Christ Exalting Communication

Communication

Communication is a gift from God. He spoke the universe into existence (); He speaks to us through His Son (), and the Scriptures are often referred to as Word of God (eg. ). God communicates.

Communication occurs when there is an imparting or sharing of information. Communication can come in many forms like speaking, writing a letter, sending an email, tweeting, or posting on Facebook. The Lord is the greatest and only perfect example of clear and effective communication as seen in His Word. As His people, it is our duty to communicate in such a way that we glorify Him. We need to understand that by using poor communication we can not only tear people down, but we can also provide a terrible testimony. As the people of God, we ought to take communication very seriously.

In this post, I want to consider some principles on how we can have Christ exalting communication.

SPEAK THE TRUTH
Christ exalting communication must be truthful (). In contrast to lying, deceiving, manipulating and exaggerating it is the duty of God’s people to communicate truthfully (). We ought to speak the truth because God speaks the truth (). We need to remember that “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” (). Christ exalting communication will be truthful communication. Let us examine our speech that it does not depart from reality. Whether our communication be in speech or writing, it must be true.

SPEAK WITH LOVE
Secondly, Christ exalting communication must be loving (). To communicate with love means to convey information in such a way that it reveals your desire for their welfare. One commentator states, “love seeks the highest good in the one loved” (Harold Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary, Baker Academic, 2007, p. 565). This is not referring to a sentimental or superficial kind of “love.” Instead, this is a loyal and deliberate love without hypocrisy (). Don’t speak down to people or employ harsh tones. Communicate in such a way that you are seeking to ultimate good.

SPEAK WITH HOLINESS
The apostle Paul said to the Ephesians, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (). Communication that is Christ exalting will not neglect the principles found in Scripture regarding pure and sound speech. Corrupt, coarse, and crass speech comes in all sorts of forms. It can simply be a thoughtless or stupid approach in which someone doesn’t carefully consider what they are saying. Or it can come in the form of one using words or humour that dishonours God. Christ exalting communication does not make use of a form of speech that is marked by the things we were redeemed from (; ), but rather makes use of words that come from an individual who is a new creation with a message of hope.

Remember that communication is a gift from God. As the people of God it ought to be our desire and practice to convey Christ exalting communication. I will conclude with some observations of speech from an earlier post,

The book of Proverbs has much so say about our speech. Though we could look at many, consider three sample principles to remember: Speaking too much can lead to trouble (); gentle speech can diffuse anger whereas harsh speech can provoke anger () and think before you speak (). These principles provide practical wisdom in the use of our words.

1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
but those who act faithfully are his delight.

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Ephesians 5:4

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.

The Good Fight (1 Timothy 1:18-20)

Warfare

READ

This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme ()

STUDY
The Believer is in a battle. It is not a battle “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (). Satan has always raged against God’s people (cf. ) and he is very strategic in the way he goes about it. One of those ways is by means of false teachers (cf. ). Despite such warfare, in Christ the believer is to stand firm. In his hymn “A Mighty Fortress is our God” Martin Luther declared,

“And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
 We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
 The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
 One little word shall fell him.”

In this passage before us (), Paul calls for Timothy to fight the good fight. In doing so, he speaks of the combat (1:18-19a) and the casualties (1:19b-20).

The Combat (a)
Paul begins by making reference to the “charge” he entrusted to Timothy. This is the charge mentioned back in 1:3-4 (guarding against a departure of doctrine). He reiterates his need to fulfill this so that he “may wage the good warfare“. The means that will enable him is a reminder of his giftedness and calling (“the prophecies previously made about you“). These prophesies occurred when the elders laid their hands on Timothy () – an event that likely took place at Lystra during Paul’s second missionary journey (). The warfare that he is to engage in is to be done in accordance with “holding faith and a good conscience” (1:19).

The Casualties (b-20)
When the people of God engage in such a combat, there will from time to time be casualties. Such causalities come as a result of their rejection of the truth. This rejection results in them making a “shipwreck of their faith” (1:19b). Paul mentioned two individuals by name who were the likely ringleaders of the false teaching in Ephesus (“Hymenaeus and Alexander“). This disciplinary action reveals the seriousness of their error and troublemaking. Paul enforced church discipline on them by handing them “over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1:20). This action indicates a removal from the blessing of Christian fellowship with a view of correction and even conversion.

Despite the difficulty of the believer’s battle against the schemes of Satan, the believer is to “wage the good warfare” (1:18) by the mandate and power of God. This ends the first section of the letter – Defending the Church’s Message (1:1-20). The church has a message and by God’s enabling it needs to be defended.

APPLY

  1. Look up the following passages and discuss what the Scriptures teach about the believer’s warfare: ; ;
  2. Paul tells Timothy that he can “wage the good warfare” by means of his giftedness (1:18). How does the reminder of God-given giftedness encourage us to “wage the good warfare“?
    1. What is the conscience and how does one obtain a “good conscience“? See ; ; ; ;
    1. The Following passages address the topic of church discipline (; ; ). Provide a biblical understanding concerning the purpose, principles and protocols of church discipline.

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,

14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.

16:1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

Romans 9:1

9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—

12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.

through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,

16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Beware of the Seeker Sensitive “Jesus”

Beware

Who is Jesus? Despite the clear testimony of Scripture concerning who Jesus Christ is, sadly many people serve the seeker-sensitive “Jesus”. He is a “Jesus” that makes them feel comfortable in their way of life. He is nothing more than a “Jesus” of their own making and He is powerless to save. You need to know the Lord Jesus Christ – the eternal Son of God. He is Lord and He alone can save.

What we need to know about Jesus is that He has Divine authority. This authority was seen in His teaching (), in His ability to forgive sins (), to cast out demons (), to judge (), to lay down His life and raise it up again () and in His future rule over the nations (). Just prior to His ascension Jesus said to His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” ().

Secondly, His has Divine awareness. The Lord Jesus Christ is able to look at people and see their true spiritual condition. He is aware of every thought and action that they have done. In each letter to the seven churches in Revelation, Jesus says, “I know your works” (). He knows all that we do and don’t do and nothing is hidden from Him. He is fully aware of all that takes place in our church even if we don’t know about it. Every action that takes place in the church, every act of service for the Lord – menial and prominent, known and unknown – He sees it. He sees our service, suffering and sin. This act confirms His deity (cf. ).

We need to move beyond stereotypes, movie portrayals, and Christmas card depictions. He truly was the Jesus you can’t ignore. His authority, anticipation and awareness are unparalleled and make Him worthy of our worship and obedience.

29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.”

15 and have authority to cast out demons.

27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.

18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.

Revelation 2:9

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 2:13

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

Revelation 2:19

19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.

Revelation 3:1

3:1 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

Revelation 3:8

“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Revelation 3:15

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!

39 then hear in heaven your dwelling place and forgive and act and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways (for you, you only, know the hearts of all the children of mankind),

Christ Exalting Communication

Communication

Communication is a gift from God. He spoke the universe into existence (); He speaks to us through His Son (), and the Scriptures are often referred to as Word of God (eg. ). God communicates.

Communication occurs when there is an imparting or sharing of information. Communication can come in many forms like speaking, writing a letter, sending an email, tweeting, or posting on Facebook. The Lord is the greatest and only perfect example of clear and effective communication as seen in His Word. As His people, it is our duty to communicate in such a way that we glorify Him. We need to understand that by using poor communication we can not only tear people down, but we can also provide a terrible testimony. As the people of God, we ought to take communication very seriously.

In this post, I want to consider some principles on how we can have Christ exalting communication.

SPEAK THE TRUTH
Christ exalting communication must be truthful (). In contrast to lying, deceiving, manipulating and exaggerating it is the duty of God’s people to communicate truthfully (). We ought to speak the truth because God speaks the truth (). We need to remember that “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” (). Christ exalting communication will be truthful communication. Let us examine our speech that it does not depart from reality. Whether our communication be in speech or writing, it must be true.

SPEAK WITH LOVE
Secondly, Christ exalting communication must be loving (). To communicate with love means to convey information in such a way that it reveals your desire for their welfare. One commentator states, “love seeks the highest good in the one loved” (Harold Hoehner, Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary, Baker Academic, 2007, p. 565). This is not referring to a sentimental or superficial kind of “love.” Instead, this is a loyal and deliberate love without hypocrisy (). Don’t speak down to people or employ harsh tones. Communicate in such a way that you are seeking to ultimate good.

SPEAK WITH HOLINESS
The apostle Paul said to the Ephesians, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (). Communication that is Christ exalting will not neglect the principles found in Scripture regarding pure and sound speech. Corrupt, coarse, and crass speech comes in all sorts of forms. It can simply be a thoughtless or stupid approach in which someone doesn’t carefully consider what they are saying. Or it can come in the form of one using words or humour that dishonours God. Christ exalting communication does not make use of a form of speech that is marked by the things we were redeemed from (; ), but rather makes use of words that come from an individual who is a new creation with a message of hope.

Remember that communication is a gift from God. As the people of God it ought to be our desire and practice to convey Christ exalting communication. I will conclude with some observations of speech from an earlier post,

The book of Proverbs has much so say about our speech. Though we could look at many, consider three sample principles to remember: Speaking too much can lead to trouble (); gentle speech can diffuse anger whereas harsh speech can provoke anger () and think before you speak (). These principles provide practical wisdom in the use of our words.

1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
but those who act faithfully are his delight.

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Ephesians 5:4

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.

The Five Solas

Five_Solas

On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses (written in Latin) to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. This historical event was not the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, but was a means that started discussions and debates about the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church’s indulgences. After a series of events, Luther’s discussion intensified to a declaration of a defence of the gospel.

Continue reading The Five Solas

Guarding Against Departure of Doctrine

Myths and genealogies

We need to remember that a church’s doctrine is not to be limited to their current situation. We are to recognize that we stand in line with centuries of historical truth. Every church potentially is less than a generation away from compromise, so it is essential that we know how to guard against departure of doctrine.

After his opening greeting in his first letter to Timothy (), Paul provides Timothy with a serious charge, which reveals the occasion for the writing of this letter (). He begins by saying; Continue reading Guarding Against Departure of Doctrine

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Why is Doctrine Important?

Doctrine is important2

The word doctrine will create various responses from people. Some think controversy, legalism, or truth and for some they are just indifferent to the word!

What is doctrine? When it comes to defining doctrine I am talking about Christian doctrine, which is a body of belief or teaching that is drawn from Scripture. We can put this body of belief into categories like, the doctrine of Scripture, the doctrine of God, the doctrine of man, the doctrine of salvation, the doctrine of the church and the doctrine of last things.

Knowing then that doctrine is a body of belief drawn from Scripture, why is it important? In this post I want to give three reasons, the source of doctrine, the supervision of doctrine, and the security of doctrine.

The Source of Doctrine
God – the Creator and Sovereign of the universe – is not silent. He has spoken and therefore what He has said is of utmost importance. His words are to be treasured because they alone are food for our soul and light for our path. God continues to speak to us today by means of the Holy Scriptures. It is by means of reading and studying them (with the Holy Spirit’s help) that we can know and learn about God. Every genuine believer of the Lord Jesus Christ ought to desire to learn about Him and in turn obey Him. Jesus said to His disciples, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (). These commandments He spoke of are contained within the Scriptures, therefore we must read and know the Scriptures in-order to obey what he has commanded. Now the Scriptures unlike any other document proceed from God and are inspired (). Because the Scriptures are inspired they are “profitable for teaching” (). The word for “teaching” can also be translated “doctrine” (KJV). It is from the Scriptures where biblical doctrine is drawn. Doctrine is important because it is a summary of what God has spoken. Since God has spoken, whatever He has said is of great importance and must be affirmed by the people of God.

The Supervision of Doctrine
Doctrine matters because it provides us God’s supervision and direction for the church. If you are invited to a particular venue, and the instructions you were given were incorrect, it is almost certain that you will arrive at the wrong destination. Even though you were convinced you were going the right way, the truth is, you weren’t. The wrong instructions led you to the wrong destination. It is the same when it comes to Christian belief and living. We know that we are to live lives of godliness, but how do we know what is godly? How do we live in such a way that according to the will of God? How do we adhere to biblical truth? How does a church practice godliness? The answer is, by holding to and living in accordance to what God requires. If we disbelieve or misinterpret what He has said in His Word, our actions will be contrary to what He desires. Our life will be one of sinfulness, even though we may be convinced that we are obeying God, the truth is we are not. Our wrong belief will lead to wrong behaviour.

It is essential that if we are going to adhere to God’s truth and live in accordance to it (as individual believers and as churches as whole), we need to first of all understand His instructions. Because the Scriptures contain what God has spoken, they are authoritative. All that we do as Christians must come as a result of obedience to what God requires of us. If we are convinced that the Scriptures are from God, and that they contain His truth, then they must be our foundation. The apostle Paul said to Timothy, “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (). These are called “sound words” because they are without corruption. What are these “words“? This is a reference to the very words of God. Paul knew the importance of God’s words when it came to Christian living, and he commands Timothy to allow them to be a pillar that will hold him up when it comes to ministry.

If biblical doctrine is at our foundation, it will direct us down the path of righteousness. The Psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (). God’s Word lights up the path and guides the believer in a direction that is glorifying to God providing Divine supervision.

The Security of Doctrine
Finally, doctrine is important because it provides the believer with security. That is to say it protects us from error. There are many false doctrines in the world today, but this is nothing new. The Scriptures provide various names for false doctrines, “worthless doctrine” (), “every wind of doctrine” (), “doctrines of men” (), “different doctrine” (), “doctrines of demons” (), “strange doctrines” (), “doctrine of Balaam” () and “doctrine of the Nicolaitans” (). These names give us the understanding of the source and nature of false doctrine. False doctrine does not come from God and therefore is not helpful but only harmful.

How does sound biblical doctrine protect us from error? It will prevent us from affirming a belief that it unbiblical which in turn will lead to a practice that is unbiblical. Put simply, it will protect us from bad belief and behaviour. Departure from sound doctrine occurs when someone basis their belief and behaviour on something that is not biblical. Perhaps people and churches will form their belief on tradition, experience or simply on ignorance. Such practice is devastating because the actions they perform are driven by something that is unbiblical. This is one of the reasons why many churches will have bizarre and unbiblical ministries and practices – they have departed from sound doctrine. Liberalism is the fruit of departing from sound doctrine. Biblical doctrine is critical because it provides the believer with security and informs their behaviour and practice.

In contrast to those who embraced false teaching, Paul reminded Timothy “You, however, have followed my teaching (or “doctrine“)” (). Because of the emphasis of this “teaching” coming from Paul, it is best to view this as apostolic teaching. In other words, this refers to the divine truth of Scripture that Paul taught and wrote. If Timothy imitates Paul’s doctrine, this will lead to godliness, and in turn combat error. In addition following doctrine, Paul instructed Timothy, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it” (). While the false teachers advance in their error (cf. ), Timothy is to continue in the things he had learned. In other words, don’t move from the truth! Doctrine, drawn from the Scriptures is your weapon against error and it will protect you.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.

They are both stupid and foolish;
the instruction of idols is but wood!

14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?

As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,

1 Timothy 6:3

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,

4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.

14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.

15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

10 You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness,

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it

13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan-Edwards-Banner

Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century revivalist, sat down at age 17 and penned 21 resolutions by which he would live his life. He later added to this list until, by his death, he had 70 resolutions. Edwards didn’t casually make New Year’s resolutions with an expectation of eventually breaking them. Each week he did a self-check. He regularly summed up how he was doing and sought God’s help in the process.

This list is organised by subheadings and categories and as such is not in the normal order as listed here.

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Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

Overall Life Mission1

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

Continue reading The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

Inerrancy of Scripture

[This introduction1 written by Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.]

“More than twenty years ago, theologian J. I. Packer recounted what he called a “Thirty Years’ War” over the inerrancy of the Bible. He traced his involvement in this war in its American context back to a conference held in Wenham, Massachusetts in 1966, when he confronted some professors from evangelical institutions who “now declined to affirm the full truth of Scripture.” That was nearly fifty years ago, and the war over the truthfulness of the Bible is still not over — not by a long shot.

With current challenges to the inerrancy of Scripture in view, I convened a panel of theologians to revisit the question. In one sense, the challenges to inerrancy are more direct than ever, with figures associated with some evangelical institutions calling for a straightforward repudiation of the doctrine. Other assaults are more subtle, but all of these challenges demand our close attention.”

The panel was convened on Thursday, September 27, 2012, in Alumni Chapel at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.


 1albertmohler.com