“Ignorance is not as bliss as obedience is blessed.”
John’s Gospel presents us with multiple proofs that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. While some of the presented proof is direct revelation from God, the majority of the proof that is laid forth in John flows from Jesus Himself in the words He speaks and the works He does.
The first of His miracles is recorded for us in John’s second chapter where He turns water into wine at a marriage feast.
And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
In all of His miracles, we must avoid understanding them as a mere display of Christ’s abilities. Jesus never did the miraculous for show. The purpose of each miracle was to instruct about some specific truth concerning Himself so that men would believe in Him.
And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
In the previous post on the “Foundational Fundamentals on the Nature of Preaching,” we saw the importance for the preacher to do more than just proclaim Bible truth. He is to reprove, rebuke, exhort concerning the truth with all longsuffering and doctrine. Now I want to examine the use of Scripture in the teaching and preaching ministry. In the following text from first six verse of John’s 8th chapter, we discover a remarkable and telling contrast between the way that the Lord Jesus Christ used the Scriptures and the way that Jewish religious leaders did.
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
God charges a preacher with specific responsibilities in His church. The Apostle Paul tells Timothy about this charge in 2 Timothy 4:1-4,
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Timothy is to proclaim God’s Word, but a preacher’s responsibility does not end with merely delivering the truth. He is to also “reprove, rebuke, and exhort concerning the truth with all longsuffering and doctrine.“
The word reprove comes from the Greek word eligcho which means to convince or convict. Even in the English word we see its root is the word “prove.” It is necessary for a preacher not just to proclaim truth but also to bring his listeners to a place of belief by bringing to bear upon their hearts and minds authoritative evidence for the truth. In a certain sense he is like a lawyer who is trying to do everything he can do to help the jury be absolutely convinced of a certain position by reason of the evidence. God’s people need to know that something is true by the faithful expounding of the Bible rather than just because, “My preacher said so.” Oh, that they would know truth because they know that the Bible says so, where it says so, and how it says so!
Personally, I cannot think of a more appropriate book to preach through in the beginning of a church planting effort than John’s Gospel. Its message verse by verse is the great foundational truths needed week in and week out in just such a setting. This is especially true when the planting effort is being done without the great benefit of a nucleus of believers which is how we began here in Lead. [BTW, Lead is pronounced with a long e sound.] This book amply enables the necessity of fervent evangelistic preaching without sacrificing the soundness and depth found only in expository preaching. Read the rest of this entry »
The articles in this series have been focused on discovering the Biblical truth about New Testament ministry amidst assertions by some men that NT ministry is always and only to be under the authority of a local church. The most recent articles in this series have been examining evidence for and against this claim in light of the Apostle Paul’s ministry. Having previously looked at the matter in regards to the authenticity, authority, and direction of his ministry, I now want to look at it concerning its material/financial support.
There has been an intertwining of financing with that of control in the mind of many people. The world’s philosophy is unmistakable. They believe that the ability to dispense funds is tantamount to possessing absolute control. This is aptly seen in this quote from Mayer Amschel Rothschild who said,
Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.
That speaks for itself, but will the Bible likewise give credence to something akin to “He that controls the purse makes the rules” or perhaps its inverse “Those that are in authority are to control the purse”? First, we need to see if there is Biblical evidence that all of the Apostle Paul’s material/financial support came through the treasury of His supposed local church in Antioch as the under-the-church-only doctrine requires. Next, I want to examine if the issue of having his material/financial support directed through his “local church” was an essential element Paul considered in whether to receive or reject support from others.
There are a only few places in the Scriptures where Paul mentions things related to the material support of his ministry. According to those who hold to the doctrine of under-the-church-ministry-only, there should be some evidence that all material/financial support for Paul’s ministry was directed to him through his local church. Let us see exactly what the Bible reveals. In Philippians 2:25 and then latter in 4:14-18 we read: Read the rest of this entry »
Whom Else Is There?
Having previously noted the significance of King Hezekiah’s choice of words–“O Lord of host,” “God of Israel,” and “dwellest between the cherubims“–in this his prayer for deliverance from King Sennacherib of Assyria, the focus now turns to his words, “Thou art the God, even thou alone.”
O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. Isaiah 37:16
In these words I want us to see that King Hezekiah is declaring three important things, 1) that God is a personal being; 2) that He really is God; and 3) that He stands alone. These truths fully considered will result in our being fully persuaded that prayer to God is not “my last resort,” but the only true help there is.
First, we note that King Hezekiah is personally addressing the One of Whom he desires aid. One speaks to persons, but not to matter nor to energy. Now there are some who are of the belief that a universal energy permeates the fabric of all things and allege that this energy can be directed by humans; however, they attempt to direct this energy by means of concentrated thought not mere personal address. King Hezekiah knows the One to Whom he speaks is a personal being completely capable of interaction with others, of comprehensive thought, and of independent action. How frustrated we feel in our technological age when our telephone call for help that use to be answered by a live person is now just an impersonal computer. Furthermore, I find it increasingly so that too many professing believers do not pray like there really is One Who hears. My friend, He is real. He is living. There is a dynamic difference between offering an aimless, pro-functionary prayer into the expanse and praying to the Person of God. One may make you feel better about your situation, but the other can accomplish something specific and concrete. Read the rest of this entry »
After several years of inactivity, it is now my intention to revive the FTM blog by adding a new post at least once a month. I will begin by continuing the series that have yet to be concluded and then branching into new areas.
At our church here, we have being going through the Gospel of John and the Psalms, and I believe that much of what we have seen would be of profit here as well.
Fundamentalism has its rifts and debates. It always has and always will. There are several concurrent debates within Fundamentalism. While some of these remain a constant, others are growing. Some of what occurs is ignorable as it is inconsequential. Other matters must not be ignored or downplayed as they represent bold challenges against the foundations of the movement.
One such growing rift is between what some have termed the “them” of cultural-Fundamentalism and the “us” of theological-Fundamentalism. The distinction between the two is in the realm of theological based stances to cultural issues. However, do not let the names fool you into which side accepts what. It is actually the theological-labeled element that is more accepting of current cultural norms in our churches.
There have already been several articles which have documented the serious shortcomings of the so-called ideal Fundamentalism which is touted as the Fundamentalism worth saving. (I personally believe that historic, Biblical Fundamentalism is still worth defending.) This widely proclaimed new Fundamentalism, which is not Fundamentalism at all but a re-packaged New Evangelicalism, attempts to chip away at all aspects of Biblical Fundamentalism. Sometimes it does so by casually changing previously accepted terms, meanings, and definitions. At other times it does so by openly advocating fresh perspectives to replace the old, worn out, static positions of the past. Examples of this are beginning to multiply especially in the area of Fundamentalism’s militancy and its ecclesiastical separation. However, Fundamentalism’s personal separation has not been immune from these current deft but deliberate shifts either. Though the spotlight has been on its militancy and its ecclesiastical separation, Biblical Fundamentalists need to rise to the occasion in defending the necessity of a personal separation for the believer in a time of increasing acceptance of worldly culture within our churches. Because the “theological” versus the “cultural” debate is the arena where the battles for and against Fundamentalism’s personal separation is occurring, it is a debate that must not be ignored.
There may not be any problem more common among men, even good men, than their being inconsistent. All men say one thing and then fail to always live by what they have professed. It is a problem of a different kind when men try for whatever reason to join together two things that are not compatible. While in this life inconsistency in itself is unavoidable, attempts to force a conjoining of incompatible properties or principles is not necessary.
In Fundamental circles there are two growing trends. The first trend is for a man to begin to espouse a Gospel message that curiously has the same tints and shadows cast from one of Dr. John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to . . . books. The second trend is Read the rest of this entry »