Yesterday, I was watching a video of a Bible study that our church leadership did a few years ago as we met and planned the upcoming year for us at that time. It was an amazing day. As a leadership team, we hiked about 18-20 miles, visiting villages, sharing the Gospel, doing Bible study, and planning. It was a great day of fellowship and brotherhood. We even found time to take a nap beside a lake under some shade trees during the hottest part of the day. All the memories came flooding back as I watched the Bible study session. I wanted to write an article with the teachings from Acts 20, given to us by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul. I linked to the verses, or, you can open your own Bible and read the account, starting in verse 15 and going through the end of the chapter. As we studied the passage, we looked at what we learned about Paul and the commands Paul gave to the Ephesian elders. From these two aspects, we have much to learn about Biblical leadership.
Can we separate love for God from service to God? Many seem to think so but that is not what the Scriptures teach. Unfortunately, in the Evangelical world, the title of this article is a common mantra. I do not believe that it is correct, nor Biblical. According to the Scriptures, we cannot separate love for God from service to God.
I. Jesus’ understanding
The idea for this article came as a direct result of a Facebook question that I asked in reference to John 3:5. I received the answers that I expected. I was asked to explain the meaning of the water to which Jesus refers in John 3:5. I want to share the explanation here in this post. One of the requirements in answering the posed question was that interpretation needed to be contextual and referenced with other Scriptures if possible.
Here is the question: Continue reading
In my previous post, I wrote about God’s Sovereignty and Man’s responsibility in salvation, demonstrating that God saves us based on grace and not merit, but, this does not negate man’s responsibility in salvation. God offers and man has to accept. The transaction of a gift is not complete until the recipient takes the gift from the giver. In the case of our salvation, we looked at God with Abraham, Jesus with His disciples, and Paul with his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. That article came as a result of a discussion with a Calvinist brother in Christ. This article is the direct result of a continuation of that discussion and this time focusing on man’s responsibility in holiness, or the other Biblical term that is used is “sanctification“. The word holy and sanctified have the same Greek root word and the meaning is to be “set a part”, to be “different” from those around you. God saves people with a purpose, and that purpose is more than just taking them to heaven when they die. The word salvation literally means “rescue”. God rescues us from more than just the fires of hell. He rescues us from our sin nature and as we walk the path of life with the Lord, He sets us a part from the rest of the people in the world by making us more like Him and less like people controlled by their sin nature. That is what holiness means. It does not mean that you dress differently from everyone else, retract from the world, and become weird. It means that you begin to win the battle with your sin nature. The closer you walk with God, the more and more victories you will have over your number 1 enemy, yourself. The further away you get from God, the more you will begin living like the rest of the world, enslaved to the desires of your sin nature. I would like to examine this from Paul’s epistle to Titus. Continue reading
Dear friends, I have been listening to a sermon preached by my mentor, Vasile Filat, based on I Timothy 5. I want to share some of the thoughts from the sermon with you here in this article. I will not link to the sermon because it is in Romanian. Before we begin, take a moment to read the following verses: Continue reading
Over the past couple of days, I have been debating with a brother in Christ who follows reformed theology. In common terms, he is a 5 point Calvinist. I have asked him, like I ask anyone with whom I debate, to take off theological glasses and view the Word of God as is, letting the Scriptures speak for themselves. I have written on the subject of “Predestination” and you can read it here.
In this article, I would like to explain, using the Scriptures, that God calls us to be reconciled with Him and in order to be reconciled, we must respond to God’s call by bowing our knee to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. When this happens, we are born again into the family of God. Continue reading
Dear readers, it has really been neat to teach through “The Essentials of Effective Prayer“. We have dedicated this entire year in the Children’s Department to learning about prayer and living out a vibrant prayer life. As I have been studying this topic with my Kids’ Express teachers, I have been blessed to see how the Lord is at work in all of our lives, drawing us closer together as a team.
- Effective Prayer Lesson 1
- Effective Prayer Lesson 2 part 1
- Effective Prayer Lesson 2 part 2
- Effective Prayer: Allegiance, Submission, and Gratitude
- Effective Prayer: Petition and Intercession
- Effective Prayer: Forgiveness
This next lesson that I am about to teach is a crucial one. In the Lord’s Model Prayer in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but, deliver us from evil”. There are several things that Jesus wants to show us through this theme/subject. One is that temptation, if not handled correctly, will lead us to do evil. We need deliverance and we are too weak to do it on our own. Let’s see how this plays out as we use Scripture to interpret Scripture and discover the essence of Christ’s teaching here.
I. The Reality of Temptation
As a relatively young pastor, I have had to learn and apply this teaching to my own life over and over again. I am not teaching pure theory. This comes from years of practical application. As people, our sin nature does not like authority. Because of this natural state, it is very difficult for us to honor our elders. We have to be taught and reminded over and over again. That is why “Honor your father and mother” is a command. It is a command because it goes against our nature. Showing honor and respect to elders is not natural to anyone. It is a conscious effort that we must make, moment by moment, day by day. The command to honor has no time limit. Even when you are married and have your own kids, you are still to honor your father and mother. The same is true once you receive authority yourself, you must still respect the authority of those who are older than you are.