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Month: December 2011

Perseverance and the High Priestly Ministry of Jesus

Explanation of Hebrews 6:20             Jesus has entered the heavenly sanctuary on our behalf. He has gone there as forerunner, a designation found only here in the New Testament but which appears in a variety of athletic and military contexts of the Hellenistic world. In Hebrews, where the term is employed figuratively, the notion of precedence prevails over that of speed. As forerunner Jesus did not simply ‘run on ahead’. Rather he is the ‘precursor’ of believers, the first in a series that follows after him. He has opened up the way behind the curtain (10:19-22) which had been in place until the present time (9:9). He entered the heavenly sanctuary to obtain cleansing for His people (9:12) to represent them in the presence of God (9:24), and to enable them to enter into heaven (10:19-22). Like the earlier title ‘pioneer’, forerunner evokes the image of the movement on the path to heavenly glory (2:10) that believers are called upon to tread following in Christ’s footsteps. Accordingly, this statement in 6:20 explains why hope is able to enter the heavenly sanctuary. Further, Jesus’ entry into the heavenly sanctuary is as His people’s eternal high priest in the order of Melchizedek, an expression that provides a further basis for the assurance of hope mentioned in v.19. Accordingly, Christians can approach God with confidence since Jesus the heavenly high priest has...

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The Personal Nature of the Holy Spirit

Francis Chan once noted that: We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God….shouldn’t there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not? There certainly should be. It’s important to remember that God the Holy Spirit is not some apathetic entity who just floats in the sky. The Holy Spirit actually resides in us and helps us throughout our Christian pilgrimage in a very immanent and personal way. Let’s go through a few examples in Scripture. The Holy Spirit is:* …the Personal Comforter for fellowship: John 14:16 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever“ …the Personal Companion to know: John 14:17 “even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” …the Personal Teacher to instruct: John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” …the Personal Witness to testify: John 15:27 “But when...

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How Leadership Hi-jacks Servanthood

So many times I fall into the trap of thinking that preaching or leading worship are both so super-spiritual that they are of more worth than any other way of serving. Pride becomes my master and sets the course for my ambitions. My over-joyful reaction at being asked to lead a small group quickly turns to dispassion when asked to be a parking monitor. Christ taught and modeled that a servant was more than being seen as a leader. Biblical servanthood is a vital and meaningful part of being a Christian; leadership isn’t. An overwhelming majority of Christians will never lead anything. That is ok, God designed it that way. Somehow, we have allowed the culture to creep in and define preeminent value on leadership. When did we drop our guard? We are inundated with leadership material almost to point of obsession. Browse a Christian book web site or bookstore and just notice how many books there are for leaders and on leadership. There are books on keys to leadership, how to be a leader, studies on both current and historical leaders. Next, notice how many books there are on servanthood that is not tied to leadership. Hard to find, aren’t they? We are all taught to aspire to be in leadership; as if merely being a servant is somehow beneath us.  Servanthood has been either forgotten or hijacked...

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Book Review Against Calvinism

Introduction According to Roger Olsen, the “Calvinist account of God’s sovereignty inevitably makes God the author of sin, evil and innocent suffering… [He] is at best morally ambiguous and at worst a moral monster hardly distinguishable from the devil” (Olsen, 84). But is this assessment fair to the Calvinist position or consistent with Scripture? Olsen, a professor of theology at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University would say yes. But I’m not so sure. At the outset of this review I wish to make mention of three things that will help you to understand how I am reviewing this book. First, I will not be engaging everything Olsen has written in this book. If I did this the review would have been much longer. Second, the focus of this review is on chapter four and more specifically to Olsen’s teaching on the God of Calvinism being a “moral monster.” Finally, the goal of this review is to respond to this serious charge leveled by Dr. Olsen by examining whether he is faithful or unfaithful to the teaching of the Word of God.  Before we get into the review its important for you the reader to get an idea of the argument Dr. Olsen makes in Against Calvinism. Summary In Against Calvinism Olsen writes not to attack Calvinism but to critique several aspects of Reformed theology (Olsen, 13). In this book...

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Top Posts for 2011 on Servants of Grace

2011 was a year of great growth for Servants of Grace Ministries. We added a number of new people to contribute on the website: Chris Poblete, Nate Palmer, Jared Moore and Aaron Armstrong. I am very excited about the 2012 and the additions we will be adding including: a new and much improved website built by my amazing wife Sarah,  a movie/music/television show review led by Jared Moore, a young adults ministry led by Chris Poblete, a theological journal, an improved book review site, a radio show, and much more! 2012 is shaping up to be a very exciting year at Servants of Grace, and we are looking forward to serving you in order to strengthen the local Church and train future leaders to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Here are the top 10 posts from our contributors this year: #10- Remembering and Living in a Post 9/11 World: The Consequences of Ideas and Worldviews by Dave Jenkins #9- Book Review Just Do Something Reviewed by Aaron Armstrong: #8- 6 Questions with Matthew Barret an interview conducted by Jared Moore: #7- Humility by Chris Poblete #6- When you don’t feel like it by Nate Palmer #5-  Biblical Accountability by Richard Rohlin #4- Men, sexual sin, purity and the Gospel by Dave Jenkins #3- Burning the Quran, 9/11 and Islam by Dave Jenkins #2- The Decline...

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