Christ (v.4). Indeed, this godly man who fears His God will never be shaken since he has an unconquerable courage in God (v.6). Even when evil reports and bad news crosses his path, the man of God does not fear since his heart is steadfast, firm and fixed (נָכוֹן לִבּוֹ). His heart is upheld and supported by God Almighty so he does not fear anything that comes his way. God has so instilled a godly fear in the man of God that he gives freely to the poor and his righteous conduct endures forever. He has received so much from God (grace, salvation, love, even God Himself) that this godly man gives — indeed, he scatters (פִּזַּר נָתַן) — freely and generously to the poor and afflicted (לָאֶבְיוֹנִים) (v.9). The stark contrast is heightened by the description of the wicked man (v.10) who sees the godly and is angry, he gnashes his teeth and even melts away in his fury. He will be destroyed forevermore. Thus, the man of God who fears His God (v.1) is described by his righteous character in his heart, his godly conduct in his life, and his generous care towards others (vv.2-9).

Context of 2 Corinthians 9:9
In 2 Corinthians, Paul defends his apostleship by affirming that he lived with integrity, a clear conscience, and faithfully preached the gospel to them. And in the middle of this letter to the Corinthian church, Paul reminds them of the great opportunity of giving sacrificially to the Lord (chapters 8-9). In fact, the churches of Macedonia even in their affliction gave liberally with abundance of joy (8:2) even far beyond their ability (8:3). Paul exhorts the Corinthian church to abound in this gracious work of financial giving also (8:7). The ultimate model, of course, is the Lord Jesus who though He was rich, yet for the sake of His people became poor, so that His people through His poverty might become rich (spiritually) (8:9). A bit later, Paul draws the connection between sowing and reaping and giving and sharing. He affirms that the one who sows sparingly will reap sparingly (9:6). Give a little and you’ll reap a little. But if one gives bountifully he will reap bountifully so that he can give even more in the future (9:6-11). But, one must not be compelled to give; it must come from the heart, not grudgingly for God loves a cheerful giver (9:7). And Paul supports this argument by quoting (καθὼς γέγραπται; “as it is written”) Psalm 112:9: “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor; his righteousness (ἡ δικαιοσύνη αὐτοῦ) endures forever.” Paul incorporates Psalm 112 in his argumentation in 2 Corinthians 9. The godly man who fears his God is in fact the man of integrity, whose character is upright, who receives blessings from God, and who thus responds to God by giving sacrificially and generously to others (especially, the poor; τοῖς πένησιν).

How Paul Quotes Psalm 112 in 2 Corinthians 9: Some Theological & Practical Observations
In a brilliant way, Paul incorporates not only Psalm 112:9 in his argument in 2 Corinthians 9:9 but he draws in the entire context and theme of the psalm into 2 Corinthians. That is to say, Paul substantiates his argument with the Corinthians in desiring to see them give to the Lord and to others by affirming that those who fear God (Ps 112:1) are those who have such godly lives and God-like characteristics about them that they cannot help but to give to the poor (Ps 112:2-9). The believer has become spiritually rich through Christ’s spiritual poverty and they then who have received God’s grace turn and graciously sow bountifully so that God will increase the harvest of their righteousness which all results in further thanksgiving and blessing to God (2 Cor 9:10-11). Paul believes the inerrancy of the Scriptures. He does not quote a random Scripture and proof-text it for his ‘Apostolic hermeneutic.’ He knows His Bible and substantiates his point of pleading with the Corinthians to generously give of their resources to others since this is in fact what the godly man who fears God wants to do. Indeed, he must give! He has received so lavishly from His God. And in response to this gift of God, he fears his God and loves his God and so he turns and supplies the needs of others saints which altogether results in the abounding thanksgivings to God (2 Cor 9:12). As if that wasn’t enough, this generous financial giving proves their God-like and God-fearing ministry which glorifies God as it flows from their obedience (2 Cor 9:13-15). So then, let all of God’s people who fear God (Ps 112:1), imitate God’s character (Ps 112:2-8), and as they have received so much from the Lord, let them in turn scatter and give to others in need as their righteous, God-fearing character demonstrates itself through their sacrificial and financial giving to others in need. The Apostle John says: “but whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 Jn 3:17-18).

Download the full pdf article here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Great words by J.C. Ryle:

“Read [the Scriptures] reverently, as the Word of God, not of man, believing implicitly that what it approves is right, and what it condemns is wrong. Be very sure that every doctrine which will not stand the test of Scripture is false. This will keep you from being tossed to and fro, and carried about by the dangerous opinions of these latter days.

And read it regularly. This is the only way to become "mighty in the Scriptures." A quick glance at the Bible now and then does little good. At that rate you will never become familiar with its treasures, or feel the sword of the Spirit fitted to your hand in the hour of conflict. But store up your mind with Scripture, by diligent reading, and you will soon discover its value and power. Texts will rise up in your hearts in the moment of temptation. Commands will suggest themselves in times of doubt. Promises will come across your thoughts in the time of discouragement. And thus you will experience the truth of David's words, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psalm 119:11); and of Solomon's words, "When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you" (Proverbs 6:22).”

Monday, February 23, 2015

Four Priorities of Christ Fellowship Bible Church
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

With the unending list of duties, counseling sessions, sermon preparation, meetings, and whatever else can crowd out a leader’s time in the ministry, I find it often both helpful and practical to remind myself of some of the main priorities that I as a shepherd-leader must have as I minister to my flock. This keeps me on track. It is a regular checklist. It guards my heart and my time so that I give the time I have to the right things.

1. Pray Fervently
I firmly believe that the most important work of a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to pray. A man who ministers the Gospel must be a man who is a prayerful man because of the Gospel’s impact on his heart and soul. A prayerless man should never lead Christ’s church. A man who cannot be alone with God cannot lead the people of God publicly. The minister’s most productive time each week are those moments when no one is with him; when no one sees what he is doing; when no one is looking over his shoulder; he is simply alone with his God. He must bear his flock up individually in prayer. He must pray for purity of doctrine and purity of life. He must pray for his own family — his wife and children. He must pray for his leadership team. He must be a red-hot man of fervent prayer so that the heat of his prayerfulness is felt at a distance.

2. Preach Boldly
The man of God must be a courageous preacher of the Word of God. The pulpit is no place for chameleons. The man of God cannot shift and change at every wind of teaching and every cultural preference that wafts by him. He must take the true Word of God and preach all the Word of God with the authority of God as a servant of God to the end of the glory of God. He must preach biblically, boldly, passionately, urgently, fiery, practically, and zealously. A minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ is one who says: I would rather die than to be withheld from preaching. He is one who preaches regardless of how people respond and what people think. He is a messenger of God told by the Sovereign King to deliver the goods. He doesn’t change, alter, or fabricate the goods. He simply preaches the message with boldness as a man captive to the truth of Scripture.

3. Shepherd Personally
The man who is called by God’s grace to lead a group of saved sinners is repeatedly called a “shepherd” in the Scriptures. He is one who is to lead, guide, serve, support, feed, tend, rebuke, correct, carry, love, know, protect, and oversee. He is to know his flock. He is to care for them, feed them, protect them from enemies (from without and from within). The pastor is a shepherd.

4. Train Intentionally
God reveals in His Word that ministers of the gospel are to pass on truth to other faithful men who can then turn and entrust that truth to others. This is the pattern of discipleship, mentoring, investing, and intentional training. This does not simply happen. There is no magical formula. It takes time, intentionality, deliberateness, sacrifice, and at times, wounds received by those who received such intentional training who falter from the faith. Nevertheless, our privileged and merciful calling given by the great God of heaven and earth is to make disciples. Yes this involves missions. Yes this involves baptism. Yes this involves teaching. But it also involves a very intentional and ongoing discipling relationship where the believer learns to “obey all that Christ commanded” (cf. Matt 28:18-20). This sort of training is essential for godly leadership. Sadly, this element of pastoral leadership is neglected by many. But may shepherds rise up who disciple other disciples who will in turn disciple other disciples.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why I believe part of fulfilling my role as a pastor is to do the work of an evangelist.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

God instructs all ministers of the gospel to preach the Word and part of fulfilling this calling is to ‘do the work of an evangelist’ [ἔργον ποίησον εὐαγγελιστοῦ] (2 Tim 4.5). Every shepherd preaches the gospel because apart from the gospel of God revealed in Christ and His substitutionary work through the enlightening work of the Spirit he has nothing whatsoever to say. He must proclaim Christ and Him crucified. Regardless of what people want and what the itching hears long for the faithful minister has but one glorious message of salvation that all men must hear if they are to be saved. He preaches both in season and out of season. So, part of the work of the shepherd-pastor is to do the work of an evangelist. Here are some reasons I’ve compiled as to why I commit to doing the work of an evangelist.

1. Because I believe the Bible.
The Bible clearly presents the work of the pastor-shepherd as that of a gospel-preacher. He proclaims Christ and Him crucified, resurrected, ascended, and Lord. The Bible is God’s instruction manual for God’s heralds. The message of the gospel must flow from his lips as he calls men and women to be reconciled to God, to be clinging to their Savior, and to be following Him through the power of the Spirit in holiness. The Bible commands shepherds to do the work of an evangelist. Faithful men fill the pages of Scripture who proclaimed the Word of God to the lost — from Noah, to Enoch, to Moses, to Joshua, to Samuel, to David, to Jeremiah, to Ezekiel, to Amos, to John the Baptist, to Paul, to Peter, and, of course, to Jesus. And because I believe the Bible, I must therefore be an evangelist.

2. Because I love God.
Out of love for God and out of a driving passion for His glory, I must do the work of an evangelist because I want God’s fame to be known. A passionate love for God’s glory must compel the Christian to proclaim the gospel. Anything less is insufficient. When persecution comes and when hardship slams, a love for the glory of God and for His magnificent beauties will propel the man of God to proclaim Him and His gospel of grace to the lost. Consequently, I go and herald!

3. Because I want Christ to receive the full reward of His sufferings.
The Lamb of God came into the world to die for sinners. He came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. He was slain and He purchased for God with His blood men from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. Christ has died for His own. We want the Lamb to be glorified on that final day surrounded by all those whom He purchased, all those for whom He died, and all those for whom He bore their wrath. Thus, out of a zealous love for the glory of Christ and His sovereign reign in glory, we want the Lamb to receive the full reward for His sufferings. For this reason, the minister must go and preach the Word!

4. Because I believe in the Spirit's power to regenerate
The Bible speaks of the third member of the Trinity as the Spirit of Life. He produces life. He quickens dead souls and alone is able to impart life. No man can come to God unless he is sovereignly drawn by God Himself. No man can pick God, choose God. Indeed, no natural man would ever choose God; the unregenerate man hates God, despises God, and rages in his heart against God. But the Spirit of God, by sovereign grace, uses the gospel of Christ as servants of God present the gospel, to awaken dead souls to new spiritual life. For this reason, I evangelize.

5. Because I cling to the absolute sovereignty of God.
There is no other God besides the LORD. There is none other. No other god exists. There are not other gods of other religions or other manmade gods that individuals have fabricated that exist side by side the One, True and Living God. There is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we all exist for Him and there is one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him. God reigns supremely. He reigns exclusively. All events in all of time are under His sovereign control. He is never out of control and everything that takes place is the outworking of His preordained, sovereign plan. And as a royal King, he executes all of His decrees perfectly, wisely, sovereignly, and actively. God is actively involved in all the affairs of life — including salvation. So then, because I believe that God alone is the one who is worthy of praise and because God alone is the one who imparts eternal life to radically corrupt sinners, I preach the gospel with full confidence, great comfort, and heartfelt joy submitting to God’s sovereign will in and through the faithful presentation of the gospel of grace.

6. Because I believe in hell.
Hell is real. And countless millions now scream in the painful, eternal agonies of hellfire because they never trusted in Christ alone for salvation. Hell is the immediate home of all those who attempt to get to God by their works (=every religion in the world). The pains of hell begin at the moment of death. The torments of hell endure throughout endless eternities in the future. The ferocious wrath of God never lets up for all the everlasting ages to come. I believe in hell — a literal, real, hell where God actively, personally, violently, and fairly sentences all sinners who have broken His law forevermore. Because I know hell exists and countless thousands enter there daily around the world, I’m compelled to present the gospel of grace to lost souls so they may be spared from everlasting agonies under God’s just fury.

7. Because I care for people.
Souls are made in the image of God. Souls will thus live on forever. Since God is an eternal being and all men are made in the image of God, they are, then, eternal beings. People will live on forever. None who reject Christ now would ever embrace him in eternity. All who refuse Christ in this life will remain in unbelief for all of eternity. But those who see the weight of their sin, the wonder of God’s grace, and the sufficient, substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, and who have responded to this message by repenting, that is, turning, from sin and by trusting in Christ alone will pass to heaven and worship the Lamb forevermore! A shepherd cares for sheep. God made all people and, in a sense, loves all the creation that He made. And souls will live on forevermore. I care for people and long for them to think about eternity and consider their souls. Many do not ponder their souls and their eternal destiny. This is the reason why we must go to the lost — indeed, go to them! — and awaken their souls to the reality of eternity. If you care for people, proclaim the gospel to them!

8. Because I'm convinced of the Truth.
God is truth and His Word is truth. God’s Word is the sufficient, complete, perfect, inerrant truth. Never has a man found an error in the Bible. And because the Truth exists in the written Word and is most perfectly manifested in the Living Word who is full of “grace and truth,” we must do the work of an evangelist. Christ came and proclaimed that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. Thus, the evangelist is not engaging with the lost to try and win arguments about the validity of the Bible or the existence of God. God calls us to proclaim the gospel to them so that the Spirit of God awakens their conscience to the Truth and the God that they already know exists. So then, for the sake of the truth, the minister ought to labor for souls and seek to win them to the Savior. The truth is found in Jesus Christ. Every other religion, every other god, every other worldview is a lie and leads to hell. Thus, for the sake of the truth, share this, impart this, declare this, and plead with sinners to hear the best news that can save their souls from hell and take them to glory. Doing this is the most loving thing to do. Knowing the truth and refusing to impart it to others is not love; it’s selfishness and hatred. So then, let us go and do the work of an evangelist! Let us keep on keeping on knowing that our labor is not in vain. Go and win souls!

Download the full PDF here

Monday, February 9, 2015

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Christ Fellowship Bible Church is radically committed to the preaching of the Word of God. Here are four foundational reasons why CFBC preaches the Word.

The Bible calls men of God to “preach the Word” (2 Tim 4.2) and to teach and instruct with all authority (Titus 2.15). Paul was appointed by God as a preacher and an apostle and a teacher (1 Tim 2.7) to proclaim that Christ gave Himself as a ransom. God appointed Paul as a preacher (2 Tim 1.11). Thus, in the Word, God demands that all ministers preach the Word.

Jesus stated that his purpose in life was to “preach the Kingdom of God” (Luke 4.43). At the outset of his public ministry, Jesus began to “preach and to say repent” (Matt 4.17). Jesus traveled to nearby towns to preach (Mark 1.38). As Jesus taught the crowds, people were hearing him expound the Word of God (Luke 5.1). Christ modeled a man given to the relentless pursuit of preaching and teaching the Word of God.

3. Because the SPIRIT USES IT.
When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, thousands were saved (Acts 2.38-41). When Paul preached the Word, the Lord opens the heart of nonbelievers to hear and respond to the Word (Acts 16.14). When the Word of God is preached, sinners are pierced to the heart (Acts 2.38). The preaching of the Word must never be with merely persuasive words and manmade mechanisms to persuade but rather it must always be faithful to the text and come in demonstration of the Spirit and power (1 Cor 2.4-5). The Spirit of God gives life to those who hear the Word and receive it (2 Cor 3:18-4:6).

The faithful expounding of the Word of God allows God to speak to His people. For believers, God uses the Word to sanctify and mature those who belong to Christ (1 Pet 2.1-2). It matures believers so they can be trained to know good from evil (Heb 5:13-14). For the unbelievers, the preaching of the Word presents the very word of God from the Word through the messenger/mouthpiece to the hearer so that God may save them. Indeed, all who are appointed to eternal life will believe when they hear the Word preached (Acts 13.48). Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word about Christ (Rom 10.17). Thus, true preaching allows God to truly speak!

Download the pdf article here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The divine rulebook for marriage is the Bible. The Bible perfectly and sufficiently contains everything that is needed to have a godly, harmonious and joyful marriage. God leaves nothing necessary out of Scripture. Even the various roles that husbands and wives have and how they must fulfill those roles are all contained in the Scriptures. All men are created in the image of God but God gives different roles to the men and the women. God decrees that the husband is the head — leader, authority — of his household. He is the leader. He must lead and serve and function like the leader that God has called him to be. If he doesn’t, he fails at being a Godly husband and he must repent and seek God’s commands in the Word. The wives, on the other hand, are determined by God to be the completer of the husband; she is his helpmate, his supporter, his companion, his helper. She is to submit to him and his headship — leadership. She is to honor, respect and come alongside of him as he leads. As both the husband and the wife read their duties that God has revealed in His Word, they must humbly, willingly, heartfully, and worshipfully obey what God commands of them in their respective roles...

Read the entire article here.

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