Shepherds’ Conference 2020 Notes: Session 4 — H. B. Charles

Shepherds’ Conference 2020

General Session 4

H.B. Charles

Preaching is to be measured by biblical truth, not pulpit style.

2 Timothy 2:15

A worthy workman

Many pastors and churches suffer from a ministerial identity crisis.

Many are confused as to what the church is to be and do.

What is the bottom line of Christian ministry?

2 Timothy 2:15 tells us.

Guard against false teaching that will lead to ungodliness.

Paul calls Timothy to practice careful, pastoral oversight.

He is to watch the church to protect against dangerous teaching.

But in 2 Timothy 2:15, the passage is not about watching the congregation.

It is a call for pastors to watch themselves.

Watch your own motives and conduct and doctrine.

Paul wants Timothy to watch himself.

Work to please God in everything you do.

The bottom line of Christian ministry is to please God in everything you do.

3 Requirements of God-pleasing ministry

God-pleasing ministry requires personal earnestness

Present yourself as one approved…

Study to show thyself approved…

Diligence in ministry requires study.

The word means to make haste, be diligent, make every effort.

Quote: Doing your best is more important than being the best.

Paul is not calling Timothy to be in competition with other preachers.

You are to give God your best.

Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else, give God your best.

Why be earnest?

Romans 12:1 calls us to present our bodies as living sacrifices.

We want to present others complete in Christ.

We want to have ourselves presented to God as one approved.

Every act of ministry should be done as an act of worship.

If your ministry is going to be pleasing to God, there will be times when you have to go through the fire.

You will have to go through the fire to be reminded that it is not about you.

God-pleasing ministry requires ministerial excellence.

This has nothing to do with size, style, or sensationalism.

It has to do with being a worker who has no need to be ashamed.

Ministry is hard work.

You are to be a worker, a laborer.

You cannot please God if you suffer from ministerial sloth.

The man of God should be known for hard work.

Colossians 1:28

We want to present people to God.

Verse 29 says that Paul toil to this end.

If you want some nice, leisurely life, you need to go do something else. Ministry is hard work.

Ministry is holy work.

Paul actually motivates Timothy with shame.

Paul uses the word shame in many places.

It would be worth it to study Paul’s understanding of shame.

Here, Paul says to Timothy that he wants to be a worker who has no need to be ashamed.

Not ashamed before God.

You can be a smashing success before men and a complete failure before God.

God sees all that we are and all that we do.

We need to live in light of the fact that our lives are clear before the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:10 says that we will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.

God-pleasing ministry requires faithful exposition.

…rightly handling the word of truth…

The term means to cut it straight.

The primary, definitive, and central function of the Christian pastor is to preach the word.

We do not have editorial authority over the content of the message.

We preach in season and out of season.

Our times despartely need faithful men who will preach the word in season and out of season.

Preach the word, not personal opinion, motivational talks, self-help advice, political perspective, trendy theology, health and wealth blasphemy, pop psychology.

You must rightly divide the word of truth to preach faithfully.

The word of God is sharp. Handle with care.

Cut it straight.

Tell the truth.

Stand your ground.

Don’t sell out.

Give God your best.

Shepherds’ Conference 2020: Session 2 — Austin Duncan

Shepherds’ Conference 2020

General Session 2

Austin Duncan

Job 25-26

Theological Balance

We want to be careful with the word balance.

It can be quite selfish.

Jesus is radical and extreme.

This section of Job represents the book of Job faithfully.

We know the context of the story.

The opening chapters are preached often.

WE often neglect the middle of the book.

Theological balance means we let the whole Bible speak and say what it wants to say.

Theology can be close, and still quite far off.

This is true especially when we work with souls.

Job 25-26 includes the final speeches from Job’s friends.

4 rounds of speeches.

Job’s friends are telling him that he is being punished.

The counselors can sometimes be right, even as they misapply the truth that they may know.

Chapter 25

Dismantling Theological Imbalance

The chapter has the ring of theological credibility.

It looks like big-God theology.

What Bildad says about God shows us that we can be right but imprecise about how we communicate about God.

Verse 2 exposes a problem.

This use of dominion is very rare.

The word is common.

This form is different.

Bildad sees God as a particular kind of ruler.

See Psalm 8:7.

Sheep and critters are under his dominion.

Bildad seems to see God as ruling man as livestock.

To Bildad, God is tyrannical, despotic.

Daniel 11:39 also uses dominion in this way.

The word terror Bildad uses is ominous.

Again, we see that God is a despot and terrifying.

Bildad does not really understand what God is like.

His deity grinds people down, with little benevolence, all power and terror.

Bildad’s deity is likely more like the deity of Islam, not the God of the Bible.

We are not saying God is not the ruler.

But if you preach a God who is mighty and ruling but who is not good, you do not preach to them the truth.

Bildad calls man a maggot and worm.

There is worm language in other passages.

But maggot is really low language.

Psalm 8 says that man is a little lower than the angels, or than God himself.

Bildad misses truth about the value of man.

Bildad sees Job like a maggot.

HE is missing biblical balance.

Human beings matter as we carry the image of God.

Bildad is skewed in his look at mankind.

He sees man as only despicable and low.

Verse 4 is the very center of Bildad’s speech.

There is a chiasm.

IT almost looks right.

IT almost looks Calvinistic.

How can a man be just with God?

How can he be clean, pure, who is born of a woman?

This exposes what Bildad thinks of his deity.

He thinks God is so big and so mighty and so other and so holy and so sovereign that he could never forgive.

Forgiveness was necessary.

Forgiveness is clearly necessary in the book of Job.

Job offered sacrifices, so we know that he needed forgiveness.

Job is not calling himself perfect.

The book does not call Job perfect.

But the book shows that Job had sought and found forgiveness in God.

Bildad misses the point, as he cannot see how God could be compassionate and able and willing to save.

Bildad’s view of man could use some work.

He could use a little C.S. Lewis doctrine of man.

Chapter 26

Discovering Theological Balance

Job handles this differently than we might have tried to do so.

Verses 1-4 are sarcastic.

This is rich.

Job gives Bildad a very sharp response.

Job tells Bildad, “This is not helpful.”

This is for the other bad counselors too.

They have applied no real wisdom.

Verses 5-13 build from low to high.

Verse 5, the departed spirits tremble.

Maybe dead souls, maybe demons

Lowest of the low tremble.

Verse 6, sheol

God hangs the earth on nothing.

General revelation.

Job is telling Bildad that God is making mysterious spirits tremble.

God is authoritative over all things, seen and unseen, high and low.

Verse 8

God wraps up waters in the clouds.

None of us know how God makes all these things work.

Job is building a conception of God from natural revelation.

Job is looking at the world and seeing the glory of God.

Mountains look like the pillars of heaven, looking like they hold up the sky.

The word Rahab points to all sorts of evil deities and monsters.

Job does not try to balance God and man by bringing God down or exalting man.

HE explores God and man better.

Job tells Bildad that Bildad’s view of God is still too small.

A huge part of theological balance shows us that we do not have a big enough view of God.

WE are not strong enough on the glory of God.

IF you want to prepare your people to suffer, you must present to them a God who is far greater than the God they could ever imagine.

Only that God can accomplish redemption.

Even when Job overextends his own righteousness on occasion, he knows that God knows more than he does.

Job knows what verse 14 says so powerfully.

These are only the edges of God’s ways.

Job has based his case on the God who has revealed himself to Job.

This is the doctrine of the knowability of God.

God is both knowable and incomprehensible.

We must think about God rightly.

He is immense and ungraspable.

He has revealed himself and made himself known in creation and in his word.

Job shows us that the way through suffering is to see the glory of God.

Job never gets the answer that he wants and demands, at least not in this book.

Calvin reminds us that the heavens and the earth are not as great as the power and the wisdom and power of God.

To understand God is to try to hold the ocean in a single hand.

Job’s grasping of the greatness of God is what we must see for balance.

God’s blessing of Job in the end is not the glorious conclusion.

New kids do not make up for dead kids.

At the end of the book, Job died.

Job longed to have a face-to-face with God.

HE wanted answers.

He wanted to know god.

In that final line, all of Job’s questions were answered.

Job wanted a mediator.

He meets Jesus.

He wanted an intercessor.

HE meets Jesus.

Job finds one who would not accept our sacrifices, but who became a sacrifice for us.

God is mysterious.

Nothing is mysterious to God.

Bible Reading Plan for 2020

I find that I always do better in reading the word of God when a couple of things are true for me. First, I always do better when reading through a plan and not simply trying to pick passages. Second, I do a better job of reading when I do so in fellowship with others. When other people and I are reading the same thing, it seems that we all benefit one another.

Because I believe that many believers are encouraged by reading with a plan and reading through that plan together, I want to invite any of you who are interested to join me in my 2020 Bible reading plan for the year. In 2020, I’ll be working through the Discipleship Journal Bible-in-a-Year reading plan. I’ve used it, as well as many other plans in the past. It is not perfect—no plan I’ve yet discovered is—but it has some strengths and Is quite good.

This plan walks us through the Bible in one calendar year. It offers 4 daily readings from 4 passages of Scripture. The variety of passages is sometimes helpful, as we find ourselves learning from multiple parts of Scripture every day: Gospels, Epistles, History, and Wisdom literature. Another benefit of this plan is that it requires only 25 days of reading per month, thus allowing for catching up or for other studies.

If you would like to see the plan, you can download it from the Navigators’ web site at the following link:

Many Bible programs that you have on your phone will offer this reading plan as an option. Simply search for “Discipleship Journal” and see if it pops up.

This plan may or may not be for you. If it is not, I’d encourage you to find something that will help you to spend focused time in the word this next year.

If, however, you are interested in joining me in this reading plan, make sure you have access to the reading plan. We’ll begin on January 1.

Biblically Discovering God’s Top Priority

The following questions and answers from Scripture were part of a message on honoring God from Malachi 1:6. Many of these came from Desiring God, but many are my own additions to that list.

Why did God create people?

Isaiah 43:6-7 ()

6 I will say to the north, Give up,

and to the south, Do not withhold;

bring my sons from afar

and my daughters from the end of the earth,

7 everyone who is called by my name,

whom I created for my glory,

whom I formed and made.

Why did God choose a people for himself and make Israel his possession?

Jeremiah 13:11

For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.

Why did God rescue Israel from bondage in Egypt?

Psalm 106:7-8

7 Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,

did not consider your wondrous works;

they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,

but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.

8 Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,

that he might make known his mighty power.

Why did God part the Red Sea, rescue Israel, and destroy Pharaoh’s army?

Exodus 14:15-18

15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

Why did God spare Israel again and again in the wilderness?

Ezekiel 20:14

But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out.

Why didn’t God cast away his people when they rejected him as king and asked for a king like the nations?

1 Samuel 12:20-22

20 And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. 22 For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.”

Why did God use his sovereign power to bring back his people from exile after punishing four generations of sin?

Isaiah 48:9-11

9 “For my name’s sake I defer my anger,

for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,

that I may not cut you off.

10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;

I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,

for how should my name be profaned?

My glory I will not give to another.”

Ezekiel 36:22-24, 32

22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. … 32 It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.

Why does God forgive sins?

Isaiah 43:25

“I, I am he

who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,

and I will not remember your sins.

Why did the Son of God come to earth and to his final decisive hour?

John 17:1

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you”

Why did God refrain from judgment until he sent Jesus to die?

Romans 3:23-27

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.

Why did God predestine our salvation?

Ephesians 1:5-6

5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:11-12

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

Why did God give the Holy Spirit?

Ephesians 1:13-14

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Why will Jesus come again in the great day of consummation?

2 Thessalonians 1:9-10

9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

Why will every knee bow and every tongue confess Jesus as lord?

Philippians 2:10-11

10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Why Does God do all things?

Romans 11:36

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

If you were not convinced by the verses above, check out this list of some extra questions that will show you that God does what He does for the sake of His own glory.

What was the purpose of Lazarus’ sickness and death? – John 11:4

Why did King Herod die? – Acts 12:23

Why should we do what we do? – 1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17

Why will every knee bow and every tongue confess? – Philippians 2:10-11

What was Jesus’ prayer as he approached his passion? – John 12:27-29

Why does God bring salvation and obedience to the Gentiles? – Romans 1:1-3

Why did God raise Pharaoh to power? – Romans 9:17

Why did Christ accept us? – Romans 15:7

Why was Paul praying for the Thessalonians? – 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Why were slaves commanded to behave well? – 1 Timothy 6:1

Why are our sins forgiven? – 1 John 2:12

Why let your light shine before men? – Matthew 5:16

Why would Peter be martyred? – John 21:19

Why will God bring peace to his chosen ones? – Isaiah 60:21, 61:3

What was God’s purpose in judging Sidon? – Ezekiel 28:22

Why did God command the temple to be rebuilt? – Haggai 1:8

Why will Jesus answer prayers? – John 14:13

Shepherds’ Conference 2019 Final Session Notes

Session 14 (or 15 if you count the MacArthur interview)

John MacArthur


1 Corinthians 9:16-ff

Verse 19

So that I may win more

As Calvinists, we underestimate the role that we play in God’s sovereign work.

Daniel 12:3; Malachi 2:6; Jeremiah 23:22; Proverbs 11:30; Luke 1:??,

Being used by God to win these requires two things:

  • An external, objective reality – the gospel
  • An internal, subjective reality

That internal reality concerns Paul in this passage.

The Corinthians were very interested in all sorts of freedom.

They wanted to be free to stay connected to their pagan culture.

The issue is not how free are you to connect to the world, but what freedoms must you give up to win some.

How eager are you to sacrifice any freedom to win some to the gospel for Christ?

Fleshly Christians are concerned with how much freedom they are entitled to.

Mature, godly, loving Christians are concerned with how many freedoms they may gladly set aside to make the gospel attractive.

Verse 19

I am free from all men.

Paul has no tradition he has to follow.

There are no non-moral expectations to which he must bow.

Paul says he has made himself a slave to all that he might win more.

1 Corinthians 10:25

Eat meat without asking questions.

But if they tell you it was sacrificed to idols, do not eat it.


For the sake of their conscience.

Imagine a pagan offering you food that had been sacrificed, but you have a young believer with you who just came out of that system and would be deeply offended If you eat.

If you must choose whom to offend, a pagan or a brother, offend the pagan.

I have made myself a slave to all.

I have enslaved myself.

I am a slave to God.

I am slave to everyone else.

Mark 10:44, slave to all.

Paul binds and enslaves himself.

He sets aside freedoms to win more, to save some.

Self-denial is key.

Three illustrations:

  • To the Jews I became like a Jew.

Paul did not offend Jews on purpose.

Acts 15:19

What do gentile believers need to abstain from?

Abstain from blood so as not to offend faithful Jews.

Acts 21:20

The Jews in Jerusalem thought Paul could cause a riot.

Paul willingly kept a vow at the temple.

Romans 9:1

Paul desperately wanted the Jews to be saved.

Romans 10:1

He wanted them to be saved.

Paul was not under ceremonial or traditional law.

He would be respectful of the law so as not to offend.

One God, one Lord

Some think idols are something.

Food does not impact our relationship with God.

But we do not want our liberty to become a stumbling block.

Verse 22, to the weak I became weak.

Romans 14 and 15, Paul speaks a lot about the weak.

Paul always seeks to save some.

Paul sets aside many freedoms to save some.

Paul tries not to use his freedom in any way that would offend a sinner.

Why is this important?

It works toward the salvation of people.

If you are asking for your freedoms, you are going down the path of uselessness.

Then Paul illustrates.

He uses athletics.

Isthmian games held in Corinth.

Had to show evidence of 10 months of training.

Then attend a full month of daily exercises.

Only after all conditions of training were met could you participate.

Many would be disqualified before the games.

Only one winner.

In the Christian race, there are many winners.

WE strive to be useful in saving souls.

]Vessels of honor and dishonor.

Flee lusts.

Two kinds of vessels.

Clay pots, chamber pots.

Fine china for serving the food.

Be a garbage can or be a plate.

Here Paul is talking about issues of freedom.

Run to win.

Meet the qualifications.

Those who hold tightly to their liberties will not win.

Verse 25

All who compete exercise self-control in all things.

How do you become a slave to all to win some?


Selfish freedom lovers do not win.

Neither do grace abusers.

We do this to win an imperishable wreath.

Not a perishable one like in the games.

All things are lawful for me, but not all are profitable.

I will not be mastered by any.

Just because something is lawful does not mean you should do it.

Not all things edify.

Verse 26, I run to win.

Verse 27, I make my body my slave.

You win or you are disqualified.

Corinthians thought they could exercise their freedom with no consideration for others.

Paul sacrificed freedoms to win others and not be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 10, Moreover

That keeps the subject of disqualification going.

A whole generation were disqualified in the wilderness.

Israel was a witness nation.

They were going into Canaan to represent the Lord.

All received deliverance from Egypt.

All were under the glory cloud.

All went through the sea.

All were delivered by blood.

They were all called out of bondage.

They were to tell and show the world that there is only one God.

They were baptized into Moses.

They were externally identified with Moses.

They were identified with God and his work.

We too are all united in Christ.

We are led by Christ to the promised heavenly land as New Covenant people.

God provided for them all.

Verse 4, they drank from the spiritual rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ.

Jesus made sure they were fed and watered.

OT deliverance was great.

Ours is so much greater.

With most of those in the OT, God was not well pleased.

Joshua and Caleb are the only two who made it into the land.

Numbers 14:16

HE slaughtered them in the wilderness.

They were disqualified.

603,550 were soldiers leaving Egypt.

If that is 1 of 4 or 5, that is 2.5 million bodies in the wilderness.

Verse 6, these things happened as examples for us.

We do not want to be disqualified.

Do not crave evil things as they also craved.

People run their freedoms to the edge because they are craving evil.

Verse 6, we should not be cravers after evil things.

Do not be greedy for the pleasures left behind in Egypt.

God judged men of Israel in the desert even as they ate the meat that God gave them when they had complained.

Liberty can be a cloak of maliciousness.

Four sins mentioned.

Verse 7, do not be idolaters.

Israel was barely out of Egypt, barely enjoying the freedom God gave, before they fell back into Egyptian idolatry.

Exodus 32:??

They made the calf.

They declared the calf to be the god who brought them up out of Egypt.

They were worshipping their God in a faulty and evil form.

Aaron said that they would have a feast to the Lord.

That was terribly blasphemous.

It is dangerous to make God in your own image.

They ate.

They rose up to play, perhaps sexual immorality in pagan rights.

The sons of Levi killed about 3,000 of the people that day.

The Corinthians were going back to idol behavior, getting caught up in idol worship.

Idol worship is libel on the character of God.

Deuteronomy 17:2-ff

Flee from idolatry.

Idolatry is sacrificing to demons and not to God.

You cannot drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.

Idolatry is offensive and deadly.

Verse 8, acting immorally.

23,000 fell in a single day.

Numbers 25.

Verse 9, testing the Lord.

Numbers 21

How do you test the Lord?

Trying to get away with as much as you can.

How much can you get away with before he acts?

Verse , complaining


They were destroyed by the destroyer

14,700 people died for complaining.

That was a frightening death.

The death angel.

Killed the firstborn in Egypt.

Killed 70,000 at the census.

Killed 185,000 Assyrians.

Idolatry, immorality, testing God, complaining

These were an example to warn us.

We do not wish to be disqualified.

The lesson says that most in the Exodus were disqualified.

Freedom can be deceiving.

Live in a healthy fear of that.

Verse 12, Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Do not overestimate your spiritual strength.

You are not strong enough to take your freedom to the edge.

Pursue holiness.

Do not try to get as close to unholiness as you can.

Verse 13, no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man.

God is Faithful!

God can keep you.

God knows what you can take.

God always provides the way of escape.

He makes a way for you to stand.

You can never fall and blame him.

God is never unfaithful.

God wants to use you to win souls, to save some.

Psalm 124

Had it not been the Lord who was on our side, they would have swallowed us alive.

Shepherds’ Conference 2019 Session 13 Notes

Session 13

Steven Lawson

Faithful in the Pulpit

1 Timothy 4:13-16

Timothy is in a very challenging situation.

The church around him has all sorts of problems.

He seems discouraged.

He may be trying to pull back from controversy.

Paul will say to Timothy, strap yourself in the pulpit and preach the word of God; I’m on the way. Do not hold back on your preaching, that will make it worse. Preach the word of God and let the chips fall where they may. Better to be divided in the truth than united in error.

1 Timothy 4

  1. The Priority of the Pulpit

Preaching is job #1.

We do not know how to worship, pray, pursue holiness, do ministry, or anything else without the word of God.

Luther: The Lord rules the church through an open Bible in the pulpit.

Paul tells Timothy, until I can get there, give attention to the reading and teaching of the word.

Give your undivided attention to the word.

Get face-to-face with your preaching ministry.

Be always giving attention to the preaching of the word of God.

Take action.

This is a command.

No church will rise any higher than its pulpit is strong.

One out of every 4 verses in Acts is a sermon or the equivalent of a sermon.

In Acts 2, they gave themselves to the apostles’ teaching.

  1. The Pattern of Preaching

It matters to God, not only what you say, but how you say it.

None of us is free to reinvent preaching.

Lawson suggests that this passage has a regulative principle for preaching.

Public reading of Scripture, exhortation, and teaching

You cannot leave any of those three out.

Public reading: Read the text.

Give yourself to the reading.

This was a designated part of the preaching of the word of God.

Start by reading the passage of Scripture.

Start with that, and it makes a strong statement that this is the best thing you’ve got.

What is coming will come from the word of God and not from the culture.

The reading of the word of God is the only place we can claim infallibility.

The last sermon Martin Luther ever preached, he said that people are looking for power in all the wrong places. The power is not in relics or indulgences. God put the power in the Bible.

Exhortation and teaching

Spurgeon would read a chapter and then explain the text.

Then he would take just one verse and open it up and teach its theology.

Others say that the teaching is the explanation of the text and the exhortation is the application.

Either way, these are the component parts.

After you read the text, you explain the text.

Get to the authorial intent of this passage of Scripture in its context.

Get the theology, doctrine, instruction, principles.

Every passage of Scripture has theology in it.

Learn your systematic theology.

You will find that every passage of Scripture has theology in it from one of the major categories of systematic theology.

Teaching is emphasized.

Lloyd Jones says that preaching is theology that is set on fire.

Preaching is theology coming through a man that is on fire.

There should be no kind of preaching that is non-theological.

You cannot properly deal with repentance without the doctrine of man, the fall, sin, etc.

Read the text, teach the text, feed them from the meat of the word of God by pulling the theology from the text.

Exhortation: bringing it home to the hearts of the listener.

Connect the doctrine with their daily life.

Where do they live?

What kind of response do they need to make?

Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Bring the word with passion, urgency, fervency.

There needs to be a fire in the pulpit.

Fire gives off light and heat.

The light of teaching comes with the heat of exhortation.

If there is no passion, there is no preaching.

Sproul: Dispassionate preaching is a lie.

What is the difference between teaching and preaching?

Lloyd Jones: If you have to ask me the difference between preaching and teaching, it is obvious you’ve never heard preaching.

Read the text, explain the text, and exhort from the text with passion.

Edwards said that it is his duty to raise the affections of the listeners in proportion to the importance of the doctrine being preached.

Teaching instructs the mind.

Exhortation raises the affections, summons the will, and calls for a verdict.

Read the text, teach the text, and exhort with the text.

Then you move on to the next text.

It is very hard to try it any other way.

Study includes observation, application, and interpretation

We need to be persuasive.

Do not stop trying to persuade because you are afraid of being like Finney.

Plead and persuade.

If all you do is instruct the mind, you are not a preacher, you are a lecturer.

If all you do is heart and emotion, all you are is a devotional speaker.

And if all it is is your will reaching another will, you are legalistic. You are telling people what to do with no basis for why to do it.

The preacher addresses the mind, heart, and will

Verse 14

  1. The Perseverance of the Pulpit

Do not neglect the spirit gift within you.

Why say that?

Timothy was toning down and backing off.

Perhaps he was preaching less.

Paul speaks to Timothy like a father speaking to his son.

Do not neglect the gift within you.

What gift?

In this context, it is obviously a preaching gift.

We are in danger of this.

There has never been a time in the modern church when there is less preaching.

No wonder we are so weak.

We are neglecting, like Timothy, the gift of the preaching of the word of God.

The result is that preaching gets weaker.

Preachers get weaker.

Many preachers will not come close to their potential as preachers simply because they preach so little.

We need to practice preaching by actually preaching.

Whitfield said that the more we preach, the better we preach.

Create venues in which you preach.

Churches and congregations are getting weaker because they sit under so little preaching.

The plurality of elders recognized the gifting of God in Timothy.

Paul is calling Timothy to remember those who laid hands on him.

Who helped get you to the point where you are?

Remember them and do not give up.

You can’t back off now.

  1. The Preoccupation with the Pulpit

Verse 15

Take pains with these things.

Practice these things.

Hard verb to translate.

Attend to something carefully.

Resolve in your mind and be constantly thinking about something.

Pour your mind into this matter.

Preaching requires a total commitment of all that you have.

It does not take much of a man to be a preacher, but it takes all of him.

Paul does not lighten up on Timothy.

He gets more intense.

Be absorbed in them.

Be wrapped up in this task.

Preaching is not a side issue in your life.

Preaching should consume you.

Be totally given to this.

Be always absorbed in this, actively.

This is a command to take action always to be absorbed in these things.

This should dominate your thoughts.

You should be reading, anticipating what you will preach, praying for more light from heaven.

This is a demanding marathon to which God is calling you.

You have to throw yourself into this.

  1. The Progress of the Pulpit

Verse 15

So that…

Why should you be absorbed in this?

So that your progress, obviously in your preaching and all that entails, will be evident to all.

People need to think you are getting better.

They will be listening better and they will see you grow up as a preacher.

There should be no mediocrity in the pulpit.

Take pains in your preaching.

Get to whatever the next level is.

Be more precise, more persuasive, more penetrating, more succinct, etc.

You cannot be content with where you are.

Be grateful for where you are, but desire to get to the next level.

  1. The Purifying of the Pulpit

Verse 16

Pay close attention to yourself.

Preach the word of God to yourself.

Practice what you preach before you preach.

Apply the word of God to your life, thoughts, to all you are.

Your godliness is more important than your giftedness.

Pay close attention to yourself and your teaching.

Do not let up.

In all these things, persevere.

As you do this you ensure salvation for yourself and your hearers.

This is not about Timothy’s saved-ness or lost-ness.

IT is about sanctification, which is included in salvation.

Nothing can take the place of preaching.

Where are the preachers?

Where are the men of God who are lost in their message with no gimmicks?

Let us be those men.

We need exposition, not entertainment.

We need the unfolding drama of redemption, not a drama.

God has always promised to honor the preaching of the word of God.

God had one Son, and he made him a preacher.

Brothers, let us preach the word of God.

Shepherds’ Conference 2019 Session 12 Notes

Session 12

Michael Riccardi

Faithful in Evangelism

The faithful shepherd should be a faithful evangelist.

IT is the church’s commission. Matthew 28:19

Every member of the church is commanded by God to preach repentance for forgiveness of sin.

It is the command of Christ.

The genuine disciple of Christ follows Christ by spreading the net of the gospel.

It is the example of the apostles.

The apostles’ example is one of verbal proclamation of the gospel.

Acts is full of this proclamation.

The apostles were not at all confused about the mission of the church.

They preached.

It is the Scripture’s charge.

Paul told Timothy, preach the word.

Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist.

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

The love of Jesus fuel’s Paul’s evangelism.

Verse 14, the love of Christ compels us.

The beauty of the love of Christ sacrificed on the cross drives us toward evangelism.

Paul lists key theological realities of the gospel as the passage unfolds.

5 facets of gospel truth that magnify the brilliance of Christ’s love…

  1. The gospel is fundamentally a matter of penal substitution.

One died for all.

One died on behalf of all, in place of all.

This is penal, substitutionary atonement.

This is woven through the fabric of God’s word from the beginning to the end.

John 10:11, the shepherd lays down is life for the sheep.

Galatians 3:13, he became a curse for us.

1 Corinthians 5:7, he is our Passover lamb.

Leviticus 16, Jesus is the scapegoat, bearing sin and banished from the presence of God,

Isaiah 53, he is the suffering servant who is wounded on our behalf.

While we were helpless, unable to get out of our spiritual death, Jesus died for us.

Christ’s death is an effectual substitution.

He effects, brings about, exactly what his death was intended to accomplish.

In a real sense, the saved people of God died with or in Jesus on the cross.

The wrath of God can never again break over those who already died in Christ.

The elect of God will be saved.

They are those whom the Father has given to the Son.

The atonement was not a generalized sacrifice.

No, the death of Christ was a personal sacrifice.

Jesus took names to the cross.

He did not die for nobody in particular.

That gospel will drive you.

The love of Christ is not a general, potential love, but a personal, actual love.

  1. Transformation (sanctification)

Jesus does not only change our status before God.

He transforms our minds and our affections and our wills so that we willingly lay down our lives to live for him.

HE turns God-haters into delightfully willing slaves of God.

Jesus justifies us so that he can also sanctify us.

Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24; Ephesians 5:25-27

Jesus is no half-savior.

HE will not fail to sanctify his bride.

He will not fail to cleanse us, not only from the guilt of lawlessness, but of the practice of lawlessness.

We must never preach a gospel apart from repentance and lordship.

There is no laying hold of justifying righteousness without also having sanctifying righteousness.

We preach no half gospel.

  1. Regeneration

WE are a new creation in Christ.

We must be born again to have any hope.

2 Corinthians 4:4; Jeremiah 17:9; Ezekiel 36

Sin has pervaded our entire nature.

Our souls must be made alive in order to be saved.

In Christ, the grace of God is precisely what we need.

Verse 16, we know Christ no longer by the flesh.

WE no longer evaluate him by the standards of the flesh.

The essence of spiritual death is spiritual blindness to the glory of Christ.

Sinful man is repulsed by what is actually most glorious and delightful.

Sinful man loves darkness and hates light.

But God shines the light of life into the darkened heart.

This is just as when God set “let there be…” in creation.

He let there be light and life in our dead heart.

Then we can see sin as what it is.

WE can see Christ for who he is.

Then, with God-opened eyes, we turn from sin and cling to Christ in faith.

The first breath of the newborn soul is what we call saving faith in Christ.

Do not preach behavior modification.

Preach regeneration.

  1. Reconciliation

Verse 18-ff

God reconciled us to himself through Christ.

Romans 5:10; Colossians 1:21; Romans 8:7

Those in the flesh cannot please God.

WE can do nothing to make up for how we have alienated ourselves from God.

While we were fully in rebellion against God, the Lord, the offended party, moved to reconcile us to himself.

Romans 5:10, we were reconciled while we were enemies.

Christ died, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, so that he might bring us to God.

It is special for a judge to enter into a personal friendship and relationship with the criminal that he forgave.

God does not just drop the charges against us.

He gives us access to himself as Father.

The cross of Christ overcomes the alienation between us and God.

The cross reconciles us to the God who makes heaven heaven.

Restored fellowship with God is the ultimate prize.

Reconciliation gets us him.

  1. Justification

Verses 19 and 21

The doctrine of imputation is here.

God does not count our sins to our account.

How can a perfect God not count our sins to our account?

He cannot ignore sins and pretend that his own holiness ought not be honored.

He must be consistent with his own holiness and justice.

He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

God can righteously not impute our sins to our account because he imputed them to Christ’s account.

God punished our sin in him.

Psalm 103:10, he has not dealt with us according to our sins.

Not only are our sins forgiven and our debt paid, we are also credited with the perfect righteousness that God requires for our fellowship with him.

God legally and justly treats us as if we had lived Christ’s life of perfection.

Romans 5:19, One man’s obedience constitutes us as righteous.

Jesus did not only die for our sins.

HE lived to provide our righteousness.

When you trust in Jesus, you lay hold of both benefits.

His death and his life are ours.

This is a blessed gospel

This is a great exchange.

My filthy garment is laid on him as his clean garment is wrapped around me.

God made himself the sin of men, and men are made the righteousness of God.

What is the consequence of this theology?

The consequence is not merely to get the doctrine right.

If we fail to proclaim this, we are hypocrites.

Woe be unto us if we do not preach the gospel.

Verses 18-20

God reconciled us and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.

We are ambassadors for God.

God sends us out to speak the words of his reconciliation.

We are charged with the verbal proclamation of the gospel.

If you are reconciled, you will speak the word of reconciliation.

IF you believe, you will speak.

Do you plead with sinners to be reconciled to God?

This is not a cold, impersonal thing.

Shepherds’ Conference 2019 Session 11 Notes

Session 11

Albert Mohler

Faithful in the Culture

1 Kings 18:17-ff

Elijah is not from anywhere important.

He is not a superhero.

This is OT historical narrative.

We believe it happened exactly as it is recorded here.

This is not a once upon a time story.

This narrative makes a claim.

It is not only meaningful, it happened.

We must own all of it.

We need all of it.

5 movements in this text.

  • Ahab confronts Elijah

Verse 16, Obadiah goes to Ahab and tells him Elijah will meet him.

Ahab was wicked, following the ways of Jeroboam.

He married Jezebel.

Jezebel was a priestess of a false god.

Ahab sets up for her all the cultic apparatus.

Ahab was uniting Israel to Baal worship, Canaanite religion.

Baal was a mail deity.

Asherah was female.

This became sexual ritual.

Baal was thought to be a storm god.

Storms cause lightning which cause fire.

Hence the challenge to come.

This was a sexualized worship.

You will either worship God or you will worship sex.

When you deny monotheism, you get to Jezebel.

Biblical monotheism is important.

Monotheism is not henotheism, there is no hierarchy of gods.

There is only one true God.

There is a logic to polytheism.

How can one God be the sole sufficient explanation for everything?

Polytheism makes gods for everything from every angle.

It is incompatible with modern thinking to say that there is only one way of anything.

They think we cannot really mean that there is only one God and one way to God.

And if they believe we mean it, they fear us.

Idols are convenient.

You can see the idol.

Idols are portable, generally.

Idols are tangible.

They are manageable and servable.

If you do not serve the one true and living God, you will serve some other god.

Elijah confronts Ahab.

Ahab calls him the troubler of Israel.

Elijah says Ahab has troubled Israel.

Ahab has abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the Baals.

Ahab believed what he said.

He believed that Elijah, with his monotheism, with his command-based religion, he was a troubler of Israel.

Elijah says that Ahab is the heretic and thus the one who is really troubling Israel.

  • Elijah confronts Israel.

Verses 20-ff

The people of Israel have been limping between two opinions.

Obadiah has been squirreling away prophets of God by 50s.

The Lord has 101 prophets, but only one is on this scene.

On the other side, 450 prophets of Baal and 400 of the Asherah.

It is 850 to 1.

Elijah accuses the people of Israel of limping between two opinions.

The people do not answer.

The Baal does not speak.

The people of Israel do not speak.

Elijah lays out his proposal.

Finally the people respond, “It is well spoken.”

They are not saying anything.

They are willing to follow whichever deity wins.

  • Elijah confronts the prophets of Baal.

Verses 25-29

They have plenty of time.

They get first go.

If Baal answers, Israel will follow him.

The prophets of Baal do not resist the challenge.

The Hebrew says that they do what they do.

They cry out from morning to noon.

Limping again, they limped around the altar.

At noon, Elijah mocked them.

Elijah is sarcastic.

Elijah knows their theology.

He knows what to say and how to say it.

The people have had hours.

Get louder!

Does he have ears?

God does not eat, relieve himself, get moody, or sleep.

It sounds like Martin Luther talking about the Pope.

Why be scatological?

If you are going to have an idol, if he has all the stuff on his body, he needs an outhouse too.

I wonder what Israel was thinking.

The prophets raved on.

Idolaters rave.

Biblical worship is never raving.

Three-fold pattern about the emptiness of idolatry.

Verse 25: no voice, no answer, no one paid attention.

The true God is heard, speaking.

In the reformation, Luther said that the church is to be a mouth house.

The true church is about the word of God.

It is about hearing the word of God, not seeing ceremonies or icons to make you think of God.

The church is not about overpowering visuals.

The word of God transforms.

The word of God creates an appetite for the word of God.

Three times watering the offering.

  • Elijah preaches to the people

Verses 30-35

Elijah repairs the altar of the Lord.

This is reformation.

He reestablishes biblical worship for that day.

He reminds the people of the covenant.

Three-fold watering.

  • Elijah prays to God.

Verses 36-ff

Regulative principle: Elijah prays at the time of the offering.

He speaks to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

He is specific as to the deity to whom he speaks.

Three-fold prayer.

Let it be known

That you are God in Israel.

That I am your servant

That I have done all these things at your word.

Elijah did not come up with this idea.

We do not come up with the plan for the gospel the preaching or worship either.

Let them know that you are God and that you have turned their hearts back.

Elijah is pointing to the sovereignty of God.

Elijah is not looking at this as something that might or might not work.

God is over the hearts of people.

He omnipotently turns the hearts of the people back to himself.

Then the fire fell.

This is a magnificent show of divine power.

The fire consumes everything.

The people fell on their faces, crying, “The Lord, he is God!”

God turned the hearts of the people.

God showed he is sovereign.

Elijah does not let one of those prophets escape.

They are slaughtered at the brook.

This demonstrates the judgment that surely is coming on all those who worship not the one true and living God.

We are not the ones to do the slaughtering.

What do we learn?

Elijah is not a superhero.

IF we are said to trouble our nation, that is not new.

God speaks.

He focuses you on his word, not on visual images.

Pastors, you will not likely have many if any Mount Carmel incidents.

The fire that will fall is the word of God.

We find encouragement from Elijah.

WE learn more in James 5:13-17

God has to gift preachers with the gift of preaching.

Elijah had a nature just like ours, not a superhero.

He was just a prophet.

Today, every gospel preacher will be thought a troubler.

Trotsky: You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

Shepherds’ Conference 2019 Session 10 Notes

Session 10

HB Charles

Faithful in Prayer

Mark 1:35-39

Jesus was healing and driving out demons in Capernaum.

The whole city was hanging around Simon Peter’s house.

Did Jesus get any sleep that night?

It would have made sense for Jesus to have slept in the next morning.

Jesus’ faithfulness in prayer governed the direction of his ministry.

We must not allow the priority of private prayer to be neglected for public ministry.

Verse 35, Jesus prayed.

Verses 36-ff, Jesus preached.

  • Jesus prayed

If Jesus prayed, how much more is it necessary for you and me to pray?

When did Jesus pray?

Very early in the morning, between 3:00 and 6:00, still dark.

Closer to 3 than 6.

Jesus rose early in the morning, before sunrise.

HE slipped away in private to spend time with the Father in prayer.

Isaiah 50:4, New mercies every day.

This is not just a reference to time of prayer, but a reference to the priority of prayer in Jesus’ ministry.

Jesus spent time with God, talking to God.

This is an extended time.

The disciples go looking for Jesus.

Jesus did not just offer a text message prayer.

It cost Jesus sleep to spend extended and quality time with God the Father in prayer.

Jesus is not praying here in response to an apparent crisis, problem, or difficulty.

HE rises early to pray after a successful day of ministry.

We should not wait for trouble to arise to take prayer seriously.

Indeed, when things are going well, we greatly need to pray.

If you want God to bless your ministry, pray.

If God is blessing your ministry, pray harder.

Where did Jesus pray?

He went to a desolate place.

He did not look for a quiet spot in the house or in the city.

HE went into the wilderness, like before his temptation.

Jesus would not make prayer a platform for self-glory.

Just as he said in Mathew 6:6-8.

Jesus got alone.

Our devotion to God is not a platform for performance in front of others.

What did Jesus pray?

Mark does not tell us what Jesus prayed.

Is there a lesson in the silence?

What did Jesus pray?

Apparently, none of our business.

Private devotion to God is not public domain for man.

This is 1 of 3 places in Mark where we see Jesus in the act of prayer.

Also in Mark 6:46 after feeding the 5,000 and in Mark 14:32-42 in the garden.

In each of those instances, Jesus may feel the strain of external pressures around him.

He certainly wants to know and do the will of God, remaining faithful in spite of the pressures around him.

Jesus teaches us to pray so that we might be submissive to Gods’ will.

Romans 8:26-27, we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes.

Do you pray?

We want to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence.

Prayer is not a burdensome duty to obey, it is a wonderful privilege to enjoy.

We do not have to pray like a beggar before a stingy rich man.

Jesus is our access to prayer.

Jesus is our example of prayer.

Jesus was sincere, persistent, reverent.

When is the last time you sacrificed something important to you for the purpose of prayer?

When did you last retreat from others to get alone with God in prayer?

When did you last spend a long time in prayer?

When is the last time your prayer time became a meaningful worship time?

Your prayers will not mean anything to God until they mean everything to you.

Prayer requires childlike trust in God.

God cannot be one of many options.

HE must be your everything.

Verse 35, Jesus prayed.

Then the rest of the paragraph tells us Jesus preached.

The disciples interrupted Jesus’ time with the Father in prayer.

The citizens of Capernaum assembled at Peter’s house when the sun came up.

They were shocked.

Jesus was not there.

His followers did not know where he was.

They hunted for him.

Verse 38, Jesus wants to go to the next towns to preach.

HE prayed.

After checking in with the Father, he said he was not going back to Capernaum. He was going into the towns of Galilee to preach.

He did not compromise the priority of preaching for the pressure of the crowds.

Jesus preached in spite of the pressure.

Everyone is looking for you.

That is a subtle rebuke.

They are irritated that they had to find Jesus.

Simon and the fellas are acting like church growth consultants. They are sure Jesus is missing a great opportunity.

Be careful when you think that you know better than Jesus what he should be doing.

Jesus would not return to Capernaum to build a big ministry.

He was going out to preach in the village towns.

He was not impressed by enthusiastic unbelief.

All around our culture there are people who like Jesus but who won’t trust Jesus.

Jesus will not compromise his priorities.

Christianity is about the preaching of the word of God.

When the church tries to meet needs, help people, or change society without prioritizing the preaching of the word, there is a problem.

Preach the word.

Be ready in and out of season.

Jesus preached because of…

That is why I came out, to preach.

This is about the incarnation.

HE came from heaven to preach.

Luke 1910.

HE came to seek and save the lost.

Verse 39 summarizes.

Jesus did what he said he would do.

He went throughout all Galilee and preached just as he said he would.

Jesus was welcomed, embraced, and celebrated in Capernaum.

The pressure was for him to stay there.

Jesus prayed, stuck to his mission, and left to preach.

The safest place in the world is in the will of God; but, the safe place may not be God’s will.

Do not think you know better than God where you should be.

Jesus also cast out demons.

HE was far more than just another preacher.

Jesus fixed broken bodies and transformed broken souls.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

Shepherds’ Conference 2019 Session 9 Notes

Session 9

Phil Johnson

Faithful to Guard

2 Timothy 2


Ministry involves warfare.

It is an unrelenting battle.

Jesus told us the world would hate us because it hated him.

Paul tells us all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Evil people and imposters will go from bad to worse.

If you want to be a church leader, you must be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and rebuke those who contradict it.

Paul has clearly spoken to Timothy multiple times not to tolerate false teaching.

Guard the church and guard your own heart and mind and passions.

Keep a close watch on yourself and the teaching.

Flee youthful passions.

Flee both lust and the fleshly desire to argue about everything.

2 Timothy 2:14-ff

A rebuke and corrective to those of us who like to be contentious.

Verse 24, Be kind to everyone

Earlier in the chapter, Paul uses three metaphors.

Soldier, athlete, and farmer

We as ministers are not lords over the flock, nor warlords and always attacking.

We should desire Christlike gentleness.

A hymn introduces our section.

If we endure, we will reign.

If we deny him, he will deny us.

2 Timothy 2:14-26

Here is Paul’s own commentary on 1 Timothy 4:16, keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.

How can we guard ourselves and the teaching?

Three-fold answer

Be an approved workman

Be a sanctified vessel.

Be a humble slave.

  • Be an approved workman – Guard your own teaching

The early church had false teachers all over the place early on.

Paul, John, and Peter all address significant doctrinal errors.

Even Christ’s letters to the church in Revelation 2 and 3 point to the damage done by false teachers.

False teaching from within the church is a far greater threat than all the combined persecution of the church from outside.

Verse 17, Paul names two examples of dangerous, false teachers.

1 Tim 1:20, The two mentioned are selling a preterist view of NT eschatology.

They might have denied literal resurrection.

Johnson makes some strong comments on preterism and preterists.

Paul refutes their false doctrine in 1 Corinthians 15.

True believers believe in a literal resurrection to come.

Here Paul just tells Timothy not to waste his time quarreling with these guys.

No, he is not telling Timothy to ignore it.

He is telling Timothy that this bad doctrine does not deserve to be treated with scholarly gravitas.

Timothy is not to engage these foolish men in a prolonged debate.

There is no reason to get into a protracted argument with someone who has clearly already refused biblical correction.

Arguing with these guys at length might serve no other purpose but to broaden their audience.

What do we do, then?

Do your best to present yourself faithful, rightly handling the word of truth.

Accurately handling, make a straight cut.

Devote yourself to the diligent study of the word of God.

You will accomplish much more by teaching faithful truth.

Instruction is a better way of dealing with error than with taunting and insults.

Paul was not discouraging Timothy from refuting false teachers.

HE was telling us that how one refutes false teaching is important.

Paul’s rebukes were tempered with patience and teaching.

Paul was, occasionally, sharp.

Sometimes he used biting sarcasm.

But that is an exception, not his normal tone.

How could Paul be so gracious and patient?

Paul had a trust in the sovereignty of god.

See verse 20.

The Lord knows those who are his.

If we stand for the truth, God will humble the rebels.

The real challenge for us is to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.

Paul did not share the combative temperament of discernment podcasters and bloggers today.

Elders must not be pugnacious.

That is the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit.

Guard the truth, but start by guarding your own teaching, including the tone and temperament of what you teach.

  • Be a sanctified vessel

Verse 21-ff

There are honorable and dishonorable vessels.

Jeremiah 18, God is the great Potter.

Isaiah 29:16; Lamentations 4:2

Notice, earthen pots that are worth their weight in gold.

2 Corinthians 4:7, treasure in jars of clay

Verse 21, Depart from iniquity and cleanse yourself.


Verse 22, Flee what is unholy and follow what is holy.

Guard against lust.

But guard against all sorts of sinful self-gratification.

Proud, youthful arrogance also wages war against the soul.

14-19, be an approved workman by guarding your teaching.

20-22 Be a sanctified vessel by guarding your heart.

  • Be a humble slave by guarding your attitude.

Verses 23-26, Be a humble servant.

We are not the CEO of the church.

We are shepherds and teachers.

We lead, but never lord it over those in our charge.

We are to be last of all and slave of all.

Paul did not play the discernment blogger role.

He did not go out to chase down everybody else.

Notice that Jesus was never unkind or abusive.

Jesus did not grab Saul with unkind words of condemnation.

Jesus was tender with Paul.

Paul had been ruthless before his conversion.

His attitude was very different afterward.

Yes, his rebukes were occasionally sharp.

But that was not his only tone.

Sometimes, even in the face of gross evil, a sharp rebuke can be inappropriate.

Paul apologized for a sharp rebuke of the high priest in Acts.

Verse 24, Be kind, patiently enduring evil.

Foolish, ignorant controversies only breed quarrels.

Not every controversy is foolish.

Sometimes controversies, even over important issues, can become foolish and ignorant.

Paul is telling Timothy not to engage an unteachable teacher.

Timothy needs to know not to give these guys a platform.

Paul does not want us to seek strife.

Paul would engage the teachable happily.

But Paul will not engage the hardened who only want to do harm.

The brutal arrogance that we see inn on-line discussion forums is contrary to faithful gospel teaching.

Gentle correction is good.

Being patient is part of the role of an elder.

Our goal is not to condemn people, but to deliver them from the strongholds of error.

If you want to be a guardian of the truth, but you consistently throw scorn on the message of this text, you sacrifice a significant amount of credibility in everything else you say.

Put away bitterness, wrath, clamor, slander, anger, etc.

Be an approved workman.

Be a sanctified vessel.

Be a humble slave.

Guard your heart, your attitude, your tone.

Hold fast to the faithful word as you have been taught.