Archive for February, 2007

An Outline of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Revealed in the Apostolic Preaching of the Cross

February 23, 2007

I have recently added an outline of the Gospel at the bottom of the page entitled, “Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I used this outline to help the two young men I am discipling to better understand the essentials of the gospel, in order that we might be better prepared to preach the gospel to others in our evangelism as well as to ourselves on a daily basis.

It is broken up into five main headings which are easy to remember: 1) God the Father Reveals Himself in God the Son; 2) Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified; 3) God the Father Raised Jesus from the Dead; 4) Jesus Christ Sent God the Holy Spirit; 5) Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is Coming Again. I did my best in these main headings to summarize the apostolic witness found in Acts and the New Testament epistles. Also, there are twenty-four subheadings that explain what is meant by the assertions made in the main headings, each of which are followed by an abundance of biblical support.

I have found the outline a very helpful resource in sharing the gospel with others and preaching to myself. I pray it might do the same for others.   

The Lord’s Grace in Dad

February 20, 2007

Dad and Mom

Today is Allen Rogers birthday. Allen is my dad, one of the most precious gifts given to me by the Lord Jesus Christ. As a son, I did not choose to be entrusted to him; in his love, God simply placed me within his care. For this sweet providence, I am very grateful, and rejoice in the kindness of our great God. There are a few things that I remember about my dad that continue to impact the way I live for Christ, which I will share below.

#1 Christ made my Dad loyal. As his son, I have been able to observe this loyalty in his relationship to others, in his devotion to his work, in his desire to serve others well, and in his steadfastness as a father to me. The Lord has used my dad’s loyalty to be an illustration of what God the Father’s loyalty is like to his covenant people. The Lord’s “loyal love” (what many Bible translations call “steadfast love” or “lovingkindness”) for his people does not fail them, nor does it waver in doing good to them, and it always acts according to what is right. Although my dad is not perfect like the Lord, his life has been a great picture of loyalty for me to observe. This, I hope, teaches me how to live with loyalty towards others, and especially towards the Lord’s covenant with me.

#2 Christ made my Dad a good protector and provider. There was never a time that my dad witheld anything from me that he thought would be good for me. He has always been instrumental in providing for my needs. He has also been a great protector in our home, always looking out for us, and especially for my mom. I even remember nestling down beside him in our couch in the evenings. Indeed, it was a safe place to be. These things set before me the way I should act in our home now, because it models the way in which the Lord is always faithful to provide for his children what is best for them, as well as give them his protection. This is especially seen in the overflow of Calvary and in the shield of the cross. Though my dad is not the Lord, his life has given me a glimpse of how the Lord is my protector and provider. This, I pray, will effect the way I both provide for my home, and protect my wife (and children, Lord willing).

#3 Christ made my Dad a just and merciful person. Both of these things I have been able to observe throughout my life at home. My dad was just in the way he taught my brothers and I that our sin has consequences. He was right to discipline us for our corrupt actions. It was love that drove him to do so, and most of the time this was expressed. My dad was merciful in the way he forgave us for multitudes upon multitudes of our sinful actions, even sheltering, feeding, providing, loving, and teaching us immediately after our wrongdoings. The Lord demonstrates both of these things in his covenant people as well, his justice in disciplining them, and his mercy in forgiving them. The Lord even brings both his mercy and his justice to their utmost revelation for us at the cross of Christ. I am glad that my dad is hidden in this cross, and that the Lord enabled him to live a life that portrayed different aspects of what God is like. These things will help me in the rearing of children and discipleship of other young ones.

#4 Christ made my dad an encouraging person. Whether it has been baseball, football, work, ranch management, academics, or pursuits in the ministry, my dad has been gifted with encouragement for his son. His words, hugs, and phone calls, play a large role in my own perseverance to glorify the Lord in all things. To know that I have a father who is for me teaches me about my heavenly Father, who, by his triumphant grace in Christ Jesus, is also for me.

Happy Birthday Dad. Through you, the Lord has shown me much favor. I praise him for his past works in your life, the current work he is doing in you, and the future work he will do to finally glorify you together with himself. Thank you for living in such a way that helps me to understand my heavenly Father.

Church, Purge the Leaven and Live for Heaven!

February 17, 2007

Previous to writing his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul received word of their acceptance of immorality in the assembly. A certain man was involved in a sexually immoral relationship with his father’s wife (most likely his step-mother). Such corruption had not even been found among the pagan Gentiles (1Cor 5:1).

The problem was not merely this man’s sin (wicked as it was), but even more, the church’s acceptation of this man’s immorality. Instead of mourning over the situation so that he would be removed from the assembly (5:2), they were arrogantly ignoring it; letting it continue, even boasting about it (5:6). Presuming upon the freedom God had granted them in Christ, they were living lives of disobedience; lives which displayed no freedom at all, but bondage to sin.

Paul, however, would not tolerate such behavior in the church (5:3), and so instructs them on what they are to do. When they are assembled as a body in the name of the Lord Jesus (cf. Matt 18:16-20), they are to deliver this man over to Satan “for the destruction of his flesh.” In other words, expel him from the church, and hand him over to the results of his lusts. This, of course is in hopes that his spirit may be saved. Paul’s instruction, therefore, was for the purity of the church, and the saving of the man’s soul (which may very well have been the result from the instruction given in 2 Corinthians 2:5-11).

After the phrase, “do you not know”—which is used to call their attention to things they already know, but fail to apply—Paul then begins to set up an analogy of leaven and bread (1Cor 5:6). He orders them to clean out the old leaven. Immoral behavior is destructive to the church, so they are to remove it soon before it causes more damage. Rather than living as an old lump, they are to live as a new lump, that is, as one that is unleavened (5:7a).

Explaining the analogy, Paul then writes, “for even Christ our Passover has been sacrificed” (5:7b). Drawing implications from the Old Testament (esp. Ex 12:14-17; Lev 23:4-8), Paul expects his readers to understand:  1) The lamb was sacrificed on the day of Passover. During the seven days following the Passover, the people were to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread; and thus had to purge (i.e. clean out) their homes of any leaven. 2) In the same manner Israel was commanded to purge the leaven from their homes and celebrate God’s mighty deliverance from Egypt after the slain Passover lamb, so the Corinthians were to purge the leaven (i.e. the immorality) from their midst for Christ had been sacrificed. That is, Jesus died to deliver them from sin, not dwell in it. Therefore, 3) since Christ had been sacrificed, they were to stop living as if He hadn’t been.

Therefore, because of Christ, Paul calls the Corinthians to join together with him in the celebration of the feast, that is, the celebration that keeps on going. Another way to put it would be to live in the reality of Romans 6:2, 10-11: “How shall we who died to sin still live in it?…For the death that he [Christ] died, he died to sin once for all; but the life that he lives, he lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Because of the work of Christ, we are to celebrate with sincerity and truth the freedom from sin, NOT the freedom to sin (1Cor 5:8).

As the church, we must learn from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that sin (any sin) is not to be taken lightly in our midst. If, as the assembly of God, our actions are to testify of whether or not Jesus’ blood has actually set us free from sin, then how can we be so blasé about the presence of bondage to sin. We cannot walk in a manner that nullifies the good news of redemption we proclaim. The Corinthians ignored the sin in the lives of their members, and I am guilty of doing the same. We should not; lest we become leavened. Pray for the universal church brothers and sisters, and pray for your local body. Be a people who are united in Christ, who pursue holiness, who are always purging evil from our midst, and who live for Christ because of Christ. Christ died so that we no longer have to live in bondage to sin, but can join in the celebration of heaven, freedom from sin.

Persevering in the Word

February 12, 2007

“To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians 6:18b-21) 

For the past year and a half, Thursday nights have been devoted to the discipling of two young men through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Last Thursday night, we were able to finish the letter, and for that, I am grateful to God. Indeed, he has done a mighty work.

Each meeting, we would devote approximately three to three and a half hours to digging into God’s word; picking apart a verse for greater clarity; making connections between the Old Testament and the New; finding answers to hard questions; pondering the power of God and the weakness of man; standing in awe of the Triune work of God in salvation; exulting over the historical redemptive plan of God to save the Gentiles; giving thanks for a better understanding of his revelation; challenging each other to fight against sin; confessing those things for which the Scripture rebuked us; sharing our struggles with people and work and school, then applying the word to each situation; rejoicing in the sovereign God, even singing together at times to further grasp the glory of the truth; bowing before the Lord in prayer; stirring each other to love and good deeds; and looking back at the changes King Jesus has made in us. For this time of persevering through the word, I give thanks to God.

My prayer is that more purposeful, text-driven groups devoted to discipleship would rise up within the church all over the world. In so doing, the body of Christ will be humbled to pray, edified to minister, unified to serve, strengthened to fight, and enabled to love.

Father in heaven, it is my prayer that more of your church would thirst after you through the truth which you have revealed to us in your holy Scriptures. I am amazed at the mighty work you have done in Shane, Dan, and myself. Thank you for opening our eyes to the hope of your calling, to the glorious riches of your inheritance in the saints, and to the surpassing greatness of your power towards us who believe. We know that these things are in accordance with the working of your mighty strength which you wrought in Christ when you raised him from the dead and seated him at your right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and above every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And, you have given Jesus as head over all things to your church who is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. What is more, O Father, is that you have also seated us with the Lord Jesus in the heavenly places, so that we might display your gracious kindness in every age to come. Because of your sovereign plan, and because of your Son’s embracing of that plan, and because of your Spirit’s application of that plan to your covenant bride, I ask that you would raise up more God-centered, Christ-exalting, Spirit-empowered, Bible-saturated, Kingdom-focused, saints who will commit their lives to the understanding, teaching, and heralding of your word in all the earth, so that the end will come, and King Jesus will return, and death will be put under his feet, and he will deliver the kingdom over to you, and you will be all in all. Do it, O Lord, I pray in the name of Jesus, for your glory and our joy. Amen.

The Body of Christ

February 11, 2007

A little over a month ago, I was praying that the Lord would show me more clearly what His body is to look like. I wanted my mind and heart to be renewed, to see clearly how the Head, Christ Jesus, intends for His body to function. It has been amazing to see the Sovereign Lord answer those prayers and use a myriad of ways to increase my understanding of His purposes in the church.

One of the sweetest things that the Lord did through the recent trial was to allow Bret and I to be the recipients of the Spirit-filled, gracious care of the church. The body prayed over us with diligence, exhorted us from the Scriptures, and blessed us with physical care. I saw that as we were suffering, the whole body was suffering along with us (1 Cor. 12:26). The Lord used His body to strengthen, comfort, and encourage us in very tangible, real ways.

Also, I have been reminded through our small group, that love for the body is produced by love for Christ. If we love the Head, how can we not love His body? This means that we should delight in the gathering of believers as a community, and honor each individual member of the church. In his book, Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health, Donald Whitney writes, “…like Christ, the man or woman who has been given the Spirit of Jesus would love what Jesus loves and died for – His bride, the church. So one of the best tests of whether we belong to Christ is whether we delight in His delight, namely, the people who comprise His church” (82). So if I am not loving the body, where is the love of Jesus in me? This applies to the universal church, groups of Christians, and individual believers!!!

The last main lesson came today as our pastor preached from Ephesians 4:25–“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, since we are membors of one another.” This passage is proclaiming how saved people act. Believers will, by God’s grace, speak the truth to one another, because we are part of each other. If we walk in deceit, how can the body of Christ function? We should rejoice in truthfulness and vulnerability with other believers, because they are members of us!

So, I have been learning that the body of Christ suffers together, delights in each other, and speaks the truth to the other members. Is this the way you relate to (ALL) the believers around you?

Glorifying God in Homemaking

February 1, 2007

Older women … are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, so that the word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:3-5)

These verses are the basis of why homemaking is important to me. They are the foundation of why I would even bother to endeaver to be good at caring for my home, and why I care to share that with others.

Part of the list of things older, godly women are supposed to train younger women to do is to work at home! And this is SO THAT the Word of God will not be reviled! What an amazing responsibility! The purpose of having these attributes, and pursueing these attitudes is uplifting the Word of God. The way women care for their homes, together with the other attributes in that list, impact the standing of the Word of God and the God of that Word in the minds of the people around us. This raises many mundane tasks from the level of chores to the level of a joyful service to my Father.

Another part of this verse that exhorts me to care for our home well is that I am to love my husband and submit to him. Now, my husband is a neat freak, and he’s really, really busy! So I love him and serve him well when I do the work of caring for our home. And this love and service is obediance to the Scripture in Titus 2.

The last reason from this verse as to why I am actually posting these tips has to do with the older women training the younger women. We should desire to do all things well and skillfully if we do them for God’s glory. So, if sharing what I have been taught enables another women to work at home more effectively so that God’s Word is not reviled, then the teaching and training that is commanded between women is also being obeyed.

My hope is that these homemaking tips will spur me and other women on to seek better and more effective ways to be workers at home and submissive lovers of our husbands for the glory of God.