Archive for the 'Spurgeon' Category

20
Mar
09

I love the smell of Sheep!

As you may know we are embarking on a new journey in church planting in Ada, Oklahoma. This new ministry has given me much to pray and ponder about lately. In preparation for the journey I have been looking at the lives of other pastors in the past to help prepare my own heart to “shepherd the flock of God” in the present.

Lately I have found myself reading about the ministry of R.C. Chapman who was referred to by C.H. Spurgeon as “The saintliest man I ever knew.”

Men like Chapman and Spurgeon give me great hope and great guidance in serving as God’s undershepherd. The following thoughts from R.C. Chapman have been in my mind and heart for some months now and I have found them to be a source of joy. I love to hear fellow pastors express their joy and love in serving as undershepherds and their testimony only fuels my burning desire to honor Christ by loving His sheep. I find great delight in the pursuit of loving and leading Christ’s church as a result of testimony and advice I have discovered here in Chapman’s life and ministry. Much of the following is derived from Alexander Strauch and Robert L. Peterson’s booklet on “Agape Leadership”.

“For those who are to exercise any office in the Church – that of evangelist, pastor- it is not knowledge and utterance only which are needed; but also, and above all, grace and an unblameable [lifestyle]…

Our joy in Christ speaks a language that all hearts can understand, and is a testimony for Him, such as mere knowledge and utterance can never give…

The figure of the mote [log] in the eye [Matthew 7] shows what skill and tenderness he has need of who would be a reprover to his brother. Who would trust so precious a member as the eye to a rough, unskillful hand?…”

R.C. Chapman

Chapman was never rough or harsh with people. Describing him, a friend said that Chapman was ‘bold as a lion and gentle as a nurse.” His model of handling others was God himself…

Chapman once said:

“Do we meet with unkindness from brethren? Instead of shooting our bitter words at them, let us judge ourselves; and endeavor, in love and wisdom, to overcome evil with good.”

Chapman found no satisfaction when a problem of sin and unrepentance had to be resolved by disfellowship from the church. He continued praying for restoration. Chapman cautioned that we must remember God’s love toward us when dealing with the sin of others.

“In reproving sin in others, we should remember the ways of the Holy Spirit of God towards us. He comes as the Spirit of love; and whatever His rebukes, He wins the heart by mercy and forgiveness through Christ.”

As a good undershepherd Chapman was constantly looking out for his sheep individually. He desired to encourage and equip them to serve others in the body of Christ by the exercise of their spiritual gifts.

“The Church, the body of Christ,” he said “cannot rise above its present low estate until there be a conscience in the members of fulfilling each one his office in the body.”

Chapman believed his responsibility, as pastor was to help people individually as well as corporately develop their faith in the Lord by laboring alongside them one on one.

“The lonely, the mournful, the friendless, the tempted, the defected, the despised, the forsaken, the outcast, Christ will wait on each one of them, whatever his case, as though that one were His only charge.

By this exact and special oversight of each member of His body, how precious, how lovely, how glorious, does Christ appear!”

As wonderful as Chapman’ testimony has proved to be as a minister of Christ I find that the Apostle Paul sums up my heart and the heart of all men who desire pastoral ministry better than anyone in 1 Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (ESV)

But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.

So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

As I ponder the responsibilities of pastoral ministry I am reminded that pastors like other Christians are ambassadors of Jesus Christ – we are called to be His representatives to the flock!

Pastors must be known by their clean hearts, clean hands, and clean conversation.

These traits are only possibly by grace alone that is why pastors must lean upon Christ in order to lead like Christ.

Pastors are called to be examples for the flock to follow as they follow Jesus.

1 Timothy 4:11-12

Prescribe and teach these things.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

“It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” – Robert Murray M’Cheyne

I love the smell of sheep!

Pastor Randy

Sovereign Grace Bible Church of Ada, Oklahoma

Dedicated to the doctrines of grace and expressing those doctrines with grace.

 

(A church plant in progress for the glory of God and the good of the saints!)

13
Mar
09

C.H. Spurgeon on Galatians 3:19

“This I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” Therefore, no inheritance and no salvation ever can be obtained by the law.

Now, extremes are the error of ignorance. Generally, when men believe one truth, they carry it so far as to deny another; and, very frequently, the assertion of a cardinal truth leads men to generalise on other particulars, and so to make falsehoods out of truth. The objection supposed may be worded thus: “You say, O Paul, that the law cannot justify; surely then the law is good for nothing at all; ‘Wherefore then serveth the law?’ If it will not save a man, what is the good of it? If of itself it will never take a man to heaven, why was it written? Is it not a useless thing?” The apostle might have replied to his opponent with a sneer—he must have said to him, “Oh, fool, and slow of heart to understand. Is it proved that a thing is utterly useless because it is not intended for every purpose in the world?

Will you say that, because iron cannot be eaten, therefore, iron is not useful? And because gold cannot be the food of man, will you, therefore, cast gold away, and call it worthless dross? Yet on your foolish supposition you must do so. For, because I have said the law cannot save, you have foolishly asked me what is the use of it? and you foolishly suppose God’s law is good for nothing, and can be of no value whatever.”

This objection is, generally, brought forward by two sorts of people. First, by mere cavillers who do not like the gospel, and wish to pick all sorts of holes in it. They can tell us what they do not believe; but they do not tell us what they do believe. They would fight with everybody’s doctrines and sentiments, but they would be at a loss if they were asked to sit down and write their own opinions. They do not seem to have got much further than the genius of the monkey, which can pull everything to pieces, but can put nothing together. Then, on the other hand, there is the Antinomian, who says, “Yes, I know I am saved by grace alone;” and then breaks the law—says, it is not binding on him, even as a rule of life; and asks, “Wherefore then serveth the law?” throwing it out of his door as an old piece of furniture only fit for the fire, because, forsooth, it is not adapted to save his soul.

Why, a thing may have many uses, if not a particular one. It is true that the law cannot save; and yet it is equally true that the law is one of the highest works of God, and is deserving of all reverence, and extremely useful when applied by God to the purposes for which it was intended…

The first use of the law is to manifest to man his guilt. When God intends to save a man, the first thing he does with him is to send the law to him, to show him how guilty, how vile, how ruined he is, and in how dangerous a position. You see that man lying there on the edge of the precipice; he is sound asleep, and just on the perilous verge of the cliff. One single movement, and he will roll over and be broken in pieces on the jagged rocks beneath, and nothing more shall be heard of him. How is he to be saved? What shall be done for him—what shall be done!

It is our position; we, too, are lying on the brink of ruin, but we are insensible of it. God, when he begins to save us from such an imminent danger, sendeth his law, which, with a stout kick, rouses us up, makes us open our eyes, we look down on our terrible danger, discover our miseries, and then it is we are in a right position to cry out for salvation, and our salvation comes to us.

The law acts with man as the physician does when he takes the film from the eye of the blind. Self-righteous men are blind men, though they think themselves good and excellent. The law takes that film away, and lets them discover how vile they are, and how utterly ruined and condemned if they are to abide under the sentence of the law…

The law tells you that unless you perfectly obey you cannot be saved by your doings, it tells you that one sin will make a flaw in it all, that one transgression will spoil your whole obedience. It is a spotless garment that you must wear in heaven; it is only an unbroken law which God can accept.

So, then, the law answers this purpose, to tell men that their acquirements, their amendings, and their doings, are of no use whatever in the matter of salvation. It is theirs to come to Christ, to get A new heart and a right spirit; to get the evangelical repentance which needeth not to be repented of, that so they may put their trust in Jesus and receive pardon through his blood.

“Wherefore then serveth the law?” It serveth this purpose, as Luther hath it, the purpose of a hammer. Luther, you know, is very strong on the subject of the law. He says, “For if any be not a murderer, an adulterer, a thief, and outwardly refrain from sin, as the Pharisee did, which is mentioned in the gospel, he would swear that he is righteous, and therefore he conceiveth an opinion of righteousness, and presumeth of his good works and merits. Such a one God cannot otherwise mollify and humble, that he may acknowledge his misery and damnation, but by the law, for that is the hammer of death, the thundering of hell, and the lightning of God’s wrath, that beateth to powder the obstinate and senseless hypocrites. For as long as the opinion of righteousness abideth in man, so long there abideth also in him incomprehensible pride, presumption, security, hatred of God, contempt of his grace and mercy, ignorance of the promises and of Christ. The preaching of free remission of sins, through Christ, cannot enter into the heart of such a one, neither can he feel any taste or savor thereof; for that mighty rock and adamant wall, to wit, the opinion of righteousness, wherewith the heart is environed, doth resist it. Wherefore the law is that hammer, that fire, that mighty strong wind, and that terrible earthquake rending the mountains, and breaking the rocks, (1 Kings 19:11-13) that is to say, the proud and obstinate hypocrites. Elijah, not being able to abide these terrors of the law, which by these things are signified, covered his face with his mantle. Notwithstanding, when the tempest ceased, of which he was a beholder, there came a soft and a gracious wind, in the which the Lord was; but it behoved that the tempest of fire, of wind, and the earthquake should pass, before the Lord should reveal himself in that gracious wind.”…

“Wherefore serveth the law.” It was sent into the world to keep Christian men from self-righteousness. Christian men—do they ever get self-righteous? Yes, that they do. The best Christian man in the world will find it hard work to keep himself from boasting, and from being self-righteous.

John Knox on his death-bed was attacked with self-righteousness. The last night of his life on earth, he slept some hours together, during which he uttered many deep and heavy moans. Being asked why he moaned so deeply, he replied, “I have during my life sustained many assaults of Satan; but at present he has assaulted me most fearfully, and put forth all his strength to make an end of me at once. The cunning Serpent has labored to persuade me, that I have merited heaven and eternal blessedness by the faithful discharge of my ministry. But blessed be God, who has enabled me to quench this fiery dart, by suggesting to me such passages as these: ‘What hast thou that thou hast not received?’ and, ‘By the grace of God I am what I am.'” Yes, and each of us have felt the same. I have often felt myself rather amused at some of my brethren, who have come to me, and said, “I trust the Lord will keep you humble,” when they themselves were not only as proud as they were high, but a few inches over. They have been most sincere in prayer that I should be humble, unwittingly nursing their own pride by their own imaginary reputation for humility.

I have long since given up entreating people to be humble, because it naturally tends to make them proud. A man is apt to say, “Dear me, these people are afraid I shall be proud; I must have something to be proud of.” Then we say to ourselves, “I will not let them see it;” and we try to keep our pride down, but after all, are as proud as Lucifer within. I find that the proudest and most self-righteous people are those who do nothing at all, and have no shadow of presence for any opinion of their own goodness.

The old truth in the book of Job is true now. You know in the beginning of the book of Job it is said, “The oxen were ploughing, and the asses were feeding beside them.” That is generally the way in this world. The oxen are ploughing in the church—we have some who are laboring hard for Christ—and the asses are feeding beside them, on the finest livings and the fattest of the land. These are the people who have so much to say about self-righteousness. What do they do? They do not do enough to earn a living, and yet they think they are going to earn heaven. They sit down and fold their hands, and yet they are so reverently righteous, because forsooth they sometimes dole out a little in charity. They do nothing, and yet boast of self-righteousness. And with Christian people it is the came.

If God makes you laborious, and keeps you constantly engaged in his service, you are less likely to be proud of our self-righteousness than you are if you do nothing. But at all times there is a natural tendency to it. Therefore, God has written the law, that when we read it we may see our faults; that when we look into it, as into a looking-glass, we may see the impurities in our flesh, and have reason to abhor ourselves in sackcloth and ashes, and still cry to Jesus for mercy. Use the law in this fashion, and in no other…

“Could your tears for ever flow,
Could your zeal no respite know,
All for sin could not atone;
Christ must save, and save alone.”

If ye would know how we must be saved, hear this—ye must come with nothing of your own to Christ. Christ has kept the law. You are to have his righteousness to be your righteousness. Christ has suffered in the stead of all who repent. His punishment is to stand instead of your being punished. And through faith in the sanctification and atonement of Christ, you are to be saved.

Come, then, ye weary and heavy laden, bruised and mangled by the Fall, come then, ye sinners, come, then, ye moralists, come, then, all ye that have broken God’s law and feel it, leave your own trusts and come to Jesus, he will take you in, give you a spotless robe of righteousness, and make you his for ever. “But how can I come?” says one; “Must I go home and pray?” Nay, sir, nay. Where thou art standing now, thou mayest come to the cross. Oh, if thou knowest thyself to be a sinner, now—I beseech you, ere thy foot shall leave the floor on which thou standest—now, say this—
“Myself into thy arms I cast:
Lord, save my guilty soul at last.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

26
Feb
09

Spurgeon’s Burden

I want to share some words with you from the “prince of preachers” Charles Haddon Spurgeon these words were taken from sermons preached during the years of 1855-1889.

Spurgeon’s words are compelling, convicting and Christ honoring. I pray they will stir our souls to worship the Lord Jesus more fervently and move us to obey His commands more excellently.

The burden of a preacher…
“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay…

Do we really believe that sinners will be damned forever? Do we think about their fate very often, if ever? Or do we busy ourselves in the work of the Lord, and never bother to implore them to come to the Savior? In general, the modern pulpit is deathly silent when it comes to the horrors of Hell. When do we hear preaching about the reality of the Lake of Fire or of the terrible wrath of God? Such themes aren’t popular with modern preachers. They never have been. They are not popular with me. Other topics are more attractive, but preachers must not ignore the fate of the lost, because if we do, we run the risk of it also being ignored in the pews…

If we don’t implore the world to turn from sin it’s because we don’t truly believe God’s Word. We cannot be so deathly cold, so evil-hearted as to not care. We haven’t let the reality of Hell sink into our minds and soften our hard hearts. The fact of its existence should horrify us beyond words, and then it should be reflected in our prayers and in our preaching.”

“The burden, which the preacher of God bears, is for God and on Christ’s behalf, and for the good of men. He has a natural instinct, which makes him care for the souls of others, and his anxiety is that none should perish, but that all should find salvation through Jesus Christ…”

“You cannot preach conviction of sin unless you have suffered it. You cannot preach repentance unless you have practiced it. You cannot preach faith unless you have exercised it. You may talk about these things, but there will be no power in the talk unless what is said has been experimentally proved in your own soul. It is easy to tell when a man speaks what he has made his own, or when he deals in secondhand experience…”

The proper use of the Bible…
“Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself!”

“The sermons that are most likely to convert people seem to me to be those that are full of truth, truth about the fall, truth about the Law, truth about human nature and its alienation from God, truth about Jesus Christ, truth about the Holy Spirit, truth about the Everlasting Father, truth about the new birth, truth about obedience to God and how we learn it, and all such great verities. Tell your hearers something, dear bretheren, whenever you preach, tell them something, tell them something!”

“Preach Christ or nothing; do not dispute or discuss except with your eye on the cross.”
“They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore, the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place…
The Law is the surgeon’s knife that cuts out the proud flesh that the wound may heal. The Law by itself only sweeps and raises the dust, but the gospel sprinkles clean water upon the dust, and all is well in the chamber of the soul. The Law kills; the gospel makes alive. The Law strips, and then Jesus Christ comes in and robes the soul in beauty and glory. All the commandments and all the types direct us to Christ, if we will heed their evident intent.”

“I do not think I can preach more, for a faintness has come over me, nor is there need for more if you will but chew the cud of this one precious truth: Jesus is the Lamb which God provided, and He is the Lamb, which God Himself presented at the altar. Yet, I must rouse myself to say a little more. Who was it that sacrificed the Lamb of God? Who was the priest on that dread day? Who was it that bruised Him? Who put Him to grief? Who caused Him the direst pang of all when He cried, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” Was it not the Father Himself? This was one point in the hardness of Abraham’s test – “Take now your son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and offer him a sacrifice.” He must himself officiate at the sacrifice. This the great Father did! He is the Lamb, the Lamb of God. And now today the bright side of this truth remains. He is the Lamb that God always accepts, must accept, glories to accept. Bring but Jesus with you, and you have brought God an acceptable sacrifice.”

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.

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