Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Monday's word of the week - Late

Expository is our word this week.

I picked this word because it seems to be the rave that most people talk about anymore when it comes to preaching. I've been told that there are really only three types of preaching styles in use. You can preach biographical - preaching about Moses and his life, or specifically about certain Bible characters. You can preach topical. This would mean that you might preach on Sin, or alcohol, or maybe marriage. Pick anyone of your favorite subject areas. Finally, you can preach Expositional. Preaching from the text and attempting to expound on that same text. Now you may find other ways to preach; for instance some have said that there is a Evangelistic way, or a Gospel way. For my general purposes, I just outlined the three, and will only expound on the one, or should I say Exposit the one.

Now of course I want it to be known that you can have variations of the the three types of preaching. You can preach a topical message and at the same time expose the text for its meaning. You can also teach about moses (Biographical), at the same time you may preach in an expositional fashion.

So what is my desire today? It is to help you understand expository/expostional as a word. What it means to you, and where and under what circumstances you will find the word.

First lets look at the straight forward dictionary definition lifted right off the pages of

Expository means:

of the nature of exposition; serving to expound, set forth, or explain: an expository essay; expository writing.

Exposition means:

1. A setting forth of meaning or intent.
2. a. A statement or rhetorical discourse intended to give information about or an explanation of difficult material. b. The art or technique of composing such discourses. c. The first part of a composition in sonata form that introduces the themes. d. The opening section of a fugue.
3. Music a. The first part of a composition in sonata form that introduces the themes. b. The opening section of a fugue.
4. The part of a play that provides the background information needed to understand the characters and the action.
5. An act or example of exposing.
6. A public exhibition or show, as of artistic or industrial developments.

As for any biblical text concerning the word expository, expositional, or exposition, you won't find anyone of them. They are non-existent in the Bible. Again, the reason I'm including this word as a Monday word of the week is that it is kinda of the hot button word of our time.

However, when it comes to Expository preaching, and why we should preach this way, I decided to use the best source that I can think of. Look at what John MacArthur tells us about why we should preach Expositional from an article titled "Expository Preaching in a Postmodern World"

Well first, because it is a biblical mandate. It doesn’t fluctuate with culture, with expectations, with times or seasons. Expository preaching is the best way to preach the Bible. If every word of God is pure, if every word of God is true, then every word needs to be dealt with. And expository preaching is only way you actually come to grips with every word in the Scriptures.

Secondly, expository preaching familiarizes people with the Scripture itself instead of simply giving them a speech, as true and as reflective of biblical teaching as that speech may be. With expository preaching, people become familiar with the Scripture. They can go back to the passages that have been addressed, and they can be reminded by the text itself of what it means. So you give people the Word of God in a way that has long-term impact, because it makes them familiar with Scripture.

Thirdly, it makes the authority unequivocal, and that authority is the Scripture. That’s very clear no matter how powerful or gifted the preacher might be. In consistent, expository preaching, the people always know what the authority is. It’s not about homiletics. It’s not about personal viewpoints and insights. It’s about relentlessly affirming the true authority of Scripture, which is the most critical thing that anybody can ever learn. It isn’t about, “Wasn’t that a great sermon?” It isn’t about, “Wasn’t that a great outline? Wasn’t that clever?” It’s always about, “What did the Word of God say?” And that makes it truly authoritative, because the Word is from God. No other preaching paradigm does this.

Now how can we argue with John on this. If you want to hear some great Expositional Preaching go to Grace To You a ministry of John MacArthur. You have a large selection of sermons to hear and you can do it when you have time. Check it out.

I do hope you understand this word much better than you have in the past. I am a strong advocate of this type preaching. It gives our congregations something to hold on to. It gives us "meat". Once the text is exposed for them to truly understand, they will go back too it time after time after time. Like someone looking for dinner, it will always be there for them.

May God bless you and your family with a man of God that will truthfully and faithful expose the text so that you will understand it and find the real meaning of it. Please remember there is only one meaning to any specific piece of text in the Bible, and that is God's meaning.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Beauty of Children

There is not one day, no not one that I don't wake up thanking God for what he has given me. Especially when I look at my growing children.

I was witnessing to a middle aged female not to long ago and she stated to me that she believes we are living in hell. She also didn't believe in the same God I believed in, stating to me emphatically that if that is how God is "I don't want any part of him."

Going back to my first couple of sentences I would be more inclined to believe we are in Heaven versus hell. However, I guess it depends on where your point of view comes from. If you believe that you are nothing, and that you deserve God's wrath; its safe to say that you have a high view of God, and great dose of thankfulness for your beating heart he allows to beat. If on the other hand, you don't see God as all controlling and all knowing, that there is no plan and we are "accidents", I can see why you would feel that we live in Hell.

I don't see how anyone could imagine life as hell. I see too many wonderful things for this to be hell. My heart goes out to this lady I spoke with, she appears to have many good things going for her, but she is missing a reason for living. A reason to be who she is, and a reason to just be thankful. I think we all need to be thankful this morning for what we have. Look at the beautiful people around you. Each one in God's own image, yet each one so different. Look at the natural landscapes available as you travel to and from work today, and thank God for his beauty and existence he displays so freely. Encourage someone today, better yet, encourage someone you don't know, and make a difference for that one person today.

Let me leave you with a little piece of God's beautiful creation today. The picture is of my almost 1 year old daughter named Chloe. I can clearly see God's beauty being displayed through her. Oh, I know I have it so easy, and my prayer is that at age 16 I will still "calmly", see God's beauty in her as she goes through those teenage years.

Oh, by the way, I don't believe we are living in Heaven or hell, but we are living on the planet earth. One day, God will redeem his people and take us to that Celestial City, just like in Pilgrim's Progress. What a glorious day that will be.

Friday, April 25, 2008

In "Tamar" I see myself!

You might ask me a question such as "How in the heck do you see yourself in Tamar." On its face, it sure is an odd statement. Especially when we look at Tamar. Tamar the one that had sexual relations with her father-in-law while acting like a prostitute. Yeap, I see myself in her....LOL

In my condensed version of the events in Genesis 38 we find the story of Judah and Tamar. Judah, who is Jacob's son left his brothers and married a Canaanite; a descendant of Ham(Noah's Son) and part of the cursed people. In this marriage to Hirah, Judah would father three sons. They are Er, Onan, and Shelah. Er was given in marriage to Tamar. However, Er was found to be wicked in the eyes of the Lord and the Lord killed him. So Onan had to marry Tamar. However, the indication in scripture is that Onan would not have children with Tamar which displeased the Lord, and the Lord killed him. Then Judah promised Tamar that Shelah would marry her when he was grown. To make a long story short this third marriage never happened. So it is at this moment that Tamar takes things into her own hand and acts like a prostitute on the road to Timnah which Judah would be travelling. Judah finds her on the side of the road(not knowing who she is because she covers her face)and he has sexual relations with her. It is found later that she is pregnant and is to be burned for her crime. However, she kinda has a Ace in the hole, if you know what I mean. Judah left her his Signet, Cord, and Staff, (as a pledge for payment) identifying him as the father of this unborn child. Ooops. Did I leave that their. So needless to say she is not burned, she has twins who are named Perez and Zerah. In a funny sidenote on how God works, it appears Zerah was coming out first, when at the last moment his hand went back into the womb and out popped Perez.

The point that this story makes is that it shows us that God can take in essence a prostitute and figure it into the bloodline of our Glorious Savior. If we go to the 1st chapter of Matthew we see the genealogy of Jesus Christ. In verse 4 we have "Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram,". Now lets go forward a number of years where we come to verse 16 when we have "And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. God's plan to perfection. Prostitute to Savior. Is he awesome. I also think he has a sense of humor.

Now back to my point of seeing myself in Tamar. I was born wicked and I did many things that should have sentenced me to death in the Lords eyes. However, he kept me alive and found some bit of favor in me for believing. I know with all my heart that my Savior picked me. Picked me, and I make Tamar look like an innocent angel. Take your Bible out and just read the 38th chapter of Genesis again. This small story inside the story of Joseph gives us a glimpse of God making things happen the way he wants it to happen. Most of us have just casually glossed over this story. But, look at how wonderful our savior is and how he "makes lemonade from lemons." Well, I'm here to tell you that he can make lemonade from you also. No matter how rotten or how bad you were; our God is big enough and strong enough and God enough to redeem you. Not only can he redeem you, but he can use you to the betterment of His Kingdom and to His Glory.

I pray thanking him everyday for redeeming me. He redeemed someone like Alex Bash, someone that would make Tamar look like a saint. I think that if we all look real close, we might find Tamar in us also.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Out of Context Scripture

My old and I mean old...(nah he's not that old) Pastor Reggie Weems (Heritage Baptist Church, Johnson City, TN) got me to thinking (which is hard to do) at one of his services that my wife and I attended. Now because of that service I have a beef with some pastors, lay persons, and casual believers. It is the fact that so many people are taking words and scripture completely out of context. They will take scripture and make it say what they want to say. For instance, Reggie (by the way he didn't misuse this scripture, he was making a minor point, which was part of a larger point of emphasis)used Jesus' message out of John 8:31-32 to make his point. The main point in that scripture which most believers take out of context is in verse 32. It says "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Most people when asked about this scripture think it means truth, as in not telling a lie. Most adults to include Christian adults believe this as fact also. (don't believe me, try it with some christian adults you know) We know that Jesus is the truth, and to believe in him will set you free from the sin that he mentions later in the chapter. It has nothing to do with telling a lie. Nothing at all.

Another one is spare the rod and spoil the child. This is another piece of Scripture usually taken completely out of context. Some parents think that we have to beat our children, and some actually use rods and switch's to deliver the discipline and then use scripture to get approval for it. Now I'm not advocating not to use spankings, it's just probably not appropriate to deliver it with a rod, if you know what I mean. But, the rod is metaphoric here; the writer is not advocating using a rod to discipline. He means that discipline is needed, when he talks about the rod of discipline. We are to use discipline wisely and when needed or we will spoil the child.

Another case I saw first hand when a young lady in our youth group was told by her boyfriend that she was to submit to him in all things. I said..REALLLLLY. Hmmmm lets look at scripture to see what it says. Ephesians 5:22 starts off with Wives. LOL...I said, hmmm are you a wife. She said "no." I said well then that doesn't cover you does it. I did go on and explain the context of the scripture, but the point again is that someone was being foolish with scripture and they were trying to manipulate a young lady with it. This to me is ungodly.

We as believers need to make sure that we don't take scripture out of it's context. A general rule that I learned was that we are to to read what is in front of the said piece of scripture, and then read what is after the said piece of scripture. This will allow you to have a better opportunity of understanding the scripture. However, nothing is understandable without the Holy Spirit's help. We can only understand what he allows us to understand. We should also be in prayer constantly as we read the Holy Scriptures. This brings our relationship with God so much closer and as we are closer to the Holy One, we understand him more and more. I've seen this in my own walk where I've looked at certain scriptures and I just didn't get it. I've come back years later and after a much closer walk in prayer and life committed to him; I was able to truly understand the same passages that seemed like literal Greek or Hebrew just a few years ago.

So to all believers; I encourage you to stay in prayer and stay in the scripture so that you may understand what he is saying. God's meaning is only one, not many, so don't believe that each piece of scripture may mean something to you and something different for me. Scripture means the same, we may use it differently in our life, but God only has one meaning for his word.

Stay in Prayer. Stay in Prayer. Stay in Prayer.


See what I'm talking about. Check this article out here. It even permeates our politics.

(HT: Hot Air)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday's word of the week.


This one word of 11 letters packs some punch. When one thinks of Soteriology, the basic definition brings us back to the doctrine of salvation.

Looking at the definition for Soteriology we go no further than our friendly online reference Soteriolgy is the Branch of Christian thelogy that deals with salvation. It is derived from the Greek sōtērion (salvation)(from sōtēr savior, preserver) + English - logy. So again, basically we are dealing with salvation and the nature of how God provides for that salvation.

Lets look at soteriology from a Biblical viewpoint. Now of course you won't find Soteriology in the bible in that specific word form. However we do find two word sources that play right off of Soterion. The first one is Soteria - We see this definition from Blue Letter Bible -

1) deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation
a) deliverance from the molestation of enemies
b) in an ethical sense, that which concludes to the souls safety or salvation
1) of Messianic salvation
2) salvation as the present possession of all true Christians
3) future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which the Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God.

We see it used in the Bible in many places - Specifically taking the place of Salvation, Saved, and Health. In Luke 1:71 "that we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us," in Luke 1:77 "To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,".

The other word we see taken from Soterion is Soterio. Its specific definition is:

1) saving, bringing salvation
2) he who embodies this salvation, or through whom God is about to achieve it
3) the hope of (future) salvation

Its use in the bible is found in places like Luke 2:30 "For mine eyes have seen thy salvation of God." and Titus 2:11 " For the grace of God that bringeth salvation that appeared to all men,"

The main difference between the two words is that Soterio means "that brings salvation" and Soteria means "the one being saved or delivered, or health". This is a very important point and will determine how the word is used in biblical context.

Soteriology is the doctrine of Salvation. We as believers understand the meaning of salvation, but non-believers may be confused. The Gospel message consists of several facts to include a supernatural birth, sinless life, death on the cross, risen savior, witnessed by many. Salvation comes to us as we believe and have faith that he is indeed our pure lamb that was slaughtered on the cross to appease our God. That he took the sins of man upon himself saving me from the trial of meeting God and being sentenced to a FOREVER death. I thus will be saved, or have salvation from my belief in the savior. Taking him literally as my savior. I am sometimes said to have "saving faith".

I do hope that Soteriology is a little more understandable. I also hope you understand salvation and the Gospel message.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Josh McDowell - TN Visit

I just wanted all of my 2 readers to know that Josh McDowell will be visiting my old church Two Rivers Baptist Church. He will be at Two Rivers on Monday the 21st of April at 7:00 pm in the chapel.

This is a great opportunity to see a message from a pretty good apologetic. His book "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" is a classic, and the more recent release "New Evidence that Demands a Verdict" is even better. However, I must admit to never reading either one, that information is from what I have heard. I have to say the book of his that I recommend (and read a couple of times)most often to non-believers and one that I have given away quite often is "More than a Carpenter". It's great to carry onto an airplane and give away to the person next to you who may ask "what are you reading".

Well if you find yourself in the area, stop by Two Rivers or better yet check out their website from the link above.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tim Challies

At the T4G conference I was able to meet a person I highly respect as a blogger and writer. Most important however, is the fact that he has inspired me to write, which I am grateful for. I don't know him through any other means than through his blog, but he has been both kind and gracious to me. I also have a proof pic, LOL if you look Allen is to the left, Tim is then in the center and then you find me to the right. You can also find Tim's blog here. Please take a look at it.

Tim Challies has been to a couple of conferences that I have attended to include T4G 08 and Ligonier last year. It was only a few months prior to Ligonier last year that I happened to find his blog online. I don't even remember where or how I was linked up to it. But, I did find it and I have enjoyed his posts. They are always interesting and insightful. I was also able to find many other bloggers that I enjoyed reading from his "King of the week" postings. He also has a enjoyable sidebar column called "A LA CARTE" which also contains interesting posts, and oddball type articles.

Tim has been very gracious to me both times that I met him (T4G 08 and Ligonier)and the many times we have corresponded via email. I wanted him too initially put together a website for me so I could blog, but through much prayer and consultation with my wife I decided to use Blogspot until I was sure I wanted to write and that it wasn't just a phase. Tim again was gracious and encouraging. He said that I was on the right track by starting out with Blogspot, and it would be a good way to ensure I wanted to blog.

So Tim, I want to thank you for your advice and your willingness to help out. But, most importantly for your kindness. It is easy to get "big headed" with the popularity of your blog, but you seem to keep it all in stride. I remember talking to you about writing for myself, and you mentioned that you, like me, write for yourself. Please, keep writing for yourself, I think that is the reason you are being so successful. May God continue to use you for the glory of His kingdom. Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing you at the next conference.

T4G 08 - Together for the Gospel

I just came back yesterday from a wonderful time of Worship, Fellowship, and pure learning.

I was able to listen to some of the Greatest minds who are currently living in regards to sound Biblical teaching. Sometimes this group of men are referred to as what one friend termed as the "Superfriends". The teachers consisted of R.C. Sproul - who by the way is part of Ligonier Ministries. My first reformed type conference was at Ligonier Ministries two years ago when my friend Allen Barnes invited me with a general calling of friends. He put out a blanket email to all of his friends and God used that to start a re-awakening or maybe better wording would be "put my truth in sharper focus to do His great work". I am just a tad off subject...... Other teachers included John MacArthur, whose ministry Grace To You (GTY) has been an inspiration to me because a few years ago I was seeking out strong reformed preaching but couldn't find it locally for a long time. So John and I became fast friends. I should say myself and his website became fast friends. Also teaching was: Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler - President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, CJ Mahaney - Sovereign Grace Ministries, and finally one of my all time hero's in the faith John Piper from Bethlehem Baptist in the twin cities and the person responsible for Desiring God. He is the man that makes me sit up and listen like a school child as he teaches from scripture. He inspires me to preach and inspires me to act on that desire. Not many men in my life have done that, he is one of the few.

Mind you I love each and everyone of these men who taught this week, but for some reason one or two inspire me much more than the others. God works that differently for all of us. I remember as one of the men finished up preaching one of my friends told me how moved he was by the message...and I thought to myself...hmmm ok. I didn't feel the way he did, but it sure did happen to me with John Piper's message. God is awesome.

T4G will be held again in 2010 and I plan on being a part of it. Next year our conference choice is still up in the air, but I'm leaning towards Ligonier with my friends from Nashville. We will see what God plans for all of us. I can't wait to see his work.