The Grossness of Gossip

Gossip has an initial thrill. Dispensing gossip provides a rush due to the information you have that others do not, thus you feel empowered with that knowledge. It’s a great temptation to “be in the know.” Hearing gossip makes you feel empowered, believing that you are better off and somehow giving you a sense of superiority.

The detrimental aspect is the lack of love demonstrated on the gossip dispenser and recipient. You are leveraging someone’s situation not for prayer but for power. That power you crave slowly crumbles trust. Any community, especially a community of believers, that succumbs to rampant gossip fosters a culture of distrust.

The solution: love your sibling in Christ. Pray for and with them. Let them know you have their back and thus foster that trust.

The Great Commission is For Us All

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The Great Commission does not merely apply to missionaries who have been commissioned and sent to their mission field as a vocation.

The Great Commission does not merely apply to those with the gift of evangelism.

The Great Commission does not apply merely to gifted celebrity preachers with a burgeoning platform.

The Great Commission does not apply to just those who have a blossoming tract ministry.

The Great Commission does not apply merely to those who have lots of followers of their blogs.

The Great Commission does not apply merely to those who have the gift of hospitality, ready to open their home to anyone and everyone.

The Great Commission is for everyone. Whatever your personality or gifting. God will use whatever He gives you for His glory.

Pastors and their Need to Hear the Word–Not Just Preach

I serve as a pastor of a local congregation in South Denver who gladly preaches 42-45 Sundays per year. It is a joy and, yes, a calling. This week, I had the privilege of preaching four times in five days (Midweek study, funeral, Good Friday, and then Easter Sunday). That’s more than usual, obviously. Yet, seeing people change and respond to the Word never gets old.

We must beware as pastors and teachers. We can spend so much time pouring out that we miss the need for others to pour in. That is a long-term recipe for disaster. All of us must intentionally have a daily intake of Scripture, read and preached.

How? Here are some ideas for us pastors:

  1. Listen to faithful preachers on podcasts. By “faithful,” I mean ones committed to the Scriptures rather than a mere motivational talk laced some with Scriptures for support.
  2. Go to pastor’s conferences geared around the Word and not the latest church growth technique. The later may have their place but we need the former most.
  3. Bring in a guest speaker, or give your associate or intern an opportunity to preach. No, they may not be as seasoned, but from my experience, I have always benefited someway from their preparation and message.
  4. Gather fellow pastors together to share/preach His Word to each other. I’ve heard of pastors sharing papers on academic topics for sharpening. All well and good. But sharing God’s precious Word is better, I believe.

These are just some ideas. What ideas do you have?

The Resurrection of our Lord is the Cornerstone of Christian Doctrine: Spurgeon Short for April 16, 2022

All-Around Spurgeon

THE resurrection of our divine Lord from the dead is the cornerstone of Christian doctrine. Perhaps I might more accurately call it the keystone of the arch of Christianity, for if that fact could be disproved the whole fabric of the gospel would fall to the ground. If Jesus Christ be not risen then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain; ye are yet in your sins. If Christ be not risen, then they which have fallen asleep in Christ have perished, and we ourselves, in missing so glorious a hope as that of resurrection, are of all men the most miserable.

Because of the great importance of his resurrection, our Lord was pleased to give many infallible proofs of it, by appearing again and again m the midst of his followers. It would be interesting to search out how many times he appeared; I think we…

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The Gospel Dispensed

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As Easter approaches, Christians all over the world reflect vigorously on the event of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, where Paul gives the Corinthian church (and by the Spirit’s preservation of the Scripture, Paul gives us) four pieces of how the gospel is dispensed.

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain (1 Cor 15:1-2).

  1. The gospel is preached: The Good News of Christ gets out through the act of preaching. The gospel is not ultimately discussed in an effort to provide a consensus among a myriad of opinions. The gospel is heralded, proclaimed–preached. Romans 10:14-15 shows the role of preaching in the economy of God in salvation.
  2. The gospel must be received: You can receive the gospel or reject it. Just because this gospel is preached does not mean it will have its effect. God works in our unrighteous heart that does not seek after him (Romans 3:9-12) to transform it so we will receive it. This gospel is not simply an intellectual quest–it is a spiritual gift! And what is received must be put into practice (see Philippians 4:9-10). The way you can tell that someone has received the gospel is that they live out the gospel (thus the final clause: “if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain).
  3. The gospel is that in which we stand: The gospel is our anchor. Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection is of first and foundational importance (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We stand because He arose and is alive.
  4. The gospel is that by which we are saved: The gospel does not merely justify (take away the penalty of sin) but the gospel continues its work in the Christian’s walk by its sanctifying work. We are rescued from the penalty of sin (justification), being rescued from the power of sin (sanctification), and will ultimately be rescued from the presence of sin (glorification).

The Other Side of Fellowship: Devotional for April 13, 2022

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When we in church world think of fellowship, we think of getting together over either food or ice cream or non-alcoholic beverages (at least in my church world lane) and enjoying one another’s company. Yet, if fellowship stays at this level, then the church bears little difference to the world–we’re just getting together because we have shared interests in a number of avenues.

In 1 John 1:3-4, we see a deeper level of fellowship:

… that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 

The tie that binds all believers is Jesus Christ. The apostles saw and heard Christ up close and so they passed along what they learned to them so they would be one not only with them but with Christ Himself. So with us, our fellowship is not geared simply toward news, sports, weather, and hobbies. We come together in that koinonia fellowship to encourage and edify one another in Christ.

And this does not mean mere affirmation, but also accountability. At our Church Council last night, I read this passage from Galatians 6:1-3:

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.

Those of us as believers who see fellow believers straying should stay in their lives to help them come back. They may be gone from church for multiple weeks. You may hear something in their conversation. Whatever it may be, God gives His people a spiritual antenna to help one another in a spirit of gentleness to keep from straying.

See, your note, your phone call, your meeting over coffee–that could be the connection needed to keep your brother or sister from making a catastrophic decision that will mark their life for life.

This is the other side of fellowship. It’s not meddling (at least it shouldn’t be). It is helping them stay on the path that God has for them according to His Word.

Our King is Working Out His Plan: Devotional for April 12, 2022

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In Luke 19:41-44, we read:

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

About 600 years before this even, the prophet Jeremiah wept over the city of Jerusalem when a nation named Babylon came in and carried the citizens off into exile away from the Holy Land, and destroyed the city—including the Temple!  If you wonder about how broken Jeremiah was, reading the book of Lamentations in the OT. 

Here, Jesus was weeping over Jerusalem, not simply over the past, but over the present and the future.  Wiersbe rightly noted that “no matter where Jesus looked, he found some cause for weeping.”  Looking back¸ He saw a nation for whom was the “time of visitation” of the Messiah suffered from wasted opportunities.  Looking within, he saw a nation filled with hearts blinded with spiritual ignorance.  Looking around, he saw much religious activity, but little accomplished for any eternal significance. 

But then he looked ahead.  His words about the upcoming days “when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you” set an ominous tone to his triumphal entry.  A scant 40 years later, the Romans would lay siege to Jerusalem for 143 days (almost five months), kill 600,000 Jews, take thousands more captive, then destroy the Temple and the city—and like Jeremiah who saw this happen 600 years prior, he wept with a loud lamentation. 

We look at the church of Jesus Christ and remember from 1 Peter 4:17 that judgment begins with the house of God.  How is Jesus looking at His church now?  If he were to show us in looking back, would there be a time filled with wasted opportunities to connect with Jesus and connect Him to others around us?  Are the buildings that house the church also filled with those who are spiritually blind and ignorance to the grace of God?  Would he look around and see a lot of religious activity that may bring some sort of security and comfort to those inside the buildings, but are really accomplishing little spiritual activity?   And what is He seeing ahead? 

Just as God used the idolatrous pagan Babylonians and Romans as an instrument of His judgment, He may well use secular governments and kingdoms as judgment toward those who “have a form of religion but deny its power.”  The very people who were praising the Savior would be the ones who would turn around and shout “Crucify Him” at the behest of the Roman guards.  When things seemed to go according to their plan, they praised.  But what would happen when things turned?

Even the subsequent arrest, kangaroo court trial, and His crucifixion were not ultimately at the hands of the Romans and Jewish leaders at that time.  The King was working out His plan!