Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"A Plain Account Of Christian Perfection" by John Wesley

This week I reread John Wesley's "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection."  I plan to do a major series on it at my main blog.  This reread has been very helpful to me spiritually.  The rational of the series is to state what Wesley meant by perfection and to deal with the misconceptions that surround the doctrine.  I may include my background notes, which consist of excerpts from "A Plain Account..." here on this blog.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bible In 90 Days: Acts

Earlier this year the church I attended in Illinois participated in the "Bible In 90 Days" program. I completed the program in 86 days reading the NLT.  I wrote down my impressions as I read and posted them on this blog. (See the link at the right-hand side to access my comments)  I stopped posting my comments after reading John because my upcoming move made time scarce.  However, I did write down my impressions of Acts.  I am taking the opportunity to post these impressions now.  For 1- 1076, click the "Bible In 90 Days: Impressions" link below:

1077.  Jesus continued to preach through the power of the Holy Spirit.
1078.  Jesus continued to show proofs that He was still alive.
1079.  Jesus taught during those 40 days on the Kingdom of God.
1080.  The Apostles asked when God would restore the kingdom of Israel.  They were still unfocused.
1081.  Receiving the Holy Spirit is the promise of the Father.
1082.  After Pentecost, the use of lots ceased.
1083.  Peter's 1st sermon- 3 points- What the crowd witnessed was the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, that David prophesied Jesus' resurrection and ascention and that they had crucified the Lord and Messiah.
1084.  The crowd's response- repentance leading to forgiveness followed by baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit.
1085.  The Church devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching, fellowship, the Lord's Supper and prayer.  They shared their possessions.
1086.  They enjoyed the goodwill of the people.
1087.  God added daily to the Church.
1088.  The 1st Christians worshipped in the Temple.
1089.  It was faith in God that healed the lame man at the Temple.
1090.  Peter tells the crowd they were complicit in Christ's death.
1091.  From Samuel onward, every prophet spoke of Christ.
1092.  Through Abraham all the families of the earth will be blessed. Christ was in Abraham's descendants.
1093.  Christ went to Israel first to turn Israel from its sinful ways.
1094.  Peter and John were arrested because they preached the Resurrection in Jesus's name.
1095.  The lame man had been lame for 40 years. Jesus must have passed him when going to the Temple.
1096.  The Church was filled with the Holy Spirit and they preached boldly.
1097.  Their message focused on the Resurrection.
1098.  The Apostles were of one mind and did not think their possessions were their own.
1099.  There was no poverty among them.
1100.  After Peter and John were arrested, the threat of arrest for following Jesus was real.  So why didn't insincere followers like Annanias and Saphira stay were it was safe?
1101.  Annanias allowd Satan to fill his heart.
1102.  Before Pilate the religious leaders said let Jesus' blood be on them and their children.  Now they were angry that the Apostles charged them with killing Jesus.
1103.  Gamaliel was couseling a political approach, not a godly one.  Worldly wise.
1104.  Possible racial conflict arose as more were added to the Church.
1105.  The Apostles needed to be free to preach and teach.
1106.  The 7 workers had to be filled with the Holy Spirit and with wisdom.
1107.  The solution to the food distribution problem increased the number of saved, even among the Jewish leaders.
1108.  Stephen was charged with violating the Law of Moses.  Stephen demonstrated that it was Israel that had done so.  He charged Israel with always resisting the Holy Spirit.
1109.  When Stephen related his vision of Jesus, he was stoned.
1110.  Saul was a witness to Stephen's death, seeing him forgive his killers.
1111.  The persecution allowed the message to spread.  The Apostles stayed in Jerusalem.
1112.  Were those in Samaria who accepted the message saved even though they had not received the Holy Spirit?
1113.  Simon thought that the receiving of the Holy Spirit was like magic.  He believed, but he still had mixed motives.
1114.  Philip went where God told him to go, including a desert.
1115.  Apparently Philip's baptisms were considered legitimate, even though he was not an apostle, but a lay leader.
1116.  Apparently baptism was part of Philip's message.
1117.  It was humbling for Saul to be led by the hand into Damascus.  He had planned to enter it with authority.
1118.  Saul was God's chosen instrument to bring the Gospel to the Gentiles, Kings and the people of Israel.
1119.  Annanias took issue with the Lord.
1120.  Paul's message- Jesus is the Son of God.  And since Paul was trained in the Scriptures, no one could refute him.
1121.  It was Barnabas who allowed Saul to gain credibility with the Church.
1122.  The miracles in Peter's ministry added many to the Church in Lydda and Joppa.
1123.  God heard the prayers of unsaved Cornelius.
1124.  Peter was still thinking in terms of Judaism's attitude toward the Gentiles that the Lord had to repeat the vision of the sheet and the food 3 times.
1125.  Peter didn't understand the vision until he was summoned by Cornelius.
1126.  Peter brought the other witnesses so the Church would accept Gentile Christians.
1127.  The Gentiles received the Holy Spirit while Peter was still speaking.
1128.  The Lord used Peter to convert the first Gentile Chrisitians so later Peter could give credibility to Paul's ministry to the Gentiles.
1129.  Many Jewish Christians thought the Gospel was only for Jews, or that Gentiles had to become Jews first.
1130.  Peter said the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit in the same way as the 1st disciples.
1131.  The Jerusalem Church rejoiced specifically that the Gentiles repented and received eternal life.
1132.  The Church in Antioch began providing famine relief for the Judean Church before the famine began.
1133.  Barnabas and Saul's journey to deliver famine relief set the stage for their missionary journey.
1134.  When Peter is rescued from prison, he thought it was a vision.
1135.  The soldiers paid with their lives for the Lord's rescuing Peter.
1136.  Herod died because he accepted the people's worship.
1137.  Just as Elymus the sorcerer had to be neutralized, so do evil forces that try to keep people from accepting the Gospel.
1138.  In Acts 13, Paul comes to the forefront.
1139.  When Paul preached to the Jews, all he had to do was prove Jesus was the Messiah spoken of in the Scriptures.
1140.  Paul pronounced judgement on Pisidia even though many became believers there.
1141.  When they preached to Gentiles involved in idol worship, such as at Lystra, they had to start from scratch, proving there was only one God.
1142.  Paul was stoned in Lystra, later returning, carrying the marks of the stoning on his body as he preached warning believers they must enter the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.
1143.  Paul and Barnabas were summoned back to Jerusalem.  They were not free agents, but under Jerusalem's authority.  When the findings of the Jerusalem Council was sent to Antioch, official represetitives were sent from Jerusalem to Antioch.  The Jerusalem Church also declared that the Judaizers were not sent by the Jerusalem Church.
1144.  What was Peter's evidence that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit?  God cleansed their hearts through faith.
1145.  Paul felt it was necessary to circumsize Timothy.
1146.  The journey was directed by the Holy Spirit- 16: 6-10.
1147.  Luke has joined Paul by 16:10.
1148.  The Gospel was opposed by those who were threatened by it economically, like the master of the demon possessed slave girl who told fortunes.
1149.  When Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer that all he had to do was believe to be saved, the jailer's subsequent actions proved his faith.
1150.  Paul told the Athenians they had to repent of idol worship.
1151.  Paul spent over 1 and 1/2 years in Corinth.
1152.  Paul found believers who had only heard of the baptism of John and were not baptized in the Holy Spirit.
1153.  Paul spent 2 years preaching in the Hall of Tyrannus.
1154.  Pauls message- the Kingdom of God.
1155.  The incident of the 7 sons of Sceva showed many believers that Jesus was not magic and many repented of their practice of magic.
1156.  Paul reminded the Ephesians how he conducted himself among them.
1157.  Paul said false prophets twist the truth to gain a following.
1158.  It was prophesied that Paul should not go to Jerusalem.
1159.  The Jews of Jerusalem reacted violently when Paul said he preached to the Gentiles.
1160.  Paul set the Pharisees and the Sadduces against each other.
1161.  Paul said the reason he was on trial was because he preached the Resurrection of the dead.
1162.  Paul said to Agrippa that he preached repentance proved by fruits, and that he preached nothing more than what Moses and the Prophets said would happen.
1163.  Acts 28 claims that the 1st 5 books of the Old Testament were writtten by Moses.
1164.  In Rome, Paul preached the Kingdom of God.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Finished Philippians, Starting The Sermon On The Mount

Wednesday of last week we finished our study of Philippians; Wednesday of this past week,  I began teaching from the Sermon on the Mount.  We managed to get through the Beatitudes.

Biblical Insights For Understanding Grief

(From a presentation at a Creditials Retreat for those seeking ordination)

The Bible dignifies grief by presenting it as a God-given, theraputic response to loss.

God grieves

The Father grieves over evil in Noah's day (Gen. 6:6)
The Son grieves over the death of Lazarus (Jn. 11: 35-36) as well as over Jerusalem.  See also Is. 53.
The Spirit grieves over believers sin (Eph. 4:30)

God responds to our grief

Recording our tears (Ps. 56:8)
Symapthizing with our weaknesses (Heb. 4: 15-16)
Eventually ending our griefs (Is. 65:19, Rev. 21:4)

Grief measures the meaning of our attactments

Our attatchment to friends (Jn. 11:36)
Our attachment to family (Gen. 50:1)

Grief potentially interupts life's routines

Leaving mourners with little appetite (2Sam. 12:17)
Causing mourners to wish for death (2Sam. 18:33)
Multiplying mourner's illness and death (1Sam. 4: 18-22)

Grief potentially persists over an extended period of time

7 days (Gen. 50:10)
30 days (Num. 20:29)
70 days (Gen. 50:3)
Time does not heal, it's what you do with that time.

Grief is potentially expressed in a variety of ways

Before a loss (Mt. 26: 37-38)
By shock, numbness or denial (Mk. 8:31-32)
In anger (Job 10:9)
Through bargaining (Is. 38: 1-22)
With depression (2Sam. 12: 16-18)
With acceptance (Phil. 1:12, 21-24, 4:11-13)

Grief is potentially facilitated by various expressions

Through songs (2Sam. 1: 17-27)
Through poetry (Lam. 1-5)

Other Scriptures

Is. 43:2-3, Ps. 23:4, 46:1, 147:3, Jn. 14:1, Is. 41:10, Prov. 3: 5-6, Dt. 31: 5-6.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Credentials Retreat

Two weekends ago I attended a Credentials Retreat for those going through the Ordination process.  Here are a few quotes from the various presentations:

Ordinances of the Church:

Is it a good thing that we make baptism something that is added to the regular worship service?  Shouldn't it be a time of celebration for all of God's people at a special time? 

It may be better to record or video baptismal testimonies before baptism so that the people will know more about someone's journey to faith before they are baptized.

Let different persons share communion thoughts so that the people will gain fresh perspectives.

When one partakes of holy Communion, one sees three faces in the cup: Jesus', mine and those who are lost.  This is a good idea for a communion meditation.

The Making of a Leader:
1.  Nothing Happens until someone provides leadership to make it happen. Nothing of eternal significance happens until God raises up a leader. Judges 21:25.  "Everything rises or falls with leadership." John Maxwell

2.  Leadership is influence for good or bad.  1Tim 4:2.  The Biblical definition of leadership: A "leader" is someone with God-given ability and responsibility to influence a group of God's people to accomplish God's purpose for that group.  To be a Biblical leader, you must know what God is calling you to be.

 It is true that when we say no to God, God will raise up someone else to accomplish His purpose.  But when we say no to God, we say no to those God knows only we can reach.

Positions of influence have changed over the past couple of generations.  Age and official position have nothing to do with leadership now; since Watergate authority is considered suspect.  In Churches, often influencers do not hold an official position, especially when the pastor is new.  How do pastors determine who are the influencers?  By seeing who the people look to in meetings.  Pastors need to build relationships with these people, letting them to see your heart and getting to know theirs.

If you are on staff under a lead pastor, you are a direct extension of that pastor.

If a senior pastor has no input in the hiring of staff, this is a recipe for disaster.

Start in small things; make sure you lead at home.

3.  The test of leadership: is anyone following? Jn 10:27, 1Cor. 11:1.   If you have to remind people that you are the leader, you are not the leader.  Are we as leaders listening to God, or other voices.  Who are those we are trying to lead listening to?

A leader will be a person of eternal significance if they are the same in their personal as well as their public life.

4.  The foundation of leadership is character, not charisma.  1Tim. 3: 1-13, Heb 13: 7-8.  Paul told us to do as he did.  We can't be like someone else.  God called us to be who we are in a particular place.

Three characteristics of good leaders: a. They have a message worth remembering, b. They have a lifestyle worth considering (who they are, not what they have), c. They have a faith worth imitating.

You know you are influencing someone for Christ when they start asking you questions.

5. Leadership can be learned; not all are born leaders.  Mk. 3: 14, 2Tim. 2: 2.  Let them learn the difference between head knowledge and wisdom.

6.  If you stop learning, you stop leading.  Ecc. 10:10.  If a pastor stops growing, he/she can no longer feed their congregation.  Learn as much as you can, work all that you can, pray all that you can.

On Grief:

Tears are the words the heart cannot express.

The ability to grieve is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Grief is a natural, normal reaction to loss of any kind.  It is the most powerful emotion God gives us.

Grief hurts.  It operates differently in different persons.  Everyone heals in a different way.

Time does not heal ; it is what you do with that time.  There are no stages of grief, but their are common responses.  Initial shock is God's gift, a shield.

Grief is a steady companion with ministers.

The presenter shared scriptures concerning grief.  I will write a seperate entry for those.

What one should wish a pastor would know at the beginning of his ministry:

Don't rush ordination.

Ask pastoral search committees what is expected of you and inform them what you expect of them.

When things go wrong, ask self what am I doing I shouldn't be doing and what is it I should be doing I am not.

All "Yes" persons will get you into trouble.

Opinions and beliefs can change; your certitudes never die.

When someone gives you a compliment such as "That was a good sermon, pastor," don't fully trust them. They may not know what else to say.

Be careful when things go wrong who you blame the former pastor to.  Also, there will come a time that you can no longer put the blame on the former pastor but on yourself.      

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Not long ago I wrote of an opportunity to engage in hospital ministry.  Unfortunately, that opportunity has been denied.  Apparently the ministry had many interested in the program and so those who applied first made the cut.

I finished teaching Philippians on Wednesday evening.  I will post teachings based on what I presented on my audio blog in the very near future.

Friday, September 17, 2010

About This Blog

This blog is a record of my pastoral studies, preaching and teaching activities and any other activities I engage in to prepare myself for pastoral ministry.  While I sometimes express opinions on the subjects covered, this is not an opinion blog.  Because this is merely a personal record, the effort towards good grammar and personal style is not as great as on my main blog.  This blog exists mainly to aid myself and to let those in authority over me as well as my friends in the ministry know that I am engaged in continuing education. I do welcome your comments.

Scriptural Evidences of the New Birth and Its Outworking in Our Lives (Undivided Heart,Sanctification, Perfect Love)

From Dennis F. Kinlaw's "Let's Start With Jesus: A New Way of Doing Theology":

Scriptural Evidences of the New Birth: Titus 3: 4-7 (Holy Spirit initiates a new life within us, the very life of God), Rom. 5:8 (Holy-love of God poured into our hearts), IJn. 3:1, 11 (tyranny of self-absorbtion broken, the love we receive from God is lavished upon others).  Proof of this change 2-fold- We experience a consciousness of reconciliation with and belonging to the Father again (Rom 8: 15-26, IJn. 3: 1-2) and experience change in conscious concerns, a divine love for God and Man (2Cor. 5:14-15). We are to walk (keeping in step, walking) in the Spirit (Gal. 5:25); it is the Spirit we live by, not the flesh- (Gal. 2:20, Phil. 1:21, 1Cor. 4: 16-17).

It is possible for disciples to have an undivided heart (sanctification): Dt: 30:6, Mt 5:8, Mk 12: 28-34, Rom 6: 1-4, 8: 1-15, 12: 9-15, 13: 8-10, 1Cor. 12:3, Phil. 2: 1-11, 2: 19-23.  (Compare the verses in Phil. to Phil. 1:17 and Rom. 2:8- these verses indicate that a believers love can be tainted by selfishness.  The word for self seeking in both these verses is eritheia).  Paul demonstrates how he looked out for the interests of others: 1Cor. 3: 3-9, 8: 9-13, 9:12, 15, 18-19, 22-23, 10: 31- 11:1, 15: 1-6. See also 1Jn. 1:7.  Paul begins Rom. by boasting of the Gospel's power to save; at the close of Rom. ( Rom. 12-15)Paul demonstrates how salvation works itself out in a disciple's life.  Rom 12:1-2, Paul speaks of a New Testament sacrifice, not of animals, but of self.  The grace that God gives in response to this self-sacrifice is the agape of God which is other oriented: Rom. 12: 3-5, 10, 14-20, 13: 4, 13: 1-7, 8-10, 14: 7-8, 15: 1-3, 23-32. This is not a state obtained in our own strength:  Gal 2:21.  The Spirit works through faith: Gal: 5:6.

Why do we need sanctification in addition to salvation?  Only after we walk with Jesus in intimate fellowship for a while do we realize the fullness of our sinfulness.  The Holy Spirit reveals this to us.  We must trust the Lord to do this and that it is for our eternal good.  Failure to trust God in this is the final evidence of our sinfulness.  (1Jn. 4: 18.)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Scripture References on The Flesh, Forgiveness And Salvation

From Dennis F. Kinlaw's "Let's Start With Jesus: A New Way of Doing Theology."

From my main blog: For Paul, the flesh is not evil. The moral character of a man or woman is determined by their relationship to the Holy One. If they are centered on God, their flesh is infused with the Holy Spirit and they are characterized by agape love. This is to be the pattern of life for all believers. (Gal. 5: 13-17, 2Cor. 5: 14-15) The life Jesus had on earth in the flesh was not just a moral/ethical example for us to follow, but a pattern of true personhood. None of us is complete if the Holy Spirit is not living within, liberating us from self interest. (Rom. 8:6-8) "Our completeness, our healthy personhood as it was created to be, is found not in ourselves, but perichoretically in God's Spirit. The person who knows that completenessis truly a new creature, as human as God intended the human creature to be." (Kinlaw, p. 122)

God's own arm is God's solution for restoring fellowship between Himself and Man- (Is. 59)-God's own arm executes divine will (Is. 40:10, 48:14, 51:5, 62:8).  God's own arm is the means of our salvation (Is. 59:16).  God's own arm is not power to impose a solution or declare the problem solved, but the power to take into Himself the very problem He wants to solve.  Identity of God's own arm, the suffering servant (Is. 53:1, 3-6, 11, 12).  See also Rom. 5: 6, 8, 15).

To be forgiven, to be bourne- Ps. 32:1-blessed is the man who is forgiven can read blessed is the man who is bourne. OT words conveying bourne- nasa (to bear), he' amin (to confirm, support) and batach (to lie extended upon, to repose oneself on- found mainly in OT worship lit, mainly the Psalms).  We bear others on our hearts, their welfare more important than our own, ex. Moses lived to intercede for Israel, Israel, all humanity blessed- Num. 11:1-3, 12: 1-6.  see Gal. 4:17, 6:2.  Lose life, find it- bind on earth, bind in heaven, loose on earth, loose in heaven- bear others, possibilities open up for others- Mt. 16:16-28.

Scriptures Relating To Man's Rebellion and Sinful State

From Dennis F. Kinlaw's "Let's Start With Jesus: A New Way of Doing Theology."

Mans rebellion- Gen. 6:5, Is. 53: 3, 6, 10, 13, Ezk 22 (see v. 30), Rom. 2:8 (eritheia- self seeking),5:12-18

Man's sinful state- Rom 3: 10-18 with Old Testament parallels- 3:10-12 (Ps. 14: 1-3), 3:13 (Ps. 5: 9, 140:3), 3:14 (Ps. 140:3), 15-18 (Is. 59:7-8, Ps. 36:1).  All creation, including Man, groans for redemption- Rom 8:19-22.

On the meaning of flesh/sarx from my main blog: This seperation is so total that Paul uses one word as a metonym for this: flesh (sarx). When Paul writes of the flesh, he is not referring to some Greek dualism such as the flesh v. the Spirit. Adam and Eve experienced life in the Spirit before they sinned. Life in the flesh is life lived in our own strength and desires. Kinlaw quotes Lesslie Newbigin to illustrate this: "The words 'flesh' and 'Spirit' do not refer to parallel and analogous realities in our experience, such as 'visible' and 'invisible' or 'lower nature' and 'higher nature.'...Flesh...denotes the whole of our creaturely being insofar as it seeks to organize itself and to exist in its own power apart from the continually renewed presence and power of God 'from above.' " (Kinlaw, p. 119)