The Fundamentals of Expository Preaching
From The Master's Seminary (http://www.tms.edu/), Dr. John MacArthur and Dr. Steven Lawson teach a course on Expository Preaching. The course is a wonderful encouragement and provides specific, practical direction for anyone called to the preaching ministry. - Pastor John Samson, King's Church, Peoria, AZ.
Lecture 1 - John MacArthur: "Consequences of Non-Expository Preaching, Part I"
Lecture 2 - John MacArthur: "Consequences of Non-Expository Preaching, Part II"
Lecture 3 - John MacArthur: "Consequences of Non-Expository Preaching, Part III"
Lecture 4 - Steven Lawson: "The Meaning of Expository Preaching"
Lecture 5 - Steven Lawson: "The Marks of Expository Preaching, Part I"
Lecture 6 - Steven Lawson: "The Meaning of Expository Preaching, Part II"
Lecture 7 - Steven Lawson: "The Meaning of Expository Preaching, Part III"
Lecture 8 - Steven Lawson: "The Method of Expository Preaching, Part I"
Lecture 9 - Steven Lawson: "The Method of Expository Preaching, Part II"
Lecture 10 - Steve Lawson: "The Method of Expository Preaching, Part III"
What the bible really says about..... by Kevin DeYoung
The question “What does the Bible really teach about homosexuality?” is about a great many things. It’s about Jesus’s view of marriage, and the point of Romans 1, and the sin of Genesis 19 (whatever it was), and the abiding relevance (or not) of laws found in Leviticus. It’s about the meaning of a few disputed Greek words and the significance of procreation. It’s about the nature of same-sex behavior in the ancient world and whether the nature of personhood and personal fulfillment are defined by sexual expression. It’s about how we change, and what can change and what cannot. It’s about big themes like love and ho¬liness and justice. It’s about personal hurts and hopes and fears and longings and duties and desires. It’s about faith and repentance and heaven and hell and a hundred other things.
But before we get up close to the trees, we should step back and make sure we are gazing upon the same forest. As is so often the case with controversial matters, we will never agree on the smaller subplots if it turns out we aren’t even telling the same story. The Bible says something about homosexuality. I hope everyone can agree on at least that much. And I hope ev¬eryone can agree that the Bible is manifestly not a book about homosexuality. That is to say, if we think the big takeaway from this Big Book is the rightness or wrongness of homosexual activity, then we’ve managed to take a sublime narrative and pound it into a single talking point.
As important as the question is—“What does the Bible really teach about homosexuality?”—the first and more significant question is “What does the Bible teach about every¬thing?” Which means we can’t start this book with Leviticus 18 or Romans 1. We have to start where the Bible starts: in the beginning.
Tale as Old as Time (and Older Still)
The first person we meet in the Bible is God (Gen. 1:1). And the first thing we see about this God is that he is before all things (cf. Ps. 90:1–2). God is self-existent, independent, without be¬ginning or end, without equal, the Creator God distinct from his creation, a holy and unrivaled God—eternal, infinite, and, in his essence, unlike anything or anyone that ever was, is, or will be. This is the God we first meet in the first verse of the first book of the Bible.
And this is the God who created all things (Neh. 9:6; Acts 14:15; 17:24). He created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it (Rev. 10:6). What’s more, he made men and women as the crown of his creation, making them in his image and after his likeness (Gen. 1:26). He created them to rule and to reproduce and to have a relationship with him (Gen. 1:26–28; cf. 3:8).
But the first man and the first woman disobeyed God’s com¬mand. They listened to the Slithering One as he tempted them to doubt the clarity and goodness of God’s word (Gen. 3:1–5). They took a bite from the forbidden fruit, and the fruit bit back. When sin entered the world, it was not just a fall; it was a curse. The man, the woman, the Serpent, the ground—all felt the sting of the curse so that “not the ways things are supposed to be” became “the ways things are.” In just retribution for sin, God drove the man and the woman from the garden and placed an angel to guard the way to the tree of life (Gen. 3:24). Their heaven on earth was no more, at least not until God would bring heaven back to earth (Gen. 3:15). The central plotline of the story of Scripture was set in motion: a holy God making a way to dwell in the midst of an unholy people.
Space does not permit a full retelling of this story, but one only has to look at the Promised Land or the temple to see the same narrative carrying forward. The Promised Land was a type of Eden, and Eden was a foreshadowing of the Promised Land. God describes the creation of Israel in the same way he describes the creation of the heavens and the earth (Jer. 4:23–26; 27:5). The boundaries of Eden and the boundaries of Canaan are similar (Gen. 2:10–14; 15:18). When Jacob comes back from the east to enter Canaan, he is met by an angel (Gen. 32:22–32)—an allusion to the angel placed at the entrance to Eden. Joshua likewise encounters a heavenly guardian when approaching the Promised Land by way of Jericho (Josh. 5:13–15).
God was giving his people a new kind of paradise, a reconstituted heaven on earth, a promised land in which God would be their God and they would be his people. But once again, they proved to be covenant breakers. Generations later, after being expelled from the garden, God plucked Abraham out of Babylon to go to the land of Canaan (Gen. 11:31–12:7). And generations later, after being expelled from the Promised Land, God plucked his people out of Babylon and sent the exiles back to their homes (Ezra 1:1). Adam had the garden and failed to obey. Israel got the garden back, and they failed to obey. Both were expelled east of Eden. In both cases, it took the sovereign hand of God to bring his people back from Babylon to where they belonged. The Promised Land was a lens through which God’s people were supposed to look back to the Eden that was and look forward to the Eden that was to come again (Heb. 11:8–10, 13–16).
In the same way, the tabernacle and the temple were meant to reflect the garden of Eden and symbolize a kind of heaven and earth. The tabernacle was a copy and shadow of what can be found in heaven (Heb. 8:5). Once inside the tent, God’s people were transported into a symbolic heaven, staring at deep blue curtains with images of cherubim seeming to fly in midair (Ex. 26:1–37). The Spirit filled Bezalel and Oholiab in the fashioning of the tabernacle just as the Spirit hovered over the chaos in the formation of the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:2; Ex. 31:2–11). The entrance to both the tabernacle and the temple was on the east, reminiscent of Eden. Angels were carved on the mercy seat on the lid of the ark of the covenant, which was placed inside the Holy of Holies—another reminder that, like Eden, angels were guarding the presence of God. Even the menorah, with its branches, buds, and blossoms, was meant to look like a tree, likely a reminder of the tree of life found in the garden (Ex. 25:31–36). The Lord God put his tabernacle in the middle of the camp (and later, his temple in the midst of the city) to visually represent his dwelling place among the people. Just as God had walked with Adam in the cool of the day, so he made a way to dwell in the midst of his chosen people.
The garden, the land, and the temple did not prefigure a day when holiness no longer mattered. They pointed to the heavenly reality that has been our hope since Adam and Eve were barred from Paradise. That’s why the picture of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 and 22 is a portrait of Eden re-stored. The tree of life is the long-awaited reward for those who believe and persevere. The reward is for those who know the grace of Christ (Eph. 2:1–9), are joined to Christ (Rom. 6:1–10), and have credited to their account the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:7–11). The right to eat from the tree of life is not the right of those who profess one thing and do another (Rev. 3:1). It will not be enjoyed by those who forget their first love (2:4), those who deny the faith (2:10), or those who give themselves over to sexual immorality (2:14). Only those who overcome, only those who conquer, will be granted the right to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God (2:7). The heavenly vision of Revelation is the consummation of everything the garden, the land, and the temple pictured and predicted. No chaos, no conflict, no tears, no death, no mourning, no crying, no pain, no night, and no detestable thing. Nothing to interfere with a holy God and his holy people. The way things were—the way things should be—will finally become the way things are forever and ever.
Smaller and Bigger Than You Think
That’s the story. That’s what the Bible is all about. In one sense, there’s not a whole lot about homosexuality. The story of the Bible is not the story of God giving a lecture on same-sex marriage or trying a case before the Supreme Court. Although homosexuality is one of the most pressing and painful controversies of our day, it’s not what the church has been singing and praying and preaching about for two thousand years. And yet, in some ways it is.
The World vs. The Gospel
The Gospel of Jesus Christ will always be highly offensive and in opposition to every man-made religion/belief. And yet, God accomplishes the salvation of all His elect people in often surprising ways, through the use of His means.
TULIP - The Reformed Pubcast
Les and Tanner, hosts of "The Reformed Pubcast" begin the 5-week series through the Doctrines of Grace (known by the acrostic TULIP) with their guest Pastor and Radio show host, Jeff Durbin. Jeff explains the severity of man's condition before God, and our desperate need for a change of nature.
Les and Tanner continue the Doctrines of Grace series, this time joined by Author and Pastor Douglas Wilson. Pastor Wilson explains how God has chosen, in eternity past, a people for Himself.
In the next episode in the series, Les and Tanner invite anonymous thologian, TurretinFan to join them. TurretinFan explores the power of the atonement for those for whom it was intended.
As Les and Tanner continue through the series on the Doctrines of Grace, they're joined by author and teacher R.C. Sproul, Jr. R.C. explains how God effectually draws His people.
In the final installment of the series, Les and Tanner welcome director of Alpha and Omega ministries, Dr. James White. Dr. White explains the hope of our eternal security.
Charismatics and the Word of Faith Movement
On Saturday, March 28, I traveled to Globe, Arizona to attend the 2015 Bible Conference at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church. The theme was the truth about the Word of Faith Movement / Pentecostalism / Prophecy / Tongues, and Healing on demand. The Guest speakers were Phil Johnson and Justin Peters. It was a rich time together in the word of God and a real privilege to meet host Pastor John Skaggs and the kind people of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church. The teaching sessions were excellent. I recommend them highly - JS:
Session 1: Phil Johnson: Why I am a Cessationist
Session 2: Phil Johnson: Beware the Greed Mongers: An expose of the Prosperity Doctrine
Session 3: Justin Peters: Clouds Without Water (1)
Session 4: Justin Peters: Clouds Without Water (2)
Session 5: Justin Peters: Clouds Without Water (3)
Session 6: Justin Peters: Clouds Without Water (4)
Side by Side by Ed Welch
Get your hands on this book!
This book identifies the skills we need to help one another. It is for everyone—friends, parents, even neighbors. Along the way we will find that God is pleased to use or¬dinary people, ordinary conversations, and extraordinary and wise love to do most of the heavy lifting in his kingdom. The basic idea is that those who help best are the ones who both need help and give help. A healthy community is dependent on all of us being both. So the book is divided into two parts. The first part guides you in sharing your burdens; the second part guides you in bearing the burdens of others. We all need help—that’s simply part of being human. The help we need goes beyond things like getting our house painted or finding a good mechanic. It’s deeper than that. We need help for our souls, especially when we are going through hardships. Help can be as simple as connecting with someone who understands or with someone who genuinely says, “I’m so sorry.” We were not designed to go through hard things alone.
But it’s not easy to ask for help. We spend a lot of time hiding our neediness because we are afraid of what people will think. Speaking personally, on most days I am happy to give help and reluctant to ask for it. For me, being needy is a sign of weakness, and, given a choice, I prefer to appear strong or at least competent.
Yet weakness—or neediness—is a valuable asset in God’s community. Jesus introduced a new era in which weakness is the new strength. Anything that reminds us that we are dependent on God and other people is a good thing. Otherwise, we trick ourselves into thinking that we are self-sufficient, and arrogance is sure to follow. We need help, and God has given us his Spirit and each other to provide it.
We are all helpers—this too is part of being human. A young child is most satisfied when helping parents cook or clean. They delight in contributing to the household. In this, they illustrate how God has given all people gifts “for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7), and all gifts are needed. There is no such thing as an unnecessary person.
Actually, we offer help so often that we might not even be aware of it. We listen to a roommate or a spouse about struggles at work, we commiserate with a friend who is full of fears, we give advice to the member of our small group who is going through a bumpy relationship, we ask how we can pray.
We were meant to live that way. We were meant to walk side by side, an interdependent body of weak people. God is pleased to grow and change us through the help of people who have been re-created in Christ and empowered by the Spirit. That is how life in the church works.
And yet fear enters in. We are afraid to jump into the com¬plexities of someone’s life. Who are we to help someone else? We have troubles galore. Our past makes a mess of the present. Sin always threatens to overtake us. And who doesn’t have a psychological disorder? We feel broken ourselves and fear we will only make things worse for others. We feel unqualified.
In our era we consult experts, professionals, and special¬ists, but when you look at your own history of having been helped, it’s likely that you’ll notice very few experts among those who have helped you. Who were your helpers? Were they professional counselors or specialists? Probably not. Most often, they were friends—the regular, everyday people in your life. Friends are the best helpers. They come prepackaged with com¬passion and love. All they need is wisdom, and that is available to everyone.
It’s the perfect system. If God used only experts and people of renown, some could boast in their own wisdom, but God’s way of doing things is not the same as our way. We ordinary people have been given power and wisdom through the Holy Spirit and are called to love others (John 13:34). From this be¬ginning, we are compelled to move toward others rather than stay away.
So I am writing for people like me, who are willing to move toward other struggling people but are not confident that they can say or do anything very helpful. If you feel quite weak and ordinary—if you feel like a mess but have the Spirit—you have the right credentials. You are one of the ordinary people God uses to help others.
As we get the knack of this rhythm—being needy and needed—Jesus will be in it and over it. He was weak before we were; he was dependent on his Father and dependent even on mere human beings. He also came to serve rather than to be served, and he did it side by side. As far as we are able, we do this with one another.
It is finished!
John 19: 28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Three words in English. One word in Greek: Τετέλεσται (tetelestai).
What did Jesus mean when (on the cross) He declared, "It is finished!"? The answer is both multi-faceted and spectacular.
Through the Eyes of Spurgeon - Official Documentary
The lives of millions of Christians around the world have been changed through the ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. But how much do those of us who esteem him so highly really know about Charles Spurgeon, the man?
Worldviews in Conflict
Text: Acts 16:16-40
Each of us is influenced by our surrounding culture far more than we realize. Only the Word of God can give us the discernment needed to divide truth from error.
A God of Strategies
On today’s DL broadcast, once again guest hosting in Dr. James White's absence, I taught from Acts 16:1-15. I discussed the Apostle Paul's mission strategy as it relates to the circumcision of Timothy, the closing and the opening of doors for the gospel, and God’s activity in opening the heart of man. - John Samson