What Do I Know?

There are many things I do not know.  There are many topics I lack enough knowledge about to comfortably join in when those topics Our actions and decisions today will shape the way we will be living in the future.are in conversation.  Regretfully, I sometimes speak and show my ignorance.  But there are some things I know and some things I think we can all know.  What do I know?

I know:

  1. As children of God we know that there is a permanent dwelling for us in heaven. 2Cor 5:1  For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
  2. As God’s sons and daughters, we know that God is able to bless us through the storms of life.  Rom 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
  3. We know that we are no longer our own, but now belong to the One who died for us, so now e live for Him. Rom 6:6  We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
  4. Although we do not know what exactly we will be like in heave, we do know that we will be like Him and with Him eternally. 1Jn 3:2  Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

These are only four of many things God says we will and can know.  Take time today to look up “we know” in your Bible.  What a blessing God gives in providing us confidence by knowing Him whom we believe, and knowing that He is able to keep His promise to us.

– Scott

What Does the Bible Say?

This morning on my drive to the study, I was listening to WDJC 93.7 FM. They play ipad 016Contemporary Christian Music and have religious discussions and questions on air. I find this much better than the other music I used to listen too.

The hosts – Roxanne and Chris – asked a simple question to us listeners this morning;

“What’s the main message we should take away from the Bible?”

I did not have the opportunity to call – I was driving, and by the time I arrived at the study they were on to the next topic.  I did take time to offer a quick answer on their Facebook page.

The Message of the Bible.

The Bible is the message of the Mission of God. What a wonderful start – “In the beginning God . . .” It tells us of our Creator and Sustainer who is benevolent and compassionate, who longs to walk in fellowship with His creation. But we sin and that sin separates us from a completely holy and righteous God. Yet, God has a way to redeem His creation (Gen 3:15 – the seed of woman (Messiah – Christ) who will deal a crushing blow to the tempter).

The Old Covenant prepares a people who will be the nation that the Messiah is born into. That Messiah. The prophets point to the coming of this Messiah.

The Gospel accounts tell of His coming, Acts gives us the history of the Messiah’s new kingdom – not Israel, but the Church. The epistles of Paul, Peter, John, James, and the Hebrew writer tell us of this kingdom and how to live in it. Paul spells out the message o the Bible in 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 – God through Christ was reconciling us to Himself, God made the one who had not sin to become sin so that we (His creation) might become the righteousness of God in Christ..

The Bible concludes with the message of the Christ’s return when He gives the Kingdom over to God and we – those who overcome in Christ – will have an eternal home in the perfect Paradise of Heaven where we will again have full fellowship with God as intended in the Garden before we rebelled against God.

-Scott

Expository Preaching

20111116-100638.jpgMuch of my preaching falls into one of two categories. Textual where I let the thought of the passage lead me to lessons found throughout scripture or Expository where I try to expose the text and context of a passage.  About 10 years ago I wrote a paper on Expository Preaching for a Graduate Class on Preaching, I ran across my digital copy this week and thought I would share it. – Enjoy.

Definition of Expository Preaching

Hadden Robinson states, “Preaching is a living processes involving God, the preacher, and the congregation . . .”[1]  This validity of this statement intensifies when one considers the expository preaching.  According to Sidney Greidanus expository preaching is “Bible-centered preaching . . . the exposition of a biblical passage.”[2]  Others emphasize that “. . . expository preaching focuses on the text(s) under consideration along with its (their) context(s).”[3]  Richard Mayhue concludes that expository preaching contains five minimal elements:

  1. “The message finds its sole source in Scripture.
  2. The message is extracted from Scripture through careful exegesis.
  3. The message preparation correctly interprets Scripture in its normal sense and context.
  4. The message clearly explains the original God-intended meaning of Scripture.
  5. The message applies the Scriptural meaning for today.[4]

While agreeing with Robinson that “no definition can pretend to capture” the dynamic of preaching,[5] we define expository preaching as the communication of a message or lesson derived from the study of a specific text, using the tools of exegesis to understand the text, and delivering the lessons learned in a manner that assists the listeners to apply those lessons to their individual or collective walk with God.

Some preachers and authors equate expository preaching with textual preaching,[6] yet there is a distinction. Whereas expository preaching, by the definitions above, stays with a given text and its context to develop an application, a textual sermon may start out as an exposition but quickly expands to other texts to develop a topic or topics the presenter wishes to expound.  Mayhue observes that textual preaching “uses a short text . . . as a gateway into whatever subject the preacher chooses to address.”[7]

A third model of preaching is topical preaching.  Topical preaching may cover a Biblical concept or topic, but differs immensely from textual and expository preaching.  Both textual and expository preaching rely on a specific passage or a section of scripture as the beginning point or source of the lesson.  By contrast topical preaching regularly begins with the applicable lesson and seeks out Scriptures to prove or establish the preconceived idea.  Although the lesson may be accurate this type of preaching may not always be as honest as pure expository preaching where the lesson(s) grows from the considered text.

Personal Evaluation:

MacArthur boldly announces “. . . inerrancy demands exposition as the only method of preaching that preserves the purity of Scripture and accomplishes the purpose for which God gave us His Word.”[8]  While I can see MacArthur’s point I can only partially agree.  Expository preaching should have priory, but other forms of preaching can remain true to the purity and inerrancy of scripture.   In textual preaching where one uses a text as a springboard to other passages, one can be true to Truth when Scripture expounds Scripture and the lesson remains consistent in the texts used.  Topical preaching can also remain true to God’s word when topic is from scripture and not a conglomeration of proof texts.  With that said, I am certain that Biblical concepts stand stronger when that concept grows from an exegetical approach to study, and when presented to listeners from one specific text.  The more I study for and preach expository sermons the more I realize “when Paul charged young Timothy to ‘preach the word,’ he intended not simply that Timothy mount a pulpit and speak but that he base his spoken word on the written . . .”[9] Consequently, I find when my preaching is an exposition and less topical;  I find those lessons make a stronger impression on the listeners and I would think that such an impression would have a longer effect in their lives.

Expository Preaching is Inductive:

By inductive we mean that the lesson(s) learned come as a result of the process of study and are not a previously assumed truth proved by clever use of concordances. Expository preaching is inductive in that the preacher will “approach the text to find out what it means.”[10] A sermon that is expository communicates the basics of the preacher’s own study to listeners.  Therefore, “inductive sermons produce a sense of discovery in listeners, as they arrived at the idea on their own,”[11] guided by the study of the one presenting the message.

Expository Preaching is Exegetical:

Exegesis is the homework of the preacher who presents expository sermons.  Exegesis is the “proper hermeneutical and exegetical principles and practice”[12] that lead to an understanding of the passage of Scripture under consideration.  The preaching that results is the communication of a Biblical concept “derived from  . . . a historical grammatical, and literary study” of the passage and the context surrounding that passage.[13]

Expository Preaching is Exposition:

MacArthur’s work states accurately that expository preaching “approaches the Word of God inductively, studies it exegetically, then explains it to the people expositionally . . . (seeking) to clarify what is difficult to understand in a passage.  It opens up the Word and exposes the less obvious meanings and applications it contains.”[14]  Preaching that is expository exposes the text to the listener and exposes the listener to the text.

 

Bibliography

 Greidanus, Sidney. The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text. Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1988.

MacArthur, John, Jr. Rediscovering Expository Preaching, Richard L. Mayhue, Ed. Robert L. Thomas, Assoc. Ed. Nashville:W Publishing Group. 1992.

Meyer, Jack, Sr. The Preacher and His Work. Shreveport, LA:Lamberts Book  House, 1960.

Robinson, Haddon W. Biblical Preaching. Grand Rapids:Baker, 1980.

Footnotes:

[1] Hadden W. Robinson, Biblical Preaching, (Grand Rapids:Baker), 1980, p. 19.

[2] Sidney Greidanus, The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text, (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans), 1988, p 11.

[3] John MacArthur, Jr., Rediscovering Expository Preaching, Richard L. Mayhue, Ed., Robert L. Thomas, Assoc. Ed., (Nashville:W Publishing Group), 1992, p. 9.

[4] Ibid. p. 12-13.

[5] Robinson, p. 9.

[6] Greidanus, p. 122.

[7] MacArthur, p. 9.

[8] Ibid. p. 24.

[9] Greidanus, p. 10.

[10] MacArthur, p. 222.

[11] Greidanus, p. 144.

[12] MacArthur, p. 222.

[13] Robinson, p. 20.

[14] MacArthur, p. 222.

Ten Verses to Read

All of God’s Word has value.  Through His revealed Word God gives us what we need to know pertaining to life and godliness in living faithful to Him through His Son. With that understanding, clearly stated, I want to share with you ten verses I think are important for you to read and understand. These are ten verses that remind me of my relationship and dependency upon God.

  1. Hebrews 9:27 – “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”
  2. Romans 3:23 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
  3. John 3:16-17 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
  4. Acts 2:42 – “And they devoted themselves to the apostles ‘ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
  5. 2 Corinthians 13:5 – “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail to meet the test.”
  6. Galatians 6:9 – “And let us not grow weary of  doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not give up”
  7. Ephesians 4:15 – “but, speaking the truth in love, are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head into Christ”
  8. Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,”
  9. James 1:27 – “…to keep oneself unstained from the world,”
  10. 2 Peter 3:11  – “ . . . what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness”

I adapted this from a sermon outline Levi Sides shared with me.  I preached this on a Sunday night recently.  our Sunday evening are an abbreviated assembly to give us opportunity to fellowship with each other after worship. If you want to listen to this lesson the audio file is HERE.

  • Scott

Bible Malapropisms – one more time

Monday we looked at five Bible Malapropisms.

My weemee

Today we look at the last four in my list.  I am sure there are more.

  1. God moves in a mysterious way. William Cowper wrote this in one of his last hymns in 1774. He based the thought on his recollections of his life and how he saw what he considered to be God’s hand in the events of his life.  The Bible does teach that God understands more than we do and that God’s foolishness is wiser than man’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:25) and from that we might surmise that to us God’s way is mysterious.  Paul does talk about the mystery of God that the apostles revealed – that is the Gospel, God’s plan for man’s redemption through the Christ. We need to be careful using this “malapropism” to assign actions to God that may not be His doing. Even the inspired apostle Paul said concerning Onesimus running away from Philemon and finding his way to Paul, “For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while . . . “ (Philemon 1:15 – emp.: SMc). If Paul says “perhaps” why should I think I always know?
  2. Pray and claim your blessing from God.  I hear this or something like it every time I watch certain televangelists. It seems their message is more about God blessing your life for your demanding your promises than about you serving God who already blesses you with the greatest gift of all – salvation through His sacrifices Son. I cannot find anything close to this health and wealth message taught in the Bible as something we should believe.  The closest I can find are misguided words of Bildad, Zophar, and Elphaz. These three frineds of Job only thought they knew the heart and mind of God.  God straightens them out.
  3. God needed ___(insert name of deceased here)___ in Heaven. This is one of the most unfortunate and harshest statements about God that I hear at funeral homes. Those who say this, like those who say other Bible malapropisms, think of it as a statement of faith and encouragement.  To me this particular phrase makes God out to be a self-absorbed, needy, and greedy monster.  Consider this: Your god moves in a mysterious way and everything happens for a reason. Since this god needed your mom in heaven more than you needed her, this god took her from you. You have no say and this god does not care about your feelings.  Who wants to serve a god like that?!?!  Death came into the world, not because of God, but because of Satan and our sin. God does welcome His children home as a reward for a life lived faithfully, but He does not take our loved ones from us – death does.  Death that is a part of life – no matter whether natural causes, disease, an accident, or tragedy brought about that death. If you have to say something at a funeral, please simply offer prayer and a shoulder to cry on, tell them you care, but please do not blame God for their loss. **
  4. Once saved always saved.  This is meant as a statement of eternal security.  I know we can have confidence in our salvation, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13). But that confidence lies in knowing that God keeps His promise as we continue to walk in faith. Other passages talk about the dangers of turning away from God and salvation, “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:20-22). Those who escaped are those who have salvation, but they return to the world. We must remain faithful to God to have eternal security.

I would love your thoughts and even suggestions on more Bible Malapropisms.

– Scott
** For a more detailed look at tragedy and death you might what to read this series from 2014 on When Tragedy Strikes

More Bible Malapropisms

We continue our list from yesterday with five more phrases that sound Biblical, but are not necessarily from the Bible.ABCD0014

  1. What goes around comes around. This is more associated with the Hinduism/Buddhism idea of Karma than it is the Bible.  In our desire for what we consider to be fair, we want others to experience what they dish out.  If anything this is completely opposite of what Jesus teaches about loving you enemies and doing good to those who mistreat you.
  2. Being nice to your enemies will burn them. This thought is a misunderstanding of ” . . . if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:20). Here Paul is quoting from Proverbs 25:21-22.  Paul’s teaching is that by being nice to your enemy you may change their attitude toward you.  They will see that you are repaying them with kindness and their conscience may be pricked.
  3. Treat others right so you will be treated right. This is selfish action. Jesus did not teach this. He said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them,  . . . (Matthew 7:12). Jesus says to treat others the way you want to be treated and never promises that they will return the favor. Some may and some may not, but we should always treat people with loving kindness.
  4. Cleanliness is next to godliness. According to The Free Dictionary, this phrase first appeared in a sermon preached by John Wesley circa 1778, but is an old Hebrew and Babylonian proverb. There is no Bible verse that says this.  The Hebrews did have to be ceremonially clean to enter worship and the thought may come from that, but physical cleanliness has nothing to do with our relationship to God, however, spiritual cleanliness does.
  5. God appointed the day of your death. Can God know the day of your death and not have predetermined it?  Yes. Death is a part of our existence and God being above (outside) of time as we know it cand and does know when you and I will die, but that is not the same as His causing our death, calling us home, or killing us off. Hebrews 9:27 does say, “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” but that is simply a reminder that we will all die.  An appointment does not necessarily mean such is written down and unchangeable (Consider Hezekiah in Isaiah 38, God said Hezekiah was about to die, but after Hezekiah pleaded with God he lived 15 more years.)

More tomorrow.

– Scott

Bible Malapropisms

A malapropism is the misuse of a word, specifically a word that sounds like or is similar to another. Think of “there,” “their,” and Bibleback“they’re.” Or, “Good punctuation means never being late.”  What I am calling Bible malapropisms are not words but phrases and ideas that many think are in the Bible and sometimes quote as if they are in the Bible.  Maybe there is a better term for this, but I could not think of one. These Bible Malapropism are simply principles that sound Biblical, but are not. I have a list of about fifteen, let us consider the first five today.

  1. God helps those that help themselves.  No, that is not in the Bible.  There is this passage, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Yet that is specific to Christians who refuse to work because of a mistaken understanding of Christ’s return, and they are living off the benevolence of others.
  2. Everything happens for a reason. This sounds like a statement of faith.  It sounds like we are trusting God when we say that, but this is not in scripture.  Yet, not everything that happens to us is because God planned it to teach us a lesson or to prepare us for something else.  Sometimes things happen because we are living in a fallen world.  Romans 8:28 does say, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” That does not say God causes everything. Paul is saying God can and will work for our best no matter the situation we find ourselves in.
  3. Money is the root of all evil. The passage actually says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:10).
  4. God will not give you more than you can handle.  This sounds great, but is not from the Bible.  This statement is closely related to Number 2 above and assumes that what you are going through is from God and He has a reason you are going through it.  I think this is a misuse of 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Here Paul is teaching that we there is always a way for us to avoid sin, even in the strongest temptation.
  5. God wants me to be happy. This is phrase comes up when we want an excuse to do what we want to do.  Paul does talk about learning to be content (Philippians 4:11-12) and Jesus in the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12) talks about becoming blessed or happy, but NOWHERE does God’s Word say that God wants me to be happy by doing what I want to do.  God wants me to be Holy in Christ and in that holiness and in serving God through Christ, I find contentment, fulfillment and true happiness.

– Scott

Is your Bible Straving for Attention?

Quite a few people asked for “A Bible’s Diary” from Sunday morning’s sermon. Every place I found it online listed it as author unknown (if anyone know whom the author is, please let me know so I can give credit). Thank you to whomever wrote it. Here is the piece: • Diary of a Bible:
January: A busy time for me. Most of the family decided to read me through this year. They kept me busy for the first three weeks, now I am not as busy.
February: Someone used me for a few minutes last week. He had an argument and was checking references.
March: Grandpa visited us. He kept me on his lap for an hour as he read and studied.
April: I had a couple of busy days. The dad in my house was appointed a leader of something and used me to take his oath of office. Oh btw, I went to church for the first time this year – I love Easter!
May: I have a few grass stains on my pages. Someone pressed some flowers in me.
June: I look like a scrap book, I am stuffed full of clippings. One of the girls got married and before the wedding they looked up 1 Cor 13.
July: They put me in a suitcase today. I guess we are off on vacation. I wish they would leave me at home. The table is more comfortable than staying in this case for the rest of the month.
August: Back home, but still in the suitcase.
September: They finished unpacking and put me back on the table with two new books: True Stories and Funny Stories. I wish they read me as much as they do those books.
October: They used me a little today. One of them sick. Right now I am shined up and in the center of the table . . . an elder must be coming by.
November: Back on the table under the magazines.
December: Christmas is coming. Once they clear all the wrapping paper off of me, they may take me to church again.

This make you think, doesn’t it . . .

– Scott

What If . . .

When I was in elementary school at Escambia Christian School a local church puppet team would come every so often and perform during chapel. I do not recall all their shows, but one sticks in my mind – well part of it. The narrator posed the question, “What if . . ? Then the puppets would act out scenes depicting a “what if” scenario. The one particular thought I remember is this: A puppet dressed as Col. William Prescott commands his army at Bunker Hill, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.” As the patriots sit and wait, the British soldier puppets march in wearing sunglasses. I still laugh (at least chuckle) when I remember that scene.

But what if . . .

  • What if today were your last day?
  • What if the Lord were to return today?
  • What if? Would you be ready? Would you know without a doubt that you would spend eternity with Him in heaven?

1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” We can know. We can have confidence.

Yet our sin separates us from God. My sin separates me from God and your sin separates you from God. (Isa 59:2). We need a way back to God. That way is His Son – “Jesus said to him, ” I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). When we are in Christ we can have confidence in our home in heaven.

Are you in Christ? Consider the words of Paul, ” . . . for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ ‘s, then you are Abraham’ s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Gal 3:26-29 emphasis added by me – BSMc).

What if you gave your life to God today?

– Scott

What Do We Know About

This morning on the way to the study, Lisa Mason on Birmingham’s 106.9 FM had the following “nearly impossible trivia:” –

The average person does this 15 to 20 times a month.  Most answers varied between eating out and washing hair. The correct answer was . . . drum roll please . . . quote lines from movies.

I started thinking. Do I know more movie lines than I do Bible passages? As a preacher, I hope the answer is, “No.” But I do quote movies, especially “The Princess Bride” a lot.  So I want to give you a test.  There are twenty fill-in-the-blank questions.  The odd ones are from movies and the even ones are Bible verses.  Which do you know best?  Don’t cheat on either one – no Googling, no Bibles or Bible apps.  Use your memory. Bonus point if you know the book, chapter and verse.

  1. “I’m going to make him an _______________ he can’t refuse.”
  2. “In the ________________ God created the heavens and the earth.”
  3. “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in _________________ anymore.”
  4. “You shall have no other _____________ before Me.”
  5. “Go ahead, make my ________________.”
  6. ” . . . _______________ this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
  7. “E.T. ________________ home.”
  8. “The Lord is my ________________; I shall not want.”
  9. “Round up all the usual _____________________.”
  10. “_____________ God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”
  11. “You’re gonna need a _________________ boat.”
  12. “My people are ______________ for a lack of knowledge.”
  13. “Houston, we have a ____________________.”
  14. “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who _________ the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
  15. Stricker: “Surely you can’t be serious.” Rumack: “I am serious and don’t call me _______________”
  16. “But seek __________ the kingdom of God and his righteousness . . .”
  17. “I feel the need, the need for _________________”
  18. “For in Christ we are all children of God by _______. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
  19. “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, ______________ to die.”
  20. “If we have died with him; we will also ____________ with him;”

So, how did you do?

– Scott