Monday Sermon Workshop:
Humility: A Strategy to Overcome the Enemy (James 4:6-10)
By Craig Price, Associate Professor of New Testament and Greek, occupying the Bob Hamblin Chair of New Testament Exposition, and Associate Dean of Online Learning at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
This is the third of three step-by-step expositions by Dr. Price that SBC Today is offering to assist pastors and other church leaders in developing sermon ideas or Bible studies for their ministries. If you missed the first two expositions, you can see them here:
Joy in the Midst of Tribulation (James 1:1-4)
The Anatomy of Temptation (James 1:12-15)
In this series of Bible studies, we are looking at small sections of text from the epistle of James and performing “phrasing” exercises on the passages. William Mounce teaches the method of phrasing in his Graded Reader for Biblical Greek published by Zondervan. The phrasing technique also works well with English text. The interpreter may find Mounce’s same technique for English text in his Greek for the Rest of Us, also published by Zondervan.
The Text: James 4:6-10 (HSCB)
6But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 7Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! 9Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Even though the number of revival meetings in the SBC has been declining, a significant amount of churches continue to use revival meetings for evangelism and revitalization. According to one study in 1984, about 75 percent of evangelistic churches scheduled one or more revival meeting annually. In another study published in 1996, slightly less than one-half of the evangelistic churches in the sample used local church revivals as an effective evangelistic tool. According to the study conducted by the Georgia Baptist Convention in 2001, fifty-eight percent of the churches in the state conducted a local church revival. In a more recent survey by LifeWay Research, revival meetings were among five most often used evangelistic events in Southern Baptist churches.
When the church leadership chooses to schedule a revival meeting, how can they prepare for such an event? In this post, I will attempt to assist church leaders in preparation by examining causes of perceived ineffectiveness and suggesting practical ways for churches to benefit from a revival meeting. Revival is defined as the sovereign movement of God through the work of the Holy Spirit in revitalizing the believers in Jesus Christ to a more vital spiritual life, work, and witness. Revival meetings refer to a period of time set aside by a church or churches for the purpose of spiritual revitalization and/or evangelism.
Theological Vocabulary Thursday
Comforter, Counselor, or … ?
By Brian Robertson, Pastor, FBC, Kenton, TN
Words, words, words. My, how their meanings can change. For example, “cool” in today’s verbiage means “great” as well as “cold.” When someone today says, “that’s bad,” they may mean “awesome” or something is not good. How a word is used always affects its intended meaning. Scriptural translation clearly is impacted by these changes. Several weeks ago, I was asked about the term “Counselor” in John 14:16. Newer translations (NIV, HCSB) interpret the Greek term “Paraclete” (“parakletos”) in this way. Older texts (KJV) use the term “Comforter” to represent the meaning. Both English words are used to describe the Greek term. The question is, Which translation best describes John’s meaning?
The Apostle John uses the term “Paraclete” five times in his Gospel (14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7-11, 12-15). Jesus uses the term “Parakletos,” literally meaning helper or intercessor, to describe the role of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says that after He leaves the Apostles, the Father will send another “Parakletos” to them, insinuating that Jesus was also a Parakletos. Andreas Köstenberger states, “In secular Greek, ‘parakletos’ refers primarily to a ‘legal assistant’ or ‘advocate.’ In John’s Gospel, legal overtones are most pronounced in 16:7-11. Both the noun ‘paraklesis’ and the verb ‘parakaleo’ are used in the OT w/ regard to the ‘consoling’ expected to occur during the messianic era.” (Andreas Köstenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004], 436-37).
By Dr. Jim Parker, Associate Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Associate Vice President for Facilities at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Parker previously served as Pastor of one of the nine Alabama Baptist churches burned by arsonists in 2006.
In Part One, Dr. Parker began the story of his personal journey toward forgiveness. This article continues that story.
Normally, this would be the end of the story, but in fact, it was just the beginning. As Paul Harvey used to say, “And now for the rest of the story.” On one cold, dark, foggy morning in early February 2006, not long after the events described above, I received a call from one of the deacons at the church I was pastoring. B.C. Crocker said, “Pastor, the Church is on fire.” Within a few hours my church, Ashby Baptist Church in Brierfield, Alabama, along with five other churches in the area, would be burned to the ground. A few days later, four more in the state would be torched.
My wife and I had made our way to the church on that foggy morning, thinking at first that something at the church had happened to set the fire, but we soon realized after hearing of other churches burning that we had been the victim of arson. We very soon confirmed this. Everything was lost, up in ashes. As the early morning darkness turned to pale daylight, the first realization that something devastating had occurred. FBI, ATF, and many other law enforcement agencies began to show up. Local media and then state and national media outlets began to show up on the site. Phone calls began to pour in. Churches had been burned. Five at first, with four to follow. What a dastardly deed! Who could have done this? Theories abounded and within a few days as many as 600 leads would come in, most dead ends.
By Tim Rogers, Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Indian Trail, NC
We are at the time of the year when many families plan to take a vacation some place on the globe. Many take vacations only to return from a time of rest and relaxation completely exhausted. Some return exhausted because of the stress experienced due to mishaps or disagreements among the very ones the vacation intended to help—family members. However, many times families will spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to try and build the perfect memory and to relax and rest from the daily grind of living life. Some churches plan short-term mission trips that are more of a vacation than a mission trip. I determined long ago that vacation time with my family was just that—a vacation—and yet we would live our lives missionally. However, I also determined that we would not call our family vacation a short-term mission trip; and we would not raise funds by asking friend, family, and church members to supplement our vacation.
I have tried to take a short-term mission trip every year since 1990. It was in 1988 that I received salvation and less than two years later I embarked on a short-term mission trip with the Raleigh Baptist Association to Brazil. This experience was embraced with negatives and positives. A couple of negatives come to mind whenever I am planning for a short-term trip. I experienced firsthand how just one negative and selfish person can inject a team with bitterness and discouragement. I also found the political situation of the Southern Baptist Convention has the ability to invade an entire associational mission directive. The positives of that trip were played out in the salvation of souls as well as with the bonding between those who held different theological perspectives but served the same Lord Jesus as the Lord Jesus.