October 21, 2017
Pull your trust off of your dead idols (i.e. worldly wealth) and put your trust in the living God! This is Paul’s command to those who are “rich in this present age.” Don’t get the big head about having more stuff than someone else. After all, it is the Lord who “gives” us whatever we have, whether in this age, or in the age to come. Besides, worldly wealth is “uncertain.” It can be gone in a moment. But the inheritance we have in Christ Jesus “is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Pet. 1:4).
October 17, 2017
God desires that all humanity would be saved. Yet, we know from the Scriptures that only those who believe will receive God’s salvation. The tension between what God “desires” for us and what humanity desires for itself is difficult to ease. We tend to overstate one side or the other, either making too little or too much of man’s free will. However, let us just consider the fact that God “desires” to save us, absent the doctrinal conundrum for a moment. This surely reveals to us something about God. He created us. He loves us. And He wants to save us and be known by us. That God “desires all men to be saved” reveals the loving heart of our God that would motivate Him to send His only Son, Jesus, to actually purchase what He Himself desired.
October 16, 2017
The apostle Paul was thankful to the Lord Jesus for changing him from a persecutor to a preacher. He spoke of the Lord’s enablement–– that it was the Lord who empowered him to preach. He spoke of his calling–– that it was the Lord who “counted” him worthy. In other words, Paul wasn’t really worthy. He wasn’t really “faithful.” But the Lord counted his confession of faith as righteousness. The Lord’s faithfulness was accounted unto Paul, so that it became Paul’s faithfulness. Finally, the Lord “put” Paul into ministry. The Lord had a specific purpose and place for Paul. And Paul was pleased and thankful to fulfill it.
I join the apostle Paul in thankfulness on this Monday morning. I am thankful to Jesus that he enables me, counts me faithful and that he put me into the ministry.
Want to join me and Paul in some Monday morning thankfulness today?
October 20, 2015
Elders are to lead and feed the flock. Or as Paul taught, they are to “rule well” and “labor in the word and doctrine.” In return, the members of the flock are to count them “worthy of double honor.” The word honor has the meaning of both respect and reward. It is appropriate that a pastor who devotes himself to full time ministry be given appropriate respect and financial support. He is worthy of a double honor. Yet, elders should not serve in order to receive this honor, rather they should be ready to sacrifice all for the privilege of fulfilling Christ’s call. Elders should sacrifice to serve and members should sacrifice to support.
October 18, 2015
Paul wrote two letters to Timothy to instruct him on how to pastor the church at Ephesus. In chapter three of his first letter, he gave qualifications for the selection of church “overseers” (ἐπίσκοπος, episkopos). The qualifications included several concerning a man’s family life. Why was family life so important one might ask? Paul explained that the same competency used to lead a family well was necessary in leading the church well. Why? Because the church is God’s family (Eph. 2:19).
October 17, 2015
Jesus Christ is unique. He is God incarnate, fully human and fully divine. He is the only One able to reconcile us to the Father through His sacrificial death and resurrection. He is both our Advocate and Lamb, standing before the Father in our place of judgment. He took our sin, separation and death. And offers His righteousness, sonship and eternal life in exchange. Without Christ, a great chasm of spiritual separation continues to exist between God and humanity. With Christ this chasm is bridged. Christ is our only Mediator!
October 21, 2014
Money is a means of exchange, a morally neutral thing that is useful when rightly used. Yet, the love of money is idolatry. It puts money in the place of God. Rather than saying “in God we trust,” it puts its trust in money. The one who loves money sees serving God as a means to get more money, rather than money being a means to serve God. How can we tell if the love of money has infected our hearts? When we feel unable to give to His ministry, or to go on His mission, we may be suffering from the love of money. Giving is the antidote to greed.
October 19, 2014
We are born with a body, yet physical training is necessary to make it strong. When we are born again we receive eternal life, yet in like manner, we are to “train” to grow up in our salvation. Both the physical life and this new spiritual life are gifts from God. We cannot earn them. But we can yield ourselves to the Spirit’s work in us by certain spiritual disciplines that aid in our growth. Training the body is good for today. Training to grow in our salvation is better both today and tomorrow.
October 17, 2014
Jesus Christ is unique. He is God incarnate, fully human and fully divine. He is the only One able to reconcile us to the Father through His sacrificial death and resurrection. He is both our Advocate and Lamb, standing before the Father in our place of judgment. He took our sin, separation and death. And offers His righteousness, sonship and eternal life in exchange. Without Christ, a great chasm of spiritual separation continues to exist between God and man. With Christ this chasm is bridged. This is our message: Christ, our only hope!
October 16, 2014
Paul taught Timothy the importance of guarding the gospel against those who would misuse the law, claiming its necessity for salvation. Human effort at law-keeping does not save, only believing the gospel saves. Those that teach law-keeping as a means of salvation are not using the law “correctly.” Yet, the law is not useless when used rightly. In fact, there are at least three right uses of the Law:
The Law is to… (3 “R”s – Gal. 3:19-26)
1. Restrain our sinful behavior (Like a guard rail).
2. Reflect our guilt (Like a mirror).
3. Reveal God’s righteous way (Like a teacher).
The law is useful when “used correctly,” but only faith in Christ saves.