Archive for April, 2007

III. Salvation Belongs to the Lord (Jonah 1-4)

April 28, 2007

Robert Browning then preached the entire book of Jonah. I have never heard Jonah, or any other Old Testament text, explained so well. His message followed the previous two quite nicely. In fact, I would consider it an illustration of both Blake’s message and my own. All of us rejoiced to see how the Holy Spirit orchestrated the entire weekend to communicate so clearly God’s heart for evangelism. Not only did the messages fit together well, but Blake noted that we had a message from an Old Testament book, a Gospel, and an epistle, all three together testifying of what God’s word as a whole demands of his people.

Robert laid out his message according to four different scenes in Jonah (1:1-16; 1:17-2:10; 3:1-10; 4:1-11), and then gave an application for each. He believes that the main theme in the entire book is revealed in 2:9, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.” Thus, Robert also repeatedly taught us how each scene relates to this main theme. You will notice this in the following summary. (more…)

II. The Freedom of God in Mercy: Our Fuel for Evangelism and Missions (Rom 9:14-18)

April 28, 2007

Following Blake, I spoke from the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 9, a passage which has consumed the majority of my studies this semester. Since Blake spoke on who we, as Christians, are in the world, I wanted to explain what fueled us for our efforts in evangelism and missions. What gives us drive to fulfill our God-given role as salt and light? The answer to this question became clear for me, by God’s grace, after studying Romans 9; namely, we need to get a glimpse of God and his passions. (more…)

I. Becoming a Lamp on a Stand (Matt 5:13-16)

April 28, 2007

Blake Hicks kicked everything off with Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount. As kingdom people, Christians are salt and light, and play a valuable role in bringing saving and healing advantages to a world in need of Jesus. As salt we bring preservation where there is decay and flavor to what is tasteless. If we become bland oursleves (i.e. no longer salty), however, then there is no other use for us except to be trampled under foot by men. As light we shine forth the glory of Christ to others and, at the same time, expose the darkness which the lost love. Without doubt, when both of these things occur, people will insult us and persecute us; however, according to Jesus, this should be a cause for rejoicing (Matt 5:11-12). (more…)

Out From Under a Basket

April 28, 2007

This weekend I had the privelidge privilege of speaking at a discipleship weekend along with two of my dear brothers (Blake Hicks and Robert Browning). The event was hosted by Redeemer Church, our local congregation, and provided an atmosphere for youth and their parents. The event was titled, “Out from Under a Basket: Developing a God-exalting Life of Evangelism.” Indeed, it was one of the most convicting, humbling, engaging, and transforming events I have attended. Through Blake and Robert, the Lord provided me with some wonderful instruction on reaching the lost world for Christ. In the following posts, I will try to summarize some of the main points of application from each of our talks. I hope they are an encouragement for all of us in our evangelism efforts.

What to Say About Virginia Tech

April 16, 2007

In light of the recent shooting on the campus of Virginia Tech, where 32 people have lost their lives so far, Desiring God Ministries posted a useful article titled, “21 Ways to Minister to Those Who Are Suffering.” John Piper wrote these sincere comments after the events of 9-11, and they have posted them again on their blog in order to help the church minister to those involved with today’s tragedy, as well as those who will be asking questions about it. I would encourage you to read them over (even to click on the link to the full article where the scripture references are included) so that we all might be equipped to minister to those in need.

My prayer is that God would move his people during this time, that others might be comforted and find their only rest is in the Lord Jesus Christ, by whose death sinners are forgiven, by whose resurrection sinners are justified, and by whose coming will one day do away with sin and death once for all.

A Word from Tom White

April 10, 2007

I read an article today that was recently published in The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter (April 2007). It was written by Tom White, director of VOM, and is quite cutting to my own Disney Land of Christianity. It is titled, “The Thorns and the Record Player.” This is what he wrote concerning what he gleaned from the Scriptures, the Cross, and Bonhoeffer’s words about it:

“In Meditations on the Cross, Dietrich Bonhoeffer comments about Jesus’ prophecy of His own rejection (Mark 8:31-38). ‘Rejection robs suffering of any dignity or honor. It is to be suffering void of honor’ (p. 11-12).

The first time in Scripture when Jesus mentioned His future Church (congregation), His own future church member did not like this because it was linked to suffering. Peter, the newly named rock, was offended (Matthew 16, Mark 8). Bonhoeffer writes, ‘…from its very inception, the Church itself has taken offense at the suffering Christ. It neither wants such a Lord nor does it, as the Church of Christ, want its Lord to force upon it the law of suffering…. Satan has crept into the Church. He wants to tear it away from the cross of its Lord…the cross is not adversity, nor the harshness of fate, but suffering coming soley from our commitment to Jesus Christ.’

If we Christians are hoping to receive some form of respect from the world for our gracious, continual verbal witness–in the workplace, in school, among relatives, on the street–then we have rejected the path of the Cross and our society is doomed.

The same Satan who tempted Peter into attacking Jesus attacks us today by trying to pull us into similar routes of selfishness. The devil is not intimidated by our shouting, ‘Get thee behind me Satan!’ if we, like Peter, are intimidated by the way of suffering and exclaim, ‘Get Thee behind me Jesus!'” (p. 2).

Thank you Tom White and VOM for helping my American eyes to grasp the truth of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Is the Apostolic Preaching of the Cross “Insane?”

April 6, 2007

Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written an article concerning some recent statements made by the Reverend Dr. Jeffery Philip Hywel John concerning the cross of Jesus Christ. The Anglican leader rejects any idea of a penal substitution of the atonement. It would be well worth your time to read Dr. Mohler’s article in light of what we celebrate today (Good Friday) in the cross, and what victory we celebrate this Sunday in the resurrection.

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8-9).

In the same letter, Paul explains this gospel as follows: “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by everything that is written in the book of the Law to perform them.“ That by the Law no one is justified before God is clear, because “The righteous man will live by faith;“ however, the Law is not from faith, but “The one who performs these things shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse in our place–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”–in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

O Lord, awaken your church to the importance of the atoning work of Christ. Thank you, Lord, for Jesus’ penal substitutionary work at Calvary. Once we had nothing but omnipotent wrath working against us. Now, in Christ, we have nothing but omnipotent grace working for us. Let us rejoice this Resurrection Day.

…that I might know You, O Lord

April 5, 2007

Recently, I have been struggling with some of the texts in 2 Samuel (not to mention others in the OT). It seemed like even after serious reading, I was walking away in the mornings with nothing except battles, and fights, and chaos in David’s family. I knew that God promised that he would cause these things to come upon the house of David due to his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam 12:9-12), yet I was still missing something. Then, as I was meditating on the Exodus narrative for a paper I was writing, I came across something that was absolutely stunning.

In Exodus 32, Israel proves to be an obstinate people, especially in breaking the covenant by their idolatrous behavior at Mt. Sinai. Nevertheless, the Lord commands Moses to bring the people up to the land promised them (33:1-2). The Lord, however, was not going to travel in their midst, since he might destroy Israel along the way (33:3). On behalf of Israel, Moses intercedes so that the Lord’s presence would instead be with them (32:31-32; 33:12-16; 34:9). In this intercession, Moses prays, “Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight” (33:13). Evidently, Moses believed that by knowing the Lord’s ways, he would know the Lord. The Lord’s ways reveal who the Lord is.

What was so stunning for me was that for weeks I had been reading of the Lord’s ways with Israel, and the Lord’s ways with David, and the Lord’s ways with the nations, and not realizing that these things were announcing to me who the Lord is! The Lord had people record the historical events I was reading so that I would know him, his character, his sovereignty, his mercy, his freedom, his justice, his faithfulness, and his great redemptive plan. O how grateful I am for this lesson in hermeneutics. I pray that you too, in observing the Lord’s ways, might come to know him. 

Wisdom Concerning Word Studies

April 5, 2007

Recently, my Hebrew professor made some important observations and comments concerning “word studies” in exegesis that are well worth mentioning (especially for those who are acquainted with Kittle’s popular Theological Dictionary of the New Testament [TDNT]). These comments not only apply to those in seminary who are writing papers, or to those in ministry who are shepherding a flock. They also apply to everyone who listens to lectures and sermons, or who reads various sorts of Christian literature. I pray that these brief comments will grow Christians in their discernment of the interpretation of the word of God.

If you are still not on board, maybe an example will help. A good example comes from a sermon I heard on Romans 1:16, which says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation, to everyone who believes.” The preacher proceeded to explain that the word “power” comes from the Greek word dunamis, and that dunamis is where we get our English word for dynamite, and so Paul is speaking of the explosive power of God! This is not a profound statement about the power of the gospel; this is simply a fallacy of linguistics. Dynamite did not even exist in Paul’s day. Paul did not have in mind some sort of explosive force when he wrote this, but the power of God revealed in the resurrected Christ. With that being said, I will now mention the comments my professor made. (more…)