Archive for November, 2011

There are only two questions that will matter at all one second after you pass from this life to the next:

  1. What have I done with Jesus Christ?
  2. What have I done for Jesus Christ?
Nothing else will matter at that point in time. Not how many hours you worked. Not how much money you made. Not how many degrees you earned. Not how many friends you had. Not how much your kids inherited. Not how much power you had. Not how beautiful you were. Not how smart you were. Not how successful you were. Not how much you knew.
The only two things that will matter will be our relationship with Jesus Christ (have we repented from our sins and put our faith and trust in Him alone for our salvation), and how we used the gifts, talents, and abilities that He gave us – for His glory or for our own selfish purposes?
Something to think about.

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Sermon in a Sentence

This morning, I was privileged to finish preaching through the book of Ephesians. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: I simply read the entire book, then made some comments on our guilt, God’s grace, and our gratitude.

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Having nearly completed a series of sermons preaching through the book of Ephesians, it may be helpful to make a list of good and useful commentaries on the epistle. I’ve used each of these in my preparation – some more, some less.

  1. Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ by R. Kent Hughes. A good mix of exposition and application.
  2. Ephesians (Reformed Expository Commentary) by Bryan Chapell. More pastoral in nature, but deals well with the technical issues.
  3. Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary by James Montgomery Boice. A solid, well-done treatment, as are all of Boice’s works.
  4. Ephesians (The New Testament Commentary) by William Hendriksen. The most technical of those I’ve listed, though still practical.
  5. The Message of Ephesians (The Bible Speaks Today) by John R.W. Stott. Stott was nearly unrivaled in his ability to explain ideas clearly and concisely.

Honorable Mentions: The Bible Exposition Commentary by Warren Wiersbe. Ephesians by John Calvin. Ephesians (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary series) by John MacArthur.

A word about the use of commentaries: I use commentaries to “check my work,” so to speak. After I’ve done my own work of reading, studying, and attempting to apply the passage of Scripture I’ll be preaching, I consult the commentaries. I don’t go to them before I’ve done my own study because I don’t want my understanding of the passage colored by someone else’s thoughts. It’s important that I be able to determine what the Bible says and means, and not simply rely on the work of others.

Having said that, it would be foolish to ignore the collected wisdom of Spirit-filled men of God who’ve gone before me.They have something to teach me, therefore I need to listen. Commentaries let me know if I’ve missed something in my own study, or if I’m being “original” in the sense that I’ve come up with something no one else has (which will almost always be wrong). Consulting commentaries and commentators let me know if I’m on the right track and have a good understanding of the passage, as well as sharpening fuzzy thinking.

Commentaries are tools, not straitjackets.

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If you’re not familiar with what’s going on at Penn State University, please read this first. In brief, a university president, athletic director, and a legendary head football coach have resigned or been fired due to terrible mishandling of an awful pattern of sexual abuse of young boys by a former assitant coach and heir-apparent of the legendary former coach.

After you’ve read that (if you need to), read this by Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It’s excellent and provides perspective from a Christian and biblical worldview. We need to be thinking about a situation like this in a biblical way.

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Praying at All Times

“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” (Eph. 6:18).

In light of that, here are some good quotes on the subject of prayer:

The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush in like wild animals. And the first job  each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life flowing in. (C.S. Lewis)

He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day. (John Bunyan)

The fewer the words, the better the prayer. To have prayed well is to have studied well. (Martin Luther)

Ivan endures the horrors of a Soviet prison camp. One day he is praying with his eyes closed when a fellow prisoner notices him and says with ridicule, “Prayers won’t help you get out of here any faster.” Opening his eyes, Ivan answered, “I do not pray to get out of prison but to do the will of God.” (Our Daily Bread – December 29th, 1993)

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This morning, I had the privilege of preaching on Ephesians 6:21-24.  A summary of my sermon in one sentence is as follows: Paul concludes his letter to the Christians in Ephesus by informing them of his condition, encouraging them, and pronouncing God’s blessing on them.

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