Biblical Self-Control pt. 2 – Its Necessity

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Last time I wrote, we began to look at that oh so lost Fruit of the Spirit, self-control. Because it sits at the end of the list in Galatians 5. I think we (including myself) thing of this list as a hierarchy, where love the most important fruit of the Spirit, followed by joy, peace, etc., leaving self-control as the last and therefore least important. But this list Paul gives us in Gal 5 is not a list of fruits (plural), but one fruit that the Spirit works in each of us. There is no hierarchy here, but a list of what describes a person who is walking by the Spirit.… Continue reading

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Biblical Self-Control pt. 1 – Its Definition

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Of all the Bible verses we Christians have memorized, near the top is probably Galatians 5:22-23 — the Fruit of the Spirit. If you are like me, the reason you know these verse so well is because when you were at camp, you sang a silly song that went like this: “The fruit of the spirit’s not a coconut” (tap your head while making a hollow sound with your mouth to imitate the sound of coconut). “The fruit of the spirit’s not a coconut” (sound again). “If you wanna be a coconut, you might as well hear it, you can’t be a fruit of the spirit.… Continue reading

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Understanding And Applying The Kenosis

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Theology is life, or so it says on the t-shirts. But the real truth is that theology must impact life, any theology, no matter how orthodox, that doesn’t shape the way life is lived is worthless. R.C. Sproul put it this way in his helpful basic systematic theology, Everyone’s A Theologian:

The purpose of theology is not to tickle our intellects, but to instruct us in the ways of God, so that we can grow up into maturity and fullness of obedience to Him. That is why we engage in theology.[1]

Perhaps no passage in the New Testament  has so tickled intellects and been the subject of more idol theological curiosity than Philippians 2:5-8, often called the Kenosis of Christ.Continue reading

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Reflections on James

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Two weeks ago I finished preaching through James at Piedmont Bible Church (you can listen here). For me, it is always a time of reflection after I finish preaching through a book of the Bible. When I am in the thick of a series my study is very focused, as I strive to learn everything I can about each passage I am preaching.

While before I start a new series, I spend a good bit of time studying the book I am about to preach as a whole, my knowledge of the book (or section of the book) is nothing compared to what it is after I have finished preaching through it.Continue reading

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Trust Your Translation

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One of the most common questions I get asked about any given passage of Scripture is “what does it really say in the Greek/Hebrew?” 99.995% of the time my answer is “just what it says in your translation.”  It is very, very, very, unlikely that your pastor will make a linguistic discovery in the text of the Bible that millennia of scholars, pastors and theologians have missed. And there is no dark conspiracy among translation committees (of major translations) to obscure the text of Scripture. The best advice I can give you is the advice always give those who ask me what the text really says.Continue reading

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