Tuesday, December 30, 2008
To download my notes, click here.
Barnett, Paul. Is the New Testament Reliable?: A Look at the Historical Evidence. Downders Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986.
Blomberg, Craig L. Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997.
Bock, Darrell L. Jesus According To Scripture: Restoring the Portrait From the Gospels. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002.
Bruce, F.F. New Testament History. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, 1972.
Lewis, Clive Staples. Mere Christianity. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, 1980.
MacArthur, John. God in the Manger: The Miraculous Birth of Christ. Nashville, TN: W. Publishing Group, 2001.
Stein, Robert H. Jesus the Messiah: A Survey of the Life of Christ. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.
Swindoll, Charles. Jesus, Our Lord. Bible Study Guide. Fullerton, CA: Insight For Living, 1987.
Tenny, Merrill C. New Testament Times. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,1965.
Clarke, Adam. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible. software, E-Sword.
Gill, John. Luke. software, E-Sword.
Henry, Matthew. Commentary on the Whole Bible. software, E-Sword.
Jamieson, Robert, A. R. Fausset, & David Brown. A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments.
Henry, Matthew. Commentary on the Whole Bible. software, E-Sword.
Friday, December 26, 2008
- Basic Christianity: Psalm 81 - Submit to God
- Basic Christianity: Romans 13:1-7 - Submit to the Institutions Established By God
- Basic Christianity: Ephesians 5:22ff - Submit to Others
- Basic Christianity: Romans 6 - Slaves of Christ
- Basic Christianity: John 13:1-17 - Jesus As the Model of Service
Thursday, December 25, 2008
To download the notes, click here.
I want to point you to an article I just wrote regarding the true meaning of Christmas. I hope that it is insightful.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Isn't it interesting that the week of Phyllis' burial, we will be celebrating Christmas. Christmas is a time when Christians are to celebrate the birth of their Savior. Christmas, furthermore, would be pointless if it wasn't for Easter. The cross of Christ is the heart of Christianity. Without it, Christianity does not exists. Therefore, in the birth of Christ we celebrate the death of Christ.
Likewise, during the mourning over the loss of a loved one this time of year, we can rejoice because a Child was born who came to die for us so that we might live. And all who accept Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf will, in their death, live forevermore.
Keep the Berry family in prayer!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
The one thing that Hallie wants most is for her family, friends, church family, and loved ones to be with her one day in heaven. Hallie loved Christ and want to spend the rest of eternity with both God and those that God had placed in her life. Therefore, at her funeral, we will, at the request of the family, we will be making the gospel the main theme of the services and we will even have an invitation at the end.
As a pastor, I could not be more pleased to see that in the midst of suffering and death and mourning, the family is pleading that we share the gospel with others. What a legacy! I can't think of a better way to honor Hallie. As Christians, let us want the same thing in our lives and in our death: the salvation of souls.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." -James 4:6
List of works consulted:
Blomberg, Craig L. Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997.
Bock, Darrell L. Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002.
Bock, Darrell L. Jesus According to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002.
Bruce, F.F. The Gospel & Epistles of John: Introduction, Exposition and Notes. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001.
Burge, Gary M. The NIV Application Commentary: John. gen. ed. Terry Muck. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000.
Calvin, John. John 12-21 vol. 2. Calvin’s Commentaries vol. XVIII. trans. Rev. William Pringle. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003.
Green, Jay P., Sr. Interlinear Greek-English New Testament. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996.
Hendriksen, William, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to John, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic), 1953.
Jeffers, James S. The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era: Exploring the Background of Early Christianity. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1999.
Metzger, Bruce M. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. 2nd ed. Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft: United Bible Societies, 1994.
Stein, Robert H. Jesus the Messiah: A Survey of the Life of Christ. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.
Swindoll, Charles R. Improving Your Serve: Insight For Living Bible Study Guide. Waco, TX: Word, 1980.
Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Discplines for the Christian Life. Colorado Springs, CO: Navpress, 1991.
To read Manuscript.
Bruce, F. F. Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977.
Elwell, Walter A. and Robert W. Yarbrough. Readings from 1st Century. 143-144.
Hendriksen, William, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic), 1981.
Jeffers, James S. The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era: Exploring the Background of Early Christianity. Downers Grove: IL: IVP Academic, 1999.
Luther, Martin. Luther: Lectures on Romans. vol. 15. ed. and trans. Wilhelm Pauck . London: SCM Press, LTD, 1961.
MacArthur, John. Freedom From Sin: Romans 6-7. John MacArthur’s Bible Studies. Chicago: IL: Moody Press, 1987.
MacArthur, John, Gospel According To Jesus: What is Authentic Faith?. Grand Rapids: MI, Zondervan, 2008.
MacArthur, John. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Romans 1-8. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1991.
Murray J. Harris. Slave of Christ: A New Testament Metaphor for Total Devotion to Christ. Downers Grove, IL: Apollos/InterVarsity, 1999.
Moo, Douglas J. Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Exposition. Encountering Biblical Studies. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002.
Polhill, John B. Paul & His Letters. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999.
Schreiner, Thomas R. Paul Apostle of God’s Glory In Christ: A Pauline Theology. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2001.
Friday, December 5, 2008
As a new pastor, I do not know every member. There are many members who are shut-ins and are unable to attend church on a regular basis or at all. Recently, I have been able to visit and call many of them. Bessie was one of them.
I contacted her the Monday before Thanksgiving and we spoke for about 20 minutes on many things. I introduced myself, we talked about her health, her experience with the church for so many years, her work as a clerk, who I was, who my family was, where we were from, etc. I really enjoyed our conversation. I was eager to meet Mrs. Phillips.
The week came for my visit and at church it was brought to my attention that she was in the hospital. The next day I swung by and paid a visit. For the first time, and only time, I met Mrs. Phillips. She had been told that there was a good chance that she would get to go home the next day. Excited I sat down and we continued our conversation. She was such a blessing.
Before leaving, I prayed with Mrs. Phillips. I thanked God that he had allowed her to go home. Little did I know that within a few hours, she would go home, though not the home we had been talking about. God had called her home into His arms where she is to this day. As Christians we are to mourn the loss of a loved one but rejoice that she has returned to her heavenly home. We are not citizens of this world and Mrs. Phillips is walking the streets of gold. So though we mourn, we rejoice nonetheless.
I want to briefly reflect on the legacy that Mrs. Phillips will have in my life. I will be reading the Lord's Prayer at her funeral and the chairman of the deacons will be performing the funeral. A text that comes to mind to me is Jesus' prayer in the Garden just prior to his arrest. Why? Because it is there that we see Christ on His knees awaiting the sacrifice that would redeem many.
Likewise, I will always remember Mrs. Phillips as a woman of prayer. Why? Because whenever I asked if she would like to pray, her countenance chanced and she was eager to speak to her Lord. There was an eagerness there. Not just for health, but to be drawn into His presence. In the garden we are confronted with desperate prayer for God's Will and at the same time propitiation for sins. Mrs. Phillips has been forgiven and is in heaven with Her Lord because of the death and resurrection of Christ. And I will always remember her as a woman of prayer. What a legacy!
Click here to download my sermon notes. Also, I had previously posted the manuscript for this sermon. To read it, click here.
Click here to download my sermon notes. Also, I had previously posted the manuscript for this sermon. To read it, click here.
These are free to download. I am posting these in order that they might be helpful to anyone. Hopefully soon, I'll be able to put some audio on here as well.
For more sermons from the past, click here. If the following .pdf doesn't work or fit on the screen, click here.
If you cannot read or see the following .pdf, click here.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Major elections are always fun living in the city. Every time I find myself driving down the road, I am tempted to read all of the bumper stickers on the cars in front of me. I have seen some duzies. Some make me want to cheer, some make me want to scream. But perhaps my favorite bumper sticker this past election cycle came from another church member. It read, "Jesus ‘08: Lord Come Quickly Before November 4." Chances are, we have found ourselves saying similar things these past few months.
But as everyone already knows, America went to the polls and voted for a new President, a new Congress, new initiatives, and new persons to represent them. Just in summary, here is what took place this election cycle:
- Senator Barack Obama was chosen as the 44th President of the USA.
- Proposition 8 passed in California overturning the California judges disallowing gay marriage. It won with 51.9%.
- Both Florida and Arizona defined marriage as between a man and a woman. In Florida, the initiative passed 62.1%, in Arizona 56%.
- In Arkansas the act "providing that an individual who is cohabitating outside of a valid marriage may not adopt or be a foster parent of a child less than 18 years old," passed 56.2%.
- Colorado, on the other hand, rejected defining a fertilized egg as a person. The pro-life cause lost 73.5%.
- Washington State became the nation’s 2nd state to allow euthanasia - lost 59%
In light of these and other things this past week, what does God think about these things? What does God think about our President? What does God think about our current President? What about Congress, the state legislation, local government etc.? What does the Bible say about Christians and politics? What if our guy isn’t in power? What if persecution comes our way? What if our taxes get raised? What if we disagree with our government?
I want to begin with a few words of caution for Christians engagement with culture and politics. First, the gospel is not spread through politicians or politics. Secondly, Evangelism comes before political involvement. Thirdly, one’s faith soaked in sanctification must be the foundation for one’s politics. Next, a moral culture is not necessarily a redeemed culture. Fifthly, passing laws do not solve the problem of sin. Also, Christians must not wed a political party. This is tempting. Republicans are known to be supported by the "Religious Right." As a result, many Chrisitans criticize such Christians for being wedded to a political party. How do they respond, including the Emerging Church, Liberal Protestants and others? By being wedded to the Democratic party. Both are dangerous. Finally, our hope must be in God who is Sovereign over a nation rather than a politicians given charge over a nation.
With these warnings in mind, we must seek to have a Christian understanding of politics and political involvment. We will not cover every issue this morning, but I believe that with the help of the inspired text, we will come to a correct understanding of how we are to live in a country and in a culture as Christians. If you will, please turn to Romans 13:1-7.
If I were to sum up this text it would be this: Because we are to be submissive to God, we must therefore submit to the institutions He has established such as government authorities. The question then becomes, why should I submit myself to government?
Last week we established that the foundation for Christian faith and morality is our submission to God in all things. Now, we turn to see how our submission to God is played out in our daily lives. And in light of recent events, we turn to our responsibility to submit to ruling authorities.
God has established a number of institutions. The first insitution, which we will look at next week, is the Family. The second institution, which we have been looking at previously, is the Church. Finally, God has established government. All of which involves submission which is rooted in our submission to God.
Let us look at our text. In 13:1-4 we see that WE MUST SEE POLITICS PRIMARILY AS A GOD ISSUE.
In verse 1, Paul tells us that the Christian’s role in politics is primarily a God issue. Paul’s primary concern is for his readers to understand that one’s subjection to government is reflective of their subjection to God. He says first that no authority except from God. That is, God is above all things.
At this point we must briefly pause and think about some of the issues taking place in our culture. This is what is at stake at many of the debates that we have. For example, atheist father Michael Newdow has sued arguing that saying "under God" is a violation of separation of Church and State. The problem here is not with the pledge of allegiance, but what it’s removal implies. A secular society makes government, i.e. man, the ultimate authority. That means, morality, etc. comes from a politician and is subject to a vote or to 1 man’s decree. This is idolatry, a return to the garden: we want to take the place of God.
Paul’s point is clear, if God is above all things, everything falls under His rule and falls into His plan. Nothing takes Him by surprised.
Paul goes on to add authorities that exist are appointed by God, that is, God appoints, man doesn’t. Regardless of what the polls say, or who is crowned the winner, God is the King that places kings. God is the one that sets up Kingdoms, nations, Presidents, and world leaders.
APP The issue here is who will you put all of your hope in: God or Government? If God, then elections will have no affect over your hope and salvation. You will not loose sleep over what happens in this world knowing that God is on His throne in complete control. Your responsibility, then, is to be obedient to Him and leave the rest in His arms. God knows what He is doing. If, however, you put your trust in government, then you will be in constant state of uncertainty and unsure hope. We will find hope only if our guys wins. We will find fear and uncertainty if our guy loses.
Christians are guilty of both oftentimes. We trust God, but we seem to trust a politician more. "If so and so is voted, then America will fall into moral chaos." This might be so, but morality isn’t up for a vote, God has already declared what is moral and what is not. An election is not what deters immorality, the gospel is. We must therefore put our hope in God & the gospel, and then fulfill our role as citizens praying that America will remain obedient to Him. As Paul wrote in Philippians 3:10, "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ."
In verse 2 Paul tells us that God’s purpose is for government to be an instrument of His judgment & blessings. Verse 2 begins with the word therefore. Friends, always remember when reading Scripture, whenever you see the word "therefore," you need to ask yourself, what is it therefore? This means look at the immediate context.
In light of what Paul has just said about government being primarily a God issue, because government is a institution divinely appointed by God, fully under His sovereign rule, we must submit to that authority. Notice what he says, whoever resists the authorities, resists...God. The issue here to Paul is obedience to God which is played out in obedience to the institutions He established. He then adds, those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. Paul is telling us that government carries out, and is a reflection, of God’s character.
Therefore, resistence is the opposite of submission. It says that I can do it better. Remember last week we discussed how not submitting to God is our way of saying, "If only I were God..." Paul is tellings that whenever we find ourselves saying, "If only I were government...," "If only I were Senator/President/Mayor/Congressman/etc." we are really challenging the Soveriengty and Providence of God. As a result, those who fail to submit to God are subject to His divine wrath. Those who fail to submit to government, too, are subject to judgment.
ISSUE You are probably wonder, does this imply government is perfect? Absolutely not! Here is a list of evil governments throughout Scripture. First, there was Egypt who enslaved God’s people. Second there was Sodom & Gomorrah who allowed abominations to run rampant throughout their land. Third, there was Babylon who destroyed and enslaved God’s people and then blasphemed His name by taking the vessels from the Temple and desecrating them. Next, there was Assyria who conquered and killed God’s chosen people.
And finaly, there was Rome who murdered Christians, including the writer of this Epistle: the apostle Paul. Let us not forget that this letter fits a context and was written by a real person. Paul is not living in a dream state where everything is honky dory. Let us not forget that it was under Roman approval that Jesus Christ was executed. Let us not forget that Paul had been arrested and persecuted under Roman law. Let us not forget that years after the penning of this letter, Paul would, according to tradition, be beheaded for his faith and Peter would be executed because of an evil tyrant named Nero who needed a scapegoat for his own incompetence. Let us not forget the illogical decisions of many of the political leaders in Rome. Nero would have his own mother executed, while other Emperors would name their horse as Senator. And let us not forget who Paul is writing too: those dwelling in Rome. Rome was to the Roman Empire what Washington DC is to America.
Safe to say, losing an election is nothing like the context that Paul finds himself writing in and yet Paul commands us to submit to our governing authorities though they be imperfect.
Are there any perfect governments, you might ask. Yes. Just one. It is called the New Jerusalem. It’s King will be Jesus Christ who will reign in glory and honor. But that kingdom has yet to come. And in the meantime, we anxiously await His reign while living in a imperfect world, run by imperfect people, who have formed imperfect governments. But nonetheless, God calls us to submit. A failure to submit to His established institutions is a failure to submit to Him. Politics is primarily a God issue.
In verse 4, Paul tells us the Christian’s response to government must be obedience. Paul argues that if you want to live a life free from the fear of government, submit yourself to it. At this point, perhaps your asking, is there ever a time I should not submit. Yes. There are two instances.
First, we must not submit/obey whenever government demand we do something that God has commanded us not to do. An example of this in Scripture is of Shadrach, Meshach, Abendego. Remember that they were commanded to do something God told them not to. Therefore, they disobeyed government rather than disobey God.
Secondly, we must not submit/obey whenever government demand we do not do something God has commanded us to do. An example of this is of Peter and John in Acts who after being told not to preach Christ, they responded by saying they would rather obey God than men.
Outside of these two exections, not to submit is to disobey. Every sin is rooted in our failure to submit to God. Every crime, is our failure to submit to government. And our failture to submit to government is tied to our failure to submit to God.
APP Let me ask you, does your heart beat faster whenever you see a policeman while driving? Then your not submitting, therefore you fear. Do you get nervous over your business practices, your taxes, or anything else? The reason isn’t b/c you are not obeying government, but b/c you are not submitting, and thus obeying, God.
Just as we are to fear God when we do wrong, so we too must fear government whenever we do wrong. Why? It is an instrument that reflects God’s righteous acts.
Notice that Paul uses the word sword, in this verse. Paul is essentially warning his readers that if they disobey government, government has been given the authority from God to punish you; including execution. What else do you think he means by sword? Nothing short of capital punishment. The idea here is that both God and government are serious about sin. Submission is a primary issue.
Real quickly, I want us to answer the qustion, what is the Christian understanding of capital punishment? In general, God has given government the authority and approves of it carry out execution. Here are a list of texts:
- Gen. 9:6 - Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God he made man."
- Num. 35:33 - "You shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it."
- Matt. 26:52 - "Put your sword back into its place, for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword."
- Acts 25:11 - "If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die"
Paul doesn’t seek to defend capital punishment in this text, he assumes it. He isn’t debating the issue, but reminds us that disobedience is a failure to submit and submission is a primary issue and a God issue.
The second thing I see in this text is in verses 5-7: WE MUST SUBMIT TO GOVERNMENT IN OUR EVERYDAY LIVES.
Notice against at the word in verse 5: therefore. Because submission to government is not a partisan issue but a God issue, we must therefore live that out in everyday life, not only b/c of wrath but also for conscience sake. Paul, here, reminds us that we must not just obey b/c we fear jail time or paying a ticket, but b/c it is a reflection of our obedience to God.
In verse 6, we see Paul’s exhortation concerning taxes. Because government is a institution divinely appointed by God, we are called to obey them which includes paying taxes. Remember Jesus’ words in Matt. 22:21: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, & to God the things that are God’s?" Jesus is not just saying, "pay taxes and pay tithes," but also, I believe, both are a God issue. He is saying, "pay taxes b/c it is a reflection of one’s obedience to God." Let us not forget the context of that passage: the Pharisees hated Rome and believed that a faithful Jew should not pay taxes to them.
Finally, in verse 7, Paul tells us that submission to government goes beyond paying taxes. He beings by mentioning both taxes, and customs. We know what taxes are, customs are additional taxes on various goods and services. Paul is saying that we must pay taxes to government with the same heart we pay our tithes and offerings to God.
He then goes on to tells us to fear. This is not just fear in the normal sake, which leads to obedience. Although we must do that, especially in light of what Paul has just said. But also, Paul is calling us to have sincere respect for the institution God has established and the leaders God has appointed in our nation.
Finally, Paul calls us to give honor to whom honor is due. By this Paul is calling us to show genuine appreciation that is not fake.
We conclude with this burning question that has been on our mind this week, how are we to respond to the election of President-Elect Barack Obama and everyone else that was elected this past week? Here is what Scripture has to say:
- Fear & Respect Him - Prov. 24:21: "My son, fear the LORD and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise.
- Submit to Him - 1 Pet. 2:13-17: "Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good...Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king."
- Pray and be Thankful for Him - 1 Tim. 2:1: "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lad a quit and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence."
- Obey Him - Titus 3:1: "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work."
In light of what Scripture tells us about politics and the Christian response to government we might find this to be a hard pill to swallow, but God has given us a command: submit to Him and to submit to His established institutions.
Here is hope. Here is change. Here is our future. Yes we can! I am Kyle McDanell and I approve this message!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
How does the church grow? How will God grow our church? There have been a number of possibilities presented in recent years as to how we can grow our church. First, in recent years, the booming method is known as the Seeker-Sensitive Movement. The leading figure in this movement is Pastor Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose Driven Life." But it is in a similar book that he makes his argument for the Seeker-Sensitive Movement. In, "The Purpose Driven Church," Warren argues that the Church must be "seeker-sensitive." That is, it is the church’s responsibility to look attractive and be shaped in a way that possible seekers might become interested and join the church and be saved.
The problem with this is that it isn’t biblical. Furthermore, it is a shame that Warren finds it necessary to spend a chapter on emphasizing the trimming of our bushes, the mowing of our church lawn, and making sure that the paint on the outside of our church isn’t chipped. Warren sets the church up to be the key place for evangelism, not discipleship.
Secondly, there’s the Emerging Church, of which I am writing my thesis on. Some of the leaders in this movement include Brian McLaren and Rob Bell. They argue that since the culture is becoming more postmodern, then the Church needs to catch up. Therefore, whether they want to admit it or not, they have rejected orthodox doctrine and replaced it with postmodern theology. Everything floats in murkiness as a result. No substance. No gospel. Only the social gospel. The major problem, outside of it’s theology, is that anytime we let our analysis of culture define our theology, we tread on dangerous ground. The gospel transcends all cultures.
Thirdly, there is the Market-Driven Church. Perhaps the best known leader in this movement is Bill Hybols. This movement provides a product and is run like a business. Pastors become CEO’s rather than ministers of the gospel. The church might grow, but it’s depth is lacking.
Fourthly, there is, what I would like to call, the Itching Ears Movement. The leading figure is the pastor of the nations largest church: Joel Osteen. Osteen promises health, wealth, and happiness to all of God’s children as long as you have a positive attitude. Osteen is destroying the Church and people are having their ears tickled and he makes them feel good about it.
Finally, there is the Entertainment model so prevalent in youth ministry. The idea is to keep the congregation trained with videos, dramas, music, etc. The pastor/youth pastor becomes a motivational teacher rather than the one in charge of theological doctrine.
I believe all of these methods are flawed. Most of them, at best, are heretical and should be avoided. I applaud Rick Warren, but even his method falls short of what Scripture commands. We want to answer today, how do God build His church? So if you will, please turn to Ephesians 4:12.
To begin, we must look at the background of this verse. Here, Paul lays out the various spiritual gifts and offices in the local church. This is not an exhaustive list. Nor do we have time to deal with some of the issues that are raised here. But some of these offices within the church include apostles (which we believe no longer exists), prophets evangelists, and pastor-teachers.
Most translations see the pastor-teacher role as two separate roles. But the grammar of the text suggests that the pastor of the flock is the primary teacher of the flock. Verse 12 further collaborates this argument. Therefore, the primary role of the pastor is teacher. They are two sides of the same coin.
Paul is saying, God gave us these offices and gifts to accomplish three things in the church. It is the responsibility of these offices to accomplish these three things with the congregation.
First, WE MUST BE A CONGREGATION BEING EQUIPPED.
It is the church’s responsibility to stand on the gospel and equip the saints with the tools necessary for ministry. This involves training, understanding the basics of the faith, knowing how to defend the gospel, proclaim the gospel, lead others to Christ, etc.
The church stands, not just as a place of worship, but as a place of training. You better not be here because your trying to convince yourself you’re a good Christian and intend on walking out of here as if nothing happened! You had better be here because you are being equipped, trained, and prepared for the mission field God has given you.
But how are we going to be equipped?
First by Feasting on the Word of God. No longer are we to see the Bible as a therapy manual, a self-help book, or a motivational word. We must be willing to struggle with the text, be challenged by the text, and walk by the text. God’s Word must be the root of everything that we do.
But let’s be honest. We all have heard this before, and we have all tried to obey this calling. But, we simply don’t have the time to do it. We oftentimes find ourselves say, "we pay pastors and theologians to know the Bible. To put it plainly, we have become lazy Christians. As long as we give our tithe on Sunday morning, we feel like we’ve don our duty.
Let me ask you, can any of you explain to your own children why you’re a Christian? Can any of you tell me the basic outline of the Bible? Can any of you help the widow, the divorcee, the drug addict, the girl who feels alone, the abused child, the lost neighbor, or anyone else with the Words of Scripture?
Here are three questions to ask in order to know if you are being equipped or are equipped:
First, do you have forget to bring your Bible to church?
Second, does your Bible collect dust during the week?
Thirdly, do you have your Bible open right now?
The Second way we are equipped is by Hungering for God’s guidance and Mercy in Prayer. Deacons where originally created in the early church so that the apostles can focus on two things: God’s Word and prayer. Are you a person of prayer? Prayer is more than just about asking to get from God. It is seeking His will, submitting ourselves to His plan, and vowing to apply His wisdom to the mission He has given us.
Here are three questions to ask in order to know if you are being equipped through prayer:
First, do you have one whenever things are going well?
Second, do you seek God and complain to Him?
Third, does prayer characterize your Christian life or is part of going through the motions?
The Third way we are equipped is by Serving God Now. Stop saying "whenever I..." Whenever I pay off the house. Whenever I retire. Whenever I get more money. Whenever the kids are out of the house. Whenever I have more time. Whenever...
Start serving God now. Whenever we awaken to the task God has given us today, we will begin to equipped yesterday. There is no greater fear than not being prepared. Begin to serve Him today, and He will equip you with the tools necessary.
Folks, it is my primary responsibility to make sure that everyone in this congregation is fully equipped for the service God has called them too. They are fully equipped to reach their neighbor, their friend, their loved ones. If I fail at that calling, then I have failed as a pastor and servant of God.
The second thing we see in this text is that WE MUST BE A CONGREGATING READY TO EMPLOY.
The purpose of the equipping is so that we can be employed, i.e., serve God. Works of ministry (eJrgon diakoniaV), in this text, literally means "work of service. The word ministry or "service" comes from the root word for "deacon," who is a servant in the church. The idea here is that the members of the congregation must be trained for the purpose of ministry. That is primary responsibility of those mentioned in verse 11.
APP - Are you fulfilling the role of ministry? Are you serving God where He has you? I’d hate to surprise you but the primary ministers in this congregation do not stand behind the pulpit, but sit behind the pews.
ILL - In any youth groups, who are the best youth pastors? The Youth. They have access to the schools that pastors don’t. Likewise, you are on the front lines w/ the lost, the unsure, seekers, & the hurting. Just think about how many people this congregation can reach in a week if every member begins to serve in ministry for the sake of the gospel! Talk about church growth!!
Are you serving? Your Church? Your Community? Your Family? Your Vocation? Your Relationships? Are you giving all that you have for the sake of the kingdom, or are you trying to blend in with the rest of the world? The church will only be as good as the servants that join it.
The final thing we see in this text is that WE MUST BE A CONGREGATION BEING EDIFIED.
ILL - Paul uses the illustration of building a house. Only, he seems to be emphasizing building the internal part of the house here. Every Sunday we will meet to be most concerned with the pews that are few, and then spend the rest of the week concerned with the pews that are empty! Whenever the church meets to worship God and be trained for battle, we will be edified in the Spirit to fight the flesh and win the hearts and souls of the lost for the Lord. Then, we will constantly be built up.
There are two ways God will build us up that I want us to look at briefly:
First, by adding to our numbers those who were lost
Second, by encouraging one another to continue the fight, to win our culture, and give all that we have to Christ.
In conclusion, I want us to look at what we have discussed. How does God grow His church? Two primary ways:
First, the church grows whenever the members of the local church become equipped with a godly life and a godly message, rooted deeply into the truth, and go out into their world and fulfill the ministry of the Great Commission. Others, then, are brought in in order to be equipped for service.
Secondly, the church grows whenever God grows it. Here we are confronted with the complete unapologetic sovereignty of God. What a burden off our backs. Our responsibility is to be faithful to the task God has given us, and let God do the rest.
The mantra of this church whenever we meet here every week will be, "We have come to be Equipped in order to be Employed, in order to be Edified." Let us fulfill that task. When we leave here today, can we say that we have been equipped so that tomorrow we might be employed so that we will continue to be edified.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
DivShare File - Job Sermon - 11308.wma
Here are my sermon/Bible Study Notes. I haven't had a chance to put it in manuscript form.
"Jury Duty," - Supertones
5am on Tuesday, why am I up so early?
Drive out to Santa Ana, cause I’ve got jury duty
No breakfast, short tempered, and I cut my head shaving
10 miles out I hit traffic, some days just aren’t worth saving.
At the courthouse, I waited, and waited, then I waited
At lunchtime, my car stalled out, I couldn’t get it started.
Had a book by CS Lewis, I finished the last page
Slept on my desk for 3 hours, just like my high school days.
Got home and decided I’d be in a bad mood.
My shying quit wife said she didn’t like my attitude.
Got a call from my mother, forgot my sisters birthday.
I’m a lousy older brother, safe to say I’ve had a bad day.
You know I haven’t had the best of days. But I want to stop and thank you anyway.
Every single moment whether sleeping or awake is your creation, and what you made is good.
I don’t always thank you for the rough days and the hard times in my life, even though I should.
- Author - unknown, but perhaps Moses. Exodus 2, Moses goes to Midian, a land near Uz (Jobs hometown). Story could have been passed down. Others have suggested, Solomon, Elihu, Isaiah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, and Ezra, but with little evidence.
- Date - unknown. Job may have been a early descendant of Abraham/Esau. Lived for 200 years which fits with Abraham (175) time period. Other hints are - Chaldeans, wealth measured by land and livestock, no mention of Israel, etc.
1:1-2:10 - THE ATTACK
vs. 13-19 - property and family destroyed/murdered.
vs. 20-22 - Job’s reaction: He wept, asked for repentance, and mourned.
Job’s health is attacked & boils fill his body. He scrapes the boils so to release the infection.
vs. 9 - his wife tells Job to curse God and commit suicide. Remember she has lost everything too
vs. 10 - Job remained faithful to God despite his circumstances.
2:11-37:24 - JOB’S FRIENDS
Starting in 2:11, Job’s closest friends visit him in the midst of his distress and offer their advice. Their basic argument as to why this has happened to Job was because he had committed some sin.
- 22:4-11 - Eliphaz accuses Job of sinful living.
- Job always retaliates defending his blamelessness. 31:1-30
38:1-41:34 - GOD ANSWERS
- Since Job’s friends provide ignorant advice, Job seeks to speak to God Himself. God answers him.
- 38:1-40:2 - God’s argument, Who are you to question my Sovereignty and rule. 38:1-12, 31-39:4-
42:1-17 - JOB’S REPENTANCE AND CONCLUSION
- 40-1-5 - Job realizes that he is an ant questioning the Almighty. He is left silent!
- 42:1-6 - Job’s response? He repented. This seems unusual. Job wanted to complain to God, seek justice, and ask why. God never answered why. God simply pointed out that He was in control, and aware of the situation, and was allowing it for His own glory. Job’s only response was to repent in awe of God.
- Afterwards, Job’s friends are rebuked and repent. Job, and God, forgive the friends.
C God blesses Job & restores his previous wealth & health. He lives to see his children to the 4th generation
Lessons from Job
- There are many things going on in heaven we don’t know about yet, but they affect our lives.
- God’s people do suffer.
- Not all suffering is the result of sin.
- God is always aware and in complete control.
- The answer to all human suffering is trust in a God’s Sovereignty.
- John Piper’s "The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God."
Thursday, January 3, 2008
First, there is the pawn. The pawn is the simplest piece on the board. If you were to give it a numeric value, it would be worth just one point. You have 8 of them and they can only move forward one square at a time. Secondly, there is the rook. The rook (or castle as some call it), can go up, down, left, and right. If you were to give it a numeric value, it would be worth 5 points. Thirdly, there is knight (or horsey). The knight moves very differently than the other pieces and most struggle with how it moves and works. It is worth 3 points numerically. Next, is the bishop. It can only move diagonally. Therefore, it will always remain on the same color square. It too is worth 3 points. Next, is the Queen. The queen is considered the most important piece on the board (apart from the king), because it can move like all of the other pieces, except for the knight; up, down, left, right, diagonally, etc. It is considered to be about 8 or 9 points.
Finally, there is the king. The king can only move 1 square at a time in any direction. If your king is put into a position where it will be taken no matter what, you are in checkmate and lose. Therefore the king’s numeric value is worth infinity. For if you loose it, you loose the game.
But who cares? Very few of us will leave here and play this game for giggles and kicks. However, there is much about this game we can learn about. In the game of chess, you have two players who hold the destiny of their pieces in their hands. A good chess player knows that every piece is significant, even the pawns. One should not sacrifice his pawn, or any other piece, for nothing. Every piece is significant and should be used in order for victory. Though the pieces are used in different ways, they are all important and needed in order to win.
God is no different. Do you ever feel like you are useless? Do you feel like that because your not famous, don’t have "power," are poor, or without anything else, God cannot use you? Do you ever wonder what you have been doing your whole life? Do you think God isn’t using you and never will? Well, like this chess game, you are incredibly important to God and He will use you in order to win in the end, even if you are a pawn.
This idea is called God’s Providence. Please turn to Esther 4:7-17.
We need to define a few words first. First, we need to discuss God’s Sovereignty. Perhaps you have heard of phrases like "Sovereign country/nation," or "Sovereign King," before. What those phrases mean is that the king or nation is in complete control. What they say is done. They will do whatever they want, however they want.
Divine Sovereignty is very similar. It means that God is in complete control over His creation. No one can bind His hands, question His actions, for He is on His throne reigning to His glory. God is in control. We will not change His mind, change His will, or thwart His plan. God is aware of everything, and is in complete control. He does everything for His own glory.
Secondly, we need to define what we mean by God’s Providence. Providence carries the idea of an author writing a story. Every character is important and play a role to how the story ends. God is doing very much the same. Through His Sovereign control, God is writing a story that we are playing a part in.
Providence says that God is involved with His creation. God did not simply create everything and then set back and hope for the best. God is involved with what He has created. Providence means that history isn’t the course of time, but rather is a story written by God. He has already fulfilled it’s beginning, it’s middle, and is now preparing it’s end; and we play a role in that Divine Story.
This is where we pick up with Esther.
Before we read our passage, we must do a little bit of background on the story and explain what is going on. Esther was a Jew living under the reign of the Persian Empire. Persians, at this time, ruled the world. They conquered the Babylonians who were holding the Jews captives. Some of the Jews returned home whenever the Persians took over, while others stayed, just like Esther and Mordecai.
The Queen of Persia was banished by the King for disobeying him and so the king had a "beauty contest," to decide on his next king. He chose Esther, but Esther hid her Jewish identity. Eventually, a man named Haman, who hated the Jews, convinced the king to pass an ordinance allowing the Persian people to murder the Jews. As a result, Esther and Mordecai must do something before the Jews are slaughtered by the thousands.
This is where we pick up in Esther. Let us read our passage.
If there was one thing from this passage that we need to know and learn is that We should live under the Providential care of God and realize that He is in control, and we must submit to His will. The question, then, is how do we do that? How do we know that God is using us? Is He using us? How can I trust Him while I’m at work, at home, at school, or at church? What does it mean to live and serve under the Providential care of God?
The first thing we need to do is that WE MUST REFLECT ON OUR CURRENT SITUATION. Let us begin by looking at where Esther is in this passage. First, she is the queen of Persia. She is married to the man who has passed into law, a bill that will lead to the murder of thousands of her own people. Mordecai, her uncle, learns of the threat and is deeply concerned. Remember that his very life is at danger. He therefore weeps and mourns and cries out to God for help.
Though Esther may have power and have great connections, she is essentially helpless. As we will see, Esther and king are likely in an argument and he doesn’t want to see her. And if she were to approach the king unsummoned, then her life will be taken. She is not in a great situation.
Think about where you are right now. Think about your relationship with your spouse. Maybe your struggling in your marriage. Perhaps you think your spouse has changed, continue to make you feel small, unwanted, unloved. Maybe things are getting better, things are coming to an end. Whatever. Where are you right now in your marriage?
Think about your relationship with your children and your role as parent. Perhaps you want to call it quits. You are weary of parenthood. Your children are in rebellion, you continue to make wrong decisions, can’t see eye to eye with your spouse. Maybe you are celebrating some great achievement of your child. Maybe your mourning a sad moment with your child. Where are you right now as a parent?
Think about your relationship with your employer and your other co-workers. Perhaps you can’t seem to climb the corporate ladder like you wanted. Maybe you expected to be farther up by now. Maybe the promotion has never come. Maybe you feel alone. Your boss doesn’t like you, there are no close relationships you have built. Maybe you feel like your in a rut, waiting for something else to come along. Are you struggling to pay the bills? Do you go unnoticed? Where are you at as an employee?
Next, think about where you are in the church. Maybe you want to do more, or do less. Maybe your worn out. Perhaps you feel your work goes unappreciated, no one cares, no one notices, and you want to move on. Maybe you feel abandoned by the Church. Maybe your questioning you very faith wondering where God is. Where are you in your faith?
This is where we all ask the question, what is God doing in my life? Does God care? Is He using me? Am I wanting to be used by god? Has God abandoned me? What has he given me this dead end job, this struggling marriage, rebellious children, unappreciative church, etc?
Like Esther and Mordecai in their situation, it is critical that we take the time and reflect on where we are. Think about the good, the bad, and the uncertain. Will have a fear of what tomorrow might bring, losing your job, losing your children, your spouse, your health, etc. Where are you right now?
Secondly, WE MUST NOT REGARD OURSELVES USELESS AND SUBMIT TO HIS PROVIDENTIAL CARE. Esther is stuck in a bad situation. She loves her people and wants to protect them, but if she were to approach the king unsummoned, then she will be killed. This was the law, and to disobey would mean death. Furthermore, look at verse 11. The text points out that Esther has not seen the king for some 30 days. The king was apparently mad at her for some reason, we do not know what happened, and therefore refused to see her. Esther, for 30 days now, has been walking around the palace unwanted. And if she were to go before the king, in the midst of his anger, she would certainly be put to death. So, what Esther is essentially saying is, "I can’t. The king won’t listen to me. I can’t be used in this situation. There must be someone else or some other way that we can overcome this obstacle."
ILL I remember when I was in karate as a kid how we were not allowed to say "I can’t." In fact, every time we said it, we had to do 50 pushups. Eventually, you learned not to say it. The whole purpose was to convince us that if we set our mind to it, we can accomplish it.
So many people today live in a world of "I can’t." I can’t lead anyone to Christ because I don’t know enough about the Bible. I can’t be a better father because I never knew mine. I can’t be a better friend, a better neighbor, family member, roommate, girl/boyfriend, church member, etc. b/c... I can’t be used by God because I’m a nobody. I have no connections, I have no important friends or contacts, I’m not smart, I haven’t been educated. God isn’t going to use me.
Whenever we say, "I can’t," as believers, we essentially say that God can’t. Stop living in a world of me! It isn’t about you. God will do whatever He feels like doing, and He uses us to fulfill His will. Stop saying I can’t, because when you do and believe it, you are telling God that you are useless, and God makes no mistakes.
In God’s eyes, we can. God wants to use us, is using us, and will continue to use us. We are His vessels, His cargo, His shipment, His instruments, his weapons, and His workmanship in whom He uses. We are not too small, to ignorant, unable, or unusable to God. If we want God to use us, then we must let God use us. We have to get out of this mind set that we are unable.
Instead, believe that I can be a better parent. I can be more understanding and loving to my spouse. I can serve the church more. I can be a better employee. I can be more productive. I can overcome these obstacles and temptations. I can. I can. I can.
Or even better live in a world not saying "I can", in the sense that I can do it on my own, but rather, "God will." God will make me a better parent. God will make me more understanding and loving to my spouse. God will lead me to serve the church more. God will make me a better employee. God will make me more productive. God will help me overcome these obstacles and temptations. God will. God will. God will.
We must never live in a world that says that I am on my own. You may feel like a pawn, a rook, or a queen, but God uses us to fulfill His divine purpose. If we submit to God’s will and live for Him, we will accomplish whatever God wants us to accomplish to His glory.
Thirdly, WE MUST REALIZE THAT GOD HAS BROUGHT US THIS FAR. You are not were you are by accident. That is what Mordecai is telling Esther. Mordecai knows that God will protect his people. He also knows that God has brought forth the tools necessary for their protection. And Mordecai believes that it is Esther in whom God will use in this situation.
God is likewise using you. Sadly too many believers understand that. We think that we have to be in front of TV, in Washington DC, or in the public square in order to be used by God. In fact, God is using all of us to His own glory and for His own purpose.
God is using you as a parent, and so be a godly parent. God is using you as a student, and so be a godly student. God is using you as a coworker, and so be a godly coworker. God is using you a spouse, and so be a godly spouse.
God has brought you here. So be faithful and fulfill your role as God’s servant. We have no need to worry or be scared. Though bad times come, though we are uncertain, though we are unsure, confused, or feel abandoned, realize that God has brought you this far, and He will continue to take you where He wills.
Finally, WE MUST RESPOND IN OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WILL AND LIVE FOR HIS GLORY. If you want to be used by God, be faithful to God no matter what the circumstance or hardship your face. That is exactly what Esther does here.
CONCLUSIONS In conclusion, I must ask if anyone has ever heard of Mordecai Ham? Ham was born and raised in Kentucky as a Baptist and became an evangelists in the South. Though the revivals and evangelistic events he held were successful (some 30,000 converts in his first year), Ham remains an unknown figure in the world, church history, and even Baptist history.
The most notable of events in Ham’s lie isn’t necessarily about Ham, but who attended the revival he preached. In 1934, Ham preached a revival in Charlotte, NC. One influential person was converted through this revival. That person writes:
"In 1934, Charlotte, NC, had the reputation of being one of the leading churchgoing cities in the United States, but at the approach of Dr. Mordecai Fowler Ham, it began to tremble.
"A stately, balding man with a neatly trimmed white mustache, wearing eyeglasses that made him look like a dignified schoolteacher and sporting impeccable clothes, Ham was in fact a strong, rugged, evangelists. He had a great knowledge of the Bible and had educated himself in a number of other areas as well. He remained in the city for eleven weeks, preaching every night and every morning, except Mondays...
As soon as the evangelist started his sermon, he opened his Bible and talked straight from his text. He talked loudly, even though there was an amplifying system...I was
spellbound. In some indefinable way, he was getting through to me...
I became deeply convicted about my sinfulness and rebellion. And confused. How could this evangelist be talking to me, of all people? I had been baptized as a baby, had learned the Shorter Catechism word perfect, and had been confirmed in the
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church with the full approval of the pastor and
elders. I had gotten into mischief once in a while, but I could hardly be called
wicked. I resisted temptations to break the moral code my parents had so
strictly instilled in me...
And then it happened, sometime around my 16th birthday. On that night, Dr. Ham finished preaching and gave the invitation to accept Christ. After all his tirades against sin, he gave us a gentle reminder: "But God commendeth his love toward us, int hat while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8, KJV). His song leader, Mr Ramsay, led us all in ‘Just As I Am..."
On the last verse of that second son, I responded. I walked down to the front, feeling as if I had lead weights attached to my feet, and stood in the space before the platform..."
And this person gave his life to Christ. Who was he? Infamous Evangelists Billy Graham. Mordecai Ham’s name and life has almost faded into forgotten memories. But God took this nobody, and used him in one great moment, unaware of it himself, to change the world as we know it.
The board is set, the pieces are moving. God in victory proclaims check mate by putting Christ on the cross and as ambassadors, we are his pieces. Let us be used by God and bring glory to Him in our lives.