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Friday, February 28, 2014

When Christians will stand to give an account to the Lord



2 Corinthians 5:9-10 "Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."


The Bible speaks of a time when every believer will appear before the Lord to "give an account". This event, its timing and it explanation are depicted in the Bible.  A thumbnail sketch and explanation of this event is given below.


The event of believers having to stand before the Lord to give an account
The Apostle Paul gives a fly-over of the Christian life that is lived in the "nasty here and now" (2 Corinthians 5:1-8) and the "sweet by and by" (2 Corinthians 5:9-10). Concerning the statements made in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, we see the fuller explanation of what Paul means in his earlier letter of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.


Let the reader note 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 - "According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."


We see then in these two passages that every Christian will stand as it were before the Lord to have the works they have done, post-conversion. The reader may had noticed that I underlined the little phrase "for the day". In the Greek and English texts the phrase specifies a particular period of time.  The question is: which day? Its not referring to the day of the believer's death, otherwise this event would be an ongoing event in heaven right now. Clearly Paul is thinking of a particular timeframe in which all Christians will stand before the Lord to have their post-conversion lives evaluated. The question of course is: When?


When believers will stand before the Lord to give an account
Romans 14:8-12 gives the reader a clue about when this particular event may occur:
"for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God.” 12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God."



The late prophecy Bible scholar Dr. John Walvoord notes about this text: "Paul gives further explanation of the Judgment Seat of Christ in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 9:24-27; 2 Corinthians 5:10. The matter of judgment or evaluation of a brother's ministry is committed to Christ. Inasmuch as all Christians will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to be evaluated, believers should concentrate on their own problems instead of on the problems of others." Walvoord writes on: "Scriptures are clear in both the Old and New Testaments that every individual will stand before God as his Judge, not necessarily at the same time or for the same reason. The judgment at the Judgment Seat of Christ is for those who have been saved who will be evaluated then as to their contribution to the Lord's work."1

As we explore the New Testament even further, we come to Revelation 19:7-10, wherein we read: "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.”

Commentator Steve Gregg gives this observation in his helpful commentary, quoting some other Bible scholars: "The 'marriage of the Lamb' is certainly figurative of the ultimate union of Christ with His people." Gregg later writes: "Dispensationalists take the timing of the marriage to be immediately after the rapture of the church....".2 Prophecy Scholar Dr. Tim Lahaye aids us in tying together the timing of this event to the rapture of the church and Revelation 19 - "Immediately after the rapture, every Christian will stand before Christ to be judged by Him. This judgment has nothing to do with salvation, for only the saved will be there."3

More tomorrow....
Endnotes:
1. John Walvoord. Prophecy Knowledge Handbook. Victory Books. Page 456.


2. Steve Gregg. Revelation - Four Views - A Parallel Commentary. Nelson 1997. Page 445.


3. Dr. Tim Lahaye. Charting the End Times. Page 55.
Dr. LaHaye lists Revelation 19:7-9 in his chart, noting that the passage represents the judgment seat of Christ event concluding in that passage. 





















Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Living Christ and His angels

Matthew 28:1-2 "Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it."


Introduction:
When one reads the Gospel accounts of Christ's resurrection and ascension, we are witnessing a sequence of historical, literal events that transpired in time and in space. The events of the empty tomb, Jesus' post-resurrection appearances and the cause for the disciple's belief in the resurrection stand in the mind of scholar William Lane Craig as being the three chief events needing to be explained. Certainly I concur with him and would like to add one further detail - the presence of angels. Today's post aims to explore the significance of the Living Christ and his angels. Why were angels present at both the resurrection and ascension events and why is their presence so significant? Please note the following thoughts:


1. Defense of God's people
Matthew 28:3-4 "And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men."  When we look at this detail, it is significant for a number of reasons. First, the women were already on their way to finish the anointing process of Jesus' body in Matthew 28:1. Second, this detail mentioned by Matthew in 28:3-4 reminds the reader of the manifest impossibility of anyone coming to steal the body of Jesus, since the enemies of Jesus had arranged the tomb to be guarded in Matthew 27:62-66. But now when we realize that the presence of angels led to the collapse of the soldiers, it is apparent that the angels were sent to defend, to protect the women and those who would be peering into the empty tomb. Passages such as 2 kings 6; Psalm 34:7; 91:11 and Hebrews 1:14 remind us of how angels defend or protect God's people. But notice a second significant reason for the presence of angels in the events of the Risen and Ascended Christ... 


2. Declaration and explanation.
We read in Matthew 28:5-7 "The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” The Hebrew and Greek words translated "angel" speak of a "messenger". Angels are seen throughout scripture announcing things to people. Notice again the function of angels both declaring an explaining in Acts 1:9-11 "And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” The angels were doing what they were created to do: declare and explain the glory of God (Psalm 68:17) and the equal and shared glory of the Son (Luke 2:14). Now notice the third significant reason as to why angels are included in the resurrection and ascension accounts of the Living Christ...


3. Demonstration of Christ's Deity
The Old Testament makes it abundantly clear that the angels function in the capacity of a royal court demonstrating the Deity of Yahweh. In Job 38:7 and Psalm 104:1-4 we see the angels, from the inception of their creation, exalting God for His creative power. In Psalm 68:17 we see angels attending the giving of the law atop Mount Sinai, demonstrating before the newly redeemed Hebrew nation that uncontested Deity of Yahweh. Daniel 7:10-13 portrays the Lord, the Ancient of Days and the Pre-incarnate Son of Man in royal Deity, being attended by innumerable angelic hosts. Later on in Daniel 12:1-3 we see Michael the archangel attending what will undoubtedly be the Divine power of God Himself raising believers from the dead in the resurrection of the righteous and unbelievers in the later resurrection of the wicked. 


Such associations between Yahweh's Deity and angelic presence enables the reader to understand that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was indeed the resurrection of the humanity of the Son who also was, is and forever will be God. The Living Christ who came out of the tomb on Sunday morning had angels attending to assert the fact that He is as much Full Deity as He is glorified, resurrected humanity.


Conclusion
Today we explored the resurrection and ascension narratives of the Living Christ portrayed to us in the Gospel records. Our aim was to discover why there were angels present at those events. We discovered the following reasons:
1. Defend the people of God
2. Declare and explain
3. Demonstrate the Deity of Jesus Christ

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

P2 Next Big Thing#2 : Catching Away of the Church

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Introduction and review:
In yesterday's post we began considering "The next big thing - The catching away of the church".  This phrase "catching away" is the Biblical term for the theological term "rapture". Hence what yesterday's post and today's treatment are proposing is that quite literally, the next big thing on the prophetic horizon is the rapture of the church. We used the acrostic "catch" to walk our way through the doctrine of the rapture. We noted yesterday the following points:

Christ is the rapture's pattern
Aim of the rapture is the church
Timing is before the tribulation

Today's post will conclude this focus on the next big thing: the catching away of the church.


Comforting doctrine. 1 Thessalonians 4:18
I'll never forget listening to Dr. John MacArthur preach on the rapture of the church and how he pointed out how in every rapture passage there is a tone of comfort. Certainly Paul closes out his instructions here in 1 Thessalonians 4:18 with this exhortation: "comfort one another with these words". I decided to see for myself if this were the case and the findings are quite comforting indeed:
1. John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled..."
2. 1 Corinthians 15:58 reminds us that our labor is not in vain in the Lord
3. Philippians 4:1 states after a brief statement of the rapture - "Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved."
4. 1 Thessalonians 4:18 "comfort one another with these words"
5. 2 Thessalonians 2:2 alludes to the rapture "that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come."

We are living in a world that is riddled with fear and anxiety. It is my understanding that there are over 500 categories of fear or phobias. If anything else, one of the chief fruits of consistent preaching and exposure to Biblical teaching of the rapture is that of comfort. The blessed hope is rooted in the fact that we will see our Savior again! So we have seen thus far the following truths about the rapture: the pattern is Christ; the aim of it is the church; the timing will be pretribulational or before the tribulation and the comfort of it. Lets consider one more truth, namely...

Happen at anytime. 
The one thing that distinguishes the rapture of the church from the similar but later event of Christ's second advent is that the rapture has no definite indicators of when it will occur. This character of the rapture, called "imminency", simply refers to the "unknown" beginning point of the rapture event. In the New Testament we see the idea of "watching for the Lord" being attached to this event. (Philippians 3:20-21) 

Dr. John Walvoord, a Pretribulational scholar and Bible teacher wrote these words concerning the character of the rapture as an event that could happen at anytime: "As the day of the Lord comes without warning, so also the rapture. The placing of this doctrine next to the revelation of the Rapture is because of the similarity between both events not having signs prior to their beginning. Like a thief in the night, who comes without warning, the Rapture will occur and also the Day of the Lord will begin."1 Dr. Dwight Pentecost writes this comforting thought about imminency or the truth that the rapture could happen at anytime: "The fact that no signs are given to the church, but she, rather, is commanded to watch for Christ, precludes her participation in the seventieth week (that is the tribulation period).2

Conclusion:
In this post we have considered the next big thing: the catching away of the church or what is also called the rapture of the church.  In utilizing the acrostic "c.a.t.c.h" we noted the following points:
Christ is the rapture's pattern
Aim of the rapture is the church
Timing is before the tribulation
Comforting doctrine
Happen at anytime

Endnotes:
1. John Walvoord. Prophecy Knowledge Handbook. Victor Books. page 486. 

2. Dwight Pentecost. Things to Come - A Study in Biblical Eschatology. Kindle Edition. Location 4103

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

P1 Next Big Thing #2: Catching Away of the Church

1 Thessalonians 4:17 - Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

Introduction:
All last week we focused a great deal of time on the doctrine that is called "the rapture of the church". We had also mentioned several weeks back that we were going to feature posts that had to do with what we call "next big things" - that is to say - events that will impact every person on this planet. The first "next big thing" we had featured dealt with the subject of: "Death, Hell and Heaven" (link-http://pastormahlon.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-next-big-thing-death-hell-or-heaven.html ).  Truly there are going to be two ways in which a believer in Jesus Christ will be able to exit out of this world: either by death or by rapture. 

When we talk about the rapture of the church, the flagship passages in the Bible that deal with the rapture most clearly are 1 Corinthians 15 in general and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 in particular. There are certainly other passages that we could had to that list that aid greatly in the detail and scope of Paul's teaching in that section. The most fundamental meaning of the word "rapture" is that of "catching away", and so we will use the acrostic "c.a.t.c.h" to navigate through this "next big thing" on the horizon of eschatology (the study of last things). So what can be said about the rapture or "catching away" of the church? May the reader note the following thoughts:

Christ is the rapture's pattern. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus." Why is it that Paul ties together the events surrounding Christ's resurrection from the dead to the events surrounding the rapture of the church? Simply put - Whatever Christ experienced as fact, we as Christians can expect to experience by faith and fact. Matter of fact we find the same type of connection in 1 Corinthians 15, where both the events of Christ resurrection and the rapture of the church are mentioned. Note the pattern between Christ and the rapture:

1. Resurrection of Christ who died and resurrection of those who died in Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14. 

2. Transformation of the living Christ and transformation of those alive in Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:5, 48-51; 1 Thessalonians 4:16

3. Ascension of the transformed living Christ and catching away of transformed and risen saints. Acts 1:11; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:17

Aim of the rapture: The church. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17
Notice what Paul says especially in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord." Who are the targets of the rapture? There are literally hundreds of passages that deal with the second advent or coming of Christ, however there are only about half a dozen or so passages that deal with the rapture. None are found in the Old Testament. Only one is found by way of allusion by Jesus in John 14:1-3. Concerning direct references, we could only classify three main places: Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:20-58 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Paul indirectly refers to the rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8. When we look at these handful of rapture passages, the one thing common to them all is that the target of the rapture is the church.  In lieu of the Jewish wedding imagery of the 1st century, Christ the bridegroom is going to appear in the clouds to "catch away" his bride so as to take her away to the "Father's house in Heaven". (compare John 14:1-3) Thus the aim of the rapture or "catching away" is the church and the pattern is Christ. Notice next...

Timing: Before the tribulation period. 1 Thess 1:10; 5:9 
When we speak of the timing or placement of the rapture or catching away of the church, we must appeal to other scriptures to guide our thinking.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 functions to give us a description of the rapture, with other passages helping us to place the rapture. We know that 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9 both talk about how God has not appointed the church to have to suffer God's wrath. This certainly does not mean of course that the church will not have to undergo suffering in general, since many tribulations much be endured before entering into the kingdom. (Acts 14:22) However the "wrath of God" is completely different in that the nature of the church is that her Savior has already suffered the wrath of God on her behalf. 

When we turn to Revelation, we cannot make a decisive case for determining the rapture's timing, being that the Book of Revelation does not directly mention the rapture. However the wrath of God is mentioned quite frequently throughout the book, and so by implication we can say who won't be on the earth during the tribulation - namely the church. 

We know that in repeated cycles and sequences, Revelation 6-19 covers the final seven year tribulation period. According to Cruden's Compact Concordance, this period is deemed "God's wrath" (Revelation 6:16; 14:8; 18:3); "day of wrath" (Revelation 6:17); "wrath of God" (Revelation 16:1; 19:15); "His wrath" (Revelation 16:19) and "Thy wrath" (Revelation 11:18).1 The logic is inescapable:

a. Christ's church is not appointed to experience the wrath of God
b. The wrath of God will be poured out during the entire seven year tribulation period
c. Therefore the church will be raptured before the tribulation period

This position is what we call the "pretribulation" view of the rapture. So we have seen the rapture's pattern, aim and timing.

More tomorrow.....

Endnotes:
1. Cruden's Compact Concordance. Zondervan. Pages 557-558

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meet Southern Baptists





Ephesians 5:25-27 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless."

Introduction:

Today's post is aimed at introducing readers to the Southern Baptist Convention. In an article taken directly from the SBC website, the reader will get a quick introduction to who Southern Baptists are and what makes them distinct from other Bible believing groups. The below article is an excerpt from the fuller complete article that the reader can link to at: http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/

Meet Southern Baptists

"For almost 170 years, Southern Baptists have sought to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people everywhere. The Southern Baptist Convention was formed with a Gospel vision. Its founding charter identifies its singular focus: ...for the purpose of eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the Baptist denomination of Christians, for the propagation of the Gospel...

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has grown to be a network of more than 50,000 cooperating churches and church-type missions banded together to make an impact of God's Kingdom. While no two Southern Baptist churches are alike, there are certain commonalities that bind Southern Baptists together, regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic status, language, or locale. What we offer here is an overview to help tell the story of what God is doing in and through the people called Southern Baptists.

Who Southern Baptists Are

Southern Baptists are as varied and diverse as the cities, towns, neighborhoods, and rural communities where you may find them. Each autonomous Southern Baptist church is unique; only when viewed together can one grasp the diversity that is the Southern Baptist Convention. Southern Baptist churches represent a broad range in...
size -- very small to very large
culture -- Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, and every subculture within each region
age -- very young to very old
ministry setting -- inner-city, storefront, suburban, small town, open countryside, cowboy, motorcyle
ethnicity -- Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, and numerous other ethnic groups
worship style -- traditional, contemporary, and everything in between
theological perspective -- all within the framework of historic biblical orthodoxy

But to know Southern Baptists means to understand that the center of who and what we are is the Person and Work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Southern Baptists are people who have been redeemed through Christ from sin -- the spiritual brokenness that causes us to resist God's ways and fall short of His glory.

Southern Baptists hold high the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the unifying center around which everything else is built and from which all ministry flows. We use the phrase "regenerate church membership" to emphasize that the starting point for everything related to a Southern Baptist church is each individual's personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives.

Southern Baptists believe that each human being is a sinner by birth and by choice, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (
Romans 3:23). We believe that Jesus, "in His substitutionary death on the cross," made "provision for the redemption of men from sin" and "effected the reconciliation between God and man" (The Baptist Faith and Message, Article II B., God the Son). And we believe that "There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord" (BF&M, Article IV, Salvation).


While the Bible does not teach that the waters of baptism have any saving power (salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, Ephesians 2:8), in keeping with the biblical emphasis reflected in our heritage and name, and as "people of the Book" (the Bible), Southern Baptists believe that all true believers will long to be identified fully with their Lord and Savior through the act of believer's baptism.

We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (see
Matthew 28:19). It is an act of obedience symbolizing (1) the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, (2) the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus, and (3) the believer's trust that his or her mortal flesh shall be clothed with immortality in the final resurrection of the dead.

It is by the Gospel, because of the Gospel, and for the Gospel that the Southern Baptist Convention exists; so it only makes sense that everything about Southern Baptists is tied directly to the Gospel."

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Why preaching more than once a week must be a conviction



2 Timothy 1:5-7 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.


Introduction
This particular text has been on my heart for more than a few weeks and I have been desiring to write on this subject of the urgency of preaching.  Today's post is written as much to congregations as it is to fellow preachers of the Word. As a pastor of a wonderful, active church in the 21st century, I find it interesting how many churches and pastors are scaling back on the frequency of preaching throughout a given week. I understand that for some, the frequency of preaching may very well be considered a preference. Others may say that for the sake of increasing interest in church or for more effective outreach, perhaps preaching should be lessened to allow other programs to take its place.  


There may very well be rare occasions where such sentiments are valid.  However when I reflect on Paul's instructions to his young protégé Timothy, the urgency of the hour requires not less, but more emphasis on preaching of the Word. For me this text spells out why preaching more than once a week is not a preference, but a conviction. Please note the following thoughts:


1. Preachers who remain on fire must preach frequently. 2 Timothy 1:4-6
Whether the pastor is preaching more than once a week in their church, or whether the pastor has opportunity to preach in places such as nursing homes, hospitals or street corners - his preaching will only grow when it is done more frequently. Notice 2 Timothy 1:6 "For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands." That underlined phrase "kindle afresh" comes from a verbal form and root that speaks of a repeated stirring of glowing embers in a fire.


Preaching entails waging war against lack of faith, stirring saints to greater faith and sustaining interest in Christ, the author of faith. John Wesley often urged his preachers to "build a fire in the pulpit".  A true preacher will say with Jeremiah 20:9 "But if I say, 'I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,' Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it."


2. Preaching that builds courageous listeners must be frequent. 2 Timothy 1:7-8

Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:7-8 "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God." We are living in a fearful age where out of timidity many churches and pulpits are backpedaling on the truth. As one preacher stated years ago about modern day pulpits: "Preaching now-a-days is a mild mannered man, speaking to a mild-mannered people a mild-mannered message about how to be more mild-mannered."

In a 21st century world where changes in laws on marriage, on- demand abortion and terrorism are realities, God's churches need to hear not less of God's Word, but more. Courageous churches are needed to minister to a wayward culture in both truth and love. Worry, doubt and fear crowd the hearts of so many people and what is needed is a Word from God.  Paul's exhortation to young Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord was urgent, being that this young pastor was going to need to exhort His people weekly to face a paganized culture with the truth that Jesus reigns, Jesus saves and that without Him there is no hope in this world nor in the next. The church that is going to advance in the 21st century needs a courageous pulpit as its rudder to navigate the turbulent waters of this world. We need to be told repeatedly the words God told Joshua in Joshua 1:9 that in effect says be strong and very courageous, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

3. Preaching the centers people on the cross must be frequent. 2 Timothy 1:9-12
If our churches are ever to remain strong and effective, they must be all about the cross in both its saving and sanctifying work. Paul speaks of the Sovereign foundations of the cross in 1:9, the saving power of the cross in 1:10, and the sound assurance of salvation the cross brings in 1:11-12. Unless the cross is both the center and circumference of everything we do or think, then our message will drift and our places of worship will become nothing more than monuments of a bygone era. As a preacher, I need to preach the Gospel to myself everyday, for I find if I don't, I rely more on my righteousness than Christ's and more on my power than the Spirit's power. If such a reality is true for the preacher, what about those who are in the pew?

4. Preaching frequently equips churches to be effective in love and holiness. 2 Timothy 1:13-14
Paul writes in 2 Timothy 1:13-14 "Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." Notice the three words or phrases underlined in the text. First "retain". The word translated "retain" is from a verbal form and root that speaks of continuing to have or keeping hold of those things originally received.  To retain God's words is no doubt rooted in faith and the second underlined word, "love". How is it that preaching can ever affect God's people to retain love for God's word, one another and people around them?

Jesus told His disciples originally that the world will know they are his disciples by their love for one another. (John 13:35). Then notice the final underlined phrase in addition to "retain" and "love", namely "The Holy Spirit". Why is He called the "Holy Spirit"? Because His task is to make God's people holy. Jesus Himself has ordained that through the washing of the water of the Word that He presents to Himself a glorious church without spot or wrinkle. (Ephesians 5:26-27) The Holy Spirit Who was sent by the Father in His name is preparing the church to meet her Lord by means of God-called preachers and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11-12). In a world that is unloving and unholy, the need of the hour is for preachers and a church that is loving and holy. If we are going to point the way to God - Jesus Christ, we must do it God's way. God would have it to be that in His church and among His preachers that they preach frequently, prayerfully, courageously and lovingly.

 Conclusion:
Today I have shared my heart as to why preaching more than once a week is a conviction for me and why it must be a conviction for both preachers and churches. We noted four reasons from 2 Timothy 1:4-14 as to why this must be the case. Preaching that is done frequently will yield:
1. Preachers who are on fire 1:4-6
2. Courageous churches    1:7-8
3. Cross-centered churches 1:9-12
4. Loving and Holy churches 1:13-14