Friday, August 23, 2013

Colossians-Standing against False Teachers part 3

Here is Part 3 of our study of chapter two in Colossians. This particular topic took up three class meetings. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Colossians-Standing against False Teachers part 2

Here is the audio for Part 2 of our study of chapter two in Colossians. This particular topic took up three class meetings. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Colossians-Standing against False Teachers Part 1

Here is the audio for Part 1 of our study of chapter two in Colossians.  This particular topic took up three class meetings.  I pray you are encouraged.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Habakkuk 2:19-20 The Foolishness of Idolatry Part III

Some time back, in a town we lived in, one of the churches had a new contemporary worship service they titles "Networking with Christ".  I still giggle about that.  I can just see some of the people going into the worship center "Oh, yeah, I'm here to see if Christ has some good stock tips.  Maybe he knows of a good opening at a bigger company He might could give me the inside track on.  And, of course, if I've got any good tips for Him, well, I'll share those too."


The fact is, that if we really had the kind of view of God that, say, Job had, we would live, act, and talk much differently than we do today.  If we truly understood Him to be all-knowing, all-loving, holy, sovereign, and powerful, you know, like He is, we would live our lives in awe and worship.  We don't obey like we should and love Him like we should because, I submit to you, we don't see Him as being Who He is--the Lord God Almighty.

The Babylonians had much the same problem.  They worshipped idols, As we noticed in Habakkuk 2:18, it is foolishness for anyone to worship something they carved, gilded, and set on an altar.  In verse 19, God continues to point out how silly idol worship is.  First of all, notice, it's foolish to talk to something that "has no breath in it" and call for it to act as though it were alive.  It can't teach.  For that matter, it can't do anything at all.

Not only is it not alive, but this dead, inanimate object, is "overlaid with gold and silver". Sure, it's shiny and looks pretty on a coffee table, but if it was a living being, it would smother.  So, since this thing, that they created by the way, is not only dead but doubly dead what kind of kook would you have to be to turn to it for answers?  It just doesn't make any sense.

Of course, we do the same thing.  Don't shake your head judgmentally at these godless Babylonians because when you love your recreation and your job or your family more than you do God  and the ministry He's called you to, you can dress it up as pretty as you please, but you, my friend, are committing idolatry.

However, we read our antidote to all this godlessness that God has pronounced woes over beginning in verse 4 of this chapter.  What we need is to recalibrate our perspective by maintaining a clear view of God and His glory.  We remember that "the Lord in His holy temple" is high, exalted, and unimaginably holy.  When we contemplate the glory of God and His many attributes, we, like Job, find ourselves with our hands over our mouths, "silent" in awe of Who He is, where He is and what He's done.

Praise God for revealing this truth to us through His word.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Colossians-Paul's Purpose in Ministry

Here is the audio for one of our Sunday School class meetings as we're studying through Colossians.  I pray that you are encouraged and blessed by the discussion.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Matthew 9:35-36 Jesus and ministry--our perfect example part 1

When I was a manager for a pizza place, I would occassionally train employees how to make pizzas or specifically how to get the pizza dough ready to make a pizza.  I had a specific process I would go through.  I would show them the process from beginning to end pretty quickly.  I then would go slowly, step by step, so they could see exactly what I was explaining.  Finally I would let them do it with my supervision.  Most of the time, the results were awful.  I was also evil back then and I would make them eat what they made.

My point, however, is that I showed they how to do something before I set them to do it themselves.  As we close out of the narrative portion of Matthew chapter 9, we prepare to move into Matthew 10 where Jesus sends out His 12 apostles to preach.  Obviously, the men He called as His apostles were not professional clergy.  Levi (Matthew) was a tax collector, Simon the zelot was probably like a solider or mercenary, James and his brother were fishermen.  These guys had never been missionaries and I think that's a good thing to remember as we read these two verses.  What Jesus did is what He was going to call them to do.  Therefore, it seems reasonable that He would demonstrate what He was going to call them to do.  What a privilege they had, to see God in human flesh minister and preach the gospel.

First of all, notice in verse 35 that Jesus went where the people were.  In churches, we're often encouraged to invite people to come to worship services with us.  Rightly so, I might add, because if you're in a good church no matter what is being preached the gospel is going to be proclaimed.  However, bringing people in so someone else can share the gospel is not what we're called to do.  We're called to go out and take the gospel to the people.  Jesus did just that.  He took the gospel to the cities with lots of people and to the vilages with smaller populations.  And being that if you got somewhere in that day, you walked, he must have done a ton of walking.  He didn't stay in some ivory tower posting thoughts on social media like a blog (ouch!), but rather He went out of His way to proclaim the life changing truth of the gospel.

Notice, what He did when He went from place to place.  As we continue to read verse 35, we see He taught in their synagouges.  Man, what I wouldn't give to have been a fly on that wall.  Can you imagine what a privilage that was--to hear the very God of the universe teaching.  And what grreat compassion it shows.  Jesus, being God in human flesh, could have commanded, or even demanded, obedience and then punished immediately anyone who wouldn't submit.  Instead, He came, took His time, and taught them.  What a kind, gracious, loving act for the Savior of the world to do.  And notice, He went to the synagouges--their houses of worship.  He went to the people who thought they were reglious, or wanted to know about God, and graciously gave them precious instruction in righteousness.

Notice, He also went around proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.  Now, we don't have recorded in this text verbatium what He said, but there is only one gospel.(Galatians 1:6-8) despite what some people like Brian McLauren and Rob Bell would have you believe.  There is no question that the gospel Jesus preached is the gospel that Paul preached and the gospel that John Wesley preached and the gospel that John Calvin preached.  God is holy and man is sinful.  Because of our sin, we deserve punishment, but for those who repent of their sin and place their faith in Chirst (or in the case of the people Jesus preached to, faith in what God had promised) God has promised to save them.  When we read in scripture the exhortations to go and proclaim the truth that Jesus saves, we can know that Jesus isn't asking us to do anything that He Himself didn't do first.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Colossians-The Gospel's Scope and Purpose

Here are the links for the audio and notes from our most recent Sunday School class where we are studying Colossians.  I pray you are blessed and encouraged by our discussion.

Audio Notes

Monday, April 15, 2013

Colossians-The Cross, Christian Ministry, and Suffering

Here is the audio (in two parts due to a technical snafu on my part) from our Sunday School class a few weeks ago where we are studying Colossians.  I pray you are encouraged.

Audio (part a) Audio (part b) Notes

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Colossians-The Reconciliation of the Cross

Here is the audio from our last class meeting where we are studying the book of Colossians.  You can click here for the notes and here for the audio.  I pray you are encouraged.

Colossians-The Supremacy of Christ part 2

Here is the audio for the next lesson from our Sunday School class as we go through the book of Colossians (click here).  I didn't get the notes saved for the class but we did get a recording of the lesson.  I pray you are encouraged.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sharing Your Faith pt 3

Here is the link for the audio from our lats Sunday School class.  My friend, Tim, continued the discussion about sharing our faith and used the apostle Paul as an example.  For the audio click here.  (Right click to download the file).

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sharing Your Faith pt 2

Here is the link for the audio from part two of our Sunday School class lesson about sharing your faith (click here) led by my friend Tim.  If you haven't listend to any of the other lessons, I really, really commend this one to you.  Tim shares his testimony and I know you will be greatly convicted and encouraged.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tips for Sharing Your Faith Pt 1

Hello.  Here is the audio from our Sunday School class last Sunday.  Tim, the other gentleman that teaches the class, shared some great tips on sharing your faith.  Click here for the audio.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Colossians-The Supremacy of Christ part 1

Here is the audio and notes from our Sunday School class study of Colossians 1:15-16
Click the links below.

Colossians-The Supremacy of Christ
Audio Notes

Monday, January 21, 2013

Colossians-Products of the Gospel in the Believer's Life

Here is the link for the audio from the 3rd session of the Sunday School class at church where we are studying Colossians.  The notes can be found here.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Colossians--The Transforming Power of the Gospel part 2

Here is the link to the audio from the second class in our study of Colossians.  You can click to listen or right click and download to your computer.  This is the new Sunday School class at church that a friend of mine and I are teaching.  The notes can be found here.  I pray that you are encouraged.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Habakkuk 2:18-20 The Foolishness of Idolatry Part II

When I was studying music in college, there were a couple of freshmen that came in my junior year who acted like they looked up to me.  We made idol conversation and they would ask me questions about various things in the music department.  One day, for recital class, I was playing a transcription of a Bach violin partita.  This was the first time they heard me play alone and they realized I wasn’t very good.  Oh, I was alright.  I could probably have walked into any 7th grade band room and made first chair, or at least had a lock on 2nd chair.  In all seriousness, they realized that I wasn’t as good as they’d made me out to be and it was foolish to look up to me.  In a similar manner, God, through the prophet Habakkuk, shows the foolishness of idolatry.
Now, of course, this portion of scripture is part of a song with 6 woes pronounced against the Babylonian empire.  The Babylonians like all ancient nations and most people today, did not worship the God Who created the universe.  They engaged in the worship of idols.  Now, just like Mike and Matt in my story above, in order to worship an idol, you have to engage in a bit of self-delusion.  Every idol, be it a gold statue, a job, a person, or anything else, is created by a human.  Not only is it created by a human, but you know, or you can know, who it is that created it.  Many times in scripture, the people saw the idol being made (Aaron and the golden calf, Jeroboam’s idol in I Kings 12) right before their eyes.  Therefore, as God observes in Habakkuk 2:18, what sense does it make for someone to trust something they created, especially an inanimate object made of cold, unfeeling, unliving metal.  Even though this creation is a “teacher of lies”, its creator trusts in it. 
It stands to reason if you create something, you are greater than what you created.  I mean, this object of gold, stone, or wood that the Babylonians created owed its existence to them. So, its shape, height, weight, and any other attributes it has exist because of the will of the person that carved it.  So, the lie that it teaches is that “You can be in control” or “You can depend on me”.  Now, it’s easy for you and I to sit here in the 21st century and shake our head at these foolish people who “say to a wooden thing, Arise, to a silent stone, Awake” as if we’re better than they are.  As Habakkuk 2:19 says, “there is no breath in it” (i.e. it isn’t alive).  We can comfort ourselves as if we’re superior because we don’t bow down and worship wood or gold.
But are we really that much better?  If you place something as a higher priority than God, then we can call it whatever we want to, but that, my friends, is worship.  That job that you put more time and energy into than you do into sharing the gospel?  You’re worshipping that job.  Your leisure time that you don’t want to sacrifice to go on a mission trip?  That’s an idol.  These things have no more breath or life in them than any stone statue.  You and I are just as foolish to chase after those idols as the Babylonians and other ancient nations were to worship statues instead of turning to worship the true, living, loving God who created the heavens and the earth.
In fact, we know that God will one day triumph over evil and all those who hate Him.  He will put  an end to sin and punish unrepentant sinners forever in hell.  The fact that God is so holy and righteous should fill us with awe.  I’m not saying we should fear God as if we’re in danger, but we should fear God in the sense that we should respect Him.  The last verse of this passage sums this up as well as any other scripture I can think of—But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Book Review: The Hole in Our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung

If you’re like me, you struggle with sin daily.  You know that you’re supposed to grow in Christlikeness, but somehow in the back of your mind you really don’t believe it’s possible to really be holy and you expect to rarely have anything other than intermittent victories over sin.  So, you plod along, putting on something of a spiritual mask around people hoping they can’t see that you really don’t make the kind of progress as a Christian that you think you’re supposed to even though you suspect they’re in the exact same boat as you are. Friend, if that’s you, and I know it’s me, then you need to get this book by Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in Our Holiness.

The book isn’t very long.  You could probably finish the book in less than a week without really breaking a sweat but the ideas DeYoung raises in the book with cause you to reexamine your faith and passion for the gospel.  In short, not only does DeYoung show from scripture that holiness is possible for the Christian, but that it should be the norm.  The reasons according to DeYoung that many of us don’t make much progress in our sanctification are that we either try to do it in our own power (legalism) or we’ve resigned ourselves to the fact that we’re doing as good as we can and so we have to settle for what little progress we’ve made rather than actually making holiness something that we pursue.
DeYoung makes the case that we don’t have to settle and that not only is practical holiness possible, but he gives sound, real life advice on how we can and should grow in holiness.  For my part, the most eye opening concept in this book was that striving for holiness is so much more than a legalistic “To-Do” checklist (“Don’t smoke, don’t chew, don’t go with the girls who do.”)  Another concept that the author pointed out that was quite revolutionary for me was that although our obedience will never be perfect that doesn’t mean that our imperfect obedience isn’t pleasing to God and doesn’t bring Him glory.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  God delights in our obedience even if it isn’t perfect.  I commend this title to anyone regardless of their level of spiritual maturity because I believe you will be encouraged to be a more committed, gospel loving, disciple of Jesus Christ as a result of the truths Kevin DeYoung discusses in this book. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Colossians--The Transforming Power of the Gospel part 1

Here is the link for the audio from my new Sunday School class.  We are studying the book of Colossians.  You can get the study notes for the class here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Acts 17:16-34 The Gospel In A Society Full of Idolatry

Here is the link for the audio of a Sunday School class I taught a few weeks ago in my church.  I was asked to be the substitute which was a real honor since I have so much respect for my teacher.  I'm so humbled that after teaching this class I was recommended to help start a new Sunday School class with a good friend.  Praise God for opportunities to serve!!!  I pray that you are encouraged.