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A Professor’s Prayer from Matthew 23

Heavenly Father,

May it never be that your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ who is seated on heaven’s throne, should look down upon me, teaching from my professor’s chair, and tell others, “Listen to what he says, but do not follow his example” (v. 2-3).

Please keep me from calling others to Christian duty and gospel sacrifices that I am unwilling to make myself (v. 4).

Guard my heart from such things as quoting Scripture or preaching, or putting on fancy coat and tie or academic regalia, to impress men rather than to serve you, O Lord (v. 5).

Help me to sit lovingly with the lowly rather than angling to be seated proudly with the powerful (v. 6).

As I teach and preach, may my heart’s true longing not be for people to put titles before my name or initials after it, but to know you as the only true Teacher, Father, and Lord (v. 7-10).

May any greatness be measured only on the scale of being a lowly, humble, thankful servant of my great Lord whose sacrifice gave me life and a place of service in his glorious kingdom (v. 11-12).

O, Lord, may I never hear you say of me that I closed the […]

Fishers of Men

When Jesus came upon the two brothers, Simon and Andrew, repairing their nets by the Sea of Galilee, he spoke to them those familiar words found in Matthew 4:19. “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” My experience has shown me that the words are familiar to the church, but the actual work perhaps not so much. How might we better understand the words so the work can be more accessible to us?

We can start by realizing that this call of Christ to these two men did not just come “out of the blue.” Some have read this text, seen Simon and Andrew immediately leaving their nets behind to follow Christ, and concluded that these men, without any previous interaction with Jesus, left all to work with him. However, that’s not the case. These brothers already had a growing knowledge of Christ.

Jesus was living a very public ministry at this point. He already had been baptized by John the Baptist. At that time, we find that Andrew had heard John the Baptist preaching about Jesus, seen him point Jesus out as the Lamb of God, and then gone to tell his brother Simon that he had found the Messiah (John 1:35-42). […]

3GT Episode 56: Stop! Thief!

On occasion the guys address one of the Ten Commandments, and on this episode it is Number 8: “You shall not steal.” Pretty simple, right? Hold on. From pillaging to pilfering to plagiarizing, thievery can take many forms. In our modern, digitized world, the temptations and ability to steal are multiplied. And the thief is not always “out there.” He may reside in our own hearts. What hope and instruction does the gospel give about this issue?

Join the 3GTers as they discuss and apply God’s Law. (Note: The picture accompanying this episode is courtesy of Pixabay, a free imaging resource :).

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/3gt-episode-56.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

Funerals are for the Living

Attending my elderly neighbor’s funeral yesterday, the Lord impressed upon me again something I have been thinking about lately. As others have noted, funerals are really for the living, not the dead.

Certainly funerals, by their very nature, remember the dead. Yet the purpose of a Christian funeral is to give place for those still living and who are connected to the deceased to do the remembering, to grieve, and to hear the hope of the gospel. Thankfully, the funeral I attended yesterday did just that.

Providentially, the Lord prepared me beforehand to attend the funeral. Pastor Ed Blackwood, Director of Admissions and Student Services at RPTS, preached a wonderful chapel message yesterday morning on Abraham’s burial of his wife Sarah. The Lord used Ed’s Biblical insights and pastoral experience in a great way with students and faculty alike. Watch this brief message below for encouragement on how we should think about life, death, and funerals.

3GT Episode 55: Real Preachin’

Our parishioner knows good preaching when he hears it, but he wants to know why. Why do some sermons move and humble listeners to reverence and obedience, whereas others simply seem to fall flat? These inquiries lead to a discussion about the differences between preaching and teaching, the demonstration of the Spirit’s power, expositional and topical preaching, how to preach Christ from the Old Testament, and whether a powerful delivery is simply a gift or can it be taught. And the discussion ends with the pastor revealing the magic number of sermon length!

You will want to listen and enjoy this vigorous discussion that speaks to those on both sides of the pulpit!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/3gt-episode-55.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

Ten Brief Lessons on the Ten Commandments

Many Christians tend to have an uneasy relationship with God’s law. Often, wrong perceptions interfere with a clear understanding about the Ten Commandments. To help, here are ten brief lessons regarding the Decalogue.

Lesson 1: The Ten Commandments were given to the redeemed. The Remember that the Ten Commandments were given to Israel after they had been delivered out of Egypt, not before. They were not a code given for Israel to earn there way out of slavery; these commandments were given to them as the redeemed people of God. The Lord reminds them of this in the very preface to the Ten commandments, found in Exodus 20:1 which states, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Lesson 2: The Lord made a covenant with Israel based on the Ten Commandments. When Moses came down off Mt. Sinai with the stone tables of God’s law as recorded in Exodus 24, he built an altar before the people. He then took the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkled half of it on the altar. After reading the “book of the covenant”, i.e. the Ten Commandments and other laws, the people responded they would […]

3GT Episode 54: Vocation Relocation

Kyle asks Aaron and Barry about their vocational transitions. Questions abound. Are there vocations Christians should avoid? What factors should one consider in pursuing a job? Should believers just perform their duty or are they allowed to enjoy the work they do? Can Christians pursue more pay or promotions? Are there job benefits more valuable than money? How do you navigate job changes? And can Augustine help us out?

Listen as the 3GTers put the wrench in their hands and seek to tighten down the practical nuts and bolts of vocational change!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/3gt-episode-54.mp3

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You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

Theology on the Go

A pleasant and informative podcast I enjoy is called “Theology on the Go.” Found on the Place for Truth website of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Theology on the Go is hosted by Dr. Jonathan Master who conducts a brief interview on a topic that should be of interest to those in the church. A natural conversationalist with an encouraging spirit, Jonathan does a wonderful job of keeping his guests on topic and asking questions that guide the conversation from belief to beneficial practice for believers.

Recently, Jonathan interviewed yours truly regarding the marks of the church. If you would like to take a listen, you can go here.

(Also, as usual when doing things like this, I snap my fingers afterward wishing I had said something else. In this case, it is two other resources regarding the marks of the church I would recommend. You can do no better than going to Francis Turretin’s Institutes of Elenctic Theology , especially the Eighteenth Topic in Volume 2 on the church where he develops teaching on the marks in contrast to the Roman Catholic Church. Another shorter volume that introduces the marks in a helpful way is Daniel Hyde’s Welcome to a Reformed Church: A Guide for Pilgrims.)

Fathers, Avoid Exasperating Your Children

Recently in class, I was reminding pastoral students that they learn to shepherd a congregation, and show they are qualified for it, by caring for their own families (I Tim. 3:4-5; Tit. 1:6). As fathers, one of the Scriptural duties we have toward that end is not to provoke our children to anger. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart” (Col. 3:21).

What are some of the ways fathers fail in this area? Here are at least six provocations to avoid.

Neglect of time and attention. Babies are born attention-getters, with parents devoting day and night to their care. As they develop into young children, they keep asking for attention. They ask a thousand questions, and want the parent’s approval, confirmation, and affirmation for every little thing they do. By nature, the nurturing mother provides a great deal of this attention primarily (though not exclusively) in the earlier years. Yet as the child ages, there is an increasing need for attention from the father. Without diminishing the mother’s role, teenagers and young adults need the guidance and wisdom their fathers are to bring to them. The Book of Proverbs illustrates this truth for us, as it is […]

Browse Worthy: Tim Challies’ Visual Theology

Little by little over the past few years, Tim Challies, with the assistance of a graphic artist, has been building an impressive array of visually sharp diagrams, charts, and displays of Biblical truth. Called Visual Theology, these products range from quotes by famous Christians to lists of the Kings of Israel to a blueprint for the Old Testament tabernacle. These graphics are great for teaching or placing on a wall to remind others of God’s truth. They are available for downloads and he also has a book he published last year with many of them in it.

Tim caught my attention recently with a new one called The Order and Causes of Salvation and Damnation: An Infographic. As you can see below, It is a beautiful reproduction (the chart is offered in much higher resolution in different formats at the website) of John Bunyan’s original “ocular catechism” that traces the decrees of election and reprobation out in believers and unbelievers’ lives with Bunyan’s typical rich use of Scripture. I first learned of Bunyan’s drawing a few years ago while sitting under Derek Thomas, who led us through this work in an approach similar to the one found here. (I also learned that William Perkins had […]