God’s Word, God’s People, a Pastor’s Joy


Tomorrow is the 1st of July. 10 months ago our church began studying the book of Galatians and this week we close the book.

We have a tradition at Crystal Park Baptist Church that on the Sunday an epistle is completed we read the book, from verse 1 through to the final verse with a short homily delivered at the natural breaks.

The idea is that over 10 months we unpacked the author’s original intent to his original audience – having considered in detail culture, language, geography, grammar, history, politics and many other nuances – so now we get to hear the book read, as it was intended to be consumed.

It’s a really exciting event for me. I love God, love His Word and love His People and when those three things come together in worship, fellowship and teaching He is exulted and glorified.

The three images below is the book outline which I’ve used to co-ordinate the preaching schedule and which I will use to drive the main points of the text home tomorrow. You can click them to enlarge them and notice that each sermon minor point trickles up to a major point the author is trying to make which I’ve tried to convey by using differing colors.

I am also excited because I started prepping towards Colossians a month ago and in the next few weeks we will begin a new journey, on a new book, discovering afresh the glory of our God and King.

Galatians 1 - 2, outline, chart, irving jensen, pericope, Galatians, Paul, Baptist
Galatians 1 - 2, outline, chart, irving jensen, pericope, Galatians, Paul, Baptist
Galatians 1 - 2, outline, chart, irving jensen, pericope, Galatians, Paul, Baptist

Advertisements

Galatians 4:21 – 31 God’s Children of Grace


Nothing gives me greater pleasure than wrestling with God’s Word in the presence of His Son, in the power of His Spirit. Discharging Sunday’s sermon is the highlight of my week.

Tomorrow’s sermon covers Galatians 4:21 – 31. After breaking the passage up into clauses, linking like themes or subjects together; I believe the sermon is God’s Children of Grace (the two sons, mothers and cities juxta position the two covenants, Law and Grace).

The Sermon outline will come from the text and will be:

  1. Historical Example
    1. Two sons
    2. Two mothers
    3. Two paths
  2. Figurative Interpretation
    1. The Slavery of the Law
    2. The Freedom of Grace
  3. Practical Application
    1. Persecution
    2. Purification
    3. Emancipation

Galatians 4:21 - 31, Galatians, Paul, Jerusalem, slave, free, sons, mothers, covenants, law, persecution, purification, emancipation

How did they handle persecution? The Biblical Record


Saint Philip Baptizing the Eunuch of the Queen of Ethiopia, Théodore Chassériau, 1819–1856

Saint Philip Baptizing the Eunuch of the Queen of Ethiopia, Théodore Chassériau (1819 – 1856). Click image to link to the post.

How ought the brethren to have handled the sudden, violent death of Stephen in Acts 7? “Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him” (Acts 8:2). Naturally the initial response was emotional.

The biblical record however does not dwell on their emotional turmoil. In 31 AD (Williams 1964:33), straight after the initial persecutions, “Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ” (Acts 8:5). How did Phillip handle persecution? By confidently confessing Jesus Christ and him crucified.

In 33 AD (Williams 1964:33), after Saul’s conversion, “the Jews plotted to kill him” (Acts 9:23). Yet their scheme was thwarted. As soon as he was delivered out of their hands “he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord” (Acts 9:28). How did Paul handle persecution? By valiantly declaring the whole counsel of God.

In 44 AD (Douglas 1962:523), “Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also” (Acts 12:1 – 3). Yet after Peter was miraculously released “the word of God increased and multiplied” (Acts 12:24). How did Peter handle persecution? By becoming increasingly more bold to speak the word without fear.

“How did they handle persecution?” We must answer: every persecution levelled against the early church was used by God to fan into flame the zeal of His Church.

Why were Christians persecuted? Of Concurrence


The large monument in the middle of the Old Town Square in Prague is the statue of the reformer Jan Hus (John Huss), one of the most important personalities in Czech history. A hundred years before the Protestant Reformation was started by Martin Luther, Jan Hus was burnt as a heretic for reformist ideas.

The large monument in the middle of the Old Town Square in Prague is the statue of the reformer Jan Hus (John Huss), one of the most important personalities in Czech history. A hundred years before the Protestant Reformation was started by Martin Luther, Jan Hus was burnt as a heretic for reformist ideas, 1915, by Ladislav Saloun. Click image to link to the post.

The last post in this series was Why were Christians persecuted? Of Providence. Click here to read it.

That the Apostle Paul was an instrument of God cannot be overstated. Consider his life accomplishments: the Apostle to the Gentiles, writer of at least 13 New Testament epistles, prolific evangelist and church planter, God’s man for the day. And yet God’s use of Saul was as instrumental as His use of Paul.

Allow me to illustrate: Joseph was hated by his brothers, beaten, tossed into a pit, sold into slavery, imprisoned for a crime he did not commit and generally quiet shoddily treated. Yet when his brothers came and fell down before him, begging for his forgiveness his response was “…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Gen 50:20).

What Joseph realised was that “God uses the “free will” of man to accomplish His own will” (Archer 2012).

Observe Saul’s “free will” on dreadful display after the stoning of Stephen, “Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison… …[he] not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death [he] cast [his] vote against them. And [he] punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them [he] persecuted them even to foreign cities” (Acts 8:3; 26:10 – 11).

Yet Saul, rather than thwarting God’s will, is but a pawn to it, as “…those who were scattered went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).

“Why were Christians persecuted?” We must answer: because God harnessed the “free will” of man; succeeding precisely what He foreordained.

The Filling of the Holy Spirit (Part 4)


<— Click here for Part 3 Click here for Part 5 —>

Paul urges believers, “…be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Eph 5:18) Filling means we, “…should be so completely yielded to the Holy Spirit that He can possess us fully and, in that sense, fill us.” (Gotquestions 2010)

This occurs in two ways: Firstly as a sovereign act He fills some for particular purposes. This can be observed in the accounts of Peter (Acts 4:8), Steven (Acts 7:55) and Paul (Acts 9:17). Secondly believers are filled whereby the Spirit exerts influence and control in their lives (Eph 5:18). The filling of believers produce fruit in line with their salvation such as, “…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance….” (Gal 5:22 – 23)

The filling of the Spirit is bound to the bold proclamation of the Gospel message (Acts 2; 5; 6; 11). Quite an indictment as we consider how feeble the visible church is in our day and age.

Whilst Ephesians 5:18 is an exhortation to be filled with the Spirit Ephesians 5:19 – 21 describes the result of that filling. We’re to praise God (Eph 19a), appropriately worship Him (Eph 19b), show our gratitude to Him (Eph 5:20a) and assent to one another (Eph 5:21).

<— Click here for Part 3 Click here for Part 5 —>

Sunday’s Point to Ponder


Today’s sermon at Midrand Chapel broadly outlined the Doctrines of Sovereign Grace as laid out by Paul in Romans. Chris didn’t spare a punch as he covered depravity (1:18 – 23; 3:9 – 22), election (8:28 – 30; 9:9 – 18), atonement (2:23 – 26; 4:24 – 25; 5:18 – 21), grace (19:25 – 32) and perseverance (8:1 – 11).

The quotable quote of the day had to be, “Man’s depravity is not a great obstacle to the Gospel, it’s an insurmountable one.”

Chris Woolley Midrand Chapel

Chris Woolley has been an elder employed at Midrand Chapel since 2005. He is married with six children, three of whom have been adopted. Chris studied mechanical Engineering at WITS University during which time he became a Christian and developed a desire be involved in missions and church planting. After initially working as a Maintenance Engineer he resigned to further his theological studies. He is a graduate of the Baptist Theological College in Randburg (DipTh) and the Masters Seminary in California (MDiv).

Olievenhoutbosch outreach: Leadership Void (Part 5)


<— Click here for Part 4 Click here for Part 6 —>

In Olieven, Bible studies, Jesus Film showings and other outreaches are marked by a glaring absence of committed men.

In Titus Paul stresses the importance of appointing elders as protectors, feeders and leaders of the flock. He reserves this office for men. Therein lies a problem for this church plant. Biblically qualified male leadership is in short supply.

A spiral of social degradation has robbed the church of a generation of suitable male shepherds. If autonomy requires a plurality of elders then training followed by time is going to be needed.

<— Click here for Part 4 Click here for Part 6 —>