The First Martyr In Scripture — Paul Tripp writes about Abel, the first martyr in Scripture. He writes, “I love the fact that Abel still speaks long after he died. We should pray too that, by grace, our legacies will continue long after we have gone home.”
Albert Mohler’s One Book Recommendation — When Albert Mohler talks books people often stop and listen. When he recommends that everyone read just one book, it would be a good idea to take his advice.
What Is Saving Faith? — “For the Roman Catholic Church, faith plus works equals justification; for antinomians, faith minus works equals justification; for the Protestant Reformers, faith equals justification plus works. In other words, works are the necessary fruit of true faith.”
Will All People Be Equal in Heaven? — “Our different personalities, rewards, positions, and names in Heaven (see Revelation 2:17) speak not only of our individuality but also of how God finds unique reasons to love us. I love my wife and daughters, and I love different things about each.”
A Faithful Steward of My Other Pulpit — “Every pastor has multiple responsibilities. But the pastor’s primary, central, and definitive function is to preach the word of God. A faithful pastor will not compromise the centrality of the pulpit…A pastor’s stewardship of his pulpit extends to others he invites to preach to his congregation. When a pastor invites anther pastor to preach at his church, it is never a light matter. There are huge spiritual implications involved.”
Church Plants Need Pastors, Not Entrepreneurs — Daniel Gardner writes, “But if you’re the product you choose to promote, then you’re entering a lose-lose scenario. If you fail, you’ll have no one else to blame—and if your church takes off because of you, you’ll have built it on something other than biblical community. You will have won glory for yourself, not for God.”
Blessed Are Those Who Mourn — A helpful excerpt from Blessed Are Those Who Mourn, Matt Smethurst’s contribution to the June issue of Tabletalk.
The Blessings and Burdens of A Church Planter’s Wife — Gloria Furman writes, “Blessings and burdens mingle together as we live in this world that groans for the Day of redemption—now several minutes closer than it was at the start of this article. There’s no way a finite heart can hold all the things a church planting wife will face in life and ministry. But Christ can, he does, and he will.”
This week the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting was held in the city of Phoenix. Since I was in town, James White invited me onto the Dividing Line to discuss the G3 Conference, our upcoming Reformation tour, and SBC issues. It also happened to be my 40th birthday, and in typical James White style—I was served my very first Muscle Milk birthday cake.
My Observations from 2017 SBC in Phoenix — H.B. Charles Jr. provides some observations from the recent SBC in Phoenix. One of my observations is that we should all be grateful that he was elected as the president of the pastors’ conference for 2018.
God Desires Your Heart, Not Your Degree — We too often place emphasis on things that are not exactly necessary in the service of the Lord. Although degrees and education is helpful for preparation, it’s not specifically necessary. What is necessary is true knowledge of God and preparation to rightly handle God’s Word.
Theology Word of the Week: Truth
ἀλήθεια, (ας, ἡ (ἀληθής) (from Homer down), verity, truth.
2. In reference to religion, the word denotes what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man, (`moral and religions truth’); and that a. with the greatest latitude, in the sceptical question τίἐστινἀλήθεια, John 18:38;
b. the true notions of God which are open to human reason without his supernatural intervention: Romans 1:18; also ἡἀλήθειαΘεοῦ the truth of which God is the author, Romans 1:25, cf. 19 (ἡἀλήθειατοῦΧριστοῦ, Ev. Nicod., c. 5, 2; accordingly, it is not, as many interpret the phrase, the true nature of God (yet see Meyer at the passage)); truth, the embodiment of which the Jews sought in the Mosaic law, Romans 2:20.
II. (subjectively) “truth as a personal excellence; that candor of mind which is free from affectation, pretence, simulation, falsehood, deceit”: John 8:44; sincerity of mind and integrity of character, or a mode of life in harmony with divine truth: 1 Corinthians 5:8; 1 Corinthians 13:6 (opposed to ἀδικία); Ephesians 4:21 (see I. 1 b. above); ; (); σουἀλήθεια the truth as it is discerned in thee, thy habit of thinking and acting in congruity with truth, 3 John 1:3; ἡἀλήθειατοῦΘεοῦ which belongs to God, i. e., his holiness (but cf. περισσεύω, 1 b. at the end), Romans 3:7; specifically, veracity (of God in keeping his promises), Romans 15:8; ἐνἀλήθεια sincerely and truthfully, 2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1. The word is not found in Revelation ((nor in 1 Thessalonians, Philemon, Jude)). Cf. Holemann, Bibelstudien (Lpz. 1859) 1te Abth., p. 8ff; (Wendt in Studien und Kritiken, 1883, p. 511ff.) 
The Reformation battle cry was about bringing the Word of God out of darkness as it had been hidden away in a dark dungeon by the Roman Catholic Church. Derek Thomas’ sermon titled, “Before Light, Darkness” is really good and worthy of your time.
Knowing God: A Biblical Understanding of Discipleship — The 2018 G3 Conference is open for registration and will be held once again in Atlanta, Georgia. Make your plans and reserve your seats (and hotel) for a weekend conference focused on the theological foundation and practical components of making disciples and following Jesus.
Do You Believe the Whole Gospel? — “Historically, before the outbreak of nineteenth-century liberalism, the church did not seem to struggle with this false dichotomy. For centuries, the church understood her task as both to proclaim the saving gospel of the atoning work of Christ and, at the same time, to follow Jesus’ example of ministry to the blind, to the deaf, to the imprisoned, to the hungry, to the homeless, and to the poor. The ministry of the church, if it is to be healthy, must always be firmly committed to both dimensions of the biblical mandate, that we may be faithful to Christ Himself. If we reject either the ministry of personal redemption or of mercy to the afflicted, we express ‘unbelief.'”
Theology Word of the Week: Homosexuality (μαλακός)
μαλακός, ή, όν (s. two prec. entries; ‘soft’: Hom. et al.; ins, pap, LXX, Philo; Jos., Ant. 8, 72 βύσσος μ.; Mel., P. 80, 594 στρωμνῆς μ.)
①pert. to being yielding to touch,soft, of things: clothes (Hom. et al.; Artem. 1, 78 p. 73, 10 ἱματίων πολυτελῶν κ. μαλακῶν; PSI 364, 5 ἱμάτιον μαλ.) μ. ἱμάτια soft garments, such as fastidious people wear Lk 7:25. (τὰ) μ. soft clothes (Sb 6779, 57; s. λευκός 2, end) Mt 11:8ab.
②pert. to being passive in a same-sex relationship,effeminate esp. of catamites, of men and boys who are sodomized by other males in such a relationship, opp. ἀρσενοκοίτης (Dionys. Hal. 7, 2, 4; Dio Chrys. 49 , 25; Ptolem., Apotel. 3, 15, 10; Vett. Val. 113, 22; Diog. L. 7, 173; PHib 54, 11 [c. 245 b.c.] may have this mng.: a musician called Zenobius ὁ μαλακός [prob. with a sideline, according to Dssm., LO 131, 4—LAE 164, 4]. S. also a Macedon. ins in LDuchesne and CBayet, Mémoire sur une Mission au Mont Athos 1876 no. 66 p. 46; Plautus, Miles 668 cinaedus [Gk. κίναιδος] malacus; cp. the atttack on the morality of submissive homoeroticism Aeschin. 1, 188; DCohen, Greece and Rome 23, ’76, 181f) 1 Cor 6:9 (‘male prostitutes’ NRSV is too narrow a rendering; ‘sexual pervert’ REB is too broad)=Pol 5:3.—S. lit. s.v. ἀρσενοκοίτης. B. 1065. DELG. M-M.