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The Net Pastor’s Journal, Eng Ed, Issue 51, Spring 2024

A ministry of…

Author: Dr. Roger Pascoe, President,
Email: [email protected]

I. Strengthening Expository Preaching: Preaching Doctrine, Part 2

In the last issue of this Journal, I mentioned that I cannot deal exhaustively with this topic in a journal like this, so I chose five aspects of preaching doctrine to deal with, as follows…

A. Some factors in our contemporary culture that impact the preaching of doctrine.

B. Three important steps in preaching doctrine.

C. Some specific examples of the application of doctrine in preaching.

D. Helpful hints for preaching doctrine.

E. Some concluding reminders about preaching doctrine.

Last time (NPJ 50) I dealt with item A. Now let’s proceed to examine…

B. Three Important Steps In Preaching Doctrine.

There are three challenges (steps) in doctrinal preaching…

1. To Explain The Doctrine As A Theological Concept. Before we can teach people the “how” of the Christian life (the application of biblical truth to life), we must teach them the “what” of Christian belief (the substance of the truth). If they don’t know what we believe and why we believe it, they cannot possibly understand and apply it to their Christian lives. Or, as Drs. Stephen and David Olford express it, “In preaching, it is impossible – leave alone irresponsible – to apply supracultural principles without the content of truth” (Anointed Expository Preaching, 252).

The first step in preaching a doctrinal sermon, as in any expository sermon, is to state and explain the biblical proposition (the abstract, theological concept). For this step you will have to do lots of research to make sure: (1) That you understand the full scope of the biblical teaching on the subject; (2) That you have interpreted the passage correctly; and (3) That you can adequately, accurately, and clearly explain it.

2. To “Concretize” The Concept. You need to help the audience “see” the concept in their minds, “touch” it with their hands, and “feel” it with their hearts – i.e. make it concrete, real in terms that the audience can relate to. There are several ways to do this. Probably the most common and most appropriate way to do this is by an analogy (which is really an extended metaphor), or an example, or an illustration. The biblical writers often used analogies to make abstract concepts tangible. For example, the apostle Paul described our relationship to the two covenants (law and promise) as analogous to the relationships of Hagar and Ishmael (law) and Sarah and Isaac (promise) – see Gal. 4:21-31. This is one way you can make otherwise abstract biblical doctrines into concrete realities. Biblical theology must always be preached in concrete and specific terms.

Another excellent way to make abstract doctrine become concrete is to utilize the great symbolic stories and types of the O.T. For example, if you were preaching on the substitutionary aspect of the atonement (e.g. in 1 Pet. 2:21-24; or Gal. 3:10-14; or Heb. 9:24-28), you could concretize it by painting the vivid picture of the Passover described in Exodus 12. Or, if you were preaching on the deliverance from bondage effected by the atonement, you could bring in the Red Sea story in Exodus 14.

Jesus used parables and illustrations from real life to concretize the otherwise abstract principles he was teaching, thus making them vivid, real, and personal - something that the people could relate to in their own life’s experience. Instead of giving a definition or description of a theological concept (as you might get in a systematic theology textbook), Jesus illustrated it from real life stories and parables. For example, he explained the concept of self-righteousness in the story of the two men who went up to the temple to pray (Lk. 18:9-14); the kingdom of heaven in numerous illustrations (e.g. Matt. 13); the doctrine of forgiveness with the parable of the two debtors (Lk. 7:41-43); how to obtain eternal life with the story of the rich young ruler (Mk. 10:17-22) etc.

These are some of the ways that the preacher can transition from the explanation of the abstract doctrine (principle) to the concretization (reality) of that doctrine.

So, our first step in preaching doctrine is to explain the doctrine as a theological concept; second, concretize that concept (by way of analogy, symbol, illustration, parable etc.); and the third step is…

3. To “actualize” the concept. Once you have explained the principle (both in abstract and concrete terms), you need to move from that concept to specific life application - i.e. actualize the concept. Here we are asking: As a consequence of this truth, how does it impact what we believe, how we are to act, and what kind of people we are to be? This is where preaching moves on from teaching (pure instruction) to personal actualization and activation.

The transition from the concrete to the application is where the doctrine intersects with life – the life of the individual, the family, the congregation, world events, life at your place of employment, at school, at the church etc.

When we apply the doctrine, we are concerned about (1) This people of God in this church at this time; and (2) The contemporary events that are affecting them (world events; church events; family events etc.). All biblical doctrine was written to and for specific people in a specific situation with a specific need. Our task is to relate the ancient situation or need to our congregation in their contemporary situation or need.

The application of the truth involves moving from the explanation of the doctrine (i.e. the general concept / principle) to the specific connection of that doctrine to the details of life where we live – these people (us) in this place (here and now). To quote from Anointed Expository Preaching again, “What confuses most people in our congregations is the preaching of generalities. Indeed, it is a well-nigh hopeless task to apply generalities. The man or woman in the pew is saying: ‘Be specific; be logical; give me an example’” (253).

You must make the doctrinal sermon applicable to life or you will lose your audience – their eyes will glaze over and they will start asking, “What does this have to do with me?” The doctrinal sermon comes alive in the real-life issues and questions that we all face. You make it life-transforming by showing how it should change us in attitude, behaviour, belief, relationships, values, priorities etc. When you make the connection between the doctrine and its relevance to and impact on life, then you motivate and teach the listeners how to begin to develop, internalize, and actualize this doctrine in their own worldview, thinking, and behavior.

In order to help you preach the application of doctrine, I would suggest that you ask the normal questions you would ask of any text in order to uncover what you need to know, such as:

“Who” – to uncover the subject of the text and the persons addressed.

“What” – to uncover the facts, information, definitions, explanation, symptoms.

“When” – to uncover the time or sequence of events.

“Where” – to uncover the location and its impact on the outcome.

“Why” – to uncover the motives and reasons for actions.

“How” - to synthesize understanding with life.

Alternatively, as Daniel Doriani suggests, to arrive at appropriate application you can quite simply…

1. State the truth in the text and urge the people to act accordingly – a direct transfer from the text to us.

2. Unpack the implications of the doctrine in the text – either conclusions that can be derived from the text, or indirect suggestions that may be reasonably inferred.

3. Identify the theological question which the biblical doctrine addresses (e.g. What is God like? How can we make sense of the hardships of life, such as death, the loss of a job? etc.)

4. Answer the question, “Who needs the doctrine in this message?” Figure out how the doctrine you are preaching impacts the life situation of (1) all the age groups present (teenagers, young adults, young married couples etc.), (2) economic groups (factory workers, executives etc.), and (3) social groups (families, workplace, school, newly weds, retirees etc.) that are represented in your church (Doriani, Putting the Truth to Work, 220-225.).

C. Some Specific Examples Of The Application Of Doctrine In Preaching.

I will take just two examples from Ephesians 1:1-10, as follows…

Ephesians 1:3-6. What doctrine is being described? The doctrine of election. A possible illustration: Political elections. Political elections are planned ahead of time but nobody knows the outcome until the votes are in. But God’s election was planned in a past eternity and the outcome was fully known at that time because he guaranteed it.

What is said about the doctrine? (1) The nature of election: God’s choice (1:4a). (2) The object of election: God’s people (1:4b). (3) The foundation of election: God’s Son (1:4c). (4) The time of election: God’s eternity (1:4d). (5) The purpose of election: The praise of God (1:4e-6).

Ephesians 1:7-10. What doctrine is being described? The doctrine of redemption. What is said about the doctrine? (1) The source of redemption: God’s dear Son (1:7a). Illustration - Ransom payment for a kidnap victim. (2) The means of redemption: Christ’s blood (1:7b). (3) The result of redemption: our forgiveness (1:7c). (4) The motivation for redemption: God’s grace (1:7d-8). (5) The consummation of redemption: Christ’s headship (1:9-10).

II. Strengthening Biblical Leadership:
Order In The Church, Part 5, 1 Timothy 3:1-16

As we noticed last time, 1 Timothy is structured around five “charges” (points of instruction) that the apostle Paul issues to the young pastor Timothy. These five charges are as follows:

A. A charge concerning pastoral responsibility (1:3-20): “Wage the good warfare.”

B. A charge concerning public worship (2:1-15): “The men should pray…the women should learn quietly.”

C. A charge concerning pastoral leadership (3:1-16): “How one ought to behave in the house of God.”

D. A charge concerning personal devotion (4:1-6:2): “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.”

E. A charge concerning pastoral motives (6:3-21): “Keep the commandment unstained…guard the deposit entrusted to you.”

In the previous four editions of this Journal (NPJ 47, 48, 49, 50), I covered charges “A” and “B.” Today we come to charge “C.”

C. A Charge Concerning Pastoral Leadership (3:1-16).

“How one ought to behave in the house of God.” In this passage Paul sets out the primary purpose of this epistle, to set out the parameters of proper order in the church…

C1. Conduct and character of elders (3:1-7). It appears that an elder must, first, have a desire for the office (3:1) and then he must meet certain criteria relating to: (1) Moral and spiritual character; (2) Abilities; and (3) Spiritual motivation (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Tit. 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:2-3). Thus, any man who desires to shepherd God’s people and who meets the requirements for the office can be an elder.

Most of the biblical qualifications for elders relate to the candidate’s moral and spiritual character and abilities. Character is far more important than credentials, although they should not be mutually exclusive. Paul’s lists in 1 Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:6-9 are representative, not exhaustive. We will limit ourselves to 1 Timothy 3:2-7 in this discussion.

An elder is an “overseer,” one who takes care of God’s things in God’s household. His overriding character trait must be that of being “above reproach” (1 Tim. 3:2; cf. Tit. 1:6-7). This cannot mean that he has never done anything blameworthy, for in that case no one would qualify. Rather, it must mean that there is no known condition in his present life that would bring dishonor to the Lord or the church. Instead, his life will add credibility, not disrepute, to the church. The idea is that he has a reputation for moral uprightness, the highest reputation of character. Indeed, Paul goes on to explain and define what he means by “above reproach” in an elder in the following terms …

1. Faithfulness in marriage: “The husband of one wife” (3:2). Without going into the difficulties in this phrase and its many possible interpretive options, I think the idea here is that an elder must be a “one-woman man,” having eyes for no one other than his wife (if he is married), not a philanderer, not a ladies’ man.

2. Disciplined conduct...

a) “Sober-minded” (3:2). One who is sensible, discreet, thoughtful, clear-minded, temperate.

b) “Self-controlled” (3:2). One who is even tempered, stable, disciplined, orderly, prudent, sensible.

c) “Respectable” (3:2). One who acts consistently and orderly, well-behaved, decent, dignified. In order to be respectable, three conditions will not be present in the life of a deacon...

(i) He will not be addicted to wine (3:3). Even though I would recommend total abstinence for church leaders, the original word does not necessarily infer that. But at the very least it seems to indicate that a deacon must not be enslaved to alcohol, more literally, he must not linger beside wine.

(ii) He will not be violent but gentle (1 Tim. 3:3). Not aggressive in his treatment of others; not a bully or a fighter. Not quick-tempered, quarrelsome, argumentative, or contentious, but one who is mild, tender, docile, a peace-lover. One who manifests the meekness and gentleness of Christ – gracious, kind, patient (cf. Matt. 11:29-30).

(iii) He will not be a lover of money (3:3). Not covetous, free from the desire for and allure of money. Not materialistic. For an elder, money must not be an idol nor an object to be obtained. Therefore, he will not be a miser but will be generous. He will not favor or be partial towards rich people in his congregation. Thus, wealthy people will not have influence in the church just because they have money.

3. Personal ministry and testimony…

a) “Hospitable” (3:2). He fosters fellowship and unity through hospitality. Hospitality is something that is badly needed in our independent, isolated culture which has crept into the church. Hospitality is vital to the spiritual life of the congregation and for witnessing to non-Christians.

b) “Able to teach” (3:2). He must be able to teach and defend the faith: “Holding firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict” (Tit. 1:9). An elder must be skilled in communicating the truth of Scripture. He must understand and be able to articulate sound doctrine, able to defend the faith. Thus, a prospective elder must have applied himself for some years to the reading and study of Scripture, be able to discuss biblical issues intelligently and logically, have formulated doctrinal beliefs, and have the verbal ability and willingness to teach other people.

4. Family life: “Manage his own house well with all dignity keeping his children submissive” (3:4). He is the respected leader in his home. He has a well-behaved and respectful family. One would expect that, if such is the case, his children submit to his authority, are under his control, and have adopted his values and beliefs - “having faithful children not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination” (Tit. 1:6). The logic behind this statement is this: “For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” (3:5). The evidence of good leadership and character is in the elder’s success in managing his home.

Both Paul’s and Peter’s language concerning elders indicates that they be able to lead (1 Tim. 5:17-25; Tit. 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-5). It is inherent in the task. The gift of leadership is a biblical gift (Rom. 12:8) and one that is often not referred to when considering the biblical qualifications of an elder, although it should be self-evident. After all, has anyone heard of a leader who does not have the ability to lead? Scripture refers to elders as leaders: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you,” says the writer to the Hebrews (13:7). Again, “Obey your leaders and submit to them” (Heb. 13:17). Later in the epistle we are studying, Paul describes elders as “those who rule well” (1 Tim. 5:17), who manage the church matters well. This does not mean that someone who has the natural ability of leadership is necessarily qualified or has the desire to be a leader in the church. Leadership as a spiritual gift, like all other spiritual gifts, is a gift that is used for spiritual purposes. Some may have the gift of leadership which God does not choose to utilize for his purposes in the church.

The idea here is that elders must have the ability to govern the church. I don’t think this means that all elders must be trained administrators, but that they be able to administer the affairs of the church.

5. Spiritual maturity. “Not a recent convert” (3:6). Elders must be experienced Christians, mature believers, who have demonstrated stability. The support for this requirement of maturity and experience, and its inherent warning, is this: “Or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the same condemnation of the devil” (3:6).

6. Reputation outside the church. “Well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil” (3:7). In other words, he must be a good testimony and have a good reputation among those outside the church, respected by non-Christians.

Conclusion: If you wanted to sum up the character and conduct of an elder in one word, it would be godliness, as far as Paul’s lists in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9 are concerned. Paul says that the primary characteristic of an elder must be one who is “above reproach” and then the rest of the qualities and abilities explain what he means by that. Elders are men who are known for their godliness and integrity and are, thus, “above reproach.”

C2. Conduct and character of deacons (3:8-13).

1. Personal Conduct

a) “Dignified” (3:8). A deacon must be reverent, serious minded, not frivolous.

b) “Not double-tongued” (3:8). A deacon is not someone who expresses one opinion to one person and a different opinion about the same topic to another person. Rather, he is straightforward in what he says - his “yes” is “yes” and his “no” is “no” (Matt. 5:37).

c) “Not devoted to much wine” (3:8). A deacon must not be controlled by wine. This goes beyond the prohibition of drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18). Perhaps Paul included this prohibition here because part of a deacon’s responsibility may have been home visitation which may have exposed them to drinking wine.

d) “Not greedy for money” (3:8). Perhaps this condition is inserted here because the deacons usually handle the church’s money. This is a warning against deacons using their position for personal financial gain. It also provides a much-needed warning against covetousness.

2. Spiritual Qualifications (3:9-10).

a) “They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience” (3:9). Deacons must practice what they believe from Scripture, applying the truth to their own lives. They must exemplify consistency of faith and practice.

b) “Let them also be tested first” (3:10a). Deacons must first have proved that they are capable and worthy of this responsibility, seemingly by actually serving in this capacity on a trial basis perhaps. Then, “let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless” (3:10b). Moral purity is the order of the day for deacons just as it is for elders.

3. Marriage and family.

a) “Let deacons each be the husband of one wife” (3:12). Again, as with the qualification for elders, this instruction generates lots of questions as to its meaning and application. For the purposes of this article, the point of this marriage qualification is that it represents the spiritual qualification of moral purity and marital fidelity.

b) “Managing their children and their own households well” (3:12). Good managers at home. How a deacon manages his household is evidence of his leadership abilities, just as for elders.

It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the debate about whether women may be deacons of the church. Suffice it to say that I don’t think this Scripture excludes women from serving in the church (which is what “deacon” means, servant). While the primary leadership role in the church is that of the elders (overseers) who (1) are responsible for the overall management and spiritual care of the church, and (2) are specifically men. Deacons, on the other hand, may be either qualified men or women who assist the elders, such as was evidently the case for Phoebe (Romans 16:1) and Priscilla (Acts 18:1-3, 18; Rom. 16:3).

C3. Conduct and character of the church itself (3:14-16). In this epistle, Paul is instructing Timothy on appropriate order in the church in our conduct and character, which should reflect what we confess. What we do and what we say must be appropriate to the nature of the church and its message. What we say and do in the church is not an open free-for-all where everyone may do or say what they like. No, it’s disciplined and orderly under the headship of Christ and the rule of its church leaders. The character and conduct of the church are determined by its mission – to make known to the world the truth about Christ. First notice...

1. Our Conduct Is Governed By The Nature Of The Church: 14 I am writing these things to you so that… 15 you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God” (3:14-15a).

First, the nature of the church is that it is God's house, the place where God dwells with his people. It’s not a building, but a household, not an institution, but a family, not a corporation, but God's people. It is God’s house (cf. Eph. 2:18-22). And God's household is governed by proper conduct. You can’t just behave anyway you want in God's house. We must meet moral, spiritual, and practical qualifications that are fitting for God's house, consistent with who God is. Public prayer is to have certain characteristics and focus and doctrinal truth is to be faithfully taught and defended because the nature of the church is that it is “God's house.”

It is the church “of the living God.” Not a place for the worship of dead idols of wood and stone, but the place where God is present with his people, “the dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:22; cf. 1 Thess. 1:9-10; Acts 14:15) for “he does not dwell in temples made with hands” but among his people who are “the temple of the living God” (Acts 17:24f.; 2 Cor. 6:16).

When we meet as a congregation to worship God, we give practical and visible expression to the truth that the living God is present and powerful among us (1 Cor. 14:25) by the way we pray, the songs and hymns we sing, by our Scripture readings, by the preaching of the Word, by our communion and baptismal services, and by our fellowship. And we extend his presence among us through evangelism and missions throughout our community and the world.

So, because he is living and present among us in his house, we must conduct ourselves according to his standards for we come under his scrutiny and are subject to his judgement.

Second, the nature of God's house is “the pillar of the truth.” Sometimes we might refer to someone as a pillar of society, an outstanding example of what a citizen should be. Similarly, Paul says, the church is the “pillar of the truth.” Just as a pillar supports, elevates, and displays what is above it, so the church supports, elevates, and displays God’s truth to the world. Like a pillar, the church lifts up the truth of God for all to see and hear, like a banner flying gloriously from the top of the church’s majestic pillar of proclamation.

Third, the nature of God's house is “the foundation of the truth.” Just as a foundation supports the structure of an entire edifice to give it stability, strength, a solid footing, so, Paul says, the church is the foundation of the truth. The church is the unmovable support structure that supports the truth when it is under attack, holds up the truth when it is contradicted by false teachers, provides the firm ground on which the truth rests securely.

So, the church is both the pillar and foundation of the truth - the pillar above ground level and the foundation below. As the pillar of the truth, the church displays the truth from above, from the housetops, by expounding it, teaching it, and publicizing it (1) by preaching the truth for the world to see and hear and (2) by actively evangelizing the nations. As the foundation of the truth, the church supports the truth from below, the foundation stone on which the truth rests, (1) by following, obeying, and living out the truth (Col. 3:12-17) as the final authority for faith and practice, (2) by studying, teaching, and explaining the truth (2 Tim. 2:15), (3) by affirming and defending the truth (Phil. 2:16).

As the pillar of the truth, the church is the visible, majestic, glorious, public, unashamed proclaimer of the truth, which the world observes and hears. As the foundation of the truth, the church is the firm, solid defender and supporter of the truth, which does not move or change.

This is the truth on which we stand and which we uphold. That demands a certain code of conduct, conduct that must match our message. After all, we are God's household - we bear his nature and character; we are his presence in the world. Our conduct must be fitting to the nature of God's household, a household that raises the banner of truth like a glorious pillar; a household that supports the truth like a firm foundation.

So, our conduct is governed by the nature of the church. Notice also...

2. Our Confession Is Governed By The Message Of The Church. The message of the church is called “the truth” (3:15b). The truth is our common confession of faith, the non-negotiable sum and substance of our Christian belief. The truth is the foundation on which the Christian church rests and the pillar which the Christian message upholds. It’s our creed – what we confess in our preaching and teaching, our songs, our prayers, our testimonies.

The truth is, in its essence, the truth about God: “Great, indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness.” (3:16). “Godliness” is the primary characteristic of Christian life, which is manifested in our conduct and our confession. The Christian faith is a “mystery,” Paul says, because, although it was revealed in ages past, it has only now in our present age of grace become a visible, tangible, comprehensible reality in Christ. The mystery is that God has manifested himself in Christ. Jesus Christ has perfectly and fully revealed to us what was previously obscure, namely, the nature and character of God. In him we know God for he is the image of the invisible God, the exact representation of God's being, indeed he is God. In him we see godliness displayed and in him we are transformed into what God wants us to be.

The church, then, is defined and formed by its relationship to and confession of Jesus Christ. So, what does the church confess about Jesus Christ? What is the church’s message to the world?

(a) The church confesses the incarnation of Christ.

First, God was “manifested in flesh” (3:16a). Christ did not come into being at his incarnation. He already existed in the form of God and voluntarily emptied himself of his divine rights and prerogatives, taking on humanity (Phil. 2:6-8; Heb. 2:14) – i.e. he became fully human without surrendering or compromising his full divinity. That’s how God became visibly manifest to us. Otherwise, God would have forever been a mystery to us. Our understanding of God would have been forever veiled, obscure, and limited to what we see of the evidence of God in creation and in our consciences. But through the self-revelation of God in Christ, we know him personally, intimately, and redemptively.

God was “manifested in the flesh.” He was born to a virgin by the Holy Spirit, took on human nature in addition to his divine nature, and dwelled among us, identifying with us in our circumstances and human frailty. “Therefore, in all things he had to be made like his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself has suffered, being tempted, he is able to aid those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:17-18).

Second, He was “vindicated by the Spirit” (3:16b). If Christ’s manifestation in the flesh speaks of his humanity, then his vindication by the Spirit speaks of his deity. He was vindicated by the Spirit (i) at his baptism (when the Spirit anointed him for ministry), (ii) through his works (when he performed miracles by divine power), (iii) at his resurrection (when he was raised from the dead, Rom. 1:4; 8:11). This was a complete vindication of who he was, the sinless, perfect God-man.

(b) The church confesses the testimony to Christ.

First, there was the testimony of the angels about Christ: “Christ was seen by the angels” (3:16c). The One who was made lower than the angels for the suffering of death was observed by them. They knew who he was, they observed him closely from the start to the finish of his life, and they bore testimony to him. The angels observed him at his birth - they gave witness that he was God incarnate (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:36). The angels gave witness that he was the eternal King (Lk. 1:32-33). They gave witness that he was the promised Saviour (Lk. 2:11; Matt. 1:21).

The angels observed him in his temptations (Matt. 4:11; Mk. 1:13; Lk. 22:43). The angels observed him at his death and were ready to deliver him (Matt. 26:53). The angels observed him at his resurrection (Matt. 28:2; Lk. 24:4-7). The angels observed him at his ascension (Acts. 1:10-11). The angels observed him in his glorification (Rev. 5:11).

Second, there was the testimony of the people about Christ: “Christ was proclaimed among the nations” (3:16d). He was not only seen by heavenly beings but he was heard by human beings. The truth about him that had been declared by God the Father (Matt. 3:17) and by the angels was to be proclaimed by his disciples to all nations (Acts 1:8). And that’s our message and mission as well. The one who was mocked, scourged, condemned, and crucified is the one whom we preach to the nations.

(c) The church confesses the response to Christ.

There was the response on earth: “Christ was believed on in the world” (3:16e). Both Jews (Acts 6:7) and Gentiles (Acts 13:48) believed on him.

There was the response in heaven: He was “taken up in glory” (3:16f). This was the completion of his earthly ministry. He was exalted to God's right hand, the place of power, the place of intercession and advocacy for his people. Men hated him, beat him, crucified him, rejected him, and buried him but God raised him and took him up “in glory.”

Final Remarks

This, then, is the character and conduct required of elders, deacons, and the church in general. May our churches be protected from false teachers, false shepherds (Ezek. 34), by adhering to the standards set out here by Paul for church leaders. And may our churches faithfully fulfill our mission to be vibrant witnesses through our conduct, our character, and our confession to the truth about Christ both at home and abroad so that through our character that reflects the character of Christ in godliness, through our conduct that reflects the nature of the church as God's household, and through our confession that reflects the message of the church as God's truth, others will embrace the person of Christ, come to know him, love him, follow him, and serve him.

III. Sermon Outlines

Title: Learning from Jesus - Four Heart Conditions (Mark 4:1-20)

Subject: Your response to the gospel

Theme: The impact that the Word of God makes in your life depends on the condition of your heart.

Point I: Some people have incentive hearts (4:4 and 15)

Point II: Some people have impetuous hearts (4:5-6 and 16-17)

Point III: Some people have anxious hearts (4:7 and 18-19)

Point IV: Some people have receptive hearts (4:8 and 20)

Related Topics: Pastors

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