Monday, May 20, 2019

As we eagerly await the OPEN AIR PREACHER'S DAY OF INSTRUCTION & EQUIPPING hosted by Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, Missouri) [this Saturday, May 25th], I think it'd be helpful to provide a few helpful blogs on some related issues around the importance of faithful, biblically sound, and urgent preaching of Jesus Christ and Him crucified on the streets.

1. My personal philosophy of open air preaching  |  Blog
2. Reasons why open air preaching is always effective  |  Blog
3. How to prepare powerful pastoral preachers  |  Blog
4. Preparing an open air sermon  |  Blog
5. Street preaching at abortion clinics  |  Blog
6. Does street preaching work?  |  Blog
7. Why is open air preaching opposed by the local church?  |  Blog
8. Spurgeon on open air preaching  |  Read

VIDEO: a biblical defense of open air preaching  |  WATCH
VIDEO: does street preaching work?  |  WATCH

BIBLE READING PLAN

We have gathered together a simple Bible-reading plan that many folks have used at Christ Fellowship Bible Church.  It'll take you through the Old Testament one time and the New Testament twice each year.  It consists in reading a couple of chapters in the Old Testament and either one or two chapters in the New Testament each day.

If you DO NOT have a consistent Bible-reading schedule or plan or if you just throw open your Bible and point to a text and read your favorite verses each day, let me strongly encourage you to READ THROUGH THE WHOLE BIBLE.  The whole Bible makes a whole Christian.

Here's a blog for profitable Bible-reading -- how to read the Bible for your spiritual food.  May it be helpful for you.

The Bible reading plan SIDE 1
The Bible reading plan SIDE 2

One of the great joys of my spiritual life is reading God's Word first thing in the morning as I begin each day.  May the Lord encourage your heart as you feast upon His Word as well!

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Heartfelt Embrace of Young Womanhood, Part 2
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Titus 2:4-5 is a gloriously clear text that defines what biblical womanhood is about. In fact, these verses provide the ingredients for a wonderful ministry of older women coming alongside to deliberately teach and biblically urge the young women to live out these seven virtues that God mandates for all young women.  In a culture of confusion and outright rebellion against God and His Word, this text serves as a clarion call to the older women of God to train the younger -- that is, to intentionally teach, to regularly disciple, to faithfully ‘school’ -- women in God’s design for biblical womanhood. Here is the true path of joy, the road to happiness, and the honor of biblical, young womanhood.

As mentioned before, Paul gives these virtues of biblical womanhood in the context of the older women teaching the younger. And this teaches that these biblical qualities do not come naturally. The young women need to be taught these things.

In the previous blog, I commented on the first three virtues. God calls young women (1) to love their husbands, (2) to love their children, and (3) to be sensible (Titus 2:4-5a). In this post, I want to continue commenting on the virtues of young womanhood from this crucial text.

4. She is to be pure.  Paul calls the young women to be pure. The Greek word that Paul employs speaks of being religiously honorable, reverent, and sacred. Here is a woman who knows that she is fully devoted to God and owned by God in her life. She makes it her ambition to be pure in every area of life. The context, however, may lead to her pursuing purity in her sexuality. She is fully devoted to her husband and him alone. She is fully available and desirous of him and lovemaking with him alone. She has no flings, no emotional relationships, no fanciful desires. Rather, she is self-controlled in her body and in her sexuality. Young women need to be taught these things. Culture, the swath of young woman presenting themselves on social media, TV shows, Netflix, and in our cities does not help in promoting a biblical view of sexual purity. Far from it! Herein lies the reason why God calls the older women of God to intentionally and faithfully attend to the younger women to teach them sexual purity. This woman cares about modesty. She cares about what she wears. She cares for her brothers in Christ and does not want to wear anything that could cause them to stumble (tight clothing, high clothing, low clothing, provocative clothing). God’s design for young womanhood is to be pure in her life. In a culture of impurity and sensuality and provocative clothing, young women of God must remember that though they live in the world, they are not of the world. And God does not mandate them to do it alone! The older are to come alongside of the younger with love, with honesty, with care, with biblical truths, and with practical tips and advice.

5. She is to be a worker at home.  Literally, Paul calls the young women to be ‘home-workers.’ Talk about something that flies in the face of the cultural wave for women to go out and work, present themselves, flourish in their field, travel the world, get a job, excel at the workplace. The primary place of work and ministry for a married woman and for a mother is the home.  This does not mean that a woman cannot work outside the home. But the point that Paul makes is that her primary domain of ministry and her primary place of exertion of energy must be the home -- to her husband, to her children, and to her domestic duties of keeping the house a welcoming, warm, inviting, and hospitable place for her family and others. This, of course, does not come naturally to young women. They need to learn this. And here Paul calls the older women to teach domestic duties to young women. What does it mean to keep the house? What’s entailed in cleaning, in home decor, in hospitality, in colors and furniture, in food and preparation, in serving others? How does she make and maintain a warm, inviting, and delightful environment for her husband and for her children? Let the older women take the younger under their wing to intentionally school them in the importance of these duties and the practical nature of how to do them well as a woman of God.

6. She is to be kind. Another virtue that God mandates for young women is to be kind. The word could also be rendered good, generous, beneficial, useful, excelling in her duties.  This is the young woman who sees a need and she does all she can to attend to it and meet that need. She primarily is kind and useful to those in the context of her home -- her husband and children -- but also those who come to visit, those in her church family, those she welcomes over for hospitality, and others who may come across her path. She seeks to be generous, excellent and kind in all her words, her actions, her duties, and her responsibilities as a wife, a mother, and a home-maker. Again, this virtue does not come naturally to young women. That’s why the Apostle calls the older women of God to teach this virtue to young women and show them why it’s important and how to be kind and beneficial to those in the context of her home. The home is her domain and the young woman of God seeks to excel with grace and usefulness in the primary place where God has called her to serve.

7. She is to be subject to her own husband. Godly women are to be submissive to their own husbands. Biblical submission is the heartfelt placing oneself under the authority of others that God has placed in our lives. Biblical submission is a glorious and beautiful thing. God not only calls wives to submit, but everyone is called to submit. For instance, all must submit to God, all must submit to government, all Christians must submit to their church elders. Even Christ submitted Himself to His Father. So, biblical submission is a wonderful heart-attitude flowing out of a godly woman that seeks to honor God and fulfill her role as God has spelled it out in Scripture.  Culture is not the standard. Biblical women do not learn marriage orders and godly living from watching the secular world. The authority is the Scripture and it couldn’t be more clear. Young women must embrace the beautiful and glorious call from God to submit to their own husbands. Note they are to submit to their own husbands -- not every person or every man, but the man she’s married to by covenant. And note how Paul begins and ends the list of virtues of biblical, young womanhood by addressing marriage. She is to be a lover of her husband and faithfully submitting to her own husband. This certainly does not come naturally to a woman. This, again, is why Paul calls the older to come to the assistance of and urgently teach and biblically show what this entails and how it looks in the day to day life of a marriage.

All of this points to a great purpose. Why does Paul give these seven virtues of young womanhood?  So that the Word of God will not be dishonored (Titus 2:5b). To state it differently, Paul doesn’t want the word to be reviled, or discredited, or maligned. What a high calling God gives to young women. You can, by God’s grace and with His Spirit, live out biblical womanhood in such a way that you beautify the gospel and show the life-transforming power and joy-instilling hope of the Word of God! What a high calling that should be happily embraced by all young women of God!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Heartfelt Embrace of Young Womanhood
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Titus 2:4-5 speaks of the older women who are to be “teaching what is good so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

So many godly women love and appreciate Titus 2 for the clear instructions that the Lord gives to both older and younger women. The Lord has spoken clearly in these verses. He has provided timeless truth, perfect principles, and needed exhortations for joyful womanhood.

In this first blog, I’ll elaborate on the first few virtues of young womanhood from Titus 2:4-5a. To begin, however, I should remark that Paul calls the older women to encourage the young women to do these following 7 virtues. That teaches something very urgent: these qualities do not come naturally to a young woman; they must learn these essential marks of womanhood. These don’t come easily. Culture, social media, Netflix, coworkers, and the entertainment industry do not help in promoting biblical womanhood. So, at this very point, Paul calls upon the older and more mature women of faith to come alongside of the younger women to deliberately teach them.

In fact, the word that Paul uses for the older women to help the younger women is to “encourage” (NASB). The Greek word can refer to an urging, deliberate training, admonishing, even schooling the younger women in these particular virtues. This is far from a text message here or there. It’s more than reading a few blogs on the topic or hearing a sermon every few years on womanhood. This requires the intentional, thoughtful, deliberate and proactive training and discipleship of an older woman coming alongside of a younger women to particularly train her in these qualities of a biblical, young woman.

When reading these marvelous virtues in the text, one should immediately recognize the priority is placed on the home -- marriage, parenting, homemaking, godly conduct. Contrary to the cultural pressure today to go out, get a job, make money, flourish personally, do what you want, be who you desire, thrive as a corporate woman, God’s glorious and timeless plan is for the biblical woman to find her primary calling in the context of the home. Her responsibilities and duties are tethered first to her husband, then to her children, then to her home-making and her godly conduct in such an environment. This is so counter-cultural and desperately needed!

1. She is to love her husband. In verse 4, the older women in the local church must train the younger women to love their husbands. Amazingly, if they need to be taught this, then it presupposes that it doesn’t come naturally. The Greek word φιλάνδρους literally could be rendered: a lover of the man. This obviously refers to a heterosexual marriage between a woman and a man. But additionally, it brings out a very unique element. To love the husband, as Paul describes it, has to do with a friendship, brotherly kind of love. This is a genuine affectionate, respectful, best-friendship kind of love. This is not the agape self, sacrificing, dying to self love that Paul so often calls for among believers. That’s important but that’s not the same word used here. Paul wants the older women to come alongside of the younger wives and deliberately train them in respectful, affectionate, honorable relations with their husbands. The older women have been there. Perhaps they can train from personal experience. They can teach through loving and compassionate reproof and rebuke when necessary. They can teach through biblical instruction (which means older women don’t have to all be married in order to fulfill this duty; even if they don’t have the personal experience, they have the all-sufficient Scriptures).

2. She is to love her children. In verse 4b, Paul moves from the loving of the husbands to the loving of her children. And like Paul did with the previous word, here Paul uses a similar word for the young mothers. They are to be taught to φιλοτέκνους. This, again, includes the phielo kind of love where the sense of friendship, affection, care, enjoyment and nurture comes to the forefront. I think every mother would understand the agape type love in parenting. You love the child when they can’t love you back (nursing, feeding, changing diapers, etc!). But this is different. This is an affectionate, caring, enjoyable and nurturing kind of love for the children. This, according to God, doesn’t come naturally to young women and so they need to be trained in this virtue by Godly, older women. In the context of the church, the older women are to intentionally come alongside of the young mothers to give tips on parenting, on loving the children, on being caring and affectionate with them, disciplining them with tenderness, and raising them in the context of a happy and holy home. This is not something that’s found on social media or viewed on the common movies in the theaters. Here’s why Paul calls upon the older women of God to school the younger mothers in these vital qualities of womanhood.

3. She is to be sensible. Turning to verse 5, Paul mentions that the older women must urge the young women to be sensible. The Greek word refers to one who is wise, self-controlled, thoughtful, deliberate, and careful in conduct.  This word is a favorite of Paul’s in the book of Titus.  Elders must be sensible (1:8). Older men must be sensible (2:2). Younger men must be sensible (2:6). And here, it’s implied that the older women must be sensible as they are to admonish the young women to live this out in their lives (2:5). The idea is the young woman living wisely in the home, practicing self control in the home and resisting the temptation to give into and pursue every craving and lust and pleasure that comes her way. To live sensibly means that she may have something she wants within her grasp but she still has the ability to resist and refuse it -- by God’s grace. If there is any virtue needed among young women in our culture, self-control and living sensibly has got to be near the top of the list. But, again, that Paul places it here reveals that this quality does not come by nature to young women. Youthful women often follow their lusts, pursue their pleasures, live without self-control and live without serious thought. But may the older women of God obey Paul’s mandate to deliberately assist the young women to know and live out the virtue of self-control and living in a sensible way -- for Christ’s glory and for her joy.


In the posts to follow, I will spell out in more detail the remaining virtues of biblical womanhood as Paul lists them in Titus 2:5.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

OPEN AIR PREACHER ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

 What? The Open Air Preacher’s Day of Equipping & Instruction

When? Saturday, May 25th, 2019 | 9AM - 2PM | with STL Cardinals Game Evangelism that evening 6PM [optional]

Where? Located at Christ Fellowship Bible Church (9321 Litzsinger Road, St Louis, MO 63144)

Time? 9AM - 2PM **breakfast & lunch included**

FORMAT:
9:00AM - Welcome (Geoff Kirkland)

Session #1 - 9AM-10AM - welcome & the “WHAT and WHY” of open air preaching (brief
historical sketch open air preaching)
Taught by Tony Miano

Session #2 - 10AM-11AM - Theological foundation of open air preacher (what is the biblical gospel? what is successful evangelism? Discussion on ‘results’/ effectiveness in evangelism/ministry)
Taught by Geoff Kirkland

Session #3 - 11AM-12PM - Local church & accountability of the open air preacher; his character & the holiness of the open air preacher (accountability from church leadership)
Taught by Tony Miano

Session #4 - 12PM - 1PM - the manner & disposition of the open air preacher (etiquette; equipment; tracts; finding places to preach; disposition/demeanor of open air preacher)
Taught by Tom Rayborn

Session #5 - 1PM - 2PM - lunch & Q&A
Tony Miano and Tom Rayborn (moderated by Geoff Kirkland)

CLOSE at 2:00PM

— optional additional evangelism outing together —

Corporate prayer & calling upon God from 2:30 - 3:30PM

Head to Busch Stadium at 3:30PM to park and evangelize before the evening Cardinals game (game begins at 6.15PM)


 Please RSVP to Tom Rayborn or Geoff Kirkland

**THE EVENT IS FREE** | but RSVP so we know how many to expect.

Monday, March 18, 2019

How Should You Hear the Word of God Preached?
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church


Q. 160. What is required of those that hear the Word preached? [From the Westminster Confession, 1647]
A. It is required of those that hear the Word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.

1. You should attend to it with diligence.
It is as if you were going to meet with the king of the land himself, one would most certainly plan accordingly, come with punctuality and listen with diligence. So it must be for the children of God who listen to the preacher herald God’s Word. God’s people must diligently come to be fed divine truth. An earnestness must be exuded from God’s people as they have one primary object on their minds on the Lord’s Day — God. Nothing else captivates the believer’s mind like Christ does. Nothing ravishes the believer’s heart like Christ does. Nothing wins the affections and nothing woos the saint’s love more than the saving gospel of God’s grace freely bestowed in Christ’s death on behalf of repentant sinners. So come! Come with diligence! Come with Christ-centeredness! Come with eagerness! Come with expectancy! Come with frequency! Come with sobriety and expectation to meet with, commune with, and hear from the Living God.

2. You should attend to it with preparation.
As one would prepare for an important business meeting, so God’s people should also prepare to meet with the God of all creation. To prepare is to make oneself ready to meet with, come before, and stand in the presence of God Almighty. Preparation must begin with prayer. It must continue with sufficient sleep. Preparation includes the reading of the scripture text that will be preached on the following day. Preparation demands arriving to corporate worship early to meditate, pray, expect, and adore God. Without preparation, one cannot worship properly. One gets out of worship what one puts into worship. Without preparation, little heart warming and soul feeding will occur. As one would prepare equipment, leave early and take diligence to arrive on time to a sporting or entertainment event, how much more should God’s child prepare his heart, his Bible, his wife, his children and leave early and arrive promptly to worship God. A prepared heart is a ready heart. A prepared heart is a humble and willing heart. A prepared heart is a moldable and shapeable heart.

3. You should attend to it with prayer.
To pray is to take hold of God’s power and beseech God to rend the heavens, come down, descend powerfully, and with supernatural power. Only God can convert. God’s people must pray for the conversion of sinners, the edification of God’s people, and the magnification of God’s Triune name and work in salvation. God’s people must pray in repentance to rid themselves of all known sin before the Word comes. God’s people must pray that the minister of the Word would speak with supernatural power. Indeed, the mouth is that of a man but the voice is that of God. Pray for unction — the sovereign, effectual power of the Spirit in and through the preached Word — as the man of God preaches the Word of God to the people of God. All God’s people should pray for God’s help on the way to hear the sermon preached. Believers must pray and ask the Lord to grant assistance while the Word is heard. And saints must pray for a soft, humble, and willing heart to specifically apply and implement the sermon throughout the course of the week. O the danger of not hearing sermons well! O the danger of distractions while the sermon is going forth! O the danger of hearing the Word and allowing Satan, like a pecking bird, to snatch the seed of the Word so that it bears no fruit. Nothing prepares a man of God for worship more than earnest wrestling with God in prayer. Expect God to work. Pray for God to revive. Adore God as preeminently worthy! Confess! Rejoice! Pray!

Just as people of old would bake bread on Saturday evenings so it would be warm on Sunday morning, so the people of God should read, pray, and study the Scriptures on Saturday nights so that their hearts are warmed and prepared for worship on Sunday.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Urgency of Soul-Winning.

Jude 23 — save others, snatching them out of the fire…

Soul willing, by definition, must be urgent. The urgency comes not just from the method but from the reality of the spiritual state of men. Time is short and all those who die in their sins will perish in hell under the unrelenting and righteous wrath of God. All who die in Christ, forgiven and righteous in His merits, will enter life and spend eternity in blissful joy and worshipful delight dwelling in God’s presence. But while you are here, you and I are called to be urgent. We must be urgent in soul-winning. Man-fishing is the charge that Christ has given to His followers. We are to get up and go out and call all to surrender to Christ as Lord and as Savior.

Here’s an explanation of soul-winning in a few ways.

1. URGENCY
The book of Jude calls the believers to save others and to be snatching them. To save and to snatch speak of important, urgent, preeminent realities. To snatch means to forcefully carry someone away. It is as if we are grabbing someone by the shirtcollar, with respectful tact, and pleading with them with compassionate urgency to flee from the wrath of God which surely is to come. Christian living always should have the smell of urgency to it. Our conversations should have the spark of tenderness and urgency in our demeanor. Our prayers and evangelism and confidence in proclaiming the gospel to the lost should be fueled with urgency, fired with passion, and firmly resting on God’s sovereignty to save His elect. And with this confidence in God’s work, we urgently go!

2. CERTAINTY
Cast your eye upon that little phrase “out of.” We are to be saving and snatching souls out of the fire. There is a real joy in proclaiming to sinners headed for eternal destruction that there is a certain way of escape. It’s sure. It’s possible. It’s free. It’s real. So certain is this hope in Christ that we can proclaim to sinners that if they trust in Christ alone they will be saved from the wrath of God! What joy to urgently, joyfully and tenderly plead with sinners and summon them that they can have the certainty and the confidence of escaping hellfire if they come to Jesus Christ alone in saving faith.

3. ETERNALITY
No one spoke of the eternality of hell more than Jesus Christ Himself. God wants us to grasp the undying nature of eternity. Heaven and hell go on forever and ever -- for endless ages to come. In 10 billion years, no more time will have been lost in eternity. It shall have no end. And your job and my job is to snatch sinners from the fire. The fire refers to the judgment. Jesus Christ spoke often of the eternal fires of hell (Matt 13:40, 42, 50; 25:41). O let us go toward sinners with urgency and courage and summon them to life eternal with Christ and warn them of everlasting doom under His wrath if they perish remaining in their sinful unbelief.

4. AVAILABILITY
The fact of the matter is this: there is still time to get right with God! God’s patience continues. He has not shut the door of opportunity yet. Now is the day of grace. Today is the acceptable time. The command in Jude still applies to us. We are to save and snatch sinners out of the fire. Let the example of Christ minister to us as He pleaded with sinners to come to Him while there is still time: “Come to me!” “Whoever is thirsty, let him drink.” “Whoever beholds the Son has life!” “Enter through the narrow gate”! O let us gain an intolerable burden while recognizing the moment of availability that God still graciously gives to hellbound sinners! Let’s go to them, with the gospel, with loving urgency, and summon them to forsake their sin, flee to Christ, follow Him, and find life!


More articles can be found HERE.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Here is the link to the recent 19-part eBook on Duties of Christian Wives that I completed. May the Lord use it to edify and build up Christian women in marriages for the glory of Christ. 

Here are the articles:
1. submitting
2. following
3. affirming
4. respecting
5. speaking well of
6. working hard at home (Prov 31.31)
7. teaching children (& grand children)
8. discipling others
9. praying
10. adorning
11. fulfilling (sexually her husband)
12. guarding (the home that it's a godly, safe, warm, inviting, welcoming place for husband)
13. forgiving
14. worshiping
15. self-denying  (submit to husbands in everything)
16. trusting (in God as she follows/submits to her husband)
17. encouraging (her husband and others in her life)
18. wise (Prov 19.14; 31.25 - a prudent wife)
19. God-fearing (Prov 31.30)

Download the eBook HERE.

This is the counterpart to the Duties of Christian Husbands () which can be found HERE.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

God-Honoring, Good Sex.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

God has given marriage to humankind for many reasons. Marriage serves to point to the great Marriage between Christ and His Bride, the Church. It is to be a catalyst for sanctification, a blessing of friendship, the means of procreation, a relationship of companionship, and a protection from fornication. In this essay, I want to address the biblical reality of the beauty of God-honoring and truly ravishing sex. This is the intimate coming together between a man and a woman within the covenant of marriage that brings God great glory. Far from being bad and something that must be shunned, Christian couples should seek to worship God at all times -- and that includes the marriage bed. So what does the Bible say about God-honoring, good, and enjoyable sex? How is it achieved? What needs to be understood? Is this really legitimate?

In what follows, I’ll provide a few thoughts that will foster a high view of the delightfulness of sex as God designed it for a husband and wife within the marriage covenant. 

1. A good understanding of sex.
Marriage can really only be ultimately understood when viewed in the context of the gospel. After all, the Apostle Paul reveals that marriage is ultimately about Christ and the Church. Every marriage relationship serves to be a pointer to the Ultimate Marriage between Christ and His Bride. So it is also with sex. As there is nothing more intimate than sexual intimacy within the marriage covenant, so in a similar sense, all believers long for the ultimate marriage and closeness with Christ in the truest sense that we will enjoy in the future when we behold our Bridegroom face to face. Now believers do not see Him. But we will! We shall! Jesus also reveals that there is no marriage in heaven (and, thus, no sexual relations & no procreation) and so we enjoy the delightfulness of marriage and the blessings within marriage for this age only. Marriage and intimacy point us to a greater marriage and an eternal intimacy with Christ that all believers will enjoy with God forever and ever. The amazingly close and breathtakingly intimate union between a man and a woman in marriage is to delightfully remind believers of the eternally close and breathtaking intimate nearness that we will have with Jesus Christ forever and ever in glory!

2. A good exclusivity within sex.
God designed marriage, from the very beginning, to be between one man and one woman alone. A full and total exclusivity is demanded within marriage. There must be no intruders and no unfaithfulness in marital intimacy. There should be no third party, no pornographic stimulants, no outside invaders during the intimacy between a husband and a wife. This is why the Scriptures call for men to rejoice in the wife of one’s youth. There must be a full exclusivity in marriage and in sex -- a real, genuine, honest commitment to one another alone. It’s like the lovers in Song of Solomon: I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. Total exclusivity is required!

3. A good communication about sex.
As with every part of marriage, it thrives on good communication. Wherever there is conflict and turmoil, there’s a breakdown of communication somewhere along the line. Good communication requires humility, patience, clarity, honesty, truthfulness, carefulness in tone, and clarification (so as to ensure there’s no misunderstanding). Both the husband and the wife must communicate their desires and likes (and dislikes) in sexual relations. They must honestly and openly speak with one another what they enjoy and don’t enjoy in physical relations in bed. Great enjoyment in sexual intimacy requires great openness in honest communication with one another. And not just openness and communication at the outset of the marriage but continuously throughout the marriage. Even during the act of lovemaking couples can communicate and seek to know and learn what the other person enjoys and what brings the spouse pleasure. Good and unhindered communication is absolutely vital for enjoyable, God-honoring sex.

4. A good selflessness during sex.
It is more blessed to give than to receive. Do nothing from selfishness. Regard one another as more important than yourselves. Look out for the interests of others. All of these statements are from the Word of God. The principle of selflessness certainly applies to all of life including the area of sexual intimacy in marriage. All sexual sin (all!) flows from selfishness in some way. Pornography, masturbation, adultery, prostitution, lust and any other sin all comes from a heart of selfishness (the idol of self-love in that instance). The goal in sexual intimacy is not what can I get out of this but rather the goal must be how can I serve and bring pleasure to my spouse. And here’s the amazing reality: if both the husband and the wife are selfless and seeking to please the other person, then both people are fulfilled. And the sexual fulfillment and pleasure comes not from selfishness but from each person seeking to please and fulfill the desires of the spouse. Both people are satisfied. God is honored. The goal of sex is always to be: how can I please my spouse? It is this others-oriented view of sex within marriage that fuels great enjoyment.

5. A good conscience in sex.
Perhaps there’s nothing more debilitating than living with a guilty conscience. But to live with a clear conscience before God and men is truly to live life fully and with joy. When the husband can approach his wife, come into her, and seek to love her with a clear conscience is a blessing that is beyond description. But when a man’s conscience is clouded with shame and gloomy from lust and guilty from sexual sin, he must come openly and honestly before God and before his wife and acknowledge his sin, confess it, repent of it, and seek to replace that sin with godly habits of holiness and purity. It is possible to be sexually pure as a believer. But when you as a believer sin, there is a Righteous Advocate who pleads on your behalf. Strive vigilantly to be pure and maintain purity in your heart, mind and life. Be a one woman man or a one man woman. When you can make love with your spouse and say: I am fully yours and only yours, it is a blessed and joyful blessing. Maintain a good conscience before God and before your spouse!

6. A good mutual-delight in sex.
The man’s body does not belong to himself but to his wife. He must, therefore, seek to serve her and fulfill his ‘duty’ to his wife. And the wife’s body likewise does not belong to herself but to her husband. She must, therefore, strive to serve him and fulfill her ‘duty’ to her husband. Never must the mindset be: I want sex because I want…. Rather, believers must fight hard to have the mindset of a self-giver: I long to make love with my spouse so that I can please them for their joy and benefit. When the husband strives to please his wife and when the wife endeavors to please her husband, both are mutually delighted and selflessly satisfied. Both are happy. Both have served one another. Both are pleased and ravished with each other. And there are no intruders that have crept into the marriage bed.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Process of Becoming a Leader of Christ Fellowship Bible Church
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The church belongs to Jesus Christ! He resides as the sovereign Head over His Body, the church and He has spoken clearly and sufficiently in His Word, the Bible. What He says has total authority over all that happens in His Church. The Scriptures very clearly present qualifications for the leadership offices of elder and deacon. But the practical question remains: how does one become a leader? What is the process by which a man becomes a leader in the church of Jesus Christ?

At CFBC, we have condensed this process in a few practical headings.

First, Selecting men.
Leaders prove themselves to be leaders long before they’re appointed to leadership positions. That means that these men will evidently demonstrate themselves to be doing the work of service long before they are publicly affirmed with a leadership title. They’re not in it for the title, the prestige, the position, or the authority. They want to serve and they do the work with or without the recognition or official leadership title. So the leadership of CFBC selects men who already are showing themselves to be doing the work of ministry. For a deacon, it is one who shows a life of integrity, one who is consistent in his speech and commitments, one who is willing to serve, aid the shepherds, and help do the work of ministry to free up the shepherds to maintain prayer and the study and teaching of the Word as their foremost calling. For an elder, here is one who already is living out the qualifications (of personal life, home life, marital life) as well as a man who shows himself to be shepherding folks in the Word (teaching biblical truth with clarity and accuracy) as well as defending against false and harmful doctrine. So the selection of men consists in the recognizing of those men who already are doing the work in the local church. We seek them out, the leadership meets with them and asks if they have a desire for leadership in the local assembly.

Second, Examining men.
Then after the selection of men comes the process of examination. The Apostle Paul talks about leaders being tested and examined. This can be both formal and informal. Informally, it refers of course to the examination of the man’s life by observation and by careful scrutiny. It also, however, includes the necessary examination formally. This refers to a written examination (for both elders and deacons). We also, at CFBC, choose to examine the man in an oral interview where we ask specific questions about the prospect’s spiritual life (sexual purity, Bible reading, prayer time, marriage, family worship, financial condition, repentance, evangelism, etc.).  For an elder and deacon, we would interview the wife privately (without the husband there), and children (if applicable). For an elder, we would also go to his workplace and interview at least two co-workers to gather their impressions on the prospective leader. The oral and written examinations will help the existing leadership team in testing the candidate for a ministry position. This is a crucial element of the process of becoming a leader. This stage in the process is not to be rushed; nor is it to be overlooked. A man must be examined first before becoming an official leader in the church.

Third, Recognizing men
After a man has demonstrated a godly life, faithfulness in service in the local church, and after he has been examined, the CFBC leadership will bring the man before the church congregation in a corporate worship service and present him as a viable candidate for leadership. The leadership then calls on the church as a whole to give input to the leadership team about the candidate over a set period of time (say, a month or so). This includes the flock and their impressions, perceptions, concerns, or affirmations in the leadership process. After this set period of time, the leaders may approve the man by mentioning to him the weightiness and responsibility of leadership in Christ’s church.

Fourth, Affirming/Ordaining men
Then after a man is approved by the leadership, he is recognized publicly in a public worship service and appointed to the leadership position (of elder or deacon). This is a public recognition and the existing church leaders will pray for the new leader and commit him, his family, and the ministry to the Lord for His glory and for the health and protection of the church. No church makes a leader. No church raises up leaders. The Spirit of God does this. We view our job to disciple, pray for, train, and encourage men to serve in many ways. As they serve, the Spirit of God makes it clear over time who is already doing the work of service. And the more these faithful servants do the work, it becomes overwhelmingly clear both to them, to the leadership, and to to the congregation as a whole, whom the Lord is raising up to be a leadership (either a deacon or an elder).

Thursday, January 17, 2019

We Beg You, Church-Member, Pray For Your Elders!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO)

The Christian has no more powerful weapon that is constantly available to him than the glorious privilege of prayer. Intercessory prayer proves to be the greatest -- and at the same time, the hardest -- blessing that Christians have for one another! We can and must minister biblical truth to each other. Yes we must encourage. And sure we must reprove and confront when needed. But how frequently do we read of Paul begging believers: “pray for us” (1 Thess 5:25; 2 Thess 3:1; cf. Heb 13:18). Faithful shepherds would resonate with this simple plea to every church-member, “Brethren: pray for us!” How, you ask? Pray for your elders in the following suggested ways.

Know The Lord!
Pray for your elders to know the Lord. Simply: more than anything else in the world, pray that they would know God -- deeply. Pray that God would enlarge their understanding, deepen their convictions, widen their grasp, and tighten their adherence to God’s glory and character. Pray for your shepherds to know God in such a way that they experientially long to be with God in communion. Pray that their service is not rote or heartless. But pray that their ministerial work flows from a warm heart of devotion to Christ that all springs from a deep, tender, ever-growing knowledge of God!

Know the Word!
Pray for your elders to know the Word. Our guidebook is Scripture. Our foundation upon which we build all of life and ministry is the sufficient and clear Word of God. Nothing is as fixed as God’s Word. Nothing is as unchangeable as His Truth. In an age of opposition to divine authority and in a world drowning in rebellion against God’s clear directives, your elders covet and need your intercessory prayer. Pray for their courage to stand upon Scripture in the face of any and all opposition. Pray for their theological precision and robust grip of the biblical gospel so that Satan does not sway them away from the priorities. Pray for them to know and feed on the Word!

Know the Flock!
Pray for your elders to know the flock. Remember what Solomon charged his son: know well the condition of your flocks (Prov 27:23). Your elders have much to do including prayer, study of the Word, and administrative details. But remember: pastoral work is shepherding work. Ministerial work is people work. Pastors engage in soul-care. Pray for daily strength, divine power, sustaining energy, grace-given endurance, and joy-filled hearts. Intercede often for your ministers as their work often goes unnoticed, and at times, unappreciated. Pray for the Lord to minister to their hearts as they minister to the hearts of the saints. Pray for God to guard them from ‘pastoral burnout’ and from overworking to the neglect of their primary ministry -- his own wife and children. Pray that they would know needs, attend to them, and balance his time and duties well.

Know the Danger!
Pray for your elders to know the danger. Dangerous times are those in which we live! The god of this world is plunging many with him to perdition! And how he loves to distract the saints, distort the gospel, defile the leaders, destroy the gospel’s reputation and disrupt godly fellowship. Pray frequently and fervently for God to protect your congregation! Pray for your leaders in this! Pray that they would know and see the danger as a watchman of old was to observe a danger on the horizon and cry out to prevent harm from striking. Pray that God’s leaders would have insight and discernment to protect the flock preventatively instead of reactively after the danger has pierced through. Pray much and often for this is vital to the church’s health!

Know the Power!
Pray for your elders to know the power. Any faithful shepherd would honestly affirm his own weakness and inadequacy in himself to do pastoral work. So pray for him and with him to have and know the power of God! Consider calling your pastor and praying with and for him to have the power of God in his prayer time, in his sermon preparation time, in his preaching, and in his pastoral work. Pray for him to know the power of God and to see glimpses of God’s grace revealed as he marvels at how God works in and through him for the advance of the gospel and for the fame of Christ’s Name! Pray for him to experience the power of God while he heralds the gospel. Pray for him to see converts as he evangelizes and calls sinners to repent and believe. Pray for him to know power in the counseling room as he seeks to help believers put off sin and put on holiness. Pray for him and with him to have divine power in his work!

Know the Joy!
Pray for your elders to know the joy. Fullness of joy, the happinesses of joy, the delightfulness of joy and the otherworldliness of joy! Yes, pray for your shepherd-elders to have the divine glory of joy strike deep in their souls. Pray that even when hospital visits are needed, when struggling saints need reproof, when bad doctrine must be confronted, and when busyness creeps in that the joy of the Lord would refresh them, sustain them, gladden them, and enlarge their hearts. Pray for these shepherds to drink of the river of God’s delights -- daily. Pray for your elders to do their work not out of sheer duty but out of joyful wonder at God’s grace and call and glory! Pray for the joy of your elders to permeate through the flock so that Christian joy would characterize your local church congregation. Pray much and often for the God of joy to grant joy to your leaders!
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