By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.
These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.
After the reading of the minutes in a business meeting, you are likely hear the moderator ask, “Are there any corrections, deletions, or additions?”
Dr. Stephen F. Olford (1918-2004) explained at a Christian Life Convention, about the difference between a conference and a convention. As Dr. David Ford recently reminded me, “Dr. Stephen used to quote Dr. W. Graham Scroggie (1877-1958), who said that the difference between a ‘convention’ and a ‘conference’ is that a ‘convention’ has an object, and a ‘conference’ has a subject. In a conference they convene to confer upon a subject, but in a convention there is the transaction of business. A convention is to do business with God and Jesus is the ‘object.’”
Dr. W. Graham Scroggie began his message on John 10:10 titled, “Abounding Life”, “On Monday, July 28, 1875, there was inaugurated in this place what is now universally known as the Keswick Convention.” Later in the message, he continued, “What, then, it may be asked, is the distinctive message of this movement? A former distinguished leader was once asked what was the difference between a conference and a convention, and after a moment’s reflection he replied, ‘A conference has a subject, but a convention has an object.’ As applied to Keswick, that is not a mere epigram, but a great truth. This convention has an object, and that object is nowhere so briefly and adequately expressed as in the words of our text, ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ Here Christ distinguishes between ‘life’ and ‘life more abundant,’ and it is for the interpretation of this distinction, and that we might know experimentally this maximum life, that we are now gathered.”
Even to this day, people meet in the Lake District of northern England, in a place called Keswick. In fact, there are meetings of this nature in various venues around the world. Someone explains, “From the beginning the convention has had as its aim the deepening of the spiritual life. It differs from the average Bible conference in that it aims not merely to impart Bible knowledge and spiritual uplift, but to be a spiritual clinic where defeated and ineffective Christians may be restored to spiritual health.”
Dr. D. Stuart Briscoe writes, “The Keswick Convention in the north of England is an annual event. When I was young it was the British superbowl of evangelicalism. My family attended every year just on Wednesday, because my dad had a store and that meant only a half-day closing. It was a bore. I used to sit there on a hard bench in the big tent on a warm summer afternoon thinking of lots of places I’d rather be. On Wednesdays the subject was always the lordship of Christ. In those days I approached that subject with a considerable degree of trepidation, so you can imagine my annual frame of mind as convention time rolled around and once more I deposited my unwilling youthfulness on an unyielding bench knowing full well I would be exposed to unpalatable truth.”
Allow me to share the context of our passage in Ephesians 4:1-16, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: ‘When He ascended on high, / He led captivity captive, / And gave gifts to men.’ (Now this, ‘He ascended’—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe writes, “Paul was saying, ‘Here is what Christ has done for you. Now, in the light of this, here is what we ought to do for Christ.’”
Dr. A. W. Tozer (1897-1963) warns, “No Christian believer should ever forget what the Bible says about the Person and the offices of the eternal Son, the Christ of God. ‘God hath made this same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ’ (Acts 2:36). Jesus means Savior; Lord means Sovereign; Christ means Anointed One. The Apostle Peter did not proclaim Jesus only as Savior-he preached to them Jesus as Lord and Christ and Savior, never dividing His Person or His offices. Remember, also, the declaration of Paul: ‘If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, thou shalt be saved.’ Three times in the passage to the Roman Christians telling how to be saved, Paul calls Jesus ‘Lord.’ He says that faith in the Lord Jesus plus confession of that faith to the world brings salvation to us!”
Since Jesus is both Lord and Christ, we should ask Him three questions on a regular basis.
I. Lord, are there any corrections?
We read in Ephesians 4:17-21, “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus.”
Let me say, this is no mere self improvement exercise of human will power. The changes that come in our life must be by faith, for them to be genuine and enduring. As Paul writes in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
When a person truly becomes a child of God, it is inconsistent to follow the path or the pattern of the world. Sadly, many believers begin to follow the fleshly impulse to fit in rather than the divine command to stand out. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. John writes in 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
II. Lord, are there any deletions?
We read in Ephesians 4:22, “That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.”
Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.”
Paul writes in Romans 13:11-14, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
Dr. Adam Clarke (1762-1832) explains, “The whole of your former life was corrupt and abominable; ye lived in the pursuit of pleasure and happiness; ye sought this in the gratification of the lusts of the flesh; and were ever deceived by these lusts, and disappointed in your expectations.”
From Colossians 3:1-11 we read, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”
III. Lord, are there any additions?
We read in Ephesians 4:23-24, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Dr. Thoralf Gilbrant (1919-2006) and Tor Inge Gilbrant comment, “At the same time Christians must also ‘put on the new man,’ a reference to allowing the Holy Spirit to be the controlling force in their lives. If they are doing this it will manifest itself in ‘righteousness and true holiness.’ The Greek word for ‘new’ (kainos) here refers to newness in quality. God is not only the pattern but also the author of this new life.”
Paul writes in Romans 6:1-14, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
“Therefore. . .” (Ephesians 4:25; 5:1) When you see the word “therefore” ask, “What is it there for?” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term “therefore”: “for that reason: consequently, because of that, on that ground, or to that end.”
We read in Ephesians 4:25-5:21, “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another. ‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, / Arise from the dead, / And Christ will give you light.’ See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.”
Allow me to invite you to read the remainder of this book later, and consider your life in the home (Ephesians 5:22-6:4); on the job (Ephesians 6:5-9); and beneath the surface (Ephesians 6:10-20).
The classical Greek philosopher, Socrates (469-399 BC), said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It is a good practice to review your life using Ephesians 4:17-25, to answer the question, “Are there any corrections, deletions, or additions?”
Dr. David Ford, via e-mail 05/12/12
Life More Abundant: Spirit-filled messages from the Keswick Convention, ed. Herbert F. Stevenson, (Grand Rapids, MI: Francis Asbury Press, 1987), pp. 13-14
D. Stuart Briscoe, Fresh Air in the Pulpit: Challenges and Encouragement from a Seasoned Preacher (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1994), p. 132
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary New Testament , Volume 2, (Wheaton: Victor Books/SP Publications, Inc., 1989, 2004), p. 39, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.
 Renewed Day by Day: Volume Two by A. W. Tozer, comp. Gerald B. Smith, (Camp Hill, PA: Zur Ltd., 1991), Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.
Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the New Testament, Database © 2004 WORDsearch Corp.
Thoralf Gilbrant and Tor Inge Gilbrant, The Complete Biblical Library Commentary, Ex. Ed., Ralph W. Harris, Ed., Stanley M. Horton, Man. Ed., Gayle Garrity Seaver, (Springfield, MO: World Library Press, Inc., 1986), Database © 2009 WORDsearch Corp.
Available from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/therefore Accessed: 07/11/12
By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527
Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com