Tuesday, March 31, 2015

P1 -Preparing for Good Friday - The Suffering Servant

Isaiah 49:5 "And now the Lord says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servantto bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be gathered to him—for I am honored in the eyes of the Lordand my God has become my strength." (ESV)

Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (ESV)

Although Good Friday is a few days away, I thought it would benefit us greatly to consider what the scripture has to say about Jesus Christ in His sufferings and death.  The two books of Isaiah and Mark unfold the particular way in which Jesus Christ came as the suffering and victorious Servant of the Lord. Why study the prophecies of Isaiah and the Gospel of Mark to understand the meaning of Jesus' sufferings? Because Isaiah predicted the mission of Jesus' sufferings, while Mark detailed the fulfillment of Isaiah's predictions.  May today's blog encourage you to consider more closely Jesus Christ and the significance of this time of year as we look forward to Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

Isaiah's four predictions of Jesus the suffering servant and the fulfillments of those predictions in Mark's Gospel
In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, there are four sections called "servant songs".  The reason for this name is because of the frequent occurance of the name "servant" and because the sections in question are structured in the form of prophetic, poetic songs.  Isaiah lived over 700 years before Jesus Christ, and yet his predictions of the person and work of Jesus Christ in his death, burial and resurrection stand out as the most striking and detailed prophecies of those truths.  I will first list the servant songs, their verse references and brief commentary, so as to give you the reader the wonder that is the predictions of the Suffering Servant Jesus Christ.  As each Servant song is listed, the appropriate section in Mark's Gospel will be included to reveal how Jesus came as the predicted Suffering Servant to die and raise from the dead.   

1. The Ministry of the Predicted Servant Isaiah 42:1-13; Mk 1-10 
Isaiah 42:1 reads - "Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations." (NASB)  This first "Servant Song" focuses upon what will be the ministry of the predicted Servant.  Remarkably, in Mark's Gospel, we see John the Baptist heralding the coming of Jesus in Mark 1:1-13, followed by Jesus' public ministry in Mark 1:14-10:52.  It is in that first major section of Mark that we see the main verse of Mark's Gospel, Mark 10:45, where Jesus states Himself as the Son of Man who "came to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." 

2. The Majesty of the Rejected Servant.  Isaiah 49:1-7; Mark 11-13
Isaiah 49:7 states - "Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One, To the despised One, To the One abhorred by the nation, To the Servant of rulers, "Kings will see and arise, Princes will also bow down, Because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You."  This second of Isaiah's Servant Songs sees the predicted Servant commissioned by Jehovah to be a light to the nations (49:1-6).  Sadly, this Servant will be seen by His people and kings alike, only to be rejected (49:7)  In Mark's Gospel, we see a second major section depicting Jesus Christ riding into Jerusalem to present Himself as Israel's King. (Mark 11:1-13:37)  In keeping with the sequence of Isaiah's Prophecies, Jesus would be rejected by His people, despite being God in human flesh, the very light sent by God the Father. 

3. The Murder of the Suffering Servant. Isaiah 50:1-11; 52:13-53:12; Mark 14-15
We now see the third (Isaiah 50:1-11) and Fourth (Isaiah 52:13-53:12) songs of Isaiah detailing the remarkable predictions of the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  In Mark 14-15 we see the fulfillment of these predictions.  Scripture tells us that the crucifixion of our Lord was ultimately planned by God the Father and the Son in eternity, as evidence by the Son of God coming to fulfill the Gospel or Good News. (Mark 1:1; Acts 2:23-24)  Second, scripture also tells us that Jesus Himself went willingly, as evidenced by His choice to do the will of His Father in Gethesemane. (Mark 14:32-42) Then finally, on the human side of the crucifixion, Jesus' death had been premeditated by the Jewish leaders, Pilate and other enemies. (Mark 3:6, 4:5,15, 16-17, 6:25,27; 14:43, 45; 15:1) 

4. Massive Victory of the Risen Servant.  Isaiah 53:10-12; Mark 16
In the fourth servant song of Isaiah, we see a prediction of Christ's resurrection.  Consider Isaiah 53:11 "As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities."  How can the Servant "see and be satisfied" after having underwent so much suffering and agony?  Mark 16:6 tells us - "And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him." 

May the Lord richly bless you dear reader as you fix your eyes on Jesus. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

The greatest chapter in all the Bible

1 Corinthians 15:1  "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand."

I could not help but begin this week with considering the most powerful chapter in the Bible. Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, everything else Jesus achieved in His perfect life and death would had remained nothing more than another footnote in history. Because Jesus has risen from the dead, all history is a footnote to Him! Today I want us to consider in brief the amazing chapter of 1 Corinthians 15. It may seem presumptuous to claim 1 Corinthians 15 to be the greatest chapter in all the Bible. However, as Paul strenuously argues, if Jesus Christ be not risen from the dead, then we are among men most miserable and still lost in our sins. This chapter stands as the continental divide of the 1189 chapters of the Bible. 

The Living Gospel shines hope into a troubled church
As the Apostle Paul wrote the letter of 1 Corinthians to the church at Corinth, he was writing to a church that was troubled.  The thunderclouds of judgment and discipline hung over this church.  After reading through the first 14 chapters of 1 Corinthians, judgment and God's discipline seem imminent.  Yet the rays of mercy and hope flood in to break up the clouds in 1 Corinthians 15.  The sunshine of God's Living Gospel pours into the otherwise bleak future for this church.  No chapter in God's word spells out the implications of Christ's resurrection any clearer than 1 Corinthians 15.

The main point of 1 Corinthians 15 - Unfolding the Living Gospel
When I began to study this chapter years ago, I was blown away at the breadth and depth that it covered.  Every major Bible doctrine, every conceivable means of persuasion is used by the Holy Spirit to convince the reader of the power of the living Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15.  Below is a thumbnail sketch of this remarkable chapter:

1. The Gospel's Living Message. 
1 Corinthians 15:1-11

2. The Gospel's Living Christ.       
1 Corinthians 15:12-20

3. The Gospel's Living Doctrine    
1 Corinthians 15:21-28

4. The Gospel's Living Power      
1 Corinthians 15:29-49

5. The Gospel's Living Encouragements 
1 Corinthians 15:50-58

1 Corinthians 15 is the Bible's most powerful chapter.  Those five major divisions are like the five smooth stones that David had ready to put in His sling to defeat the Goliath of Unbelief.  1 Stone from this mighty brook is all that necessary to topple any giant you might be facing.  The Living Gospel is not only revealed in its power - but in it's robust splendor. 

The Living Gospel is the remedy for every spiritual ailment
The Great Physician Jesus Christ issues us the ultimate remedy to every spiritual ailment - The Living Gospel - which is all about Himself.  The Apostle Paul is like a pharmacist issuing a bottle that, when taken in full measure, heals the heart and revives the Christian, while bringing God's saving power to the lost soul.   

Why the Living Gospel centers on the Resurrected Christ
1 Corinthians  15 stands as the finest one-chapter summary anywhere in God's Word in demonstrating the significance of Christ's resurrection to the whole of scripture and the whole essence of Christianity.  A quick overview of the New Testament will reveal the priority of Christ's resurrection to Christianity:

All Four Gospels catalogue the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His various appearances to His disciples following that event.  The Book of Acts, the record of the early church, features nearly 20 sermons preached in the early church. The Apostles Peter and Paul preached all of them but one, and almost ten times we find the resurrection of Jesus Christ to be the central emphasis of their preaching.  Most if not all of Paul's letters, Peter Letters and most of the other New testament books make reference to Christ's resurrection.  The Book of Revelation presents the Post-resurrected Christ as ruling and reigning, worthy of all worship, due to the fact that He has over come death. Truly without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christian faith itself would be lifeless.  Thank the Lord for the Living Gospel - the heart of Living Living Christianity.  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

How Daniel's prophecy included Palm Sunday

Daniel 9:23-24 "At the beginning of your supplications the command was issued, and I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed; so give heed to the message and gain understanding of the vision. 24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place."

In today's post I want to give the reader a summary of one of, if not the most amazing prophecy in all the Bible - Daniel 9:23-27.1 It struck me that since today is Palm Sunday, Jesus' riding into Jerusalem on a Donkey was a matter of significant prophetic fulfillment. As we go through Daniel's prophecy, the reader will see how God orchestrated all of history to bring about Jesus' journey to the cross, and how He will orchestrate history to bring about Jesus' second coming.  

A quick fly over of Daniel's seventy weeks - 3 main divisions
The prophet Daniel, writing some 600 or so years before Jesus' coming, speaks of God's Divine time table for Israel, prophecy and this world.  The prophecy of Daniel 9:23-27, often termed "Daniel's seventy weeks", is regarded by many scholars to be the most amazing prophecy of God's Word.1  Daniel's prophecy reveals a 490 year period of time that constitutes God's Divine dealings with Israel in particular and the world in general.  In all three particular divisions can be briefly noted about this prophecy:

1. Division #1 49 years (seven sevens) in Daniel 9:25.  We know from secular history begins from Artaxerxes decree to rebuild Jerusalem on March 14, 445 b.c until its completion in 396 b.c.  That first leg of the prophecy also roughly marks the end of the Old Testament era of Divine revelation, especially in Malachi.

2. Division #2 434 years (sixty two sevens) in Daniel 9:25.  Again from a combination of predictive prophecy and secular historians we see Daniel speaking of the period of time extending between the testaments - the so-called "silent years". The "silent years" are called such because of God not revealing any new revelation nor inspiring any Bible books during that time.  When the books of Malachi and Esther were finished, the Old Testament Canon closed.  In this period of time (396 b.c to Jesus' days), four world empires arose and fell as predicted also by Daniel in his prophecies: Babylon-->Persia-->Greece-->Rome. 

Whenever you add the 49 years (from 445 b.c-396 b.c) and 434 years (396 b.c. - 32 A.D) together, you arrive at a total of 483 years. Remarkably, Daniel's prophecy begins at the decree to rebuild Jerusalem in March 14, 445 b.c to Jesus' riding into Jerusalem on April 6, 32 A.D. Daniel 9:26 then predicts what is most likely the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on that same week! - "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing....". This particular part of the prophecy of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a Donkey was predicted in more detail in passages such as Zechariah 9:9. Christians today celebrate what is called "Palm Sunday" to commemorate this event of Jesus presenting Himself as King. 

3. Division #3 The final "week" or seven years, i.e Daniel's seventieth week in Daniel 9:26b-27. This third division of Daniel's prophecy, thought the shortest portion in God's prophetic time clock, yet receives the most focus in the prophecies of scripture.  

A more specific look at division #3 of the prophecy - Daniel's final 70th week or final seven years
As you look closer at the final "week" (seven years) of Daniel's prophecy, some details emerge.  First of all, Daniel 9:26b gives a general statement about the final seven years of history - "and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined."  In this general statement of Daniel's seventieth week in 9:26b we see six elements:

1.  The people = The followers of the "prince"

2.  The prince = He is coming and is different from the Messiah who was cut off - namely Jesus Christ.

3.  The city = Jerusalem, the central city of the prophecy

4.  The sanctuary = A temple that will exist in Jerusalem in this final seven year period.  Most likely some sort of Jewish Temple built in the Tribulation period

5.  Its end = the prophecy has an end point in mind, corresponding to the conclusion of God's prophetic 490 year period set for Israel in relationship to His judgment of the world

6.  War = A final war will be waged with accompanying desolations or Divine judgments near the end of this seven year period of Daniel's seventieth week.   

A very detailed look at the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel
Daniel 9:27 states - 27 "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” If we take the last three and one half years as the main focus of Daniel 9:27, we can note four elements of what is now a very detailed view of Daniel's seventieth week (seven years) and its latter half (3 1/2 years):

1. he - The Prince who comes and the same one spoken of in Daniel 9:26.

2. "firm covenant with the many for one week". The prince makes a peace covenant with the many, that is the Jews specifically and the world in general.  The covenant is promised by the prince to last the entirety of the seven years spoken of by Daniel, however....

3. "middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice". Evidently there will be sacrifices occurring at this temple during this seven year period, however this prince will suddenly interrupt the ceremonies and break covenant with the people at the 3 1/2 year mark.

4. "will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed". The true character of this prince, called elsewhere in scripture "false Christ" (Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:22); "the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2); "anti-Christ" (1 John 2:18-19); "the beast" (Revelation 13-14), will blaspheme God and lead the whole world astray.  2 Thessalonians 2 summarizes the desolation spoken of here in Daniel, namely the true Christ, the Son of God, will destroy Anti-Christ, the prince, by the breath of His mouth. 

Conclusions and applications
We have aimed to summarize what is perhaps the most amazing prophecy in the Bible - Daniel 9:23-27.  First we noted its three main divisions which when added all together equal a 490 year period of time decreed by God for the Jewish people. Secondly, we noted how the prophecy focuses more closely on the third division, a final seven year period that has yet to occur and will include God's judgment on the world prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Thirdly we saw that the prophecy focuses even further on a figure called the Anti Christ who will make a covenant with the Jews for seven years, only to break that covenant mid-way and garner the wrath of God.  Fourthly, we saw a few of the New Testament passages that utilize Daniel 9:23-27 in identifying this future archenemy of God's people and the Lord Jesus Christ.  

The application of Daniel 9:23-27 is seen in two ways: first in how the passage describes the coming future judgment of God on this world, and how unbelievers need to believe and repent now. Secondly we see how accurate the scriptures are in their predictions and thirdly e see that God will keep His promises to His people the Jews, which of course means He will keep His promises to His people the church.   

1. A very helpful chart to follow Daniel's prophecy can be found at

2. A most recent example of this continuing trend is the current sermon series being preached by Dr. Robert Jeffress of 1st Baptist Dallas entitled: "The Perfect Ending", wherein He comments on Daniel 9:23-27. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Invitation to check out 2 minute podcasts dealing with the character of scripture

Image result for microphone
Colossians 4:3-4 "praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; 4 that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak."

The above opening verses for today's post express the heart of this blogger in wanting to equip as many people as possible with tools for the practical, doctrinal and supernatural Christian life. When "Growing Christian Resources" was conceived several years ago, the hope was that anyone could click on a blogpost and use it for personal spiritual enrichment or utilize it for teaching or preaching situations. As an extension of this idea, I invite the reader to take a look at the podcast site that has this same idea - only in audio format. The podcast site is called "gcrpodcast", which is short for "Growing Christian Resources" podcast. This podcasting site contains several 15 minute podcast programs on different subjects and a new podcast program format called "TNT (Two minutes in Truth) podcast". 

Today I invite the reader to sample a recently completed series on the character of scripture. The aim of the podcasting site is to daily offer listeners two minute segments of God's truth. If you as a reader visit the site, you will also see that we are in a current series exploring how Jesus is revealed in the scriptures. I would hope that for many people, this podcasting site could function as a jumpstart to devotions or as a supplement to spurn on thinking in an area of God's Word. Each episode is only two minutes, and once listeners click on to the site, it is simply a matter of pushing "play" and listening. All the podcasts can be played on a computer, i-pad or phone.  The links to each podcast are included in this post below. May God richly bless you and thanks for visiting here and hopefully over at

1. 2 minute podcast on "Why Study Doctrine". Please click below

2. 2 minute podcast on the "Divine Inspiration of Scripture". Please click below

3. 2 minute podcast on "What is meant by the term scripture". Please click on the link below

4. 2 minute podcast on "What is meant by revelation and inspiration". Please click on the link below

5. 2 minute podcast entitled: "3 types of revelation". Please click below

Friday, March 27, 2015

P3 God's will on Men, Women, The Church, Marriage and Culture - 1 Timothy 2:1-4:6

1 Timothy 4:1-3 "But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth."

The past couple of days have been dedicated to understanding God's will for manhood, womanhood, the church and marriage. In yesterday's post we dealt at length with the Biblical definition of marriage, noting two marks that can define any marriage and an additional third mark for anyone desiring to have a Christian marriage:

1. Sacred covenant ordained by God 
2. Specifically one man, one woman, united for life.
3. Spiritual Christian marriage: one Christian man, one Christian woman, united for life. 

Thus far we have aimed to understand God's will on these matters from 1 Timothy 2:1-3:16. Today we conclude this blog series by considering God's will in culture, which is to say, God's will for Christians living in the culture as seen in 1 Timothy 4:1-6. We will first of all define briefly the marks of our culture predicted by the Holy Spirit in 1 Timothy 4:1-6, followed by a specific focus on God's will for Christians living in a culture hostile to marriage.

Predictive marks of culture. 1 Timothy 4:1-6
I will only lay out in brief the four marks of culture the Holy Spirit says characterize all subsequent cultures, specifically our own, in the days leading up to Christ's return. We know the Holy Spirit is speaking of the time immediately preceeding the return of Christ, since we similar references to such times in 2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Peter 3:3 and Jude 1:18. In short, what four marks does the Spirit predict to characterize the culture of our day:

1. Revival of paganism. 1 Tim 4:1
2. Recklessness. 1 Tim 4:2
3. Rejection of marriage. 1 Tim 4:3
4. Religion without Christ. 1 Tim 4:4

We could easily spend another two or three posts discussing each of these marks, however the third one (rejection of marriage) is what I want to spend the rest of the time focusing on today as well close out this blog series. Why? Inasmuch as all these marks must be warned about and addressed, perhaps no more visible, no more practical and no more personal battleground is being contested for in the culture and the church than marriage. 

God's will for Christians living in in a culture hostile to marriage
As we already discussed above, marriage is specifically defined in the Bible. The Biblical definition of marriage (one man and one woman united in covenant for life) is a concept that is not only found in scripture, but hardwired into humanity, since we are made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:24-25) Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4:3 that among other practices, culture in the time before Christ will "hinder", "forbid" or "try to stop" the institution of marriage in it's tracks. Quite literally in the original language, those who "forbid" marriage will try to "stand in the away or make it difficult" for those who want to get married or who advocate such.  In Paul's first letter to Timothy, the church he pastored was located in a city where all sorts of practices and relationships were being promoted. Temple prostitution was the norm and the Roman and Greek practices of having mistresses would had been accepted in that culture. What Paul is saying is that such opposition to God's marriage standard of one man/one woman in marital covenant will grow worse and more pronounced as the time for Christ's return approaches. How so? By promoting alternative, man-made arrangements that when practiced, result in the decrease of rate of marriage and the increase of rate of practice of non-biblical relationships that are centered on man and not God. What would be some examples of non-biblical co-habiting relationships or any type of sexually-orientated arrangement outside of marriage? We could do an exhaustive listing, but for sake of time I will list a general heading and four specific examples:
Five-examples of non-Biblical relationships that work against marriage and thus hinder it in our culture. 

1. Fornication. Any sexual relationship between a man and woman before marriage (Deuteronomy 22:17-19), or any sexual act that occurs outside of marriage. (see 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:16; 10:8; Jude 1:7) The term "fornication" is a general umbrella term that, in the original languages of both Old and New Testaments, refers to being unfaithful to God's covenant and one's covenant spouse in marriage.  

2. Adultery. This act is a specific expression of fornication that has to do with any sex-act performed with one person of the opposite sex while married to another person of the opposite sex. We know that "adultery" is a specific expression of fornication from texts that mention both terms as distinct sins. (Mark 7:21; Galatians 5:19). Exodus 20:14 is the first mention of the term "adultery" and the seventh commandment. According to Proverbs 6:32, a person lacks sense when they commit this act. Think of how much adultery destroys marriages, undoubtedly creating an environment that can cause people to doubt the validity of marriage, and thus hindering it. 

3. Pornography. This is a visual act of fornication that primarily entails one person attempting to gratify themselves outside of marriage and without anyone else. Jesus not only condemned adultery, but also condemned the looking upon another woman (or if a woman, looking upon a man) with lust as tantamount to committing adultery in Matthew 5:28. Why? Because the attempt to gratify one's God-given appetite through an unbiblical method pollutes that gift and leads to moral and spiritual ruin. Addiction to pornography wrecks havok on marriages, leading to physical, emotional and spiritual distance between spouses. 

4. Pre-marital sex. In passages such as Exodus 22:16,17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29, we see commands forbidding pre-marital sex, which is often-times also called by the more general term "fornication". Paul tells people in 1 Corinthians 7:2-4 that if a man and a woman, who have expressed the desire to spend the rest of their lives together, are to avoid falling into sexual sin, "let every man have his own wife and every wife her own husband." 1 Corinthians 7:9 plainly states: "it is better to marry than to burn." Since the 1970's, premarital "live-in" co-habitation has increased over 500%, resulting in a slowing of rate of marriages and/or people getting married far later in life. Either way, pre-marital sex hinders marriage.

5. Same-sex unions. 
This particular matter is introducing the most radical alteration of the marriage definition in all of human history. Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., President of the The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has noted that up until 20 years ago, no nation on earth had ever had such a thing as same-sex marriage. Christians must realize that the terms "same-sex" and "marriage" would by definition cancel each other out Biblically and by the meaning of marriage clearly defined by scripture. Even radical authors and speakers like Rob Bell, who advocates same-sex unions, has concluded that for the church to be relevant, they have to abandon their reliance upon the Bible. As shocking as Bell's statement is, his point affirms that even non-Christian advocates of same-sex unions recognize the impoosiblity of holding to the Bible and the idea of same-sex marriage. The Bible in no way affirms that same-sex sexual activity is within the bounds of God's known will. To elevate same-sex unions to the category of marriage is to discard the Divine design and make anew a relationship that derives from the heart of sinful man. 

 Author and Pastor Dr. Timothy Keller makes this powerful point in his DVD series - "The Reason for God": "The Bible says sex is for a man and a woman inside marriage to nurture and maintain a long-term, permanent relationship of marriage, which means polygamy, which means sex outside marriage and homosexuality are considered violations of God's will and are violations and violations of our own design. So the Bible is saying that you are missing out when you do those things. The Bible's teaching on homosexuality would be then that you are going against your own design and are missing out on the best that God has for you." 

Any form of sexual sin outside of Biblical defined marriage hurts deep down due to the fact that anyone who commits any of the above acts "sins against his own body". (1 Corinthians 6:18). Moreover, fornication, if peristed as a full-time lifestyle (whether adultery, pre-marital sex, pornography or same-sex unions), could indicate an unregenerate heart, which in turn would mean that the person would suffer eternal torment with other unbelievers. (1 Corinthians 6:9) 

Is there hope and forgiveness for those who are either tempted by sexual sin or who commit any form of sexual sin?
It is vital when dealing with difficult subjects such as this that we end with the hope of the Gospel. The Gospel is for sinners in need of the Savior and Lord and for saints who need power to continually turn from sin and to their Savior and Lord. What happens when someone struggles with temptation with pornography or even same-sex attraction? 1 Corinthians 10:13 states: "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." James 1:13-16 also reminds us that temptation itself is not sin, but only when we give into it by yielding to our cravings does it then become a sin. Oftentimes our fleshly side as believers will take on the trappings of the overall bent of the culture. Thus this is why sins of the flesh are often connected to whatever is going on in the world and the Kingdom of darkness energizing this world system. (1 John 2:15-17)   

But now what happens if someone falls into any type of fornication? As Christians, we have the power from the Holy Spirit to turn away from such sins, as we see in Galatians 5:16 "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry outthe desire of the flesh." Romans 13:14 is very helpful to memorize - "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts." But if someone does fall into such sins, 1 John 1:9 states -  "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 2 Timothy 2:24-25 urges - "The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth." Scripture actually records the restoration of a repentant church member who had fallen into gross immorality. (1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2). So even though all the various sorts of fornication can lead to broken hearts, lives and severely crippled faith, yet the true Christian will turn away from such sin and not persist in it. 

Closing Thoughts
Living as a Christian in this 21st century culture is far from easy. Thankfully, God has laid out His will for believers who live out their daily lives for Him as men and women, married or unmarried in a culture that needs the light of Jesus. We can praise God that we not only have clear direction from His word on how we ought to live in His will, but that He is living out and working out His will in us. (Coolossians 1:27; Philippians 2:12-13). There is hope and forgiveness in Jesus Christ, and as with anyone falling into any sin, we all need to look to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of Faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

P2 God's will on Men, Women, The Church, Marriage and Culture - 1 Timothy 2:1-4:6

1 Timothy 3:1 "It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do."

1 Timothy 3:14-15 "I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself inthe household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth."

1 Timothy 4:6 "In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following."

Yesterday we considered what God's will is on men, women and the church, with some mention of His will on marriage. We concluded yesterday's post with the fact that much of the qualifications for Pastors and Deacons in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 cetner around their marriages and home lives. This is not incidental but intentional, since God's design of his church not only includes all individual believers whom He loved and called unto salvation, but also for the church to be a place that promotes the proclamation of His intentions for marriage. Pastoral leadership functions to set examples before the people of God, since truth is more often reinforced by example and word. Today we consider God's will on marriage, since it is spoken of so prominently in the qualifications of pastors and deacons in 1 Timothy 3:1-13, is used elsewhere to describe the risen Christ and His church that are referenced explicitly in 1 Timothy 3:14-16 and which is predicted to be opposed by unbelieving culture in these last days as warned in 1 Timothy 4:1-6.

God's will for marriage
We noted yesterday that marriage is a big deal to God in his church, and He wants men and families of pastors and deacons to champion and model before the congregation and ultimately the culture what sound marriages and homelives look like in a world where disfunction is unfortunately, but in reality, the norm. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit and the cross can pastors, deacons and the church body live out God's will for men, women and the church. But now the question is: what is marriage? How does God spell it out in His word?

The sacred covenant of marriage 
When we note the sacred covenant that is marriage (i.e the sanctity of marriage), we are recognizing it being a sacred, holy institution ordained by God that must be protected and promoted in the culture. Why? The God-given standard of marriage functions in concert with two other God-given institutions: government and God's people. In the scriptures three institutions are ordained by God in the following order: Marriage (or family), Government and God's people (Israel Old Testament and the Church New Testament). God's people in both parts of our Bibles function to proclaim the light of God's truth from His word and to be testimony of God's redemptive work. (Genesis 12:1-7; Matthew 28:18-20)

The Biblical teaching on the role of government is explained in the following quote from the Baptist Faith & Message 2000: "God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends." Government then serves the needs of people in general and should provide a level playing field for all institutions so that the church can freely practice and promote the Gospel.  

What makes marriage so vital to the service of the other two institutions is what we noted earlier: marriage maintains a righteous standard in our culture and a powerful picture of the Gospel in both the culture and our churches. So what else should we declare about this standard? 

Specific definition of marriage: one man, one woman, for life 
The Bible knows of no other biological definition for marriage than that of one man, one woman, for life. (Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 2:24-25; Matthew 19:4-6). Marriage as described biologically, is a covenant made before God between one man and one woman. (Genesis 1:26-28) The main point of marriage, at least in the biological sense, is to propagate the human species and to produce Godly offspring. (Malachi 2:15) The Southern Baptist Entity: "The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission" writes: "Beyond the clear scriptural statements regarding fornication, cohabitation presents another breach of biblical ethics. God established the sexual relationship between a man and a woman in Genesis 2 as a sign of the covenant of marriage." Not only does such a statement apply to the unbiblical practices of fornication (sex outside of marriage) and co-habitation, but also other un-biblical practices such as same-sex unions. The SBC position statement on contrasting God's marriage standard to that of same-sex unions states: "We affirm God's plan for marriage and sexual intimacy – one man, and one woman, for life. Homosexuality is not a "valid alternative lifestyle." The Bible condemns it as sin. It is not, however, unforgivable sin. The same redemption available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They, too, may become new creations in Christ." Thus biologically, the Bible's definition of true marriage has been and still remains exclusive: one man and one woman in covenant with one another and with God in a lifetime commitment to one another in holy matrimony.

Spiritual Christian marriage is one Christian man, one Christian woman, for life. 
Ephesians 5:31-33 gives us the clearest doctrinal and thus spiritual meaning of marriage found in scripture: "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."  The other two ways of describing marriage (sacred covenant and specific to one man, one woman, for life) covers the general definition of marriage for all mankind, whether believer or unbeliever. However, when we talk about Christians and how marriage is to function in the church, scripture stresses this third truth of the spiritual siginficance of Christian marriage. 

In short, when two people are contemplating getting married, if they so-desire the marriage to be a Christian one, it makes sense logically and moreso Biblically for them both to be converted. Consider for example 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people." 

Now what happens if after two people have gotten married, one becomes a Christian? Passages such as 1 Corinthians 7:12 and 1 Peter 3:7 command the believer to remain faithful to their unbelieving spouse and to shine the light of Jesus. Undoubtedly that is a completely different situation versus the purposeful courting or contemplation of marriage that goes on so frequently between Christians and non-Christians. Certainly if someone finds out they are courting an unbeliever, they ought to share the Gospel with them and urge them to trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. However, to practice so-called "missionary dating" or committing oneself to an unbeliever for the sake of evangelizing them is not only ill-advised but dishonest. To mix the proclamation of the Gospel with any sort of emotional coercion, even if well-intended, is at worst disasterous. If the choice comes down to between heeding God's Word and keeping that relationship, Jesus must be chosen over anyone, at anytime. Living as a Christian is not easy, however faithfulness to the Lord is always necessary. 

Closing thoughts for today
The ultimate meaning of marriage intended by God from the beginning was meant to picture His relationship with His people. When it comes to understanding God's will on marriage, in general terms we saw two truths:

1. Sacred covenant ordained by God
2. Specifically one man, one woman, united for life.

Then in regards to the specific context of marriage among Christians, we added a third distinguishing mark to the other two marks as constituting God's will for Christian marriage..

3. Spiritual Christian marriage: one Christian man, one Christian woman, united for life.

Marriage by its very nature carries much rich doctrinal truth: the Gospel message that Christ came to be the Savior of all men, especially believers. (1 Timothy 4:10) Jesus came to purchase His church, which is His bride ordained by His Father from before the foundation of the world. (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:22-33) To uphold any other standard than God's marriage standard of one man, one woman in covenant marital union with Him is to proclaim another message which is alien to the Gospel. These are the things Paul tells Timothy he is writing about (1 Timothy 3:14), and that all pastors are to point out (1 Timothy 4:6). 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

P1 God's will on Men, Women, The Church, Marriage and Culture - 1 Timothy 2:1-4:6

1 Timothy 3:1 "It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do."

1 Timothy 3:14-15 "I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself inthe household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth."

1 Timothy 4:6 "In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following."

As a pastor, my aim is to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ at His judgment seat and to hear Him say: "well done my good and faithful servant." As the Apostle Paul writes to pastor Timothy in his first epistle to Timothy, he wants to make sure that Timothy proclaims to his congregation certain truths that they will need to be an effective group of believers. On seven occassions you find Paul making statements to Timothy about setting forth the truths of God's Word before the people: "the command entrusted to you" (1:18); "writing these things" (3:14); "pointing out these things" (4:6); "prescribe and perservere in these things" (4:11-12); "prescribe these things" (5:7); "maintain these principles" (5:21) and concerning immorality "flee from these things" (6:11). Among the 14 different subjects discussed by Paul in 1 Timothy, we find the need to preach the Gospel, issues on men and women, marriage, doctrine and morality. With particular reference to 1 Timothy 2:1-4:6, we find five general areas that in all reality affect one another that must be addressed by every pastor and church in every age. Today's post begins consideration of what God has to say about men & women, the church, marriage and the culture. The first two of these we will cover quickly, since other recent posts have covered in detail God's visions for godly manhood and woman hood. We could call this discussion: God's will on men, women, the church, marriage and culture. 

God's will on men. 1 Timothy 2:1,8
As we noted already, we won't camp to long on this point or the next, since much has been covered in recent posts. Paul's statements are so clear on the subject of godly men that barely no further comment is needed. He states in 1 Timothy 2:1 - "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men." Then in 1 Timothy 2:8 we read - "Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension." In short, God through Paul desires godly men who will be spiritual leaders without hesitation. So that is God's will on men, but what about His will on women?

2. God's will for women. 
We read these words in 1 Timothy 2:9-10 "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness." God desires women saved by grace through faith to demonstrate the richness of His work inside of them, to exercise their distinct roles as women while enjoying equal status and value in God's site and to enjoy God's redemptive restoration of their womanhood in Jesus Christ. 

3. God's will on the church. 1 Timothy 3:1-13
In 1 Timothy 3:1-13 we see Paul laying out details concerning the qualifications for Pastors (3:1-7) and Deacons (3:8-13). God has ordained at least two major offices in the local church (and I would suggest a third, elders, in texts such as Acts 11:30; 1 Timothy 5:17). In just focusing on the offices of Pastor and Deacon, it is amazing how many of the qualifications center around the family life and moral/spiritual development of the man. This is not to say of course that pastors should not possess the ability to administrate, teach, preach nor that Deacons should not possess skills for practical, pastoral care of God's people, since such qualifications are spoken of elsewhere in God's word (compare Acts 6; Ephesians 4:11-12; Titus 1). Nevertheless, other than the short phrase for Pastors being "able to teach"  in 1 Timothy 3:2, the qualifications for Pastors and Deacons center mainly around their home lives and testimony.

To get more specific, more space is devoted in the qualifications on the subject of Pastors and Deacons marriages and homelife than any other set of qualifications. Just notice briefly the qualifications that center around marriage/family:

1. "Husband of one wife" 1 Timothy 3:2
2. "his own household" 3:4
3. "his children" 3:4
4. "his own household" 3:5
5. "Deacons likewise...." 3:8
6. "Women" or in some versions "their wives" 3:11
7. "husbands of only one wife" 3:12
8. "managers of their children" 3:12
9. "their own households" 3:12 

These qualifications admittedly places pressure on pastors and their families and if not careful, can tempt many pastors and their families to perform, rather than rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit. As with any Christian, whether in the pew or behind the pulpit, only the power of the Holy Spirit and the power of the cross make such standards of living not only possible but reality. (compare Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:18) These observations obviously overlap between the comments we are making about God's will for the church and marriage. The church and its equipping servant leadership (pastors) and effective servants to the people (literally the meaning of "deacons") constitute God's will for what He wants in terms of the order, leadership and example in the local church. 

Closing thoughts for today
As I mentioned a moment ago, God's will for the church and for marriage intertwine and overlap. For now we will close out today's post, however let me conclude with this observation regarding why Paul is making such a big deal about the marriages and homelives of the leadership in an among the church. The point? Marriage is a big deal to God in his church, and he wants men and families of those men to champion and model before the congregation and ultimately the culture what sound marriages and home lives look like in a world where disfunction is unfortunately, but in reality, the norm. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit and the cross can pastors, deacons and the church body live out God's will for men, women and the church. Tomorrow we will consider God's will for marriage, as depicted in these verses and in other verses. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The meaning and significance of the sword of the Spirit

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Hebrews 4:12  "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

Today's post features a particular description of God's Word that aptly describes the work of the Spirit through the scriptures in the lives of people. We oftentimes view the Bible as a static object that sits on a coffee table or that is in a pew rack at church, not realizing that its very words are God's voice verbalized in pen and ink. The Apostle Paul defines the piece of the spiritual armor called "the sword of the Spirit" as the Word of God. Henceforth this post will be all about unfolding the significance behind the meaning of this title: "sword of the Spirit". To aid us in unpacking the meaning of this term in Ephesians 6:17, we will enlist Hebrews 4:12 and other scriptures that speak on the subject of the word of God being the sword of the Spirit. 

The meaning and significance of the sword of the Spirit 
Hebrews 4:12-13 states - "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." The sword of the Spirit that is explicitly stated to be the Word of God in Ephesians 6:17 is explained in full measure in Hebrews 4:12-13. How the scriptures function to convert souls and change lives is remarkably explain in this passage and others. Let's note what the passage has to teach us about the "sword of the Spirit, the Word of God":

1. The Bible is a living book that is active. 
Hebrews 4:12 begins - "For the word of God is living and active....". The Bible operates by the Spirit's working as a real live person. As one preacher has noted: it has hands that grab me, feet that pursues me, lungs that puts breath in me, eyes that watch me, ears that hears me and God's mind that discerns me. Now this idea of the Bible being a living book may sound unusual, however consider Proverbs 6:20-23 "My son, observe the commandment of your fatherAnd do not forsake the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you;
And when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life." Also regard 1 Thessalonians 2:13 "
For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but forwhat it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe."

2. The Bible is a cutting book that penetrates. 
Hebrews 4:12 continues - "...and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow...". When Roman soldiers fought in a war, they did not swing their swords like how we see soldiers with swords in the movies. The Romans actually looked down on other nations whose soldiers faught in suh a manner. Rather, the two-edged sword was a weapon of precision that was wielded with quick forward thrusts. When the sword pierced an opponent, it would cut down into the interior parts. 

The language of warfare is certainly used here in Hebrews 4:12 and Ephesians 6:17. We also see a second kind of language, namely the language of ritual and sacrifice. If one were to read through the first seven chapters of Leviticus, the priest's preparation of the sacrifices would be recognized as cutting through "joints and marrow". Hence, the word of God's function as a cutting book that penetrate (i.e a sword), points to how it at times can be all out war for our heart. Likewise, its cutting action, taken from the realm of ritual sacrifice in the Old Testament, points to how it guides us to the Lamb of God, our eternal High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ. So as the sword of the Spirit, the Bible is a living, active book and a cutting, penetrating book. However, notice a third main function:

3. The Bible is a discerning book that unveils hidden things
The remainder of Hebrews 4:12-13 finishes out as follows - ...."and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." Whenever you read in the book of Revelation about Jesus wielding a sharp two-edged sword in his church (Revelation 1:16; 2:16) or over the nations (Revelation 19:15), reference is being made to His omniscient discernment as the Lord and Judge of all men. The written Word of God functions similarly to the Living Word - the Lord Jesus Christ. I have witnessed either in the pews of a Sunday morning crowd or in my own heart the unveiling of hidden things. Admittedly, it can be uncomfortable. Yet, by the scriptures I can deal most effectively with life because of the hidden potholes and blindspots that oftentimes cause me to get in trouble and become hindered in my walk with the Lord. 1 Corinthians 2:10-13 speaks on this point - "For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so thethoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughtswith spiritual words."

Closing thoughts
Is it no wonder then that we need the scriptures, the sword of the Spirit? As we think once more about the meaning and significance of this title: "sword of the Spirit", we can note the three truths we learned today:
1. The Bible is a living book that is active.

2. The Bible is a cutting book that pentetrates. 

3. The Bible is a discerning book that unveils hidden things

Monday, March 23, 2015

P2 - A great resource for affirming Biblical manhood and womanhood

Genesis 1:26-28  "Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Over 25 years ago, the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (from hereon CBMW) was formed to equip the wider evangelical world on how to address the increasing momentum of changes introduced by the then feminist movement of the mid to late 20 centuries. With the blurring of lines between genders adovcated by the feminist movement, the attack on the Biblical distinctions between men and women was clearly in motion. The below statement, framed in Danver's Massachusettes, represented the beginnings of the CBMW and the need to affirm God's vision for men and women in the Bible. The hope is that the reader will explore the website of the CBMW in gaining a richer understanding of God's vision for men and women than what has been presented in an introductory fashion in these past two weeks on this blogsite. Here is the the link to the CBMW: . 

Yesterday we looked at what the Danver Statement has to say in regards to the rationale for biblical manhood and womanhood. Today we conclude this two-part look at the Danver Statement by noting it's affirmations of these vital truths. Like yesterday, numbers have been added to the below excerpt for easier reading. The reader is encouraged to read it and then check out the link I just mentioned. May all of us be equipped to better articulate God's vision for godly manhood, womanhood and marriage in this 21st century world. 

The Danver's Statement: A Summary of the need for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Note to reader: the entirety of this statement can be found at:

Based on our understanding of Biblical teachings, we affirm the following:
1. Both Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18).

2. Distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order, and should find an echo in every human heart (Gen 2:18, 21-24; 1 Cor 11:7-9; 1 Tim 2:12-14).

3. Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin (Gen 2:16-18, 21-24, 3:1-13; 1 Cor 11:7-9).

4. The Fall introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women (Gen 3:1-7, 12, 16).

a. In the home, the husband’s loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife’s intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility.

b. In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.

5. The Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, manifests the equally high value and dignity which God attached to the roles of both men and women (Gen 1:26-27, 2:18; Gal 3:28). Both Old and New Testaments also affirm the principle of male headship in the family and in the covenant community (Gen 2:18; Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; 1 Tim 2:11-15).

6. Redemption in Christ aims at removing the distortions introduced by the curse.

a. In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives; wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership (Eph 5:21-33; Col 3:18-19; Tit 2:3-5; 1 Pet 3:1-7).

b. In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation; nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men (Gal 3:28; 1 Cor 11:2-16; 1 Tim 2:11-15).

7. In all of life Christ is the supreme authority and guide for men and women, so that no earthly submission-domestic, religious, or civil-ever implies a mandate to follow a human authority into sin (Dan 3:10-18; Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29; 1 Pet 3:1-2).

8. In both men and women a heartfelt sense of call to ministry should never be used to set aside Biblical criteria for particular ministries (1 Tim 2:11-15, 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9). Rather, Biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will.

9. With half the world’s population outside the reach of indigenous evangelism; with countless other lost people in those societies that have heard the gospel; with the stresses and miseries of sickness, malnutrition, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance, aging, addiction, crime, incarceration, neuroses, and loneliness, no man or woman who feels a passion from God to make His grace known in word and deed need ever live without a fulfilling ministry for the glory of Christ and the good of this fallen world (1 Cor 12:7-21).

10. We are convinced that a denial or neglect of these principles will lead to increasingly destructive consequences in our families, our churches, and the culture at large."