DBG Christian Blogs and Sermons

Welcome to the DBG website for Christian blogs and articles written by Josh Buice.

Enjoy the following resources:

  • Christian Blogs
  • Christian Resources
  • Theology Articles
  • Preaching Resources
  • Audio and Video Sermons
  • Family Worship Recommendations

Providing Christian blogs, articles, and sermons on various topics from a biblical perspective.

  • Expository Preaching
  • The Exclusivity of Christ
  • Dangers of the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity Theology
  • Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
DBG Spotlight (5-25-16)

DBG Spotlight (5-25-16)

Three years ago today, my wife and I were awakened in the early hours of the morning with news that our good friend Jason Ellis, a police officer in Bardstown, KY had been murdered. He was discovered in front of his patrol car on the exit ramp of the Bluegrass Parkway just outside of their home in Bloomfield. We had just spent the weekend with them the week prior as I was in town for graduation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jason left behind his wife, Amy and their two young boys. Today the murder remains unsolved. Perhaps you can share this with others so they can help spread the word and pray for answers that will lead to arrest(s) and conviction.

View the video below of his wife Amy, as she pleads for answers to emerge in a video from one year ago.

The Unsolved Murder of Jason Ellis

Why I’m No Longer a United Methodist – Collin Hansen writes about how he is watching the very people he once associated with approach massive decisions that will have lasting effects upon the UMC.

Music for people who struggle with singing – Aaron Armstrong writes, “There’s something you need to know: I am a terrible singer. Like, really bad at it. If you ever sit next to me at church on a Sunday when I’m belting it out, I’m really sorry. But I don’t let my awfulness stop me.”

Does the Doctrine of Male Headship Lead to Abuse? – This article by Mary Kassian is well worth your time and consideration.

Doctrine in Focus: The Trinity – Nathan Busenitz focuses in on a very important and often neglected doctrine – the holy Trinity.

What Does the Word “Gospel” Mean in the New Testament? – R.C. Sproul explains how we often use the word gospel, but in many cases, we don’t know how to define it. He writes, “We use it so glibly in the church today. Preachers say they preach the gospel, but if we listen to them preach Sunday after Sunday, we hear very little gospel in what they are preaching.”

Want to Read a Modern Classic? – Tomorrow I will begin a journey through Don Whitney’s book (new edition) – Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Would you like to take time to read it with me? I will be posting the overview tomorrow and each Thursday I will post a new summary and questions to consider from the selected chapter.

Why Your Pastor Should Say “No More to Beth Moore”

Why Your Pastor Should Say “No More to Beth Moore”

Beth Moore is an extremely popular Bible teacher, author, and founder of Living Proof Ministries, Inc. which began in 1994 with the purpose of teaching women through Bible studies and resources.  Many thousands of women (and men) study the Bible in groups who use resources from LPM and watch videos of Beth Moore’s teaching.  With wide success in the publishing world, she is a frequent keynote speaker at large conferences including Passion.  As a former member of the First Baptist Church of Houston, Texas (now a member of Bayou City Fellowship), Beth Moore has been a Southern Baptist for years and finds great success in publishing her material through B&H Publishing Group and distributing it through LifeWay – a popular bookstore closely associated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

For many years, Beth Moore’s teaching has raised eyebrows among pastors and leaders in conservative circles.  Although concerns have been raised through the years, Beth Moore continues to be welcomed into the study groups within local churches where women read her books, study guides, and watch her videos with limited, if any, oversight from the pastoral staff.  Below I’ve documented three main reasons why pastors should fire Beth Moore from the women’s ministry within their local church.

Beth Moore Clearly Violates Biblical Boundaries

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he writes, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” (1 Tim. 2:12).  Paul forbids women from teaching and having authority over men.  Therefore, the pattern of the early church was established by Christ who chose twelve men to be His inner circle and then entrusted the early church to their oversight.  From that point forward (post Acts 6), God raised up a plurality of men to serve as deacons who would serve alongside the plurality of men who would serve as elders.

In short, we don’t see God calling, equipping, and endorsing women to teach the Bible in the context of the church (or beyond in places such as conferences).  This position rooted in creation and upheld by a distinctive position known as complementarianism is not only consistent with Scripture, but in tandem with the early church’s design.  Beth Moore violates this early church pattern and most importantly – the text of Scripture found in 1 Timothy 2:12.  As she appears on the platform with an open Bible, she preaches the Word to thousands of men who are in attendance at the Passion conference and other venues where she’s invited to speak.  Not only is this her personal pattern of ministry, but she likewise condones other women who preach to men as she was in attendance at Joel Osteen’s church to hear her friend Christine Caine when she preached at Lakewood.

The point of the Bible is clear, women are not permitted to have authority over men, and how is it possible to teach the Bible without authority?  Paul forbids women from occupying the office of elder, but it must likewise be noted that he forbids women from the functionality of preaching and teaching the Bible to men – even if they don’t hold the office of elder (1 Tim. 2:12).  Beth Moore has demonstrated a heart of rebellion in this important area where she has violated God’s original intent in women’s role in the church, and therefore, should not be accepted into the church as an acceptable women’s ministry (or any Bible teaching ministry).  The pattern of ministry Beth Moore has developed will continue to manifest itself in local churches so long as local churches continue to incorporate her resources in their ministries.

Beth Moore Employs Faulty Biblical Hermeneutics

The fancy word hermeneutics, is a reference to the science of biblical interpretation.  Anyone who teaches the Bible understands that you don’t merely approach the Bible with a flippant and disorganized manner and expect organized presentation and application.  Beth Moore does not approach the Bible with a disorganized methodology, but she does approach the Bible with a deficient hermeneutic – one that should be rejected.

The most appropriate method of biblical interpretation is known as the literal, grammatical, historical method of interpretation.  This method seeks to uncover the original author’s intent from a literal and historical lens.  This method upholds the single meaning of the text of Scripture and does so with a careful analysis upon the terms and grammar used in the text.

Beth Moore, often very animated and passionate in her delivery of her Bible teaching employs a method of biblical interpretation known as allegorical interpretation.  This is a method of spiritualizing the text and making it say something other than what the original author intended.  If you’ve ever heard a sermon preached from the text of David and Goliath where the preacher pointed out that David is Jesus and Goliath is Satan – you’ve heard allegorical interpretation in action.  This is perhaps the main interpretative method used by Beth Moore.

Beth Moore goes beyond allegorical interpretation at times as she approaches the Bible through a mystical method of Bible reading known as Lectio Divina.  This is an old heretical form of biblical interpretation taken from Roman Catholic mystics and often closely connected to contemplative prayer.  This practice is often viewed as a spiritual method of approaching the Bible that involves emptying your brain and preparing to hear God speak.  David Helm, in his book, Expositional Preaching, writes:

Lectio Divina advocates a method that is spiritual as opposed to systematically studious. It substitutes intuition for investigation. It prefers mood and emotion to methodical and reasoned inquiry. It equates your spirit to the Holy Spirit.” [1]

Although once a Roman Catholic method of reading and interpreting the Bible, Lectio Divina is now becoming popular in the mainstream evangelical community.  This method sidesteps the careful and historical method of biblical interpretation as it encourages people to open their minds and listen for the voice of God.  We should not be teaching people to empty their minds or open their minds while they listen for the voice of God.  God has spoken clearly and we can see what God has said as we read the Bible.

Beth Moore Is an Ecumenical Charismatic

In recent years, Beth Moore has been beating the drum of ecumenism with fervor.  In many recordings of her teachings, you can hear her categorize many liberal and conservative denominations along with Roman Catholics into the same group as if there are no distinctions or divisions.  If this isn’t enough to cause great concern, in more recent days Beth Moore has been crossing over the line into the troubled waters of the charismatic circles and aligning herself with people such as Joyce Meyer.  It’s one thing to refer to Joyce Meyer as a mentor and to embrace Roman Catholics as another denomination within evangelicalism, but why should Beth Moore be classified as a charismatic?  Beyond the obvious connection that Beth Moore has with Joyce Meyer, she also leads conferences with other charismatics and engages in teaching strange doctrines. Beth Moore participated in a Women of Faith conference held at Lakewood Church in Houston (see Roma Downey promote it on YouTube) where she taught sloppy allegorical lessons and engaged in a strange “commissioning” event at the close of the conference.

  1. Beth Moore frequently hears the voice of God and receives visions.
  2. Beth Moore aligns herself with Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer.
  3. Beth Moore engages in contemplative spirituality.
  4. Beth Moore is using charismatic language such as in a recent tweet about “binding prayers.”
  5. Beth Moore advocates receiving direct messages from God:

Beth Moore relates the story of a woman who approached her during a conference with a message from God:

With obvious anointing, she told the story we’re about to study, then she said: “I don’t know you Beth. I have no idea why God sent me with such a message to give you, but He told me clearly to say these words to you: ‘Tell her that her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much.’” [2]

Notice that Beth Moore claimed the woman had an “obvious anointing” from God.  To attach God’s name to a special message that doesn’t originate between Genesis and Revelation is to open yourself up to extrabiblical revelation and to deny the sufficiency of Scripture.

Discernment is needed today in the church like never before.  It should also be noted that God has called pastors to exercise oversight over women’s ministries within the church.  To allow women to go through church sponsored Beth Moore studies and gather for simulcast studies is to open the doors of the church to unbiblical and dangerous teaching.  Pastors, guard the doors and educate the people to exercise biblical discernment.

  1. David Helm, Expositional Preaching, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2014), Kindle Edition, 355 of 1576.
  2. Beth Moore, Jesus the One and Only, (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013), 91.

What If Jesus Examined the Offering on Sunday?

What If Jesus Examined the Offering on Sunday?

Yesterday morning, I preached from Mark 12:41-44 in our series through the Gospel of Mark.  After exposing the scribes to the people as He taught in the temple, Jesus then turned to engage in a little people watching across from the treasury.  Apparently He was located inside the court of women, because the main character in Jesus’ story is a poor widow woman.  Although she was poor, she approached the offering box and gave all that she had to live on.  We can learn several things from this real event, two of which I would like to share.

The Observation of Motives

Occasionally I enjoy engaging in a little people watching when I’m at the mall.  I think everyone to some degree enjoys watching people walk by in the mall, on the beach, or in the park.  However, Jesus wasn’t merely watching people approach the offering boxes.  Jesus was looking beyond their outer appearances as He could see their true motives.

There were thirteen trumpet shaped boxes that lined the walls of the temple.  People would approach them and put offerings in the boxes that were designated for specific purposes.  Jesus observed the people putting in money, and He could discern their heart as they engaged in this act of worship.  As Jesus watched the offering on that day in the temple, William Hendriksen writes, “In a sense, he has been doing this ever since and is still doing it.” [1]  As we learn in the Scriptures, man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).

As Jesus examined the offering, He not only could see the heart of the people, but He could likewise discern the amount of their offering.  According to Jesus, many rich people were putting in large sums, but the poor widow woman only put in two small copper coins.  These coins were small thin coins – less than a centimeter in diameter and worth approximately 1/64 of a denarius (a typical day’s wage). The point that we must not miss is that Jesus was looking at the amount of the gift and as Hendriksen stated earlier, He does the same in our day.

The Exhortation to Receive

From this event, we can learn several important lessons.  First of all, the big giver may not always be the biggest giver.  Jesus made a sobering statement, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.”  Jesus knew that her sacrifice was greater than the rich people who approached the offering box.  They had given out of their wealth, but she had given out of her poverty.  In other words, she was not giving from excess.

Randy Alcorn once said, “God doesn’t look at just what we give. He also looks at what we keep.” [2]  Apparently this widow had learned to look at the birds of the air and observe how God takes care of them every day without large barns of excess stored up for a rainy day.  She learned the principle taught in Matthew 6:33.  Behind her great sacrifice was her heart of worship.  It is very probable that she had been abused by the scribes (see the former context in Mark 12:38-40).  As she approached the offering box, she gave both copper coins rather than holding back one.  She gave all that she had to live on.  Just as the Macedonians had given out of poverty in the relief offering that Paul was taking up, so did this poor widow give out of her poverty (1 Cor. 8:1-9).

What lessons can we learn from this story?

  1. God does observe the offering each week.  We must be faithful in our giving for the glory of God.
  2. God observes the heart of the giver.  Ask yourself – “Why do I give this much?  Is it too much?  Is it enough?  Am I giving with the right heart?”
  3. God is the greatest giver.  He has given us mercy when we deserved wrath, justification when we deserved condemnation, love when we deserved to be hated, and salvation when we deserved to be judged eternally.  All of this God gave us through His Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16).  Therefore, when we give, we must give financially with a heart that’s connected to the blood stained cross of Calvary and the great work of Jesus on our behalf.
  4. Give with a desire to invest in local missions through your church campus.
  5. Give with a desire to impact the nations through global missions.
  6. Always remember that no gift is too small.  Consider the widow who gave two thin copper coins.  She is a good example to consider when you think that your offering is insignificant.  Every penny matters.

To the person who claims the name of Christ and is a member in a local church but doesn’t give financially to the Lord – you need to examine yourself and see if you’re in the faith.  Robert Murray McCheyne once said, “There are many hearing me who now know well that they are not Christians because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudging at all, requires a new heart.” [3]

  1. William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Gospel According to Mark, vol. 10, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953–2001), 506.
  2. Randy Alcorn, The Treasure Principle, (Eternal Perspective Ministries, 2002), 63.
  3. Robert Murray McCheyne, Additional Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Late Minister of St. Peter’s Church, Dundee: Consisting of Various Sermons and Lectures Delivered by Him in the Course of His Ministry, (Edinburgh: John Johnstone, 1847), 394.

DBG Weekend Spotlight (5-20-16)

DBG Weekend Spotlight (5-20-16)

During the first G3 Conference in January of 2013, Paul Washer was interviewed in the exhibit hall by Todd Friel.  Paul Washer tells the story of being accused of preaching heresy because he preached from Isaiah 53:10.

6 Reasons to Confess Your Faith Corporately – Alex Duke writes, “most if not all churches have a confession—at least in some form—but it’s often relegated to obscurity, unknown and certainly unarticulated by the congregation as a whole.”

Why the Doctrine of the Trinity Is Crucial for the Christian Life – Adapted from Owen on the Christian Life: Living for the Glory of God in Christ by Matthew Barrett and Michael A. G. Haykin, this article is worth reading.

Tim Challies Wins Jeopardy! In Dominant Performance – In case you don’t keep up with the satire site – The Babylon Bee – you’re missing out on some daily laughs.

Travel Report, Response to Steve Camp and then some KJVOnly Wackiness – James White provides an update on his recent trip overseas for ministry along with some additions issues.

The Pastor as Shepherd – The title of pastor is significant and John MacArthur explains why.

Is Your Pastor Happy to See You? – “It is my goal now, for as long as God would have me simply as a sheep and not a shepherd, be as low-maintenance as I can manage for my church. I want when my pastor sees me coming — his name is Nathan (Hi, Nathan, if you’re reading this) — not to inwardly sigh or tense up or have to marshal some extra patience or energy, but to relax a little, smile, and feel safe.”

How to Criticize a Fellow Christian or an Unbeliever in Controversy – Justin Taylor provides highlights from a letter that John Newton wrote a pastor who was preparing to criticize a fellow minister.  He likewise links to the entire letter in case you want to read the letter in its entirety.

G3 Conference – The 2017 G3 Conference on the Reformation is open for registration.  You will want to make your plans to join us in Atlanta next January.  Reserve your seat today – www.G3Conference.com.

Sola Scriptura and Transgender Restroom Privileges

Sola Scriptura and Transgender Restroom Privileges

Just a few years ago we were having a conversation about the boundaries of female sports journalists in professional NFL locker rooms.  Today, we find ourselves having a much different conversation regarding the restroom privileges of those who are openly transgender and those who merely self-identify as the opposite sex.  Just recently President Obama issued a letter to the public school system in the United States that calls upon the school system to refrain from discriminating against transgender students.  Today we find ourselves having very complicated conversations at break-neck speed in our culture.  The cake bakery freedom issue is old news.  Today’s news is centered on transgender discrimination policies that will essentially allow anyone to use any restroom of their choice.  How do we navigate in this cesspool culture that’s moving at break-neck speed?  How do we train our children to be steadfast?  This is where sola Scriptura matters and remains the foundation from which we must find clarity in an age of confusion.

What is Sola Scriptura?

It was Martin Luther, on October 31, 1517, who protested against the Roman Catholic Church and the abuse of indulgences by nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Nobody, including the Augustinian monk himself, would’ve predicted the explosion of controversy that would erupt after the protest was made public.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) would rise to the forefront of this movement that has become known as the Protestant Reformation. At the core of this movement was a commitment to God’s Word. The Reformation was not about Calvinism. The Reformation was about the recovery of the authority and the sufficiency of Scripture. As a direct result, the Reformation had a profound impact upon the pulpit as men stood and proclaimed the Word of God boldly and this in turn had a lasting impact upon the church as a whole.

The battle cry of the Protestant Reformation was sola Scriptura. The Reformers believed that the Scripture alone was necessary to communicate the gospel.  Out of the Reformation era came five definitive doctrinal positions that categorize the convictions of those men and women who risked everything to defend the faith once delivered to the saints. These Latin slogans are:

  • Sola Fide, by faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

The foundation whereby these statements stand or fall is sola Scriptura. If the Scriptures are not trustworthy, how can we know the truth of our human depravity, the glory of Jesus’ substitutionary death, and the amazing grace of God granted to depraved sinners for His eternal glory?  The Reformers looked at the Roman Catholic Church’s attempt to choke out the authority and primacy of Scripture among God’s people and they took a courageous stand.  As long as time continues and until Christ returns, we must be reminded that there will be a perpetual attack upon God’s Word.  That truth should be our reminder that from the Scriptures we must stand with resolute confidence in our prevailing evil age.

The Issue of Authority

For many years, the Roman Catholic Church had a strangle hold upon the Bible. The Roman Catholic Church wanted to control the Bible, adding to it their traditions, and subjugating the authority of the Bible by the authority of the magisterium. The issue of authority was at the heart of the protest of the Reformation. Once upon a time, the Roman Catholic Church was willing to burn people at the stake to maintain control of the Bible. Likewise it must be emphasized, once upon a time Christians were willing to endure the hot flames of persecution in order to preach and publish the Bible in the common man’s language. Where are such men today?

It seems as if all politicians and many mainstream preachers alike have lost confidence in God’s Word.  They have elevated popular opinion, and in some cases unpopular opinion, to a higher plane than the truth of holy Scripture.  When the apostle Paul was preparing Timothy for pastoral ministry in the city of Ephesus, he wrote the following words:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Before getting to the classic pinnacle of Paul’s letter in 2 Timothy 4:1-5 where Paul emphatically called upon Timothy to “preach the Word,” he began with a clear statement regarding Scripture’s source and sufficiency. Regarding the source of Scripture, Paul said that “all Scripture” is “breathed out by God.” The phrase, “breathed out by God” is one word in the original Greek text – θεόπνευστος. This particular word literally means that all Scripture comes from the breath of God. In other words, God is the source of the Scriptures, therefore the Scriptures are authoritative.  We must teach our children to look to the Word of God as their ultimate authority.  We must seek to elect politicians to office who likewise have a greater fear of God than they have for man.

We live in an anti-authority culture that rejects rules, laws, and ordinances, but if we will make a difference and speak truth it must not be from the deep wells of personal opinion.  We must build our positions and take our stand upon the sure foundation of Scripture.  Just as confident as Luther was regarding the authority of God’s Word in the indulgences debate, we must face our own debates with the same confidence in the same authoritative Word.

The Sufficient Word

If we are forced to make a decision to bake a cake for a homosexual couple’s wedding or to boycott Target, we must make our final decision through the lens of holy Scripture.  It doesn’t matter if we’re debating the age of the earth, life in the womb, or transgender restroom privileges, the Scriptures are sufficient to guide such decisions.  Preachers should not look outside of Scripture in order to address such complicated issues.  The Bible is sufficient on the subject of human sexuality and all other ethical issues that we may face in the ages to come.  There is no book like the Bible.  The Word of God will never need an update, revision, or correction in order to comply with culture.  It will always be the culture that must be revised and altered in order to comply with God’s Word.

Nearly 500 years ago Martin Luther made his famous “here I stand” speech before the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church.  We need men and women who would be willing to make a similar stand against the opinions and cultural downgrade of our present day.  Since the Bible is a sufficient map given to us in order to navigate the landscape of a confused culture, it’s vital that pastors and parents alike instruct the children and the church regarding the sufficiency of the Bible.  If tomorrow’s church will make such a courageous stand, the church today must be teaching from the foundation of sola Scriptura – the Scripture alone is our guide.  The Bible is not an ancient and outdated book.  That’s why men once upon a time taught on the perspicuity of Scripture.  We must do so once again.  Charles Spurgeon rightly states:

This weapon is good at all points, good for defense and for attack, to guard our whole person or to strike through the joints and marrow of the foe. Like the seraph’s sword at Eden’s gate, it turns every way. You cannot be in a condition that the Word of God has not provided. The Word has as many faces and eyes as providence itself. You will find it unfailing in all periods of your life, in all circumstances, in all companies, in all trials, and under all difficulties. Were it fallible, it would be useless in emergencies, but its unerring truth renders it precious beyond all price to the soldiers of the cross. [1]

*That’s one reason why we need more sermons, not less.  We need more gospel preaching and teaching, not less.  That’s why we need more church services, not less.  However, that’s a different subject for a different article on a different day.

  1. Charles Spurgeon, “Spiritual Warfare in a Believer’s Life,” (Sermon Matthew 4:4).

DBG Spotlight (5-18-16)

DBG Spotlight (5-18-16)

Anytime you can sit and listen to R.C. Sproul and Sinclair Ferguson have an hour long theological discussion and answer questions, it would be well worth your time.  Below is a conversation and questions and answers session from 2015 – and you will want to carve out some time to listen.

Ebook Sale – May 11-18 – You can take advantage of this good sale and grab these books at really cheap prices.

Will You Use Target’s Transgender Bathroom? – John Piper discusses the issues surrounding the transgender bathroom debate.

A one-legged man trapped inside a two-legged man’s body. Amputate? – Denny Burk talks about the identity issue and provides some good wisdom to consider.

Answering Two Important Questions About Expository Preaching – I was recently asked to provide an article on the Servants of Grace website on expository preaching.  You can read it here.

G3 Conference – The 2017 G3 Conference on the Reformation is open for registration.  You will want to make your plans to join us in Atlanta next January.  Reserve your seat today – www.G3Conference.com.


The Sin of Slothful Living

The Sin of Slothful Living

Our culture is filled with an attitude of idleness.  The statistics tell us that 5% of our population is presently unemployed, but you can drive through certain neighborhoods where the statistics are much higher.  We are living in a time where calluses are uncool.  Many young men are plagued with perpetual adolescence as they camp out in their parent’s basement and play endless hours of Madden NFL 16 on their Xbox 360.  Laziness abounds in our day – especially among many young people.

As a boy, I was privileged to have great examples before me in my father and grandfather who exemplified what it looked like to be hard workers.  In fact, I never once witnessed idleness in the men in my life.  Some of my childhood memories involve swimming at my grandparents and hearing the ladders rattling on my grandfather’s truck as he came home after a long day of work that started before daybreak.  I likewise spent many hours playing on the firetruck and hanging out around the fire station as my father worked 48 straight hours on duty and 24 hours off in my early years followed by a more normal 24 hours on and 48 hours off for the majority of my childhood.  However, as a boy it was a known thing that all firemen had a second job – so when my father went to a 24 on and 48 off schedule, he would spend those off days working.

My father and grandfather both taught me to work.  While in middle school, I remember working in the summer months doing odd construction jobs, cutting grass, and painting stenciled addresses on curbs for property owners to earn money.  When I was in high school, I worked for a barbecue house, a shoe store, and eventually I moved up the ladder to land a job in the toy department at the local Wal-Mart.  I was not given my first automobile as a gift, instead, I was taught to get a job after school hours and on the weekends in order to pay for it.  I was taught to balance work and my athletic involvement (I ran track and cross country).  As I think back to those early days of my development, I’m not only grateful for good examples, but I’m likewise appreciative for the fact that my parents taught me to work.

What Does the Bible Teach About Slothful Living?

From the very beginning, we see God working.  All through the Bible, we see references to the “work of God.”  The opening chapters of the Bible include the dramatic work of God in creation.  God serves as the great example of what it means to be a worker.  Adam was created by God and commissioned as a worker (Gen. 1:28-29).  This was prior to the fall of Adam and Even into sin, and therefore, cannot be attributed to the curse.  Work is not a result of God’s judgment upon humanity.  Work was God’s intention from the beginning.  Therefore, any ongoing pattern of laziness and slothful behavior is antithetical to God’s original design.

In the New Testament, we see Jesus coming to do the will of the Father.  He came to work the works of God and to accomplish the redemptive plan of God by saving His people (Matt. 1:21; John 6:38).  The second Person of the Godhead is depicted in the New Testament as a worker.  Therefore, it’s abundantly clear that work is not only biblical, but God has set before us proper examples of what work looks like and how it must be carried out.  He provided us an example to follow and a sufficient Bible to shape our theology of work.  Consider the words of Scripture:

  • Proverbs 19:15
  • Proverbs 24:30-34
  • Proverbs 20:4
  • Proverbs 26:13-16
  • Proverbs 21:25
  • Proverbs 19:24
  • Proverbs 13:4
  • Proverbs 12:11
  • Proverbs 10:5
  • Proverbs 10:4
  • Proverbs 12:24
  • Proverbs 10:26
  • Proverbs 18:9
  • Proverbs 15:19
  • Proverbs 20:13
  • Ecclesiastes 10:18

Although this is not an exhaustive list, the point is clear, the wisdom literature of the Bible is replete with warnings to the sluggard.  The slothful person is negligent in taking care of himself, his family, and his property.  The sluggard always has an excuse, even a fear of being devoured by lions will keep him at home.  The slothful person refuses to work and according to Scripture, he should not eat.  Work is rooted in creation and is God’s intended design for humanity.  Those who refuse to work experience great pain, peril, and perpetual problems.  It’s a foolish thing to refuse to work.

The Christian’s Responsibility

As we survey the New Testament, Paul writes these words to the church at Thessalonica (2 Thess. 3:6-15):

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. [7] For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, [8] nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. [9] It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. [10] For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. [11] For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. [12] Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. [13] As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. [14] If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. [15] Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.

According to Paul, he and others had provided satisfactory examples to the church in their work.  Paul made two specific statements that must be taken to heart.  First, he said, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2 Thess 3:10).  He went on to charge the church to confront those people in the church who were unwilling to work (2 Thess. 3:14-15).  It was so serious to Paul that he counseled the church to refuse to spend time with people who refused to work.  Their slothful attitude and manner of living posed a threat to the entire church.  A man who refuses to work cannot be trusted with the souls of a wife and children.  A slothful man cannot be trusted to shepherd a family.

When a person in the church refuses to work, they become an unnecessary burden for the church and bring reproach upon the name of Christianity.  How can a man care for his family if he refuses to work?  How can a sluggard point people to God when they live as a slothful individual?  They refuse to see that their lifestyle hinders their ability to point people to Christ.  According to the Word of God, such a man is worse than an infidel (1 Tim. 5:8).  The Christian has a responsibility to follow after good examples and to be busy in faithful work in order to care for himself and his family.  This is the responsibility for every man – especially the men who name the name of Christ.  In his commentary on 1 Samuel, Matthew Henry said, “The devil visits idle men with his temptations. God visits industrious men with His favors.”

As I reflect back upon my childhood, I can recall many days where I made excuses to my parents about how I shouldn’t be forced to work as a student and an athlete.  I recall making excuses about how I didn’t want to work when school was out because I wanted to enjoy my time away from school.  I’m grateful that they didn’t buy it.  They allowed me to be a kid, but they also heavily encouraged me to work.  For that, I will forever be thankful.


Warning of a More Severe Hell

Warning of a More Severe Hell

Yesterday morning I preached on the text found in Mark 12:38-40 in our study through Mark’s gospel.  In the text, Jesus is teaching in the temple and he provides two clear warnings.  The first warning is to the people as he calls out the prideful and persuasive scribes.  Jesus makes it clear that they are dangerous and perverted in their motives.  Jesus exposed them publicly, calling them out by name as a group in order to make the threat clearly known.  Last of all, Jesus issued a warning to the false teachers (scribes).  According to Jesus, they would have a more severe condemnation.  Does hell burn with greater intensity for some people?

The Promise of Judgment

Just as there is a certain promise of heaven, there is likewise a strong and sure promise of hell.  You can’t separate the two from one another.  They are inseparable promises – one for the just and the other for the unjust.  In the case of the scribes, Jesus made it clear that they were on their way to hell.  Consider the words of Christ in Matthew 23:23, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?”  He was addressing the scribes with such condemnatory language.

What makes this promise of judgment so intensely sobering is the fact that Jesus is addressing one of the most religious sects of the Jewish community.  Just as Jesus warned elsewhere, not everyone who is talking about heaven is going there (Matt. 7:21-23).  John Bunyan warned of this perilous state: 

While men live in this world, and are in a natural state, they will have a good conceit of themselves, and of their condition-they will conclude that they are Christians, that Abraham is their father, and their state to be as good as the best (Matt 3:7–9). They will conclude they have faith, the Spirit, a good hope, and an interest in the Lord Jesus Christ; but then, when they drop into hell, and lift up their eyes there, and behold first their soul to be in extreme torments; their dwelling to be the bottomless pit; their company thousands of damned souls; also the innumerable company of devils; and the hot scalding vengeance of God, not only to drop, but to fall very violently upon them; then they will begin to be awakened, who all their lifetime were in a dead sleep. I say, when this comes to pass, lo it will; then in hell they shall lift up their eyes, in the midst of torments they shall lift up their eyes. [1]

The Promise of a More Severe Hell

Perhaps because of unclear teaching on the subject, the evangelical church today is filled with people who don’t know much about hell.  If the church is confused on the subject (and it’s apparent that the church is confused), you can imagine what the rest of the world thinks about hell.  The frightening reality is that many religious people, such as these scribes, will experience a greater and more intense hell than the wicked city of Sodom.  Jesus, in this text, spoke of a more severe condemnation.  The Scribes, along with others in the Jewish religious community, should have known better.  Yet, they used the Word of God for profit.  They were religious hucksters and employed trickery in the name of religion to rob widows.

Consider the warning Jesus issued to specific cities who had heard more of Jesus’ preaching than anyone else during His earthly ministry (Matt. 11:21-24):

Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.

The promise of a more severe hell for certain people is quite clear, but it’s not framed in the exact same way as one would think.  Some picture Sodom as burning with greater intensity than others, but if we read Jesus’ words we see that Sodom will have a lesser intense hell than false teachers and those who sit under the perpetual teaching and preaching of the gospel and die without salvation through Christ.  Not only does the Bible teach of the anguish and severity of hell’s flames, but it likewise speaks of the differing degrees of punishment.

This should cause each of us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith.  Sodom had no Bible, no preacher, and no excuse.  They went to hell and today remain there under the wrath of God.  Today multitudes of people sit under the preaching and teaching of the gospel each week, yet remain unconverted.  Multitudes of false teachers peddle the Word of God without consideration of this warning that Jesus issued.  Judgment is coming upon those who pervert the gospel of Christ.  Are you prepared to die?  Our only hope and confident assurance rests in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross for sinners.  Cling to Him.

  1. John Bunyan, vol. 3, Some Sighs from Hell (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2006), 683.

DBG Weekend Spotlight (5-13-16)

DBG Weekend Spotlight (5-13-16)

For many years, Larry King (Larry King Live) had a daily television talk show on CNN.  During those years, a regular guest on his show to discuss cultural issues and theological issues was John MacArthur. In this specific episode, you will see why John MacArthur was respected by Larry King (although he disagreed with him) and why we should be grateful for the ministry of this faithful pastor.

President Obama: Accept Transgenderism or Else – If you have your children in public schools, you may want to read this post by Denny Burk and consider the implications that changes in restroom privileges will have upon your children.

Pastor’s Kids, If I Knew Then What I Know Now . . – Barnabas Piper, the son of John Piper, has some helpful thoughts for all pastors to consider regarding their children.  You might also be interested in his book, The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity.

3 Lessons I’ve Learned from the Reformation – This is a helpful post that takes a look at important lessons from a soon to be 500 year old period in church history.

Book Review: Why Bother with Church?, by Sam Allberry – Alex Duke has provided a helpful review of Sam Allberry’s book.

A Vote to Check Unpredictable Evil with the Predictable – Thabiti Anyabwile has been in the center of controversy with his political talk, positions, and now a post that has caused quite the stir.

What Is Worship? – John Piper takes a look at a very important topic and works toward a definition.

Ligonier Ministries Events – If you haven’t explored the special events put on by Ligonier, you should take a look and consider planning a trip that will be far more than a vacation.

G3 Conference – The 2017 G3 Conference on the Reformation is open for registration.  You will want to make your plans to join us in Atlanta next January.  Reserve your seat today – www.G3Conference.com.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Christian College

5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Christian College

Are you planning for your child to leave your home for the Christian college campus?  How are you preparing for that transition?  I’m not framing that question in terms of empty nest or emotional management plans.  I’m interested in knowing how you’re preparing your child for this transition.  Did you know that many children are lost as they go off to Christian college each fall?  It’s not only possible, but a sad reality that many parents lose their child on a Christian college campus.  I would like to propose five important truths to communicate to your child before they leave home for the Christian college (or any college for that matter).

Communicate the gospel clearly

Many parents have done a great job of teaching their children the Bible, but that’s not always the case.  A great number of parents live life with the idea that the youth pastor in the local church and Christian schools are given the responsibility of discipling their children.  That could not be farther from the truth.  According to Bible (see Deut. 6; Prov. 22:6), the task of discipleship rests upon the shoulders of the parents.  Therefore, no parent should expect their child to go off to a Christian college and become a strong Christian if that foundation has not been established in the home.  Take time to clearly articulate the gospel to your children and ensure that they understand the gospel without question.  Don’t assume anything as you prepare your child for transition to college.

Warn your child that their new Christian college campus will be filled with….sinners

No matter how well parents seek to train, disciple, and prepare their children for the real world, surprise is inevitable.  It would be wise for parents to prepare their children for the reality check that awaits them on the college campus.  Fellow students will engage in grotesque sins while on the Christian college campus, and this is not only outrageous – it’s normal.  In that same vein, the professors and faculty members on the Christian college campus are sinners too.  At some point or another, the Christian college professor will disappoint students.  Sin is not just out in the world, it’s living and abiding in the heart of every human being.  Preparation begins with proper self-introspection prior to student body evaluation.  The reality of a sinful world is necessary for students to navigate the challenges of sinful attitudes, motives, and habits of the very people they will share their college campus with.  There is no such thing as a Christian utopia – not even in the Christian college world.

Remind your child that the local church is a must

Does your child understand the necessity of the local church?  When students are forced to live hours away from their home church, unless they’re well connected in a local church setting, they will likely waver and enter into a great spiritual slump.  It’s just as important to search for a good local church near the college campus as it is in researching the school’s accreditation, reputation, and academic value.  If the school is wonderful but there isn’t a good church nearby, it would be best to choose a different school.  You can’t put academic education on a higher plane than spiritual maturity and growth.

At the end of the day, the Christian college serves as a parachurch organization.  The church is vitally important and must never be replaced or overshadowed by parachurch ministries.  The oversight of pastors, accountability and encouragement from fellow church members, the faithful teaching of Scripture, and the observance of baptism and the Lord’s Supper cannot be replaced by colleges or campus groups made up of students and faculty.  Your college student cannot be discipled by other college student for four years.  Your child needs to be mentored by older and faithful Christians through a local church body.  Just as parents guide and assist in the selection of the right college, it is likewise the duty of parents to be involved in the selection of a healthy local church for their child while away at school.

Teach your child that professors are not pastors

A large percentage of students go off to college and build close relationships with their professors.  This can be a healthy thing, but in some cases it can be extremely dangerous.  Because of the educational position, degrees, and accomplishments of many professors, the student body will often become enamored with professors as intellectual superheroes.  The Christian student must be prepared for this ahead of time and must be taught to respect their professors without idolizing them.  Furthermore, it would be wise to teach your child that they must be under the authority and care of faithful pastors.  Good professors are not enough, pastors are essential.  Unless taught to submit to biblical authority in the a local church setting, your student will likely learn to live a sinful life while earning a Bible degree.

Make sure your child knows that the Bible is sufficient, trustworthy, and authoritative

Many students have gone off to college only to grow cold and antagonistic toward the Bible.  It happens when they go into their first New Testament or Greek class and learn that we don’t have one single original document of the sixty-six books that make up the canon of Scripture.  If not taught properly by faithful professors, students can be led astray to doubt the veracity and authority of the Bible.  It would be wise to build a good foundation at home regarding the inerrancy and sufficiency of the Bible before your son or daughter moves their furniture into their dorm room.  It’s a sad reality that many professors, even on the Christian college campus, have a slanted agenda when it comes to the Bible.  Be careful and exercise great discernment.

When it comes to Christian bookstores and Christian schools, many Christian parents lose all biblical discernment powers.  For some reason, the very word Christian when used as a title for a bookstore or a school campus is like Kryptonite for the Christian.  It’s vitally important that Christians exercise great discernment when preparing their child to enter a Christian college.  Not all Christian colleges are Christian these days.  Not all Christian college professors believe the gospel.  Not all books that appear on a syllabus for a Christian college class will actually teach true Christianity.  Discernment is necessary no matter what title or denomination is attached to the school.  Not only should Christian parents exercise discernment, but they too should teach their children to do the same.

Recommended Colleges:  Looking for a solid education built upon a good theological foundation?  There are many good schools across the nation, but I want to take time to recommend two schools for upcoming college freshman.

  1.  Boyce College – Louisville, KY
  2. The Master’s College – Santa Clarita, CA

Social Connections

Featured: Dr. Steven Lawson, from the 2014 G3 Conference