Question: Where was Jesus when He cleansed the temple?

Question: Where was Jesus at when He cleansed the temple?

I was recently asked this questions and I thought I would share my answer.
 

We will take Matthew 21:12-15 as our key text for study.  We do know that he cleansed the temple twice in his ministry, towards the beginning and the end (here is some quick info on that http://www.gotquestions.org/temple-cleanse.html).  

 
12And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. 15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased”  (Matthew 25:12-15, KJV).
First thing we will notice from prior scripture is that they are in Jerusalem for the passover (this is the passion week).
 
Jesus went straight from the triumphal entry to the temple.  The for temple here in the Greek is ἱερός (hieros) meaning sacred.  In terms of the temple it means the entire complex of buildings (including its major temple) consecrated for the the worship of a deity (Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.)
 
The NIV adds something that several versions don’t, that Jesus walked into the “temple courts.”  We’re not arguing over the addition of courts but it does beg us to understand what courts are meant by here.  The temple had courts?  
 
For a more extensive study on the Temple look at Edersheim’s  “The Temple, its ministry and services as they were at the time of Jesus Christ” (2003). For a smaller more condensed look we will notice that especially after Herod’s construction on the Temple that it was a huge complex.  Josephus wrote that Herod increased the size of temple complex from “one Stadium to six stadia” (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/14304-temple-of-herod).  If you google a map of Jerusalem in Jesus’ day (or look in the back of some Bibles) you will notice that the temple looks to be almost a quarter of the city.  It was a large complex with many sections.  Many of which were not dictated by the scriptures but by extra-biblical Jewish scriptures.  The courts from outer to inner were, Gentiles, Women, Israel, and Priests.  The idea was that the closer one came inside the more holy the place became.
 
The rules of the temple major reached the entire structure except by the provision that each court made.  In the court of gentiles, any traveler, that was deemed whole, could enter.  In the court of women, only Jewish men, women and children could enter.  In the court of Israel, only Jewish men.  Finally, the court of Priests, the actual prescribed biblical court, was for the priests only.  
 
So for as much as a precise location named, we won’t find that in scripture.  He just somewhere in the temple.  But there are other pieces to this puzzle that gives us a good understanding.
 
Two key things help us from our passage.  Some key actions and people help us find this out.  The key action is that in verse twelve sharing that selling was taken place.  The key people are found in verse fourteen where it notes that the blind and lame were in the temple, and verse fifteen shows that children were present in the temple.  
 
The temple is believed to always had a market for those who may of lacked in their own resources to sacrifice.  We see that “The temple market is supposed to have been established after the captivity, when many came from foreign lands to Jerusalem. Lightfoot says: “There was always a constant market in the temple in that place, which was called ‘the shops’ where, every day, was sold wine, salt, oil, and other requisites to sacrifices; as also oxen and sheep in the spacious Court of the Gentiles” (Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (p. 451). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.)
 
By the way, there was selling in the day of Zechariah the minor prophet, as one of the fulfillments of the Messiahs coming was that there would be no more selling, “Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts: And all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: And in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the LORD of hosts” (Zech 14:21).  The word Canaanite כְּנַעֲנִי (Kenaani) means one who travels for trade or profit, hence it is translated as “trader” in many versions.
 
Also, some of the people present support this notion that they at in the Court of the Gentiles.  The lame and the blind were not permitted to be any where on the holy grounds, “And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house” (2 Samuel 5:8).  The fact that they were in the temple to be healed still means they could be present anywhere but most likely they were court of Gentiles, in “the shops.” section.
 
So, perhaps the noise of the animals and people selling reducing the atmosphere of a sacred place to another market street was a reason for cleaning.  Maybe the fact that some record that it be a travel route north to south for people to just pass through the court of gentiles was a reason for cleansing.  Or it may be the lack of access for all people to reach God (division by the courts) was all a part of the reason that Jesus cleansed.  Not just that they were selling.

One Testimony

       Several times I have encouraged my congregation to share their “Jesus Story.”  It is simply how they were before they met Christ, how they came to faith, and their life now.  In order to testify of Christ we do not have to have all the theological terms and nuances firmly set in our mind.  We do not have to have a repertoire of scriptures memorized in order to share what Jesus has done in our life.  We just have to be familiar with our own story, our own transformation brought about by the grace of God.  Look at the trust Christ put into one mans testimony to impact one town from Luke 8.  
26And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. 27And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. 28When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. 29(For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) 30And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. 31And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

32And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. 33Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
 
 
34When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. 35Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.36They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. 37Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.38Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
 
      From verses 34 to 39 we are told of a similar condition of our world today.  Jesus has and still changes lives in a drastic way.  The world though still does not see the benefit of Christ, only that the changes impact their businesses and morality, not their good He does in families and communities.  Jesus did a great work in the man’s life but the people of the community wanted Jesus to leave them alone.  They wouldn’t let him do anymore work there.  At least Him.  
 
      The man whom Jesus transformed wanted to stay next to the one that changed his life.  Jesus on the other hand had a mission for him.  To impact his home city by sharing what “great things Jesus had done unto him” (vs. 39).  We are not told of other disciples of Jesus at Gadarenes but that the whole country had a disposition against Christ.  This is the people to whom this man lived along side of and would see the change in him.  All he had was his testimony.  He had no training from Jesus.  All he had was his testimony and the command of Jesus to share it at home and in his city.  
 
        You may think that your ability to impact others for Christ is limited by your education, social status, or financial background.  You may have other reasons why you do not think you can.  Jesus says you can if you have a firm grip on what He has done for you.  Do not ever be afraid to share your Jesus story.

We have the love chapter but who are we supposed to love?

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vauneth not itself, is not puffed up.
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceeth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faith: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
 
     More than than likely you have read this on a postcard before.  However it probably is in modern english and changes the word charity out for love.  We find it in what is called the Bibles love chapter.  It is a wonderful passage that is hardly ever read in its true context.  Usually it is read on a Valentine card or heard somewhere in a wedding ceremony.  The question then is “What is the real context of this passage?”  In order to answer that in a second go ahead and read all of 1 Corinthian 13.
 
     Perhaps you have already figured out by reading the chapter that this passage was not part of a wedding sermon.  That’s really interesting.  What is the actual context of the passage?  Let’s start with the whole book.  The apostle Paul was writing to a very young assembly of believers in Corinth.  Their group was perhaps around five years old and were already full of troubles.  If we think that the darkness present in many churches today is a new phenomena then we are incredibly wrong.  Corinth had it all.  Gossiping factions, favoritism, sexual immorality, broken families and pride, just to name a few.  All of this adds up into one of the main reasons Paul writes.
 
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of chlo’e, that there are contentions among you.” 1 Cor. 1:10-12
 
     Paul had to deal with a whole lot of craziness at Corinth.  Look at this outline over the content of this letter.
  • Chapter 1: Greeting and purpose for writing.
  • Chapter 2: The Wisdom of God.
  • Chapter 3: Bodies are the temple of God.
  • Chapter 4: Ministers of God that have not progressed in grace.
  • Chapter 5: Put away sexual immorality in the church.
  • Chapter 6: Legal matters and more on the bodies as the temple of God.
  • Chapter 7: Marriage and being single for God.
  • Chapter 8: Food and Idolatry.
  • Chapter 9: Freedom in grace.
  • Chapter 10: Separate from the world.
  • Chapter 11: Proper worship and participation in communion.
  • Chapter 12:  Different types of gifts that make up the body of Christ.
  • Chapter 13: The love chapter.  
  • Chapter 14:  Tongues vs. Prophecy.
  • Chapter 15: Doctrine of the Resurrection.
  • Chapter 16: Salutations.
    It would seem that if Paul’s chapter on love was really geared towards a couple that was courting or  married then he probably would of put it in chapter eight where he talks plainly about marriage.  Yet he places it between chapters 12 and 14.  There is a purpose for it.  Chapter 12 talks about nine spiritual gifts are found throughout the body of Christ.  Two of those gifts, prophecy and tongues, will be discussed thoroughly in chapter 14.  If those two chapters on gifts are connected then somehow chapter 13 and the discourse on love would also fit there.
 
     In chapter 12 Paul really hits on the fact that even though there is such a diversity in the body of Christ there is is still a deeply tied unity by the Spirit.  Chapter 14 deals with the fact that prophecy is a better gift than tongues and since this is such a lengthy chapter on this subject it implies there must of been much discord between the users of these two gift sets.  Could it be that chapter 13 is the solution to the problems of disunity?  
 
      Now take it deeper and lets read the last verse of chapter 12 and the first verse of chapter 14.  
 
“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet whew I unto you a more excellent way” 1 Cor. 12:31
 
“Follow charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy” 1 Cor. 14:1
 
      I think we are getting somewhere now.  It is seemingly more likely that this is definitely not a lovers chapter.  Yet, who are we dealing with.  If it’s not caught yet, this is a letter to a church, about how the church behaves in world and around the members of the church.  This thirteenth chapter to the Corinthians is about how Christians ought to love each.  It could even be said that this is how Christians love everybody.  Remember Christ’s command to love our neighbors and enemies?  How would this type of love change the way we view everyone around.  Love means you could be more patient with everyone.  Love means that you don’t use anyone for personal gain.  Love means that you provoke no one and think evil of none.
 
     Let’s take this one more step.  The word that is translated charity or love in our English language is  agapē (ἀγάπη) in the Greek.  It is a “strong, non-sexual affection and regard for a person and their good as understood by God’s moral character; especially characterized by a willing forfeiture of rights or privileges in another person’s behalf.”[1]  It is not the Greek word eros which was the type of love shared between those in marriage.  Neither was this word phileos which dealt with the love that is found in friendship.  This love solely applied to God.  In fact it could be said that the only way to have this love was to receive it from God.  This was also a gift from the Holy Spirit.  The nature of God’s love.  In fact, the only way we can exhibit this type of love towards all mankind is to have received this love first from God.

    So, don’t shy away from this passage of scripture because it sounds mushy.  It is not that type of love.  It is the love that a Christian has for not only their brother and sisters in Christ but for every person in the world.  When God sheds His love in our hearts it overflows into all of our relationships regardless of their status.


[1] Strong, J. (2009). A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

 
 
 
 
 
    
 
 
 

Life Changes Fast

In an instant Mary’s world changed.  At the words of the angel, “thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son,”(Luke 1:31) her world was forever changed.  The pronouncement of Christ’s first coming is so powerful that it has forever impacted the world.  For a while it was only the immediate persons involved, then communities, countries, and now the world.  Jesus forever changed the course of history.

How quickly has your life changed?  Perhaps it was when someone “popped the question.”  Sadly, it may have been a discouraging phone call.  An accident of some sorts.  A visit to the doctor.  The fact of life is that things change.  Thankfully, God stays the same.  “For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Malachi 3:6).  Who He is and what He does remains constant. Yet, even when He does something over and over, our situation changes.  A phrase I use constantly is “When God speaks, things happen.” We can be sure that because God never changes, whenever He speaks into our life and situations, things change.

Now, how about the biggest change that must take place in your life?  The rerouting of your present life and your eternal destiny.  God can change that.  In an instant.  He can help you turn from your sin and eternal destiny of torment in Hell.  He is drawing you now toward Him.  His grace gives you the strength to turn from those things and turn towards Him.  The decision to follow Him can be made now.  Let Him speak new life into you.  Let Him pronounce you forgiven.  Let Him say, “You have now been adopted into my family.”  Will you let Him make that change in you?

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Last night in service we heard the Charles Wesley song, “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.”  If you have not listened to this classic Christmas song then check it out here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRAFQCOkjgE.   There is a particular line that caught my ear last evening.

“Born a child and yet a king.”
        That is an amazing phrase in the song.  Jesus, who is the Christ, was born into the likeness of our  human flesh.  He became us so that he could bear our sin upon the cross.  He is indeed fully man and yet fully God.  Yes, He was born as a baby but conceived as a King, born a King, lived a King, died King, resurrected a King, still a King.  Not just any King but the king of another country to come.  That is a heavenly.  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.  He is the Supreme of supremes. He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.  He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.  He is the King.  In the words of S.M. Lockeridge, “That’s my King, do you know him?”

Church Seasons

If you take the simple request, “What time is it,” and switch the order of the words you can get a deeper question, “Time, what is it?”  It is one of the most precious possession that we have but squander it as if it is an infinite supply.  For some, time is simply a quantifiable measurement using units of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years.  Others mark it by the “moments that take your breath away.”  What is time and more importantly to believers, how has the church observed time? Since it really does seem obvious to me that we go straight from Halloween to Christmas anymore, even though the calendar has two major American holidays in-between the two.

      Scripture actually gives us a pretty good understanding of time.  It uses two Greek words to give us a well-rounded picture of what time is.  The first word is chronos.  This word is part of your everyday terminology, right?  Don’t you look at a chronometer several times a day?  You watch or phone most likely.  A watch measures time and the word chronos is the word meaning the measurement in those afore mentioned units of time.  It looks like this in the Bible…
“Then Her’od, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.” – Matthew 2:7
 
“and the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.” – Luke 1:10
 
“And there they abode long time with the disciples” – Acts 14:28
 
       The second word for time in the Scripture is the Greek word kairos.  This is not chronological measurement of time but the understanding of a time period that bears a common likeness or contains significant events with deep meaning or likeness.  Here are some Biblical examples to make this clearer.
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” – Galatians 4:4
 
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:16
 
“Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready” – John 7:6
 
“How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.” – Jude 1
 
       It is probably easier to see these as the seasons of life.  What we may be experiencing now is only a season.  It shall pass and a new season will take its place.  There are good seasons and bad seasons.  Joyful and sad.  Solomon (using Hebrew writing) sums up the words chronos and kairos very beautifully in Ecclesiastes 3:1-11
       Now that we have an understanding of time and that it is more than just a measurement of time, let us look at the seasons of the church.  Christmas and Easter are more than just days on the calendar.    Even more, there are several other seasons that the church celebrates.  By using seasons and time the church uses the year to tell the gospel.  The church has ordered its worship by the use of the calendar and season.  The following seasons follow the order of Gospel,
  • Advent
  • Christmas
  • Epiphany
  • Lent
  • Easter
  • Pentecost
  • Ordinary Time
     Very quickly we sum these seasons into three groups, Advent through Epiphany, Lent through Pentecost, and common time.
      Originally the incarnation (enfleshment) of Christ was celebrated January 6 and was called Epiphany.  Epiphany is a moment of grasping something or becoming enlightened.  The church celebrated first the meaning of Christ being fully man and God around 200 A.D.  Christmas became more distinct to be on December 25th around 354 A.D.  Advent and the rounding out of the Christmas season is first seen around 380 A.D.  So here is a run down of the seasons.
  • Advent: Starts the fourth Sunday before Christmas.  Anticipates Christ’s first advent (coming).
  • Christmas: December 25.  Celebrating the birth of Christ.
  • Epiphany: December 26-January 6.  Reflecting on Christ’s presentation at the Temple, visit of the magi, and His miracle at Cana.
         The second grouping is the Easter Season.  The resurrection to the early church (and us) is the most important event on the calendar (1 Cor. 15:17-19).  It is so important that the resurrection is celebrated not just once a year but every Sunday morning.  In fact every morning belongs to the Christian as a reminder of Christ’s resurrection and our future one.  Every Sunday and morning is a “mini-easter” (Drury, Wonder of Worship, 2005).  Easter itself is a week observing the passion of Christ from the entry into Jerusalem to the resurrection.  It became a season of observance because of discontent in the early church to focus on this for only a week.  Lent (latin for spring) is the 40 days of preparation before Easter some time around 325 A.D. (Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday was added around 1000 A.D.).  Not only was preparation made before hand but celebration after Easter was extended to Pentecost, 50 days after Easter. Pentecost celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Church and for a long time was more celebrated than Christmas.  In fact the most important season of celebration is from Easter to Pentecost.  Here is the way it falls.
  • Lent: 40 days before Easter.  Preparation is made by identifying with Christ’s agony to the cross.
  • Easter: First day of the week (Sunday) and by calendar the first Sunday after the Jewish Passover.  Resurrection!!!!!!
  • Pentecost: Sunday after the 50 days from Eater.  The birth of the church.
      The last season the church observes and tells the Gospel story is ordinary time. This is the time between Pentecost and Advent.  During this time focus is made on the harvest, that is, evangelism and discipleship.  Outreach and spreading of the Gospel was and is the focus of the church during this time.
        So this brings my final question.  Why do believers celebrate with greater fervency non-Christian holidays in the church more than we do Christian holidays and seasons?  Do we celebrate them because they are our focus or just nicely placed gimmicks the calendars provides us with? Example of my thought…
  • Valentines days over lent
  • Mother’s day over Easter
  • Memorial day, Father’s day, and Independence day over Pentecost.
  • Halloween (especially) and Thanksgiving over Advent.
       I am not saying there is anything wrong with observing those holidays personally or with the church (at least not all).  What I am saying is do we focus, plan, and celebrate those more than the seasons which the Church has historically observed and used to share the full Gospel story each year?
Love the Word.  Live the Word.
Jeremy
 
 

A great door and many adversaries.

“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” -I Corinthians 16:9

     The apostle Paul found an opportunity to preach the Gospel.  It was something that he could not pass up.  Something had happened and he could not let this get away from him.  He knew that the time for action was now and that it may not be there again if he left Ephesus.  Instead he looked to stay and send someone in his stead before him.

The greek really blows this door wide open (pun intended).  “Great” is μεγάλη (megalē)  in the original Greek which we gain the word mega.  “Effectual” is ἐνεργής (energēs) in the original Greek from which we gain the word energy.  This is a “mega” opportunity and it is providing Paul with lots of “energy” for proclaiming the Gospel.

This door that has opened up to him is to good miss.  He was on his way to visit the believers at Corinth and to stay with them for some time (vs. 5-7).  The book of Acts reminds us after a visit to Corinth that Paul went to Ephesus and seemed to have planted a church there during the end of his first missionary journey (Acts 18:19).  On Paul’s second journey, as he was on his way to Corinth, he passed first through Ephesus (19:1).  While there he became engaged heavily with the city in evangelism and discipleship.  He spent what could of been up to 2-3 years there before going on with his missionary journey.

What could be more compelling than the gracious reception of the Gospel to a minister.  Even Jesus would tarry longer with the people because of His compassion on them.  Paul could not hurry up this process but would stay there as long as the Lord was moving.  To many times we hurry God and what He is doing.  We must discern what He is doing now and stick with His plan.

Now while there is an opportunity for ministry presented by the Lord we must always be aware of those against God.  “Adversaries” (I Cor. 16:9) in the Greek is ἀντίκειμαι (antikeimai).  It means those who are against others, lie on the opposite side, and oppose.  Wherever the Lord is working the enemy of men’s souls is also at work trying to stop the Lord’s work.  We are warned again and again to be aware of the enemies presence and ability to come in and destroy our work.  By the help of the Lord we can stop the advances but we must be vigilant.

So what doors are open to you?  Are you excited by the ministry?  Are you being opposed?

Love the Lord and love His Word.

Trimming and watering

I’m wore out and tired.  After two weeks of intensive courses (15 weeks of material in 1 week), I decided to get up today and help my wife have a yard sale while I trimmed bushes and did so much needed grounds keeping around the parsonage and church.  I haven’t felt this good in a long time.  I really have enjoyed my day being outside, even though my skin is now fried on my face and arms.

While I was out today trimming hedges, rose bushes, and a tree, I was reminded of scriptures that tell us about the trimming that needs to take place in our life.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:1-2)

 
      Purging, pruning, or trimming is the act of taking away something that does not promote growth, and not just any growth, fruitful growth.  We can grow but it may not produce fruit.  We can grow financially, physically, or intellectually.  None of them, however, can produce fruit when they are not centered around our spiritual growth.  Sometimes we need to cut back in areas in order for the main issue in our life, which is our relationship with God, to grow and become fruitful.
 
      The most amazing thing that happened today though happened with another plant and some water.  Abbie, my wife, had left out a plant in the sun to long that didn’t need quite that much.  I seen it this morning and saw how pitiful it looked in its dried state.  I knew it was dead but decided to water it anyways to see what would happen.  When I came back to the house from my other work, to my surprise and Abbie’s rejoicing, the leaves that were withered were flat and the stems that drooped where standing tall.  It was an amazing act that took place.
 
      That spoke to me.  We sometimes get dry and withered in our spirit, in our mind, in everything we are.  Yet, the Lord speaks to us and like water we are restored, refreshed, revitalized.  Yes, Lord, I know I’ve been at school a lot this week hearing about the wonderful work of God, but now I know I must continue to receive the water of your word for my dry and thirsty soul. I thank you Lord, for your Word from heaven that you have given us.

As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. (Proverbs 25:25)

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word (Ephesians 5:26)

The Preacher and the Preaching.

Preaching is the leading way that the Lord has chosen for the Gospel of Jesus to be spread.  Even though to the world preaching such things, as the cross, are foolish, the people of God know otherwise.  It is through faithful preaching of the Gospel message that individuals are saved.  The necessity of preaching has always been important and will always be important till the end of time.  As John Stott writes “Preaching is indispensable to Christianity” (Stott, 1982).  It is not the whole duty of the minister to preach but it certainly is bulk of it.
 
“So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Romans 10:17
 
The need of sound Biblical preaching is becoming very evident in today societies.  D.A. Carson writes “Biblical theology directly addresses massive illiteracy now prevalent in many of our listeners” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION DAC08 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(Carson, 2008)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  John MacArthur also has to say that, “Generations of preachers facing all the spiritual opportunities and satanic obstacles of this new millennium must rediscover and reaffirm expository preaching” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Mac05 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(MacArthur, 2005)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  He then goes on to quote Walter Kaiser’s appraisal that the need of the church to be more effective is preaching of the scriptures with purpose, passion and power.
It is easy to understand and see in today’s churches that people are illiterate when it comes to the scriptures.  Even those that know a bulk of its stories and chronological orders still have a hard time in applying the scriptures to their lives.  A large part of the need for preaching is not only helping readers to understand what was taking place in the historical context of scriptures but also in applying the timeless principles learned from those scriptures in their day to day life.
This is why true Biblical preaching is important to us today.  For minister’s to stand behind the pulpit and speak on philosophies and psychologies is part of the modern churches decline.  It is a powerless Gospel and preaching has become simple religious speeches.  Peter Adam states that “the basis for any true human speaking for God is that God is speaking God” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Pet04 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(Adam, 2004)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Preachers are not to be just speaking about what they dreamed about last night, what happened in the childhood, or their vacation to Holy Land Last year.  Preachers are to speak the Word of God because God gave it to us.  Craddock is quoted writing “To assume that the sheer weight of the authority of the sacred text, the faithful commitment of a regular audience, and the inspiration of a worship setting will sustain the pulpit without the preacher’s own wrestling with the question of what it is we are doing is serious error” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Fre85 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(Craddock, 1985)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>
 
“For prophecy came not in Old Time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” 2 Peter 1:21.
 
 
“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” Revelation 1:10-11
         
   The scriptures that a minister preaches from is not the work of mankind trying to gain an understanding of who God is, but God’s revealing work of Himself to man.  When man speaks the Holy Scriptures he is speaking what God has spoken and when God speaks things happen.  “God speaks, and his words are powerful, effective and creative of reality.  The God who speaks is the God who acts through his words” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Pet04 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(Adam, 2004)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  The communication of scriptures is a serious calling and commission of God that should not be taken lightly. 
            First off the Bible is the Word of God.  Haddon Robinson writes, “When the Bible speaks, God speaks.  This is the conviction that if I can really understand a passage in it context, then what I know is what God wants to say” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Had01 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(Robinson, 2001)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  A preacher of the Word of God must be a minister of the whole Word of God.  There is not a period, a crossing of a “T,” or the jotting of an “i” that is not the Word of God.  It makes the scriptures powerful to the minister and to the hearer when they know that the Bible is God’s Word.
            Secondly, that since the Bible is God’s word is that preaching comes from the approach, “Thus saith the Lord.”  The authority of preaching does not rest on the preacher but solely on the Bible.  It is God’s disclosure to humankind about Himself.  It’s God’s revelation throughout history to man.  It is not the preacher’s job then to make the Bible relevant and catchy to the ears of the audience, but to put the Word of God in the ears of people in ways they can understand.  “Truth is as relevant as water to thirst or food to hunger” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Zon05 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(Zondervan, 2005)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.
            The Bible gives mandates to preaching the Word of God.  It is evident in the scripture concerning the seriousness of preaching.  The New Testament provides many examples and exhortations to preach.
 
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20
 
“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” 1 Timothy 4:13
 
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2
 
That third scripture, given is from the elderly Paul to the youthful Timothy, is probably one of the strongest mandates to preaching.  It tells not only what to do but how to do it.  Preaching must be from the Word of God.  It is not about preaching the Daily Times, the TV Guide, the latest trend but to preach the Word.  The word of God that reproves sin, rebukes waywardness of believers and comfort by the faithfulness of God and teachings of His Word.
Very important is that preaching is not just during assigned worship times but can happen at any moment as demonstrated in the book of Acts.  Being able to preach at the “drop of a hat” is not just something that happens but is the result of some disciplines a minister will go through if they are serious about preaching.  These are prayer, lifestyle and study.
“Contemporary preachers who desire God to display His power in their ministries will bathe their preaching in prayer” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Mac05 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(MacArthur, 2005)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  A praying preacher is a passionate preacher who pursues God in his preaching.  It shows that the man is inadequate in his own power and mind to carry the weight of the Gospel and that his success in doing so in found only in God’s provision.  The man who represents God in the pulpit should continually seek God’s face and provision in his faithful preaching of God’s Word.
Passionate praying leads a preacher into a godly lifestyle.  The preacher will guard his heart and mind so that he is not distracted from the Word of God.  In the preachers lifestyle it will be seen that he leans on the Lord for his strength and that his heart is turned fully toward God.  The prayers and godly lifestyle help to make the preacher passionate in their study of God’s word.  Stott writes “Since the Christian pastor is primarily called to the ministry of the Word, the study of Scripture is one of his foremost responsibilities, to which he commits himself at his ordination.”  To be ready at anytime to preach is the result of a minister’s life study.  It is the result of a minister being fully in tune with God’s spirit through prayer, conduct and attitude and his faithfulness to studying God’s Holy Word.
“Time spent in study is never getting away from daily work but getting into daily work” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Fre85 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(Craddock, 1985)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  Hours in study show immediately on the minister of God’s Word.  “Ministers are required to read” <!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Zon05 \l 1033 <![endif]–>(Zondervan, 2005)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–>.  It is not a luxury or a choice, but it is a mandate to study the Word of God.  It’s not to impress people but to do God justice and represent Him.
 
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
 
The ministry of the Word of God is not solely preaching.  Yet it is through preaching that God has chosen to save this world.  It is through faithful preaching that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is taken to every corner of the earth and is put in the ears of Gods creation.  It is through that God picked avenue that people begin to grow in faith and are drawn to God.  By prayer and study, preaching is made powerful by God’s anointing and His approval on the minister. 
 

 

<!–[if supportFields]> BIBLIOGRAPHY <![endif]–>Adam, P. (2004). Speaking God’s Words. Vancouver: Regent College.
Carson, D. (2008, 10 6). D.A. Carson on Biblical Theology and Preaching. Retrieved 4 1, 2011, from Via Emmau: http://viaemmaus.wordpress.com/2008/10/06/da-carson-on-biblical-theology-and-preaching/
Craddock, F. B. (1985). Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon Press.
MacArthur, J. (2005). Preaching: How to Preach Biblically. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Robinson, H. W. (2001). Biblical Preaching. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.
Stott, J. (1982). Between Two Worlds. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
Zondervan. (2005). The Art & Craft of Biblical Preaching. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
                                 

We are going to live somewhere.

I have never really been into running but have been wanting to take up hiking. For me it’s probably because it offers sanctuary from society and that is good to have sometimes. Three things are beyond my comprehension over the events this week. First, even though at this point it doesn’t matter, is that I don’t know what attracts people to a marathon but I’m sure there are several reasons and probably most are personal. Secondly, that individuals would find it their cause and their pleasure to destroy their fellow man. Thirdly, I also cannot begin to fathom the pain and fear many are experiencing in Boston.  Not only is there pain in Boston but also in Texas, Afghanistan, Mexico, England, Korea, Columbus, Ohio and every other square inch of the world.  My heart breaks for this world.

“Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” Job 14:1

Pain, disease, and death were not part of God’s original plan but due to the appearance of it because of man’s sin in the garden God has planned around it. In our life suffering seems to be inescapable but God’s love prevails above it. The apostle Paul writes that there is nothing whether physical or spiritual that can separate us from Gods love.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39
 
      It is certain that we will experience suffering in this life time but we can be sure that there is the love of God that gives us peace, joy, and happiness.  We also have hope.  Hope that through faith in Jesus Christ that our eternal destiny is to be with Him in Heaven.   If there is anything that we have learned this week, and I pray some have learned, is that life is precious and a gift that can be taken away very quickly.  Something that we have to come to grasp though is the reality that we will always live.  The scripture never gives the idea that death is final.  There is never the idea of annihilation or a cessation of our soul.

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:4

 

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” Hebrews 9:27
 
       With that in mind unbelievers must come to faith in Christ and repentance of sins.  As believers we must continually seek to become more Christlike.  Death will come to all in some form or another but it is not final.  What is final is the destination we arrive at after death but it is eternal.  My prayer is that people are preparing for the time before God after this life so that they may hear Him say, “Well Done,” and not, “Depart from me.”  We are going to live somewhere, where will it be?  Will it be in Heaven where we experience eternal bliss or in Hell where eternal torment exists that one will never become accustomed to?