Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Thankful Samaritan

Luke 17:11-19 "And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. (12) And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: (13) And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. (14) And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. (15) And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, (16) And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. (17) And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? (18) There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. (19) And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole."

Happy Thanksgiving!  May we never forget to give God both glory and thanks for His grace and mercy upon us.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christian Meditation (part 1) Distinction and Definition

Christian meditation is not Transcendental Meditation. The two are similar in that they are both mental exercises, but the end results are mutually exclusive. Transcendental Meditation seeks for an “altered state of consciousness,” but Christian meditation seeks for an altered way of life – one towards Christ-likeness. The former is cultic, destructive and false, while the latter is Scriptural, helpful, and true.

The Lord Jesus Himself exemplified the need to come apart from the business of ministry work among the people. He often went to a private place in order to pray and be refreshed (see Mark 3:7; 6:46; 7:24). Similarly, we need to get away from the things, perhaps even people or situations that inundate our hearts and minds, and leave us spent, wasted, or empty for God or the things of God. His withdrawal from the crowd is a demonstration for his followers to do the same. Christian meditation is a coming apart, or a withdrawing of the mind from the clutter of the day. We would do well to follow our Savior’s example.

Christian meditation is the compliant, constant and careful reflection of God, His work and His Word.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stewardship and Thankfulness (Matthew Henry on Genesis 8:20)

"And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar." (Gen. 8:20)

"He offered only those that were clean; for it is not enough the we sacrifice, but we must sacrifice that which God appoints, according to the law of sacrifice, and not a corrupt thing.  Though his stock of cattle was so small, and that rescued from ruin at so great an expense of care and pains, yet he did not grudge to give God his dues out of it.  He might have said, "Have I but seven sheep to begin the world with, and must one of the seven be killed and burnt for sacrifice?  Were it not better to defer it till we have greater plenty?"  No, to prove the sincerity of his love and gratitude, he cheerfully gives the seventh to his God, as an acknowledgment that all was his, and owing to him.  Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honored...We are now to express our thankfulness, not by burnt offerings, but by the sacrifices of praise and the sacrifices of righteousness, by pious devotions, and a pious conversation."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christian Meditation (Introduction)

The Bible has much to say about meditation, consider some of these verses:

(Joshua 1:8) 
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

(Psalm 1:2) 
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

(Psalm 19:14) 
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

(Psalm 119:15)
“I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.”

(1Timothy 4:15)
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”

                The word “meditate” means to think, to contemplate, or to ponder.  It involves mental exercise.  Our 21st century culture has all but eroded our capacity to genuinely think and reflect much less contemplate the things of God.  The human brain, however, is so “mind-boggling” in that a single brain can function with the electronic equivalence of all the radio and television stations in the entire world put together. (*) And so it is important that we think about what God wants and commands us to think about.

(Philippians 4:8)
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

(*)R. Kent Hughes, Philippians, Preaching The Word Bible Commentary Series (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007) pg. 173.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Homily

“Preach the word…” (2 Tim. 4:2a)

Here is the plain command regarding the proclamation of God’s Word. We ought to expect our preachers to “preach the word.” A Biblical sermon is fundamentally an exposition of God’s Word. This means that a preacher doesn’t start with his own thoughts of what he desires or wishes to say, nor does he invent doctrines from his imaginations. A sermon is powerful and authoritative on the basis of its source, and that of course is God’s Word. A sermon isn’t powerful because of a personal story or illustration, the method of delivery or style of preaching, not even in the raising of one’s voice, per se. Sure these have their proper place in the homiletic process, but they are not the essential element in preaching - much less good preaching. Good preaching is the exposition of God’s Word. Commonly the topical sermon is viewed as the antithesis to expository preaching.  However, a sermon can take the form of a topical message and still be an exposition of God’s Word, if it is done right. The important idea in preaching is that the message must fundamentally be the explication of God’s Word.