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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Be a Berean

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“Be a Berean.” This command references the Bereans response to the Gospel message they heard when Paul and Silas preached to them in the synagogue of the Jews. The Jews in the synagogue heard the message and responded by going away and studying Scripture. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). When we issue this command to people, we are asking them to be discerning about what they hear and make sure the teaching is inline with Scripture.… Continue reading

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Practical Pauline Missions: Athens

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Brethren, we are not apostles, but their example instructs us. We cannot be exactly like the apostle Paul, but we can learn basic principles and practices from the biblical record of Paul’s missionary service. We can even develop a biblical evangelistic or missions methodology based upon Paul’s example. A careful study of Paul’s missionary efforts reveals that his methodology exhibits flexibility. Although he often begins with the synagogues (Acts 17:1–4, 10), he makes exceptions—as he does at Philippi, going to a group of women meeting for prayer outside the city (Acts 16:11–13). Each strategic church plant comes about through different means.… Continue reading

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