Many times, believers fail to understand how marriage is a figure of something far more greater than just marriage itself. Our marriages proclaim something of far more eternal significance than earth can offer. Charles and Daniel discuss the ramifications on CrossTalk.
There is such a shortage of it. It is not impossible to find, but it gets crowded out by the bad news. The big three, “sin, sorrow, and death”, seem to be having their way. They own the news. Meanwhile, righteousness is diminished, and wickedness abounds. It is somewhat frightening.
The anti-God forces are having their way. It is seen in radical Islam killing many and terrifying many others. It is seen in the advance of secularism in the United States; a militant secularism that will not be satisfied until it silences every voice and every remnant of Theo-centric, Christo-centric, and Biblio-centric truth. We see it in a church that still pins its hopes on a national leader who will turn the tide in another direction: a church far happier with its comforts and conveniences than with Christ and Christ alone. It seems as though we spend our days waiting for the next big tragedy and wondering if anything can stop the forces of darkness. As Christians, we can hardly help wondering if our day is one that will witness an onslaught of persecutions that western Christianity has not yet seen. If we are not careful, we could be caught up in the uncertainty and dread that grips the world. We could succumb, at least subconsciously, to such fear.
But what is actually happening around us? Are things as they appear? The answer is yes and no. Yes, the world is rife with evil. In the United States, the days of cultural Christianity are gone with hardly noticeable remnants here and there. Judeo-Christian values and a Puritan ethic that once dominated the cultural landscape have all but disappeared and are fodder for jokes and cynicism even in some Christian circles. The leaders of our nation pay lip service to Christianity, while denying and undermining every vestige of Christian and Biblical orthodoxy.Sin and perversion are applauded while righteousness is hated. The nations rage, and the people imagine a vain thing. But Psalm 2 does not make that as a statement. It poses it as a question. “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?” The question is as appropriate today as it was in the day of the Psalmist. Why indeed do the rulers of the world set themselves? Why indeed do they take counsel together against the LORD and against His Christ? For what appears to be the triumph of evil men, is but a prelude to their ultimate fall. “He Who sits in the heavens laughs. He scoffs at them.” The world may be falling apart around us, but our Lord is having His way. “He does whatever He pleases.” Fret not because of evil doers,… They shall soon be cut off and wither as the grass. Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; … Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” Shall we fret and not trust our mighty God? Shall we fear that His Gospel will not prevail? “If God is for us, who can be against us?” For those who know Christ, the good news of the Gospel overshadows all the bad news, and it is that good news that we gladly bear as a light to the nations.
There is a reason why the family is to operate in a certain manner. The family structure and its function are woven into its creation. Charles and Daniel talk about what this biblical structure and function should look like.
The Christian ministry is more than preaching and teaching. To many, this is the most attractive aspect of being a pastor of Christ’s church. But it is far from all there is to ministry.
When asked to teach a two-semester class on pastoral ministry, I was provided an opportunity to think through and communicate the serious nature of presuming to call one’s self a minister of the Gospel. It is a daunting task.
Over a period of about eight weeks, seven pastoral aspirants and I spent our Lord’s Day mornings considering such topics as The Man of God and His Calling; The man of God and His Companion; The Man of God and His Character; The Man of God and His Congregation; The Man of God and His Challenges; The Man of God and His Children; The man of God and His Crown. This semester was about pastoral ministry and leadership, those aspects of ministry that undergird the preaching ministry of the Pastor. Every effort was made to challenge the students to take a serious look at their call to the ministry. The call to the ministry is often viewed from a subjective perspective, while paying inadequate or no heed to the more important objective aspects found in I Timothy chapter 3. In fact, we learned that all of ministry is guided by the objective truth of God’s Word, especially the I Timothy passage. We approached the class under the premise that what every Christian should be, the man of God “must” be. He cannot be perfect, but he must be exemplary in his personal life, his marital life, his parental life, his social life, his financial life. Our goal was to lead every man to enter and execute the ministry with the utmost care and commitment. Pray that our Lord will cause these things to bear fruit in the lives of those who attended.
But while preaching the Word is not the only aspect of Christian ministry, it is certainly primary. One cannot preach the Word effectively without the foundational matters mentioned above, but he must set his sights on preaching the Word of God effectively. This will be the focus of the second semester of pastoral ministry and leadership. The preaching of the Word is not the vocation of one who has a “gift for gab”. It is the weighty responsibility of one whose calling and consuming passion is to communicate God’s truth by the help of the Holy Spirit. This requires preparation, proficiency, and plodding, persistent labor. It requires a man to be unwaveringly committed to understanding and communicating the text of Scripture and avoiding man-made ideas of relevance and attractiveness. It requires exposition; the proclamation or teaching of a text of Scripture in its Biblical and historical context based on sound inductive study with a view to sound Biblical application.
But how. This will be our focus in the coming weeks. Pray that God’s Spirit will make it happen. “Who is sufficient for these things?” In the words of Sinclair Ferguson; “Thank God our sufficiency is in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In our culture, the concept of the family has become deluded. It’s actually evolving, which is a symptom of a bigger problem of not believing in a final authority. Charles and Daniel dig into the authority of scripture to understand the biblical foundation of the family.