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.

Shepherds’ Conference 2019 Session 8 Notes

Session 8

Joel Beeke

Read 1 Peter 2:19-25

Faithful in Criticism

81% of American ministers say their greatest problem in ministry is dealing with criticism.

You will be known more by your reactions than by your actions.

It is easy for ministers to become pessimistic when we have large doses of criticism.

But this may have pride at the core.

Do we think we deserve better than we receive?

Paul said he learned to be content in all circumstances.


Seminary does not train you to cope with criticism.

You have to deal with it every time you are criticized.

It is possible that I can learn to deal with criticism externally, so people think I look good, but not internally.

We are to cope with criticism faithfully internally too.

Ten ways to handle criticism.

  1. Consider criticism to be inevitable.

You may get a honeymoon period as a minister.

Matthew 10:16, 22

Old Dutch saying, “He who stands up in front will be kicked in the rear.”

  1. Consider the motive and the source.

Be sure to first listen well.

Get the facts straight.

But also ask yourself, “Have I heard the real problem>”

Is there something deeper behind the statement?

Give your critic the benefit of the doubt.

Assume his motive to be pure unless you have solid reasons to think otherwise.

Flatterers who fawn over you will be the first to turn against you if you do not give them the attention they want.

Beware of power players.

Beware of gossipers.

Beware of those with a critical spirit.

You have to ask, “Who is criticizing me?”

But if a critic is a mature believer who is usually supportive, take that seriously.

There is usually some truth in what they say.

Do not overreact to complaints only raised by a few.

Give due weight to the character of the one complaining.

  1. Consider the content.

You can learn from criticism.

God uses critics for our humbling.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, Proverbs 27:6.

Critics can show us our blind spots.

What are they saying that might help me improve myself and my ministry?

Confess, repent, and ask for forgiveness.

If the critic offers nothing helpful, thank them for caring and then move on.

Sometimes you need to throw yourself into work for a few hours and return to thinking about what was said after thinking about something else for a while.

Do not try to explain or justify yourself at length.

Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you.

You are not to avenge yourself.

Do not try to track down every whisper.

You are a shepherd, not a policeman.

You may have to give up trying to appease some critics.

In heaven, your believing critics and you will get along.

You will not see your unbelieving critics there.

If you are 10% wrong, just go and ask for forgiveness.

Usually that will help the brother who caused the other portion.

  1. Consider the context, the timing, and prayer.

IF at all possible, ask for 24 hours to think and pray about the issue.

In 24 hours, people tend to be a lot more reasonable and more mellow.

Prayer helps.

  1. Consider yourself.

Critics can guard you from selfishness.

You would not be the man of God you are without going through the criticisms you have.

Criticism makes you more tender as a shepherd to the sheep.

If you habitually feel slighted and neglected, look into what might be happening there.

Take to your side some accountability partners.

Get a trustworthy friend, perhaps an elder or deacon in your church.

Try to have an elder or minister in another congregation who can help you.

  1. Consider Scripture.

Trials sometimes make you cling to particularly helpful texts of Scripture.

  1. Consider Christ.

Jesus suffered and did not react in anger.

IF Jesus was attacked though he is perfect, what should we pastors expect?

The truth is, our critics do not know how bad we really are.

God does.

Christ is so perfect and endured so much for me, how could I not endure much for him?

  1. Consider the patience of the saints.

Nehemiah showed great patience.

His critics deployed the weapon of ridicule.

We all have insecurities hidden inside of us.

Nehemiah reminded himself that the source of his vision is god.

He adjusted his plan without abandoning his vision.

A failed plan does not indicate a failed vision.

Do not grow weary in doing good.

  1. Consider your duty to love, even to love the one who criticizes you.

Become better acquainted with those who criticize you.

You cannot love the unknown.

Be willing to forgive any injury done to you.

Pray with your critic.

But be careful in your prayer not to come against him.

Pray for your critic in private.

IT is hard to stay bitter against a critic for whom you genuinely prayer.

Feel compassion for your negative critic.

Put away anything that inhibits love.

Keep loving your critic.

  1. Consider eternity.

The Savior awaits us.

He will never let us down.

WE want to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

We want him to wipe away every tear.

Jesus knows us completely.

He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother.

He will make all wrongs right.

He will deal with every injustice.

In heaven, there will be perfect unity.

We will understand that all the criticism used here on earth was used in the hands of God as the Potter to shape us.

We will see fully that all the criticisms we endure on earth were a light affliction compared to the eternal glory.

In heaven, we will be more than repaid for every affliction we endured for the sake of Jesus.

Keep your positive view of ministry.

You are on your way to heaven.

Jesus will carry you all the way.

Ministers do the most important job on earth.

WE need not be disillusioned.

We are ambassadors for Christ.

God will not allow criticism that he does not also provide grace for you to bear.

Your Savior is greater than any critic.

HE will not desert you.

We are nothing.

Jesus is everything.

Shepherds’ Conference 2019 Session 7 Notes

Session 7

Ligon Duncan

John 4:1-26

Faithfulness in Worship

before the passage

5 things that show us why concern for our worship and for congregational worship is so important.

  1. You cannot commend what you do not treasure.

Your Lord is more important than anything. If you do not worship God that way, you cannot commend him to others in that way.

  1. You cannot proclaim and worship the one true and living God unless you worship him as he is.

He must be known by his own truth, his own self-revelation, his own word.

  1. What you do together as a congregation on the Lord’s Day is formative.

The Puritans knew that they could not be protestant with Roman Catholic worship, even with protestant theology in the sermon.

The whole worship must be founded on the word of god and set forth explicitly the finished work of Christ.

Watch out for the move to entertainment in worship.

Be careful not to say one thing and demonstrate another by the service.

Hear and do the word.

You will always believe what you do more than what you hear.

  1. There is a theme across the whole of Scripture that you become what you worship.

Don’t worship idols; you’ll become like them.

You need to worship the one true and living God.

  1. You become how you worship.

Often how you worship determines who you worship.

Now to the text…

Two-part outline:

Who? (7-15)

How? (16-26)

What happens after “Give me a drink” is amazing.

This is better than “These are not the droids you are looking for.”

She rebuffs Jesus.

The whole first part of this conversation is about who we ought to value more than anything else.

If you knew who was asking you, you would have asked him for living water.

If you knew the gift of God and who was talking to you, you would have asked him.

Jesus is inviting her into a prophetic conversation.

Look to Jeremiah 2:13.

They have rejected me, the fountain of living water, and turned to broken cisterns.

Jesus is identifying himself as the living water.

John 6, Jesus is the bread of life.

But he also says that whoever comes to him will never thirst.

Here is the first and most important question of all our lives: whom do you worship?

Jesus said he is the living water.

She asks, in verse 15, for that water.

He told her she should have said, give me this water.”

In verse 15, she says, ‘Give me this water.”

Awkward interlude follows.

Go call your husband.

I have no husband.

Jesus puts his finger on her idolatry.

The Pharisees frowned on remarriage three times or more.

And this woman is living with a man right now.

Perhaps she needed security.

Jesus puts his finger right on her false security.

The big question, Whom do you worship, whom do you value, who meets your needs?

You have had 5 husbands.

You must be a prophet.

She raises a topic of some argument between Jews and Samaritans.

And she walks right into what Jesus wants to talk about.

How? (15-26)

How do you worship that who?

Verse 20, This mountain or that mountain?

Jeroboam led the Samaritans into unbiblical worship.

They even changed the Pentateuch to fit their practice.

Interesting, when the woman feels threatened, she goes from singular to plural.

She talks about your people and her people.

Jesus moves her right back to the singular with the word, woman.

That was not disrespectful.

He called his mother, woman, after all.

He is respectful to an obstinate sinner.

Jesus is letting her know that she is going to worship the Father.

Your theological problem is that you have worshipped not according to the word.

The Jews have worshipped according to the word.

An hour is coming when true worshippers will worship in spirit and truth.

That is what the Father seeks.

There seems to be a change in location of where you will worship.

That is coming.

Her response is interesting.

We do not think this is normal for Samaritans.

She is dialed in to the promise of the coming of Messiah.

Messiah will reveal God to us.

Then Jesus says, “I am.”

The Messiah is talking to her.

She believes right there.

The living word speaks the word to her, she believes, she worships right there.

Could this be the Messiah?

Messiah, word, faith, worship

If God is spirit, there is only one way you can worship God who is Spirit, and that is how he tells you to.

Otherwise, how would you know how to worship a spirit?

How would you know how to approach a Spirit.

You cannot see a spirit.

How do you approach a spirit?

However he tells you to.

Spirit and truth are not two separate categories.

HE is spirit, that is true.

The only way you can worship God, who is spirit, is according to his word.

Worship is engaging with God on the terms that he proposes and in the way that he alone makes possible.

You engage with a spirit only on the terms he promises.

What are those terms?

His word.

And only in the way he makes possible.

No man comes to the Father except through the Son.

Our worship must be formed and filled by the word.

If we want the people to get God in the service, the service must be filled with the word.

The structure and the substance, the form and content, of our service must be filled with the word.

Read, preach, pray, sing, and see the word.

The word is more important than your sermon.

Read the Scripture.

Preach the word.

The word is not your tool to reach the people of God.

You are the word’s tool to deliver a message to the people of God about God and godliness.

Pray the word.

You always know you are praying in the will of God when you pray his word back to him.

Your people will believe what they sing more than what you preach.

See the word.

Baptism and Lord’s Supper show us the promises of God in Christ visibly displayed.

If we want to bring people to God, the only way to do that is by the word.

We need the word in every aspect of worship.

Shepherds Conference 2019 Session 6 Notes

Session 6

Tom Pennington

Faithful in the Home

Are you faithful in fulfilling the duties that Christ has assigned us to our wives and to our children?

The greatest thing that you can do for your children is to love your wife.

Ephesians 5:21-ff

Whether you do it or not, whether you like it or not, husband, you are the head of your wife.

IF there are problems in your marriage, you may not bear all the guilt, but you bear the complete responsibility.

We have one calling in our marriage.

Three basic insights about faithfulness in marriage.

Love—our primary calling

Love’s primary expressions

Love’s primary goals

  • Our Primary Calling

Verse 25

Love your wives

Ephesians is about the eternal plan of God

Chapters 1-3 are the indicative’s of the gospel.

Chapters 4-6, walk worthy of that gospel.

In 5:15, Paul says he wants us to walk in wisdom.

Verse 18, be filled with the Spirit.

Allow the Spirit to fill you with a deeper understanding of God’s word so that you can walk in biblical wisdom.

19-21, Paul explains the primary consequences of being under the Spirit’s influence.

Love for God-centered music

Pattern of thanksgiving

A heart of submission to human authority.

Note, verse 21 is not a calling to mutual submission between husbands and wives.

It is a calling to submission to rightful authority.

5:22-6:9 is about submission to rightful authority.

Paul speaks at length about the husband’s responsibility.

That is unusual in this section. Paul usually speaks more to the one under authority and not to the one in authority.

The call for husbands to love their wives is unheard of in the first century.

This was not a normal family command.

The chief imperative to love your wife is a reminder that marriage is not about what you get out of it.

Marriage, like everything else in your life as a believer, is about loving God and loving others.

The command is addressed to all husbands.

This allows no exception.

Even if your spouse changes, the imperative has not changed.

This command is not conditioned on her obedience to Christ.

IT is about your obedience to Christ.

It is not about how attractive you think she is.

Love is not primarily about physical attraction but spiritual commitment.

Love is not motivated by the actions of the object loved but in the will of the one loving.

Love begins not with the emotions but with the will.

The fact that God commands us to love is evidence that love is an act of our will.

We have one primary calling as husbands, love your wife as Christ loved the church.

How are we to love?

  • Love’s primary expressions (25-30)

Two pictures:

Christ’s treatment of the church

Our treatment of our bodies

Our love for our wives must be a sacrificial love.

Christ gave himself up for the church.

Galatians 2:20; 1 John 3:16

Be willing to follow Christ’s example and be willing to lay down your life for your wife.

But this is not only on the big issue of death.

Simple and daily sacrifices are required.

Leadership is not about asserting your rights and your authority, it is about serving your wife.

Does your wife think you regularly sacrifice to serve her?

How do you do this?

Each day you put her interests above your own. — Mark 10:45; John 13

Every day, we can put away our distractions, make eye contact, and have a real conversation.

Discover a way that your wife genuinely knows that you love her, and do that consistently.

Open up and disclose yourself to her. (john 5:20; 14:21; 15:15)

Sanctifying love (26-27

Christ cleansed the church.

Titus 3:5, So that he might sanctify her.

HE cleansed us at the moment of salvation.

He then set out to sanctify us.

Jesus did not only die for us to save us.

He intends to make us holy.

Verse 27, be holy and blameless.

That is the kind of thing he is pointing out with the metaphor of a bride without spot or wrinkle.

Like Christ, your greatest concern for your wife must be her spiritual wellbeing.

Does she know Christ?

Is she growing in sanctification?

How do we help here?

Begin with pursuing sanctification yourself.

Do nothing that exposes your wife to sin and temptation.

Imitate Christ’s own spiritual care for his bride.

John 17 is an example of Jesus praying for the church’s sanctification.

Be careful not to become bitter when she sins against you.

Is your wife more like Jesus Christ in her moral character because she is married to you?

Love your wife as your own body, verse 28.

You provide for and care for your own body.

Your wife is part of you.

It is as reasonable to care for her as it is for your own body.

We protect and care for our bodies.

It is against both the law of nature and the law of God to fail to protect your wife.

A nourishing love (28)

3 physical needs a husband must meet for his wife in the OT.

Food, clothing, and conjugal rights.

It is a sin if we are lazy and refuse to care for our wives.

It is a sin if we seek a lavish lifestyle that we cannot support.

It is a sin if we neglect intimacy with our wives.

A cherishing love (29)

Cherish is to tenderly care for.

1 Thessalonians 2:7 uses that cherish word of a nursing mother.

Our responsibility to our wives is not simply to provide for their needs, we are supposed to cherish them and care for them with the same tender affection we have as we care for our bodies.

We fail to cherish them when we neglect them for sports, hobbies, video games, male friends, or even ministry.

We fail to cherish our wives when we use our words as weapons.

Ephesians 5:29, Christ cherishes his body, the church.

Verse 30, we, individually, are members of Christ’s body.

He cherishes us not only as a group but also individually.

Christ verbally expresses his love for us.

Scripture repeatedly tells us of Christ’s love.

Christ comforts, protects, provides for, sympathizes with us.

Christ goes well beyond just meeting our needs.

Churchill illustration: “If I could not be who I am, I would most like to be Lady Churchill’s second husband.”

Paul could have given all these commands to us for our children too.

  • Love’s primary goals (31-32)

Why is our obedience here so important?

To reflect the original design of God (31)

To point to the ultimate love (32)

Paul connects Genesis 2:24 to Christ and the church.

In eternity past, God decided to save sinners through the work of his Son.

God created marriage as a living illustration of that glorious relationship that believers have with the Son of God.

Your marriage exists as a living illustration of Christ and the church.

Your marriage speaks to those around you about Christ every day.

If we do not love our wives, we are no longer preaching the truth about Christ.

IF we leave our wife, we lie about Christ.

If we harm our wife, we lie about Christ.

If we commit adultery, we lie about Christ.

Shepherds’ Conference 2019 Session 5 Notes

Session 5

Voddie Baucham

2 Timothy 1:8-12

Faithful in Persecution

There is a difference between persecution and general suffering.

Persecution is a suffering that we endure at the hands of our adversary specifically because of his hatred of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Every man will suffer in human life.

Not every man will be persecuted.

Persecution can be avoided.

All you have to do is compromise.

Persecution is suffering with a choice, with an option, that you don’t have to go through if you just stop preaching, stop believing, or just say that you stopped believing.

The persecuted have this in common: They were given the option, and they said they cannot.

2 timothy 1, we will primarily study 8-12.

Paul is in prison again—a repeat offender.

He knows he is about to die for his faith and his preaching.

Paul writes to Timothy and says that Timothy must preserve and proclaim the truth of the gospel.

Paul fears the perversion of the gospel.

So he tells Timothy in every chapter to preserve and proclaim the gospel.

1:12; 2:2; 3:14; 4:2

Paul calls Timothy to endure the suffering that must follow as a result of preserving and proclaiming the gospel.

1:8; 2:3; 2:8; 3:10; 4:5

The message of 2 Timothy is this: Timothy, they are about to kill me for preaching the gospel. When they do, you preach the gospel until they kill you too.

In chapter 1 we get the theological underpinning.

Faithfulness in the midst of persecution

Verses 8-12, especially 8.

Share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.

Shared Suffering

The theme of this letter is that Paul will die for the gospel, and he tells Timothy that it is then Timothy’s job to step in and share in that suffering too.

Verse 8 – Do not be ashamed, but suffer.

Verse 12, I suffer but am not ashamed.

Chapter 2:3, share in suffering as a good soldier.

Romans 8:16, if children, we are fellow heirs, provided that we suffer with him.

2 Corinthians 1:5, as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings…

Sharing both in sufferings and comfort.

Philippians 1:29, It has been granted to you that you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.

Paul calls Timothy to join in suffering.

Not just personally suffer, but join me, join us, join Christ in suffering.

WE join Christ in his suffering because it is in the suffering of Christ that we find our place with him.

But also, in suffering with Christ, we are delivered to Christ and to one another, becoming part of the body of Christ.

Christ suffered for me on the cross, and because of that he purchased my salvation.

But Christ has suffered for me through his bride, his body, the church to bring the gospel to me.

As you and I join Christ in his suffering, we are not just joining Jesus in his suffering in our salvation, but we labor and suffer for the gospel as we take his gospel to the nations.

The adversary hates Christ, hates the gospel, and because of this, he hates us too.

We suffer, but we are not alone.

Our suffering is not over, because not all have heard the gospel.

Suffering for the Gospel

God gives us Christ’s body.

God gives us the gospel.

The gospel has not finished doing its work.

Paul suffers as he does because of the gospel.

Suffering for the gospel is worth it.

The gospel is not your gospel; it’s Christ’s gospel.

WE can make an idol out of “gospel.”

The gospel does not exist on its own in isolation.

The gospel is God’s work on behalf of his elect through the person of Jesus Christ.

We need to be reminded over and over again of the work that Christ has done on our behalf and that our very existence is found and preserved in the gospel.

Our passion burns bright for the gospel because the gospel is not just means of God saving us, but the means of God saving a people for himself.

The covenant of redemption is beautiful.

The triune God, who needs nothing, spills out his perfect love as the Father out of his love for the Son gives the Son a people and the Son out of love for the Father redeems that people and the Spirit out of love of the Father and the Son applies that redemption.

How do we share in suffering for the gospel?

By the power of God

This is counterintuitive.

We think God’s power is there to get us away from persecution.

No, the power of God enables us to share in suffering for the gospel.

God sustains us through persecution.

There is the power of God.

Shared Polycarp’s prayer at his martyrdom.

He suffered by the power of God.

You can only do this if you have the theological reality in mind that says that there is something beyond this life that you will experience that is more significant than what you experience in this life.

Christ conquered the grave.

He brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

God saves, God calls, God gives, God abolished death, God appointed me.

Paul is not ashamed. Why?

He knows whom he has believed, and his hope is in that guarding of God.

By the power of God, Paul believed there to be something more important than continuing to breathe.

By the power of the same God, Paul called Timothy to follow in his footsteps.

The task is not finished.

Your flesh cannot do this.

How do we do it?

Trust the God who saved you.

Cherish the gospel, not just as precepts, but because you cherish Christ.

Cherish the gospel because you love what the gospel continues to do as it glorifies God through the salvation of sinners.

Cherish the gospel, because it gives you hope beyond this life.

Cherish the gospel so that, even in the midst of persecution, you may be found faithful.

Shepherds Conference 2019 Session 3 Notes

Session 3

Austin Duncan

Faithful to Love

1 Corinthians 13

This passage is famous, often pulled out of context.

Corinth was a mess.

They could not have their services of worship in order without having love in order.

MacArthur: Every problem that our church has ever faced can be traced back to a lack of love.

Four parts

Verses 1-3

Love’s essential nature

Paul is going to show them a more excellent way—end of 12.

Note Paul made this personal.

“If I speak…” not “If we speak…”

This applies to the apostle.

Thus, it applies to all of us.

Paul is imagining a scenario where his words are totally perfect in any language.

If I speak perfectly, but without love, I’m a gong or a cymbal.

Perhaps the gongs and cymbals were a reference to the temple of Aphrodite in Corinth.

Lovelessness is an offensive thing, an offensive sound, regardless of the quality of your words.

Is lovelessness as annoying to you as all the other things that annoy you in life?

Paul next talks about prophetic powers.

Giftedness to fathom all mysteries

In a similar hyperbole, the picture is a person who understands absolutely every theological mystery.

Faith to move mountains is acting in power, faith that performs.

Verse 3, giving everything away and dying is worth nothing.

Moving mountains and preaching perfectly is nothing.

Paul is not saying our giftedness and the usefulness of our gifts is diminished if we do not love.

Paul is saying that there is no gain at all, our gifts are worthless, without love.

You should not be willing to undertake anything without love.

The true heart of a pastor is a heart that loves people, cares about people, and longs to take part in God’s transformation of people.

Love’s essential nature tells us that we must be men who are ready to lead with love.

Verse 4-ff

15 words that describe what love is like and what love does.

Two positives, eight negatives, then couplets

Verse 4 – Love’s leading qualities.

First qualities, patience and kindness.

Patience, makrothumia, is a word often used for God.

Love waits patiently.

We cannot suffer long if we think we deserve much.

Kindness seems simple.

It is more than refraining from cruelty.

Romans, Titus 3, both couple kindness with patience.

These are seen as motivating the heart of God to bring us to salvation.

We deserve the wrath and curse of God.

HE was patient with us not to destroy us immediately.

He was kind to us to give us his Son to forgive us and bring us into his family.

Pastors who lead with love should be patient and kind like the God who drew them to himself.

Verses 4-6 – Love’s greatest restraints

This is the opposite of our world which assumes that love is never restrained.

We see what love refuses to do.

Envy or boast

Love is restrained in the face of success, that of others or yourself.

How do you respond when someone else gets what you want?

Are you confident in God’s goodness and sovereignty as he apportions gifts?

Boasting addresses how you feel when you feel blessed.

Do you seek after compliments?

Must you have attention?

Remember that Jesus said that the religious leaders of his day loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Arrogant, not inflating its own importance

1 Corinthians 8:1 says that knowledge puffs up.

The arrogant man inflates his own importance.

Rude, ill-mannered impropriety

IT demeans others.

Shameful behavior is rude.


Edwards: The spirit of Christian love is the opposite of a selfish spirit.

Not easily angered or easily provokes

Anger can be lovely or loveless in the Bible.

God is angry in the Bible, and that is beautiful.

The angry pastor falls hard.

Resentfulness, keeping a record of wrongs

Ministers who lead with love refuse to keep these.

Nice illustration of Abraham Lincoln and Stanton used here.

Resentful is an accounting term.

Do you mark down the wrongs of others?

Love has the ability to erase debts and even overlook offenses.

In marriage, if you were to try to parse every possibly offensive or questionable word or glance, you would never be able to show up at church.

Love is not joyful at wrongdoing.

Love can never be an excuse for sinful indulgence.

Verses 6-8 – Love’s Tenacious Power.

Look at the always statements here.

It always protects.

Love always trusts and does not lose faith.

Jesus believed what his Father could do with the disciples.

Love trusts God is not done.

Love always hopes and never runs out of hope.

WE know God can always accomplish something.

Love can have an optimistic posture toward the future knowing what God is able to accomplish.

God will prevail.

Chapter 13 and chapter 15 see together that God will prevail.

Without the gospel, this definition of love and its requirement in our life would be crushing.

WE can love because of what Jesus has already done at the cross.

Jesus is patient, kind.

Jesus never envies, boasts, etc.

WE only love at all because he first loved us.

Braggarts build themselves up.

The envious tear others down.

Loving people build others up.

1 Peter 1:5

Peter roots his loving letter to persecuted Christians in the fact that they have a love for the unseen Christ.

Shepherds Conference 2019 Session 1 Notes

Session 1

John MacArthur

Theme: Faithful

1 Corinthians 4

The Greek word for faithful, pistos, can mean having saving faith or a person’s faithfulness.

God is faithful.

Jesus is a faithful high priest.

God who promised is faithful.

God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.

In Rev. 19, Jesus is called faithful and true.

Rev. 21:5 and 22:6, the word is faithful.

We are called to this same faithfulness.

Jesus often talked about faithful slaves or good and faithful servants.

Faithfulness in this passage is linked to humility.

Humility is the virtue that produces faithfulness.

Psalm 31, the Lord preserves the faithful and recompenses the proud.

Pride is an opposite of faithfulness.

Spurgeon says that we have a choice between being humble and being humbled.

Our world system does not desire or embrace humility.

The true man of God fights for humility.

He will sacrifice for his Lord before seeking the admiration of the crowd.

John the Baptist’s greatness was in the attitude that would make him say, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”

Paul said, “I am the least of the apostles…”

God gave Paul a thorn in the flesh to help him remain humble.

MacArthur suggests that the thorn in the flesh was demonically inspired people in Corinth who opposed the gospel.

Five elements that manifest the humility of Paul.

  1. He was content to be a lowly servant.

Verses 1-2

The word for servant here is the lowest servant form in the NT.

IT is a word used for slaves in the under-decks on a slave ship.

Paul presents himself as a third level galley slave.

Luke 1:1-ff

Luke also uses that term for apostles.

John 18:36, Jesus calls his disciples the same term—3rd level galley slaves.

In Acts, Jesus calls Paul this type of servant.

This type of slave is to do his master’s will without any interest in his own personal worth or dignity.

1 Cor. 3:5, Paul and Apollos are servants, not anything.

Always be content to be a lowly servant.

There is nothing glamorous about this kind of service.

Also, in verse 1, we are stewards, house managers.

A steward distributes goods and food to people in the household.

We feed the flock of God.

We are stewards of God.

Col. 1:25

We serve humbly, dispensing what is not even ours.

We dispense NT truth.

We are primarily NT preachers.

1 Tim. 6:20, guard what has been entrusted to you.

What is that?

The truth, the word of God

Guard that as a treasure that you distribute.

2 Tim. 1:13, guard the treasure.

  1. He was content to be judged by God.

Verse 3-ff

Preachers do something that no other people do.

We bring to people the good news.

A bond forms as you continue to feed people the word of God.

People will love the one who delivers the truth to them.

Paul says that it is a small thing, the smallest thing, that he be judged by humans.

Eph. 3:8 uses this word for less than the least.

Someone else judging me has absolutely no significance.

It could not mean less.

The Galatians called Paul a man-pleaser.

Then Paul told them that the one who preaches another gospel is to be damned.

Does that sound like a man-pleaser?

Human praise is the least significant verdict on any of our ministries.

Paul cannot even examine himself.

His acquittal of himself does not mean anything.

Prov. 21:2, the Lord weighs the heart.

My conscience may be clear, and that is a defense, but it is not a perfect defense. I am biased in my own favor.

The final verdict comes from heaven. The Lord is the one who examines me, verse 4.

Verse 5 stop the comparisons.

Stop trying to elevate one teacher above another.

When Christ comes, he will make the right judgment, the true judgment, the one that matters.

Praise for us will only come based on what matters and our heart.

  1. He was content to be equal with other servants.

Verse 6

Paul talked about himself and Apollos as an illustration.

Do not go too far into pride.

James reminds us that God opposes the proud.

1 Peter 5:5 tells us the same thing.

Scripture always exalts humility and debases pride.

Paul wants us to learn not to be proud when the Scripture forbids it.

In Philippians, Paul talked about people wanting to get ahead by stepping on him while he was in prison.

Paul says that he rejoices when Christ is preached, even when the motives of other preachers is false.

Verse 7

You are nothing.

You are a slave and steward.

There is no place for boasting or self-elevation.

Verse 8

Paul gets sarcastic.

You are filled and rich and kings.

You have it all.

You’ve arrived spiritually.

You did it without us.

Give yourself all the credit.

I wish you had made it to be kings.

I’d be happy to be brought along in your success.

But they are being brought back to reality.

How you react to the praises of others speaks of your pride or humility.

  1. He was content to suffer.

Verse 9

God has made a spectacle of Paul and the apostles.

Verse 10

More sarcasm

You are smart and we are dumb.

We are weak and without honor.

Our lives have all sorts of hardships’.

Verse 11

Lots of hardships.

Verse 12

Common laborers

We are content to be rejected.

We are content in being common.

We are content to have no honor.

  1. He was content to sacrifice his reputation.

Verse 12-ff

Paul met slander regularly.

We are scum of the earth.

We are the dregs.

We are the crud on the bottom.

Our message is foolish to the perishing.

We are not going to be popular in the world.

We cannot be popular with the non-Christian world.

We are not popular with unfaithful people who claim Christ.

And if we are not humble enough, God will humble us more.

1 Pet. 5:5, be clothed with humility.

James 4:10, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and he will exalt you.