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Throughout the Book of Acts there is an ever-occurring term that stands out. Indeed, this descriptive term is so characteristic of the apostles’ preaching of the Gospel that Luke is careful to use it even up to and including the very last verse of his book!
“What is it?”
Let me quote that verse an see if you can pick it out.
“OK. Go ahead.”
Speaking of Paul’s house arrest, here is what he writes:
He stayed two whole years in his own rented house . . . proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with full boldness and without hindrance (HCSB).
Do you see the word that I have in mind?
“Not sure… is it ‘proclaiming?’”
A great word—shows us how he never stopped preaching. But that’s not the word I had in mind.
“How about ‘teaching?’”
Another good choice— but not what I had in mind.
“Then it must be ‘boldness.”‘
Bingo! You got it.
“Thought I never would. Why do you point this out? Isn’t boldness a bit careless? You know what the word means—...
There is not much concern shown for the elderly in the preaching that I have heard in the last few years. At one time the elderly in our midst were considered valuable and important members whose wisdom was sought, cherished and followed and whose presence was an honor. Now, all too often, in our society which glorifies youth, they are looked upon as a burden. Frequently, that same attitude, unconsciously adopted, is extended to preaching.
Concerns of all of the members of the congregation should be mentioned in preaching. Just as Paul frequently speaks in categories of young men, young women, old men and old women, addressing those belonging to each according to their peculiar circumstances, so too should we be aware of the particular needs, problems and responsibilities of each (in his first letter John also makes such distinctions.) And we should be sure that what we preach is adapted just as regularly to the old as to the young.
What are some of the concerns of older persons to which we ought to direct our attention in preaching? Here is a list with which you may begin:
Some teach that he did. They refer to the quotation of the Psalm that the apostle Peter quotes (Acts 2:27):
You will not leave My soul in Hades.
“There you have it” they say. “His soul went to hell (Hades) at death—why else would this be true?”
Well, let’s think about it for a moment.
When after three hours of darkness suffering on the cross Jesus said, “It is finished,” what did he mean? Certainly, that was not a cry of relief! He was saying “I have completed the suffering for sinners that the Father sent me to accomplish.” That is to say, redemption is finished. Well, that statement seems to contradict the idea that Jesus has to suffer additionally in hell, doesn’t it?
In addition, consider this: The word Hades doesn’t mean what we (today) mean when we speak of “hell.” It comes from the Greek root id which means “seen.” In Greek, if you want to negate something, you add an alpha (a) privative to the word. Do that with this term and you get “Unseen.”
Hades is the “unseen world.” In it is both paradise and the place of suffering. Remember, Jesus said to the thief...
Is the resurrection of the body! Too often we speak of waiting to go to heaven. True, upon death genuine believers will in their spirit be “with Christ” in paradise (as he told the thief on the cross). But as much as that is fine and wonderful, it isn’t our ultimate hope.
No, we “eagerly wait for a Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body . . .” (Philippians 3: 20, 21: HBSC). That is more than heaven—indeed, we will live in a new body in a new heavens and new earth (2 Peter 3:13) in which righteousness is at home. Think of it—believer, some day, you will have a new body like His!
It was a body that rose from the dead, walked through doors, ascended into heaven and sat on the right hand of God (where it is today).
On that resurrection day, your body will rise to meet Him in the air, in order to escort Him to earth. You will then enjoy all the privileges of living in a perfect body in a perfect world! That is heaven, all right: heaven on earth!
In speaking to a promising young man recently about his preaching, we both arrived at the conclusion that his difficulty was not in style, organization or delivery. What he was facing was simply a problem of communicating something substantive to his congregation each week. The problem is not uncommon, even among those who hold to the inerrancy of the Scriptures.
In order to preach effectively, you must have something to say, not merely have to say something! From reading and hearing sermons, all too frequently it seems as though that elemental truth has escaped many.
Are your sermons thin soup? Does your congregation get fed sawdust or the wholesome food of the Scriptures each week? Lean, scrawny Christians are indicative of lean victuals. Are your members healthy and robust? Or are they suffering from spiritual rickets?
It is not as though there is not enough “healthy teaching” (one of Paul’s favorite phrases in speaking to pastors like Titus and Timothy) to go around; the Word of the Lord is filled with all of the ingredients necessary to spread a balanced, nourishing meal before the congregation every time that you rise to preach. There is no end of...
There are a wealth of phonics programs available today to teach children reading and spelling. We primarily use All About Spelling for phonics, but I have also looked intently at–and own–Spell to Write and Read, which has been highly recommended by several friends and is used at our local classical Christian school, Bob Jones phonics and reading, which is one of the pioneer programs in the phonics resurgence, The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading, and Phonics Pathways, both of which are highly recommended in The Well-Trained Mind. What is the difference between these methods? “Is there a classical approach to phonics, and if so, what is it?” In this very informative article (which, by the way, came out earlier this past summer in The Classical Teacher and is now, finally, available online), Cheryl Lowe, founder of Memoria Press, compares and categorizes the various phonics approaches–traditional phonics, the Spalding method, and the Orton-Gillingham approach–from a classical...
For many years, Matt Recker has been a church planter and pastor in New York City. He has started churches in Brooklyn and Queens, and he presently pastors the Heritage Baptist Church in Manhattan. He has written and taught on urban ministry, becoming recognized among fundamentalists as something of an authority in these areas.
Recently, Pastor Recker has also been writing against what he calls the New Calvinism, by which he means mainly The Gospel Coalition (he also mentions Together for the Gospel and a few other groups and individuals, but only occasionally). His thesis is that the New Calvinism is recapitulating the New Evangelicalism of the 1940s and 1950s, though he sometimes looks for parallels in evangelical trends as late as the 1980s.
What is Pastor Recker calling the New Evangelicalism? He finds its chief characteristics primarily in an article, “Is Evangelical Theology Changing?” published in Christian Life in 1956. That article listed eight evangelical theological trends of that era, and Pastor Recker thinks that he can discover parallels for each trend in The Gospel Coalition.
Why must someone be baptized as a believer in order to join a local church? Because church membership is a public affirmation of someone’s public profession of faith in Christ, and Jesus has appointed baptism as the means by which his followers publicly profess their faith in him. A church can’t affirm the profession of someone who hasn’t yet made that profession.
Over the past decade it has been popular to distinguish between “cultural fundamentalism” and “historic fundamentalism.” Cultural fundamentalism is regarded by its critics as very, very bad. It consists of folksy/outdated traditionalism that has drifted from its quaint, innocuous origins and has entered a bitter, skeptical stage of life—complete with theological errors of a sort that typically attend aging, countercultural movements. Historic fundamentalism, which focuses more on basic theological issues, fares a little bit better, but only a very little bit. Critics puzzle over those who accept this label, marveling that anyone would risk associative guilt by lingering near those nasty cultural fundamentalists: “Why not get with the program,” they ask, “and become a conservative evangelical?”
Part of the reason, I would venture, is that conservative evangelicalism itself appears, to all but those blinded by its euphoria, to be yet another cultural phenomenon—a new iteration of a broader movement (evangelicalism) that, let’s face it, has a track record easily as jaded as that of fundamentalism. True, the conservative evangelicals of today are a bit more...
In 1768 the French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire wrote: “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” Voltaire was not trying to denigrate Christianity. Rather, he was arguing for the social benefit of belief in God. He thought that belief in God helped provide incentive to people to live morally and helped establish social order and justice. Thus, if God did not exist, it would be better for society to convince people that God did exist.
There are a growing number of atheists in our day who are clamoring for the abolishment of religion. The late Christopher Hitchens was a leading voice in this movement, and he did not hide his contempt for Voltaire’s sentiment. “Though I dislike to differ with such a great man, Voltaire was simply ludicrous when he said that if god did not exist it would be necessary to invent him. The human invention of god is the problem to begin with” (God is Not Great, 96).
In response to these calls for the abolishment of religion, some are continuing to argue that religion, though perhaps (likely?) false, is still good. Thus, much of the discussion has moved past the question of whether or not...
The winner of our recent book giveaway was Chris K. in Clarkston, MI. His copy of Four Views on the Apostle Paul is in the mail. Congratulations, Chris. And thanks to all who participated.
Hopefully, at this point in the summer you’ve made a pretty good dent in your summer reading list. We’re looking to add one more title to that list, and we’re going to give a free copy of Four Views on the Apostle Paul (Zondervan, 2012) to someone who comments on this post.
In order to enter the drawing, you need to leave a comment below telling us the author and title of the best book you’ve read this summer (outside the Bible). The book can be fiction or non-fiction, academic or popular, long or short. It doesn’t matter. To be entered, you only need to tell us the title and author, but if you really enjoyed the book and want to tell us why, that would be great too.
The deadline to be entered in the drawing is 11 pm (EST), Wednesday, August 13.