Legacy Standard Bible

I have a great deal of respect for Dr. John MacArthur and the scholarly work that has come out of Master’s University and Seminary. This is a translation and a massive upgrade from the NASB that I am really looking forward to holding in my hands and using. This is a translation that builds upon the word-for-word translation work of Bible versions that have gone before.

However, I am sad that this will not be available for maybe over a year. I wish Dr. MacArthur and staff would have waited a little longer to announce this because the wait will be painful.

Thank you Dr. MacArthur and Dr. Chou for the work that is being done. May Christ be exalted and glorified through the use of this translation for years into the future.

More information can be found at THIS LINK.

The Humble Coronation of King Jesus

Regardless of the situation in the world, this time of year should be a beautiful reminder that Spring is coming. With the Spring, comes what the world calls Easter. However, for true believers, we are preparing to celebrate Resurrection Sunday!

Matt 21:1-11 records the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ the Messiah into Jerusalem. This is the lead-up to Passion Week where we remember what Christ suffered and that culminated in His death and burial.

1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'” 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

In this short message, John MacArthur brings this passage in Matthew to the forefront of our hearts and minds.

Forgiveness in the Age of Rage

The Bible has a great deal to say about forgiveness. The world, and even many in evangelicalism, justify their anger. As MacArthur notes, anger is fueled by psychology and narcissistic self-centeredness. Our churches today are now even telling their members that in order to extend forgiveness to others that true believers have to forgive themselves.

Further, preachers intone that it is a necessity to forgive yourself for your own sin or shortcomings. This is a dangerous teaching that quickly borders on heresy for it leads to the teaching that we have to forgive God.

Forgiveness is necessary in order for true believers to portray the Christ by which we are named. He forgave us when we were unloveable and did not deserve to be forgiven. To NOT forgive is to make ourselves to better than Christ.

The Fragrance of Suffering

Behind a Frowning Providence, He Hides a Smiling Face

“Ministers never write or preach so well, as when under the cross.”

– George Whitfield

I don’t know why, but I’ve always gravitated toward those who’ve endured suffering—far and above those whose lives are generally considered perfect.

Whenever I’m in the presence of anyone who’s been forever altered by a life of suffering, I am inexplicably drawn to them. They are beautiful and they possess a depth to their souls that causes them to stand out in the midst of everyone around them—a depth that only profound suffering can produce. Even more precious to me among those who’ve suffered, are those who understand that their suffering wasn’t for nothing, but was for a greater purpose.

In William Cowper’s hymn, God Moves in a Mysterious Way, he penned this verse:

“Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace; behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.”

A fragrance of suffering permeates those who’ve experienced great pain, loss, and trials, and is far more attractive than that of those whose lives have been defined by happy, clappy superficiality (and this is especially true when it comes to those who occupy pulpits).

Continue reading here.

Consistent Inconsistency – Part 2

There are issues or practices that exist in many evangelical churches. Many are valid, while others are merely the status quo. This means the existing state of affairs. When I pastored in England, there was a saying that summed this up quite nicely. “We have been doing this since the year dot.” Making this statement referenced the reality that nobody knew how or when an issue or practice started, but it has always been that way. Therefore, we have no plans on changing what we are doing.

In the last article, we addressed three items in particular 1) the KJV-only position, 2) the rapture, and 3) The role of supporting missions.

My post is not written with a desire is to belittle a specific person who holds to a KJV-only or rapture position, nor even undermine the role of missions in a local church. My concern is to point out the inconsistencies of holding to a particular position or belief if it is not based solely on Scripture. In fact, I have friends and family who hold to both of these positions and seem to have no issue with the way that churches support missions.

My concern is the lack of fellowship and the vitriol that exists between those who claim the name of Christ. Again, before anybody questions my doctrinal position, I want to add that I have NEVER wavered on the foundational truths of Scripture. What I have changed is where I stand on positions that are not 100% clear. Some of my beliefs have been subjective at best, while others have been refined and clarified through the years.

Through the years, I have learned that some of my convictions are actually nothing more than preferences. I often heard a conviction is something a person would be willing to die for, but a preference does not hold the same value. Sadly though, I have seen many preferences become a “hill to die on” instead of remaining a preference.

But are preferences really as important as some make them out to be? Let me give a follow up example. The use of the KJV is a preference, and not a conviction. If a person were to threaten a person who holds to a KJV-only with harm if they did not read or teach one service from another version, there would be no hesitation at all. They would use the other version. That is another level of inconsistency.

Anytime the status quo changes, one of two things tends to happen. 1) People tend to ask questions and search for the truth, or 2) people get angry and upset. When they get upset, they then tend to abandon all reason. As humans, we do not like to be wrong. To find out we have been wrong in an area requires having humility before God. Yet, some are not willing to be taught.

However, there is another level to the inconsistencies found in many churches. As a pastor, the role of the shepherd is to help guide the sheep. He is tasked with the solemn responsibility of using the time afforded him to minister the Word of God. This teaching is to be such that it helps the hearers strive to become more like the Lord Jesus Christ today than they were last week.

In addition, pastors are to encourage the listener to be followers of Christ, NOT followers of the latest fads or trends in Christian circles. Pastors are NOT called to be little dictators, but to point only to Christ. As the apostle Paul stated so well in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

During my 50 years of life, I have heard “sermons” preached about long hair on men, women wearing trousers, the dangers of Christian Contemporary Music, and a myriad of other preferences. These were a waste of time and only serve to show the lack of preparation time that was spent before the Lord in order to preach the truth. Pastors who do this are failing in their calling.

Pastors and elders, if our goal every week is to stand in the pulpit and harp on preferences, we are demeaning our calling. Time is short and we must be good stewards of our time.

Consider this – Every week consists of 168 hours, and if the average listener comes to a service but once a week, that means that as ministers or teachers of God’s Holy Word that we only have but 30-60 minutes to point them to Christ. To do otherwise is to be inconsistent with the duties of a shepherd.

Do we fully understand this? If people ask those in fellowship what your church believes, the answer they are prepared to give is telling on the sad demise of Biblical truth being preached and taught throughout much of western Christianity.

Many times, the situation would sound like this.

Speaker 1 – “What do you believe?”

Speaker 2 – “Well, I believe what my church believes.”

Speaker 1 – “Tell me what your church believes then.”

Speaker 2 – “My church believes what my pastor believes.”

Speaker 1 – “Please tell me, what does your pastor believe?”

Speaker 2 – “Oh that’s easy, my pastor believes what I believe!”

1 Peter 3:15 says, “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” This is the Biblical standard. 

Is there any wonder why people are so willing to hop from one church to another? Maybe it is because too many pastors are interested in building personal kingdoms and keeping them staffed then they are in preparing hearts for eternity!

Pastors, elders, teachers, and churches, please consider these things –

  1. This world is NOT our home. We are only strangers passing through from that which is temporal and will fade away to that land where eternity reigns.
  2. EVERY believer is to be accountable to one another. This means that pastors and teachers are to be held to God’s standard, not self-made standards. If a pastor or teacher is teaching from the book of Second Preferences or the book of Third Do-it-my-way-or-the-highway, then they have failed.
  3. Pastors and teachers – You are NOT called to build your own kingdom. It is the kingdom of Christ. He is the One Who died for sins. He is the One Who keeps His people secure. He is the One Who justifies the sinner, redeems them, and sets their feet on the Solid Rock. He is the Bridegroom Who is coming again for those who are true believers. “Well done!” is not something we will ever hear if Christ is NOT only prominent but preeminent in every aspect of our ministry.
  4. As a family, if you are choosing to listen to teaching that does not rest solely on the pages of Scripture, then you are NOT leading your family in the way of truth. You are doing nothing more than taking them to a buffet full of nothing but junk food and expecting your family to grow healthy in the ways of Christ. It will not happen. One day you will wake up and may find that your children do not care for church or the things of God. Why should they think any differently when all they may have seen was hypocrisy and inconsistencies that do not line up with the same Scripture that we, as parents, claimed to be the ONLY rule of faith and practice?

More thoughts to come –

Made Sufficient: A Theology of Preaching

preachMade Sufficient: A Theology of Preaching

INTRODUCTION

Life in our culture today has one very common personal philosophy that will be heard anywhere you go: “You can be anything you set your mind to.” Our school systems, parental urgings, and media culture all cheer us on with shouts of “be all we can be, “just do it,” and “you can make friends and influence people!” We live in a world of driven and purposeful self-sufficiency. If you are a doctor and you find a new condition you are not familiar with, you study, research, prepare, and build the knowledge base and skill set within yourself to accomplish the task. You work hard to achieve the skills required for the task. If an engineer is faced with a new complicated project, they also turn to the books and the training. Study, prepare, practice, test, do all things to develop the personal skills to become competent and capable.

Coming to scripture with this worldview is dangerous enough for the average Christian, but it’s a death wish for those aspiring to the pulpit. In so many ways, our career success cultural handicap has created “you can achieve anything you set your mind to” preaching. Young men feeling the call to preaching start with the philosophy that hard work and personal development of precise skills is all that is needed to assume the pulpit and to receive the celebration and cheers of men. This is why Paul’s words to the Corinthians regarding the ministry of the New Covenant is so shocking.[1] You can just about hear the needle scratching across the record as our culture engages with Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 2:16b-17,

…who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ[2]

and 2 Corinthians 3:5-6,

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit.

The World’s response to Paul is: “Who is sufficient for these things? I am of course! I can do anything I set my mind to. I will work hard and become sufficient to preach.” This response, whether voiced or felt secretly deep in our heart is the issue at hand. The biblical act of preaching is not a calling that can be professionalized. Preaching is not something that can be undertaken or mastered by sheer personal will. Preaching is an act like no other. Preaching is not a career choice. Preaching is a supernatural calling to proclaim God’s Word as a reconciled ambassador for Christ. It is only through God that we are made sufficient to speak on His behalf.

MADE SUFFICIENT

Preaching the Word of God is every bit as challenging as walking a tightrope hundreds of feet above the ground. Lean too far in one direction and you fall to a certain death. Overcorrect and lean too far the other direction and you experience the same results. One missed step and you are in great danger. Preaching is similar, not in physical balance and concentration, but in spiritual balance and humility. On one side we can fall into the certain dangers of self-sufficiency and on the other, the certain peril of lazy unpreparedness. The rope itself, on which we safely traverse to the other side, is humility grounded in the knowledge that we are not sufficient to accomplish this task in our own strength and skills, but we are made sufficient by the power of the one of whom we speak. To make the point of how God accommodates our weakness by providing preachers to speak on His behalf, Peter Adam[3], in his little book, Speaking God’s Words, quotes John Calvin, from his Institutes, on the power of God in preaching through the man, rather than the power coming from the man himself:[4]

it forms a most excellent and useful training to humility, when he accustoms us to obey his word though preached by men like ourselves, or, it may be, our inferiors in worth. Did he himself speak from heaven, it were no wonder if his sacred oracles were received by all ears and minds reverently and without delay. For who would not dread his present power? Who would not fall prostrate at the first view of his great majesty? Who would not be overpowered by that immeasurable splendour? But when a feeble man, sprung from the dust, speaks in the name of God, we give the best proof of our piety and obedience, by listening with docility to his servant, though not in any respect our superior. [5]

All men would fall on their faces in reverence if God came down from Heaven and preached to us. However, God chose to use feeble broken men sprung up from the dust to deliver His message to the World (Ex 4:10-12, 1 Cor 1:17-21,1 Thes 2:1-4, 1 Tim 1:12-15). To understand how this feeble, unremarkable, inferior  man can faithfully represent the infinite, holy, omnipresent God of the universe, we must understand the theology of preaching.

Continue reading

Sermon of the Week: Retracted

In the desire to keep Christ the center of what we do here at DefCon, the Sermon of the week has been retracted by the Author due to concerns regarding the character of the man who preached it.

Sermon of the Week: “The Subtlety of Satan ” by Jim Murphy.

In this week’s sermon, The Subtlety of Satan, Pastor Murphy gives a scathing indictment on what today’s version of a “Christian” is:

“(Today’s Christian is) someone who has made the decision to be an emotionally well-adjusted, self-actualized risk-taking leader who knows his purpose, lives a no regret life of significance, has overcome his fears, enjoys a healthy marriage, is an attentive parent celebrating recovery from all their hurts, their habits, their hang-ups, and that practices biblical stress relief techniques, is financially free from consumer debt, fosters emotionally healthy relationships with his peers, attends a weekly life group, volunteers regularly at church, tithes off his gross, and has taken at least one humanitarian aid trip to a third world nation. . . . Never once do you read in that modern contextualized interpretation that a Christian is one who sees their sin, confesses their sin, repents of their sin, and receives the gift of salvation in Christ alone. That’s how far we’ve come. So Christianity now is dictated and defined by culture.”

Pastor Murphy also exhorts his congregation to “connect the dots,” between the many dangers we are warned about repeatedly in Scripture and what is being taught under our noses in many churches and by many Christian authors and leaders today.

‎”The mood is that if you have a reformed soteriology you get a pass on everything else.”  -John MacArthur

What Mac says is so true – Calvinistic preachers are assumed to be orthodox because they have one doctrine correct. Yet those who serve as elders in the local church are to preach the whole counsel of God’s Word. This will humble any man and cause the sheep to be less dependent on the preacher and more on the Lord.

As we’ve pointed out in other posts, here and here, for example, the Bible has plenty of warnings about being deceived and misled by men. No man is above having his teaching tested against Scripture, because only the God Man Jesus was and is without error – and He is the Word of God!

HT: Sola Sisters

Sermon of the Week: “The Calling of a Preacher” by Albert Mohler.

Albert Mohler was one the key-note speakers at the 2012 Shepherd’s Conference. While there were several excellent speakers throughout the event, this message from Mohler was timely and relevant to me personally – and seemed to resonate with the two or three thousand others gathered there as well. Here is an excerpt from his introduction, full message in video below, mp3 download here (right click and save or click to listen).

Let’s admit it. There’s a lot of mysteries in the christian life, but one of the greatest mysteries is why God would in His sovereign, omnipotent and omniscient, and wisdom and righteousness, and mercy choose the likes of folks as we… to do this. You might think that if we were orchestrating this, we might have angels doing the preaching. Everybody would listen to an angel, wouldn’t they? Of course,  not American angels. We domesticate little angels, we paint little pictures of cherubs and hang them in the bathroom. It’s a completely different reality. Just remember in the Gospel of Luke, the angelic hosts showed up to the shepherds and the first think they had to say is, “First of all, don’t die” – “Fear not, we bring you tidings of great joy”. Meanwhile, most Americans, in our weirdo, fake, postmodern spirituality think they’re channeling with little cherubs in the bathroom.

But God doesn’t assign angels to do the preaching. He assigned human preachers, men whom He has called because when an angel shows up to preach you don’t ask, “How did God do that?”. But, when we show up to preach you’re looking at me going (saying), “He’s just flesh and blood. He’s nearsighted. He only speaks one language. He’s gonna be hungry soon. He fell asleep during a Greek lecture, thirty something years ago and you’re letting him preach?” Well, it’s as the apostle Paul says, “It’s so that the glory would be all of God’s and not ours. So that the excellence would be His excellence that’s demonstrated and not ours.”

Admit it: you’d love to be doing this, and then admit it: That’s a good thing. And then let’s just admit it together, it’s just a priceless thing that we get to be together for these days and these hours, to preach and to hear preaching and to be encouraged, not only by each other, but by the Holy Spirit of God in this calling that has come to us.

Sermon of the Week: “The Bible’s View on Missions – Part 9 (Conclusion)” by Akash Sant Singh

We are pleased to offer the conclusion of this nine part series of messages on biblical missions from Pastor Akash Sant Singh, pastor of Community Bible Church in Reno, Nevada. As a missionary to West Africa, this sermon has spoken to my heart and it will be a blessing to you as well.

It is important to remember that every true believer is actually called to be on a mission for the Most High Sovereign Creator of heaven and earth. May Christ be exalted through the proclamation of His word and to each listening ear.

Church description – “The Bible’s view on missions – part 9 – Conclusion – a Sunday school message by Pastor Akash.”

The Bible’s View of Missions – Part 9

Your podcast is not your pastor.

DefCon has been pleased to provide our readers with our sermon of the week for several years now (over 300 available in our sermons category). But we know that this comes with a caution. 

With the advent of the internet, there’s a propensity for some to withdraw from fellowship with other believers and to rely on internet sermons as their sole source of preaching.

The following article from Trevin Wax serves as a healthy reminder to not let our blessing of the availability of internet sermons become a hindrance or a curse.

“There’s been a lot of talk in the blogosphere this year about the rise of ‘celebrity pastors’ with ‘rock-star status’ and the larger-than-life influence of popular conference speakers whose sermons are downloaded by the thousands. Some have openly decried this development; others are glad that at least pastors are being celebrated. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.”

Continue reading here.

Sermon of the week: “Sovereign Election, Israel & Eschatology (a.k.a. Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Premillennialist)” by John MacArthur.

John MacArthur Your sermon of the week is Sovereign Election, Israel & Eschatology (a.k.a. Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Premillennialist) by John MacArthur. This is the message that caused a stir a few years ago when MacArthur delivered it at the Shepherd’s Conference.

Not all the contributors on this blog agree with MacArthur on this subject, but I wanted to make it available here for those who have not listened to it yet.

You may also want to hear the opposition’s position to the Premil view posted last week by ATG.

For a more in-depth examination of this subject, I highly recommend MacArthur’s six -part series found on this previous post. (I actually prefer MacArthur’s six-part series as he has more time to unpack his points, and makes a more convincing argument for the Premil position, than he does in today’s single message.)

You can download this week’s message by MacArthur by going to the page found on this link, or just right-click and save this link.

Sermon of the Week: “The Centrality of the Cross” by Alistair Begg.

As you browse the sermons available online, on the television, or on the radio, have you grown tired of the drivel that passes itself off for ministry of God’s holy, infallible, inerrant Word? Far too many so-called preachers of today are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing, and they are seeking only to tickle the ears of men.

In my own ministry of the Word, I have appreciated what I have learned from Alistair Begg. This message is part of his available series entitled, “The Pastor’s Study, Volume 2.” While it is labeled as part of a series for pastors, this message is convicting and challenging for all true believers. Your sermon of the week for January 15th is The Centrality of the Cross.