Monday, September 9, 2013

Public Obedience

Speculation can be a dangerous thing and I enter this discussion with caution.  After discovering the connection between the church at Colosse and Paul’s letter to Philemon am I the only one who wondered what happened?  Remember, Onesimus was Philemon’s slave who had both stolen from him and ran away.  During his flight he met Paul who had become an important figure in Onesimus’ spiritual life.  At some point Paul discovered the situation in Colosse and the falling out between Onesimus and Philemon.  Onesimus arrived at the conclusion to return to Philemon asking for forgiveness.  Paul penned (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who intended for this letter to become part of our Bible) the letter to Philemon wherein he vouched for Onesimus and asked Philemon to forgive him and welcome him back as a brother. 
We have no idea what happened.  We do know that Philemon did not have the option to sit and listen to the letter and simply absorb information.  He had to choose: either respond to the situation with forgiveness and reconciliation or know that he was intentionally disregarding God’s instruction.  How many other people watched Philemon, probably a leader in the church, waiting to see what decision he made?
What a testament to God’s grace if Philemon publicly forgave Onesimus!  I know this is speculation but if Philemon forgave Onesimus the entire Colossian church would have witnessed a man being genuine in his faith.  Obedience affirms your faith is genuine. Moreover, obedience always glorifies God.  As pastors we should live a life of public obedience, not to glorify ourselves, but to prove our faith genuine and bring glory to the one who blesses us with the opportunity to serve Him in the church. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Disciples on Display - Sermon from Mark

Follow the link above to watch me teach on Jesus's desire for His followers to be a noticeable presence in their environment.

Must Read Review: The Cross of Christ by John Stott

New feature on The Timothy Chronicles - "Must Read Review."  Occasionally I will feature a short review (not 15 page seminary review) of a book I have read that has been insightful or helpful.  The review will be include a brief description of the book and important contributions.  This must read review will examine The Cross of Christ by John Stott.

If anything Stott attempts an exhaustive approach to an inexhaustible topic: the cross of Jesus.  He discusses the Cross theologically, soteriologically, philosophically and applicationaly.  In just over three hundred pages Stott turns over many neglected stones pertaining to the Cross and its implications.

The book is divided into four sections: Approaching the Cross, The Heart of the Cross, The Achievement of the Cross and Living Under the Cross. Each of which address the Cross from a different angle presenting and affirming orthodox Christology while at the same time interacting with heterodox and heretical thoughts about Jesus and His Cross.  But do not think Stott has authored a dry theological treatise, his book will challenge you intellectually while inspiring you devotionally.

In fact this is one of Stott's greatest contributions, his theology is not dry but inspiring.  He forces the reader to recognize the centrality of the Cross in the Christian experience.  This occurs by addressing issues often unaddressed.  For example he includes a lengthy discussion on Jesus as God's self substitution.  Stott concludes that God satisfies His own justice by becoming His own sacrifice in order to redeem His fallen creation.

Stott's book is a classic.  Quoting D.A. Carson, "There are not many 'must read' books - books that belong on every minister's shelf and on the shelves of thoughtful laypersons who want a better grasp of what is central in Scripture - but this is one of them."