Over the last couple of months I’ve been preaching through a series on what the Bible says about the present-day ministry of the Holy Spirit; how the Holy Spirit works today. As I’ve been coursing through the teaching of the New Testament on the ongoing works of the Spirit, what has stuck out to me are the repeated connections made in Scripture between the work of the Holy Spirit and what we might regard as the ordinary patterns and practices of the Christian life. When we compare the emphasis of Scripture in regard to the ministry of the Holy Spirit to many (most?) of the ideas that tend to prevail in contemporary Christian teaching on the work of the Spirit however, there is a great deal of dissonance between them.… Continue reading
Entirely foreign to every sentence of the Bible is the concept that spiritual leadership is a place of power. Though this concept is widely embraced, it is entirely contrary to Scripture. Sadly, it seems to me that a great many Christians and even a great many Christian spiritual leaders have in one way or another failed to understand this. In a typical Bible-preaching evangelical church in the United States, the pastor of the church is not uncommonly regarded by a healthy percentage of its members as the president and/or CEO of the church. Sadder still, this is often how pastors in local churches have come to view themselves.… Continue reading
The relationship between faith and works as it’s described in the Bible is not a very complicated one. “If you love me you will keep my commandments,” says Jesus. “If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live,” says Paul. “Faith without works is dead,” says James. Or as John says plainly, “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” At least one major takeaway from all of this is that genuine faith in Jesus Christ – the kind that is required for a person to be brought into right standing with God – is a fruit-bearing faith. True faith in Jesus bears the fruit of obedience to Jesus. And so, a kind of faith that does not bear such fruit, is, in the words of James, “dead.” It is a useless, counterfeit sort of faith that does not save.… Continue reading
Complementarianism. Egalitarianism. Female Preachers. Patriarchy. And so on. If you’re one of those Christians who spends any time on social media, you have probably noticed a good deal of recent discussion between Christians of various stripes about the roles of men and women in the home and in the church, and lots of debate about what certain people have had to say about all of that. This post is about these things, just to warn you. To state my intentions up front, my desire in this post is to look at what God has to say about male leadership in the home – in marriage, specifically – in one particular verse of the Bible.… Continue reading
Words are powerful. The tongue is a small but influential instrument. And it is incredibly difficult to use that little instrument in a good, beneficial, and God-honoring way. Recently I spent some time reflecting on James 3:2-12 and what it says about the use of speech in the Christian life and found eight truths in that passage worth meditating upon. In this post, I’d like to share those 8 truths with you.
James is About Consistent Christianity
The letter of James is about the importance of living out a consistent Christian faith and the sad tendency for all Christians to contradict our faith by the lives we that we live. And in this sobering passage, James (one of Jesus’ younger brothers) exposes one of the most common and most troublesome ways in which Christians contradict their profession of faith in Christ, which is, by the words that come out of our mouths.… Continue reading