Learning and Living the God-centered life

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Bible Study

Review for December 13

If you want to print out the notes from a pdf file then simply click on this LINK

Word studies in the Bible

One of the exciting things about Bible study is to look at various words or phrases that may catch your attention while reading. This month I have been looking at 3 specific words/phrase and want to share this with you in this email. Sometimes it is a bit like being a detective in which you are given clues and then you see where it leads. Often I find these are the kinds of things that bring me to even a greater appreciation of God and His word.

Here are the three word searches I have been working on:
1. WORSHIP - the main word that we have in the New Testament is the Greek word "proskuneo" Here is the definition according to Strong's - from 4314 and a probable derivative of 2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): — worship.

As you look in the New Testament this word appears 44 times in Matthew-Acts and in Revelation 25 times. Here is what I find interesting the apostle Paul only uses this word 1 time in his epistles. And the word is never mentioned by Peter or James. Why would the New Testament writers who are writing to help the church be all that it can be from a Christ-centered perspective be devoid of the teaching of this word? There is a good reason but it would take up more of your reading than you may have time for at the moment. My point is that in researching words there are spiritual nuggets that God is waiting to give that often manifest in "glory bumps."

2. DISCIPLE - OK, now here is an important word for the 21st Century church right? How many books, tapes, conferences and sermons have been as to the importance of the why and how of being a disciple of Christ. Well then let's do a little research on this word and see what we can discover.
The Greek word for disciple is mathetes, math-ay-tes´; from 3129; a learner, i.e. pupil: — disciple.
This word occurs 261 times in the New Testament but all of those occurrences are in Matthew-Acts. Never one time does this word appear in the 21 epistles that we have in the New Testament.
You might know that I have an opinion on this but I will leave you to the question "why do you suppose after Acts we hear no more about this word?" Read More...

Review for December 6

If you want to print out the notes from a pdf file then simply click on this LINK

Application from Sunday's class

Yesterday was the conclusion in our teaching on "the Trinity." This obviously was our first major section of teaching regarding the doctrine of God. Here are the points of application that need to be emphasized in this area of our doctrinal study.

#1 - Marvel at the submission of the incarnate Christ to the leading and direction of the Spirit

Look closely at the humility of Christ in not only becoming one of us but also His submission to follow the leading of the Spirit
And this is the Spirit to whom Jesus has authority in the Trinity

Marvel at the ability of the Spirit to serve unnoticed as it were, without overt recognition of the honor and glory that is reserved for the Father and the Son.

#2 - Marvel at the humility of the Spirit
Preachers say we want God to be glorified and Jesus to be honored but you don't hear about the Spirit being glorified and you shouldn't hear that because the Spirit doesn't want to be glorified Himself.

If we are Spirit filled then we are a people who are longing to see Christ glorified and honored in the power of the Spirit
This is what the Spirit wants and He does not put Himself forward. And understand that the Spirit has the very same essence as the Father and the Son, He is God. The Spirit has no resentment that the Father shines the spot light on Jesus and that the ultimate glory goes to God the Father, while the Spirit is in the background.

We need to marvel at the humility of God the Spirit. If the Holy Spirit can accept joyfully, willingly and gladly an eternity of not receiving front and center recognition…then do we think it is possible that we who are filled with the Spirit, might be able to perform good works that no one notices. Might we as the people of God do helpful things that are honoring to God that we know will receive no recognition and can we be happy and joyful that Christ is honored! Read More...

Review for November 22

The first thing I wanted to accomplish this morning is to encourage and remind about our Bible reading plan for this year. As we approach the Thanksgiving and Christmas season schedules and activities get very hectic. So it becomes important for us to stay focused on our reading and study during these holiday months.

I took the first part of our class to review Matthew 24 that was part of our reading assignment for this past Saturday. This is the Mount Olivet discourse and contains some critical information for us today in the church. Jesus is asked by His disciples what will be the sign of His return. Jesus says be aware of those who will mislead you. Folks the danger today in the evangelical church are those being mislead by false teaching and bad doctrine When you have the basic essentials like the Trinity, substitutionary atonement of Christ for our sins and the virgin birth that are being disregarded, then you know we live in dangerous days. One of the key goals of this class is to learn the basic Bible doctrines so you can protect yourself and family from what is incorrect. If you want to see the importance of this from the perspective of Christ Himself then read Matthew 24:1-14.

During the past week I came across a couple of audio surveys that I want to share with you in this blog article. I have posted these earlier blog posts during the week. But in case you are behind in reading and study I will re-post in this class review. These were interviews done on two subjects, first the ten commandments and the other was the gospel. By the way the gospel interview was conducted at a Christian Booksellers Convention. The point is for you to listen to the questions and see how other Christians responded to some of these basics of the faith. And the further point I want to make is this, if we are negligent about the ten commandments and the gospel then how about the other essentials in the Bible. The bottom line is that we for the most part in the evangelical church have become apathetic and ignorant toward God’s word.

For example:
The Ten Commandments audio interview; LINK

Today was the conclusion of our teaching on the Trinity. Even though I only covered 8 of the 20 slides you can review all of the notes by clicking on this

This document is a pdf that can be downloaded or printed out for your convenience.

Also the audio for today’s lesson can be listened to at this LINK.

The Ten Commandments


If someone were to approach you with this one question how would you do? Can you name the ten commandments off the top of your head? Now before you go and look up the answer just give it a try. How did you do? And if someone were to ask you where the ten commandments are located in the Bible would you know?

My point is not to scold or belittle but to make you aware of a serious problem in the evangelical church today. There is a tremendous lack of basic Bible knowledge. We have given up the learning of God’s word for other things that have taken priority in our lives. May this 2009 and 2010 be the time that we say as a collective group of saints “Finally This Year!”

Here is a short audio clip of some people that were interviewed on the street and asked if they could name the ten commandments. Just click on this LINK.

Review for November 1

We are continuing with our teaching of Jesus and His relationship to the Holy Spirit. And the emphasis for yesterday was yes Jesus is fully God and He is also fully man. So we arrive at a number of verses that in order to understand them we need a category of Jesus as man. For example and these were covered yesterday;
Luke 2:40 and Luke 2:52 in which the text says that Jesus grew in understanding and wisdom. And we know from previous discussion and text that Jesus is God and we know that God is omniscient which means “all knowing.” So when we come to this verse then our conclusion is that we learn this is not Jesus as God but rather Jesus as man. The further point being that while on planet earth Jesus lived in the power of the Spirit. This means as Jesus lived then so we can and should live now and that is in the power of the Spirit. The more we come to these verses and meditate on these things it should give us great encouragement and hope.

However I do want to discuss how we ended the class yesterday. I had us go to Hebrews 5:8-9
Heb. 5:8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
Heb. 5:9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

What does it mean that Jesus learned obedience?

Well here is what it CAN NOT mean
It doesn't mean that He learned to obey having first disobeyed because we know that Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4:15)

But rather He was learning to obey, by His suffering, in a progressive way, more and more difficult things in order that God could prepare Him for the most difficult thing, which was the cross.
The Father was preparing Him for the hardest thing which was obedience to the point of death, yes even death on the cross.
And how does Christ go to the cross? Answer, in the power of the Spirit.

And if you remember I said I sensed it was necessary for us to stop and look at the application. This is sometimes the struggle in teaching and that is when to complete the material at hand and when to stop for sake of application. As most of you know by now I am very bothered by how much culture has invaded the evangelical church. If you look at many television broadcasts, go into the section of the bookstore with Christian material there is a large dose of “health, wealth and prosperity.” My problem is that we are selling the benefits of the gospel but often leave out the Benefactor. We seem to be all about the gifts even though we give only a casual mention regarding the Giver. And if you were to ask many in the church if they would want to go to heaven and get perfect health, all the pleasures they can imagine, and have friendships and family for eternity and yet no Jesus they would still want to go? We might be shocked how many would answer yes to that question. In other words they don’t want Jesus but everything that Jesus can provide for them. Read More...

Review for October 25 and preview for next week

The reason Jesus had the wisdom that He had, the reason Jesus had the knowledge that he had, the fear of the Lord and the compassion that He had was because He lived in the power of the Spirit. Jesus is God and in the first four centuries of our church history this was the primary question to be answered which was who is Jesus? When that problem was concluded I think there became a tendency to allow this part of the doctrine to collapse on top of the second truth which is Jesus is also full man.
And as man how does Jesus live out His 33 years on planet earth and the answer from Scripture is in the power of the Spirit. This is the same Jesus who says when He goes away He will send the Holy Spirit whose primary responsibility will be to glorify the Son.

As we have seen in the past two weeks when the Lord Jesus comes to announce His public ministry(Luke 4) He reads from Isaiah 61:1-2a. He is the Spirit anointed Messiah. In our Bible reading this past week we read in Matthew 11. Do you remember the problem that John the Baptist was having in jail? He send his disciples to Jesus with the following question "are you the Expected One or should we look for someone else?" Of all the answers Jesus could have given the disciples of John look at what He told them. If you look at the cross reference in Matthew 11:5 you will notice that it is Isaiah 61:1. Jesus is telling John the Baptist that yes I am the Spirit anointed Messiah. Well, how important is it for us to understand that Jesus lived His life in the power of the Spirit, check out the following verses. These are the notes that I am planning to use a the basis for next week's teaching on Jesus and His relationship with the Spirit. May I encourage you to combine these with what we have looked at so far as we come to a Biblical understanding of the relationship between Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

GO TO Matthew 12:28
The context is that Jesus had just cast out a demon and the Pharisees can not deny the fact that a miracle has taken place.

The only thing the Pharisees could appeal to was another supernatural power other than God which was the devil. So their strategy was to pin on Jesus that His supernatural power was from the devil and not from God. But Jesus says to them...“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Notice that Jesus does not say that He casts them out by His own power, but rather this is the power of the Spirit working in and through Christ
The Pharisees should recognize that when the real Messiah came He would have the Spirit of God upon Him.


Review for October 18

Jesus Christ lived His life on planet earth in the power of the Spirit. And yesterday the focus was on the relationship between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. As I opened one of my points was regarding the church and how in the first 4 centuries it sought to establish that Jesus was God. And I pointed to the fact that maybe in some degree that part of our doctrine has overshadowed our teaching on Jesus as man. Allow me to mention that we in the 21st Century Church are going to need to do a better job of holding Biblical truth in tension. For example as I alluded to yesterday, we have no problem in the church preaching and teaching that God loves us. But we are less likely to hear the same amount of preaching and teaching that God’s wrath is presently on those who aren’t in Christ, and that is a wrath that is being stored up and one day will be released in its full fury. We want a God that is very near to us but we don’t hear as much about the God was is far from us and that we also need to fear.

As we continue in our study of the “doctrine of God” I will first be presenting those attributes that deal with the transcendence of God. The term refers to far off or way above us in every respect. And then I will follow with the attributes of immanence, which will show God to be very near to us. My point is that we should not present just one Biblical truth about God that is so dominant that it overshadows or blots out other equally important truths about God. This means at times that we simply must hold Biblical truths in tension even though we don’t understand them in full. Maybe the best example I can give in this particular area is our recognition that God is sovereign and yet we at the same time have human responsibility. And though we may not understand how God can be sovereign over all things and at the same time never invade our human responsibility of choice, it nevertheless is still true. Most of us have heard of our lives I must understand it in order to believe it. However in the Christian life one must first believe and then understanding starts to come.

As I post the notes though they may be brief I am going to recommend that you study and digest on a week to week basis. In other words as we start to teach and discuss that Jesus lived His life in the power of the Spirit, being able to support that with the Bible. Each of the verses listed in the study notes are to support this point as it relates to the overall category which is Jesus and His relationship with the Holy Spirit. Then as you continue on in your Bible reading this year, highlight, underline and make notes in the margins when you see these truths in Scripture.

Study notes from yesterday’s class begins here:
First Theme - Jesus submitting to the Spirit, yielding to the Spirit, living His life in the power of the Spirit and Jesus following the leading of the Spirit

Review for October 11

We are launching into the last part of our discussion on the Trinity. In this teaching session we began to look at the relationship between Jesus and the Spirit. Yesterday I started us with “what you may have missed” from last week’s blog site. I find that this is good way to review the week’s activities. This led me into a discussion about the essentials and non-essentials within the evangelical orthodox church. We briefly looked at 7 non-essentials and then talked about why these doctrines have been so important to the church in our history. The main reason is because they are declared to be true by the very word of God. I took some time talk about these essentials because of a Saturday newspaper article written in the Charlotte Observer regarding John Spong. Spong is an opponent of these essential Christian doctrines. I am also wanting to point out that we as mainstream evangelical Christians are under fire from other evangelicals in regard to these essentials. It seems that now especially from the neo-orthodox or the post modern venues within church that it is quite popular to oppose these essentials. The teaching in this class is commited to protecting those in our community from the drinking in of incorrect or false doctrine. While at the same time ingesting and digesting healthy and sound Biblical doctrine.

After that I immediately took us back to our extended definition of the Trinity.
The Trinity - extended definition

The Christian faith affirms that there is one and only one true God eternally existing while fully and simultaneously expressed in three persons the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

Each member of the Godhead is equally God and each is eternally God and each is fully God, not three gods but three persons of the one God head.

Each person is equal in essence as each possesses fully the identically same and eternal divine nature yet each is also an eternal and distinct personal expression of that one undivided divine nature.

Because the Father, Son and Holy Spirit each possesses fully the identically same divine nature, therefore what distinguishes the Persons of the Godhead from each other is not and can not be the divine nature of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
This the one undivided and divine nature is possessed equally, eternally, simultaneously and fully by each of the three Persons of the Godhead.
Therefore what distinguishes each person of the Godhead from the other persons is His particular role, in relation to the other persons and the relationships that each has with each of the other persons.
In light of both the equality of essence and differentiation in role and responsibility it behooves us then to look carefully at each member of the Trinity in relation to the other and this effects the relationship of each member of the Trinity to us.

We then reviewed briefly the reason that the Trinity is essential for Christian salvation. I started with Jesus the God-man an argued that we must have One that comes to pay the penalty for our sins. He needs to be human, one of us that can be our substitute. But He also needs to be One that can have infinite value that will be able to satisfy God’s infinite price for offending His righteousness. In Jesus Christ who comes as One who is fully God and fully man that requirement is met in full.

Review for September 27

You have heard the expression the best laid plans of mice and men. The plan for this week was to complete our study in the relationship with Jesus and the Father. And then move into our next teaching which is Jesus and His relationship with the Holy Spirit. However after study and pray on Saturday and early this morning I sensed a need to go in another direction. Building from our 52 week Bible reading plan launch from last week I read and made some comments on Romans 1 and 2.
Folks, we need as a community to be nourished by the word of God on a daily basis. Sometimes instead of just encouraging people to get in the word I think it is important to do it together.

I started with the words that Jesus gave to the apostle Peter in John Chapter 21:15-17

15So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

The Greek word for feed is the same in verse 15 and 17. It is the word bosko and shows the duty of the Christian teacher to promote the spiritual welfare of the members of the church. Also to note it is written in the present tense which means ongoing, constant and habitual and in the imperative mood which means a command.

The word Greek word for feed in verse 16 is the word poimainĊ. This means to tend to and care for or you might say shepherd the members of the church. Also this word is a verb and written in the present tense and the imperative mood.

Here we have the resurrected Christ prior to His ascension giving the apostle Peter some final instructions. And what are the mandatory instructions that He leaves with Peter?

Preview for this Sunday

The plan is to first finish up with point #4 in regard to Jesus and His relationship with God the Father.
Here is a preview of those notes that I am going to start with in the first part of our class.


It is as if the Father says I chose to fulfill My will and to carry out My plan and My purposes, only as they are fulfilled in My Son

The Father chooses to implement His purposes and to carry out His wise plan and design through the Son and not apart from the Son

Do we recognize the generous nature and the sharing nature of the Father in this regard?

God the Father does not say "Son and Spirit stand aside and I will do My work and you watch."

No but in fact He says to the Son "I want you to be honored in the work that I do and accomplish" this is what the Father has accomplished right?

Colossians 1:13 - It is the Father who has transfered us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son
So the Father does this through the Son and not apart from the Son

The Father generously not only makes a way for the Son to participate and carry out His work but His does so in a way in which the Son receives the glory and honor.
The Father says "Look at My Son, what a glorious Son He is!"
Love Him, follow Him, treasure Him, adore Him and worship Him

The Father chooses to implement His good and wise plan not apart from but through His Son

The Father shares with the Son the work that is His to accomplish and in doing so the Father honors the Son

READ Psalm 2:7-9
Psa. 2:7 ¶ “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
Psa. 2:8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
Psa. 2:9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”

The Father is the one who bestows this honor on the Son

A Cardinal Rule of Bible Study

On Tuesday nights the men in our community are meeting for a 10 week series on “How to Study the Bible.”

In my early years of Bible reading and study I was taught by a man I never met whose name is Buck Hatch. He was a Bible teacher for over 50 years and spent the majority of his time at Columbia Bible College in Columbia, SC. Buck taught a class called “Biblical Hermeneutics.” It means a system of Bible study in order to understand what the Bible means. If you study under or with Buck Hatch then you will hear the cardinal rule of Bible study which is as follows:

There is only one correct interpretation of any one Scripture and that is what the author meant by what he wrote. The correct interpretation of any Scripture is the Author's meaning.

As we study doctrine together, we must be very careful with those that minimize or try to distort solid Biblical interpretation. Again it is not what you think or what I think that counts, it is what God thinks and says that counts!

Beginning this Tuesday night...

We begin our men’s Bible study on Tuesday night at the home of Pat and Kay Jones. Should you want to come and need directions to their home just click on this LINK. Our study will begin promptly at 7 and will end at 8:30 pm. In this 10 week study, which is composed of two 5 week studies with a break of two weeks in between, the subject is “How to study the Bible.” Did you know there is a system for understanding how to study the Bible? The word is hermeneutics and yes it is in the Bible!

So may I encourage the men in our class to come in order that as brothers in Christ we may learn “how” to approach study and understand the Bible. I cannot over emphasize the importance especially in this culture the need today for an accurate interpretation of God’s word. The goal of this 10 week session will be to give you the tools to help you become good Bible readers so that you can live out properly what you learn.

I look forward to seeing you this coming Tuesday night.

Review for September 13

Today we studied point #3 in the relationship of Jesus to God the Father. Specifically we looked at the love relationship between the Father and the Son. There is so much here and yet it feels like when we are in class so little time. Therefore may I encourage you to read the notes and look up the Scripture references. Here is one of the key points that I hope you picked up from our study this morning.

It is just as God-like to submit to rightful authority as it is God-like to exert wise, proper and rightful authority as both are motivated by love.

As one studies the relationship between God the Father and Jesus we can see that God commands what is good and right, this is done in love. Jesus obeys, yields and submits to the will of the Father, this is motivated by His love for the Father. In studying this relationship from a Trinitarian perspective there is much we can learn and live in our own personal relationships.

If you would like to review the audio and notes for our class today. If you would like to read the note then CLICK ON THIS LINK.
Should you want to hear the audio CLICK ON THIS LINK.

Next week we conclude in our relationship between Jesus and God the Father with point #4 which say that “God the Father sums all things up in Jesus the Son.” What does this mean and how does it impact us in our day to day Christian lives?

I recommend you come back frequently to our website to check for homework assignments and to watch for the number of opportunities we have for fellowship. Today was a transition day for us as this was our first time in the uptown auditorium. As we get more familiar with the room, set up, and technical equipment it will start to feel like our home.

Homework and Preview for Sunday-Part 2

The following notes should consist of the second half of our class on Sunday. However the way things are going we might not even make it through Point #3. But just in case, you can read, review and study what is coming either on Sunday or at some point in time down the road.


It is as if the Father says I chose to fulfill My will and to carry out My plan and My purposes, only as they are fulfilled in My Son

The Father chooses to implement His purposes and to carry out His wise plan and design through the Son and not apart from the Son

Do we recognize the generous nature and the sharing nature of the Father in this regard?
God the Father does not say "Son and Spirit stand aside and I will do My work and you watch."
No but in fact He says to the Son "I want you to be honored in the work that I do and accomplish" this is what the Father has accomplished right?

READ Colossians 1:13
Col. 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
It is the Father who has transfered us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son

So the Father does this through the Son and not apart from the Son
The Father generously not only makes a way for the Son to participate and carry out His work but His does so in a way in which the Son receives the glory and honor.
The Father says "Look at My Son, what a glorious Son He is!"
Love Him, follow Him, treasure Him, adore Him and worship Him
The Father chooses to implement His good and wise plan not apart from but through His Son
The Father shares with the Son the work that is His to accomplish and in doing so the Father honors the Son Read More...

Homework and Preview for Sunday

We are presently studying with the Trinity the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. There are four categories that I would encourage you to look at in the Scriptures.
  1. The Father is supreme among the Persons of the Godhead
  2. Jesus in under the authority or headship of the Father
  3. The love relationship between Jesus and God the Father
  4. God the Father sums all things up in Jesus the Son

So here are the homework notes and what I am planning to cover this coming Sunday. I said this past Sunday that one of the benefits of studying doctrine is being able to recognize it when you are having devotion time. Therefore as you go through and learn these categories, you also are going to find much practical application. However let me just say a quick word about Americans, church and application. We are far too quick to want to know how this applies and specifically applies to me. When you come to the doctrine of God first and foremost you are seeing Him as being maximized, that automatically means you become minimized. I think today we need more John 3:30 type of Christians, which says we need to decrease and He needs to increase. So with that being said move with me to category number three in our study of Jesus and His relationship with God the Father. Read More...

Review for September 6

The apostle Paul writes to young Timothy in 2 Timothy 3 the following:
2Tim. 3:1 ¶ But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.
2Tim. 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy,
2Tim. 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,
2Tim. 3:4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
2Tim. 3:5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

And he continues the admonishment in Chapter 4:
2Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
2Tim. 4:4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Therefore our class is about getting back to sound Biblical doctrine. And the plan is to do that one doctrine at a time. We are presently studying the doctrine of God and more specifically the Trinity. It bothers me when people think that doctrine is just about getting more information in our already overloaded brains. Folks, we are hardwired in such a way that we all behave consistently those things that we behold in our hearts and minds. Doctrine means what the Bible says about any particular subject. We are looking at six specific subjects that include:

  • The doctrine of God's word
  • The doctrine of God
  • The doctrine of man
  • The doctrine of Christ
  • The doctrine of the Holy Spirit
  • The doctrine of salvation

Also I have heard from opponents of in depth Bible doctrine study statements like "doctrine divides." And to that I say of course it does, doctrine divides the truth from error, the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares, and the light from the darkness. Instead of running from doctrine we need to run toward an understanding of it as we learn and live the God-centered life.

We are all getting back to our regular routines after the summer and now our fall launch begins. In these first two weeks I have tried to lay some ground work as to the mission and goal of our class for this year. Since we have new members this has been a good time for all of us to cover some familiar ground as it relates to our community. Allow me to keep before each of us the following challenge during the 2009-2010 time frame which I am calling "Finally This Year." Read More...

Men's Bible study for the fall

We will start our fall men’s Bible study on September 15 at 7:00 PM at the home of Pat and Kay Jones. As Pat mentioned on Sunday the study will be broken up into two 5 week formats with a two week break in between. Last year we studied the “importance” of the Bible and in this 10 week session we are going to learn “HOW” to study the Bible. As part of this study we will look at the various Bible translations and I will cover the best Bible study softwares that you can utilize. (Both free and one you may want to purchase)

September 15 - 7 PM

September 22 - 7 PM

September 29 - 7 PM

October 6 - 7 PM

October 13 - 7 PM

Break (two weeks)

November 3 - 7 PM

November 10 - 7 PM

November 17 - 7 PM

November 24 - 7 PM

December 1 - 7 PM

For directions to the home of Pat Jones simply click on this LINK

Review for August 30

Yesterday was an effort to launch us into year two in "learning and living the God-centered life." I wanted to cover some of the basics from our mission statement to the "Finally This Year" challenge. As all of you know that two primary launches for SS community are fall and first of the year. Therefore it takes a few weeks to settle in, assimilate those who are going to attend and participate and then get back to our curriculum.

In a couple of weeks I will be introducing the specifics of the Bible reading plan for this year. If you remember last year I presented those in our class with 10+ options and encouraged them to pick one. However this year I will select the plan, encourage us to start and finish together. During the year I will provide devotions to encourage those in our class as they come to and meditate on the Scriptures. I have seen this done before and is quite exciting when a group of people are all reading the same thing and the same time.

Also I will try and use all different types of media this year in order to appeal to the various learning styles within our class. There are those who are primarily visual and therefore videos and power point are helpful tools for them. We have those who learn more effectively with audio and so mp3's are available for them. Then we have those, even though they seem to be fewer and fewer over the years that prefer detailed reading.

In my devotion time this morning I was reading the following:
Deut. 11:18 ¶ “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
Deut. 11:19 “You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.
Deut. 11:20 “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates

This sounds a lot like Deuteronomy 6:4-9 doesn't it? Why do you think God found it necessary to repeat this to the people of Israel and why for us? Because God knows something about us that at times we don't even know about ourselves. And it is this..."we tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our image of God." The problem today in the American church is that God is portrayed mainly as a God of love. We have rushed to the attributes of immanence even though I am convinced in reading of Scripture that we must first come to study God as transcendent. Check out Isaiah 57:15!

Even though God is love we must never collapse one attribute onto the top of all the other attributes. In our curriculum this year we will learn that God is self-sufficient, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, immutable along with love, justice and mercy, grace just to name some of the attributes we will be studying. It has and continues to concern me that much in the evangelical church today rushes initially to the God of immanence to the point they never get to the God that is transcendent. Therefore by His grace, we will start with His transcendence and then move to His immanence. Remember the beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD.

I will conclude this email with the words of John the Baptist (John 3:30) that I think are very applicable for all of us especially in these days "I must decrease and He must increase."

If you want to review the notes or listen to the audio from yesterday class simply click on this LINK. The title for yesterday’s class was “Introduction and Fall 2009 Launch.”

Review and Homework for coming week

This is a review of our class on August 16. The homework assignment for this week is to go through this video in preparation for our class this coming Sunday. You can click on this LINK or watch the video embedded below.

Review for August 16

Yesterday started out a bit academic as I read the extended definition for the Trinity. This is the kind of definition that takes time to work through and you must put on the thinking cap for this one. But there is rich truth in our understanding the God who is triune, and the God that we worship and desire to know even better.

Again I am including this definition for your reading and meditation as we continue in looking at the relationship between Jesus and God the Father.

The Trinity - extended definition

The Christian faith affirms that there is one and only one true God eternally existing while fully and simultaneously expressed in three persons the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.

Each member of the Godhead is equally God and each is eternally God and each is fully God, not three gods but three persons of the one God head.

Each person is equal in essence as each possesses fully the identically same and eternal divine nature yet each is also an eternal and distinct personal expression of that one undivided divine nature.

Because the Father, Son and Holy Spirit each possesses fully the identically same divine nature, therefore what distinguishes the Persons of the Godhead from each other is not and can not be the divine nature of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

This the one undivided and divine nature is possessed equally, eternally, simultaneously and fully by each of the three Persons of the Godhead.
Therefore what distinguishes each person of the Godhead from the other persons is His particular role, in relation to the other persons and the relationships that each has with each of the other persons.

In light of both the equality of essence and differentiation in role and responsibility it behooves us then to look carefully at each member of the Trinity in relation to the other as this effects the relationship of each member of the Trinity to us.

Due to technical difficulties there is no audio available for yesterday’s lesson but the notes are provided for you at this LINK. Also you can go to Sermon.net and look for the August 16 date which is titled “The Trinity an extended definition.”

Review for August 9

We are back to our teaching on the “Doctrine of God.” This morning the focus was to look at the Trinity and why it is essential to our salvation.

If you want to review the audio or notes from our class today then click on this LINK. It will be titled under “The Trinity is essential for salvation.”

Next week we will cover the extended definition for the Trinity and then look specifically at the four main areas in the relationship between Jesus and God the Father.

Review for August 2

This morning I provided a quick review of the three areas of focus that continue to be a vital part of our class. They are as follows:
Bible reading
Bible devotions
Bible study

And today I gave an extended teaching that came from a devotion time that I had several weeks ago in Luke 9:23. I had planned to launch back into the doctrine of God in our teaching of the Trinity. But as the week continued I sensed the Lord revealing through His word a need to continue in the costs of becoming a Christian. We looked at a number of different Scriptures from Luke 9:23, to Matthew 10:32-36, along with Luke 14:33 and the other verses that you will find in the notes from today’s class at the link below.

Simply click on this LINK (notes) and you can go this LINK for the audio for today’s class along with the notes.

We talked a lot about the treasuring, delighting and being passionate for Christ. Wasn’t that the point of the parable of the hidden treasure (Matthew 13:44) and the parable of the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46)? So here is one of the questions to consider as we come from our teaching this past Sunday - Do you have a passion for God?

Review for July 26

This morning was the third in a series titled “Back to the Bible a Summer Exhortation.” Over the years I have noticed that when summer comes into full swing, people travel and Bible study fades into the background. Well I want to encourage us as a community to keep the main thing the main thing in our lives. Therefore please know my admonition is this short series is for us to keep our eye on Christ through His word.

Howard Hendricks, who taught at Dallas Theological for many years lists the following as to why people don’t read and study the Bible.
1. The Bible was written so long ago that it doesn't seem relevant to me.
2. The Bible is so hard to understand.
3. I usually end up just feeling guilty when I read the Bible.
4. I am the type of person who relies on the pastor, elder or Sunday School teacher to explain the Bible to me.
5. I have some real doubts about the reliability of the Bible because it's full of contradictions, at least that's what I heard.
6. The Bible seems boring to me.
7. I have a time consuming job, family and lifestyle and honestly just don't have time for the Bible.
8. I have other things that if I am going to read I prefer instead of the Bible.

But as I said this morning Vance Havner the fiery prophet and evangelist once said that an excuse is the skin of a lie stuffed with a reason.

So far in this 3 part series I have covered the following as it relates to getting back to the Bible:
1. Mission
2. Challenge

3. Authority
4. Importance

5. Accomplishment or Achievement

And this morning we focused on number 5, the accomplishment or achievements of God’s word. In particular we looked closely at how the word gives us a litmus test as to our own salvation. May I ask you what could be more relevant than that question? It is not is there an eternity, but rather where are you going to spend eternity? The Bible is very bottom line and the answer is either in heaven or in hell.

In order to hear the audio for today’s lesson and get the notes simply click on this LINK. If you want to refer to this at a later date you can look up by July 26 date or the title “a litmus test for salvation.”

I have missed being with you and good to be back into the normal swing of things, so to speak. Really am looking forward to this fall and our being absorbed together in the “Doctrine of God.” Thanks again to Andy Collins, Pastor Russ, Rodney Young and Jeff Gaskins for teaching while I have been away.

If you should have trouble playing the audio from the Sermon.net then you can play it directly from here.

Jesus and the Spirit (part 2 and 3)

In August we will come back to finish up on the teaching of the Trinity. We will be looking at the relationship between Jesus and God the Father along with Jesus and the Spirit. These notes represent the second and third part of the teaching in regard to Jesus and the Spirit.

Review of July 5

We are taking a short break from our teaching in the Trinity in lieu of a short 3 week series on “Back to the Bible.” Since summer time is very transitional as people continue to travel I have opted to continue our “Doctrine of God” in August when most will be back. I encourage all in our community to review these notes on “Back to the Bible” as you progress through the summer months.

The teaching audio is located at Sermon.net and it titled and dated July 5, 2009. Keep in mind that you can download and also burn any of these teaching classes to a CD. Also I am including the notes on this audio site for your convenience. When we make the switchover to new website then all notes will be located on the Sermon.net site along with all the audio teaching. This will make it very easy for you to review either the audio or notes or both as time allows.

A Blast from the Past

Keep in mind that we are learning and living, as we build one doctrine upon the other, walking together through the Scripture. As we move forward I will strive to be diligent in not letting us wander from the truth we have already learned. Here is an important article from Dr. MacArthur on the meaning of Scripture and the importance of doctrine. During the first 10 months of our class we focused mainly upon the word of God and these we two critical components that we studied. I hope you enjoy!

What Does This Verse Mean "to Me"?

That's a fashionable concern, judging from the trends in devotional booklets, home Bible study discussions, Sunday-school literature, and most popular preaching.

The question of what Scripture means has taken a back seat to the issue of what it means "to me."

The difference may seem insignificant at first. Nevertheless, our obsession with the Scripture's applicability reflects a fundamental weakness. We have adopted practicality as the ultimate judge of the worth of God's Word. We bury ourselves in passages that overtly relate to daily living, and ignore those that don't.

Early in my ministry, I made a conscious commitment to biblical preaching. My first priority has always been to answer the question, "What does this passage mean?" After I've explained as clearly and accurately as possible the meaning of God's Word, then I exhort people to obey and apply it to their own lives.

The Bible speaks for itself to the human heart; it is not my role as a preacher to try to tailor the message. That's why I preach my way through entire books of the Bible, dealing carefully with each verse and phrase-even though that occasionally means spending time in passages that don't readily lend themselves to anecdotal or motivational messages.

I am grateful to the Lord for the way He has used this expository approach in our church and in the lives of our radio listeners.

But now and then someone tells me frankly that my preaching needs to be less doctrinal and more practical.

Practical application is vital. I don't want to minimize its importance. But the distinction between doctrinal and practical truth is artificial; doctrine is practical! In fact, nothing is more practical than sound doctrine.

Too many Christians view doctrine as heady and theoretical. They have dismissed doctrinal passages as unimportant, divisive, threatening, or simply impractical. A best-selling Christian book I just read warns readers to be on guard against preachers whose emphasis is on interpreting Scripture rather than applying it.

Wait a minute. Is that wise counsel? No it is not.

Review of June 7

In the lower right hand corner of the screen you can click and go to a full screen that will help to see the notes much better.

The audio for today’s class can be listened to directly or downloaded at SERMON.NET. It will be the first entry that appears and the title is “The Trinity in church history_part2.”

Launch into the Summer series

On Tuesday night we completed our men’s Bible study which we titled “Launch into the summer.” In this 4 week series we looked at Romans 6:15-23 and last night concluded with Romans 8:1-13. I am often amazed how much we hear in our culture today about pragmatism and relevance. However when you read Romans 8:13 you don’t find something that tries to be relevant but rather that which is absolute. Last night we talked about “launching into the summer” as men who live out the Christian life by putting to death the deeds of the flesh by the Spirit. As a matter of fact Paul says if we aren’t living that way then we live according to the flesh and we are headed straight for hell. Let me say that again, if you are living according to the flesh then you will die (eternal death) but if you are putting to death the deeds of the body, by the Spirit then you will live. So last night I asked myself and the men at the study “how are you living?”

Below are my study notes on some of Romans 8:1-13. I will be praying for the men in our class that this summer will be a continual receiving of grace through God’s word, in such a way that lives will be demonstrating the very glory of God. This time of teaching has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know better the guys in our SS community. Men, if you were not able to participate in this study then may I appeal for you to set time aside, to dive into the word of God with us this fall.

Overview and Outline of May 31

Here is a brief outline of today’s teaching on the Trinity and church history. This may help in getting an overview of our lesson before you dive into the notes.

Review of May 24

This includes the notes from today’s class in which we covered three aspects of the Trinity in Ephesians 1:1-14:

Also in these power point slides are the notes regarding the Trinity and church history which we should cover next week.

Hopefully I will post the audio for today’s class sometime this evening.

The Trinity in Ephesians 1:1-14

First of all I want to thank my good friend and theologian Dr. Bruce Ware for his relentless and untiring work regarding the doctrine of the Trinity. In tomorrow’s class I will be teaching from his lecture notes (listed below) and from time to time will bring some of my own comments to bear on this subject. But I give Dr. Ware the credit for his outstanding writing and orthodox perspectives as we continue to learn and live the God-centered life in this critical area of our doctrine.

Turn to Ephesians 1:1-14 - and notice 3 things about the text

The clear delineation in the Trinity as Paul distinguishes the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
So we have to ask is this Paul just ad hoc, or is it purposeful in order to teach us

Notice the implicit ranking of the members of the Trinity, and early church Fathers used the word taxis, which indicates the ordering found in the Trinity

Also notice the centrality of the Son when it comes to salvation. The Father has chosen to make the Son the center piece of His cosmic work in salvation and accomplishing it to His glory.

Ephesians 1:1-2 (READ THE TEXT)
Stop and think about what the apostle Paul is writing in these verses

Notice he writes “Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God, which means the Father.” Paul uses theos when talking about God the Father in Trinitarian context.
2 Corinthians 13:14
Paul’s shorthand for the The Father is when he writes God
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Point #1 - Isn’t there a distinction here that Paul is making between the Father and the Son. They are two different Persons of the One true and Living God. Two different expressions of the Father and Son and yet they are distinct

Paul is an apostle of Christ “by the will of God”

Point #2 - Doesn’t this also imply a ranking with the Trinity?

Paul is an apostle of Christ sent by Christ one who is sent to carry out the mission of Christ but he does this ultimately not because Christ has said so but in fact because the Father has said so.

The Father has willed that Paul be an apostle of Christ.

There is primacy that is given to the Father.

The saints are to be faithful in Christ, and Paul is an apostle of Christ, while understanding that they do so under the authority of the Father.

The Father whom we will see receives the ultimate glory in this work of salvation, done in His Son.

So in verse 1 we can see the following:
  • Distinction
  • Ranking
  • Centrality

Followers not of God or the Spirit but of Christ

Ephesians 1:2
God the Father “AND” (kai in the Greek) think of the significance of this one word in the Greek that links together God our Father AND the Lord Jesus Christ

If verse 1 shows us the distinction between the Father and Son then verse 2 shows us the identity and unity of the two.

So Grace and Peace flow from whom?
Answer- the Father and the Son.
They are both identified as givers of grace to their people.

The "CONSUMER" gospel

At our men's Bible study the other night I opened with some comments about the consumer mentality that exists in America. How easily that has invaded the church today and we have in essence a "Burger King" (have it your way) Jesus. In this sense we market the gospel to be a self help program, a gospel that can develop better leaders, fix a bad marriage, keep our children from rebelling, give better health, and even secure our 401 K plans via divine guidance and protection. So think about this for a minute, if Jesus can do all of that, plus I don't have to go to hell where I suffer for an eternity, and my sins can be forgiven so I don't go to bed with a guilty conscience, and you can convince me that God does have a wonderful plan for my life, then sure I will take Jesus - do you have more than one?

We have created in our consumerism a gospel of felt needs and we sell Jesus as the One who can fill the need. The Christian life becomes in essence an off shoot of going to the local Jiffy Lube where they roll out the red carpet and give you service in 15 minutes and you are on your way. I go into Christian book stores and see devotion books that are labeled a "5 minute time with God daily." And in my mind I am thinking "love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength." Folks there are 1,440 minutes in every day which means 1% of our day would be 14 minutes with God in the morning or evening for prayer and Bible. And yet for the American consumer who has little time for Christ other than Sunday, holidays and emergencies, we market a 5 minute devotion book. This is the day of "fast food" religious activity but it is not the gospel spoken of in the Bible. Something is wrong, desperately wrong and every fiber of my being wants to cry out REPENT AND BELIEVE!

I am drawn to the language in the Bible that the Lord Jesus Himself spoke when it comes to being a "genuine" Christian. Look closely at these words and compare them to the consumeristic gospel that exists for us so that we can have our "BEST LIFE NOW!"

Mark 8:34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. The context of these words are when Jesus first tells His disciples in plain language that He must go to cross and die and then 3 days later be raised from the dead.

The Christian life is about:
1. Denying self - in the day and time in which we live this is something I rarely hear talked about or preached. This is about us denying everything in our lives that could be a distraction from the real treasure and prize which is Christ Himself. As C.S. Lewis once stated "we have been so happy for years playing with mud pies in the streets and we have no idea what it would be like to enjoy a day on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Do you see how this statement of "deny yourself" plays out in a day of consumerism? Tell the people in church, it is not about what you can get from Jesus but what you are willing to give up in order to follow Jesus. Let me ask you a question - what are the things in your life right now that take your time and attention away from Christ? Is there something or are there things that you value here on planet earth that you value more than Him? Read More...

Being the Christian...

Last night was the third of four session in the men’s Bible study of “Being the Christian you say you’ve become.” We have been looking closely at Romans Chapter 6 and in the last 3 weeks Romans 6:15-23.

Here is a brief overview of SEVEN general observations we discussed last night to get a better handle on this section of Scripture:

#1 - The word for slave in the Greek (doulos)
This word doulos occurs 10 times in Romans and 9 times in Romans 6:15-23

#2 - The use of indicative verbs in Romans 6:16, 17, 18 and 19

Romans 6:16 Romans 6:17 Romans 6:18 Romans 6:19

And now in the last half of Romans 6:19 the apostle Paul switches from an indicative verb to an IMPERATIVE verb (verb of command)
“so now PRESENT your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification”

The absolutes of Scripture

I am continuing in my study of Romans 6:15-23 for our men's group on Tuesday night. This morning I noticed once again how the Scripture deals with and in absolutes. Did you know that our cultural platform in America is one of tolerance? However isn't it ironic that orthodox evangelicals seem to be the group that no one will tolerate. And the reason is because we stand on the absolutes of God's word and we will not tolerate a deviance from this truth. In learning these doctrines and living out these truths you and I are always going to be branded as intolerant.

Back to my study time this morning in Rom. 6:16 Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? When I read this verse my mind immediately went back to our study of Matthew 7 and the following verse.
Matt. 7:13 ¶ “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
Matt. 7:14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Do you see the clear absolutes in both of these verses? In Matthew the Lord Jesus says there are only 2 gates, one is a broad gate that leads to a broad way that concludes with destruction. And the other gate is narrow and lead to a narrow way that concludes with life. Leadership team the question is which road are we on?
Then Paul writing through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit captures the absolute of being a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. He writes that if you are a slave to sin that will conclude in death but if you are a slave to righteousness that will conclude in life.

Now just make a comparison between the two verses:
There is one ABSOLUTE way of life that leads to death
There is another ABSOLUTE way that leads to life

No one can be kinda or sorta on both roads at the same time. A person is on one road or the other road. They are a slave to one thing or slaves to the other. There may be more than one way for you to get home from Carmel Church but you can only travel one road at a time to get you home. And the Bible is teaching us that we must embrace and live by these biblical absolutes.

This is really a wonderful litmus test for those in your sphere of influence as to their Christian lives. When you have the right time take them to Matthew 7:13-27 and ask, by the way "which road are you on?" You can also go to Romans 6:16 and ask, "are you a slave to sin or are you a slave to righteousness?"

Allow me to ask you
Which road are you on?
What are you a slave to?

The answer to these questions is a matter of life or death!


Review of May 17

Today was our part 2 teaching on the doctrine of REDEMPTION. OK, let me give a quick review on where I hope you are on what we have been studying.

Are you able to define these words in easy to use and understandable language?
Can you give a clear illustration that would help someone understand the term?
Would you be able to support the definition and illustration with Scripture?

Again, this isn’t Bible jeopardy and it’s not who knows the most Bible wins the prize. This is about knowing, loving and serving Christ in such a way that He is demonstrated as great!
We started this morning in Romans 3:24-25. I reiterated that Romans 3:21-26 is probably the most important paragraph in the Bible. Do you see the four words mentioned above in this section of Romans? Even though the word ATONEMENT is not used it is implied by the death of Christ on the cross as payment for our sins.

Below are the notes from class today and we didn’t cover everything that I had planned. There are approximately 58 Bible verses in these study notes. I hope this will encourage you in study time, to use the cross references located in the margins, in order to better understand these doctrines in the Bible.

As we move to the summer people will be on vacation therefore may I encourage you not to coast, relax or move into a luke warm season. The apostle Paul uses metaphors that include an athlete, farmer, solider, and builder. Why? Because this is not easy, the Christian life is about running, planting, war and building. Does any of that sound like it could mean we are to continue laboring and striving in Christ? So my point is don’t let up, take what we have learned over the past 10 months and continue to TRUST and OBEY. I know many of you are so, so busy but please I appeal to you keep the main thing the main thing. Don’t move away from God’s word and as you are learning and living the God-centered life.


Audio for today’s lesson included in Slidecast

It's Greek to me!

Here is a short video on the indicative mood versus the imperative mood as it relates to a Greek verbs. Hey before you get intimidated and think this is too complicated, just take a few minutes to watch. This is a short breakdown as it relates to Romans 6:17-19. I think you will understand from this why we need to learn our Bible, in order to correctly do what the Bible teaches. And that is why we are called the “learning and living the God-centered life” community.
Are you having fun yet?

Being the Christian...

For the additional notes and audio of our teaching session on Tuesday, May 12 just click on this LINK.

The name of our men’s Bible study for May is “Being the Christian that you say you have become.” This is our attempt to launch the men in our class into the summer by studying Romans Chapter 6.

Basically Romans 6 can be broken down into two main sections:
  1. Romans 6:1-14 Dead to sin and alive to Christ
  2. Romans 6:15-23 Slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness

Last week we reviewed in depth Romans 6:1-14 and tonight the plan is to take on the second half of Romans 6. You can see from the outline above that one of the key words in understanding Romans 6:15-23 is the word slave. This word is doulos in the Greek and the word occurs 10 times in Romans and 9 times in verses 6:16-23. Therefore tonight we are going to take a close look at this word in order to better appreciate why Paul uses it so much in this context.

Here are some of the preliminary notes that I am planning to cover at Pat’s home tonight.

OK, let's look at the word bond-servant in some detail. The word itself is doulos in the Greek. In the 13 epistles of the apostle Paul he uses this word a total of 38 times. Here is what it means:
One who give himself or herself up another's will, those whose service is used by Christ to advance His kingdom or one devoted to another to the disregard of their own interest.
Some other words that you see associated with bond-servant are:
  • ownership
  • possession
  • allegiance
  • subjection
  • dependence

Review of May 10

Indicatives and Imperatives

The Greek language is fascinating and so exact. In this brief audio Pastor Ken Jones gives a clear understanding between the INDICATIVE and IMPERATIVE moods with regard to Greek verbs. As we continue to “chase the Greek verbs” in the New Testament, these types of sound bites will add much to our study.

The INDICATIVE and the IMPERATIVE - Pastor Ken Jones

Review of April 26

Homework anyone?

OK, we have invested the last several weeks looking at the Trinity and salvation. When we come to the cross we can see that it provides a solution for two basic problems. We can understand that we are perpetrators, and the Scriptures tell us that while we were enemies that Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) The Scriptures are telling us of the guilt that we have as humans due our rebellion against God’s holy and just will for our lives. And therefore that puts us under God’s wrath and condemnation. The words we have been studying are atonement, propitiation and justification. Each of these words focus on the significance of what Jesus has done to overcome our problem of guilt in order that we would be able to regain God’s favor. And through His atonement He has satisfied the penalty that was against us and now God declares us as righteous in His sight. I am calling this the “front view” of the cross. The second problem that the cross solves we will study in two weeks. But as we have studied recently, my goal has been for us to understand the relationship between the Trinity and our salvation. As a matter of fact if we in the evangelical church ever do away with the doctrine of the Trinity then we will do away with the doctrine of salvation.

The following is a homework assignment that can act as a litmus test to date, to check out in the understanding you have of these words. Please be patient with yourselves and our curriculum at this point. I know that some of the words and definitions are a bit weighty. But these are Biblical words that need to be understood, articulated and applied to our Christian lives. For the most part these doctrines take time to learn, in order for one to feel comfortable with what they mean. Remember 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” Read More...


Here are some of the "but now's" that the apostle Paul writes about in his 13 epistles. This could be a start up Sunday School class and would take someone an entire year to go through each of these verses. The class could be called "The But Now's," kind of catchy don't you think?

For example look at Ephesians 5:8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light. In this verse alone you have the implication of two important doctrines that we have been studying this year.
It refers to the person you once were, unregenerate, rebellious, someone who lived in darkness. Sounds to me like this particular person has a heart of stone. And here is where the BUT NOW comes into play. But now you are light in the Lord, the heart of stone has now become a heart of flesh and you have officially been "born again."
This is the doctrine of regeneration.
But also those who have been regenerated have also been justified. Which means as children of Light the penalty of all your sins has been paid in full and you now are clothed with the righteousness of Christ Himself.
The But Now is a small phrase in Ephesians 5:8 BUT it has some very significant consequences.

How about our friend John Newton who wrote "Amazing Grace." Think about the words to that great hymn, "I once was lost BUT NOW I am found, was blind BUT NOW I see."

I hope you will enjoy reading and having some devotion time in the "But now's" of the New Testament.

Rom. 3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
Rom. 3:21 ¶ But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,

Rom. 6:21 Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.
Rom. 6:22 But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.

Rom. 7:5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.
Rom. 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Read More...

Preview of April 19

Below are the notes for today’s teaching on justification and the Trinity. Should you want to review a previous post that might be good to read in conjunction with these notes then click on this LINK.
Again I want to thank those who I have studied with through classroom, audio, video, workbooks, books and other resource articles. Dr. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology. Dr. Larry Dixon, Columbia International University, Dr. Bruce Ware, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Pastor Charles Leiter, Justification and Regeneration, Dr. Stephen Hein, Concordia Institute for Christian Studies, Paul Washer, The One True God
Audio for today’s class
Justification and the Trinity-April 19, 2009

A matter of interpretation

Review for April 12

We are all familiar with the expression “your eyes were bigger than your stomach.” In a sense that is what happens each week as I prepare and study these truths from God’s word. I finish my notes and then transfer them to Power Point with the expectation that it can be covered in class. However each week it seems that I always have almost twice as much as I actually can cover on any given Sunday.

In class yesterday I fully expected to cover “JUSTIFICATION” as it relates to the Trinity and salvation but I never got to those notes. In the economy of teaching it is my conclusion that the Lord had other plans and wanted us again to focus on “ATONEMENT AND PROPITIATION.” As we have now moved into the Doctrine of God and specifically the Trinity, here are some of the test questions to date:
  • Do you understand why the Trinity is essential for us to study?
  • Can you start to articulate a Biblical definition of the Trinity?
  • How is the Trinity important as it relates to our salvation? In your answer list each Person of the Trinity and their role and relationship to the process of salvation.
  • What do we mean when we talk about the “front view” of the cross?
  • And what Biblical words do we associate with a front view of the cross?
  • Can you define each of these words, provide an illustration and then give some Scriptural support for your answer?
  • What do we mean when we talk about a “back view” of the cross?
  • Can you define each of these words, provide an illustration and then give some Scriptural support for your answer?

The notes included in this section cover what we went over in class yesterday and also will give a preview for next weeks class. At this time my plan is to briefly cover the doctrine of justification as it relates to the Trinity. Just so you can know the importance of justification, Martin Luther said that on this very doctrine the church either stands or falls.

Allow me to encourage you to take some time this week to review these notes. We are building a foundation of Bible basics that will be there for years to come as you read and study the Scriptures. This is not like fast food service where you show up get you food, eat it and go home. This is going to require patience, diligence and prayer as you process through these essential doctrines in God’s word. It is better to review for 30 minutes each day than to try and absorb 2 hours on one specific day. Again I thank you for the faithfulness and attentiveness that I see in class from week to week. These are not easy things but it is my prayer that as you read, study and have your devotions they will be life transforming things.


Audio for Sunday’s class on Atonement and Propitiation

Review of April 5

The subject that we are discussing and teaching on right now is the Trinity. Therefore yesterday we focused on two important words as they relate to the Trinity. The first word we covered was ATONEMENT. Who is the Person of the Trinity that makes atonement for our sin? And as you know the answer is God the Son, Jesus Christ. The next word we discussed in greater detail was PROPITIATION.
One of my goals is to re-introduce to us in the church important Biblical words that have for the most part be neglected over the past 3 decades. Also to show how the Old Testament relates to the New Testament in the meaning of these words. This is why brothers and sisters in Christ that it is important to read through the whole Bible in order to digest the unity of Scripture. Even though I will only be able to briefly cover these different aspects I am hoping it will motivate you to greater study in these areas.

Also please note that today I will include the class review in this article instead of inserting the typical power point notes. Just so you know these words will be coming back into play when we get to the “DOCTRINE OF SALVATION.” But at this point I am introducing them since we are coming upon Easter Sunday and also because we are looking at the Trinity and our salvation.


Can you think of the last time you used the word atonement in a conversation? In general it is not a word that we use often nor are we that familiar with or so it seems.

In general the word ATONEMENT is the reparation or price that is paid for wrong doing.

Below is a simple but I think helpful illustration to get the term and concept in your mind.
If you park in a restricted zone down town to go into a store and you get a ticket, that would be considered a wrong doing before the law and you now must pay $35. This is considered to be the price for your atonement. And when you pay the $35 your status moves from guilt to innocent through the atonement made via the payment.

Well, what about the term “vicarious atonement” or “substitutionary atonement,” what does this mean?

Go back to the parking ticket illustration:
You are the guilty party and you owe the $35, but someone else steps in and pays the $35 for you. As long as they are innocent and don’t owe for any outstanding parking tickets, then the clerk will take their $35 and apply it to your account. And though you were guilty you are not innocent but this time through a vicarious atonement, which means one in the stead of another.

In the New Testament we learn from our reading and study that Jesus Christ, the innocent One has made atonement for our sins at the cross. There is much to say on this subject but let’s look at some verses that can support this doctrine of “vicarious or substitutionary atonement.”

Romans 3:24-27
24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Be aware of good Bible interpretation

Pastor Bob DeWaay will help you understand what this means as he says:

The meaning of the Scripture is determined by the Holy Spirit inspired author. In other words, these writers were inspired by the Spirit, and so [what they wrote] didn’t come from their will, it came from the Holy Spirit Who spoke from God. So therefore the interpretation of the Scripture is to determine the meaning of the Holy Spirit inspired author.

Now your own interpretation would be the postmodern idea that reader determines the meaning. A private interpretation is “this means this to me.” Have you ever been to a Bible study where they do that? Everybody gets their Bible. “Read a verse.” And you read a verse. [Then someone asks], “What’s that mean to you?” [Looking around the room], “What’s that mean to you? What’s that mean to you?” [And so on]. “Okay, next verse.”

Well, what do you have but private interpretation? Somebody’s saying I’m going to infuse my meaning into the Scripture rather than finding out what the Holy Spirit said to me through the Holy Spirit-inspired author.

Review of March 29

We live in a world that is about pragmatism and relativism. Today as people look at their spiritual lives there are fewer and fewer absolutes that they are willing to accept. In 2008 Granger Community Church (10,000 member plus mega-church), whose senior pastor is Mark Beeson, reported that 60% of those attending don't believe the Bible is the authoritative word of God. I remind you that Granger is a non denominational evangelical church. Please understand I am not picking on Granger but hopefully you can see where a mission field exists today in America. The key mission field, in my opinion, exists within the walls of the church. I stand with and proclaim with the apostle Paul "that I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power unto salvation for all who believe..."

Therefore this past Sunday, and for the next two Sundays we will be focused on the Trinity and salvation. I am purposesly taking the time to emphasize the different aspects of the gospel as Easter Sunday approaches. Next Sunday I plan to cover three words that are critical to learning and living a cross-centered life.
1. Atonement
2. Propitiation
3. Justification

Romans 3:21-26 are the verses I am asking you to meditate on for this week. Even though the word atonement is not used per say, we can see these Biblical truth vividly displayed in this great text. Atonement means the price that is paid for wrong doing. Therefore since we could not pay for our own wrong doing against God, we in fact needed a substitute. And of course that substitute was Christ Himself. This particular doctrine so essential to the orthodox church is called "substitutionary atonement or vicarious atonement." This means that the Lord Jesus, the one who was tempted as we were and yet was without sin, He is the one who actually makes the payment for our sin. Remember the wages of sin is death and so He in fact atones for sin via His death on the cross, so that we who are guilty before a righteous and holy God may be declared innocent. This isn’t just a show or a nice object lesson to show us the value of sacrifice as an example, but Christ enters into the Holy of Holies before God the Father and makes the payment for our sins. Jesus sacrifices His life through the shedding of His blood and death in our stead and thereby making an atonement for our sins. Read More...

Putting on Trinitarian Eyeglasses

Have you ever looked at Romans 3:21-26 from a Trinitarian perspective? Allow me to go through this with you for a minute in this blog article. The objective is to show why the Trinity is essential for us in our own salvation and in the church.
Rom. 3:21 ¶ But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
Rom. 3:22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
Rom. 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Rom. 3:24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
Rom. 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed;
Rom. 3:26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

First of all in regard to our salvation we must have One that is paying the penalty for our sins. In Romans 3:21-26 we can see that person is in fact God the Son. Please keep in mind, and we will study this later, God the Son is both fully God and fully man. He is not part God and part man but is all of each. Therefore as man, Christ is the one who make the substitute for us. The Lord Jesus has to be one of us, in order to take our place by His death on the cross. But if He is just one of us that will not accomplish the atonement. Therefore He must be 100% man in order to take our place, and 100% God in order to make an acceptable sacrifice.


Review of March 15

Sunday was moving day for our community called “Learning and Living the God-centered life.” We moved from an 8 month study of the importance of Bible reading, study and devotion and now we are transitioning into the DOCTRINE OF GOD.
The first task for us to undertake in this doctrinal area is that of the TRINITY. So in our class on Sunday my objective was three-fold.
Objective #1 - to help us as a community look toward the future which is our upcoming retreat May 1-3 which we are calling “The Gospel.” I also gave a short bio on myself for those new to the class who are wondering about my background, and how Nancy and I came to teach at Carmel.

Objective #2 - to be sure we understand the past by challenging the community with 5 questions to consider from Romans 6:1-14. I called this section during our time together yesterday “A Blast from the Past.”

Objective #3 - to move us into our study of the Trinity. How many of us have studied the Trinity in the last year, 3 years, 5 years or at all in our Christian lives? Well, I am so excited about us studying this aspect of the Doctrine of God. Here is the format for our study of the Trinity during the weeks to come:

Introduction to the Trinity
Foundation as to why we need to study the Trinity
Historical look at the Trinity in the church
Theological definition and relationships of each member of the Trinity

Bible Interpretation

This is from the Theology Today blog site:

Here are 10 simple rules in order to help with proper Bible Interpretation:

  1. Pray! Pray! Pray! The Holy Spirit knows better then you do!
  2. Always know what the verse actually says, not what you think you remember it saying
  3. Take the verse in literary context, don’t just read what you want to read to prove your point and don’t forget the Bible is a mosaic of different kinds of literature meant to be read different ways.
  4. Take the verse in cultural context, just like you saying “it’s raining cats and dogs” is not what you literally meant
  5. Remember the Bible is a whole 66 books! Interpret all verses in relation the other 1000’s of verses
  6. Check the other translations, The variations are complimentary and show the whole picture
  7. The Bible was not originally written in English, go back to the sources
  8. Theological presuppositions are bad, scripture determines doctrine, not the other way around
  9. Check the Theologians’ opinions, (check out the ESV Study Bible) The Ph.D, professor of heart surgery of Harvard is better then your uncle Ted’s heart removal service. Professional opinions matter! (but don’t assume they’re always right)
  10. Assume nothing, be ready to learn, don’t give up. Remember, only God knows everything.

Review of March 8

BE WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST! In the last month we have been looking this as the theme of Romans 6:1-14. This is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible and it is rich with doctrine and application. Today I gave a 5 question test to check out the understanding of Romans 6:1-14. A good friend and dear brother in the Lord approached me after class and said that this was like trying to take a sip from a fire hose.

So if that was the case for you today may I encourage you to take some time in order to review the study notes. These notes are given to prompt you to further study, prayer and meditation in regard to what we are learning as to Romans 6.

This concludes PHASE #1 of the “Learning and Living the God-centered life” community. We have spent that last 8 months looking at the doctrine of the Bible. And it has been exciting to observe people getting into a consistent reading, studying and devotion time with the word of God. In next week’s class we will begin our study into the DOCTRINE OF GOD.

Review of March 1_part 5

This will conclude our overview in Romans 6:1-14 that I have titled “Be Who You Are In Christ.” In this last article I want us to look at these 4 imperatives in Romans 6:11-13, and then take a brief look at the summary verse that closes the first half of Romans 6 which is verse 14.
Have you noticed in our thumbnail sketch of Romans 1-6 how the apostle Paul has just given us one truth after the other? He starts out with the truth of the gospel, the truth of righteousness, the truth of God's wrath, the truth of man's sin, the truth of being justified by faith, and in Chapter 6 the truth of grace and regneration. Then in Romans 6:11-13 the apostle Paul actually gives us for the first time a list of 4 imperatives that he exhorts us to do!
1. consider yourselves to be dead to sin
2. do not let sin
reign in your mortal body
3. do not go on
presenting the members of your body to sin
4. but
present yourselves to God

Observe carefully the pattern and structure of the inspired word of God written through the apostle Paul. As you look take note of the way Paul writes in Romans. It should become obvious to you that God first gives the foundation of doctrine before He gives us the application for living!

Also notice that we are not to just be passive in the process of our spiritual growth in Christ. This is not a religion of “let go and let God.” And yet you will notice that Romans 6:10 is something that we must first believe before we take the actions Paul exhorts us to in Romans 6:11-13. This means that our behaviors are preceded by our faith and that without faith the actions that we take will not be glorifying nor pleasing to God. Faith is the seeing, realizing, depending, relying and counting on the facts which are already true. Isn’t it amazing that we can read in Genesis 1 that God speaks the universe into existence with a single word and yet we have trouble believing that He can take care of a particular problem in our lives. It is also good to remember that as Christians this is not a fight of faith in which we are trying to secure a victory. Christ has already been victorious and won the battle and we now are seated with Him in the heavenly realms. Therefore we fight from a position of victory and not for a position of victory.

Here is an overview of Romans 6:11-14
Romans 6:11-13 (exhortation)
Paul’s exhortation that in light of these facts realize what is true of you and act accordingly.

Romans 6:14 (assurance)
True of all Christians having passed from the old realm into the new realm.

So let’s breakdown these verses in order to understand the practical application for our Christian lives.
In Romans 6:11 check out the first imperative which is the word consider:
Consider - reckon, conclude or count upon the fact that you are dead to sin and live unto God. This is absolutely true whether you feel it or not. Grace is now reigning and sin no longer fits into your life because you are a new person.


Review of March 1_part 4

In our part 3 review we discussed the importance of the word picture that Paul gives regarding baptism in order that we see how this relates to our union in Christ. It not only shows our death with Christ but also the fact that we are now alive with Him.

Romans 6:6 starts with the words “knowing this” and maybe we should ask the question what is it that we need to know? I think the knowing this is referring to the 4 steps that Paul lays out in Romans 6:6
Step #1 that our old self was crucified with Him,
Step #2 that our body of sin might be done away with,
Step #3 that we should no longer be slaves to sin; And finally the goal
Step #4 for he who has died is freed from sin.

I took time in our part 2 review to cover in depth, what I think Paul means when he says we have died to sin which is Step #4. Since that has already been discussed I will simply refer you to those notes and should you want to study this again just click on this LINK.

In this blog I would like to discuss more fully the first 3 points that are listed above in reference to Romans 6:6 so let’s take them one at a time.

Step #1- our old self was crucified with Him
This is your old man (who you were in Adam) that was crucified and this is the tie in that Paul wants us to get when he talks about baptism as a picture in the death and burial of the old man. According to Paul, if you are a Christian then your old man has been crucified, dead and buried. The old man is not still wiggling on the cross and he is not still hiding inside of you. And you are not fighting against the old man because he really is dead.

This may invoke a question from the reader such as the why did God put to death my old man? And from Romans 6:6 we could determine the following:
Reason #1 - so the flesh would no longer rule over me
Reason #2 - so that I am no longer a slave to sin

It is also important to remember that as we read and study Romans 6 we are actually learning what God does when a person is “born again” or they experience the “new birth” or we could say what happens when they are “regenerated.” If you remember in a previous review Romans 6:1 and Romans 6:15 answer questions about grace whereas Romans 6:2-10 and Romans 6:16-23 answer questions regarding regeneration.


Review of March 1_part 3

We left off in yesterday’s review discussing what it means to be dead to sin. And we can see that in Romans 6:3-5 the apostle Paul gives us a word picture of what this is like in the ordinance of Baptism.

So when did this happen in which I was crucified with Christ?
It happened when He was crucified.
Well it was purchased for us 2000 years ago when Christ took us with Him to the cross and rose again on our behalf.

Well then when do I actually enter into to this life and experience it?
And that is the day when you are justified by faith through grace in Christ

This is when your old man was crucified and you were risen to walk in newness of life. And that is why Paul refers to baptism in this next verses.
Therefore baptism is the initiation of the Christian life and the testimony to the reality of what has happened in regeneration. It is a picture of the death and burial of the old man and the resurrection of our new man in Christ.
We don’t get the full import of this picture because most people can’t hold their breath that long. But if they could go down in the water for 10 minutes and we could see this represents their death and then when they come up they are rising as a new person into a new life.

Colossians 2:11-12
Col. 2:11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;
Col. 2:12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

What did circumcision symbolize? It is just like that of baptism.
It never saved or regenerated anyone to get circumcised just like it never saves or regenerates anyone to get baptized.

Review of March 1_Part 2

In our Part 1 review of Romans 6:1-14 we left off with the phrase in Romans 6:2 “died to sin.” And at the conclusion of yesterday’s notes my point was the importance of this phrase in understanding what this means as it relates to our regeneration. Well, maybe the best way to understand this is to first of all try to explain what it DOES NOT mean. I find this to be a very helpful way to study Scripture. Sometimes if you look at the opposite of what is not said or what isn’t said it can help one to understand the truth that is being stated.

First let’s look at what “died to sin” DOES NOT mean
#1 Paul doesn’t say that we are dying to sin, so he is not talking about a process here

#2 Paul doesn’t say we have finally died to sin, which would indicate that we have been dying and now are dead to sin

#3 Paul doesn’t say how shall we who “ought” to die to sin, still live in it

#4 We who determined to die to sin, Because we died based on what happened to us

#5 That the Christian no longer is having a problem with or isn’t affected by sin any longer

WHAT DOES IT MEAN to be dead to sin?
Well we can best understand what Paul means by keeping this in context with what he has been saying. And for that we need to go back to Chapter 5:12-21.

Realm #1 - where there is sin, condemnation and death, and it was in that realm that sin reigns and death reigns

Realm #2 - there is righteousness, life, and justification and where grace reigns and we reign in life because we are in Christ

We have been moved out of the realm in which sin reigns and now have moved into the realm where grace reigns.

Voila_Capture6

Review of March 1_Part 1

This Sunday we continued on in our “application for the feet” by looking at Romans 6. Since I was gone last week this was a heavy review from our class together on February 15. Before launching into Romans 6 it is helpful to pick up the context that the apostle Paul sets up in Chapters 1-5.

As we move into Romans 6 I want us as a class to understand that Paul is exhorting Christians in this Chapter to “Be Who You Are in Christ!” Even though that may sound a bit strange to us, I have found over the years that far to few Christians have a solid Biblical understanding of who they are in Christ. If you ask the average Christian on the street the following question “are you dead to sin?” they will typically answer no. But Scripture is clear in Romans 6:2 that Christians have died to sin.

Therefore in the very APPLICATION of our Christian lives we should know:
Point #1 - What it means to be dead to sin and alive to Christ?
Point #2 - How did it happen that we are now dead to sin?
Point #3 - How are we now to live on a daily basis in lieu of this fact?
Point #4 - What assurance do I have that I can do so?

My bottom line point for us as a “learning and living the God-centered life” community is that Romans 6 is such an important chapter in understanding “how to” live the Christian life.

Therefore this week my goal will be to do a 5 PART SERIES that will cover the basics of Romans 6:1-14. Please know that this is in no way an exhaustive study but I hope these notes will encourage you to dig in and grasp these nuggets and apply them to your life. I stand on the shoulders of many teachers, pastors and scholars who have gone before me in Romans 6.

In Romans 1:16 the apostle Paul starts to expound of the gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Even though Paul had been shamed for the gospel he was not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God unto salvation.

Well, how can the gospel be so powerful?
The way the gospel is so powerful is because it offers us righteousness from God.
Why do I need this righteousness?
Because all men are under the wrath of God.
Do you remember what we discussed is the most right thing that God can do?
The most right thing that God does is to uphold the glory of His name. And the reason that unbelieving men are under the wrath of God is that they have exchanged the glory of God for their own glory.

Review of February 22

Thanks again to Pastor Russ Rosser for teaching our class last Sunday morning. Below are the notes from his teaching from the book of Acts. I would like to say publicly what a blessing it is to have both Pastor Russ and Carol at Carmel Baptist Church. And over the years I have affectionally tagged him with the nickname “Papa Russ.”

SBS Class Feb 22 2009 Pastor Acts)

Review of February 15

We are continuing down the category of application for the feet as it relates to the Bible. One of the most exciting and challenging chapters for me over the years has been Romans 6. During the past week I decided to take us through a verse by verse look at Romans 6:1-14. There are two Bible doctrines that are important which we need to learn and apply. They are justification (Romans 3:20-4:25) and regeneration which we see in Romans 6:1-14. As each of these categories is learned, formed and lived the Spirit will build in us these foundational truths so important in our walk with Christ.

The audio is embedded within the power point notes. It may be that the file will need to buffer all the way before it can be played.


Be who you are_Part 2 (preview)

Lord willing, this coming Sunday we are going to continue in Romans 6 with our application for the feet teaching. I am titling the two Sunday classes in Romans 6 as “Be Who You Are.” What a concept for those who are in Christ, don’t you think? So maybe we should ask that all important question “who are you?” Well, according to the apostle Paul via regeneration, which is a secret act of God whereby He imparts spiritual life, you are dead to sin and alive to Christ. As 21st Century evangelicals are we reminding ourselves and others of this truth on a regular basis? When I use the term “dead to sin” I don’t mean removed from the presence of sin. But this means according to the New Testament that sin no longer has dominion or control over the Christian. In other words we no longer are slaves to sin. And the term alive to Christ means that now I have a desire, treasuring and passion to present myself and the members of my body to God. Before I was “born again”, regenerated or experienced the new birth my modus operandi was completely ME centered. I didn’t want anything to do with Christ, the Bible. a local church community or any kind of service in which God could be demonstrated as great. Instead I was in the mind set of doing all that I did ultimately for the glory of my self.

Romans 6 is one of my favorite chapters in all of the Bible. And though I would like to stay here for the next several months, this coming week will conclude our 2009 launch via application of the feet. Well, at least that is the plan as of this blog entry.

So may I ask each of you to read through Romans 6 this week. I will continue to teach it by dividing this chapter into two major sections based on the questions that Paul is asking.

Romans 6:1 and Romans 6:15 tests our understanding of grace
Romans 6:2-11 and Romans 6:16-23 tests our understanding of regeneration

My goal on Sunday will be for us to build an application category from the three imperatives in Romans 6:11-13. I have found that in the past and even in
these last two weeks the study of these doctrinal truths from Romans 6 are life transforming!

Review of February 8

Who are you in Christ? No, wait a minute, don’t read past that last question to fast, who are you in Christ? Then as we did today in class, read Romans 6 and hear the apostle Paul telling us “Be who you are!” Therefore the teaching for our class today could have been titled “Be who you are in Christ.”

Before you go to the notes or the audio may I suggest that you again read through Romans 6. At some point in time, probably the last phase of our teaching curriculum I am going to suggest that we memorize this chapter. Even though we are months and months away, this is a good time to get familiar with this chapter in Romans.

I am going to do a brief outline and make some points from this mornings class that will help as we continue in Romans 6. First of all I would like to suggest that we break up Romans 6 into two basic sections based on Paul’s two questions. The first question comes to us in Romans 6:1 and then the second question in Romans 6:15. At this point it may be helpful to write a theme or topic sentence for these two sections of Scripture. For example:

Romans 6:1-14 - the new person you are In Christ
Romans 6:15-23 - free from sin and enslaved to righteousness

Next I would you to observe the pattern of writing with the apostle Paul in these two sections of Scripture. It is as follows:
  • Question
  • Response
  • Reason with a detailed explanation that follows

Now follow me with this next line of thinking as you read through Romans 6.
The two questions that Paul asks in Romans 6:1 and 6:15 test our understanding of grace. The concluding answers that he gives in Romans 6:2-11 and Romans 6:16-23 test our understanding of regeneration. Again the quick definition for regeneration is a secret act of God in which He imparts to us spiritual life.

And this is why I wanted to take the next couple of weeks to simply touch on Romans Chapter 6. It will better help in our understanding of grace and regeneration. For those of you who have been following our launch into 2009 the initial question asked was “which road are you on?” from Matthew 7:13-27?”
And we have worked ourselves back to the fact that if a man, woman, boy or girl is going to be able to enter the kingdom of God then they will have to be born again. In our two weeks on the subject of born again we determined from Scripture that being born again is what God does to us out of His mercy and grace. There is no way we can demand it, inherit it, earn nor even deserve it because this is from Him and Him alone.

Review of February 1

This past Sunday was the conclusion of our 5 week launch into 2009 titled “which road are you on?” Since our January 4 class we have looked briefly but distinctly at 3 critical Bible doctrines in regard to application for our lives. They are as follows:


The teaching today covered 5 basic points regarding the doctrine of regeneration and how we apply this to the glory of God! Each week I have posted the notes along with the verses in Scripture covered in class. As time allows would you take some time to read over and allow these foundational categories to become grounded in your hearts and minds. These doctrines will continue to surface during the year so l encourage you to learn them well.

Next week it is back on our tour Bus of the Bible which should take us till the end of February.

keep running the race, fighting the good fight and keeping the faith

The audio for Sunday’s class is contained within the power point notes.


Lava Lamp from Pastor B. on Vimeo.

Men's Bible study - February 10

I am very excited about our men’s study that will start on February 10 and last for six weeks. This starts next Tuesday night and I appeal to the men in our class, put this on your calendar. The start time will be prompt at 7 PM and will conclude at 8:30 PM. The purpose of our men’s study will be consistent with the purpose of the Bible and that is to glorify God! The how to that statement is found in the study and living out of His word.

If you have some time to look at our class blog site, you will quickly notice the amount of Biblical material we have covered to date. It is not the plan nor curriculum of this study to give more truth but to help and process the truth we have already covered. Therefore the study will be divided initially into 3 two week components:
Week #1 and 2 - study of the heart (why preparation is a non-negotiable)
Week #3 and 4 - study of the glory of God (why Bible reading, study and devotion must be God-centered)
Week #5 and 6 - study of salvation (regeneration, justification and sanctification)

These represent the 3 main components that we have been studying since August and some of the basic Biblical categories we need to understand, embrace and learn how to practically live out.

Please come prepared for questions and discussion. The apostle Paul instructs in Philippians Chapter 2 that we are to “work out our salvation.” As you know from previous classes this is a three fold word that includes our justification (past), sanctification (present) and glorification (future). It will be my desire during the next six weeks to post something prior to our study that can direct our questions for that particular night.

In summary for the guys who are reading this blog article allow me to take you back to Genesis 2:15. Keep in mind that this is the instruction of God Himself to Adam prior to the fall. Look with me at this verse and as always be sure to read in context. But for the sake of this exhortation I will just stay with Genesis 2:15 “Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”
When you start to look more carefully at this text then you see God’s responsibility and man’s responsibility.
  • God is the one who takes and puts
  • Man is the one who cultivates and keeps

Guys each of us has been taken and put in a spiritual garden (immediate family and church) in which we are commanded to work and protect. It becomes obvious to us reading in Genesis 3 that Adam does not follow this command from the LORD. How does the serpent end up in the garden walking and talking with Eve if Adam was doing his God given assignment of protecting his wife? Men, I think we need to band together and come back under the authority of God word so that we can protect our wives and children especially in this increasingly dangerous culture. And that includes our knowing, embracing and living out the Bible before our families. Again the goal of this study is to provide some foundational components that can be learned and taught as essential to our Christian walk.

May I encourage you to come for 6 weeks each Tuesday night, and together let’s get back into the word of God so that the word of God can get back into us!


Preview of February 1

Here is a preview of our class for tomorrow. There are two basic slide share presentations. The first will be my introductory notes and then the second represents what I hope to cover regarding the doctrine of regeneration.


Preview of January 25

In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says that everyone on planet earth is on either of one or two roads. One road leads to destruction and the other road leads to life. In Matthew 7:24-25 Jesus talks about the building of two houses. After a bad storm the one house stands while the other house collapses. As we concluded this teaching the point we came to was as follows:
The validation that a believers salvation is genuine is dependent upon their ongoing obedience to the word of God.

Last week we took a step back to ask “how does a person get on the road that leads to life?” We then looked at the words of Christ in Mark 1:15 - “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” In the notes from the past week I have given you a brief word study on repent. There is an implication in the New Testament that repent and believe go together even when both words are not used. I have also included in the notes some verses that have repent only, others that have believe only and one that contains both repent and believe.

In summary to date:
A person on the road that leads to life is obedient to the word of God on an ongoing basis. In order to get on this road there must be a time where they repented and believed, but it doesn’t end there. Now that they have been justified (see notes) it means that as part of their sanctification (see notes) they will continue to repent and believe.

Now this week we are going to go back yet another step and ask this very important question - “How does a person REPENT and BELIEVE?” The answer to that question we will explore through the study of John 3. We as a church are presently reading through the gospel of John. And I want to conclude this launch into 2009 by helping us to understand what it means to be “born again.” Did you know that the words “born again” only occur 4 times in the New Testament? Read More...

Review of January 18 (Part 4)

In yesterday’s review we left off with the three essential categories for our understanding of the word “salvation.” If you remember they were:

(something that has happened in the past)
(something that is happening in the present)
(something that will happen in the future)

I want to spend some time with the terms justification and sanctification as they relate to our

Justification refers to my status (righteousness)
Sanctification refers to my state (becoming what I already am)

Justification is about God's attitude toward me changing
Sanctification is about God changing me

Justification is about how God looks on me
Sanctification is about what He does in me

Justification is about Christ dying for my sins on the cross;
Sanctification is about Christ at work in me by the Holy Spirit transforming my life

In the coming months we will talk about these words more and also give Scriptural support for them as we study. However right now I want you to be aware of what they mean and start to form a sound Biblical category as they relate to our salvation.

Now allow me to go back to the summary statement that was made at the conclusion of Matthew 7:24-27.

The validation of one’s salvation or the validation one is on the road that leads to life (entering narrow gate and on narrow way) and building a house that stands depends on one’s obedience to the word of God! Read More...

Review of January 18 (Part3)

The question we began with several weeks ago as we launched into 2009 was simply this:
What road are you on? According to Christ everyone is either on a road that leads to destruction or a road that leads to life. So how does a person get on the road that leads to life? Turn with me if you will to Mark 1:15 and let’s examine these words from the Lord Jesus Himself. In this verse He says “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” In this summary review of our lesson on Sunday I would like for us to look more closely at the meaning of these words. First let’s do some study of the word repent. But before we do, may I just say this is not an exhaustive study but brief review of these words so as to encourage your own personal study. The first word we will consider is what does it means to REPENT.

The word REPENT in Mark 1:15 is a verb that is in the present tense which means habitually, continuously and as a constant way of life. So first of all when reading the word repent don’t just think in terms of a past tense action but something that you are continuing to do each and every day. (A quick side note of application. When is the last time you repented over sin in your life?) Many times when I hear someone give a personal testimony the majority of the language is in the past tense. Even though the past action is important, I am also listening for not just what happened, but what is happening in the life of the person walking with Christ.

Second the word repent is in the imperative which means the mood of command. This is said by Jesus NOT in the form of an invitation but rather as something He commands! And we in the church today need to be sure that we understand He commands not only that we repent at a point and time but that we continue to repent. Folks we say we are orthodox Christians which means that we believe the Bible is the word of God. And in saying that we affirm that the Scripture is inspired, infallible and inerrant. Therefore we submit and yield to the authority of God’s word for faith and practice in life. These words mean not what I think, feel or even experience but they mean what the author intended at the time in which he wrote them. And to put it very clearly the verb form of REPENT means a continuous process that is commanded by Christ Himself. It may help at this point to get a clearer understanding of this word REPENT.

A basic word study on REPENT:
The Greek word for repent (verb form) is Strong’s number 3340. metanoeo; from 3326 and 3539; which means to change one’s mind or purpose: repent(26), repented(5), repents(3). This word (in the verb form) occurs in the New Testament 34 times but only once in the epistles and that is in 2 Corinthians 12:21.
The Greek word for repentance (noun form) is 3341. 3341. metanoia; from 3340; change of mind, repentance: repentance(22). This word occurs 22 times in the New Testament
Strong’s definition - to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction): repent.
Thayer’s definition - to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent (to feel sorry that one has done this or that, Jonah 3:9), of having offended someone, of (on account of) something 2 Cor. 12:21; used especially of those who, conscious of their sins and with manifest tokens of sorrow, are intent; on obtaining God’s pardon; to repent clothed in sackcloth and besprinkled with ashes, Matt. 11:21; Luke 10:13. to change one’s mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins. The following is a user friendly laymen’s definition of the word repent from Josh Harris who is the senior pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

True repentance is a change of direction. It involves turning away from sin and toward God---replacing sinful actions with righteous ones. Genuine repentance springs from heartfelt sorrow over sin because it is against God and then leads to real change in the way a person thinks and lives.

I understand that we all learn in different ways. Some learn best through reading, while others are visual, and still other folks are very auditory. Therefore I have an audio clip (a little over 2 minutes) that gives how we have come to a basic misunderstanding of the words repent and believe.
Repent and Believe - Pastor Paul Washer


Review of January 18 (Part2)

As we come to part 2 let me start with the concluding verses that Jesus taught in Matthew 7:24-27. You may remember and it will be part of the power point notes on this section that there is one distinguishing difference between the wise man and the foolish man. But please keep this in mind, it is such an important difference that it parallels with the difference between being on the narrow way leading to life and the broad way leading to destruction in Matthew 7:13-14. Therefore the IMPORTANT difference that Jesus points out in the story is this, the wise man hears the word and acts on what he hears whereas the foolish man hears the word but he does not act. Hmmm....Both men were hearers of the word so the problem was not hearing the word but it was acting on the word that was heard. Let’s travel over to the book of James and pick up a passage in context to review, that I think will also reinforce the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 7:24-27.

One of the goals in our study this year is to also learn how to study as we read and have devotions. If there is one most important “how to” in the system of studying the Scriptures it would probably be context. We need to learn how to read the Scriptures in context. Therefore even though our passage will be James 1:22, I think it will be helpful for us to look at it within the context of the paragraphs. Turn in your Bibles to James 1:19-25. Again as a good study exercise it may be good to start without a study Bible and see if you can come up with a topic sentence or theme to these verses. Just so you know in the ESV Study Bible these verses are titled as “Hearing and Doing the Word.” Does that sound similar to the verses we are studying in Matthew 7:24-27? Keeping context in mind let’s read and study James 1:22 which says: But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. Here are some study notes on the words doers and delude;

The word for doers (4163) is the Greek word poietes. This is from the Greek word poieo (4160).
This is the same word we find in Matthew 7:24:
Matt. 7:24 Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and ACTS on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.
Let’s put it in a James 1:22 translation:
Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and IS A DOER of them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Delude is the Greek word paralogizomai which means to miscalculate or falsely reason.
Thayers dictionary - a. to reckon wrong, miscount: Demosthenes, p. 822, 25; 1037, 15. b. to cheat by false reckoning (Aeschines, Aristotle); to deceive by false reasoning; hence, c. universally, to deceive, delude, circumvent: tina, Col. 2:4; James
Strongs dictionary - misreckon, i.e. delude: beguile, deceive.

Isn’t the meaning clear in James 1:22 when it comes to the problem of not acting on the word that one hears? The result according to this verse will be a person or a people who are deluded. And now we are back to the very basics of why the “Learning and Living the God-Centered Life” community exists for 2009 at Carmel Baptist Church. It is designed so that as we all learn healthy and sound Bible doctrine and then live out these truths, we will in fact glorify Christ in us who is called the “hope of glory.”

The warning is this; WARNING-WARNING-WARINING Will Robinson (that is from a show long ago called “Lost in Space”) be obedient to the truth of the word that you are hearing lest you be deceived! Read More...

Review of January 18 (Part1)

This review will encompass our last two weeks of teaching through Matthew 7:13-27. I will write several blog articles this week and also give you some verses to consider for the upcoming teaching this Sunday. Later on in the week I will post the most recent power point notes and the audio but for now read through and study, as you can, these notes. Some of the terms I plan on covering with you in these articles are a bit technical and may seem unfamiliar to you. However the more we study, discuss and learn they will become part of our dialogue in which you will get quite comfortable. Please know these are the basics of the Christian faith but unfortunately there has been somewhat of a drift from them within the last 100 years. I am committed to taking whatever time is necessary to work with you through these precious doctrines that we hold as valuable when it comes to our Christian faith. It will take some time for you to study, read and think through these Biblical truths. But know that as that happens, you are building a solid foundation that will support the living out your life in Christ in a way that demonstrates His glory!

Just today I had a call from a former ministry partner who is now living in Raleigh. He was asking about our class and it gave me a chance to boast about all of you in Christ. Please know what an encouragement and delight it is to teach, discuss, answer emails and meet with you on these things concerning the word of God. Let’s lock arms together as we run the race, fight the good fight and continue keeping the faith to build the kingdom of God for the glory of God.

What road are you on in regard to your spiritual life? Jesus Himself gives us only two options in Matthew 7:13-14. There is a road that leads to destruction and there is a road that leads to life. As we launch into the 2009 teaching of “learning and living the God-centered life” this is the question that is before us as a community. When we started the class back in August the teaching focused on the preparation of the heart. And now as we begin our curriculum in January we deal with the most important area in application of the feet. What road are your feet on and where is that road leading? As our class concluded on Sunday January 11 we finished looking at Matthew 7:24-27:
Matt. 7:24 ¶ “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.
Matt. 7:25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
Matt. 7:26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
Matt. 7:27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
Here was my concluding summary for the two houses, one built on rock the other built on sand, the two men, one wise and one foolish and the two results, one house that stood strong and the other house that was destroyed. The conclusion was as follows:
The validation of your salvation or the validation you are on the road that leads to life (entering narrow gate and on narrow way) and building a house that will always stand depends on your obedience to the word of God!

In addition here are some verses for you to consider in light of the statement made above. I will include some brief comments Read More...

Why memorize Scripture?

Listen carefully to Dr. John Piper on the importance of hiding God’s word into your heart!

Review Sunday January 11

When we started our class back in August our first teaching session dealt with the preparation of the heart. As we continue getting back to God’s word we have been studying explanation to the head and this past Sunday application for the feet. In Matthew 7:13-27 we have a wonderful section of Scripture that is the conclusion of the sermon on the mount. In the reading and studying of these Scriptures there is a profound question that each of us needs to ask. And that question is which road are you on? Are you on the road that leads to destruction or are you on the road that leads to life?

The power point presentation below is called a “Slide Cast.” These are the slides that I went over yesterday in our study but the audio has been done so as to match up with the slides. The first 8-10 minutes I spend with introduction so you will stay on slide #1 and then as I instruct keep following through the slide presentation of Matthew 7:13-27. This will take some time for you to go through but I hope that it helps to encourage you as we “learn and live” the God-centered life.

Sbs Class January 11 2009
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