I preached this sermon last Sunday, friends, at our church. I began with the great quote from G.K. Chesterton who said, “”The more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.” We who follow Jesus certainly need to focus on the good things God has given us. But there are some negatives which we need to practice!
Tag Archives: preaching
I believe the Lord has given me a vision! (Someone say “Hallelujah!” Just kidding). Okay. I don’t know what the graphic on the right is supposed to represent. Is it the hand of God? Is He wearing a Brooks Brothers suit? Why is He taking the “O” out of VISION? I don’t know.
Anyway. I have a vision for local church, weekend conferences on, are you sitting down, the doctrines of the Christian faith! I’ve even created my own logo. Here it is (see below).
I firmly believe that we Christians don’t talk enough about our “faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). Here’s my idea:
My Proposal: I would like to propose that you and your church might consider hosting a “Theology Matters” Conference! It could take the following form:
1. A local church or assembly hosts a weekend conference, inviting other local Evangelical churches/assemblies to participate.
2. A particular theme could be chosen for the weekend. Recently I’ve done conferences on the topics of “When Temptation Strikes” and “Doctrine Matters.” A couple of weeks ago I spoke at Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference and the theme was “Revolutionary Orthodoxy.”
3. The costs to attend such a conference can be kept low, although people often appreciate what they pay a bit for. It is my opinion that we need to provide solid teaching for serious Christians, rather than always try to appeal to all.
4. A book table would be an important source for such serious Christians to continue their pursuit of the things of God.
My Passion: Having grown up in the Assemblies, I have been privileged to preach His Word and teach the practical doctrines of biblical faith for over 40 years. Educationally, I have my BA from Northeastern Bible College, my M.Div. from Biblical Seminary (where I studied under Mr. Tom Taylor), and my Ph.D. from Drew University (my dissertation was on John Darby’s doctrine of the Holy Spirit). By God’s grace, I have written several books: DocTALK (a survey of all ten areas of Christian faith); DocWALK (how do we apply these truths to everyday life?); The Other Side of the Good News: Confronting Contemporary Challenges to Jesus’ Teaching on Hell; Heaven: Thinking Now about Forever; When Temptation Strikes: Gaining Victory Over Sin; Whatever Happened to Heresy?; Farewell, Rob Bell; and Saved: Rescued from God, by God, and for God (forthcoming). A wide range of doctrinal topics is available for consideration.
My Vision: Such a weekend conference could take the following form:
Friday night full session, Saturday morning full session, Saturday lunch for those who have read ____ (a key book could be chosen to discuss over lunch), Saturday evening full session, Sunday Sunday School full session, Family Bible Hour full session. Total of five full sessions.
Interested? I’d love to talk with you about the possibility of hosting a “Theology Matters” conference in your church. Call me at: 803-201-9745.
A QUICK ADDITION TO TODAY:
This is from Ann Voskamp’s aholyexperience.com post today. You must read it. It is entitled “How to Focus in an Age of Distraction.”
How good it was to get to know this group of Jesus followers! We had some great discussion — and we helped to decimate the crawfish population! Here’s a picture of me eating crawfish for the first time in my life! What a feast!
I will post my last sermon of the weekend below. You might find it helpful. For some reason, the sermon doesn’t start until 1 minute and 4 seconds into the file, so please be patient.
Again, a great time with the believers in Lafayette!
Here’s the sermon:
I once-upon-a-time taught homiletics (how to preach) to a group of undergraduate students when Northeastern Bible College in New Jersey was still in existence. I remember telling them that if they use a quote in a sermon, and mess up the quote as they were giving it, to just keep going.
One student, impressed by the above quote from Jim Elliot, tried to use it in his sermon. He botched it — and said something like . . .
Inwardly, I was cracking up. But outwardly I was so proud that he kept on going in his sermon!
1. What profound statement have you heard from someone that helps to guide your life?
2. How do you relate this statement by Jim Elliot to what Jesus says in Matthew 10: 39″ Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”?
I’m speaking in a Junior class chapel today at Columbia International University. The topic is LOVE and I’m one of three speakers. The aspect of God’s love I’ve been asked to discuss is . . .
The Love of the Trinity
I John 4:8 says “God is love.” But can God be love without an object to love? I John 4:8 actually says: “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Understanding the meaning of “God is love” could not be more important, could it?
But love needs an object. Did God have to create the universe and human beings in order to have something or someone to love? Are we doing God a favor by existing, by giving Him the chance to prove that He is love? Or is something much deeper going on in the universe with the Three-in-One God?
And we are supposed to love God in return. Could it be that the reality is that there is much more than simply a God who demands we love Him, a kind of narcissistic deity who needs us so He could love and we need Him so that He can be loved?
One term that theologians use to describe the inter-Trinitarian life of God is the term PERICHORESIS. This term was coined to account for the idea that “the Father is IN the Son and the Son is IN the Father.” (Jn. 1:18).
Perichoresis describes the indwelling fellowship of the Father and the Son. It is intimacy. And this intimacy Jesus prays the church itself will enjoy: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21).
John of Damascus described this intimacy as a cleaving together. Such is the fellowship in the Godhead that the Father and the Son not only embrace each other, but they also enter into each other, permeate each other, and dwell in each other. One in being, they are also always one in the intimacy of their friendship. Some use the terms “procession of the Spirit” and the “begetting of the Son” to express this mutual devotion of the Father and the Son through the Spirit.
Well, so say the theologians. But what do we learn from the Scriptures? Do we have any texts which describe the inter-Trinitarian life before the universe was created? Are there verses speaking of the Father’s love for the Son (who always existed but became flesh in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth)? Are there verses which speak of the Son’s love of the Father? The Spirit’s love of the Son? The Son’s love of the Spirit? The Father’s love of the Spirit? The Spirit’s love of the Father? The answers are: YES, YES, YES, NO, NO, NO, NO. Let me explain:
1. Pre-Incarnate Expressions of the Father’s Love for the Son:
We read in John 17- “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (17:24).
In Mt. 12, Matthew quotes Isaiah saying, “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.” (v. 18).
2. At His baptism: Jesus is affirmed by the Father: “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.” (Mt. 3:17).
3. At His transfiguration, we read the following: “Then a cloud appeared and covered them and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’” (Mk. 9:7)
The intimacy of the Father and the Son is often referred to in John’s gospel:
“The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.” (3:35) “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.” (5:20). “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again” (10:17); “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (15:9).
There is a desire for Christ, who is loved by the Father, to be loved by those He redeems. The Father will love us because we love His SON! “The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” (Jn. 16:27)
There is an INTENTIONAL sharing of that Father/Son love with those who believe in Him: “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (Jn. 17:26). Colossians says “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” (Col. 1:13). We’ve been brought into that kingdom of the Son He loves! Can I hear an “AMEN!”?
WHAT ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT?
How does the Holy Spirit fit in? “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Rom. 5:5). We read of the Spirit’s role in Romans 15: I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.” (Rom. 15:30).
The entire Trinity desires to pull us into this love relationship: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor. 13:14).
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
1. How do we appropriate this love that the Trinity experiences?
2. In what ways have you heard the God of the Bible described in narcissistic terms? How do we counteract those criticisms?