• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • February 2013
    M T W T F S S
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God’s Love

Grow in GraceSinclair B. Ferguson:

God’s love is the most awesome thing about Him. It is not His justice, nor His majesty, nor even His blazing holiness, but the fact that He has made and keeps a covenant of personal commitment and love to His people. (Grow in Grace)

The False Syriac Infancy Gospel

Beware of False ProphetsThe Syriac Infancy Gospel may have been compiled as early as the sixth century, and appears to be based on the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, and Protevangelium of James (both are false gospels). In the Syriac Infancy document we find stories about the miracles which took place during the Flight into Egypt; the miracles of Jesus as a boy; the diaper of Jesus that heals people; and the sweat of Jesus that cures leprosy. Jesus also meets with Judas Iscariot and the two thieves with whom He is later crucified much earlier than in the New Testament Gospels. The earliest known mention of this document was by Isho’dad of Merv, a ninth-century Syrian church father.

Consider the Preacher

The Preacher without HolinessWhen we consider placing men in positions of authority in the church, there is often a failure to consider their personal lives and spiritual condition. Al Martin writes:

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore, an overseer must be above reproach. . . . (1 Timothy 3:1-2 ESV)

… if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain. . . . (Titus 1:5-7 ESV)

It is interesting that in regard to the teaching elder as set forth in I Timothy 3:1 and in Titus 1:6, the first requirement for anyone aspiring to this office is not doctrinal, but experimental. ‘If any man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be’ — and what is the first word? — ‘blameless’. He must be a man known for his consistent and practical godliness. In the passage found in Titus, the latter part speaks of one of the requirements as that of ‘holding fast the faithful word.’ However, the first requirement set out is in the realm of the minister’s life. Why? For the simple reason that Paul lived and ministered under this conviction, that the life of a man’s ministry was the minister’s life itself. I believe these passages suffice to enunciate the principle, although much more could be brought forward to establish this particular point. It is no surprise to me that preaching has fallen upon bad days when the clear priorities of these ministerial requirements have been set aside. In ordination councils, men are grilled for hours in an attempt to discover their ability to refute heretics on minute theological points, whereas seldom is any question asked regarding advances in personal and domestic piety, which factors the Apostle Paul placed at the top of the list of ministerial requirements. (“What’s Wrong with Preaching”)

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