February 27, 2010

Invite to be a Guest Blogger: Part 2

Part-2, The Perfect Teacher based on Galatians 3:24 is posted over at www.philmorgan.org.

Comments or questions you may have are encouraged and appreciated.

Faithfully in Christ.

February 26, 2010

Invite to be a Guest Blogger: Part 1

In January of this year, I started my Pastoral Ministry internship at First Assembly of God in Brookfield, Connecticut, under the leadership of Pastor Phil Morgan.

Pastor Phil and I share quite a few things in common, of which a few are:
  1. A love for God.
  2. A love for His Word.
  3. The expositional preaching and teaching of His Word.
  4. The spiritual growth of people.
  5. Evangelism.
  6. Disicpleship.
  7. Blogging.

We visit each other's blog often and as much as I am learning from him as a pastoral intern, he has helped me to learn a few things about blogging too. We joke with each other gracefully about our eReaders too and who has the better one, he has a Nook and I have a Kindle.

When he asked me last week, to write a blog post as a guest for his blog, I was honored by his request and I was finally able to put something together for the blog.

So over at http://www.philmorgan.org/, you can read Part-1 of my post, The Perfect Teacher based on Galatians 3:24.

Any comments you may have are encouraged and appreciated.


Faithfully in Christ.

February 25, 2010

Preach The Word by Steven Lawson

Dr. Steven J. Lawson is senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama, and he is author of The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards. Audio and video sermons are available at http://www.sermonaudio.com/.


Every season of reformation and every hour of spiritual awakening has been ushered in by a recovery of biblical preaching. This cause and effect is timeless and inseparable. J.H. Merle D’Aubigné, noted Reformation historian, writes, “The only true reformation is that which emanates from the Word of God.” That is to say, as the pulpit goes, so goes the church.

Such was the case in the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other reformers were raised up by God to lead this era. At the forefront, it was their recovery of expository preaching that helped launch this religious movement that turned Europe and, eventually, Western civilization upside down. With sola Scriptura as their battle cry, a new generation of biblical preachers restored the pulpit to its former glory and revived apostolic Christianity.

The same was true in the golden era of the puritans in the seventeenth century. A recovery of biblical preaching spread like wildfire through the dry religion of Scotland and England. A resurgence of authentic Christianity came as an army of biblical expositors — John Owen, Jeremiah Burroughs, Samuel Rutherford, and others — marched upon the British Empire with an open Bible and uplifted voice. In its wake, the monarchy was shaken and history was altered.

The eighteenth century witnessed exactly the same. The Bible-saturated preaching of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and the Tennents thundered through the early colonies. The Atlantic seaboard was electrified with the proclamation of the gospel, and New England was taken by storm. The Word was preached, souls were saved, and the kingdom expanded.

The fact is, the restoration of biblical preaching has always been the leading factor in any revival of genuine Christianity. Philip Schaff writes, “Every true progress in church history is conditioned by a new and deeper study of the Scriptures.” That is to say, every great revival in the church has been ushered in by a return to expository preaching.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, preacher of Westminster Chapel London, stated, “The most urgent need in the Christian Church today is true preaching; and as it is the greatest and the most urgent need in the Church, it is the greatest need of the world also.” If the doctor’s diagnosis is correct, and this writer believes it is, then a return to true preaching — biblical preaching, expository preaching — is the greatest need in this critical hour. If a reformation is to come to the church, it must begin in the pulpit.

In his day, the prophet Amos warned of an approaching famine, a deadly drought that would cover the land. But not an absence of mere food or water, for this scarcity would be far more fatal. It would be a famine for hearing God’s Word (
Amos 8:11). Surely, the church today finds itself in such similar days of shortage. Tragically, exposition is being replaced with entertainment, doctrine with drama, theology with theatrics, and preaching with performances. What is so desperately needed today is for pastors to return to their highest calling — the divine summons to “preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:1–2).

What is expository preaching? The Genevan reformer John Calvin explained, “Preaching is the public exposition of Scripture by the man sent from God, in which God Himself is present in judgment and in grace.” In other words, God is unusually present, by His Spirit, in the preaching of His Word. Such preaching starts in a biblical text, stays in it, and shows its God-intended meaning in a life-changing fashion.

This was the final charge of Paul to young Timothy: “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (
2 Tim. 4:2). Such preaching necessitates declaring the full counsel of God in Scripture. The entire written Word must be expounded. No truth should be left untaught, no sin unexposed, no grace unoffered, no promise undelivered.

A heaven-sent revival will only come when Scripture is enthroned once again in the pulpit. There must be the clarion declaration of the Bible, the kind of preaching that gives a clear explanation of a biblical text with compelling application, exhortation, and appeal.

Every preacher must confine himself to the truths of Scripture. When the Bible speaks, God speaks. The man of God has nothing to say apart from the Bible. He must not parade his personal opinions in the pulpit. Nor may he expound worldly philosophies. The preacher is limited to one task — preach the Word.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon said, “I would rather speak five words out of this book than 50,000 words of the philosophers. If we want revivals, we must revive our reverence for the Word of God. If we want conversions, we must put more of God’s Word into our sermons.” This remains the crying need of the hour.

May a new generation of strong men step forward and speak up, and may they do so loud and clear. As the pulpit goes, so goes the church.


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February 15, 2010

False Teachers: Mark, Avoid and Why?

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17-18.

This message was delivered to my Systematic Theology II class at Alliance Theological Seminary in Nyack, New York on 15 February 2010.

During my morning devotional reading recently, these two verses from Paul's last letter to the church in Rome opened my eyes, regarding the importance of preaching and teaching, sound biblical doctrine.

A great lesson is provided here to us, whether we are currently engaged in preaching and teaching or will be in the near future.

The Apostle Paul was making a summons to encourage his hearers to beware of those that strive to separate the body of Christ, from what they had heard and trusted regarding Jesus' teaching, from Paul and the other apostles. His instruction was for the steadfast unity of teaching and to take notice of those that operated in a contrary manner as well as for those that either were following these false teachers, or were contemplating accepting their teaching as valid, like the apostles.

HOW IMPORTANT IS DOCTRINE?
According to the Word of God, sound doctrine is extremely important. (These 4 points obtained from
www.wayoflife.org, The Importance of Biblical Doctrine).

1. The two Greek words translated "doctrine" in the King James Bible, didaskalia and didache, are also translated "teacheth" (Romans 12:7) and "learning" (Romans 15:4). These Greek words are used more than 140 times in the New Testament, which shows how important doctrine is before God.

2. Doctrine and its companion terms are referred to 59 times in 1 and 2 Timothy alone.

3. "The truth" is referred to 10 times in 2 and 3 John alone. The apostle John said, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" (3 John 4).

4. 1 Timothy 1:3 says that no false doctrine is to be allowed, which is a very narrow view of doctrinal purity.

MARK AND AVOID
Paul said to, "mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."

Paul would have no other reason to say such a thing if they were not causing division, nor found guilty of offenses, or that their preaching had a doctrinal basis that was completely sound. But it wasn't.

The Greek word for offence in this verse is the word skandalon, which means a trap, or a snare, or any person or thing by which one is (entrapped) drawn into error or sin.

These false teachers were to be labeled for whom they were and avoided. Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible expresses what this type of avoidance means saying, "it does not mean that they were to be treated harshly; but that they were to be avoided in their "instructions.""

DISCERNING WHOM THEY ARE SERVANTS OF
Paul said these false teachers were divisive because, "they serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (v. 18)

These false teachers were motivated more by their carnal desires rather than the cross. Their sermons sounded good, as if they were theological, biblical and even doctrinal, but they handled the Word of God deceitfully.

In his letter to the Philippians (Phil 3:18-19), Paul said that those who are enemies of the cross, their god is their belly and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. These enemies of the cross, whose god is their belly are those who "worship their own appetites; or who live not to adore and honor God, but for self-indulgence and sensual gratifications" (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible, commentary on Philippians 3:19).

Regardless of your role in the church, whether you teach a small group, lead a bible study, you are the pastor or you plan to be licensed and ordained with the privilege to preach and teach, we are responsible for teaching sound biblical doctrine, which can be accomplished through a weekly expository preaching of the Scripture.

We are responsible as shepherds, to those whom hear what we say about God's Word that they are discovering the the truth of God's word from its depth and not from the suface, because if the congregation fails to become as devoted to the doctrine of Scripture as they should be, the responsibility for falling prey to approving and following someone that is doctrinally in error, lies with the shepherd AND WITH THE SHEEP.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. The more they increased, The more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity. And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, And reward them for their deeds. Hosea 4:6-9.

WHAT DOES A FALSE BIBLICAL DOCTRINE LEAD TO? WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?

1. False doctrine is an evidence of not knowing God or His Word.

  • Jeremiah 2:8 - The priests said not, Where [is] the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after [things that] do not profit.

2. False doctrine destroys the church.

  • Jeremiah 12:10 - Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

3. False doctrine separates the church and brings the judgment of God upon them.

  • Jeremiah 23:1-2 - Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

4. False doctrine is a destructive heresy.

  • 2 Peter 2:1-3 - But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
  • 2 Peter 2 describes the terrible fate, corruption and treachery of false teachers of the Scripture.

5. False doctrine is a sign of apostasy.

  • 1 Timothy 4:1-3 - Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-5 - But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

If we fail to adhere, obey and submit to the authority of the doctrine of Scripture, using it as profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, we cannot expect to be fully equipped by God (2 Timothy 2:16-17). Such work will be done for selfish gain and not in humble service and devotion to our Lord who died for our sins.

FINAL EXHORTATION

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 1 Peter 5:1-4.

OTHER BIBLE FACTS ABOUT DOCTRINE

http://wayoflife.org/files/a601056611c6f41c290bdd37a687abfa-291.html
We are to continue in the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42).
The apostles filled Jerusalem with doctrine (Acts 5:28).
We are saved by believing the right doctrine (Romans 6:17; 1 John 5:20; 2 John 9).
We are to separate from those who teach false doctrine (Romans 16:17).
We must be careful of winds of false doctrine (Ephesians 4:14).
No false doctrine is to be allowed (1 Timothy 1:3).
The preacher is to give himself to doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13).
The preacher is to take heed to doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16).
Preachers who labor in doctrine are to be rewarded (1 Timothy 5:17).
Sound doctrine is to be adorned with godly living (1 Timothy 6:1,3; Titus 2:1).
The Bible is given for doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16).
The Bible is to be preached with doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2).
The last days is characterized by a turning from sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3).
The preacher must be able to use doctrine to protect the church (Titus 1:9).
Our doctrine is to be uncorrupt (Titus 2:10).
We abide in Christ by sound doctrine (1 John 2:24-27).
True Christian love is grounded in truth or sound Bible doctrine (2 John 1; 3 John 1).
Those who abide not in sound doctrine are not of God and are not be to received (2 John 9-10).


References

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Grace of Giving, 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Pastor Phil Morgan, Frist Assembly of God, Brookfield, CT.

February 4, 2010

Man arrested on charges of shooting street preachers in Boynton Beach

Click the title of this post to read the full story.

Some may say this man deserves to go to hell and they'd be right. However, his sin of murder is no more deserving of hell than those that sin by lying, stealing, blasphemy, fornication, adultery, making the Sabbath Day unholy, dishonoring their parents, covetousness, etc...

Read what God has to say in His Holy Word ---
  • For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10.

  • Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24.

  • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23.
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Isaiah 33:11.

February 2, 2010

Earthquakes in Various Places - Are You Ready?

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Matthew 24:7-8, NKJV.

The world has witnessed the terrible tragedy that occurred in Haiti a few weeks ago, where a devastating earthquake has left thousands dead, millions without food and water and a political, financial and economic infrastructure that has been literally brought to the ground.

Shock and awe of the immense tragedy, sudden loss of life and the thousands of children that are now orphaned has left many speechless and greatly dumbfounded.

Thankfully, there has been a great response from people all over the world to provide relief for the country of Haiti.

Yet since then, there has been a few more aftershocks in Haiti and since 3 January 2010 there have been eight other earthquakes around the world, the ninth one taking place in Papua New Guinea on 1 February 2010. This quake measured 6.2 on the richter scale. (Please visit the United States Geological Survey website for more information).

As these events take place, I have been posting them on my Facebook profile and I'll also begin to post here on my blog too. Much to my surprise, this blog has received hits from all around the world, so I am hopeful that many people will take heed to the warning signs that we are seeing and not ignore them.

This isn't doom & gloom. These earthquakes are one of the many signs we will begin to see concerning the second coming of Jesus Christ. These earthquakes are part of the warning signs God is sending to those that remain guilty of their sin, who will see & receive His judgment and these are hopeful signs for the believing Christian who await His glorious appearing.

Please note Matthew Henry's Commentary concerning this:

Earthquakes in divers places, or from place to place, pursuing those that flee from them, as they did from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah, Zechariah 14:5. Great desolations have sometimes been made by earthquakes, of late and formerly; they have been the death of many, and the terror of more. In the apocalyptic visions, it is observable, that earthquakes bode good, and no evil, to the church, Revelation 6:12. Compare Revelation 6:15; 11:12-13, 19; Revelation 16:17-19. When God shakes terribly the earth (Isaiah 2:21), it is to shake the wicked out of it (Job 38:13), and to introduce the desire of all nations, Haggai 2:6-7. But here they are spoken of as dreadful judgments, and yet but the beginning of sorrows, ōdinōn - of travailing pains, quick, violent, yet tedious too. Note, When God judgeth, he will overcome; when he begins in wrath, he will make a full end, 1 Samuel 3:12. When we look forward to the eternity of misery that is before the obstinate refusers of Christ and his gospel, we may truly say, concerning the greatest temporal judgments, "They are but the beginning of sorrows; bad as things are with them, there are worse behind."

"Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Matthew 24:44.

ARE YOU READY?

Recommended books:

  • The Bible - New King James Version or King James Version, Key Word Study Bible
  • The Second Coming, Signs of Christ's Return and the End of the Age by John MacArthur
  • Glory of Heaven: The Truth About Heaven, Angels and Eternal Life by John MacArthur

Free downloadable audio lessons:


Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report

This morning, I read a story titled,  Christian Persecution Hits All-Time High Worldwide: Report , which is  about how much the persecutio...