Monthly Archives: September 2007

The Making of a Noble Instrument

“The devil is a greater scholar than you, and a nimbler disputant; he can transform himself into an angel of light to deceive.” This was a warning than C.H. Spurgeon gave to his Pastors College students, as he lectured on “The Minister’s Self-Watch.” Paul is not lecturing to a classroom full of seminary students when he writes 2 Timothy. However, he does have the attention of one pastor in particular, who is in much need of biblical counsel. Times in Ephesus were seemingly tougher than they’d ever been as Timothy encountered people who were “ensnared by the devil.”

This week at Redeemer, we will be considering The Making of a Noble Instrument , from 2 Timothy 2:20-26. Paul seems to be explaining the idea that he has presented in verse 19, namely that the church will hold firm as those marked by the Gospel turn away from wickedness. It seems that many are wondering around, not even realizing that they are living out the will of the devil. Therefore, Paul instructs Timothy to flee from lusts and pursue righteousness. Is that how you would describe your relationship with lust? Are you fleeing from it? Are you pursuing righteousness? Or, is the order reversed?

Spurgeon again to his students:

“He (the devil)will get within you and trip up your heels before you are aware; he will play the juggler with you undiscerning, and cheat you of your faith or innocence, and you shall not know that you have lost it; nay, he will make you believe it is multiplied or increased when it is lost. You shall see neither hook nor line, much less the subtle angler himself, while he is offering you his bait. ..”

May We Trust the One who provides an Escape!

New Sermon from Denny Burk

We were recently blessed to have Dr. Denny Burk preach at our church.

You can listen to his sermon, The Gospel as the Power for Perseverance from 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 here.

Enjoy!

Invitation from Jim Hamilton to the First Redeemer Institute Seminar on the Local Church!

Dear Brother or Sister in Christ,

Is there a relationship between your local church and discipleship? I’m not asking about the discipleship program at your local church, I’m asking if God might mean for the church to be the discipleship program.

Is there a relationship between your local church and evangelism? Again, I’m not asking about the evangelism program(s) at your local church, I’m asking if God might mean for the church to be the evangelism program.

Is there a relationship between your local church and world missions? No surprise here: I’m not asking about how your church participates in missionary endeavors, rather, I’m asking if God’s might intend to reach those who have never heard through the planting of healthy churches on the mission field.

We would like to invite you to a Saturday morning seminar on “The Local Church: God’s Program for Evangelism and Discipleship.”

Jesus said that he would build his church, and we believe that the “program” that he gave his disciples to use in their efforts to fulfill the great commission is The Local Church. If you would like to join us in thinking further about what this means for local church ministry, we invite you to join us from 9AM to noon on Saturday November 10th at First Baptist Church in Missouri City.

We want maximum glory for God here in Houston, and we pray he will use us in hallowing his name and winning new worshipers for him. There is more work to be done in this city than any of our churches can individually accomplish. We want to come alongside you and join you in the pursuit of local church health. Just as great teammates make individual players better, so also our individual churches will be improved as church health spreads. What is good for the gospel is good for our local church. Each local church will thrive as other local churches flourish.

Would you prayerfully consider coming to this seminar to think with us about local church health?

That she might be without stain, or wrinkle, or any other blemish,

Dr. Jim Hamilton
Preaching Elder,
Baptist Church of the Redeemer
Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

For the glory of God, Baptist Church of the Redeemer seeks to obey Christ in the great commission task of making disciples by the power of the Spirit.

The Essential Memory

How good is your memory? Do you have a more difficult time remembering names, important events and critical details than you do lyrics to music, lines in movies or batting averages? Why is it that certain things are branded in our minds, and others fade and sometimes are completely washed away? What sort of value does God place on reflection, meditation and memory? Lord willing, this week we will be considering this as we turn to 2 Timothy 2:8-19, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth.

As we listen in on Paul’s exhortation to young Timothy to “remember Jesus Christ,” (v.8) we are reminded of the value that God has placed on His people remembering His works, might and glory. We’ve seen this at the establishment of Passover, the charge of the Shema, and with the people as they were crossing the Jordan. God is deeply concerned that we remember His works and not drift into thinking that somehow we have been responsible for these things.

How does this apply to us today? Well, apparently there were those in the Ephesian church who had gone astray from the true Gospel. They had failed to remember the truth about God’s work in Christ. They were resorting to meaningless chatter, upsetting the faith of some. Isn’t it so easy to get sidetracked when we veer off to the right or left? Paul encourages Timothy to “accurately handle the word of truth.” Are there ways that your life is veering away from the Gospel? Are you more concerned with getting things done than you are with sharing the good news with others? If Paul was in close relationship with you, would he be listing your name alongside the likes of Hymenaeus and Philetus? What sort of legacy are you leaving for those close to you? Are you part of the “firm foundation?” I hope to see you this Sunday as we seek to diligently work and remember the Gospel.

Praising God that His Word is Not Imprisoned!

New Sermon: A Life of Discipleship

The latest sermon in the 2 Timothy series, A Life of Discipleship, from 2 Timothy 2:1-7, is now available here.

How Can We Endure?

A soldier, an athlete and a hardworking farmer were the metaphors that Paul used to describe to Timothy how he should suffer for the gospel. All of these illustrations exemplify disciplined perseverance, even in the face of setbacks, defeats and disappointments. Paul encouraged Timothy to be “strong in grace,” so that these metaphors might characterize his Christian life, and the lives of those in the Ephesian church. This week, we will be listening in on Paul’s correspondence with the Corinthians, as he seeks to encourage them to persevere until the end.

This week at Redeemer, we are honored to have Dr. Denny Burk, the Assistant Professor of New Testament at the Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, to preach for us. He will be considering The Gospel as the Power of God for Perseverance, from 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. Paul seems to be arguing that the Gospel is much more than an entrance into the Christian life. It seems to be much more than a one-time commitment to follow Christ. Paul must see this differently because he instructs the Corinthians to “hold fast to the word,” so they might be saved! Do you view the Gospel this way?

Paul also warns the Corinthians about some who have “believed in vain.” Apparently there are those who have made some sort of profession to follow Christ, only to let go of the Gospel! How can we stay true until the end? What happens when others walk away from the faith? Are you being hard hearted right now in some area of your life? How are you constantly reflecting on the power of the Gospel? Does a lifestyle of exulting in the Gospel tend to make you more proud or more humble? Are you living a life void of this power all together? Join us this week as we seek to hold fast to the good news of Jesus Christ until the end!

The Sermon Illustration I Did Not Use…

Recently, at my church, I preached a sermon on 2 Timothy 2:1-7. In this text, Paul encourages Timothy to suffer with him for the gospel using three metaphors: a soldier, an athlete and a hard working farmer. As I thought about these metaphors, one illustration came immediately to mind.

Disclaimer: Before you see the illustration let me say that I did not use this illustration in my sermon for multiple reasons. Here are a few:
1. The illustration is from the movie 300 (rated R). I don’t recommend this movie without telling people that there are two (sex) scenes in the movie. I recently rented the movie and told a couple of friends and my wife (!) that I was going to fast forward through these scenes. They asked me later to keep me accountable. (and so did my wife.)
2. Secondly, I decided not to use the illustration in my sermon so that I would not be recommending that people, especially young children, watch the movie. I don’t think I’m doing that now because I’m pretty sure that most of the people that read this blog are adults.
3. People have different views on movies (especially R movies), so I decided not to present an opportunity to distract, rather than draw attention to Paul’s point.

Obviously, I think the illustration is good, because I’m putting it on my blog…but not in the sermon. Maybe some of you could comment about the tension between illustrations from culture in sermonic material. Do we endorse movies when we quote from them? Is this helpful or not so much? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The verse that made me think of the clip is 2 Timothy 2:3-4–Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

Clip setup: The movie, 300 is based on the story of the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC, in which an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian Empire at the pass of Thermopylae in central Greece. The pass was held off for three days by 300 Spartan soldiers, led by their King Leonidas. On the way to the battle, Leonidas and his men run into a party of Greeks coming to help in the battle…the leader of the Greek platoon is astonished by how few Spartans were going to take on the massive Persian army, reported at 1 Million.

The below dialogue illustrates, I believe, what it means to be singularly focused on the task at hand (the Spartans), instead of being a recruited civilian, ready at the first chance to give in and go home. Can you see the illustration? Enjoy!

New Sermon on the Gospel from 2 Timothy

I recently began a new series at my church on 2 Timothy. You can listen to the first sermon in the series, Encouragement from a Prison Cell, here.

You can access the second sermon in the series, Guard the Good Deposit from 2 Timothy 2:1-7, here.

(HT: Justin Seale and Mike Reed)

Pride’s Greatest Enemy

How do you feel when those around you are honored? Is your honest reaction one of immediate rejoicing, or jealously? “I bet I could be doing what he’s doing, if I’d had those opportunities.” Why is it so hard for us to “rejoice with those who rejoice?” In his letter to Timothy, Paul holds out a brother, Onesiphorus, who has served the Lord and been loyal to the Apostle. I wonder how Timothy initially reacted to this. How would you react?

This week at Redeemer, we will be considering A Life of Discipleship, from 2 Timothy 2:1-7. Timothy is immediately encouraged, not to be strong in his inner man, but to be strong in the grace of God. Perhaps Paul is holding out a new definition of service. Perhaps this type of service is one that is utterly dependant upon the grace of God for results, not worldly methods. Could Timothy be tempted to move the church at Ephesus forward based on practicality instead of the “sound words entrusted to him?” How will these teachings be maintained throughout the ages? How can we understand these things?

What is Pride’s greatest enemy? May the Lord Raise Up Good Soldiers of Jesus Christ in our day!