Archive for November, 2012

Walking on Water When You Feel Like You’re Drowning
Book Review

Walking on Water When You Feel Like You’re Drowning (Tyndale, 2012) by Tommy Nelson & Steve Leavitt

A book review by Michael Staton, pastor, First Baptist Church, Mustang, Okla. (http://fbcmustang.org)


In my 19 years of serving on a pastoral team, I have spent countless hours ministering to people as they shared their problems, concerns and burdens. I have heard stories of grief, anger, confusion, sadness, loss and depression. For many years I felt the pressure to “fix” them. After all, they called me. They trusted me. They thought I could do or say something that would make them better. If they left my office and were not “fixed,” would they think less of me? Would they think they wasted their time, or even worse, question if there really was any hope for them?

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All People Everywhere Should Repent

A Biblical Critique of Calvinism

Part 10: The Repentance Aspect of the Gospel Invitation

by Dr. Michael A. Cox, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Pryor, Oklahoma, and author of Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism

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This is the thirteenth of a series of articles by Dr. Cox, with a Biblical critique of Calvinism drawn in part from his book Not One Little Child. All Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.
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Strict emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit and minimization of the response of man disarm the importance of the biblical teaching of repentance.1 The word metanoia means a change of mind, heart, and direction on behalf of the individual in response to God. Who would deny that Jesus came to call sinners to repent? The Bible teaches that He came to save what was lost, this means the unrepentant (Matt. 18:11). Jesus said to His listeners that they too would perish, unless they repent (Luke 13:3). He came calling sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32). All have sinned (Rom. 3:23). Therefore, Jesus calls all to repentance.

Newport smartly notes that, by definition, sin is a free and responsible act of disobedience and is man’s fault, not his fate.2 He argues that the New Testament description of God’s judgment on sin clearly teaches that each human is accountable to God for the use of his or her freedom.3 God’s justice makes all of us accountable for our choices. God does not force His will upon anyone. He invites people to respond. Each person has an option.

Calvinism does not seem to factor in Scripture which teaches that it is not God’s will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. And the Bible is replete with evidence regarding this.

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Late Shift Evangelism and Outreach

By Johnathan Pritchett

We often hear two things about the economy. These days, the first thing you are likely to hear is that the economy is bad. This may be a temporary condition that could get better. The other thing, which is more often heard about the economy in general during any climate is that we now live in a global economy. This is often discussed in the news and talk radio, and even pastors bring up this issue in our churches. What is often neglected when it comes to getting any attention is that we also, as has always been the case, live in a 24-hour economy.

The number of people working second and third shift has greatly increased in the last couple of decades, and in many cases during this sort of economic climate, these shifts fill up fast because people will work any hours they can get. Whether the economy is good or bad, those people who work the late shifts often get little interaction with those who live and do business during the daylight hours. Men and women with families are hardly getting the kind of quality time with their loved ones compared to those who work during regular business hours. Imagine being a parent, married or single, and you are sleeping when your children are at school, and you are either headed to work before they come home or just waking up for work when it is their bedtime. Imagine being single with no kids. What is there for you to ever do to meet people or fellowship? For people working these shifts, their free time is usually when everyone else is at work or sleeping. 

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Reply to Jon Akin-Part 2

By Dr. Eric Hankins, pastor
First Baptist Church, Oxford, Miss.


As I said in my previous post, I appreciate greatly Jon’s desire to make a friendly reply to my blog post that also deals honestly with the places where we differ. In this post and the next, I will address the content of his critique. Let me begin by saying that I am absolutely in favor of Christ-centered homiletics when it is done with a desire to preserve authorial intent. There are places in Jon’s critique where it seems that he thinks I believe that the interpretation of OT texts shouldn’t take into account their relationship to the grand redemptive story of the gospel:

However, while I appreciate him raising the discussion, I would differ with his conclusions. Eric states that Christ-centered exposition is all the “rage” among reformed preachers. Actually, it should be the rage among all Christian preachers. After all, Paul said that it is “Him we proclaim” (Col 1:28).

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Keep Calm and Carry On

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.

Psalm 7:1-17

 


Introduction

Keep Calm and Carry On was a slogan developed by the British Ministry of Information in 1939.  The slogan printed on posters to appear in public places to boost morale among the citizens in the event of a German invasion.[1] Thankfully, Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was unsuccessful in his maniacal attempt in World War II.

David, the author of this psalm, was familiar with war.  We read in 1 Samuel 17:33, “And Saul said to David, ‘You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.’”  Later, in 1 Chronicles 28:3 David recounted, “But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.”

Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) explains, “David was called to be a man of war, and he was eminently successful in his battles; he does not trace this to his good generalship or valour, but to his being taught and strengthened for the war and the fight.  If the Lord deigns to have a hand in such unspiritual work as fighting, surely he will help us to proclaim the gospel and win souls; and then we will bless his name with even greater intensity of heart.  We will be pupils, and he shall be our Master, and if we ever accomplish anything we will give our Instructor hearty blessing.  This verse [Psalm 144:1] is full of personality; it is mercy shown to David himself which is the subject of grateful song.”[2]

The British Ministry of Information put away the aforementioned posters featuring a British Crown carrying the message, “Keep Calm and Carry On”.  They did this because the British did not need them in the war effort.  Consequently, these posters disappeared from sight and the message became a passing memory, until one day in 2000.  It was then that Stuart and Mary Manley, the owners of a shop in north England named Barter Books, discovered one of the posters in the bottom of a box of books.  They framed it and due to its popularity they began printing them.  Later, someone designed parodies of the poster with an upside-down crown with “Now Panic and Freak Out”.[3]

When everything within tells you “Now Panic and Freak Out” remember to “Keep Calm and Carry On”.  We know that when David wrote Psalm 7 he was likely “frenzied” and or “emotional” according to the transliteration of a Hebrew word “Shiggaion” (sshihg gay’ ahn) found in the title of this psalm.[4] Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe explains, “‘Shiggaion’ is used only here in the Psalms (but see Hab. 3:1) and could mean ‘a passionate psalm with strong emotion.’  Some believe it comes from a word meaning ‘to wander, to cry aloud.’”[5]

David writes in Psalm 7:1-17, “O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; / And deliver me.  Lest they tear me like a lion, / Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.  O Lord my God, if I have done this:  If there is iniquity in my hands, /  If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me, / Or have plundered my enemy without cause, / Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me; / Yes, let him trample my life to the earth, / And lay my honor in the dust.  Selah Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; / Lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies; / Rise up for me to the judgment You have commanded!  So the congregation of the peoples shall surround You; / For their sakes, therefore, return on high.  The Lord shall judge the peoples; / Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, / And according to my integrity within me.  Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, / But establish the just; / For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.  My defense is of God, / Who saves the upright in heart.  God is a just judge, / And God is angry with the wicked every day.  If he does not turn back, / He will sharpen His sword; / He bends His bow and makes it ready.  He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; / He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.  Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; / Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood.  He made a pit and dug it out, / And has fallen into the ditch which he made.  His trouble shall return upon his own head, / And his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown.  I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, / And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.”

Please note three points from our passage.

I. First, note the supplication he lifted up to the Lord.

From Psalm 7:1, 6-13 we read, “O Lord my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; / And deliver me. . .  .  Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; / Lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies; / Rise up for me to the judgment You have commanded!  So the congregation of the peoples shall surround You; / For their sakes, therefore, return on high.  The Lord shall judge the peoples; / Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, / And according to my integrity within me.  Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, / But establish the just; / For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.  My defense is of God, / Who saves the upright in heart.  God is a just judge, / And God is angry with the wicked every day.  If he does not turn back, / He will sharpen His sword; / He bends His bow and makes it ready.  He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; / He makes His arrows into fiery shafts.”

One of the greatest verses on supplication is found in Jeremiah 33:3, where we read, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”  Also from Psalm 66:16-19 we read, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, / And I will declare what He has done for my soul.  I cried to Him with my mouth, / And He was extolled with my tongue.  If I regard iniquity in my heart, / The Lord will not hear.  But certainly God has heard me; / He has attended to the voice of my prayer.”

 

II. Furthermore, note the situation he laid out before the Lord.

From Psalm 7:2-5 we read, “Lest they tear me like a lion, / Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.  O Lord my God, if I have done this:  If there is iniquity in my hands, /  If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me, / Or have plundered my enemy without cause, / Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me; / Yes, let him trample my life to the earth, / And lay my honor in the dust.  Selah”

In a similar way we read of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:5-12, “Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said: ‘O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?  Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?  And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, / ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’  And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.  O our God, will You not judge them?  For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”

Don Fleming, a prolific author and Bible teacher from Belmont, Queensland, Australia, explains, “Unjustly pursued by fierce enemies, David turns to God for protection (1-2).  In a strongly worded statement he boldly declares his innocence (3-5).  He appeals to the judge of heaven and earth also to declare his innocence, and in addition to condemn his enemies (6-9).  David’s confidence is that God always acts justly (10-11).  Therefore, those who are evil should turn from their sin, otherwise they will be overtaken by God’s judgment (12-13).”[6]

 

III. Finally, note the salvation he looked for from the Lord.

From Psalm 7:14-17 we read, “Behold, the wicked brings forth iniquity; / Yes, he conceives trouble and brings forth falsehood.  He made a pit and dug it out, / And has fallen into the ditch which he made.  His trouble shall return upon his own head, / And his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown.  I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, / And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.”

A. We find David’s expectation of deliverance from the Lord. David writes, “He made a pit and dug it out, / And has fallen into the ditch which he made.  His trouble shall return upon his own head, / And his violent dealing shall come down on his own crown” (Psalm 7:15-16).  Note the similar thought expressed in Psalm 9:16, 37:14-15, and 57:6, where we read, “The Lord is known by the judgment He executes; / The wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. . . .  The wicked have drawn the sword / And have bent their bow, / To cast down the poor and needy, / To slay those who are of upright conduct.  Their sword shall enter their own heart, / And their bows shall be broken. . . .  They have prepared a net for my steps; / My soul is bowed down; / They have dug a pit before me; / Into the midst of it they themselves have fallen.”  From 1 Samuel 25:39 we read, “So when David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach from the hand of Nabal, and has kept His servant from evil!  For the Lord has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head.’”  From Proverbs 26:27 we read, “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, / And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.”

Another biblical illustration of this principle that comes to mind was when Haman was hanged on the gallows he built to hang Mordecai (Esther 7).

Rev. James Comper Gray (1826-1904) and Rev. George Moulton Adams (1824-1906) share the following account in their commentary, “The Emperor Charlemagne wanted to have a magnificent bell cast for the church he had built.  An artist named Tancho was employed by the church to make it.  He was furnished, at his own request, with a great quantity of copper, and a hundred pounds of silver for the purpose.  He kept the silver for his own personal use, however, and substituted in its place a quantity of highly purified tin.  When the work was completed, he presented the bell to the Emperor, who had it suspended in the church tower.  The people, however, were unable to ring it.  So Tancho himself was called in to help.  But he pulled so hard that its tongue fell down and killed him.”[7]

Dr. Adam Clarke (1762-1832) comments, “As to Cush the Benjamite, he is a person unknown in the Jewish history; the name is probably a name of disguise; and by it he may covertly mean Saul himself, the son of Kish, who was of the tribe of Benjamin.  The subject of the Psalm will better answer to Saul’s unjust persecution and David’s innocence, than to any other subject in the history of David.”[8]

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe comments, “God abandoned King Saul to his own ways (1 Sam. 15), and ultimately both the arrow and the sword caught up with him (vv. 12-13; 1 Sam. 31:3-4).  He wanted to kill David, but his own sword killed him.”[9]

 

B. We find David’s expression of delight in the Lord. David writes, “I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, / And will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High” (Psalm 7:17).

Paul the apostle writes in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

We understand “Be Still, My Soul” was a favorite hymn of Eric Liddell, the famed 1924 British Olympian.  He later became a missionary to China where they imprisoned him during World War II.  He taught this hymn to his fellow prisoners.  Allow me to share the first stanza:  “Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.  Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.  Leave to thy God to order and provide; / In every change, He faithful will remain.  Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend / Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.”[10] Doubtless, the Lord used this hymn to help Liddell and his fellow inmates to keep calm and carry on.

 

Conclusion

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father.  In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;  for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.  I came forth from the Father and have come into the world.  Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.’  His disciples said to Him, ‘See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech!  Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You.  By this we believe that You came forth from God.’  Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe?  Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone.  And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.  These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:25-33).  Keep Calm and Carry On.

Paul warns in 2 Timothy 3:1-16, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!  For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.  But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured.  And out of them all the Lord delivered me.  Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  Keep Calm and Carry On.

Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:12-19, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.  For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?  Now ‘If the righteous one is scarcely saved, / Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?’  Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”  Keep Calm and Carry On.

 


[2]Available from: http://www.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps144.htm Accessed: 08/30/12

 

[3]Rob Walker, “Remixed Messages”, The New York Times Magazine (New York: The New York Times Company, 2009), Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/magazine/05FOB-consumed-t.html?_r=3&ref=magazine Accessed: 08/31/12

 

[4]Holman Bible Dictionary, ed. Trent C. Butler, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 1991) “SHIGGAION”, Available from:
http://www.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T5775 Accessed: 08/31/12

 

[5]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Wisdom and Poetry, (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2004), p.100

 

[6]Don Fleming, Concise Biblical Commentary, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG, 1994), 189, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

 

[7]James Comper Gray and George Moulton Adams, Gray & Adams Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1903, 1951), Cited by Richard DeHaan, Our Daily Bread, “We Reap What We Sow”, Galatians 6:7 (Grand Rapids, MI: Our Daily Bread, n.d.), Available from: http://www.preceptaustin.org/galatians_68_commentary.htm Accessed: 08/31/12

 

[8]Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the New Testament, Database © 2004 WORDsearch Corp.

 

[9]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Wisdom and Poetry, (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2004), p.101

 

[10]Katharina A. von Schlegel, trans. by Jane L. Borthwick, “Be Still, My Soul”, (1752, 1855), Available from: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/b/e/bestill.htm Accessed: 09/16/12

 

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

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Biblical-Preaching-Giving-Bible/dp/1594577684

http://www.wordsearchbible.com/products/Sound_Biblical_Preaching_1476.html

http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey / fkirksey@bellsouth.net / (251) 626-6210

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