A baby in a manger—what a little picture for such an immense person! Every Christmas we gaze in awe at a simple crèche and marvel at the miracle of the incarnation of the Son of God. Those tiny fingers belie the supreme power the person Himself not only possesses, but has already exercised. Even in His infancy Jesus embodied the fullness of the Godhead. The Son of God, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:6–7 ESV).… Continue reading
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
For me September 11, 2001 dawned as any other day for making the commute in to the seminary and my first class of the day. As usual, I awakened early and prepared myself for a day of teaching. However, I broke my routine in a major way—I turned on the TV to check the news. In New York City a fire raged in one of the World Trade towers. Someone said that a plane had crashed into it, but confusion accompanied the story—really? what kind of plane?
Two Fallen Towers
Then, as I watched, viewers could hear the approach of a plane and gazed, horrified, as it struck the second tower!… Continue reading
Even before the creation of the world (1 Peter 1:17–21), God appointed Christ and His perfect sacrifice as the basis for showing mercy to the Gentiles. Through Christ they could experience hope in spite of being strangers to Israel and not being recipients of God’s covenants with Israel (Ephesians 2:11–13). The apostle Paul understood this point very clearly and the Spirit of God led him to repeatedly write of its profound significance. One such occasion appears in Paul’s epistle to the Romans:
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8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.
Some preachers produce abundant applications (or, implications?) for their congregations from biblical narratives, whether they are Old Testament historical narratives like Judges 4 or New Testament Gospel narratives like Mark 3. Other preachers insist they should offer only theological and practical implications. Still others refuse to recognize any implications or applications from Scripture narratives. They declare, “Biblical narrative is only descriptive, not prescriptive.” Which practice is best? Which practice is legitimate and in keeping with sound biblical interpretation?
New Testament Teaching
No matter what the topic, one should always begin with the Scriptures themselves. What does the Word of God teach?… Continue reading