How Do I Evangelize in Word and Deed?

Ligon Duncan begins the conversation by sharing his and David Platt’s shared belief in the primacy of the Word just as God speaks and brings his people into being. Duncan says that as we image God as witnesses, we should speak his word of grace, and the Holy Spirit will use that to bring people to newness of life. Duncan goes on to say that we want to see the Word come to fruition in the lives of the people we are speaking to, and that if we desire those people to come to faith in Christ, we should then want the Word coming to fruition in our own lives and through our testimonies. Duncan thinks one reason that Christians are motivated to do deeds is not just for evangelistic reasons, but also because we are called to be a blessing to other people and to love our neighbor, at all times. Duncan says we as Christians don’t need an evangelistic motivation to love our neighbor. In the context of evangelism, Duncan says that when people see us living out the life that we are proclaiming with our lips, it makes the words that we are saying especially compelling, and oftentimes, opens a door of someone’s heart to hear the Word of God. Duncan thinks it’s helpful for us to see ourselves as followers of Jesus—called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. Second, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are intended to look to others’ interests and ask, “How can I serve, how can I care?” Duncan says this is the character of Christ in us, and the greatest love we can show to someone else is to share the good news of how they can be reconciled with God.… Read More

Read More

Share

Do You Redeem the Time by Reaching Others?

When the Bible tells us to make the best use of our time, what comes to your mind as practical ways to do that? Paul’s focus is not primarily on us reading our Bible and praying more, but it is on us reaching others and serving them. The excerpt is taken from the full sermon, “Making the Best Use of Your Time“. So often you will hear when Christians talk about redeeming the time, very often they’re thinking, you know, getting their prayer life together this year, getting on track with their Bible reading. That’s not even on Paul’s radar here. It’s almost like that is Christianity 101. That’s an assumption. Those are the things by which you keep your light bright, by which God makes you light and bright. They’re not even the things. Brethren, all I’m saying is this, is if we approach this new year and we’re thinking about redeeming the time, if the main thing that’s on your mind is getting your Bible reading act together you’re not even where Paul is saying you need to be seeking to redeem the time. You’re not even on the same page with him. Brethren, breathing for the Christian – prayer is like breathing. The Word of God – it’s not bread alone – it’s by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. You see, this is breathing and eating. This is 101. Those are just the basics of life. If that’s where you’re at, you’re not even hearing what Paul’s saying here. Paul isn’t even dealing with seeking opportunities to get in the Word and get in the prayer closet. “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders making the most of the opportunity.” We’ve got to move beyond just praying, fasting, being in our Bibles. Paul’s very specific… Read More

Read More

Share

Through the Word in 2020 / Feb/ 25 – The Lost Jubilee

We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/ Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 21:12-22; Acts 28:17-31; Psalm 47, Leviticus 26-27. Outside of one reference in Numbers 34, Leviticus 25-27 contain the only mention of Israel’s “Jubilee.” It was a marvelous institution given by God and had massive economic and social ramifications for the nation. It was in effect a giant resort button, where along with other things, all debts hit their termination point whether fully repaid or not; property values were all reset to their highest rate; slaves were set free; and tribal properties all reverted back to their original clans if they had been sold to others during the previous years. This was to occur every 50 years in Israel and served as a sort of crowning “sabbath” to all the other sabbaths – the weekly, the yearly appointed and the every-seventh-year of giving the land rest from being cultivated. Since the appointing of sabbaths was a unique mark given by God to distinguish Israel from all the other nations on earth, our 2 chapters today outline how seriously God took them. And what He said in regard to ignoring them. His discipline could be withering in the face of repeated disobedience. That discipline would culminate in Israel being invaded and exiled if they would not repent. And though God is so patient that He waited hundreds of years before He took that final step – the warning was sounded clearly and precisely in this passage. Looking at the various ways He would discipline them and ratchet up the discipline in the face of their refusal to repent is frightening. And it is meant to be so. And the sad account of… Read More

Read More

Share

Healing from Pastoral Hurt for the Long Haul

Acts 29: Churches Planting Churches It took me a long time to realize how wounded I was from planting our church. Opening up my life, home, and church to be repeatedly taken advantage of was painful. It hurt to hear that people I’d spent hours counseling, shedding tears over, and giving generously to were moving. Being repeatedly “ghosted” wounded me. And seeing my wife misunderstood and wrestling with unfair expectations from people cut deeply, too. Pain is unavoidable when pastoring. It can’t be ignored. Complaining or white-knuckling our way through won’t work. When I was hurting the most, I existed in a state of cynicism, resentment, and frustration. I kept trying to heal on the fly and haphazardly bandage my wounds. But some wounds are too deep for Band-Aids and quick fixes. Brothers, if we’re going to plant and pastor churches for the long haul, we must address our wounds. Our aim should be to maintain our spiritual health and connection to Jesus. But this is easier said than done when we’re suffering. Here are three ways planters can prioritize healing from pain to ensure longevity in service to Christ. 1. Assess the Damage For years, I took a “head down, shoulders squared” approach to church planting. My motto was “forward at all cost.” I kept going, but only out of obligation, not joy. On the outside, I was determined; inwardly, I was dejected, discouraged, cynical, and often critical of others. Brothers, if we’re going to plant and pastor churches for the long haul, we must address our wounds. David prayed for God to search his heart, examine his motives, and reveal his sin (Ps. 139:23–24), and so should we. But be warned, brothers: asking God to examine you and reveal what’s hidden is a dangerous prayer. We may not… Read More

Read More

Share

Through the Word in 2020 / Feb. 24 – Justice, not Barbarism

We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 21:1-11; Acts 28:1-16; Psalm 46, Leviticus 24-25. Casual readers of the Bible often come away with very distorted views about what the Bible actually teaches. One of the places where this is seen both familiarly and mistakenly is in our Leviticus passage today. Many a person reads: “an eye for an eye” and run with it as though this is the whole of how God speaks about justice. Something Scripture reiterates God loves – and that which Isa. 42:1 reminds us is a particular end that Christ will establish perfectly in His return.  What then does it mean in our reading today? First off, we must never forget the purpose of the command is to establish equity, not barbarism. In other words, the concept of an “eye for an eye” is twofold: a. It prevents the thwarting of justice by failing to punish crimes at all. Sins against one another in society are not to be summarily dismissed. Personal forgiveness is always requisite, but sin often extends beyond the individual into society as a whole. It is one thing for me to forgive one who has broken into my house and stolen from me. To forgive and not require restitution of any kind is good. But it is another thing altogether to let such thieves go, only to rob my neighbor! This is to fail to love my neighbor as myself – and to see to it he is protected from harm. Thus I dare not let the thief go completely, but am responsible to see that justice is done for the good and protection of others. Hence Paul… Read More

Read More

Share

Can I Ask for a Raise at My Ministry Job?

It’s been a long time—years—since I’ve had a raise. I work for a Christian organization that doesn’t have a lot of money, so I feel bad asking. On the other hand, I’m starting to feel a little resentful that I’m getting paid the same rate when my skills and responsibilities have grown. Is it ever legitimate for a Christian to ask for a raise? Is that putting myself forward too much? How can I do so humbly? I appreciate the heart behind this great question. The various emotions you feel all find their roots in Scripture; and, fortunately, Scripture can help us sift them faithfully.  First, a Christian should absolutely feel freedom to ask for a raise. I’m not just saying that as an economist—though economics is surely on your side here. Consider the following examples. In Luke 10, Jesus sends out the 72 and encourages them to willingly receive hospitality from their hosts, “for the laborer deserves his wages.” Jesus makes his point by bringing in something we already know from the sphere of “regular labor” and applies it to the sphere of kingdom work. He doesn’t merely say, “Accept hospitality because ministry deserves it,” but he reasons that just as laborers in every other context deserves their wages, so do those who labor for the Lord. Paul makes the same claim in 1 Timothy 5. He quotes Jesus directly, then adds an image from Deuteronomy: “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” The assumption is that the ox deserves to participate in the fruits of its labor. And consider that the more the ox treads, the more it would eat while treading. The “pay” accruing to the ox would grow the more it worked. Jesus and Paul both make the case that those who… Read More

Read More

Share

Through the Word in 2020 / Feb. 23 – Spiritual Cosmetics

We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/ Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 20:17-34; Acts 27:27-44; Psalm 45, Leviticus 21-23. Each of us have individual tastes concerning what is attractive to us. It is true in general – we find certain car styles, house structures, art forms, fabrics, aromas, tastes, vocations and even recreations each to have their own attraction. Some more than others. And this is nowhere more true than in choosing a mate. Certain qualities, physically, spiritually and personality draw us to one versus another. Psalm 45 begins by extolling the beauties and laudable attractiveness of Christ as King. Hebrews 1 opens that truth to us. Jesus is glorious and desirable in a host of ways. It is a “pleasing theme” to the Psalmist to contemplate His loveliness. Gracious lips; mighty in battle; majestic in comportment; and above all ruling with a scepter of righteousness. It is a wondrous picture indeed. And we ought often to stop and ponder the beauties of our Christ and King lest we allow them to grow ho-hum to us. This truly is a place where familiarity can breed contempt if we aren’t careful. But the text goes on to say what King finds most beautiful in His Queen. It is a reminder of how to “pretty ourselves up” for our dearest husband. Psalm 45:10–11 (ESV): “Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him.” What does He find attractive? What can animate His pleasure in us? It is wrapped up in these words: “forget your people and your father’s House.” What… Read More

Read More

Share

God’s People Aren’t Impressive. Just Look at Moses’s Family Tree.

Editors’ note:  Take part in TGC’s Read the Bible initiative, where we’re encouraging Christians and churches to read together through God’s Word in a year. The Bible is surely history’s most honest book. Its unfettered and brutal transparency about the unimpressive nature of God’s chosen people, even its human authors, testifies to its authenticity. The gospel makes this point powerfully. Jesus, the God-man, entered human history, lived a sinless life, died a sinner’s death, and rose again so that unrighteous, unimpressive chosen people would be reconciled to God. If God’s people believe they’ve been saved by grace through faith—that they contributed nothing to their salvation except the sin that made redemption necessary—then why do they often have such a challenging time believing that God can use them to do his kingdom work? Unimpressive Moses Frequently God’s people sense a lack of ability, as if God chooses to work only through those who have some innate and impressive aptitude. Moses struggled with this very thing. The same Moses whom God used to deliver Israel from Pharaoh’s oppression was a self-identified unimpressive man who believed he was unable to accomplish God’s mission. The example of Moses helps highlight the unimpressive nature of God’s chosen people and his choice to use them anyway. Toward the beginning of Exodus, shortly after God commissions Moses, there’s a genealogy that seems out of place. But the genealogy, found in Exodus 6:14–25, serves a critical purpose in the exodus narrative and a larger theological purpose for God’s people. Unfortunately, our tendency is to read genealogies hastily or skip over them altogether. Genealogies offer God’s people critical information, however, and Exodus 6 is no exception. Like the framing on a piece of art, a literary framing complements and accentuates the substance within its border. Moses, led by the… Read More

Read More

Share

Through the Word in 2020 / Feb. 22 – Social Justice

Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 20:1-16; Acts 27:1-26; Psalm 44, Leviticus 18-20. Leviticus 19 is a most extraordinary portion. It begins with God calling His people to be “holy”, because He is holy. What follows hangs in this principle. In other words, God is going to give a series of charges that demonstrate the acts of loving one another in the society of God’s people. But such charges are not random, they issue from God’s own holiness. These are predicated on His nature. They are a means of living with one another in the same attitudes which God holds toward us. It is most instructive. In our present climate, we hear a lot about the cause of “social justice.” Defining that is a tall order. But here, God gives His people 8 principles of social justice from His point of view. They are to be ours as well. 1 / 9-10: CHARITABLENESS – God has a heart of great charity toward those who are poor. We manifest this aspect of His character when we do the same. We must see them in their distress, and make provision for them – and that, in such a way that preserves their dignity and keeps them from falling into a pattern of receiving without laboring. Thus, the fields are not to reaped entirely, and so those in need, can gather the food themselves, without disgrace, and leave knowing they’ve done the harvesting themselves and remain dignified. 2 / 11-12: HONESTY – God deals with us in truth. He desires it in our own inward parts, and it is essential in our dealings with one another. We do not steal, because our God does not. We do not deal falsely, because He does not. We do not lie to one another because He IS… Read More

Read More

Share

The FAQS: What You Should Know About Polygamy in America

What just happened? Earlier this week the Utah Senate unanimously passed a bill that effectively decriminalizes polygamy. The bill, which will be taken up by the state’s House of Representatives, would make polygamy an infraction, amending the current penalty punishable by up to five years in prison. As the Associated Press points out, while mainstream members of the Church of Latter-day Saints abandoned the practice of polygamy in 1890, an estimated 30,000 people living in polygamous communities follow teachings that taking multiple wives brings exaltation in heaven. What is polygamy? Polygamy is the practice or custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time. Polygamy has historically taken two forms, polyandry and polygyny. Polygyny is the state or practice of having more than one wife or female mate at a time, while polyandry is the practice of having more than one husband or male mate at one time. Isn’t polygamy illegal in the United States? Since the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act of 1882, bigamy has been a federal crime under U.S. law. Bigamy is a crime that occurs when a person is married to two different people at the same time as part of two different marriage contracts. If a person is married, it is a requirement for him or her to have the marriage dissolved through death, annulment, or divorce before he or she can legally enter into a new marriage. If a person intentionally fails to have the first marriage dissolved before entering into a new marriage contract, he or she can be charged with bigamy. While bigamy is technically still a crime in the United States, polygamy is, in essence, already decriminalized. In certain states, a couple could be legally married (husband/wife, husband/husband, or wife/wife), be cohabiting with another married couple, and claim that… Read More

Read More

Share

Introducing Gospelbound

Gospelbound, hosted by Collin Hansen for The Gospel Coalition, is a podcast for those searching for firm faith in an anxious age. Each week, Collin will talk with insightful guests about books, ideas, and how to navigate life by the gospel of Jesus Christ in a post-Christian culture. Listen to the trailer now and subscribe. Coming Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Visit TGC The Gospel Coalition US

Read More

Share

Through the Word in 2020 / Feb. 21

Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 19:16-30; Acts 26:19-32; Psalm 43, Leviticus 16-17.   ​There are 2 goats in this Leviticus passage on atonement. And for good reason. They depict for us 2 aspects of Christ’s saving work for the Believer. 2 GLORIOUS aspects. In it, we see just how rich the types and shadows of the Old Testament are. The one goat is to be sacrificed as “a sin offering.” It’s death is to signify how one day Jesus’ would die in our place. That God accepts the death of a substitute on our behalf. That substitute being Christ alone. Our sin is atoned for in that the debt is paid. “The wages of sin is death”, and in Christ, our wages have been fully paid. FULLY Child of God, completely. Christ has died. And so we who trust in His death on our behalf have eternal life. The conjectures surrounding the 2nd goat and the meaning of Azazel in this passage are myriad. Some of the Jewish commentators link it with a demon – the goat-demon perhaps mentioned in Lev. 17:17. And so it hints at the idea that the Priest symbolically sends our sins (under god’s authority) to the demons who are utterly rejected by God, and dwelling away from His presence, and the sins which attend them. That they, our sins and the demons belong together. Perhaps similarly Azazel may refer to the devil, his demons, and death and hades because all are consigned to the same lake of fire together. The picture then is this: Our sins are as removed from us as the devil and his demons are in final judgment. This is another glorious aspect of what Christ’s atonement accomplishes. Christ pays for our sin in His death, but He also removes our guilt… Read More

Read More

Share

Through the Word in 2020 / Feb. 20

We are reading the Bible through together this year, using the Discipleship Journal Reading Plan published by the Navigators. You can download it free of charge from: https://www.navigators.org/resource/bible-reading-plans/ Today’s 4 readings are: Matthew 19:1-15; Acts 26:1-18; Psalm 42, Leviticus 14-15. The narrative in Acts 26 points to a very important and often confused principle: Simply believing that what the prophets said or foretold is true, is NOT the same as believing and trusting in Christ. Merely believing facts is not the same as having saving faith. King Agrippa believed the prophecies of the OT regarding the coming of the Messiah. But that did not make him a Christian. Many a religious person believes God exists, believes Jesus died for sin, believes the Bible is true, and even believes salvation is to be found in Jesus. But once again, that is not the same as actually trusting in the finished work of Christ for salvation. It is not the same as saving faith. In James 2:19 he notes that just because you have a right theology about the oneness of God in His triune glory doesn’t mean you are any better off than the demons. They not only believe the truth about God, they believe it and tremble at it! Merely believing the facts, even the facts about saving faith, is not saving faith. The demons know the truth of the Gospel facts. What they do not do (nor can do since salvation is not offered to them) is trust Christ as their substitute. And no matter how completely we believe all of the orthodox truth of which we are capable – unless we actually cast ourselves upon Him as having died in our stead – we too are still lost. Saving faith is a faith which makes itself known in a… Read More

Read More

Share

David Helm on Teaching Habakkuk

Habakkuk had some significant questions for God. And God’s answers were hard to hear. But he told Habakkuk to write it all down, since future generations would need to hear it. We need to hear it. And those we teach need to as well. In this episode of Help Me Teach the Bible, David Helm—lead pastor of the Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago and chairman of the board of the Charles Simeon Trust—walks listeners through the short three-chapter book of Habakkuk, helping us to trace its argument, feel its poetic pathos, and sing its song. We spend time on how to handle Habakkuk’s important statement, “The righteous will live by faith.” We also talk about Habakkuk’s faith-filled determination to trust God in the disaster about to descend as God determines to use the Babylonians to deliver his judgment. Listen to this episode of Help Me Teach the Bible. Recommended Print Resources: Recommended Audio Resources: Transcript David Helm: Is Habakkuk a character that we can warm to immediately? Yes. I don’t know where he was born. I don’t know precisely when he lived, but I am brought right at the opening to know that here’s a man whose heart is breaking. It breaks in prayer and it breaks with this weighty word concerning the absence of God’s word among His people, the forfeiture of God’s ways among our lives and the distortion of His righteousness, which the people are perverting. Nancy Guthrie: Welcome to “Help Me Teach the Bible.” I’m Nancy Guthrie. “Help Me Teach the Bible” is a production of The Gospel Coalition sponsored by Crossway, a not-for-profit publisher of the ESV Bible, Christian books and tracks. Learn more at crossway.org. Today, I am in Jacksonville, Florida, and I am sitting across from one of my favorite… Read More

Read More

Share
1 2 3 111