The following document contains reviews of various reader's favorite books of 2019. Feel free to download, enjoy, and share as we seek to encourage the reading, learning, and enjoyment of God's Word.
As many of you know, I am a big baseball fan. If you keep up with the sports world at all you are aware that there has been a huge cheating scandal surrounding the Houston Astros and their illegal use of technology. Baseball Commissioner Manfred conducted a lengthy investigation into the alleged cheating and has now brought punishments against the Astros’ General Manager Jeff Luhnow, Manager A. J. Hinch, and former bench coach Alex Cora (now the ex-manager of the Boston Redsox). As a result of the Commissioner’s findings the Astros’ fired their general manager and manager and the Redsox fired Alex Cora as well.
Below you will find a downloadable PDF version of a worksheet on the subject of God-centered worship. The worksheet was designed for use in home Bible studies and we pray it will serve as a useful tool to explain the concept of Biblical God-Centered Worship.
Everyone loves logic until their position is found to be illogical. Those who cry out against logic do so because they cannot employ logic as the means to the end they seek. When logic is abandoned, he who cries loudest rules the day.
When God created the heavens and the earth He did so through the power of His Word. When God created man, He chose in his infinite wisdom to make man in His image and according to His likeness (Gen. 1:26). When God chose to communicate with man he at first spoke directly to Adam, then generally to mankind through the prophets (Heb. 1:1), and finally through His Son. Though God at times spoke directly, and at other times through messengers, He always used words to do it.
The word of God is, “…living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) God expressed His full will and revelation in words, inscribed them in a book, and then preserved them so that all mankind can hear Him speak the same message. (Jude 3) Yet His Word is often neglected and maligned most forcefully by those who claim to believe its message. As a result, faithlessness abounds (Rom. 10:17) One cannot have faith without the Word of God.
In order to know God we must first begin with a belief in truth. If there is no truth, there is no God for not only does God claim to be the expression of truth (John 14:6) but it would be impossible to know Him without truth.
Truth exists and everyone believes in some form of truth however logically or illogically their belief is formed. Even people who claim truth does not exist cannot help but advocate for truth as they assert their prized truth that there is no truth.
Not only does truth exist, truth also necessitates both words and logic. Though some truths can be experienced without words, truth finds its fullness in logical expression. Illogical truth and truthless logic are oxymorons. When logic loses truth it is no longer logical and when truth loses logic it is no longer truth.
When logic is applied to Scripture man has undertaken a noble endeavor to use their God-given mind for God’s glory. Noble as it may be, many are the slain who lie fallen in error on the field of logic. As a result, many decry logic rather than error.
The greatest malefactor of logic according to the illogical is the Law of Necessary Inference. Though the illogical deny the Law of Necessary Inference exists, logic touts it, revels in it, and demands it.
Consider the following illogical statements:
“When human reasoning is involved, men always err.” No doubt the one who makes such a claim has erred for they are condemned by their own words. Such a conclusion, though false, can only be reached through (poor) human reasoning.
Again, many claim, “Only what is expressly stated in the Bible can be understood.” Oh yeah? And where is this truth expressly taught in the Bible? A claim based on inference and logic should not be allowed to deny the use of logic and inference.
Again, “Only the doctrines God has expressly stated in the Bible must be considered grounds of fellowship!” And where is this doctrine expressly stated in the Bible? Have such advocates not made a binding doctrine for the church that has been achieved through means of (non-necessary) inference?
All three of the afore-mentioned arguments cry out against the use of logic, yet all must attempt an appeal to logic in order to have their case heard.
“There is no way we can agree in matters of inference!” is itself an inference that pleads for agreement in an inference. If we can and must agree on this inference, why must we give up hope of agreeing in other matters of inference?
Simply stated, every statement of Scripture, every example, and every precept cannot be understood without the Law of Necessary Inference. To deny the Law of Necessary Inference is to deny both the comprehension and application of Scripture. Or, to state it another way, if we cannot infer what God has implied, His words are meaningless and a failure.
Consider the implications of the most basic truths held by all professing Christians:
“Jesus is the Son of God.” This statement implies there are at least two distinct members of the Godhead, that God is the Father, that the Son became incarnate, and that the sonship of Christ continues to this very moment. All of the inferences just made are necessary, not because I have made them, but because God implied them when He stated, “You are My Son, today I have begotten you.” (Acts 13:33)
“God loves me.” The love of God is understood through inferences drawn from His words and His actions. Nowhere in Scripture will you find your name, yet God expects you to draw the necessary inference that He loves you. God’s provision implies His loving Fatherhood (Matthew 6:26). His general statements of love imply His love for the individual (John 3:16). The clear statement that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) has far reaching implications that all of humanity must necessarily infer.
“God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) These words necessarily imply that God is pure goodness and is not the author of evil, John Piper not withstanding. It also necessarily implies that God cannot dwell with sin. We must understand that God used light and darkness as metaphors in this passage. When light appears it destroys darkness and such is the result when God interacts with evil. The passage further implies that God will conquer evil as light conquers darkness. Though a rather clear passage, necessary inferences abound.
Every truth carries necessary implications because God is the author of truth and He has placed necessary implications within truth. Men must infer what God has implied and to deny man’s possibility to do so is to imply that God is incapable of communicating a message to man in an indirect method.
Man’s failure to grasp the mind of God is the result of either man’s ignorance or rejection of logic. God is a rational being who created rational creatures in His image and expects them to think rationally when He communicates to them through His Word. May we use the ears to hear our God when He speaks and our minds to understand what He has spoken.
For those interested in pursuing the use of logic in understanding God’s Word for God’s glory, I would recommend the following books:
Hermeneutics by D. R. Dungan
How Implication Binds and Silence Forbids by George F. Beals
Love Your God With All Your Mind by J. P. Moreland
Tactics by Greg Koukle
Brethren who wait on the table are often criticized for explaining the symbolic meaning of the bread, cup, and fruit of the vine while offering thanks for the items. The criticism is generally worded like this: “Why are we explaining what the bread, the cup, or the fruit of the vine represent to God? God knows what they represent; He designed them!”
In response to this criticism, I would encourage my brethren to consider the following. First, if it is foolish to explain things to God that He already knows, why state anything in prayer since God knows all things (Psalm 139)? Second, throughout the Psalms the psalmists constantly describe God, His nature, and His attributes to God (Psalm 8)? Why did the psalmists spend time describing God to God since God knew Himself better than the psalmists? Third, why do we confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9)? To confess means to “say the same thing.” When we confess our sins, we are simply stating what God already knows. Why must we state what God knows?
Do we not confess what God knows as a demonstration of upholding God’s righteousness, recognizing our unworthiness, and asking for His blessings and forgiveness? Do we not reflect on God’s majesty as an offering of praise, glory, and honor? When we confess the nature of the elements of the Lord’s Supper in prayer are we not merely demonstrating to God our recognition of His wisdom and our understanding of the sacredness of the meal? Not only is such a practice acceptable, it is also proper. God not only wants us to understand who we are and what we are doing, He also wants us to explain our understanding to Him.
Forgiveness under the Old Testament is a question that has bothered/perplexed many (including preachers) through the years. Brother George Battey has provided an excellent discussion of the topic and provided a solid biblical answer to the issue. Consider the following questions and keep them in mind as you listen to his presentation.
Lesson From Structure: How a passage says is as important as what a passage says. Psalm 139 is a great illustration of this rule of Bible interpretation.
In December of 2017 I presented this study at the Grapevine, TX Preacher's Study. The material presented is the culmination of about two years worth of study and research and yet it merely introduces one of Matthew's greatest themes. I pray this study will provoke bible students to re-examine familiar territory and also encourage them to never lose sight of the forest for all the trees. If you are interested in more studies along this line, be sure to check out our Matthew Study material.
A special thanks to Christian Landmark for making this and other video recordings available.
The story found in 2 Kings 2:23-25 of an angry prophet, two she bears, and forty-two mauled children is one that has puzzled Bible readers. Recently a young man asked me about the meaning of the story, and all I could provide was when one mistreats a prophet of God he mistreats God Himself for you cannot separate God from His prophet. While I still believe that to be a true concept, I no longer believe it is the main thrust of the story.
The trial of Stephen is a pivotal moment in the Book of Acts and contains one of the greatest sermons ever preached by man. Stephen's trial echoes that of Christ's and has a similar effect on the early church. Within Stephen's sermon is contained the history of Israel in nutshell form and God's history of redemption on brilliant display. Stephen's sermon ends in the same place where Peter's sermon ended on the Day of Pentecost, and though the people were again cut to the heart, mass conversions were not the result. The third witness to Jerusalem climaxed in tragedy, yet with a divine ovation, as the gospel began its outward expansion to the ends of the earth.
The audio sermon below was recorded in November of 2016 and contains a sermon that I have preached only once. I am looking forward to giving it again next Lord's Day and hope the boldness of Stephen will rekindle the fire of conviction in the hearts of God's children as it has mine.
is an evangelist of the Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas.