Friday Sermon | Alistair Begg – Friendship Matters (2 Timothy 4:11-13)

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Today, we’ll visit TruthforLife.org for a sermon by Alistair Begg.

Sermon link: Friendship Matters

The Apostle Paul faced his approaching death with confidence in God, but also with real vulnerability. In this message from the concluding verses of 2 Timothy, Alistair Begg directs our attention to the important roles that Luke, Mark, and Tychicus played in the life and ministry of Paul. By their loyalty and usefulness, these men illustrate the practical value of faithful ministry to Christ and the providence of God in ordering even missteps and failures for His glory.

Sermon Text

2 Timothy 4:11-13 (ESV)

11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments.

John called Mark

Now, for a little background (some of which Alistair Begg will provide), let’s take a walk through Acts, noting where John called Mark interacted with the Apostle Paul. In chapter 12 of Acts, James killed and Peter imprisoned. God sends and Angel to free Peter from the inner jail, though Peter initially thinks it is a vision or a dream. Let’s pick up with the story in verse 11:

Acts 12:11-25 (ESV)

11 When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

12 When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate.15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind.” But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, “It is his angel!” 16 But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Tell these things to James and tothe brothers.” Then he departed and went to another place.

18 Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter. 19 And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.

The Death of Herod

20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain,they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. 22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.

So we see here introduced this John whose other name was Mark in the heart of what is going on among the brethren in Jerusalem. He is witness to the miracle of Peter’s release and probably to a great deal more. The Word of God increased and multiplied. Upon leaving Jerusalem, Saul and Barnabas brought along John-Mark as they returned to Antioch.

Acts 13:1-14 (ESV) | Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

13 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia

13 Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, 14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.

The Holy Spirit sends Paul and Barnabas out on a missionary journey, and John-Mark goes with them to assist. We aren’t given much detail on the matter, but for whatever reason, John-Mark leaves the mission at Perga in Pamphylia to return home to Jerusalem. There could have been some majorly compelling reasons for why John-Mark chose to return to Jerusalem, or it could simply have been fear or immaturity. Whatever it was, the Holy Spirit did not include it in Scripture. Suffice it to say that it left a mark on Paul. Paul and Barnabas travel throughout the region preaching the Word of Christ. Meanwhile, the council of Jerusalem regarding the matter of Gentile Believers and the Mosaic Covenant convened. Paul and Barnabas returned to Jerusalem to testify of the Holy Spirit’s work among the Gentiles, and the council came to an agreement and drafted a letter to be sent out to those outside of Jerusalem. We pick up in Acts 15:22.

Acts 15:22-41 (ESV) | The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia,greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Barnabas chose to mentor John-Mark while Paul chose another to travel with him to do the work of the ministry. Too often, this becomes a matter of friendships being broken or family discord, but this was about the work of the ministry. Paul sought to encourage and strengthen the planted churches and John-Mark was not up for the task. Barnabas, on the other hand, felt led to pour into John-Mark’s life, to nurture him, to equip him for the ministry. Luke goes on to follow Paul’s ministry rather than that of Barnabas, but in Paul’s letter to Timothy, we see that John-Mark becomes a particularly useful brother in the faith. Despite all that has taken place, most of it not recorded, when Paul was at the end of his race, he wanted the company of friends… of whom John-Mark was mentioned by name.

May God bless you and keep you,
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Gospel Wednesday | Matthew 12:46-50

bibleLast week, we took a look at the second portion of Matthew 12. I couldn’t quite fit in the last segment of chapter 12, and had intended to simply pick up that section today as we then move on into chapter 13. This transition away from Jesus’ declaration of who He is and His warning against the false teaching of the Pharisees toward His teaching of the masses in Parables is important.

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

Matthew 12:46-50 (ESV) | Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

Now, where Matthew shares this account as a transition point in the focus of His preaching (remember, Matthew is making the case of Jesus fulfilling the Messianic Prophecies). He was preaching of Who He is, and now He will be preaching to the people in Parables (in fulfillment of scripture) while also giving clear lessons for His Apostles. Mark’s account follows a different arch, a different focus in the presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are enough clues in Mark Chapter 3 to indicate this is the same event, but Mark skips over some things and includes some others. The Gospel according to Mark focuses less on making the case for Jesus being the Promised Messiah, and more on demonstrating His Authority as the Son of God. The Gospel of Mark is an action-packed Gospel of power and compassion of God the Son. With that in mind, let us look to Mark chapter 3 where we see the cross-reference to our Matthew text.

Mark 3:13-35 (ESV) | The Twelve Apostles

13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat.21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.

28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

I think it would have been easy for us to come to a skewed and dismissive view of Jesus’ comments regarding his mother and brothers if we only had the account in Matthew. Jesus’ mother and brothers had come to Jesus out of concern for Him, sure, but they sought to bring counsel, even possibly a rebuke, for what He was preaching. Jesus was not out of His mind, He was doing exactly what He was supposed to be doing. Jesus was doing the Will of the Father. Though their earthly concern for Jesus was understandable, and arguably well-intentioned, it was misguided and sinful due to a lack of faith. Jesus would not be counselled against doing the Will of God, nor would He permit being interrupted.

Alistair Begg taught on this passage in Mark a while back (2009) at it has been made available for listening on Truthforlife.org.

https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/jesus-true-family/

He ends this sermon with such a beautiful picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that by His death and Resurrection the Way was made for us to become heirs and joint heirs with Christ Jesus, to be His brothers and sisters by God’s Grace through faith.

Until Next Week…

Next week, we will start looking at some of Jesus’ parables in Chapter 13. Until then, spend time in the Word and in prayer. The summer is upon us, so enjoy this time with your family, and find ways of maintaining a routine of seeking the Word of God on a regular basis. I will do my best to provide supplemental material on this blog site.

Jude 1:24-25 (ESV) 24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Friday Sermon | “A Man in the Night” by Alistair Begg

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Today, we’ll visit TruthforLife.org for a sermon by Alistair Begg. Today’s sermon aired yesterday (May 14th, 2015). I found it a good way to bring this week’s theme to a close. We’ve been focused on Resting in Christ, in His Saving grace, by faith. The occasion of Nicodemus sneaking in the night to speak to Jesus gives us an opportunity to recognize that works of the Law are not where we find our rest, our peace, nor our assurance. Rather, it is in believing in faith the work that He has done for us.

Sermon link:  A Man in the Night (Part 2 of 2)

Nicodemus was a law-abiding, religious man. But when he encountered Jesus, Nicodemus was surprised to learn how little he actually knew about entering the Kingdom of God. Sincerity, and even following all the rules, was not enough to qualify.

Sermon Text

John 3:1-16 (ESV)

You Must Be Born Again

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you dounless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him,“Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in himmay have eternal life.

For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Supporting Texts

Ezekiel 36:25-27 (ESV)

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Numbers 21:4-9 (ESV) | The Bronze Serpent

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the peoplespoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

 

May God bless you and keep you,
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Friday Sermon | Alistair Begg – A Superior Covenant (Hebrews 8:1-13)

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Today, we’ll visit TruthforLife.org for a sermon by Alistair Begg. Given yesterday’s tough examination of Tithing and the Malachi 3:8-10 proof text, I thought it best that we reach into the archives of Truth for Life and listen to Alistair Begg teach on the topic of understanding the covenants, and really about how to approach the whole of Scriptures.

Sermon link: A Superior Covenant

The Bible is like a two-act play: the second act makes no sense without the first. The New Testament is understandable and significant only in light of the Old Testament. In this passage, the writer helps us understand the necessity of the Old Covenant sacrificial system as it foreshadows the perfect sacrifice of the New Testament Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.

Alistair shares a breakdown of the Bible (from his Sunday school teacher back in Scotland) that I find extremely helpful in recognizing how we should approach the Scriptures.

  • The Old Testament – Jesus Predicted
  • The Gospels – Jesus Revealed
  • The Acts of the Apostles – Jesus Preached
  • The Epistles – Jesus Explained
  • The Revelation – Jesus Expected

Sermon Text

Hebrews 8:1-13 (ESV) | Jesus, High Priest of a Better Covenant

1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

8 For he finds fault with them when he says:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

May God bless you and keep you,
In Christ Jesus,
Jorge

Friday Sermon | “Let the Lion Out” by Alistair Begg (Shepherds’ Conference)

inerrancy-summitOur sermon today is a lecture given by Alistair Begg at this year’s Shepherds’ Conference (2015).

The mission of the Shepherds’ Conference is to provide the opportunity for men in church leadership to be challenged in their commitment to biblical ministry and to find encouragement as together we seek to become more effective servants of our chief Shepherd. Visit the inerrantword.com website for more information on this year’s topic.

Lecture Text

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) | Preach the Word

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Alistair Begg introduces the sermon title by way of quoting from a sermon entitled “Christ and His Co-Workers” by C.H. Spurgeon  (1886):

A great many learned men are defending the Gospel—no doubt it is a very proper and right thing to do—yet I always notice that when there are most books of that kind, it is because the Gospel, itself, is not being preached. Suppose a number of persons were to take it into their heads that they had to defend a lion, a full-grown king of beasts! There he is in a cage and here come all the soldiers of the army to fight for him. Well, I would suggest to them, if they would not object and feel that it was humbling to them, that they should kindly stand back, open the door, and let the lion out! I believe that would be the best way of defending him, for he would take care of himself—and the best “apology” for the Gospel is to let the Gospel out! Never mind about defending Deuteronomy or the whole of the Pentateuch—preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified! Let the Lion out and see who will dare to approach Him!The Lion of the tribe of Judah will soon drive away all His adversaries!

With Easter Sunday being this weekend, pray for your pastors, elders, and deacons. They are no-doubt under a lot of pressure to get everything just right for one of the biggest Sunday’s of the year. A day that statistics have shown time and time again that many who are not saved will attend a Sunday Morning service. The temptation to defend the Gospel by appealing to the desires or comfort of the once-in-a-year attendee is strong. Pray that rather than succumb to the pressure of defending the Gospel by keeping it caged up, your pastors might instead open the cage and Let the Lion Out!

Video Link

Watch this lecture here: https://vimeo.com/channels/887255/121303688

Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) | Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

In Christ Jesus,
Jorge