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Archive for July, 2010

The Attitude of Joy

July 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Philippians 1:21 is a beautiful verse, and one that many Christians commit to memory. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” In addition to the beautiful grammatical parallelism in that verse, and in addition to its brevity, the profundity of that verse also makes it an oft-quoted verse in churches around the world. But do we realize what that verse is really saying? Do we think about its meaning? Do we meditate on its truth and internalize it? In writing a commentary on Philippians 1:18-26, I could not devote a disproportionate section to this one verse, and so I include it here, in an excursus. Philippians 1:21 teaches us believers to have the attitude of joy.

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God’s Glory in Salvation

July 28, 2010 1 comment

On July 24, I preached a sermon on 1 Timothy 1:12-17 at Jimmie Hale Mission in downtown Birmingham, AL. As with my posted outline of my sermon on 1 Timothy 1:1-11, below is an outline of this sermon on 1 Timothy 1:12-17. You can listen to this sermon at mypodcast.com.

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Christian Fellowship as a Reason for Joy

July 25, 2010 1 comment

In Philippians 1:15-17, Paul admits to the Philippians that although “most of the brothers … are much more bold to speak the word without fear,” some of these Christians preach from impure motives. In v. 18, Paul closes the previous section of the letter and transitions into the next. Paul asks a rhetorical question, “What then?” in response to the fact that some Christians were preaching Christ out of “envy and rivalry” with Paul. Rather than rejecting these erring brothers, Paul resolves to rejoice that “whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed.”

Philippians 1:12-18 reveals that Paul rejoices at gospel proclamation even when it is proclaimed at personal cost. However, those verses do not answer why Paul rejoices in the midst of his sufferings. Verses 19-26 do answer this question, and Paul’s answer is simple: the joy of Christian fellowship enables him to rejoice in Christ Jesus (and the gospel) even as he suffers both in prison and at the hands of envious evangelists.

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Categories: General Posts

Sacred Sandwiches, Batman!

July 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Yes, you read right. Both alliteration and a corny superhero reference are in the title of today’s post. There is a wonderful website called “The Sacred Sandwich.” It’s a fictional “illustrated journal for small town Christians in the big bad world.” I discovered this website last week and was rolling in my chair laughing. On their introductory page, The Sacred Sandwich writes:

Scripture is the vital staple God has prepared for His people.  Therefore the mission of The Sacred Sandwich is two-fold.  First, we desire to use this publication to proclaim sola Scriptura: the “shorthand” declaration that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and is the only basis of truth for the Lord’s people in the Church.  Second, and more pointedly, we desire to present faithful, consistent exegesis of Scripture as a powerful and irrefutable response to much of the current error being taught in the church today.

This website is hilariously funny. Don’t get me wrong; it presents solid stuff … but often in a satirical way. One of my favorite articles postulates the types of responses Paul’s Letter to the Galatians would receive if it were published in Christianity Today. I harbor no ill will toward Christianity Today (I even linked to one of their excellent articles in a recent post), and to my knowledge, neither does The Sacred Sandwich. If anything, these supposed readers’ responses to Galatians is an indictment against us present Christians who put unity and love (though both important) over faithfulness to the gospel. Here’s one such fictitious modern reader’s response to Galatians:

Dear Christianity Today:

The fact that Paul Apostle brags about his public run-in with Peter Cephas, a well-respected leader and brother in Christ, exposes Mr. Apostle for the divisive figure that he has become in the Church today. His diatribe against the Galatian church is just more of the same misguided focus on an antiquated reliance on doctrine instead of love and tolerance. Just look how his hypercritical attitude has cast aspersions on homosexual believers and women elders! The real problem within the Church today is not the lack of doctrinal devotion, as Apostle seems to believe, but in our inability to be transformed by our individual journeys in the Spirit. Evidently, Apostle has failed to detach himself from his legalistic background as a Pharisee, and is unable to let go and experience the genuine love for Christ that is coming from the Galatians who strive to worship God in their own special way.

William Zenby; Richmond, VA

As mentioned before, this is satire. But that “contemporary” (albeit fictitious) disdain for the epistle of Galatians says many things that many professing Christians would agree with. Let us examine ourselves: are we really following the Bible? Or are we conforming to a world that we’re not even of anymore?

You can read that whole article at http://sacredsandwich.com/archives/2781.

You can read all articles (and view all funny pictures) at http://sacredsandwich.com.

Use the Law in Love

July 18, 2010 1 comment

On July 11, I preached a sermon from 1 Timothy 1:1-11 at Calvary Baptist Church in Fayette, AL. I am very grateful to Pastor Blake Thompson and the people at Calvary for giving me the opportunity to preach there again. In recent months, my pulpit notes have moved from blocks of text to a one-page outline. Below is an abridged outline similar to the one I used from the pulpit while preaching through 1 Timothy 1:1-11. You can listen to my sermon at mypodcast.com.

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Rejoicing at the Gospel Proclaimed in Philippians 1:12-18

July 15, 2010 4 comments

“Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” This is the central thought of Philippians 1:12-18. As Paul writes this epistle to the Philippians, he is imprisoned at Rome, which the letter itself implies (1:13, 4:22). The possibility of Paul’s imminent death while imprisoned (1:20) would also implicate Rome as the location of Paul’s imprisonment. The textual implications (along with an early tradition) far outweigh the modern conjectures that Paul wrote this letter elsewhere. From a Roman imprisonment, then, Paul writes to his “partners in the gospel” at Philippi who would naturally be concerned with whether the gospel was spreading in Rome despite Paul’s imprisonment. In 1:12-18, Paul reveals that his imprisonment has actually led to the great progress of the gospel because “most of the brothers … are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

Nevertheless, Paul goes on to admit that some of these evangelists are envious of Paul and “proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.” Despite their impure motives, however, these evangelists proclaim a true gospel, and because their gospel is true, Paul rejoices and affirms “Yes, and I will rejoice.”

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Crying Out in the Silence

July 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Before reading my blog post (click “read more…”), please read Dr. Moore’s article for Christianity Today.

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