More than what, more than how . . . but why you do what you do will ultimately determine the success of your “doings.”
This sort of thinking has been championed recently by various thought leaders, but the principle goes back to the Bible itself. God does not just look at the outward appearance, he looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Moreover, the command to circumcise your heart (Deuteronomy 10:16), was followed up with a promise that God would circumcise the heart (Deuteronomy 30:6), thus trading out the heart of stone for a believing heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26–27). In short, God’s work of salvation has always targeted the heart and why we do what we do.
And in this week’s sermon, we saw that Paul’s message to servants focuses on the same truth. Instead of giving a laundry lists of “how’s” or “what’s” for servants (or modern day employees) to follow, he gives three reasons why we should persevere in doing good work.
You can listen to the sermon online. Response questions can be found below.
** In preparation for the message, please consider reading about Paul, slaves, and the church or listening to the sermon on Ephesians 6:5–9. It will provide a necessary backdrop for understanding Paul’s words to Timothy.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds Continue reading
Paul’s entire first letter to Timothy focuses on the family of God. And chapter 5 is perhaps the most relevant for disciples of Christ and how we care for our own families.
On Sunday we began to look at this practical and challenging chapter—what it says to pastors and their churches and to adult children and their aging parents. In short, Paul teaches us God is not just concerned about getting people to heaven, he also cares about the way his people care for one another on the journey.
You can listen to the sermon online. Response questions and additional resources are found below. Continue reading
Over the course of 2018–19 I taught through the book of Hebrews at our church on Tuesday Nights. You can find the audio and notes below.
My approach: With an interest in Christ’s priesthood as the fulfillment of the whole Bible, and with a conviction that Hebrews models for us how to interpret the Old Testament, I attempted to show how Jesus is the Son of God and Our Glorious High Priest. At the same time, as the title of my previous series on the priesthood suggests, I believe the book also shows how new covenant believers become a family of priests in the kingdom Christ is bringing.
For those who read the whole book of Hebrews, you will notice that what is said of Christ (sonship, priesthood, and kingship) in Hebrews 1 is applied to all those in Christ in Hebrews 12–13. In short, Hebrews teaches us how God makes his people a family of royal priests. Often this emphasis on union in Christ with respect to the priesthood is not appreciated, but I believe a faithful reading of the book demonstrates how Christ is the great hight priest and how all those in him become new covenant Levites, so to speak.
One last note, I also attempted to show throughout much of the book how the literary structure is seen in chiastic structures. I am sure I haven’t been right in every case and that I’ve missed plenty, but in the notes you can at least see my attempt at putting the book together. If you have time, and especially if you disagree with a literary structure, let me know. I’d love to see how you put the book together.
All in all, few books in the Bible—maybe no book in the Bible—is more resplendent in its glory of Christ and his royal priesthood. Our class delighted in this truth throughout the year and found much personal encouragement in Hebrews. May you do the same. And may these notes help you in that journey.
Soli Deo Gloria, ds
Our Glorious High Priest: 24 Audio Lessons on Hebrews
- Hebrews Overview [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 1:1–4 [audio, notes ]
- Hebrews 1:5–2:4 [audio, notes ]
- Hebrews 2:5–18 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 3:1–6 [audio, notes ]
- Hebrews 3:7–19 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 4:1–13 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 4:14–5:10 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 5:11–6:12 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 6:13–20 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 7:1–10 [audio, notes] – Guest Teacher (Jonathan Matías)
- Hebrews 7:11-28 [audio]
- Hebrews 8:1-13 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 8:7–13 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 9:1–10 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 9:11–22 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 9:23–28 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 10:1–18 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 10:19–25 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 10:26–39 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 11:1–40 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 12:1–17 [audio, notes]
- Hebrews 12:18–29 [audio] – Guest Teacher (Ron Comoglio)
- Hebrews 13:1–21 [audio, notes]
On Sunday we focused on the death and resurrection of Christ. While Psalm Sunday directs us to Christ’s triumphal entrance to Jerusalem, we focused on Paul’s message of the cross in 1 Timothy 2:5–7. As 1 Timothy 2–3 spend time on Christ’s death and resurrection, we considered how his one death ransomed people from every nation.
Indeed, speaking into the divided context of Ephesus where the Law was separating Jews and Gentiles and urging Gentiles to become like Jews, Paul speaks of the all-sufficiency of Christ’s death once and for all. In this context, we see why this is good news for us and for all time.
You can listen to the sermon online. And you can response questions and further resources below. Continue reading
When you hear the words “church” and “drama,” what comes to mind?
At best, church drama conjures up images of Christmas Cantatas or Passion plays. At worst, church drama brings up painful memories of infighting and relational strife in church meetings.
Too often, drama in the church carries a negative connotation, one that always threatens the church. In response to this danger, many churches turn to deacons as the men who are called on to protect the unity of the church—some even skipping over elders in the process!
Such a purpose for deacons is biblical; it comes from the calling of seven “deacons” in Acts 6 to care for the Greek-speaking widows. Yet, such a purpose for deacons is too narrow to comprehend the role deacons play in the church. Moreover, because elders are called to be the overseers of the church, assigning church unity to the deacons may miss their calling as model servants and ministers of mercy in God’s house.
On Sunday we begin a two-part series on deacons in the local church. Looking at 1 Timothy 3:8–13 we considered how deacons gain a hearing for the gospel. Moreover, by looking at the qualifications of deacons we learned how churches are to recognize deacons.
You can listen online. Response questions are below, along with a few additional resources Continue reading
Second Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” On Sunday we had a good chance to apply that passage, as we saw how 1 Timothy 2:9–15 is profitable for all God’s people.
Unfortunately, Paul’s words about men and women have often been misunderstood, misused, and even denied. Some have used this passage as a proof text to keep women quiet in church. Others have rejected Paul’s words because it smacks of male patriarchy. All in all, this passage IS a difficult one. Yet, we can make sense of it by paying attention to the context of 1 Timothy.
In the flow of Paul’s letter, these verses play an important role of showing how gospel-centered men and women worship God together. In this way, 1 Timothy 2 is not meant to give a place for men to exclude women from learning, speaking, or filling key roles in the church. It is meant to affirm the goodness of men and women and the complementary ways they serve God together.
On you can listen to this sermon online. You can also read a couple important blogposts about these verses. And below you can find a few response questions with additional resources. Continue reading
This Sunday we considered 1 Timothy 1:8–11 and the good news of God’s law. If there is anything in church history that has puzzled and divided Christians it is the relationship between the law and the gospel. Yet, in this passage we are given a clear understanding of how Paul read the Law of Moses.
With application for today, Sunday’s sermon sought to show how Paul read the Law lawfully and how we should do the same. You can listen to the sermon here. Additional resources can be found below.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Pastor David Continue reading
All the Scriptures, but especially the Pastoral Epistles, talk a lot about false teaching.
This shouldn’t surprise us. If the gospel is the priceless message of salvation in Christ, then false teaching and false teachers are the gospel’s greatest threat. Yet, false teaching is not just what we may find on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network), it is found in our own hearts and it threatens every church.
On Sunday we considered 7 False Teachers in Training (or temptations to falsehood that may be resident in our hearts). I argued that sound doctrine leading to a pure heart and a loving church is the best protection for truth. You can listen to the sermon here. Response questions are below, as are some additional resources. Continue reading
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
— 1 Timothy 1:1–2 —
Am I not merciful ?!?!!
I could not help but think of these words from the emperor in the movie Gladiator, as I heard the governor of Virginia publicly defend the right to terminate a life after a child was born.
This recent defense of late term and post-term abortion (read: infanticide) reminds us that our culture and its leaders are confused about the meaning and value of life. But our world is also profoundly unmerciful!
For too many reasons to list, pride and exploitation surround us. And unless God delivers us from the cruelty of our age, we will continue to be engulfed by impatience, harshness, and hatred. Even those decrying the wickedness of abortion often do so with angry rage. Oh how easily we conflate righteousness with unrighteousness.
Considering this, the Bible gives us many ways to grow in grace and mercy. And this week’s sermon focused on this theme of mercy in the book of 1 Timothy. Introducing the book, we consider the grace of God in Paul’s life, the peace-making ministry of Timothy, and the message of mercy in 1 Timothy.
You can find the sermon online and response questions below. I have also listed a few helpful resources on the book of 1 Timothy. Continue reading