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An Early Father’s Day Sermon from Proverbs 4 April 26, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Father's Day, Proverbs, Religion, Sermons, Spiritual Leadership.
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INTRODUCTION: We are treading into an area of some controversy and we need at this time to deal with it in a way that is helpful and not hurtful. The subject of child rearing is one of those subjects around which there tends to be a lot of heat and not much light. There is a great danger of spiritual pride in our attitudes toward the ways others rear their children. What we want to understand today, however, are some general principles concerning child rearing. As demanded by the text, we will attempt to make some personal application of these principles.
The passages that we are looking at during the next three weeks come from the book of Proverbs. There are a couple of facts you need to recognize about the book of Proverbs. It is meant to be preventative. It is specifically written to keep young people from making disastrous choices. It is not intended to help them once they are in trouble but to keep them from getting into trouble in the first place.
Also, it does not guarantee that the young people will accept the guidance being offered. In fact, the very existence of the book is proof that young people raised in God fearing homes are in danger of rejecting the very truth they have been taught.
One final note before we look into the text. You may not have young children. That does not mean that the passage says nothing to you. Remember that just as a father is responsible to rear his children, this church is responsible to rear the believers in it and those who come to faith in the ways of the LORD. If you are a believer, you are responsible to do your part in bringing others to maturity in Christ and the principles in this passage apply to you also.
I. The goodness of a father’s instruction is the reason to abide in it (verses 1-2). One of the things that strikes me in this passage is the lack of emphasis on being a good example. It is just assumed that the father is living what he teaches and that he is a good example before his children. The reason I believe is this: there is a huge difference between doing something and expecting someone to follow you and training someone to do something. The first has its place but an example without instruction is in the long run senseless.
It is an old illustration but very appropriate. There was a young lady who baked cornbread in a small skillet. The cornbread was delicious. Her husband asked why she made cornbread in a small skillet. She answered, “Because that’s the way my mother does it.” Later that day she called up her mother and asked why she made cornbread in a small skillet. Her mother answered, “Because that’s the way my mother does it.” The girl called her grandmother and asked the same question and received the same answer. Finally, she called her great-grandmother, asked the same question, but received a different answer. Because when I was young, my oven was not big enough to hold a large skillet. Decades of small skillet use because someone followed an example without receiving instruction.
So we have a father who does more than serves as an example but rather is training his children in good instruction. To understand what good instruction is, you need to understand the underlying assumption, the foundation of the book of Proverbs. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). The passage we are looking at today is tells us the importance of good doctrine or teaching and the result of good doctrine. It is true that you will find no mention of God in this passage. However, there is no meaning to the instructions given here unless you acknowledge Christ in all your ways, trusting His understanding and His direction rather than your own. Proverbs says, if you follow the LORD, if you choose the good way, this is how you should raise your children but if you do not there are real dangers that your children will find themselves in.
II. The priority of a father’s instruction is the reason he gives it (verses 3-9).
A. His instruction is his children’s inheritance (verses 3-4a). Notice how the writer identifies himself. He is the only son. In Genesis 22:2 (see also verses 12 and 16 as well as Judges 11:34; Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10; and Zechariah 12:10), when God commanded Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, to be sacrificed; God was not ignorant that Abraham had another, older son named Ishmael. God was emphasizing the fact that Isaac was the receiver of both the physical and more importantly the spiritual inheritance of his father. This is the same usage that we have here in these verses.
We may have the opportunity to pass down some measure of wealth or at least a few precious belongings to our children. What we must give them is instruction in the ways of wisdom, in the ways of God. When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, God gave them the feasts so that they might not only celebrate God’s deliverance for them but also that they might teach their children about the power of God. David in Psalm 71:18 says that even in his old age, he still had something valuable to pass down to the next generation, his knowledge of the power of God.
“The poem, “My Father’s Hands Held Mine”, by Norman H. Russell is extremely moving. The speaker talks about his childhood experiences with his father…The next phrase, “The deer that dies falls from both our hands,” suggests that perhaps his father may still be there somehow in spirit if not in body. He also gives adequate credit to his father for each deer that he kills because his father was the one who taught him how to make arrows. Drawing from the Native American culture that this man seems to come from, the father probably also taught him to hunt. The speaker is thanking his father and praising him because he knows that if his father hadn’t taught him how to him how to do these things, that he would be having some serious issues providing for his family. That’s probably why the father chose for them to do this together. He knew it would have a practical impact on his son. This would leave his son with not only a way to do things but the reason and ability to teach his sons so that they’ll remember him.” (from Phil Talley’s analysis of “My Father’s Hands Held Mine.”
This is why we as father’s and mother’s and leaders within this church must give priority to training our young people. Our example is not enough. They must be taught by us the power of God and the wisdom of God or else they will starve spiritually.
Wisdom has priority above all else (verses 4b-7).
If the way of wisdom is kept, it enables the man or woman who keeps God’s way to live (verse 4b). This means more than simply to be breathing but to have true spiritual life. If you desire to be spiritually alive, then you must believe and observe God’s Word. All other spirituality, apart from God’s Word is no more than a readjusting of the corpse of our spiritual deadness.
If wisdom is acquired, it will preserve and protect the one who acquires it (verses 5-6). This is a scary world. There are many dangers in it. The person who is trained in wisdom, in God’s ways and makes it a priority in his life above all else will be protected when the dangers comes. Fathers, mothers, leaders in this church, if we do not train our children in the ways of wisdom they will be exposed to danger.
Often there is a lot of debate as to how much we should isolate our children or expose our children to the things of this world. This is a legitimate question that every parent should deal with but not everyone comes to the same conclusion. There is obviously a line that must be drawn somewhere but it is not always clear where we should draw that line.
If, however, we do not take steps to train our children in the ways of God, the debate becomes meaningless. It does not matter where I draw the line, if the my child is not trained, verbally taught and shown by example, the ways of God, he or she is exposed unnecessarily to danger. That is why we emphasize Scripture memory in Awana. That is why we have the past three years challenged you as a church to memorize a specific passage of Scripture. We will do that again this year. That is why you need to lead your family in devotions, with at least Bible reading and prayer. That is why some of you parents need to bring your children to our Sunday morning prayer meeting, so that they may learn through our prayers, how to talk to God. That is why some of you need to have your children in Sunday School, as inconvenient as it may be to get up on the only day you can sleep in. We are not talking about building up numbers but rather about building up an inheritance for our children. That is why you need to bring your children with you to every service that this church offers. That is why we as a church offer a nursery. It is the first steps that this church takes in providing protection for our children.
The state has not, never has, and never will protect our children from the destruction of this world. It is left up to us as a church and as Christian fathers and mothers within the church to provide the protective training and instruction that our children need to live and that our children need to be preserved and protected from destruction.
Wisdom can do this because it is the principle thing (verse 8). In other words, it is more important than food and clothing. It is more important than education. It is more important than a good career. It is more important than anything else that this world has to offer. There is nothing, nothing, …nothing more important than training our children in the wisdom of God.
Treasuring discernment above all else results in exaltation above others (verses 8-9). You can teach your child self-esteem but if you do not teach him or her wisdom, they will simply exalt themselves but it will not be real. They will simply be proud. The wisdom from God, when treasured above all that this world has to offer, will exalt that person above everyone around him or her. Do you want your life to be important. Treasure wisdom. That may not impress your neighbors. Your senators and congressman will probably not take notice but God will exalt you. You will be honored with permanent, eternal honor. Honor that only God Himself can give out. You will be eternally significant. You will be important in God’s kingdom if you treasure wisdom.
The coercion of a father’s instruction can result in God’s blessing, if the children abide in it (verses 10-13).
Verse 11 has two very interesting words in it: taught and led. They do not simply mean the act of teaching and the act of leading. There is force implied. I have caused you to learn. I have caused you to follow this path. I have made you to learn. I have forced you to follow in this way.
Quite often, I hear someone say, we do not want our children to be forced to follow the right path. We want them to investigate the various religions and choose the one that they find is right. Solomon would have laughed at such an idea. If you want your child to follow the way of wisdom, if you want your child to choose the path of blessing (as verse 10 teaches) you must force your child to learn and to walk in the right path. If you do not, if you let your child go in the way he wants, he will follow the way he wants and will never come near the path of blessing which God has laid before him.
Even believers fall into this trap. “We should not force our young people to pray in youth group. We should not force our children to go to church with us.” Yet Solomon says that is exactly what we must do. Basic training has a reputation of being unpleasant because suddenly young men and women are forced to do things that go against their natural inclination. They are forced into a certain path. They are made to learn certain things. If they do not then they cannot serve. If we refuse to take that type of attitude in training our young people, how can we expect them to follow the path of wisdom.
Verse 12 tells us actually what will happen if we do not force our children onto the right path, if we do not force them to learn the ways of wisdom, the ways of God, the ways of this word. They will come to a dead end. That is what hindered means. No where to go. Trapped. How many times have we seen people say, “I do not know where to go, what to do, where to turn?” Yet in hindsight it is easy to see what happened. They either were not taught or refused to learn the ways of wisdom and they made foolish decision after foolish decision until finally there was no way out. They stumble, they fall, they can go no further for they have chosen the wrong path.
During the next couple of weeks we will talk about some of those things that we should teach but let me emphasize again that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. If you want your child, if we want people to go in the way of wisdom, we must teach them the gospel of Christ. Jesus was God in heaven and became man to be punished for your and my sins. He died, was buried, and rose again. Will you fear Him? Will you bow before Him as the only God and Savior Jesus Christ? Will you trust Him alone for forgiveness of sins? That is the beginning to the path of wisdom. Teach it today to your children. Tell it to your families. And if you have not followed it yourself, begin today on the path of wisdom through faith in Christ as your Savior.
NEXT WEEK: Proverbs 31:1-9 – What My Mother Taught Me – Part One: The Three Dangers

The Face of the Enemy (2 Corinthians 11:1-15) February 22, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in False Doctrine, False Teachers, Religion, Satan, Second Corinthians, Sermons, Spiritual Leadership.
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(2 Corinthians 11:1-15)

The hardest enemy to face is the one that you do not recognize. This is what Paul fears in this passage. He identifies both the characteristics of the enemy as well as those of the true preacher of the gospel, so that the Corinthians might not be deceived by the enemy. He begins by asking them a very interesting question…

I. Why do you put up with the enemy (verses 1-4)?

A. Their teaching is defiling (verses 2 and 4).

Paul emphasizes the importance of a pure message. There were those in Paul’s day who preached an impure message. Paul describes this as “another Jesus”, a “spirit” and a “gospel” of a different kind. This was a huge problem in those days. It is still a problem today. In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul describes those who preach a different Jesus as storeowner who waters down the wine that he sells.

This is a serious charge. In 2 Corinthians 10:6, Paul says that he was ready to punish, to take vengeance on those who pollute the gospel of Christ. Paul is not having an intellectual debate in this book. He is battling for the purity of the church.

In 2 Corinthians 2:17, Paul mentions that his gospel message was unadulterated. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: “What adulterates the gospel? What makes the true gospel another gospel?” Based on 2 Corinthians 11:4, I would say any of the following adulterate the gospel:

1. Any presentation of Jesus other than what is presented in the word of God corrupts the truth. The Bible tells us that Jesus is God who became man, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for my sins as predicted by the Old Testament, was buried and rose again according to the Old Testament, and ascended to heaven to take His rightful place as Lord of the universe. Any direct or even indirect denial of Christ’s character defiles the truth.

2. Any reception of a new Spirit other than that taught in the Scriptures is also suspect. When I hear that I must have some experience with the Holy Spirit that is superior to trusting Christ and receiving the indwelling of the Spirit, I have reason to doubt the truth.

3. Finally, when I see a list of what one must do to be saved, even if the list is of good things, I am aware that another gospel is being preached. In other words, an addition of any means that makes salvation possible other than solely by God’s grace. This applies to those who believe you have to live righteously to stay saved. If I teach that I have to live right to be saved or to stay saved, then I am adding a human means to my salvation. That, in God’s estimation, is rotten fruit (Ephesians 2:8-9).

B. The enemy is deceptive (verses 3-4, 13-15).

In this way, Paul connects these people with Satan. In the same way that Satan deceived Eve, these false teachers try to deceive God’s people. He says that they like Satan transform themselves. They are not what they appear to be nor are they who they say they are. They are liars and are not to be trusted. They are deceptive. This should not surprise us. Satan’s tactic never really changes. He deceived Eve in the garden and since that day he has continued to deceive the world, being so effective at it that Paul says, Satan, the god of this world has blinded their eyes.

C. Their end is destruction (verse 15). They share not just their character with Satan but also their end. Jesus warned in Matthew 25:41 that those judged by God will have their place in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his messengers. Although there are multitudes who are following Satan and his messengers into the lake of fire, it is specifically reserved for Satan and those who preach for him, even if those messengers are naming the name of Christ.

II. The other side of the question is this, why do you reject your spiritual father (verses 1-2 and 5-11)? You should trust me to put a stop to Satan’s doomed deceivers who are trying to destroy your purity.

A. Why? Because I have been a jealous father to you (verse 2).

What was in those days the great desire of every father for his daughter? That she be taken care of, that she given to a man, to a husband, who would care for her, protect her. Great gifts of money as a dowry were provided in order to guarantee that the daughter would have a good husband. Paul is saying, I greatly desired to find a husband for you who would care for you, who would protect you. I have labored and sorrowed, preaching Christ at every opportunity, just so that I might present you pure with a full dowry to Jesus Christ. Paul took his responsibility for the church very seriously.

The pastor or missionary and other ministers of the gospel often have two families, the physical family and then the people for whom he cares spiritually. That is a very difficult task to handle and Paul chose not to get married for that very reason. He had his hands full with his spiritual family.

B. I have also been a generous father to you (compare verse 3 with verses 5-9). My knowledge (verse 6) and my sacrifice (verses 7-9) speaks for itself.

We reveal through our knowledge of God whether we are true ministers or not (verse 5-6). This is a constant. Effective ministry is not based on numbers of attendees or whether people like us or not. It is based on God revealing Himself through us. Look at 2 Corinthians 4:5-11. If people do not see Christ revealed in our lives and our message, our ministry will be in vain. People have to see more than good morals. That’s why Paul condemned these false teachers. They made themselves the standard of good morals. That’s why upholding the Ten Commandments as a standard to live by is, in and of itself, a dead end. The best they can learn through the Ten Commandments is how evil and vile they are. People have to see Jesus in us.

Jim Elliot once prayed, “Father, make me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road. Make me a fork, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.”

How then do we make sure than not only our message but also our lives reveal Jesus Christ? One way is through sacrifice. Paul mentioned several times throughout his epistles, that he did not take advantage of those to whom he ministered because he feared that would hinder the ministry. Paul is not saying that ministry does not deserve or need money. What is saying is this, our ministry must not be motivated by money or the need for money. To the extent that our ministry is money dependent and not God dependent, to that same extent our ministry will be suspect.

C. I have been a loving father to you (verses 10-11).

There was nothing more important to Paul than to please His Lord. He had a passion for preaching the gospel because he had a passion for Christ. He also had a passion for people because he had a passion for Christ. That, of course, is why he was passionate to protect those people from the false teachers. He was looking out for them to protect them because he loved them.



Boldness and Humility in Spiritual Warfare (2 Corinthians 10) February 15, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Body of Christ, Boldness, Humililty, Religion, Second Corinthians, Sermons, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Leadership, Spiritual Warfare.
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(2 Corinthians 10:1-16)

INTRODUCTION: I remember the first time that I lost sleep because of the ministry. I felt like we had been dropped into the middle of a boiling pot of water with no way out. I had no answers. In fact, the situation over which I lost sleep that night continued for over two years and I never had any answers. I remember how that first night, my wife and I talked over the situation and talked over the situation and how that I looked into the pitch dark of our bedroom with not a sound stirring in the rural area where we lived at the time wondering, fretting, asking God what to do and not getting any advice from Him that I found useful.

It is good to know that others have been where we were at that night and not only survived but were victorious in their battle against Satan. We are going to look at one of those victors in battle, the Apostle Paul, for the next few weeks. I trust that his example will serve for each one of us as a wake up call to what serving Christ means.

There are many aspects to spiritual warfare but I would like for us to look at the attitudes that are necessary for successful spiritual warfare: boldness and humility.

I. Boldness is necessary to assault spiritual disobedience (verses 2-6). Perhaps this goes without saying but boldness is a necessary attitude of warfare of any kind. Paul is careful, however, to define the battle so that we can understand the reason for his boldness.

A. The battle is not personal (verses 2-3). Notice, I did not say physical or mental or emotional. There are definitely physical elements to spiritual warfare. In 2 Corinthians 7:5 Paul mentions his arrival in Macedonia, an area north and east of Achaia, the province where Corinth was located. He makes it clear that he was totally affected by the spiritual warfare in which he found himself. It seems likely that, at the time this verse talks about, Paul was clinically depressed. He was in a rough state of affairs.

We tend to view those who take medicine for depression as second-class Christians. Now I am sure that there are times when medicine would be unnecessary if people dealt with their spiritual needs properly. Let us not forget, though, that there is no shame in being troubled and there is also no shame in being physically affected by those troubles. James reminds us that Elijah was a man subject to the same troubles that we are. Our Lord Himself went through extreme physical and emotional weakness so that He might sympathize with our weakness.

This battle then is physical and emotional as well as spiritual but it is not personal. For that reason, spiritual victory is not dependent on an outward show of boldness.

Paul had a few enemies in Corinth who were accusing him, among other things, of being a wimp. They said, “Sure, he can write a mean letter but when he shows up, we will just walk all over him.” Paul admits in verse one that there is some truth to this accusation. He has a tendency to be strong with the pen and weak in presence. Paul says, however, that does not matter. This battle is not about me. It is not about my style, my abilities, or my methods.

If ever there was a lesson we need to learn, it is this one. How many times have we heard people say, if we could just get the right music style, the right atmosphere in the church service, we could see things happen. These things are important but they do not win spiritual battles. Others say, if we could just have some miracles for people to see or a powerful preacher or an excellent training program, then we could move our community for God. All of these things are fine and have there place but they do not win spiritual battles. Others say, if we could learn to pray like David Brainerd, sing like the Wesleys, preach like Luther, serve like Mother Teresa, organize like Billy Graham, and survey like Bill Hybels, we could have revival, we could win spiritual battles. Revival, however, does not depend on us, it does not depend on our methods, nor does it depend on our style of ministry. Spiritual warfare is not personal.

B. What is this spiritual warfare of which Paul speaks? This war is a spiritual assault with the Christ’s gospel against the stronghold’s of disobedience, the unbeliever and his or her way of thinking (verses 4-6).

In these verses, Paul mentions the goal of our battle (verses 4b-5), tearing down spiritual strongholds and bringing others to Christ. He does not, however, mention what our weapons might be. He simply says (in verse 4a) that our weapons are mighty in God. Paul is not saying that his weapons are superior but rather that his God is superior. Our weapons are mighty in God. Whatever the form that our earthly weapons may take, they are mighty in God (see Mark 14:36). In other words, spiritual warfare is dependent on God. Our warfare is only possible, our weapons are only effective if God is the might behind them. When we pray, if we are effective, it is of God. When we preach and teach, if we are effective, it is of God.

This is basic but we stray too easily from this truth. Paul said, my effectiveness is not dependent on me but on Christ (see also 2 Corinthians 2:14-16). George Morrison once preached, “Men who do their best always do more, though they be haunted by the sense of failure. Be good and true; be patient; be undaunted. Leave your usefulness to God to estimate. He will see to it that you do not live in vain.” We cannot evaluate our usefulness by the response of the world to our personality. Only God can evaluate our usefulness.

II. The second attitude that Paul found necessary seems to be the opposite of boldness. It is humility. Humility, however, is necessary to edify the body of Christ (verses 7-11).

A. Edification is for one’s own army not the enemy (verses 7-9). It is through edification that we are able to as an army rather than as individuals attack the spiritual stronghold’s. That is in some way or another, one of the main themes of almost all of Paul’s epistles. Jesus put it this way, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not stand against it.”

Paul intended to spiritually assault those teachings and those teachers who were preaching a false gospel. Paul speaks in verse 6 of punishing, literally, of taking vengeance on those who preach a different gospel. For those, however, who are Christ’s, that is, those who put their faith and trust in Christ, his goal is different. He is not interested in their destruction (verse 8b), he is not interested in pulling down their defenses. That is reserved for the enemy. Paul’s goal for his fellow-believers is not pulling down but building up.

In this Paul is following the example of Christ. Matthew 11:28-29 describes these characteristics in Jesus Christ, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Jesus did not find it shameful to reach out to us as sinners but rather humbled Himself, made Himself lowly in order to save us. Paul says, my ministry is modeled after Christ. I am not ashamed to humble myself nor am I ashamed to boast. My goal is you edification.

B. God gives us authority to edify with humility one another (verses 8-11). “Why, Paul, do you humble yourself this way? You are an apostle! Why allow these people to treat you this way?” Paul might would answer, because my authority as an apostle is to build up the body and not to pull it down.

It would be easy for us to say at this point, “Sure, that is good for Paul but I have no authority, I have no responsibility, I have no ability to edify my brothers and sisters in Christ!” Let us see what the Scripture says.

Twice in Romans 14-15, Paul commands believers to get along with their brothers in the area of doubtful things so that we might edify one another.

Four times in 1 Corinthians 14, Paul says let edification be the determining factor as to whether you use your spiritual gift or not. If your spiritual gift does not build believers up, then leave it at home.

Three times in Ephesians, Paul points out that the purpose of the church, of this church, and how we relate to one another, is that we might edify one another. You and I as believers are commanded to edify one another and this edification is necessary if we are going to grow in Christ. It is not just for the pastor or the teachers or the advisory board or the adults but everyone of us is responsible to build one another up in Christ.

III. Now boldness and humility come from the same source, the ministry of Christ’s gospel (verse 12-18, especially verses 17-18).

A. These spiritual traits do not come from our moral example (verse 12). This is really a repetition of what Paul wrote earlier but Paul wants to remind them that he is not his own standard. He is held to the standard of God. Those who spend their time setting themselves up as spiritual standards are fools. Certainly Paul set himself up as an example but not in the same way as these false teachers did. He said it this way in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” The danger of keeping rules is not that you may be too strict. The danger of setting yourself up as a moral example and standard is not that you might not reach your own standard. The danger of setting yourself up is that by doing so you miss the truth. Why do good, moral people go to hell? Because they do not understand that Jesus Christ is the standard. They are looking for ways to outweigh what is bad in their life. Jesus has an empty scale on the bad side of the scale. But when we make Christ our source of righteousness we have the source we need for boldness and humility in spiritual warfare (verses 14-15a). Why could Paul boast? He had the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16).

B. The goal of our boldness and humility, of pulling down the enemy and building up the brethren is the expansion of Christ’s gospel (verses 13-16).

You might ask, if Paul has all this boldness and humility from God, why does he keep laboring with these Corinthian believers. Are they not more trouble than they are worth? Paul would answer, “No, they are part of the goal, the boundaries, the sphere of work that God has set up for me.”

The goal of the body of Christ’s faithfulness, that is, Christian growth is the expansion of the gospel. Verse 15 shows us how this should work.

Opportunities are lost when we do not grow in faithfulness to Christ. Paul had been forced to give so much time to issues in Corinth he had not been able to enter some open doors. In 2 Corinthians 2:12-13, he describes how the necessity of sending Titus to Corinth combined with his own emotional state prevented him from entering the open door in Troas. Even Paul could not go it alone but needed the aid and assistance of the body of Christ to be effective in the ministry of the gospel.

That may seem like a contradiction. Are we not dependent on God and not on man? The answer is yes. Let us not forget though that one of the main tools God uses is His church. We are His army responsible to pull down strongholds of disobedience. We are His body responsible to build one another up in mutual growth in Christ.

NEXT WEEK: THE FACE OF THE ENEMY (2 Corinthians 11:1-15)

How do you learn to live the Christian life? Philippians 3:17-4:1 August 17, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Philippians, Religion, Sermons, Spiritual Growth, Spiritual Leadership.
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Philippians 3:17-4:1


Sometimes I am asked a certain type of question. “How do you overcome fear?” How do you learn to develop faith?” “How do you conquer sin and bad habits in your life?” “How do you gain assurance of salvation?” “How do I get filled with the Holy Spirit?”

There are a variety ways to go about answering that type of question but Paul gives us through three different commands, some often ignored keys that will help us to answer these questions and any other question that comes under the category of “How do you learn to live the Christian life?”

Imitation Together (verse 17). Six different times in the New Testament Paul says, “Follow me.”

“But of all mere men, no one is so often particularly set forth in the Scripture, as a pattern for Christians to follow, as the apostle Paul. Our observing his holy conversation as our example, is not only insisted on in the text, but also 1 Cor. 4:16, ‘Wherefore I beseech you, be followers of me’ [to be fools for Christ’s sake, verse 10]. And chap. 11:1, ‘Be ye followers of me as I also am of Christ’ [in that I seek the salvation of other people, 12:33]. And 1 Thes. 1:6. Where the apostle commends the Christian Thessalonians for imitating his example; ‘and ye became followers of us’ [because of the way we lived before you]. And 2 Thes. 3:7, he insists on this as their duty, ‘For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us’ [in that we worked rather than taking advantage of you financially] (Jonathan Edwards).”

This command is to the church not to individuals. This command is to the church as a body because Paul wanted them to function as a body. They were a good church that Paul loved but they were some who had problems accepting others because they were overvaluing themselves and devaluing other (2:2-4). There were friendships that were suffering (4:2). For this reason, Paul reminds them repeatedly that they are fellow-workers, that they are to be of one mind and one accord. They are to “join in following” Paul, they are fellow imitators.

Now this brings up a very important part to learning to live the Christian life: “…the Christian life involves more than just believing – it also includes belonging [to Christ and each other as the body of Christ]” (Rick Warren, emphases are his).

Paul was an example to them specifically in the areas of…

…suffering to advance the gospel (1:29-30).

…humility to advance other believers (2:17-18).

…focusing to advance His knowledge of Christ (3:12-16). Paul in his command to follow him was not intimating that he was perfect. He was intimating that he was on the right path and that if you followed the path on which he was traveling, you would end up at the right destination.

Result – the God of peace will be with you (compare Philippians 4:9 with Psalm 37:7-8). Now they needed peace in two areas. Peace among themselves and they needed peace in the midst of persecution. Paul makes it clear to them that if they imitate him, they will have the God of peace with them. They will be able to be rejoice because their suffering is advancing the gospel, advancing the growth of other believers, and advancing their knowledge of Christ.

Paying Attention (verses 18-21): Paul is not commanding blind or slavish imitation but rather thoughtful imitation. This is the same word that is used in Philippians 2:4, which is translated “look out…for the interests of others.”

The Negative Examples (verses 18-19): the reasons their example is negative (verses 18-21). Paul is contrasting these people with those who we are to follow. He does not explain exactly who they are except to say that they are enemies of the cross of Christ. He does not explain because he had repeatedly in the past warned them and was still repeatedly warning them against these people. He does, however, underline some specific characteristics of these people, generally they set their mind on earthly things as opposed to setting their mind on Christ (verses 15-16).

They serve the wrong god, their belly, glorying in their own shame (see also Jude 1:13), raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame. Now the picture is not necessarily of a glutton, although that certainly could be part of it. Paul may have been thinking of a Cyclops in Euripedes who says, “My flocks which I sacrifice to no one but myself, and not to the gods, and to this my belly, the greatest of the gods: for to each and drink each day, and to give one’s self no trouble, this is the god of the wise men” (with thanks to Wuest). In other words living for one’s self.

They have the wrong end, destruction, as opposed to transformation. Now Paul does not explain here why their end is destruction but there are two similar passages of Scripture that help us to understand why they end the way the do. The first is 2 Corinthians 11:15 where it talks about Satan’s ministers transforming their outward appearance into ministers of righteousness but that their end is according to their works. The second is Hebrews 6:6-8 where it talks about the apostates who fall away from Christ by rejecting Him. The writer says they are like thorns and briars, whose end is to be burned.

The Positive Examples (compare verse 18 with Philippians 2:20-30, especially verses 20-22 and 29; and with 1 Timothy 4:12): the reason their example is positive (compare verses 14 with verse 18 and 1 Thessalonians 1-2). They were like-minded with Paul. Their lives corresponded to their gospel.

Now it is important that we as leaders in the church be examples to be imitated. Not that it is preferable or that it is positive. It is essential for leaders to be examples. According to Titus 2:6-8, if we are examples of good works, our young men will learn how to think wisely and the unbeliever will have nothing to say against us. According to Hebrews 13:7, our people should follow our faith because it is obvious what the outcome of our conduct will be, eternal life.

Determination (4:1). This determination like the imitation is a group effort (See Philippians 1:27). God wants us to stand together.

Determined based on our current and future position (3:20-21).

We do not serve our belly but rather are citizens of heaven (see again Philippians 1:27). We stand together for God and against evil and we continue to stand together because we are Christian patriots. We are the body of Christ. We are on this earth for the advance of the gospel and for the advance of spiritual growth in our fellow solders and for the knowledge of Christ. For that reason we can stand and we do stand.

We do not have destruction as our end but rather the coming of Christ and the transformation of our body. There are two kinds of transformations. The one is transformation where what is new comes out of what was old. This is a metamorphosis, what a caterpillar undergoes when it becomes a butterfly. On the inside it was a butterfly the whole time. This, however, is a different meaning for transformation. It is more like taking an earthworm and transforming him into a butterfly. Although the two have some minor similarities, the difference is so great that it is obvious that the only way to get from an earthworm to a butterfly is through a miraculous transformation, the working (the energy) of the capabilities of God in our lives. The authority that allows God to control the earth is what will bring His purpose in our lives to fruition. This is our whole purpose, that we would be conformed to Christ (Romans 8:29) and because that is His purpose for us, we stand gladly together firm for Him because we know the glory that He has predestined us, for it is the glorious image of the Son of God Himself.

Determined to imitate together and to pay attention (3:17). Paul uses one little word to tie these commands together. In English it is translated “so”. Imitate me and so, in the same manner, pay attention to others who imitate me and imitate them also and so, in the same manner stand firm with us in the Lord.

What are you following and who is following you?

Next Week: Philippians 4:2-9; Mind Melding


Paying Attention to the Example of Leaders Whose Faith is in Christ January 20, 2008

Posted by roberttalley in Hebrews, Religion, Spiritual Leadership.


Hebrews 13:1-17


We are continuing our series out of Hebrews on “Paying Attention”. We do not want to forget that what we are looking at today and in the future in the book of Hebrews is directly tied in to the fact that we are to pay attention to Jesus, that is, according to Hebrews 12:18-29 we are to receive Him and not refuse Him if we are to keep from drawing back from God (Hebrews 10:38-39). There are a number of things that we should pay attention to that are mentioned in this book but the author of this letter makes it clear throughout the whole that we should first and foremost pay attention to Jesus Christ.


As I pointed out last time, what we believe determines how we behave and how we behave indicates what we truly believe. Hebrews 13 like the rest of the book points this out clearly. It begins in verses 1-3 by indicating that our relationship to each other as believers is a family relationship since we as believers are members of the body and that we should act as family. Let me clarify something which is important and foundational for the verses that we are going to look at later. Here and in other places, the New Testament teaches that we are a family, not that we are like a family. If we are like a family, then there are some areas where the two are comparable. That is not what the New Testament teaches. We are the family of God.

Obviously, there are some things that are true of our physical family that are not true of our spiritual family. Verse 4 points that out very clearly. Sex belongs to marriage between a man and woman and there is no other realm in which it is honorable. That does not, however, lower the importance or significance of our spiritual family which is termed in 12:23 as the church of the firstborn ones.

Now in verses 5-6, the writer deals with another area of importance, the love of money. Certainly our relationship to the things of this world tells a lot about our relationship to Christ as verse 6 clearly points out.


What we want to focus on today is how our relationship to Christ affects the relationship in the church between its leaders and the congregation. Today, we have our annual business meeting and it seems appropriate to lift what might appear to be a mundane business to a higher plain and show how that our faith in Christ should affect our leaders as well as the church as a whole.

The leaders of the church are to be men whose faith in Christ is exemplary just as a father is to be an example to his children (13:7-8). The responsibility of a church elder is the same responsibility as that of an earthly father (Compare Titus 1:9 with 1 Timothy 3:4-5). That is what this passage is about. Church leadership is primarily a parental-type responsibility. This responsibility is carried out effectively when the leaders have certain qualities in their lives.


They are men who actively spread the faith (verse 7a; compare with 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12). These men were passionate about speaking the Word of God to others. In Acts 7 when the apostles were looking for leaders for a benevolence project, we find that they chose men who were passionate about spreading the faith. Stephen died for preaching the faith to those who did not want to hear it. Philip was among the first who took the faith to those were not Jews. Silas, Paul’s companion, first appears as a man given the important job of delivering a message from the church of Jerusalem to the church at Antioch. The rest of the Bible reveals him as a man, along with Paul who was passionate about spreading the faith. Your pastor and your church leaders should be passionate to learn the Word of God, to live the Word of God, to develop themselves spiritually but they must also be men who are passionate about bringing faith in Christ alone to the world.

These are men who actively live the faith (verse 7b). Examples of this conduct or behavior are given in verses 13-16 as well as earlier in chapter 13 and in chapter 12.

  1. A man who actively lives his faith identifies himself closely to Jesus Christ (verse 13).
  2. A man who actively lives his faith has loose ties to this world (verse 14).
  3. A man who actively lives his faith is continually thankful to God (verse 15).
  4. A man who actively lives his faith is good to and shares with others (verse 16).


These are men whose faith is in Jesus Christ alone (verses 8-12). They are men who are convinced that Christ is God (verse 8). These men are opposed to anything and everything that takes away from who Christ is and what He did on the cross of Calvary (verses 9-10). They realize that apart from the death of Christ, all religion is profitless and that all who would worship God are excluded. Those who refuse Christ or receive Christ plus law or works or religion or church or spirituality do not have any right to or part in the forgiveness that Christ provided on the cross.

I feel it is necessary to give an example of what I mean. The example I am choosing I do so because it has come up two or three times during the past year and not everyone understands why I am so adamant against certain false doctrines. There is a group that list four fundamentals that they consider the core of their church’s message. Two of the four I would agree with. Let me read for you what they have to say about the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

“All believers are entitled to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and therefore should expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all believers in the early Christian church. With the experience comes the provision of power for victorious Christian living and productive service. It also provides believers with specific spiritual gifts for more effective ministry. The baptism of Christians in the Holy Spirit is accompanied by the initial physical sign of speaking in other tongues (unlearned languages) as the Spirit of God gives them audible expression.”

Do you understand what that means? That means that if I have never spoken in tongues then I am powerless against sin. It means that I cannot productively serve Jesus Christ. It means that God does gift me for His service unless I speak in tongues. Now that may not seem like a big deal to you but if you look at Hebrews 12:28 then what that means is that if I have not spoken in tongues I have not truly received Jesus Christ. There is no room for compromise. Either Christ saves us by faith or he saves us by faith plus an experience. Either the verses we learned in Romans 6 last summer and the continuation of those thoughts in chapters 7-8 teach us that it is faith in Christ that frees us from sin’s penalty and gives us the possibility of living victoriously against sin or it is an experience evidenced by speaking in tongues. In other words it is Christ or an experience. It cannot be both.

These men understand that it is Christ who sanctifies us by separating us from our sin and making us God’s special people (verses 11-12).


The congregation is to pay attention to them as they would to the husband and the father of a family (13:7 and 17).

  1. By remembering how the leaders have lived and then imitating them (verse 7).
  2. By obeying, that is, having confidence in them (verse 17a).
  3. By submitting to their joyful watch (verse 17b with verse 9).

I have primarily spoken to those who are leaders but I want to ask you a question. Will you follow our example? If you feel we are not good examples, then you need to come to us. If you do not know if we are good examples or not, then you need to come in closer contact with us. If you know that we are men whose faith in Christ makes a difference in how we live, then follow us.

The Meaning of the Word “blameless” in the New Testament July 15, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in First Timothy, Spiritual Leadership, Titus.

I’m reposting this because I messed up the previous post when I redesigned the “mother blog” at verizon.net and wanted to be able to link to it from tomorrow’s sermon. Enjoy! 

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Qualifications of Church Leadership – Blameless


Titus 1:5-7

We are going to slow down a bit in Titus. We have been looking at individual paragraphs in Titus. For the next eight sermons we are often going to be looking at individual words. This is a dangerous thing for a sermon. The second that I say, “Webster’s dictionary defines the word ‘blameless’ as…”, some eyes are going to glaze over. So I’m going to try to define words like “blamelessness” and “perfection” by asking and answering a simple question. Is it possible to be perfect? Is it possible to be blameless? How many times have we said to each other, “Nobody is perfect.” “Nobody is or can be blameless.” I want us to look at the Scriptures and see if that is so.


The concept “blameless” can be described by the phrase “without a blemish” (Strongs #299). In this sense, Jesus is blameless. Jesus as the perfect Lamb of God willingly shed His blood, so that we could be saved from sin. This is described for us in Hebrews 9:13-14, “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” The writer is comparing the Old Testament to the New Testament in this passage. He is saying that under the Old Testament, the blood and, in one case, the ashes of perfect animals was sufficient to cleanse the outward man but that Jesus did them one better by offering Himself up as the perfect, blameless sacrifice, without spot and that through His blood we are cleansed from sin and made able to serve the living God. Peter tells us how that works in your life and in mine. 1 Peter 1:18-21 “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” Jesus died the perfect Lamb of God, shed His blood to transform and cleanse you but, according to verse 21, you must trust Christ to redeem you from your “aimless conduct”.ALL BELIEVERS ARE WITHOUT BLEMISH

You are probably not surprised that Jesus is called blameless, perfect, without blemish, without spot. This concept, however, is also used to describe believers presented perfect before God. If you are a believer in Christ, before God, whether now or in the future, you are perfect, without blemish, without spot, without sin, without blame, faultless. I want us to look at one of these instances in Colossians 1:21-23. According to these verses, those of us who have trusted in Christ are three things. The first is holy before God (which means reserved for God’s service). The second is blameless or perfect or without blemish in God’s eyes. Now this is true of all believers. We use the term forgiven but it is much more than that. God views us not as forgiven but as perfect, justified, as if we had never sinned in the first place. That is what the word “blameless” in this context means. This verse also says that we are above reproach, in other words, without accusation. This is the word we are going to be looking at in Titus 1:6-7 in a few moments. This is the word of the three that defines what a blameless church leader should be.

The first answer to the question, can we be perfect, can we be blameless is “Yes! Through faith in the perfect, blameless Lamb of God who shed His blood for us.”


The concept “blameless” can also be described by the phrase “does not deserve criticism” (Strongs #273). Philippians 2:14-15 tells us that if we do all things without complaining and disputing, we will become blameless (undeserving of criticism) and harmless, children of God “without fault” (Strongs #298). This does not mean sinless but it does mean that no one will be able to criticize us. This word is never used of Jesus. Jesus was unblemished but he was often criticized. Even today, there are those who say that Jesus as man must have sinned. It is not true but this accusation is sometimes made. Although it is never used of leadership in the church, it is used about people on earth (Luke 1:6 of Zacharias and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist; Paul said of himself in Philippians 3:6 that he was blameless in keeping the law).

In other words, it is possible to live in such a way that we deserve a blameless reputation and if we do that we will be in comparison to the people around us “without fault.” This what we as believers are to strive for in this world. By the way, complaining and disputing are quiet sins. What is talked about here is not the loudmouth, belligerent jerk but the quiet behind the scenes mumbling and grumbling, the thoughts that are perhaps never expressed by words but it is that type of thing that if we stay away from it will result in a good reputation in the midst of this crooked and perverted world in which we live.

So the second answer to the question, can I be perfect, can I be blameless is also, “Yes! If I live a life free from grumbling and mumbling and negative doubting of other people, I can be blameless as a believer in Jesus Christ.”


Another way in which the concept of “blamelessness” is expressed is through the words “innocence” or “guiltlessness” (twice in Matthew 12:1-7; Strongs #338). This doesn’t mean sinless in character but means guiltless in a specific situation. For example, one of the Ten Commandments says keep the Sabbath Day holy by not working. Yet, the priests offered sacrifices, they worked on the Sabbath Day. Jesus said in Matthew 12 that these mean were without blame or guilt in that specific situation.

In my conversations about this word with various people over the last eight months, this is the meaning that they want to apply to church leadership. They want someone who is innocent and guiltless in every specific situation in the past. Such a person does not exist. This is not the standard for leadership.

Although, this is not the word that describes leadership in the church, obviously the answer is again, “Yes! It is possible for me to be totally innocent and guiltless in a specific situation.”


We are getting closer to what is meant in our text by “blameless”. This word carries the meaning of “unable after investigation to find anything wrong (Strongs #423).” This is similar to the word in Titus 1; it is found in 1 Timothy 3:2 talking about bishops or pastors. In other words, after careful investigation, you should not be able to find anything for which you should rebuke your pastor. In 1 Timothy 5:7 we find that widows who serve the church are to be investigated and in order to serve, to be found blameless. Paul even commanded Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:14 to be blameless until the day that Jesus Christ returns. He was commanded to live in such a way that would withstand scrutiny and investigation.

This is one of the reasons why we instituted a year ago our “Child and Youth Worker Policy”. We don’t as far as we know have a problem, although we do recognize that possibility always exist. We do, however, recognize that we as the people of God, have a responsibility to make sure that every person who works with our nursery and our children and our teens can withstand scrutiny. It is common sense perhaps but there is also a biblical reason for it. That is why, we expect that nursery, children, and youth workers be members of the church. The ministry that we have to our children and young people is so important that we want people whose commitment is beyond question, people whose commitment to God and to others can withstand investigation.

Again, it appears from God’s Word that it is possible to be blameless. Four meanings of the word and in each case the answer is “Yes, we can be blameless, we can be perfect. It is possible for our lives to withstand investigation.”


Finally, we come back to Titus 1:5-7. Twice we find the word “blameless” (Strongs #410) in this passage. It means “without accusation”. This word is also used of deacons in 1 Timothy 3:10. It has to do with leadership. Let me explain what “without accusation” means. This means more than simply acquittal but the total lack of a charge against them. It means an investigation is not even necessary. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do an investigation but that a qualified church leader has such a high character that no one would even believe a false charge. It doesn’t mean they are without any fault. It doesn’t mean that they are totally innocent in every specific situation. It means that their character is such that it would occur to no one to even accuse them of wrongdoing. As you might expect, the ramifications of that are huge. Next week at the annual business meeting, you will be asked to approve the election of a nominee for the Advisory Board. What is the first question you should ask yourself? “Is there any possible charge or suspicion of this man’s character? Is he blameless?” He should be in every sense of the word that we have looked at today.

Turn to 1 Timothy 5:19-25. According to verse 19, we find that they are…protected from false accusation. Paul says here, don’t humor troublemakers. Make sure that there is a reasonable accusation before entertaining it. That’s why one accuser is not enough and two may not be enough for a church to take action against an elder. Elders need to be able to teach uncomfortable things and make unpopular decisions without being fearful that their reputation will be ruined.


Deacons and other leaders need to be able to serve without looking over their shoulder to see what someone is going to accuse them of. Hopefully, this summer we will be able to change the constitution of our church to correspond to this teaching but if we can’t, then the spirit of our dealings with each other must follow these guidelines.

According to verse 20, when an elder sins, he should be rebuked publicly. Why, so that others will keep fearing. In other words, so that they will keep themselves from sin. Peer pressure is a good thing when the peers are following God. I would assume from the context that the sin is such that the elder is disqualified from serving.

According to verse 21, be careful. Don’t let things become a popularity contest. You do right, no matter, who it hurts. Does that mean you are careful how you go about doing right? Absolutely! For example, when we rebuke someone, it should be in truth with love, ready to forgive immediately and even if the offense is of a sort that someone has to be removed from the eldership or membership, our responsibility to edify and strengthen and comfort them remains.

According to verse 22a, leadership should be carefully and cautiously established. Obviously, we are working toward the day when we can have elders but leaders are developed not simply elected, not simply appointed, not simply selected. If Paul’s relationship to Titus indicates anything, it is that spiritual leaders are made not born. Election and appointment and selection are the way we recognize leaders but the way to have effective elders and deacons and Sunday School teachers and worship leaders and youth leaders and nursery leaders and evangelism leaders is to develop them. When you look down at verses 24-25, Paul gives reason why we need to be careful and know our leadership candidates well. Some people, it is obvious in five minutes that they have a problem. Others, it takes a while. You have to get to know them. In the same way, there are those of whom it is clear, that they are doing right. There are also borderline cases and we need to give them time and help them to become what God wants them to be. You see, the greatest resource a church has is its leaders…That is why it is important that they be blameless, able to withstand investigation, of such character that they can stand without even an accusation.

Again, in answer to our question, can one be blameless? Absolutely, every biblical usage of the concepts says that we can. The really important question is, “Are we blameless?”


Pray! We need to be looking for men, who we can say …are blameless… We need to pray that God will give us the men and that we will recognize them so that we can develop them and when they are ready put them into this wonderful position that God has provided for them to serve in. Winston Churchill once said, “If you are doing big things, you will attract big men. If you are doing little things, you will attract little men. Little men usually cause trouble.” We are doing a big thing, let’s pray to God for big men and women to help us accomplish the task He has given us to do.

Secondly, if you are a believer, start working on your blamelessness. It is easy to say, ” ‘…We’re all sinners.’ No Christian is freed from the warping presence of sin, even though the Bible says we can be free from sin’s power. While this is true, it’s no solution. When we turn to sin for the explanation (of our own wrong behaviors or of the wrong behaviors of others), we’re really saying that we don’t expect Christians to be Christlike! That, after all, if we’re all sinners, it’s only natural that we behave like sinners. But (we) do expect Christians to be different. We don’t expect natural behavior of those whom Christ has touched; we expect supernatural behavior. We expect those who know Christ and His word to be transformed.” Be innocent and guiltless in every situation. Quit your private complaining and questioning and watch your reputation grow into one that meets the standard of God. Start living the way God sees you: holy, blameless, above reproach.

If you haven’t trusted Christ as Savior, God does not see you as holy or blameless. He sees you as a condemned sinner without hope but God loves you. He sent His Son, Jesus to die for you, to shed His blood for you. Will you trust Him today? He will transform you, He will cleanse you through the blood of Jesus Christ. Believe on Him today.


Links to Sermons based on 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (or its context) June 29, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Bible, George Whitefield, Inspiration, Jonathan Edwards, Links, Persecution, Preaching, Second Timothy, Sermons, Spiritual Leadership, Suffering.
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This Sunday begins a two month series on the Word of God. We will begin with the classic verse on inspiration in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. There is some variety in the sermons below but I found them all good.

http://www.biblebb.com/files/whitefield/gw055.htm George Whitefield (on persecution)

http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/scripture.htm Jonathan Edwards

http://www.biblebb.com/files/ryle/inspiration.htm J. C. Ryle

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/9/10_Building_Our_Lives_on_the_Bible/ John Piper

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/9/1029_The_Place_of_Preaching_in_Worship/ John Piper

http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermons/read_sermon.asp?id=142 Ray Pritchard

Michael Easley on Spiritual Leadership Qualifications June 24, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in First Timothy, Sermons, Spiritual Leadership, Titus.
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As announced in the Sunday morning service, I am making available through these links, transcripts from Michael Easley’s radio program. (Update: the links I provided do not work. To view or hear the sermons go to http://www.mbn.org/, click MBN programs on the left sidebar, and select Moody Presents. You will then need to select the month of February 2007 from the print or audio archives. Below is the way the links appear on the print archive. Let me know if you have trouble finding them.)

02/18/2007 Lessons for Leaders – 1 (#1834)

02/25/2007 Lessons for Leaders – 2 (#1835)

Here is a link to the sermon I preached on the phrase “husband of one wife”…