Quotes by Other Authors
Look at Him – this amazing Jesus! He is helping Joseph make a yoke in that little carpenter’s shop at Nazareth. This is the One who, apart from His self-emptying, could far more easily make a solar system or a galaxy of systems. Look at Him again! Dressed like a slave, with towel and basin for His menial equipment, He is bathing the feet of some friends of His who, but for their quarrelsomeness, should have been washing His feet.… “He humbled himself!” “Don’t forget this,” cries Paul to these dear friends of his at Philippi. “Don’t forget this when the slightest impulse arises to become self-assertive and self-seeking, and so to break the bond of your fellowship with one another”(Paul Rees).
He was born. He grew and developed. He experienced the limitations of finitude. He was tempted. He suffered, died, and was buried. He was raised in his humanity. He continues his kingly and priestly work. He will return in his humanity (Luke Stamps).
To emphasize the deity of Christ in no way diminishes His humanity, and to highlight His humanity in no way detracts from His deity. The properties of each nature retain their own integrity even in their union in the singular person of the Son (Luke Stamps).
As Presbyterian theologian B. B. Warfield put it, the Old Testament is like “a chamber richly furnished but dimly lighted.” Only in the light of the New Testament gospel can readers of Scripture go back to the Old Testament and see what was really there all along, but veiled until the coming of Christ (Luke Stamps).
With equal force [of His deity], the New Testament presents Jesus as truly human; His human limitations are not an illusion, nor is His humanity swallowed up by his deity (Luke Stamps).
If this [the humanity of Jesus Christ] is the central truth of Christianity, it is also a scandal to many. From the ancient Gnostics to contemporary Muslims, many have maintained that it is incongruous with the supreme dignity of the Deity that He should sully Himself with human weakness. Modern philosophy is also scandalized by the notion that only one human in a particular time and place could somehow constitute the definitive revelation of the eternal and immutable God. Even many in Christian history have sought to diminish or attenuate the full force of the true humanity of Christ. But the truth of Christ’s humanity is as significant for the gospel of salvation as the truth of his deity (Luke Stamps).
In His incarnation, the Son of God assumed a complete human nature – body, soul, mind, and will – into personal union with Himself. He did not assume a distinct human person, since He is already a divine person, but rather He gave personhood to the human nature that He assumed. As a human, Jesus experienced all the ordinary, non-sinful limitations of humanity. He grew and developed. He experienced hunger, thirst, weariness, and the full range of human emotions. His humanity was as integral to His saving work as His divinity. As the true human, the last Adam, He lived out obedience to God through our common humanity as our representative and substitute: through His life, death, and resurrection, He merits salvation for all who are united to Him by faith. As a human, He also serves as our example, providing a model for true human obedience (Luke Stamps).
The humanity of Christ refers to the reality that in His incarnation, the Son of God assumed a complete human nature with all its limitations (but without in any way surrendering His divinity), so that He might serve as humanity’s representative, substitute, and example (Luke Stamps).
Our security is not our grip on Christ, but His grip on us (David Smith).
The deepest level of awareness of God is achieved only by intimate communion with the Son (Kenneth Grayston).
How you preach is what you think about the Scripture (H.B. Charles).
When the fruit of the spirit becomes characteristic of the church’s daily life, it becomes painfully clear whenever one person violates that spirit, and the body itself will work to take care of the irritation (Marshall Shelly).
Most churches have plenty of strong personalities but a shortage of gentleness (Marshall Shelly).
The most effective boards can see issues from different sides and examine them fully, even when it means disagreement with the pastor. At the same time, healthy boards are united in purpose and plan, respecting one another’s differences. The strongest board is a team of coworkers willing to honor God not only with their decisions but also with the decision-making process. Their relationships are as important as their righteousness, and the relationship between pastor and board is cemented with trust; without that, the pastor’s ministry will inevitably come unglued (Marshall Shelly).
Taking opportunities to build a close, cohesive church will produce better results than the shrewdest political maneuvers to squash dissenters after problems sprout. Defusing potential problems before they arise is far better than troubleshooting later on (Marshall Shelly).
Whenever there is conflict, you should use email: 1. If there needs to be a record of the interaction. 2 If you are dealing with a conflict where the emotional level is fairly low. 3. If you can be gracious and not upset as you’re drafting your reply. 4. If you’re having an initial conversation to set up a phone call or face to face meeting to address things in more detail. Do not use email: 1. If you’re in conflict with someone you’ve never met face-to-face. 2. Your emotions are running high. 3 If the email exchange has gone back and forth more than three times. This could mean that the issue is too complex to deal with using only email. Ask to speak by phone or face-to-face (Marshall Shelly).
Email is an isolated activity. You don’t need anyone around to read or respond to an email. This makes it convenient. But it also means you miss all the nonverbal cues: vocal inflections, facial expressions, gestures. So it’s easy to overlook the actual person we’re emailing, which means that misunderstandings are more likely to arise (Marshall Shelly).
Nothing is bloodier than a religious war. Issues aren’t just as human squabbles; everything is elevated to eternal importance… How tempting… to mistake our will for God’s. How devilish to believe that disagreeing with me is disagreeing with God (Marshall Shelly).
The church, indeed every Christian, is an odd combination of self-sacrificing saint and self-serving sinner. And the church, unlike some social organizations, doesn’t have the luxury of choosing its members; the church is an assembly of all who professed themselves believers (Marshall Shelly).
Emotions are often more powerful than logic (Marshall Shelly).
Rebuilding trust is much harder than building it. After conﬂict and separation, after two people have so seriously injured each other, even after apologies have been made, restoring spontaneity and carefree aﬀection doesn’t happen overnight (Marshall Shelly).
Wisdom without Christ is damning folly – righteousness without Christ is guilt and condemnation – sanctification without Christ is filth and sin – redemption without Christ is bondage and slavery (Robert Traill).
It is harder to deny proud self than sinful self (James Hervey).
The late J. Vernon McGee received a letter from a lady who listened to his radio program. She wrote: “Our preacher said that on Easter Jesus just swooned on the cross and that the disciples nursed him back to health. What do you think?” McGee replied, “Dear Sister, beat your preacher with a leather whip. Nail him to a cross. Hang him in the sun for six hours. Run a spear through his heart. Embalm him. Put him in an airless tomb for three days. Then see what happens” (J. Vernon McGee).
The very structure of being human is such that we can only be what we were created to be and are called to become by resting transparently in God. This means, among other things, that being rightly related to God is the only way truly to be oneself. If we fail to rest transparently in Him – that is, if we fail to have faith in God – then there will be a fundamental misrelation at the center of our existence and this is the condition of being in despair (Bruce Baugus).
As surely as men standing in Jerusalem once saw Him slowly descending the Mount of Olives and then ascending the opposite hill into the city, so surely shall the world one day see the Son of Man descending the heavens. Not then shall He come as the meek and lowly: He shall come with power and great glory. Not then shall He come riding on an ass: He shall come in a cloud, the emblematic carriage of deity. Not then shall he have to borrow a donkey: then His advance preparations shall be the roaring of the sea and the shaking of the powers of the heavens (David Gooding).
As we approach the twenty-first century, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that our entire culture is in trouble. We are staring down the barrel of a loaded gun, and we can no longer afford to act like it’s loaded with blanks… Our society has replaced heroes with celebrities, the quest for a well-informed character with the search for a flat stomach, substance and depth with image and personality. In the political process, the makeup man is more important than the speech writer, and we approach the voting booth, not on the basis of a well-developed philosophy of what the state should be, but with a heart full of images, emotions, and slogans all packed into thirty-second sound bites. The mind-numbing, irrational tripe that fills TV talk shows is digested by millions of bored, lonely Americans hungry for that sort of stuff (J.P Moreland).
Jesus came to a growing understanding of his Messianic calling by reading the Scriptures. He had to learn the Bible just as we must. Of course, He is the greatest theologian who has ever lived. His reading of the Bible would have been free from the problems that beset Christians who wrongly interpret passages and bring their own sinful dispositions to the text. Nevertheless, we must not imagine that Christ had all of the answers as a baby and merely waited to begin His ministry at the age of thirty without putting in hard yet delightful work on a daily basis in obedience to His Father’s will. As Christopher Wright notes, the Old Testament enabled Jesus to understand Himself. The answer to His self-identity came from the Bible, “the Hebrew scriptures in which he found a rich tapestry of figures, historical persons, prophetic pictures and symbols of worship. And in this tapestry, where others saw only a fragmented collection of various figures and hopes, Jesus saw His own face. His Hebrew Bible provided the shape of His own identity.” …He had to study to know what to do. While He was never ignorant of what He needed to know at any stage of His life, He nevertheless was required to learn (Mark Jones).
The unity of the church is to be a reflection of the unity of the one God upon which the church is built. The ideal (unity) and the real (division) do not always match up in the life of the church. A biblical theology of unity reveals a richer and deeper understanding of unity than mere uniformity, but it also holds out the goal of visible unity towards which Christians should aspire. The model of church unity presented in Scripture is a unity-in-diversity which protects it on one side from an over-reliance on human hierarchies but also from too great of an emphasis upon human autonomy… [Unity is being] bound to God and to one another by the gospel (Richard Lints).
It is the truth which is assailed in any age which tests our fidelity. It is to confess we are called, not merely to profess. If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point (Fritz – German Monk and contemporary with Martin Luther).
One helpful way of delineating these conditions is to say that the Christian use of contraception is only permissible when biblical principles of human flourishing are applied within the context of the biblical paradigm of marital fruitfulness (Ben Franks).
What caused this dramatic shift in the church’s views [toward birth control]? Part of the answer is found in the radical shift which took place in the culture’s views in the first half of the 20th century. Increasing concern over population growth, loosening sexual mores, the rise of the Feminist movement, and an increasing commitment to individual autonomy and personal choice all pushed contemporary culture towards an embrace of contraception. By the 1960s and 70s, one could safely say that the contemporary cultural view of contraception was overwhelmingly positive (Ben Franks).
While Christians take a variety of stances on contraception today, this diversity of opinion and practice is a relatively recent historical development. The majority report in Christian history has been overwhelmingly vocal in its opposition to birth control. The Early Church fathers condemned the use of contraception, leaning heavily on the negative example of Onan in Genesis 38 as evidence for their position and arguing that procreation was the primary purpose of sexual intimacy. This same basic stance was reiterated and reinforced by the Medieval monks and theologians. Even with the sweeping changes which the Reformation brought to Christians’ views of marriage and family, leading Reformers (such as Luther and Calvin) maintained the church’s historic opposition to contraception. Up through the 19th century, both Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic church stood united in their condemnation of contraception. The first official break with this view came with the 1930 Lambeth Conference, in which the Anglican Communion cautiously opened the door for Christian use of contraception. Within a few decades, the Christian consensus on contraception had collapsed and a range of attitudes and approaches towards contraception began to develop (Ben Franks).
True prayer is an awareness of our helpless need and an acknowledgment of divine adequacy (Ray Stedman).
It goes against the grain to give an image of oneself that is anything less than perfect, and many Christians imagine that they will be rejected by others if they admit to any faults. But nothing could be more destructive to Christian koinonia (fellowship) than the common practice today of pretending not to have any problems (Ray Stedman).
True Christianity is to manifest genuinely Christ-like behavior by dependence on the working of the Spirit of God within, motivated by a love for the glory and honor of God (Ray Stedman).
The flesh is the old life, the natural life inherited from Adam, with its apparent resources of personality, of ancestry, of commitment, of dedication, and so forth. You can do all kinds of religious things in the flesh. The flesh can preach a sermon. The flesh can sing in the choir. The flesh can act as an usher. The flesh can lead people to Christ. Did you know that? The flesh can go out and be very zealous in its witnessing and amass a terribly impressive list of people won to Christ, scalps to hang on a belt. The flesh can do these things but it is absolutely nauseating in the eyes of God. It is merely religious activity. There is nothing wrong with what is being done, but what is terribly wrong is the power being relied upon to do it (Ray Stedman).
Remember that grace and truth cannot finally be crucified. Remember that all the high things that make humanity beautiful cannot be forever laid in the dust, spattered with blood. And most of all, remember that He who rose from the dead, rose to pour out His Holy Spirit into human lives, and, by that Spirit, to make available to any individual all the fullness of Himself, twenty-four hours a day (Ray Stedman).
Legalism can also be described as false Christianity because that is essentially what it is. It uses Christian language and biblical terms. It sounds evangelical. It loves to use phrases like “evangelism,” “fundamentalism,” “biblical literalism,” and such. It sounds Christian, and looks Christian, but it is emphatically not true Christianity. It as a spurious fake, an imitation Christianity, an empty, hollow counterfeit of the real thing. It is a burdensome drag upon the spiritual life that creates a sense of bondage and guilt. It is a sickening, nauseating fraud in the eyes of others. God describes it in the Scriptures as a stench in his nostrils. That is what legality really is (Ray Stedman).
For many years, the resurrection of Jesus Christ has been the central certainty of my life, as it has for thousands and hundreds of thousands of Christians. To me the great value of Easter Sunday lies right here. Amid all the question marks of this questioning age in which we live, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s great exclamation point. And if you are aware of the questions, the doubts, and uncertainties that surround us today, I think you will agree with me that we are very much in need of exclamation marks in this day. The belief of Christians this Easter Sunday morning is an island of faith in the midst of an ocean of doubt and uncertainty (Ray Stedman).
Exposition is preaching that derives its content from the Scripture directly, seeking to discover its divinely intended meaning, to observe its effect upon those who first received it, and to apply it to those who seek its guidance in the present. It consists of deep insight into and understanding of the thoughts of God, powerfully presented in direct personal application to contemporary needs and problems. It is definitely not a dreary, rambling, shallow verse-by verse commentary, as many imagine. Nor is it a dry-as-dust presentation of academic biblical truth, but a vigorous, captivating analysis of reality, flowing from the mind of Christ by means of the Spirit and the preacher into the daily lives and circumstances of twentieth century people (Ray C. Stedman).
Unbeknownst to the people of Moses’ day (it was a ‘mystery’), marriage was designed by God from the beginning to be a picture or parable of the relationship between Christ and the church. Back when God was planning what marriage would be like, He planned it for this great purpose: it would give a beautiful earthly picture of the relationship that would someday come about between Christ and His church. This was not known to people for many generations, and that is why Paul can call it a ‘mystery.’ But now in the New Testament age Paul reveals this mystery, and it is amazing. This means that when Paul wanted to tell the Ephesians about marriage, he did not just hunt around for a helpful analogy and suddenly think that “Christ and the church” might be a good teaching illustration. No, it was much more fundamental than that: Paul saw that when God designed the original marriage, He already had Christ and the church in mind. This is one of God’s great purposes in marriage: to picture the relationship between Christ and His redeemed people forever! (George Knight)
[Jesus] did not consider the political dominance of the Romans to be any infringement of the sovereignty of God. It is not the rule of foreigners over the nation, but the rule of all ungodly powers in the inner life of men, that the sovereignty of God aims at removing (Gustaf Dalman).
We study doctrine until we worship (Abner Chou).
Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other (John Adams).
The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity (John Adams).
We are justified by faith alone, as the Reformers taught, but not by a faith that is alone. To truly receive the words of God is to intentionally, through a joyous faith in our crucified and resurrected Lord and active reliance upon His Spirit, obey them. Consider that if exposure to God’s word in the spoken gospel and the written Scriptures doesn’t soon change your behavior (even if slower than you might hope), if the transformation of your inner person does not extend to your outer life, you may well be wandering in the dream of those who never knew Him (Greg Morse).
Sometimes pastors become pastures. The sheep feed in them and trample them, but so not follow them (Mark Absher).
A follow of Jesus Christ who seeks to lead like Jesus must be willing to be treated like Jesus. Some will follow. Others will throw stones (C. Gene Wilkes).
Find someone who knows more than you and learn from that person. And find someone who needs what you know and teach that person. Every Christian is a student; every Christian is a teacher (Grady Jolly).
The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision (Helen Keller).
After all the high-blown theories are offered about why Jesus wept, we finally come down to the simple truth: Jesus wept because He cared. When He heard the sobs of the sisters of Lazarus, Jesus simply could not hold back His own tears. I doubt He tried. And the Holy Spirit, along with the New Testament writers, seems proud of that (Lynn Anderson).
The church needs elders who “live in the Word,” not merely “study the Bible.” Our best passions can be stirred by a shepherd who lives under the Cross with blood in his tracks and a Bible in his hands (Lynn Anderson).
Oh, how God’s church needs leaders who model persistent prayer, whose prayers glow with fervency, and who authentically believe God hears and cares. And how our spirits soar when leaders model vibrant praise and worship to God, who are unashamed to throw back their heads open their mouths, and let their adoration – even their tears – flow in free and authentic worship (Lynn Anderson).
No one can enter the kingdom without the invitation of God, and no man can remain outside of it but by his own deliberate choice. Man cannot save himself; but he can damn himself (T.W. Manson).
1. There are many who profess to know Christ who are mistaken. What evidences do you have that you have been given life by God?
2. What does it mean for a person to love God? In what ways do you see true biblical love toward God demonstrated in your life? Do you see true biblical love toward God in the lives of your wife and each of your children?
3. How does your wife feel about your commitment to pastoring?
4. Why do you believe God wants you in the pastorate?
5. Closely examine each of the Bible’s qualifications for pastors and deacons (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1:5-9; Acts 6:1-6; 1 Pet. 5:1-4). Which are you strongest qualities? With which requirements do you have the most trouble? Why do you believe these areas of difficulty do not presently disqualify you from ministering? (Note the phrase “must be” in 1 Tim. 3:2.)
6. A pastor is charged by God to preach to the church and to shepherd the people in a more individual way. Which aspect of the ministry appeals to you the most? What are some specific ways you could be helped to develop your skills in either of these areas?
7. What are your methods for involving yourself in the lives of your people as their shepherd and overseer of their souls?
8. What activities characterize your evangelistic interest? What is your approach to personal evangelism? corporate evangelism?
9. What is your approach to counseling? How do you handle your counseling load?
10. What are your specific and regular practices regarding the spiritual disciplines (e.g., personal prayer, Bible study, meditation, stewardship, learning, etc.)?
11. How would you describe a successful pastor? How would you describe a successful church?
12. How is the pastor held accountable? What relationships in your life currently provide accountability for responsible attitudes and behavior, both personally and as pastor?
13. Who are your favorite Christian writers, commentators, theologians, etc.? Why? What books have you read in the past year?
14. Describe an instance when you made attempts to reform the church in some significant area. What were the results? What did it cost you personally?
15. Describe your leadership style. What have been some weaknesses? Strengths?
16. When you have met with opposition, has it been mostly related to your style of leadership, your personality, your beliefs, or something else?
17. According to your observations, what doctrines need special emphasis in our day?
18. What is true biblical repentance?
19. What is true biblical faith?
20. Explain justification by faith. What is the difference between the Catholic view of justification and the biblical view?
21. Please explain your view of sanctification. What are the various means God uses to sanctify the believer?
22. Can a person have Christ as his Savior without submitting to Him as Lord? Explain.
23. What is your position on the inerrancy of Scripture?
24. Explain the biblical term “baptism of the Spirit.” When does this baptism occur?
25. What are your views on baptism by water?
26. How does the Bible relate the sovereignty of God to salvation?
27. What does the Bible teach about the extent of man’s depravity?
28. What does Christ’s atonement accomplish?
29. What does the Bible teach about the perseverance and preservation of believers?
30. What is the proper use of the Old Testament law?
31. How do you articulate your present view of end-time or eschatological issues?
32. Do you believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin? What is the significance of your belief?
33. What is your interpretation of the biblical teaching on Hell?
34. Do you believe that the events described in Genesis 1-11 are factual or symbolic?
35. What does the Bible teach concerning spiritual gifts? Please delineate your views about prophecy and speaking in tongues.
36. What is your view of divorce and remarriage? How strictly will you follow this view in practice?
37. What is your view of the phrase, “The bishop [pastor] then must be…the husband of one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2)?
38. What are your requirements for performing a marriage ceremony?
39. Please explain your views on church discipline. Relate any personal experience.
40. How would you handle a case of scandal or immorality by a church member?
41. What is your view on abortion?
42. Many children who appear to be converted at an early age show no evidence of knowing Christ later. How do you handle children when they come to you for counsel concerning conversion? What is your advice to parents?
43. What is a useful plan for receiving new members into the church? What are prerequisites?
44. What are your views on styles of church music?
45. Who should direct the worship of the church? Why? Which methods of leading corporate worship are appropriate? Which are inappropriate?
46. What does the Bible teach is the purpose of the church’s weekly gathering?
47. What are your views regarding raising money for various projects within the church? Should the church solicit those outside the church?
48. What are your convictions about the local church and debt?
49. What does the Bible teach about women in pastoral ministry?
50. What does the Bible teach about how churches should make decisions?
51. How should a pastor and his church relate to other churches locally and (if denominational) to the larger body? Do you feel comfortable cooperating with other denominations? Do you draw any lines?
52. What are the biblical responsibilities of elders? Are there any distinctions between elders, pastors, and overseers? If applicable, what distinctions exist between staff and non-staff pastors?
53. What are the biblical responsibilities of deacons? How are deacons and elders to relate?
54. What emphasis do you give to the leadership of fathers with their families, especially in terms of family worship? Do you personally engage in family worship with your wife and children?
55. What is your missionary vision for the church? How are you currently demonstrating missionary interest and involvement? (Jim Elliff and Don Whitney)
Church leaders who have been committed to seeing the church reformed according to God’s Word down through the ages have had a common method: read the Word, preach the Word, pray the Word, sing the Word, see the Word (in the ordinances). Often referred to by theologians as the elements of corporate worship, these five basics are essential to the corporate life, health, and holiness of any local church (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
A typical mistake made by Christian singles is to ask, “How far can we go?” The very question reveals a troubling attitude, and the one who asks it has already gone too far. But since it is the question that many really want to ask, this is an honest response to the Bible’s teaching: “Not very far at all.” Physical, sexual interaction between a man and a woman is reserved for marriage. Too many Christians believe that so long as full-blown sexual intercourse is resisted, other forms of sexual interaction are acceptable. But such an attitude is far out of line with the Bible (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
So what are the essentials of evangelism? We can sum them up in four words: God, man, Christ, and response. God is our holy Creator and righteous Judge. He created us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever (Gen. 2:7, 16-17; 18:25; Matt. 25:31-33). But mankind has rebelled against God by sinning against His holy character and law (Gen. 3:1-7). We’ve all participated in this sinful rebellion, both in Adam as our representative head and in our own individual actions (1 Kings 8:46; Rom. 3:23; 5:12,19; Eph. 2:1-3). As a result, we have alienated ourselves from God and have exposed ourselves to His righteous wrath, which will banish us eternally to hell if we are not forgiven (Eph. 2:12; John 3:36; Rom. 1:18; Matt. 13:50). But God sent Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, to die the death that we deserved for our sins – the righteous for the unrighteous – so that God might both punish our sin in Christ and forgive it in us (John 1:14; Rom. 3:21-26; 5;6-8; Eph. 2:4-6). The only saving response to this Good News is repentance and belief (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 3:7-9; John 20:31). We must repent of our sins (turn from them and to God) and believe in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of our sins and reconciliation to God (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
[A godly single] answers God’s calling in his/her life while single, not waiting for marriage to give him/her happiness or purpose (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
An elder is simply a man of exemplary, Christlike character who is able to lead God’s people by teaching them God’s Word in a way that profits them spiritually (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
Job had been talking as if he knew exactly how God should run the world. His sense of integrity had been the basis of his presumptuous claim that God should have treated him better. Outraged that he could not square his innocence with his fate, Job had dared to challenge and judge his Creator…(therefore) Yahweh’s answer came in the form of a rebuke – an overwhelming reminder that the first religious obligation of the creature is to acknowledge and glorify the Creator.
Praying God’s Word back to Him in the corporate assembly communicates that we want to approach Him in His terms, not ours, and according to who He has revealed Himself to be, not who we would prefer Him to be (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
A woman’s heart bears God’s image differently than a man’s does, but no less accurately. Indeed, with only the masculine qualities that men exhibit, God’s image is not completely displayed in this world. Men must realize that those feminine qualities that seem so baffling (and to a certain extent always will) are things of beauty and honor that manifest aspects of the image of God. Far from wishing that a woman’s perspective could just be ignored or somehow fixed, Christian men should look upon women with wonder and joy – indeed, with the very delight once expressed by Adam in the Garden! (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Leaders have an agenda, look for ways to incorporate others into their plans, and have a high need for control in life. Balanced with graciousness, leaders become a treasure because they make things happen, create organization out of chaos, and motivate people to action (Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller).
Far from inviting us to play around as much as possible and as close to the fire as we can without getting burned, [the Bible] makes it clear that a sincere Christian will cultivate the highest moral and sexual purity, as essential to his or her worship of God [1 Thes. 4:3-5; Eph. 5:3-5] (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
What we need most are seeker-sensitive lives, not seeker-sensitive services (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
For the majority of adult Christians, singleness is not a gift but a trial (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
What are the practical benefits of having more than one elder?
1. It balances pastoral weakness.
2. It diffuses congregational criticism.
3. It adds pastoral wisdom.
4. It indigenizes leadership.
5. It enables corrective discipline.
6. It defuses “us vs. him” (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
The Old Testament is not our testament. The Old Testament represents an Old Covenant, which is one we are no longer obligated to keep. Therefore we can hardly begin by assuming that the Old Covenant should automatically be binding upon us. We have to assume, in fact, that none of its stipulations (laws) are binding upon us unless they are renewed in the New Covenant. That is, unless an Old Testament law is somehow restated or reinforced in the New Testament, it is no longer directly binding on God’s people (cf. Rom. 6:14-15) (Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart).
Believers may not often realize it, but even as believers we are either centered on man or centered on God. There is no alternative. Either God is the center of our universe and we have become rightly adjusted to Him, or we have made ourselves the center and are attempting to make all else orbit around us and for us (Vern Fromke).
A man may have a charismatic personality; he may be a gifted administrator and a silken orator; he may be armed with an impressive program; he may even have the people skills of a politician and the empathic listening skills of a counselor; but he will starve the sheep if he cannot feed the people of God on the Word of God. Programs and personalities are dispensable. But without food, sheep die. Feeding the flock is therefore the pastor’s first priority. “Feed my lambs” (John 21:15, ESV) (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
Two of the most godly and disarming ways to display humility are accountability and correctability (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
Should we “go as far as we can” without getting into trouble? That is how unbelieving people think (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
No one person can be the source of your contentment. Contentment comes only from God, and the sooner we start seeking it in Him, the better off we will be (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
If you cannot be contented in singleness, you will not be contented in marriage… No one person can be the source of your contentment. Contentment comes only from God, and the sooner we start seeking it in Him, the better off we will be (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
In our wealthy and materialistic society, Christians often tend to trivialize covetousness, but Paul calls it idolatry, and lists it as one of a number of sins that are bringing the wrath of God “upon the sons of disobedience” (Colossians 3:5-6). Concerning the love (or coveting) of money, Paul told Timothy that it was a “root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). John was speaking of covetousness when he wrote, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). “Do not be deceived,” Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. No covetous person “will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) (Jim Elliff and Daryl Wingerd).
God also places a man in a relationship with a woman so that she will grow spiritually within the safe confines of his loving care. This is masculine love, as defined by God: to nurture and to protect. Men are to show a protective and nurturing concern for women that equals (or surpasses) their instinctive concern for their own bodies. As Christian men do this, the women in their lives will shine with the spiritual beauty that is precious to God (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Biblical humility is not some self-induced groveling or hang-dog attitude. Biblical humility is seeing ourselves as we are. Humility is a response to beholding the holiness of God (G.A. Pritchard).
God’s Word is His supernatural power for accomplishing His supernatural work. That’s why our eloquence, innovations, and programs are so much less important than we think; that’s why we as pastors must give ourselves to preaching, not programs; and that’s why we need to be teaching our congregations to value God’s Word over programs. Preaching the content and intent of God’s Word is what unleashes the power of God on the people of God, because God’s power for building His people is in His Word, particularly as we find it in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16). God’s Word builds His church. So preaching His Gospel is primary (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
Music is a subset of our corporate worship, and corporate worship is a subset of our total-life worship (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
Many men think of the call to give themselves for a woman solely in terms of her protection. They say, “I would defend her if there was trouble. If someone attacked her I would step up for her protection.” But they fail to realize that when a woman enters a dating relationship, she mainly needs to be protected from the sins of the very man to whom she is offering her heart. The enemy that men need to stand up to is the one who lives within themselves: the one who is selfish, insensitive, and uncommitted. It is when that man is put to death that the woman will be safe and will be blessed in the relationship (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Deacons…serve to care for the physical and financial needs of the church, and they do so in a way that heals divisions, brings unity under the Word, and supports the leadership of the elders. Without this practical service of the deacons, the elders will not be freed to devote themselves to praying and serving the Word to the people. Elders need deacons to serve practically, and deacons need elders to lead spiritually (Mark Dever and Paul Alexander).
Too many singles think that life starts only with marriage. But singles must cultivate a purposeful life of Christian growth and service. You are not stuck in a holding pattern, just waiting to land at the great airport of life. The habits you develop as a single will carry over into marriage, and you will probably pass them on to your children. Remember, it is death – not a wedding – that removes every vestige of sin and presents us glorious before God. As singles, we must cultivate godly habits and the fruit of the Spirit that enables us to lead holy and effective lives (Richard and Sharon Phillips).
Holding Hands and Holding Hearts, P&R, 2006, p. 175. Used by Permission.