Friday, December 27, 2013

Advent With Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This year's Christmas has been dreary due to the death of my father. Before his death, I began reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christmas Sermons for my yearly Advent reading. I continued reading after my father's death. I'm glad I did because this little volume was good for my heart during this time. Ever since I started these yearly Advent readings, no volume clearly defined what Advent is as well as this one. Advent is not just a time to meditate on Christ's birth. It is a time to determine just how separate from the world we really are. Do we long for the return of Christ as the ancient Israelites, such as Simeon and Anna in Luke 3, longed for Israel's Messiah? Bonhoeffer used various illustrations to demonstrate how we should be longing for Christ's return. Here are two:

"Think of a prison. For long years, the prisoners have born the shame and punishment of their imprisonment. Hard forced labor has plagued them, until life itself has become a burden. Again and again, they have tried one way or another to escape, but they were caught and brought back to even harsher conditions than they had before. Even if some escape, the others suffer. With sighs and tears these others lament their loss and hate their chains. And now suppose that a message came to the prison: 'Within a short time, you will all be free. Your chains will fall off. Your tormentors will be bound and you will be delivered.' Can you not hear the prisoners with one voice crying out with all their heart: 'Yes. Deliverer, come!
"Think of a hospital where a patient lies, suffering from an incurable disease, in agony with indescribable pain,dying slowly, and slowly longing for the peace of death to end this plague. And now, one day, the doctor comes to the patient and says with confidence and says with confidence: 'Today, you will be released. Your terminal illness will be healed. Lift up your head and be delivered from your pain.' "

Not only did Bonhoeffer clearly define what Advent is, he also captured better than most how the spirit of contemporary Christianity is opposed to true spirituality and how true disciples of Christ should separate themselves from it.

 On Christmas day, I began reading Athinasius' On the Incarnation. Next Christmas, I shall read Luther's Christmas Sermons.

Notes On Joshua

I taught one lesson on the book of Joshua on a Wed. morning, I think on 12/4. I have been unable to teach on Wed. since then. On the 11th, my father passed away, and class was canceled on the 18th. Of course, Wed. was Christmas. As the next Wed. is New Years, the next class will probably be cancelled. Anyway, here are my notes for Joshua, which I will be teaching over the next couple of weeks.


Joshua: “Jehovah as salvation”

Names for Joshua: Hoshea (Num. 13:8, 16, Dt. 32:44), Jehoshua (1Chron. 7:27), Jeshua (Neh. 8:17), Jesus (Heb. 4:8).  Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua.

Born a slave in Egypt, son of Nun, a descendant of Ephraim, younger son of Joseph, blessed by Jacob, the greater blessing than older brother Mannasseh.

Ex. 17:8-16- victory over the Amalekites, descendants of Esau, Esau’s son’s concubine, Gen. 36:12. Older will serve the younger, Amalekites destroyed by David. Josh. Leads fight.

v.14- 1st account of Moses keeping written record. Wanted Josh. To have physical reminder.

v.15- Built an altar, The Lord is My Banner

Ex. 24: 12-18- Josh. With Moses on Mt. Sinai, saw the glory of the Lord with Moses.

Ex. 33:11- Josh. A constant worshipper of God.

Num.13- Josh. sent to spy out the Promised Land.

Num. 14: 6-10- Josh. tries to change Israel’s mind, Israel was going to stone him, Caleb.

v. 30- only Josh., Caleb will enter the land. All other spies died of plague, v. 36-38.

Num. 27: 12-23- leadership given to Josh. by Moses before the people.

v.18- Josh. “in whom is the Spirit”

v.20- a portion of Moses’ authority, share authority with Eleazar the priest, son of Aaron. E inquires of the Lord, Josh. carries out commands.

v.23- Moses lays hands on Josh, see Dt. 34:9, Josh full of the Holy Spirit

Josh. 1:1-9

1.     Moses servant of the Lord, Josh. his assistant.

2.     2-4, a command and a promise.

5.- remember God’s history with Moses.

6, 7, 9- be strong and courageous. Also 1:18.

7-8- meditate upon, follow the written Law.

Josh 3:1-8, see v. 5 (sanctify yourselves),.

v. 7 Josh. to be exalted before people.

v.10- know that the living God is among you, will drive out other nations.

Cross Jordon with Ark, Memorial Stones.

See 4:14

5: 1-12, circumcision.

v. 8-9- in the presence of the enemy. Vessels of bronze

v.10- kept the Passover

v.11-12- eat produce of the land, manna stopped.

13-15- whose side, NO!, holy ground, Jesus.

See Dt. 20 for rules covering warfare.

Josh 6-Jericho- “Moon City”- center of worship of moon god. Nor just destroying city, but worship center of pagan god.

v.2- God says “See, I have given city” while it was closed up. Also v.16.

God’s instructions unusual, before the enemy, not repeated. Josh. was to inquire before the Lord.

v.17- doomed to destruction, all that could not be put in the treasury.

v. 18- abstain from accursed

v.19- gold, silver, vessels of bronze, iron into treasury.

v. 21, 24- utterly destroy Canaanite paganism

v.27- Lord with Josh., fame spreads

v.26- curse fulfilled by King Ahab, 1Ki. 16:34

Josh. 7:1-Ai- 15 mile climb from Jericho onto central plain. Strategic. Achan took accursed things

v. 2-Beth Aven-House of Wickedness.

v. 6-10- didn’t inquire of the Lord in the 1st place. V.7-Josh. speaks to God like  Israelites spoke to Moses in the desert.

v.13- can’t stand before enemies.

v. 24-26, see Dt.24: 16- children can’t be executed for father’s sin. Most likely adult collaborators. No mention of Achan’s wife. Either dead or innocent. See also Ezk. 18:3 onward. Achan executed in manner like Canaanites.

Josh. 8:1-2- don’t be afraid, dismayed (feel ashamed). Share the spoil. Achan was greedy, could have shared in spoil. God gave instructions. See v. 4-8, 18. v.3-35,000 men, not the couple thousand from 1st battle.

v.30-35- rewrite, speak whole Law, command of Moses, Dt. 11:26-30, 27:1-8. Memorial, for future generations, in presence of enemies.

Josh. 9: 1-2, enemies join, plot against Israel.

v.3, 9-10, knew what God had done for, through Israel. Like Rahab.

v.14- did not take counsel from God.

v.15- made covenant

v. 16, on- will not break cov.- Gibeonites made to carry wood to tabernacle, exposed to true worship. Helped Nehemiah rebuild temple.

Josh. 10- fought according to cov.

v.25- Josh. says be strong, of good courage.

Josh 11:15- Josh did all Moses commanded.

v.19-20-no one but Gibeonites made peace. Lord hardened hearts, no idolatry in Israel.

Josh. 23:6 0n- courage to keep Law in midst of pagan nations. Don’t serve idols, do not cling to remnant, do not marry pagans, or will be slaves.

Josh. 24: 2, 13, 14-15, onward. Choose!

v.29-32- those that knew Josh. served the Lord. Joseph’s bones buried.

Heb. 4:7-8                                                   

Monday, November 18, 2013

Three Sermons, Two Baptisms, And Finishing Teaching On Moses

I preached 3 sermons on 9/22/13, 10/20/13, and 11/3/13.

I participated in two baptisms, both of men in their late teens or early twenties.

I finished teaching on Moses. I will finish teaching on Aaron on Wen. morn.

I will start putting my notes on this site as soon as they are taught. I will also add notes on what I have already taught.

Friday, October 4, 2013


From John W. Wenham’s article, “Our Lord’s View of the OldTestament.” HT: Rob Bradshaw’s website Biblical Studies. For a summary of this article, see here.

Jesus referred to Old Testament passages as actual historical accounts, to be interpreted literally:

Abel-Lk. 11:51, Noah-Mt. 24: 37-39, Lk. 17: 26-27, Abraham-Jn. 8:56, Institution of Circumcision-Jn. 7:22 (cf. Gen. 17: 10-12, Lv. 12:3), Sodom and Gomorrah-Mt. 10:15, 11:23-24, Lk 10:12, Lot-Lk 17: 28-32, Isaac and Jacob-Mt 8:11, Lk 8:28, the manna-Jn 6:31, 49,58, the wilderness serpent-Jn. 3:14, David eating the showbread-Mt 12:3-4, Mk 2:25-26, Lk. 6:3-4, David as psalm writer-Mt. 22:43, Mk 12:36, Lk. 20:42, Solomon-Mt. 6:29, 12:42, Lk. 11:31, 12:27, Elijah-Lk. 4:25-26, Elisha-Lk. 4:27, Jonah-Mt. 12:39-41, Lk. 11:29-30, 32, Zachariah-Lk. 11:51, Moses as giver of the Law-Mt. 8:4, 19:8, Mk. 1:44, 7:10, 10:5, 12:26, Lk. 5:14, 20:37, Jn. 5:46, 7:19, the sufferings of the prophets-Mt. 5:12, 13:57, 21:34-36, 23:29-37, Mk 6:4 (cf. Lk 4:24, Jn. 4:44), Mk. 12:2-5, Lk. 6:23, 11:47-51, 13:34, 20:10-12, the popularity of the false prophets-Lk. 6:26, Jesus sets the stamp of his approval on Gen. 1 and 2-Mt. 19:4-5, Mk. 10:6-8.

Wenham writes this following this list:

“Although these quotations are taken by our Lord more or less at random from different parts of the Old Testament and some periods of the history are covered more fully than others, it is evident that he was familiar with most of our Old Testament and he treated it all equally as history. Curiously enough, the narratives that proved least acceptable to what was known a generation or two ago as ‘the modern mind’ are the very ones that he seemed most fond of choosing for his illustrations.”

Wenham wrote this in 1953. What he called “the modern mind” was outside evangelicalism. Today, much of this modern mind is the mindset of some progressive evangelicals. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Life of Noah

Some weeks back, I taught my Wend. morn. class on the life of Noah. Since then, I have been teaching on Abraham. We have finished with Abraham, except for going over what the New Testament says about Abraham. Here are my notes for Noah:


Gen 5 geneology:

5. Adam lives 930 years.

3. At 130, he begets Seth.

6. Adam 235 years old.

9. 325 years old.

12. 395 years old.

15. 460 years old.

18. 622 years old.

21. 687 years old.

25. 874 years old.

Lived up to Noah’s father’s time. Pass on heritage, Christ’s geneology.

Noah means rest, comfort


Seth and Cain descendents intermarry

The Key: v. 2- Took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. Gen 1:24, 1 wife, Mk. 10:6- From the Beginning. Gen. 1:18- “Helper” companion, not wanted for beauty only. Mt. 24: 37-39- “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

Gen. 6:5- every intent of the heart was evil continually, also filled with violence, v. 11, 13. Lawlessness also. This is what angers a holy God.

Gen. 6:3- strive, abide with Man in mercy all this time.

6:6- Sorry He had made Man (In1:31, God called Man “very good.”)

6:7- creation subject to curse through Man’s disobedience.

6:8- Noah finds grace, not chosen randomly, Noah was a just man. He walked with God like Enoch. Did he want to go to God like Enoch? Perfect in his generation, righteous before God, Gen. 7:1.

6:22- Noah did all according to God’s command.

Gen 8: 15-19- be fruitful and multiply.

v. 20-22- Act of worship, 1/7 of all clean animals. The Lord is moved. The Lord makes a covenant.

v. 21- remove curse, see Gen. 3:17-19, 5: 28-29, the faith of Lamech

Gen. 9:1-7

especially v.2- fear,dread

v. 3-4- lifeblood

v. 5-6- Man in God’s image


Noah had faith, Heb. 11:7- “BY FAITH Noah, being divinely warned of things not seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

Noah preached righteousness, 2Pet. 2:5- “…did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, A PREACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly.”

God is long suffering- 1Pet.3: 18-22

Ezk. 14:13-14- “Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hands against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off mankind and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves, says the Lord God.”

Read Ezk. 14: 15-20, especially v. 20- neither deliver sons nor daughter, only themselves by their righteousness

Ezk. 14: 21-22

Noah’s Family:


Cush- Ethiopians, Babylonians

Phut- Libyans

Mizraim- Egyptians

Canaan- Canaanites

What was Ham’s sin? Gen. 9:18-29, v.22- broadcast rather than cover. Was Canaan punished for sin of his father Ham? No- Ex. 20:5. See Lev. 18, doings of Caanan, v. 3, see v. 6-18, sin passed down. Race has nothing to do with curse.

The Curse:

Gen. 9:25-27

Japheth- Gauls, Britons, Germanic peoples, Russians, Medes, Iberians, Greeks, Romans, Thracians.

Shem- Persians, Assyrians, Chaleans, Armenians, Syrians.

Monday, January 21, 2013


This Christmas season I read a volume of Christmas Sermons by Augustine. Brother Augustine and I do not see eye to eye on theological matters, Augustine being the Augustinian he was and I being a Wesleyan. Nevertheless, as I approached his writings, I chose not to read it with a critical eye. My desire was for devotional reading which would aid my meditation upon Christ's birth during this Christmas season. His repeated emphasis on numerology and some of his hangups about sexuality are present in the twenty-three sermons. The sermons selected were quite repetitious which at times caused me to take a break from reading them. That is why I have just finished them. My main complaint, though, is with the editor. I'm all for editing sermons for contemporary audiences, but the editor decided to be a comedian when translating these 4th or 5th century sermons, at times, making me very ill. (Not having the book in front of me, I'm not sure exactly when these sermons were preached.) Despite these drawbacks, two things standout. Augustine had a unique ability to put into human language just how hard it is for the human mind to fully comprehend Christ's incarnation. Also, his sermons on the Epiphany reveal why Protestants should not ignore the celebration of it. Before, I had never even given much thought to the celebration. The volume I read can be found at the link above. Next Christmas season I will read Bonhoeffer's Christmas sermons as well as Athanasius' On The Incarnation.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Jesus prepared his disciples to suffer; he prepares us today as well.

First, he spoke of the suffering he was to endure: Lk: 22:37, Jn 15: 18-20, 1Jn. 4: 17. He spoke these verses in connection with his own suffering: Mt. 16: 21-26, 10:34-39. His suffering is an example for us to follow: 1Pet. 2:20f.

The Church will suffer at the hands of the state when the life of the state becomes controlled by a false view of salvation: Mt: 24:5, 11, 23-26, 1Tim 4:1, 2Pet. 2, 1Jn. 4:1, Jude 4.

We are called to endure suffering with joy: Mt. 5:10, Acts 5:41, 1Thess. 3:2f., James 1:2, Rom. 8:17, Col. 1:24. The Church represents Christ in its sufferings. One of the burdens the church will face is post Christian indifference: 1Pet. 4:12.

From Christ The Meaning of History by Hendrikus Berkhof

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


From Christ the Meaning of History by Hendrikus Berkhof:

Berkhof quotes W. Eichrodt: “The Old Testament writers find in the self-disclosure of God the factor in world events by which individual events are placed in a spiritual connection, and which makes events meaningful; i.e. only through it can a chaos of changing and hurried events become comprehensible as real history. Under the impression of this divine experience they cannot describe world events in any other way than as historical succession in which everything is united under God’s leading, and moves to a definite object.”

In Israel, history was radically and permanently delivered from the law of nature, and therein history was discovered. Not in the sense that Israel found history in a unique act of thought; not even in the sense that she had discovered something that, although hidden, already existed. But the Israelites had come in contact with a God who changed events into history by his acts before their ears and eyes.”

The Old Testament is full of these acts. But one act is connected with the origin of this sense of history: the deliverance from Egypt in the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. The remembrance of this event through Passover festival formed the center of Israel’s worship. This event was goal directed; the goal was to be led into the Promised Land by God. From there, history is lead to the next goal or climax, David and Solomon’s kingship. The next goals were the exile and the age of the Messiah.

Israel’s profession of faith concerning the Exodus: Dt. 26:5-9. Israel dated the beginning of their history: 1Kings 6:1. The meaning of all institutions, ordinances of life are to be in the context of this background; the father is to pass it on to the son: Dt. 6:20ff.

The Exodus was not a myth but a historical event and is praised as such in the Old Testament: Ps. 78, 106, 136, Neh. 9. It is often found in the confession of sins: 2Kings 17:7, 36, Is. 52:4-6, Jer. 2:6, 32:21ff., Amos 2:10, 3:1f., Micah 6:4, Ps. 78, 106.

The Prophets describe the Messianic age as deliverance from Egypt, although they know the coming deliverance will exceed the first. The goal of the 1st deliverance is goal oriented, bringing Israel into the Messianic age: Is 4:5, 10:24-27, 11:16, 43:16ff., 48:20f, 52:12, Jer. 16:14f., 23:7f., 31:32, 32:39f., Hos. 2:14, 12:10f., Micah 7: 15, Zech. 10: 10-12. The final deliverance doesn’t only concern Israel. It concerns all nations. Final deliverance will not occur until all nations end their warfare and go to Jerusalem to learn the law of God: Is. 2: 1-5, Micah 4: 1-5. God set Israel apart so she will become the center of the world in which all nations belong: Is. 19: 23-25. The person and work of Christ cannot be understood apart from this beginning of history. In Matthews gospel Christ is called from Egypt: Mt. 2:15, he goes through the waters: Mt. 3, makes the journey through the desert: Mt. 4, makes the covenant on the mountain, and when he dies, makes atonement as the lamb of God who delivers all nations at the end of history.

Almost all historical and prophetic witnesses of the Old Testament refer back to the Exodus rather than Abraham. The exceptions: 1Kings 18:36, 2Kings 13:23, Ps. 105, Is. 29:22, Micah 7:20f.

The Royal Psalms, where God is praised as the king of the world: Ps. 47, 93, 96, 97, 99. Other psalms celebrate God’s reign over the whole universe in space and, especially, time: Ps. 24, 46, 48, 75, 76, 92, 98. The witness of the Royal Psalms concerning history resounds in the New Testament, see Rev. 11: 15, 11:17f., 12:10, 19:6.

Passages from the prophets concerning history moving toward the apocalypse: Is. 24-27 (this passage played an important role in the eschatology of the early church, see Mt. 21:42, 1Cor. 15:54, Rev. 20,21), Ezk. 36-39 , Zech. 9-14 (Compare 9:9 with Mt. 21:5, Jn. 12:15, Mt. 23:29. Compare 13:7 with Mt. 26:31, Mk 14:27. Compare 11:12f. with Mt. 26: 15,27:9. Compare 12:10 with Jn. 19:37, Rev. 1:7. Compare 14: 4 to Mt. 24:3, Mk. 13:3. Compare 14:7-9, 11 with Rev. 11:15, 21:25, 22:1,3,5) and Dan. 7.

Jesus’ vision of his role as Messiah has its roots in Is. 53, as the suffering servant, which leads to him as King of all nations, Dan. 7. Jesus view of himself as the Son of Man which consisted of a whole theology of history; in claiming to be the Son of Man he was claiming cosmic history as his own, Mk. 14:62ff., Mt. 26:64, Lk. 22:69.

Jesus marks a decisive turn in history: Lk. 2:34, 12: 49-56, Jn. 9:39, Lk.22:53, Mt. 26:45, Jn. 7:30, 8: 20, 13:1, 19:11, Lk. 11:20, Mt. 12:28.

Berkhof writes: “The earliest generations of believers, immersed in the literature of the Old Testament, must have considered the prophecies of the last days fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, in a manner now difficult for us to imagine. It might even be possible that they saw this in every detail of the gospel story. This now escapes us.” (Was the young man who fled naked during Jesus’ arrest refer to the coming judgment of Israel as written in Amos 2:16?)

Jesus suffered, died, and arose on the 3rd day---Hos. 6:1f.

Mt. 28:18 fulfills Dan. 7:14.