This is our weekly roundup of posts for 9/28/2015-10/3/2015. If you have any feedback on how we can serve you our readers better, I would appreciate it. Thank you for reading and allowing us to minister to you throughout this past week through these posts.
Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel reviewed by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/onward-engaging-the-culture-without-losing-the-gospel/
Six Principles for Small Group Facilitating by Nick Batzig http://servantsofgrace.org/six-principles-for-small-group-facilitating/
John Calvin – One Who Rightly Handled the Word of God by Matthew Adams http://servantsofgrace.org/john-calvin-one-who-rightly-handled-the-word-of-god/
The Absurdity of Abortion and the Importance of Life by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/the-absurdity-of-abortion-and-the-importance-of-life/
Experiencing the New Birth: Studies in John 3 reviewed by Mike Boling http://servantsofgrace.org/experiencing-the-new-birth-studies-in-john-3/
Defining Success as a Pastor by Mike Leake http://servantsofgrace.org/defining-success-as-a-pastor/
Designed for Joy: How the Gospel Impacts Men and Women, Identity and Practice reviewed by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/designed-for-joy-how-the-gospel-impacts-men-and-women-identity-and-practice/
20 Reasons to Engage in Private Prayer by Mike Leake http://servantsofgrace.org/20-reasons-to-engage-in-private-prayer/
King Jesus: Lord of the Sabbath from John 5:9-18 delivered by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/27-king-jesus-lord-of-the-sabbathsermon/
Pastoral Ministry and Four Strategies for Spiritual Warfare by Nick Batzig http://servantsofgrace.org/pastoral-ministry-and-four-strategies-for-spiritual-warfare/
Five Reflections from a Young Pastor by Mike Cooper http://servantsofgrace.org/five-reflections-from-a-young-pastor/
Adoption: What Joseph of Nazareth Can Teach Us About This Countercultural Choice reviewed by Mike Boling http://servantsofgrace.org/adoption-what-joseph-of-nazareth-can-teach-us-about-this-countercultural-choice/
Spiritual Warfare and Growing in the Grace of God by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/spiritual-warfare-and-growing-in-the-grace-of-god/
Social Sin, Social Media and Social Interaction by Nick Batzig http://servantsofgrace.org/social-sin-social-media-and-social-interaction/
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2 Timothy 2:15 reads, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” This is a biblical text that is applicable to all students of the Scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches that, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” These selected texts are written by the Apostle Paul in order to pierce the hearts of every person. The question I wish to explore in this article is, “How does one ‘rightly’ handle the Word of Truth?” In order to answer this question, we must first turn to the Scriptures before we look at the example of John Calvin, a great pastor in the history of the church.
Isaiah 66:2 states, “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my Word.” A preacher of the gospel must be one who rightly handles the Word of God. Through his preaching, the man of God must show humility, reverence, and awe. John Calvin is a pastor who is a prime example of a man of God who handles the Word of God with great care and skill.
When John Calvin’s name is mentioned, people immediately think of John Calvin the theologian; however, John Calvin was also a pastor.
Calvin’s theological work is indeed life changing, but looking at his skill as a pastor is a teaching tool that demonstrates how he rightly handled the Scriptures. Calvin is an outstanding example on how to rightly handle the Word of God. This can be seen in three ways; Calvin’s view on the authority of Scripture, his intentional proclamation of the Word, and his faithful life.
The Authority of Scripture
Calvin stood before his congregation and proclaimed the Word of God in a thoroughly Christ-centered manner that provided the groundwork for all of his exegesis. When Calvin studied God’s Word, it was to behold the majesty of God. Calvin was not only careful in his handling of Scripture, his exegesis is marked by fear and trembling before the face of God.
Calvin also understood the Scriptures were verbum Dei – the literal words of God – and that these words alone should be the guiding hand of the Church. Calvin identified the Bible as the sole authority of God in His church, and wholeheartedly embraced it. He insisted that the Bible was the authoritative, inspired, inerrant, and infallible Word of God. These truths should must be fully understood and taught by everyone who teaches the Word of God.
The Bold Proclamation
As John Calvin stepped into the pulpit, he sought to faithfully explain the Scriptures. Calvin had one priority, which was the bold proclamation of the Word of God to a lost and dying world. He would preach in an expository manner where he would preach verse by verse manner known as Lectio Continua following other greats in the history of the Church who progressed slowly through entire books of the Bible giving clear exegesis of the Scriptural text then concluding with convicting application. All of Calvin’s sermons were delivered in easy to understand language everyday people could understand. His goal in preaching in this way was to see the Spirit bring conviction. In preaching in this manner, Calvin wanted to be a minister who proclaimed the Truth to the sheep of his flock with the hope that God would unveil His matchless glory and grace to the congregants that came into the sanctuary. Calvin’s style of preaching is an outstanding example of proclamation that not only covers the entire word of God carefully but does so with reverence, and clear application.
The Faithful Life
Calvin did not separate his preaching from the way he lived his life. His life can be summarized by two words “devoted heart.” This language can not only be used in regards to the way Calvin prepared himself for preaching, but also to summarize the entire way Calvin lived his life. Calvin was sincerely a God-fearing man, and this reverential awe of God characterized his devotion to God.
The rejection he experienced during his banishment from Geneva (1538-1541) served only to deepen his drive to know and serve God. When the City Council of Geneva rescinded its ban and called for Calvin’s return, he wrote to William Farel, “Because I know that I am not my own master, I offer my heart as a true sacrifice to the Lord.” This expression of his devotion of his heart to God became the personal motto and emblem of the Genevan Reformer. In his personal seal, the emblem is a pair of human hands holding out a heart to God…the inscription reads, “My heart I give to thee, O Lord, promptly and sincerely.” The words promptly and sincerely aptly describe how Calvin believed his life was to be lived before God, namely, in devotion to Him.
A Few Final Thoughts
To be ministers of the gospel who rightly handle the Word of God, we must understand that our theology is never divorced from our practice. The Word proclaimed from the pulpit must be lived out in the life of the minister. Given the relationship between theology and practice, it is crucial theologians seek to cultivate faithfulness in their lives. If our theology does not first convict and soften our own hearts then we will not be able to minister the Word faithfully. Also if our theology doesn’t convict our own lives then it will harden our hearts, which leads to unbelief, false humility, and feeds our pride, instead of our growth in Christ-like humility and character.
If the Word of God is to be handled correctly, then preachers must not only boldly proclaim God’s Word, but must also strive to live faithfully devoted to God’s Word. Calvin’s character and leadership complemented and reinforced the words that he proclaimed from the pulpit. If this were not the case, he would not have been so influential in his day and in our own today.
The Scriptures are our final authority for faith and practice. This is why they must be handled with great care in order to rightly declare the hope offered through the finished work of Christ. After all it is only by the Scriptures that we can make sure our worship and our lives are pleasing in the sight of God.
Every minister of the gospel must be intentional in remembering Jesus’ words in John 17:17, as He prayed for His people, “Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth.” Through careful study and application of the Word by preachers, God will renew His people’s minds and bring growth into their lives. This is why Pastors and teachers of the Word should follow in the example of Calvin and be careful students of the Scriptures, and preach sermons that aim to be faithful in their exegesis and Christ-centered in their application.
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This is our weekly roundup of posts for 9/21/2015-9/26/2015. If you have any feedback on how we can serve you our readers better, I would appreciate it. Thank you for reading and allowing us to minister to you throughout this past week through these posts.
The Conduct of the Christian by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/the-conduct-of-the-christian/
Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer reviewed by Mike Boling http://servantsofgrace.org/discipleship/
The Washing of Regeneration and Renewal of the Holy Spirit by Jason Garwood http://servantsofgrace.org/the-washing-of-regeneration-and-renewal-of-the-holy-spirit/
The Pastor As Public Theologian Reclaiming a Lost Vision reviewed by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/the-pastor-as-public-theologian-reclaiming-a-lost-vision/
Gaining by Losing by J. D. Greear reviewed by Craig Hurst http://servantsofgrace.org/gaining-by-losing-by-j-d-greear/
The Last Word on Relationships by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/the-last-word-on-relationships/
Mapping Apologetics by Brian K. Morley reviewed by Craig Hurst http://servantsofgrace.org/mapping-apologetics-by-brian-k-morley/
The Healing of the Man by the Pool from John 5:1-9 delivered by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/26-the-healing-of-the-man-by-the-poolsermon/
Titus Series Recap http://servantsofgrace.org/titus-series-recap/
Justification and Hope in the Gospel by Jason Garwood http://servantsofgrace.org/justification-and-hope-in-the-gospel/
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This is our weekly roundup of posts for 9/7/2015-9/12/2015. If you have any feedback on how we can serve you our readers better, I would appreciate it. Thank you for reading and allowing us to minister to you throughout this past week through these posts.
The Secret Life of a Pastor by Michael A. Milton reviewed by Craig Hurst http://servantsofgrace.org/the-secret-life-of-a-pastor-by-michael-a-milton/
Dealing With False Teachers by Zach Barnhart http://servantsofgrace.org/dealing-with-false-teachers-titus-110-16/
Exploring the Connection Between the Gospel, Discipleship, Missions, and Apologetics by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/exploring-the-connection-between-the-gospel-discipleship-missions-and-apologetics/
Sound Doctrine and Sound Living by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/sound-doctrine-and-sound-living/
Schaeffer on the Christian Life reviewed by David Dunham http://servantsofgrace.org/schaeffer-on-the-christian-life/
Recapturing The Voice of God Shaping Sermons Like Scripture reviewed by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/recapturing-the-voice-of-god-shaping-sermons-like-scripture/
Three Ways to Redeem Our Reading by Nick Batzig http://servantsofgrace.org/three-ways-to-redeem-our-reading/
God’s Plan for Older Men, Women, and the Training of Younger Women by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/gods-plan-for-older-men-women-and-the-training-of-younger-women/
Defending Substitution: An Essay on Atonement in Paul reviewed by Mike Boling http://servantsofgrace.org/defending-substitution-an-essay-on-atonement-in-paul/
Gaining by Losing Why The Future Belongs To Churches That Send reviewed by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/gaining-by-losing-why-the-future-belongs-to-churches-that-send/
Interpretations of the Genesis Creation Narrative by Mike Boling http://servantsofgrace.org/interpretations-of-the-genesis-creation-narrative/
Twelve Helps For a Hardened Heart by Mike Leake http://servantsofgrace.org/twelve-helps-for-a-hardened-heart/
A New Covenant Meal for Mission by Mathew Sims http://servantsofgrace.org/a-new-covenant-meal-for-mission/
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This is our weekly roundup of posts for 8/31/2015-9/5/2015. If you have any feedback on how we can serve you our readers better, I would appreciate it. Thank you for reading and allowing us to minister to you throughout this past week through these posts.
The Thiselton Companion to Christian Theology by Anthony C. Thiselton reviewed by Craig Hurst http://servantsofgrace.org/the-thiselton-companion-to-christian-theology-by-anthony-c-thiselton/
Areas of Opportunity for Pastoral Search Committees by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/areas-of-opportunity-for-pastoral-search-committees/
Contentment? Is it Possible? by Jason Helopoulos http://servantsofgrace.org/contentment-is-it-possible/
Interpreting the Prophetic Books by Gary V. Smith reviewed by Craig Hurst http://servantsofgrace.org/interpreting-the-prophetic-books-by-gary-v-smith/
Encouragement to Search Committees and Pastoral Candidates by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/encouragement-to-search-committees-and-pastoral-candidates/
Grounded on the Rock by Jason Garwood http://servantsofgrace.org/grounded-on-the-rock/
Jesus, Continued…. Why The Spirit Inside You Is Better Than Jesus Beside You reviewed by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/jesus-continued-why-the-spirit-inside-you-is-better-than-jesus-beside-you/
Song of Songs (Focus on the Bible) by James M. Hamilton Jr. reviewed by Craig Hurst http://servantsofgrace.org/song-of-songs-focus-on-the-bible-by-james-m-hamilton-jr/
Introduction to Titus Series by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/introduction-to-titus-series/
40 Questions About Creation & Evolution by Kenneth Keathley & Mark F. Rooker reviewed by Craig Hurst http://servantsofgrace.org/40-questions-about-creation-evolution-by-kenneth-keathley-mark-f-rooker/
Elders are Gospel Men Titus 1:5-9 by Dave Jenkins http://servantsofgrace.org/elders-are-gospel-men-titus-15-9/
Anything is Possible if You Work Hard . . . Until it Isn’t by Dan Darling http://servantsofgrace.org/anything-is-possible-if-you-work-hard-until-it-isnt/
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Discontentment may be the greatest trap in our culture–greater than lust, greed, and even lying, because discontentment can lead to all these other sins. I have never met an individual who had an affair without first being discontent. I have never spoken with a drunkard, a gossiper, a liar, or an idolater of body or rest or recreation without them alluding to discontentment. And it feels like the entire world is colluding to stir discontentment within us. Every billboard, every commercial, every brochure tends to communicate, “You deserve more” and “You need more.”
Contentment is a slippery thing. As soon as we think we are content it wiggles away, due to something we see on television, some stray thought, or some small comment another person makes. Is contentment even possible?
Paul asserts that it is. In fact, he says that he has learned to be content in whatever situation (Philippians 4:11). He goes on to tell us the secret to contentment. He says, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). He isn’t saying he can do all things in Christ as a kind of blanket statement. Paul doesn’t think he can fly, become Emperor of Rome, or create a rainbow in the sky. Too many yank this verse out of context. Rather, Paul is speaking about contentment and that in all circumstances he is able to be content in Christ who strengthens him. The is the secret! It is not ignoring circumstances, it is not rising above them, and it is not resigning one’s self to them–it is rather living in them in Christ.
Paul’s statement is an echo of an earlier statement in the book when he comments, “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). How is this helpful? Because he knows that in Christ he has everything. And this allows him to be content. The Christian finds Christ to be sufficient. We are the richest and most secure people in the universe. So the storms may beat the walls of our lives and contentment can lie safe within. It isn’t touched, because it is wrapped up in Him, who is our All in all.
Name it Christian. And you have it in Christ. Whatever it is that you desire, the root of it is found in Christ. The boat you desire, what is it, but a desire for freedom and rest? Which is ultimately found in Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 8:2). That promotion? At its root it is simply security and respect (Psalm 62:6-8). Ultimately, these are found in Christ. Friendship? What a friend we have in Jesus. One who never abandons or forsakes (Deuteronomy 31:6; Matthew 28:20). Family? We have a older brother who leads the way (Hebrews 2:11). Who grants to us a Father, who ever loves us (Galatians 4:4-7). Justice? He is a Judge who forever upholds righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8). Comfort? We have a priest who forever intercedes (Hebrews 7:25). Wisdom? We have a prophet who always proclaims (Hebrews 3:3). A counselor who is ever ready with comfort (Matthew 11:28-30). A provider who ever supplies (Philippians 4:19). A Savior who pays the price for our sins (Hebrews 10:12). A Defender who will guard and keep us (Psalm 23).
If we desire love it is found in His spread arms on the cross (Romans 8; Ephesians 3). If we want hope it is found in his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:19). If we seek peace it is found in his blood shed for us (Colossians 1:20). If we seek joy it is given in His Spirit (Galatians 5). Happiness, in knowing what awaits us (Revelation 21). Power, you will rule with Him forever (Revelation 3:20-21).
Are you hungry? He is the bread of life (John 6:3). Thirsty, He is the living water (John 7:37). Naked, he covers you with His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Health, He is the Great Physician (Psalm 147:3). Wisdom, He is the fount (Colossians 2:3). Knowledge, He holds it in His hand (Colossians 2:3). Rest? He says come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give your rest (Matthew 11:28-30). Compassion, it flows from Him (James 5:11). Comfort, He never crushes a bruised reed (Isaiah 42:3). Riches? We are made co-heirs with Him (Galatians 3:29).
We can be content, because our life’s circumstances do not dictate to us. We live in Him. Christian contentment is based upon dependence not independence. Paul is no Stoic. He is not acting as though he is above his circumstances. As if they have no effect upon him. Rather, in the midst of the difficult circumstances, he is trusting in God, he is looking to Christ in whom He has all things. He is not independent, he is Christ-dependent. For me to live is Christ. It is not being self-satisfied, self-fulfilled. It is being Christ-satisfied. Christ-fulfilled.
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