"Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly" (James 3:1). At the end of the age, every teacher of the Bible will give an account for every word spoken on His behalf.
In his book, The Preacher's Catechism, Lewis Allen gives every Bible teacher six questions to assess whether they are being faithful and obedient in their teaching and/or preaching. If you are blessed to be a teacher of the Bible, read and reflect:
I love gospel tracts. In many respects, I "grew up" on them.
I was converted in a small baptist church that set out a table in the foyer every week full of gospel tracts for people to use during their week. These gospel tracts were small, two-page explanations of the gospel and gave church members another tool in their evangelism efforts throughout the week. Gospel tracts proved to be an easy way for Christians to share the gospel on-the-go in a concise, clear way.
"All-in-all, let's be Christians consistently spreading the good news of the gospel."
R.A. Torrey, an evangelist from the late-19th century, was convinced that gospel tracts were one of the best tools for evangelism. In his book, Methods of Christian Work, he gave six advantages in using gospel tracts:
The problem, however, is that many of the gospel tracts I've found are either 1) not doctrinally accurate, 2) too big/long, or 3) just plain cheesy (Oh, I've got stories...). As a result, I recently spent time writing and printing my own gospel tract. Below is a copy of what is written on the front and back of the business card-sized tract. All-in-all, let's be Christians consistently spreading the good news of the gospel.
Who is God?
God created everything—including us (Genesis 1:1). He is "merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness" (Exodus 34:6-7) and perfectly holy and just (Isaiah 6:3).
Who Am I?
God created us to delight in Him and live according to His commands for His glory (Micah 6:8; Matthew 22:37-40). Tragically, we have chosen to rebel against this good God to live for ourselves—this is called sin (Romans 3:23). We try to find out identity in our jobs, sexuality, socio-economic status, and anything else we believe will give us worth (Romans 1:21-23). One thing is evident: our world is desperately broken because of sin and we are no different.
The Good News
Because of our rebellion against God, we deserve His wrath (Romans 1:18). The good news—the gospel—is that God, in His mercy, sent His only son Jesus Christ to live the life we couldn't live, die the death we deserve, and rise from the dead so that we might be forgiven (John 3:16). By placing our faith in Jesus, we become God's children and we are given a hope that exceeds anything the world has to offer (Romans 5:1-5).
"God, I know I can't save myself, and I know you have promised to save those who turn from their sin and put their faith in you alone. I trust you to forgive my sins and give me eternal life. Thank you for dying in my place to make my salvation possible!"
The Bible has much to say, both explicitly and implicitly, about husbands loving their wives.
Husbands are told to “love your wives, as Christ loved the church” (Eph. 5:25), “live with your wives in an understanding way” (1 Pet. 3:7), “enjoy life with the wife you love” (Eccles. 9:9), and etc. But perhaps the most startling verse in all of the Bible in regards to the spousal love of a husband is 1 Timothy 3:4-5, “He (the overseer) must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his household, how will he care for God’s church?” Simply put, Paul tells Timothy that if a husband is not shepherding his wife, he cannot shepherd God’s people.
No ministry is more important than your wife.
So, here’s the question: how do husbands shepherd their wives?
For starters, a husband should know the state of his wife’s soul and how he can better serve her. To do this, every husband should ask his wife four questions on a regular basis:
1. How are you encouraged in your faith and life right now?
In what ways are you seeing the grace of God at work in your life? How are you seeing God at work in the lives of those around you? What events or circumstances have brought joy to your heart recently?
2. How are you discouraged in your faith and life right now?
What sins are you struggling to overcome? In what ways are you battling unbelief? What recent situations or circumstances have siphoned joy from your life (at work, home, church, etc.)?
3. How can I pray for you?
What are some specific passages of Scripture I can pray for you? Is there something specific you want me to ask the Lord to do on your behalf?
4. How can I grow as a Husband, Father, and Christian?
In what ways can I be more nurturing, caring, and compassionate? Is there anything I’ve done recently that has concerned or hurt you? If I were to focus on one area of my life to change in the next thirty days, what would it be?
Husbands, no ministry is more important than your wife. You are called to shepherd your Bride — anticipating the day when the Great Shepherd will finish His good work in her (Phil. 1:6). Until then, spend your life loving, serving, and nurturing your wife to the glory and praise of God.
We are needy people.
Think of all the things that we need for survival: food, water, oxygen, sleep, and, depending on who you’re talking to, coffee. But God is not so. This is what is known as God’s “aseity”—the fact that God derives all that He needs from Himself. There are many passages in the Bible that speak to this, but I want to highlight two:
R.C. Sproul expounds on God’s aseity when he writes, "If we go a few days without water or a few minutes without oxygen, we die. Likewise, human life is susceptible to all kinds of diseases that can destroy it. But God cannot die. God is not dependent on anything for His being. He has the very power of being in and of Himself… This is the supreme difference between God and us; God has no such dependence upon anything outside of Himself.”
Why does this matter, you ask? Because it is easy to forget we need God and easy to believe God needs us. A.W. Tozer wrote about this in his book, Knowledge of the Holy, where he writes, “Almighty God, just because He is almighty, needs no support. The picture of a nervous, (needy) God fawning over men to win their favor is not a pleasant one; yet if we look at the popular conception of God, that is precisely what we see. Twentieth Century Christianity has put God on (a leash). So, lofty is our opinion of ourselves that we find it quite easy, (even) enjoyable, to believe that we are necessary to God."
We don't worship God because He's needy, but because He's worthy.
But the truth is this: God does not need us.
God is not a divine egomaniac in need of his ego being stroked by finite man. No, He is an infinitely glorious God who is in need of nothing we have to offer. We do not come to church to worship because he needs it. We don’t worship God because He's needy, but because He’s worthy! And He is worthy because “from him and through him and to him are all things” (Romans 11:36) therefore, we lay down our lives and lift up our voices again and again and again because He is worthy of it all. Whereas we are finite and frail creatures in constant need, God needs nothing because He has all that He needs in and of Himself. And that, my friends, is a reason to worship.
After years of building a robust theological library, I am now making the switch to a digital theological library through Logos Bible Software (read more about why I made the change). This means that I am now selling most of my physical library at a highly discounted cost.
CONDITIONS OF THE SALE
I plan to have this portion of my library sold by September 1, 2018. If you are interested in purchasing any of the volumes listed, please email me at email@example.com.
The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (26 Volumes)
Pillar New Testament Commentary Set (16 Volumes)
Single Commentaries & Reference Books