The past few weeks in my youth group I have had a few young men in their 20s who gave their first sermon. They had been taking a class our pastor offered on “How to Study the Bible So As To Teach” for the weeks previous and I wanted to give them real world experience. I assigned them texts from 1 John & Matthew 7. They did a great job (especially for it being their first time to teach), and I was once again struck by the truth in these two texts. Both Jesus & the apostle John are harping on the same truth: is your faith a true faith or are you a false “believer”?… Continue reading
Scripture is to be a lamp to our feet and a guide to our path. And it is; however, only when rightly understood and applied can it be brought to bear in our lives. When scripture is misunderstood and misapplied it can be a dangerous thing. Remarkably, the best loved verses are often among the most misunderstood ones. Sometimes it is because those verses are taken out of context, other times we simply fail to rightly understand them because we have retained an archaic translation that meant something very different in the past than it does today, and often it is simply a matter of the human heart, when we want to read our desires rather than God’s in a text.… Continue reading
If you have been around church circles for any amount of time you have probably heard it said that the Corinthian church had so many profound sin issues because it was rooted in a city that that had a centuries long tradition of debauchery, immorality and the vilest kinds of sin. You may have even heard it said that to coronthianize meant to engage in sexual depravity. The logic is that because the church at Corinth was made up of converts who were steeped in that entrenched culture of debauchery prior to conversion, the church at Corinth was unique in its propensity to sin and tolerate sin.… Continue reading
“No conflict is so severe as his who labors to subdue himself; but in this we must be continually engaged, if we would be strengthened in the inner man, and make real progress toward [Christlikeness].” So said Thomas à Kempis in his famous book on the Christian life, The Imitation of Christ. And Kempis is right. Self-control is one of the hardest of fight, one of the most difficult battles all Christian face, because we fight against an enemy that is powerful and has a hold deeply upon us.
However, sin is a defeatable enemy and, for the Christian, self-control is a necessary battle in the fight against our own sin (Prov 25:28; Gal 5:22-23).… Continue reading
In late November of last year, I wrapped up what turned out to be a two-year and two-month study of the book of Romans; a letter that many students of the Bible have regarded as the Apostle Paul’s magnum opus and one that a particular pastor even calls “the greatest letter ever written.” (His words, not mine. Given that I’m just not sure how to square those words with the plenary inspiration of the Bible, I’d rather call Romans “one of the greatest letters ever written.” But I digress.)
After spending over two solid years in a single biblical book, it can become easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. It was for that reason that I decided to cap off our study of Romans with a simple outline that I hoped the folks at our church could store away in their minds for further meditation upon the truths we explored in our study. Some have shared that this outline was helpful to them, so I thought it may be worth passing on to you.… Continue reading