Wednesday, August 18, 2010


“What Are We To Do?”


1. It is natural for us, as believers, to be grieved by injustice and immorality.

2. How are we to respond? Fear, worry, and/or grumbling are not the answer. To what extent should we concern ourselves with politics and/or engage in political activism?

3. What is needful is a Biblical perspective leading to a God-honoring response that enhances, and does not undermine, our witnessing efforts.

4. God “works all things after the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). He is sovereign over rulers and governments. He is ultimately in control of the affairs of our lives (Matt. 5:25f; Phil. 4:6-7).

5. Our eschatological viewpoint will dictate, to some extent, the degree to which we concern or involve ourselves with political matters. A Biblical eschatology (pretribulational, premillenial) offers true Biblical hope and puts greater emphasis on the salvation of souls.


1. What is the purpose of the church?

2. The preeminent purpose and goal of the church is to glorify God. Note the three-fold doxology in Ephesians chapter 1 (1:6,12,14). The church glorifies God by its very existence, inasmuch as every member has been saved by His grace to His glory (Cf. 1 Tim. 1:11-17).

3. Two other concerns sum up the main purposes of the church: 1) the edification of the saints (Eph. 4:11-16); and 2) the evangelization of the lost (Matt. 28:18-19).

4. QUESTION: What are some of the other unbiblical purposes that churches sometimes mistakenly adopt?

5. When it comes to our relationship to our society and culture our mandate is to preach the gospel!


From the Screwtape Letters (C. S. Lewis). One demon’s advice to another: “Certainly we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow over to their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster. On the other hand we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means, preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything--even to social justice. The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest drug store. Fortunately it is quite easy to coax humans round this little corner. Only today I have found a passage in a Christian writer where he recommends his own version of Christianity on the ground that “only such a faith can outlast the death of old cultures and the birth of new civilizations.” Yet see the little rift? “Believe this, not because it is true, but for some other reason.” That’s the game.” Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”

1. Define the gospel (Cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-4).

2. From what does the gospel save (John 3:16; Acts 26:18; Rom. 6:23; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)? To what does the gospel save (John 1:12; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 2:20; 1 John 5:11-12)?

3. What are different gospels that are sometimes substituted for the true gospel (Gal. 1:6: 2 Cor. 11:4). Identify and describe each of the following: social gospel; easy believism gospel; health, wealth and prosperity gospel; works gospel; the gospel of liberation theology.

4. To what extent is the preaching of the gospel to pervade the ministry of the church (Matt. 28:18-19; Rom. 6:1-7; 1 Cor. 2:2; 1 Cor. 11:26; 15:1-4)?

5. Are there any NT verses that exhort us to attempt to change, by fleshly means, society or unbelievers? What instructions are given regarding our relationship with unbelievers (Rom. 10:1; 1 Cor. 5:10, 12; 1 Cor. 9:19; 1 Cor. 10:31-33; 1 Cor. 14:23-24; 2 Cor. 6:14; Gal. 6:10; Phil. 2:15; Col. 4:5; 1 Tim. 2:1-2, 3:7; 1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 23)? What chief concern should govern our relationships with unbelievers?

6. What are some of the different ways in which the church fulfills its mandate to preach the gospel?

7. To what extent, if any, can the church faithfully preach the gospel while simultaneously encouraging and promoting political activism? To what extent are the two endeavors mutually exclusive?


1 Tim. 4:10, “Because we have fixed our hope on the living God.”


· “Hope” in the New Testament is almost always from the Greek word “elpis” (Noun) or “elpizo” (Verb). The term refers to a “favorable and confident expectation.” The term, unlike our English counterpart, connotes no degree of uncertainty.

· The following survey of various usages reveals that which should be the object of the believer’s hope:


What our hope is not in…

· The hope of the believer is radically different than that of the unbeliever:

o Eph. 2:12, “Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ…having no hope and without God in the world.”

o 1 Thess. 4:13, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.”

o 1 Pet. 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

· In this life only:

o 1 Cor. 15:19, “If we had hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.”

· In the uncertainty of possessions:

o 1 Tim. 6:17, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.”

What our hope is in…

· The gospel, salvation:

o Col. 1:23, “If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard.”

o 1 Thess. 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

· God, Christ:

o 2 Cor. 1:10, “He on whom we have set our hope.”

o Eph. 1:12, “We who were the first to hope in Christ.”

o 1 Thess. 1:3, “Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ”

o 1 Tim. 1:1, “Christ Jesus, who is our hope.”

o 1 Tim. 4:10, “Because we have our hope fixed on the living God.”

o 1 Tim. 5:5, “Now she who is a widow indeed, and who has been left alone has fixed her hope on God.”

o 1 Pet. 1:21, “Your faith and your hope are in God.”

· Eternal life:

o Tit. 1:2, “In the hope of eternal life.”

· Heaven:

o Col. 1:5, “Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.”

o Heb. 6:19-20, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us , having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

o Heb. 11:1, 14-16, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country not their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one.”

· Our inheritance:

o Tit. 3:7, “Having been justified by His grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

o 1 Pet. 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

· Christ’s return:

o Tit. 2:13, “Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”

o Phil. 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

o 1 Pet. 1:13, “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

o 1 John 3:2-3, “Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

· Culmination of God’s transforming work:

o Rom. 5:2-5, “We exult in the hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us.”

o Rom. 8:20-25, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for [our] adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”

o Col. 1:27, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

o Phil. 3:19-21, “…whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.”

· Reunion of fellow believers in the presence of Christ:

o 1 Thess. 2:19-20, “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy.”


· 2 Thess. 2:15, “Who has…given us good hope by grace.”

· Heb. 7:19, “There is a bringing in of a better hope.”

· Tit. 2:13, “The blessed hope.”

· 1 Pet. 1:3, “A living hope.”


Three different prepositions are used to describe the relationship of our hope with regards to Christ The following has been gleaned from the Vine’s Expository Dictionary (p.311-312):

· The preposition eis is rendered “in” in 1 Pet. 3:5, “who hoped in God.” The “hope” referred to here is directed to and centered in the person of God.

· The preposition epi is typically rendered “on” or “upon.” E.g. Rom. 15:12, “Upon Him shall nations hope” (YLT). The “hope” referred to here expresses the ground upon which hope rests.

· The preposition en is rendered “in” or “within.” E.g. 1 Cor. 15:19, “we have hoped in Christ.” According to Vine’s “the preposition expresses that Christ is not simply the ground upon whom, but the sphere and element in whom, the hope is placed.” The form of the verb (perfect participle with the verb to be, lit., “are having hoped”) stresses the character of those who “hope,” more than the action; “hope” characterizes them, showing what sort of persons they are.”

Christ is the sole basis of our hope in every respect. Our hope is in Him (in His person). Our hope rests upon Him (in His work). Our hope is for Him (in His return). Our hope is Him (that we might be in His presence).


Four times in the NT the term “fix” or “fixed” is used to describe how we are to hope in the certain hope that has been established for us as believers:

· 1 Tim. 4:10, “Because we have fixed our hope on the living God.” The words “fixed your hope” translate the Greek “elpizo” (perfect, active, indicative).

· 1 Tim. 5:5, “Now she who is a widow indeed, and who has been left alone has fixed her hope on God.” The words “fixed her hope” translate the Greek “elpizo” (perfect, active, indicative).

· 1 Tim. 6:17, “Instruct those who are rich…not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty or riches, but on God.” The words “fix their hope” translate the Greek “elpizo” (perfect, active, infinitive).

· 1 Pet. 1:13, “Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The words “fix your hope” translate the Greek “elpizo” (aorist, active, imperative).

The believer is one who has already fixed his hope on the living God. In view of this, he is to take care lest he mistakenly fix his hope on earthly possessions. Ultimately, his hope is to be fixed completely on the grace to be brought to him at the revelation of Christ.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


There is a difference between "knowing about something" and "knowing something first hand." I like to fish for steelhead, I’ve been doing it for most of my life. But there was a time when I only “knew about” steelhead fishing. I had read books. I had gone steelhead fishing on a few occasions. I had heard what others had to say about it. Back then, however, I didn’t really “know” steelhead fishing because I hadn’t experienced it.

There are a lot of professing believers in the modern church who "know about" the Bible. They have heard sermons by Pastors, they have been to Sunday school classes and Bible studies and they know a lot about the Bible. They can repeat, as a Parrot would, whatever it is that they have heard. Sad to say, however, there are far too many who don’t “know” the Bible.

It is one thing to hear what a Bible teacher has to say about any given passage, it is another thing to study the Word of God for oneself. There is a need for teachers, numerous verses of Scripture speak to that (Eph. 4:11; James 3:1; 1 Cor. 12:29), but ultimately it is essential for believers in Christ to be “Spirit-taught.”

The Spirit-indwelt believer has been given all that is necessary to understand and apply the Bible to his or her life. 1 John 2:27, “And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” It is a ministry of the Spirit of God to apply the Word of God to the heart of the believer. In response to His ministry it is essential that we, as believers in Christ, endeavor always to “let the word of Christ richly dwell within” (Col. 3:16).

There is a great need for believers in our day to study the Word of God for themselves. In the “tickle-my-ears” climate of our day believers need to be challenged anew to think Biblically. I can still remember the day when Christian book stores sold mostly Bibles, commentaries, and such. Today they sell as much fiction as anything else. The serious study of God’s word by individuals within the church is becoming increasingly rare. The end result is that many are being “tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).

Good teachers of God’s word don’t just teach God’s word they teach that their students might be equipped to study it for themselves. They encourage their students to examine all that they hear through the “What does the Bible say?” filter (1 Thess. 5:21). It is the task of the Bible teacher to inspire a “Berean-like” approach to the Word. Those “noble-minded” believers were commended inasmuch as they were with “great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

I remember one of our elders sharing with me the story of how he first came to understand the importance of studying the Word of God for himself. Years ago he had come across a difficult and much debated portion of Scripture. He went to his Pastor to get his opinion as to what it was saying. The Pastor response was that he could give an answer as to his opinion, but that it would be much better for our elder to search the Scriptures for himself and arrive at his own conclusion. That is the kind of “Spirit-taught” approach that is so needful in our day.

We’ve been given, as born-again believers; all that we need to study the Word of God for ourselves. To be sure, it is good for us to have Spirit-led teachers to help us. And, it is helpful for us to have a sound approach to hermeneutics. The four-step approach to Bible study--preparation; observation; interpretation; and application—serves us well. It is also helpful to have good tools such as Bible dictionaries, and commentaries, and other tools. But ultimately the Spirit of God is our teacher, and He “teaches us about all things.” If we have the Spirit for a teacher, then there is no limit to what we can learn of God’s truth. But there is, on the other hand, no amount of lesser teachers, books, or tools that can make up for His absence.

The believers in Corinth were admonished because they elevated earthly teachers (1 Cor. 3:4-6). Their ill-founded approach accomplished no growth in Christ (1 Cor. 3:4). Let us be careful to elevate the Spirit and the Word and the Christ we yearn to know through our Spirit-led instruction. Let us be careful to be good students of the Word who earnestly seek to know for ourselves what the Bible says about any particular matter of faith and practice. Let us endeavor to be “Spirit-taught” believers in Christ!

Pastor Jerry


The following quote is from William Attersol’s book “The Nature of Pastoral Ministry, and its Toll on the Man of God” (1630). Great quote on the breadth of the various aspects of pastoral ministry...

“We may see by experience, that to study with constantness, to instruct with diligence, to exhort with carefulness, to reprove with zeal, to comfort with cheerfulness, to convince with boldness, to watch over people with a godly oversight, as they that must give an account for their souls, to conceive godly anger and great sorrow for sin, to pray in public and private, to go in and out before the people of God in the doctrine of faith and in example of life, to prepare themselves to handle the Word and to deliver it with power and evidence of the Spirit and with earnest affection being thus prepared I say, to perform all these duties does more consume the inward parts, waste the body, impair nature, decay strength, spend the vital spirits and cause them to be subject to sundry infirmities, sicknesses and diseases than any of the strongest labour that is used among men.”