Archives For Theology

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” John 1:23 (NIV)

Pastor, you are a voice. You are not the message; you are simply the messenger.

Like Isaiah and John the Baptist, you are the “voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord’” (John 1:23 NIV).

Your objective is to reach the place where you are honest when you say:

The message I bring is from God; it’s not anything I thought up on my own. God filled me with his Holy Spirit so that I could understand his message and know without a doubt that his message is true and freely given.

The words I speak are not the result of human wisdom or human imagination or my own opinion; they were formed in me by the Holy Spirit so that I could express “spiritual truths in spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:12–13 NIV, with author paraphrase).

I am simply a channel for God’s message. In order for his message to grow in me and to grow in you,…

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Jesus Defines Love in Uncompromising Terms

“But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 GNT)

“Had Jesus only told us to love our brethren, we might have misunderstood what he meant by love, but now he leaves us in no doubt whatever as to his meaning.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Jesus is absolutely relentless in pushing the standards of the law to a higher level—in truth, the level at which they’ve always been in the kingdom of heaven. In this case, he speaks about the law of love, insisting it must be a love that is extraordinary and remarkable.

He calls us, Bonhoeffer notes, to a sacrificial love where we love our enemies in exactly the same way we love our friends. Yet Bonhoeffer adds, “By our enemies Jesus means those who are quite intractable and utterly unresponsive to our love, who forgive us nothing when we forgive them all, who requite our love with hatred and our service with derision.”

Our enemies may reject our love; they may waste our love, discount our love, and react angrily to our love. They may…

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brokenglassLet me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. (Psalm 51:8 NIV)

In the school of Christ, brokenness is a good thing.

Here’s why: It’s impossible to become intimate with God unless we are broken of our independence, broken of our pride, and broken of our insistence that our way is better than God’s.

We must be broken of the illusion that we bring anything to the peace talks when we seek to end our war with God; the only surrender God requires is unconditional.

  • Brokenness is the last stop before we finally confess, “I can’t; God can.”
  • Brokenness is the apostle Paul confessing, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24 NIV).
  • Brokenness is the prodigal fighting with the pigs over food (Luke 15:11–32).
  • Brokenness is Joseph, still in prison, forgotten by the cupbearer (Genesis 40:23).
  • Brokenness is Jonah in the belly of a whale, confessing the consequences of running from God: “I know that it is my fault that this great storm has…

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Why Your Members Must Learn Doctrine

Here are nine ways to clearly explain to your church members why they need to learn doctrine.

1. Because knowing the truth about God helps me know God better.

“Listen carefully to wisdom; set your mind on understanding. Cry out for wisdom, and beg for understanding. Search for it like silver, and hunt for it like hidden treasure. Then you will understand respect for the Lord, and you will find that you know God” (Proverbs 2:2-5 NCV).

J. I. Packer once said, “We are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place … for those who do not know about God.”

Living in this world without knowing God is like driving a car with the windows blacked out. It doesn’t matter how hard you step on the accelerator or what direction you steer, you keep running into things and you never get anywhere. If you’re going to get to know God, you have to know the truth about him. You cannot develop a relationship with God…

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