Archive for January, 2009

30
Jan
09

Take up and Read

venerabledead2“The man who never reads will never be read;
he who never quotes will never be quoted.
He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains,
proves that he has no brains of his own.”
— C. H. SPURGEON
I received this quote from a friend a couple of days ago and thought it was worth passing on. I hope it challenges us all to “take up and read” a biblically grounded Christ-focused book.

Read men who walked the bible out daily in trials and in joy (the puritans are of highest value here). Read the men who actually believed that God ordained the preaching of His Word to transform the lives of His people and give life to dead sinners.

You might be asking why do you think another sermon or book on sermons will actually change the lives of those that hear and read them?

Because God says in 2 Timothy 3:16-4:3
“All scripture is inspired by God and PROFITABLE for TEACHING, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, for TRAINING in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: PREACH the WORD; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction.”

Why Preach the Word?
Paul tells us why in 2 Timothy 4:3 – “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine (teaching); but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires”

The Word is to be proclaimed historically, contextually, grammatically and passionately. This is God’s ordained means of grace to sinners and saints. This is God’s blessed and God’s empowered means to convert, transform, sanctify and bring joy to the human soul. This happens when there is a clear Exposition, Explanation, Exhortation and Admonition of the Word. This is powerful because the contextual exposition of the Word is God’s self-disclosure and our only source to bring the light of Christ to bear on our soul. So, when we read a book or listen to a preacher this should be our guide and criteria. Is the author or speaker following these rules? If we are going to spend our time and money wisely we should at least carefully examine those investments.

So now let me challenge you to pick up some dusty old books that derive power from the clear exposition of the Scriptures. Read them with new eyes that are transformed by old truths.
Jeremiah 6:16 “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.”
God has called us to stay in tune with Him by staying on the old path.
Staying on the old path doesn’t mean we don’t recognize cultural changes and challenges. It does however mean that we are not to be changed by our culture, we are to confront it and challenge the culture to be transformed by truth. We are new creations in Christ Jesus and we belong to a new culture that is based on Christ not the contemporary. We need to engage the contemporary not run from it but to do so we must be prepared to accurately proclaim the only thing that can transform culture namely God’s Word. Bible-saturated Christians are the only one’s equipped to do this with power and love. Only Christ’s people have the words of eternal life and hope. God’s truth has not changed though culture always will. The Scriptures alone is eternally relevant because it reveals the objective truth of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done The Bible alone has the power to cut through culture and pierce the heart of sinful man and bring joy to the redeemed soul.
Hebrews 4:12-13 (ESV)
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

The early church didn’t seek to be relevant they were relevant because the message they proclaimed was divine. The message of the Scripture hasn’t changed nor will it ever change and when we try to change it or make it more relevant through our cleverness we only dilute or distort the truth. We are equipped with the same source of relevance as the early church – The Word of God it never changes it remains the same forever yet it always changes those who hear it.
Isaiah 40:8 (ESV)
8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

New movements come and go but the truth of God’s word is always fresh, relevant and powerful enough to reach anyone, anywhere at anytime. So, why not take up and read books that proclaim the truths that are ageless and Christ-centered rather than time sensitive, man-centered and irrelevant.

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30
Jan
09

Points to Ponder…

Points to Ponder…
Here are a few thoughts that relate to my last article.
I pray these will help fix your thoughts on the beauty and the miracle of why God has called us and placed us individually into local churches.

“There is more informal ministry than formal ministry in any given week…
God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the lives of others. What mission board, what ministry, what local church would use the people God used in Scripture? There was Moses (an exiled murder), Gideon (fearful and hiding), David (the shepherd boy with no military training), Peter (who publicly denied Christ), and Paul (persecutor of the church), to name a few. Along with these are untold numbers of little people God used in big ways to fulfill His plan on earth. God never intended us to simply be the objects of His love. We are also called to be instruments of that love in the lives of others…

What is the best way to minister biblically to another person? (We are to minister in the Word)
(That ministry is powerful if it is correctly applied and lived out in community)
Many Christians simply don’t understand what the Bible is.
Many think of it as a spiritual encyclopedia: God’s complete catalog of human problems, coupled with a complete list of divine answers. If you turn to the right page, you can find answers for any struggle. A more sophisticated variation views the Bible as a systematic theology textbook, an outline of essential topics you must master to think and live God’s way. In either case, we tend to offer each other isolated pieces of Scripture (a command, a principle, a promise) that seems to fit the need of the moment. What we think of as ministering the Word is little more than a spiritual cut-and-paste system.

This kind of ministry rarely leads to lasting change because it does not bring the power of the Word to the places where change is really needed. In this kind of ministry, self is still at the center, personal need is the focus, and personal happiness remains the goal. But a truly effective ministry of the Word must confront our self-focus and self-absorption at its roots, opening us up to the vastness of a God-defined, God-centered world. Unless this happens, we will use the promises, principles, and commands of the Word to serve the thing we really love: ourselves. This may be why many people read and hear God’s Word regularly while their lives remain unchanged. Only when the rain of the Word penetrates the roots of the problem does lasting change occur.

Personal ministry brings the monsoon of God’s Word to the parched terrain of the heart.
Isaiah 55:10-13 (ESV)
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

God’s Word changes people this dramatically.
The rain that soaks the parched land always has an effect. It bathes soil, which feed roots, which nourishes plants, which produces flowers. So it is with the Word of God.
It changes what it touches, producing beauty and fruitfulness in people’s lives. These changes point to two wonderful realities. First, we are, in fact, God’s covenant children. He has promised to be our God, to be with us and to bless us. Second, these changes point us to His glory…

The King has come and sent His children to one another with His life-changing Word. People who were lost find their way; people once paralyzed with discouragement walk in hope; alienated people live in community as broken relationships are restored; confused minds think in ways that are true, pure, and right; and the person who once lived for his own power now rests in God’s…

An encyclopedic, problem-solving approach to Scripture is totally inadequate for the true depth of our need. We need something that will change us from the inside out- we need Christ! Only His person and work can free us from our slavery to self and our tendency to deify the creation. Only as we see our story enfolded in the larger story of redemption will we begin to live God-honoring lives. Lasting change begins when our identity, purpose, and sense of direction are defined by God’s story. When we bring this perspective to our relationships, we will have a dramatically different agenda. It will take the principle and commands of Scripture and use them as God intended. We will see how each principle, promise, and command finds its meaning and fulfillment in Christ. Separate them from Christ and they lose their God-intended meaning and get hijacked by other agendas…

The central work of God’s kingdom is change. God accomplishes this work as the Holy Spirit empowers people to bring His Word to others. We bring more than solutions, strategies, principles, and commands. We bring the greatest story ever told, the story of the Redeemer…This is the work of the kingdom of God: people in the hands of the Redeemer, daily functioning as His tools of lasting change…”

Paul David Tripp
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands

29
Jan
09

The Common Union of the Saints

puritans1The Common Union of the Saints – part one
Hebrews 10:24-25
Hebrews tells us to “not forsake our own assembling together”!

God ordained that we come together to “stimulate“ or provoke, prod.
God knew we would need a good poke now and then.

We need this to keep us sharp and to remind us that someone is watching our back and that someone carries a sharp stick and holds us accountable.

The real beauty of this verse is the context in which it is made which deals with what calls us all together.
Hebrews 10:19-22

Our Communion Union is in Christ
Hebrews 10:20 – Jesus inaugurated a new and living way to the Holiest of place of all into God the Father’s very presence through His flesh!

This new and living way refers to the perpetual power of the once for all sacrifice of Christ that forever retains its freshness and power.

It is a once for all time sacrifice because it never grows old.
It is a living sacrifice because Jesus lives and is active through His church!

We are living body of Christ because we are joined to our spiritual Head.
Ephesians 1:18-23; Colossians 1:13-18

We have a common union in Christ that is appropriately called a community.

We now have a community through Christ sacrifice and love. We are marvelously called together for an uncommon purpose, to bring God glory and to display God’s grace to all mankind.
Ephesians 3:20-4:3

The church of Jesus Christ is the most important community in the world. This is the one community that is ordained, endorsed and blessed by God for our good and His glory.

That ordained, blessed fellowship is the gathered and displayed through the ministry of the local church!

1st Notice how important the church is to Christ
Acts 20:28 – He purchased it with His own blood.

2nd Notice how important localized churches are to God
He dedicated the New Testament to them.
Every one of Paul’s New Testament letters are addressed to locally gathered fellowships or it is addressed to the local leaders or overseers.

Look with me quickly at the following passages of scripture to see my point.
Romans 1:7 – “to all who are Beloved in Rome”
1Corinthians 1:2; 2Corinthians 1:1-“To the Church of God which is at Corinth”
Galatians 1:2- “To the Churches of Galatia”
Ephesians 1:1 -”To the Saints who are at Ephesus”
Philippians 1:1 – “To all Saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi”
Colossians 1:2-“To the Saints and Faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae”
1&2 Thessalonians 1:1- “To the Church of the Thessalonians”
1 & 2 Timothy – To the young pastor at Ephesus
Titus – Pastor at Crete
Philemon – Fellow worker at a local church (along with Epaphras)

The church is an organized and powerful picture of what Christ here on earth.
In Acts 2 we see three key elements of an orderly Christ centered community.
Acts 2:42-47
Here in Acts we see the church focused on studying the Word of God and giving praise to God with the end result being a witness to the world and glory to God.
1. The study of the Word
2. Prayer and Praise to God
3. Their Witness to the world

The church should be devoted to these key elements today.
1. They were devoted to the accurate study of the Word of God.
v. 42- “continually devoting themselves to the apostle’s teaching”

The Word stimulated (provoked) love for God that was exhibited in acts of worship.
2. They were filled with Prayer and Praise to God based on understanding His Word.
v.43-46 – “Awe, sharing, unity, gladness, praise”

The expression of their love for God was love for one another, which caused the world to see the power of Christ. The Word produced worship that led people to see Jesus.
3. Their praise and fellowship in the Word was a powerful witness for God in the world.
v.47 – The church found favor with all the people and many were saved.

The people were “studying, acting and praising God in the church and the world could not help but see their love for God and one another.

That is exactly what Jesus prayed for in the Garden of Gethsemane.
John 17:13-23

28
Jan
09

What does the Bible say about Itself?

What does the Bible say about itself?
First some words to unpack.
1. Revelation – apokalupsis – disclosure or unveiling – (general and special rev.)
2. Inspiration – (verbal-every word – plenary-all parts equally inspired) – God the Holy Spirit superintending over writers of scripture (using personalities and style and resulting in God’s word. – theopneustos a term that is only used once in the N.T. a (hapax legomenon)
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is (theopneustos) “God-breathed” breathed out by God. God originated all scripture and breathed it forth.
We do not listen for the voice of God we have it recorded in the scriptures.
3. Inerrancy – Infallible (w/out error in original manuscripts)

Now let’s look at what the Bible says about the Bible.

The Bible is:
1. The Word of God
Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.” (Jeremiah 1:9).

The Bible is more than a book detailing men’s thoughts about what God is like. It is God’s communication to men. His words are transmitted to us through its pages.

2. A living book
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12).

In what way is the Bible alive?
It is alive in that it is the word of the Living God. It is alive in that it is active in its ministry to your heart. Like a surgeon’s scalpel, it cuts through the facade to speak to the inner you. It gets down to the real heart of issues.

3. A preserved book
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).

Voltaire was the French philosopher-scientist who, before he died in 1778, predicted that within 100 years, Christianity would be swept away from existence and pass into the obscurity of history. Within 50 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society was using his house and printing press to produce stacks of Bibles.

4. A book of reality
For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty (2 Peter 1:16).

Peter says, “The things about which we wrote to you are not theological speculation, but rather an eye witness account.” John says the same thing when he speaks of “what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1).

5. An Inerrant book.
If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came; and the Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35).
Luke 24:44-47

Inerrancy means when all the facts are known, the Scriptures (original manuscripts) properly interpreted will be shown totally true in everything they teach – doctrine, history, science, geography, etc.

6. A propositional book (a book that compels you to consider things)
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18).

God does not call us to abandon all sense of reason or thought when we come to Him. We are not to check in our brains at the door to the church and then pick them up again when we leave. He calls us to reason and to judge and to weigh out the facts of our salvation.

7. A needful book
To Direct my Life: Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word (Psalm 119:67).
The Bible is our roadmap for living. It is the light to my path.

To Lift my Spirits: I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Thy word (Psalm 119:107).
While Hebrew 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is alive and powerful, here we read that this same word is able to revive me.

To Nourish my Soul: And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:3-4).

To Announce His Plan of Redemption: Surely the Lord God does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).

God always speaks when He institutes redemptive activity. And by the same token, when He does not institute new redemptive activity, there is no need for God to give new revelation.

God has ceased to give new revelation or special revelations to men individually or as a group, because He has given us all we need in the scriptures.

“400 years of silence from the prophet Malachi to the prophet John the Baptist.
This idea of the cessation of revelation ought not to surprise us. The revelatory process never came in an unbroken stream. It was always here a little and there a little (Isaiah 28:13). The fact that the Old Testament canon closed and that revelation ceased for a time sets up a paradigm for the closing of revelation in the New Testament.”

God’ revealed will is set forth in scripture we do not listen to voices or intuitions we have the more sure word revealed through Jesus Christ and written in one Book the Bible. 2 Peter 1:2-3

One more I will add.
The Bible is:
8. A sufficient book
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim. 3:16-17

Sufficiency – Scripture contains all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting Him completely, and for obeying Him perfectly.

To run to any other source in time of need shows a direct disregard for God’s word and lack of faith that it is sufficient. There is no need for Christians to run to psychology, religion rituals, relationships, drugs, or seclusion because God’s word is sufficient for everything that man goes through in this world. God has given us all we need in His revealed Word. Sola Scriptura

Pastor Randy Tyler
A Sovereign Grace Proclaimer

28
Jan
09

HOW TO FEED YOURSELF

HOW TO FEED YOURSELF

Developing a healthy intake of scripture.

2 Timothy 3:15

Clean me, Feed me, Wipe my nose… we need to learn how to do all these things if we are ever going to grow up.

This lesson is designed to teach you how to clean yourself, feed yourself and well I’ll leave nose wiping up to your mom!

My goal is to drive you to the table of God’s Word daily without having to hold your hand to get you there every time.

Ephesians 4:11-16

Growing up is not always easy it requires labor, time and diligence (dedication) but the benefits are definitely worth the pains, matter of fact the pains are what actually stimulate growth (to build muscle you have to stretch it).

Before we can look at “How to Feed Yourself” I want you to understand “Why” we are commanded to do so in scripture.

2 Timothy 3:15

“Why” do we need to grow up in the Word?

Galatians 6:1-6; Philippians 3:14-17; Romans 15:1-6; Ephesians 4:14-16

We get a glimpse of “Why” in Ephesians 4:14

Maturity will protect you from being “tossed like a child here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine”

Ephesians 4 goes on to say in verse 16 that when we as individuals grow up then the whole body of Christ (the church) will grow in love for each other and for Christ who is our head.

These passages give us reasons why we must grow up and learn to feed ourselves. Growing up is not so much for our own good but for the good of others we grow up for the good of the body of Christ and the glory of God.

We must “grow up” – WHY?

We are called to grow together in unity and strength because the body of Christ (the church) is called to do battle.

Matthew 16:15-18

In order for the church to face the battle against the gates of Hades we need to have a healthy strong body and that begins with you as individuals.

You can’t keep living through your teachers vicariously you have to learn to feed on the Word yourself so that you will pull your weight in the battle.

We are called to be healthy soldiers.

2 Timothy

In 2 Timothy we are given our marching orders and only healthy soldiers will survive this battle against the “waves of false teaching” that beat against the church.

Paul commands Timothy (and you and I) to…

1. Be on Guard – 2 Timothy 1:14

(You can’t be alert or strong unless you are healthy.)

2. Be Strong – 2 Timothy 2:1

(Entrusting your life to God’s favor -only happens when you know your God which only happens when you know scripture.)

3. Be Careful – 2 Timothy 2:2

(Discern who you entrust this message.)

4. Be Devoted – 2 Timothy 2:3-4

(To the pursuit of bringing God glory no matter the cost.)

5. Be Accurate -2 Timothy 2:15

(A man armed with the Word and accuracy is unstoppable.)

6. Be Convinced -2 Timothy 3:14-17

(Know what you believe by careful study of the whole counsel of God – Study the Old and the New Testaments because scripture is the best interpreter of scripture. Once you have dug out the treasures found for yourself within these pages then it is yours forever.)

Within the six commands above we see “Why” we must develop a healthy daily intake of scripture.

The Bible is a treasure worth living and dying for. Buried within this living book is the pearl of great price as we dig we unearth the truth about Jesus our Savior. In the Bible alone we see God’s sovereign grace extended to sinners through out all the centuries of mankind and here alone we see the culmination of God’s sovereign plan in Jesus’ work of redemption.

How do we grow strong in the Word?

Strength and endurance is only achieved and maintained with daily exercise.

Exercise #1

Read the Bible – Develop a daily bible reading plan.

First choose a New Testament book then read through it in an orderly manner.

Example: Begin Ephesians start at chapter 1:1 then continue reading it in order until you have completed the entire book chapter 6:24.Read this book in it’s entirety for a month.

Try one chapter a day (repeatedly) or read the entire book each day either way but continue it for an entire month. At the end of the month you will be amazed at what you have learned along the way.

Secondly you should also be feeding on the Old Testament.

Choose an Old Testament book and begin reading it in a devotional manner maybe every evening before bed (don’t try the repetition process here or you will live and die in Leviticus) just read through the books to get the flow of the Old Testament.

How should we prepare our hearts for daily bible reading?

We must always Prepare our hearts to receive God’s Word so we must…

1. Begin with Prayer – Psalm 119:18

What should the prayer focus on? Colossians 1:9-10

This prayer should focus on our inability to understand the Word apart from the Holy Spirit’s illuminating work and our prayer should also entail confession of sin.

This daily exercise will not only equip your mind it helps keep your soul in check as well.

Helpful daily reading hint:

Pick a time each day when you are alert. Don’t rush through your reading allow time to meditate on the Word as you read.

Exercise #2

Study the Bible (not the same exercise as reading)

Study is more than reading.

Begin by dedicating a specific time each day or week. Psalm 1:1-3a

(Those who study will not be tossed to and fro by winds of doctrine he will be planted firmly.)

Bible Study involves careful analysis.

The process of studying entails:

1. Systematic/Contextual study.

(Reading it verse by verse. Read systematically going through a book one verse at a time.)

2. Asking questions as you read, keeping a notepad handy to write them on.

This requires hermeneutical skills of interpretation.

Ask: Who? What? Where? When?

a. Who wrote the book and who is he addressing?

b. What do doctrinal words mean? (propitiation, justification, foreknew) Keep a bible dictionary handy and look these up and write them down.

c. What is the context of the chapter and book?

d. When was the book written? (before Paul was arrested or after)

e. Where does this book take me in relation to the whole counsel of God?

Look for:

a. Repeated words or phrases (Ephesians 1:4-12 – HE)

b. Commands (Imperatives and Indicatives statements)

Example of a Imperative – 2 Timothy 4:1-2 straight forward commands.

Example of a Indicative – Romans 15:1 (ought) indicates a necessity.

Helpful study hint:

If your not sure where to begin then begin by taking notes on Sunday’s sermons then use that text as your starting point.

Exercise #3

Live the Bible

Begin to apply what you have studied that is when real growth occurs.

After you have dwelt long and hard in your study find ways of taking it to the street.

The apostles James and Paul remind us that if we don’t live it we don’t really believe it.

2 Timothy 1:7-12

James 1:21-27

We are all commanded to grow up and mature as Christians.

Our calling demands that we dig deep into the treasure house of God’s Word. We are commanded to mine the wealth out of it out so that we can pour it out on all those we come in contact with.

That is our calling and that should be your burning desire if you want to truly be a soldier of the Cross ready, willing and able to serve our great God and King.

Training Equipment

To maintain your strength you need good equipment to workout with here is a listing of some good resources to build you up in your faith.

Remember these are eternal investments that will bring eternal riches to those who use them well.

1. Bibles (good translations not paraphrases NO “Message” junk)

NASB, ESV, NKJV, KJV, Young’s Literal and some NIV 1973, 1978, 1984.

Study Bibles

MacArthur Study Bible, Reformation Study Bible, ESV Study Bible.

2. Bible Dictionary

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

The New Bible Dictionary (Douglas, Ed w/FF Bruce, Tasker, Packer, and Wiseman)

3. Bible Concordance

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible (R. Young)

4. Bible Commentaries

Expositor’s Commentary set

Matthew Henry

John Calvin

John MacArthur

Matthew Poole

John Gill

5. Scripture Cross Reference Material

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

“A preacher armed with this book and his Bible will never run out of material nor resources” Dr. John MacArthur.

6. Bible Study Software

Online Bible – inexpensive and loaded.

WordSearch 8 – great updates and tons of books!

Esword

Pastor Randy Tyler