Pentecostal Boldness

Introduction: On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit of God was poured out in abundance. That initial baptism of the Holy Spirit was followed, throughout the book of Acts, and throughout church history, with repeated fillings of the Spirit. When the Spirit fills a man already Spirit-baptized, the result is power, authority, logic on fire, and boldness. The Text: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we … [Read more...]

Transformation in an Instant

"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11) The Basket Case Chronicles #192 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:50–52). Paul here uses “flesh and blood” as a shorthand way of talking about our bodies in this fallen world. He is not referring to our materiality, but rather to the fact that our material bodies will decompose in the grave. After His resurrection, our Lord referred to His “flesh and bone” (Luke 24:39), dismissing forever the idea that the resurrection body is in any way ghostly or immaterial. We can see that Paul is not rejecting the material resurrection through how his parallelism works. He says that … [Read more...]

Ascension Humility

Introduction: On Ascension Sunday, we mark and remember the coronation of the Lord Jesus Christ. This crowning was the coronation of the ultimate example of humility. Now the Bible teaches us that in Christ, we are kings and priests (Rev. 1:6; 5:10). We will rule with Him, and in Him (Rev. 2:26-27). And the Scriptures also teach that our path to our little thrones will be just like His path to His great throne (2 Tim. 2:12). This means that we need to make a point of studying what actual humility is like, and how it actually desires what God promises us. The Text: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given … [Read more...]

The Body as Battery

"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11) The Basket Case Chronicles #191 “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Cor. 15:45–49). The difference between the Adams is not that one had a body and the other did not. The first man Adam had a body dominated by his living soul; the quickening agent of the last Adam’s body was the Spirit. The first Adam had a spirit, but his body was animated by his soul. The last Adam has a soul but His body was dominated by the quickening Spirit. The first … [Read more...]

Surveying the Text/Obadiah

Introduction: God has two ways of destroying His enemies. One might be considered the old school method—with the fire coming down out of the sky. This is the method that leaves a smoking crater. But the other is a far more glorious method, and that is His method of destroying enemies by turning them into friends. That is a far more wonderful destruction indeed, and it is the kind of destruction that all effective evangelism yearns for. Evangelism by such destruction is not recruiting; it is conquest. In order to accomplish the former sort of right-handed power, all God had to do was exercise His Almighty power. But to accomplish the latter, His Son had to die. In order to bring about peace between the warring brothers Jacob and Esau, a third one had to die. The Text: “The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the Lord, And an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. Behold, I have … [Read more...]

You May Be a Soul Man Now . . .

"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11) The Basket Case Chronicles #190 “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body” (1 Cor. 15:42–44). Just as there are variations in glory between different objects at the same time, as between the sun and moon, so also there are variations in glory between the same object at different times. The trajectory of history is foundational toward greater glory. The human body now is subject to corruption, and is therefore sown in corruption. It is place in the ground to rot. It is also placed in the ground to sprout and grow—cemeteries are, as my grandchildren put it, grave gardens. It is sown in corruption, but raised with much greater glory, the glory of … [Read more...]

Whose Ox Is Being Sued

Paul famously prohibits Christians from going to court against one another, except that he doesn't. What he prohibits is taking disputes between Christians before unbelievers. Here is the text: “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather … [Read more...]

Itself a Fine Example of Contextualization

"The trouble is that too many of us push exegesis back in our preparation, and we clothe the message in a short red dress of contextualization by focusing on culture and our ability to connect with it. It's like we want to spin her out away from us in exciting circles, showing off her long legs and high heels" (Helm,  Expositional Preaching, pp. 40-41). … [Read more...]

Surveying the Text/Amos

Introduction: Now let us consider the prophecy of Amos. Apart from what is revealed in the course of his writing here, we know nothing about the man. Among the minor prophets, he occupies the vanguard in this period of Israel’s history, even though he is placed third in the canonical order. He is very much a prophet. The Text: “The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. And he said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither” (Amos 1:1-2). Overview: Tekoa was about ten miles south of Jerusalem, and this small town in Judah is where Amos was from (v. 1). But Amos was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel, and so it was that he conducted that ministry as a satiric outsider. He prophesied … [Read more...]

Glorious Inequality

"At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16: 11) The Basket Case Chronicles #189 “There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory” (1 Cor. 15:40–41). Paul’s point here is to emphasize that God loves variations in glory, and that this love is not going away after the resurrection. If you look at the sky, you will see that celestial glory differs from terrestrial glory, although both are glorious. If you look at the sky, you will see the glory of the sun, and if you look at the night sky, you will see that the moon’s glory differs from that of the sun, and the glory of the stars differs from both sun and moon. God loves inequality, but it is inequality in degrees of glory. This is how he prepares us for the next thought. Man … [Read more...]