Archives For Bible

This sermon covers the Wedding of the Lamb and the Victory of the Rider on the white horse in Chapter 19 of Revelation.
Sermon Delivered 8/20/2017 in the Evening Service.

Join me for an introduction to the book of Ephesians.
Paul’s introduction to the Ephesian church may contain more information than you have previously thought.
This is the beginning to our series on Ephesians. So make sure to subscribe to get future messages.

This past week, I was thinking about my personal study habits and how much trial and error I have gone through to get a good Bible study system that I like.

It seems that there are several programs out there that claim they are the best but no system really fit what I wanted for the outcome that I desired, fitting into the time I have available, and working with a seminary student’s budget. (With seminary and 2 jobs, time is very limited and funds are sometimes scarse.)

In my search, I was looking for a method that would allow me to quickly work through the text, get something out of the text, record what was gained, & do all this in a clear way for future reference.

With that being said, this is the materials and method of study that I use everyday. I hope that you gain something from this and that it encourages you to study more in this new year.

 

I am going to approach this with a break down of the tools I use with notes on the way that I use them. This way, we can systematically work through what you need and how to use these.

A Good Bible Or Two Or Three Or Ten

The first thing you need for Bible study is a good Bible. I am not talking about the family Bible that is 50lbs. and has never been removed from Grandma’s bookshelf. I am talking about a Bible that you have chosen in a translation that makes since to you and feels good to you.

  • When you are shopping for a Bible, check for quality.

A Bible is somethings you should have for a few years. It will be a close friend, spend a little money on it.

On the high end of price range, I like the Cambridge Bibles. They are real leather, have very thick pages, they look very nice, and they are super durable. I have had one of these for 3 years of constant use and it looks brand new. Sometimes, you can find these on sale for great deals.

In the lower price range, I prefer Bibles made by Crossway or Zondervan. They are usually a leather substitute and have slightly thinner pages. These usually last me a year to two years and they show a lot of wear.

  • When you are shopping for a Bible, check for readability.

A Bible is a book you should understand, so purchase a translation that you can read and understand.

Without going into original languages and translator intent for each translation, I would recommend three different translations rated by preference and readability.

1st preference ESV (English Standard Version) – This is a smooth conservative translation but uses some words that may be unknown to unchurched eyes.

2nd preference HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible) – This is a smooth translation as well and the word formatting is very cool.

3rd preference NASB (New American Standard Version) – This is a very literal translation and some words may be foreign to today’s readers. However this is a great translation for those desiring to have a very literal translation.

4th preference NIV (New International Version) – This is a decent version with easy readability. However there have been many revisions over the years. I would recommend a 1984 edition.

  •  When shopping for a Bible, check for usability.

Look for things that will cater to what you desire in a Bible. Does the Bible have enough margin for notes? Does the Bible have cross references? Is the Bible red letter (words of Christ in red)? Is it a single column?

Now before we get overwhelmed with all the options, just remember, there is no right answer here. It is simply personal preference.

In my case, I like a single column for easy reading, a wide margin for notes and reflections, and red letter so I can skip to the words of Christ easily. I write in my Bible a lot and prefer a Bible that is easy to work with.

What do you look for when shopping for a new Bible?

Refusing to resort to worldly entertainment in order to attract a crowd or to employ gospel gimmicks to induce a spurious response, Spurgeon relied on God’s Word for the success of his ministry. He affirmed: “I would rather speak five words out of this book than 50,000 words of the philosophers. If we want revivals, we must revive our reverence for the Word of God. If we want conversions, we must put more of God’s Word into our sermons.” His gospel preaching was grounded in his commitment to biblical truth.

-Steven Lawson, The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon

The Role of the Word in Church According to @CharlesSpurgeon

With certainty, Spurgeon concluded that each word of the Bible is from God Himself: “The words are God’s words, the words of the Eternal, the Invisible, the Almighty, the Jehovah of this earth. This Bible is God’s Bible, and when I see it, I seem to hear a voice springing up from it, saying, ‘I am the Book of God; man, read me. I am God’s writing; open my leaf, for I was penned by God; read it, for He is my Author.’”

-Steven Lawson, The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon

God is the author of Scripture @CharlesSpurgeon

This morning I woke up very early. It was un expected and unplanned (on my part) but as I was waking and preparing the Lord reminded me of His presence and I could not help but respond. Read Psalm 103 below and listen to the lyrics of the song that was in my head.

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How does the Lord remind you of His presence in your life?

“Some Christians are stalled out in their sanctification for simple lack of effort. They need to know about the Spirit’s power. They need to be rooted in gospel grace. They need to believe in the promises of God. And they need to fight, strive, and make every effort to work out all that God is working in them. Let us say with Paul, ‘I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me’ (1 Corinthians 15:10). Without this biblical emphasis, we’ll be confused, wondering why sanctification isn’t automatically flowing from a heartfelt commitment to gospel-drenched justification. We’ll be waiting around for enough faith to really ‘get the gospel’ when God wants us to get up and get to work (Philippians 2:12–13). Because when it comes to growth in godliness, trusting does not put an end to trying.” (90–91)

-Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap Between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness

Are you stalled out in your quest for holiness? @RevKevDeYoung

Expositional preaching is preaching in service to the Word. It presumes a belief in the authority of Scripture—that the Bible is actually God’s Word; but it is something much more than that. A commit ment to expositional preaching is a commitment to hear God’s Word—not just to affirm that it is God’s Word but to actually submit yourself to it.

– Mark Dever, 9 Marks of a Healthy Church

Expositional Preaching @9MarksOnline @MarkDever

200px-Pastor_BonhoefferFrom Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his Nachfolge (ET,  The Cost of Discipleship)

When we are called to follow Christ, we are summoned to an exclusive attachment to his person…

Discipleship means adherence to Christ, and, because Christ is the object of that adherence, it must take the form of discipleship…

Discipleship without Jesus Christ is a way of our own choosing.

According to Bonhoeffer, costly discipleship is rooted in the costly grace of God.

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting to-day for costly grace…

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field…

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.

I found this challenging and I hope you do as well.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)

Paul gives some wise advice to the church in Ephesus from his experiences in ministry as he is saying his last goodbye before heading to Jerusalem that all believers can profit from. Read the Scripture below and see how you are imitating Paul’s example in ministry to the Ephesians.

Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders
Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. And when they came to him, he said to them:
“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities
and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
(Acts 20:17-35 ESV)

 

  • Do Not Shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God.

As believers, we must be willing to share and discuss everything according to God’s word. In our culture it is not always the popular thing to proclaim what the word of God has to say on a certain topic. But Christians must be willing to proclaim God’s desires and be willing to act in a fashion that would bring those to reality.

How can you be better at giving the full counsel of God?

  • Pay Careful Attention to Yourself and to the Flock God has entrusted you with.

Believers must pay careful attention to their spiritual walk and the spiritual walk of those around them. Every believer is both a sheep and a shepherd. They are first a sheep under the authority of the true shepherd which is Christ and we are to seek His will and conform to it. The second they are a shepherd to those around them, prodding and pushing others to grow closer to Jesus. This may be through witnessing to friends who do not know the Lord or encouraging other believers to leave their sin and get serious about their spiritual walk with God.

What can you do to guard yourself spiritually? Who do you need to help get closer to God?

  • Value the Church because God has obtained it with His own blood.

Believers must also value what the Lord values and that is His church which He set up and purchased through His work on the cross. Therefore believers must respect and honor the church as the future bride of Christ. This would include honoring other believers within the church even when you have disagreements and defending the church when others are speaking against it.

How do you value the church that God loves?

  • Be Alert. Wolves will come in among you

Christians will always be under persecution whether at this current moment or in the near future. Therefore, when it comes do not be surprised. “Be Alert” as Paul says and be ready for it mentally and spiritually. Determine for yourself now what you will do.

Will you stay in the fight and not give up or will you collapse under the pressure?

  • Pray for and Admonish the Church even through tears

All believers should be in constant prayer. Not only for ourselves but also for those around them. This would include praying for those who are going through a hard time and those about to go through a hard time. Believers should even be in the midst of prayer for others when they are going through a hard time themselves.

Who can you pray for and admonish today?

  • Do Not Covet the Worldly things of life.

One of the most covertly destructive things a believer can do is start to covet worldly things. This is a big one in our consumer culture because we can even tie these worldly things to our spiritual walk. Such as a new iPad for Bible study or the new super expensive study Bible or whatever it may be. The point it is, is that when we start to place our trust more in the new, hip, & trendy thing, we lose sight of the true savior, Jesus.

What do you need to let go of in order to place Jesus at the top of your mind and heart?