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 Session 4 Notes

Session 4

Mark Dever

Colossians 1:24-ff

Paul points to the mystery which is Christ.

Real Christian faith is centered in the mystery, the open secret, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Verse 24, Paul talks about his suffering or afflictions.

We share in Christ’s sufferings.

No, not his sacrificial, substitutionary sufferings.

True Christians have true Christian faith which centers on Christ.

Verse 29, we see labor mentioned.

Paul worked hard at preaching.

Paul shared that what he had been doing was for others.

You and your is repeated in the passage.

Pauls’ ministry: proclaim and present.

We proclaim the gospel to our hearers.

We long to present them to our Lord.

Christ’s afflictions were for the body.

Paul’s afflictions were for us too.

Why did he do this?

He did it for others.

Verse 25, Paul says that he is united to the Colossians in heart, spiritually, because they are united with him in Christ.

We are to encourage others.

Encourage or comfort each other.

Put heart in someone.

Encourage, put courage in someone.

Paul wanted the Colossians to be united in the truth.

Paul’s whole life was cruciform, he suffered in obedience to God on behalf of others.

Again, his suffering was not substitutionary. But he suffered for others’ good.

Pastoring includes proclaiming and working to present the people of god mature before the Lord.

Paul admonished and taught, not just a group, but individuals.

Had Paul closed his mouth, he may have seen his prison doors open.

He wanted to help others, even if that costed him.

Dever chose 1:28-29 as a life verse.

There is no reason for pride in success in ministry.

What we do we do for God’s glory and the good of the people.

It is God’s work.

We give ourselves for others.

Do you care more about how your sermon goes than how the people who heard your sermon are?

Acts 15:36, Let’s see how they are doing.

No metrics here.

No mission board can raise money based on this.

God cares about growth.

He told the animals to be fruitful and multiply.

He gave the same command to Adam and Eve.

The growth we see talked about in the NT and urged is not merely numerical.

It is a maturing and deepening faith.

Grow up into him who is the head.

In 2 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul thanks God for their growth.

God grows us and gets that credit.

Concern for that kind of growth is right and godly.

A lack of concern for that kind of growth is conversely ungodly.

Your job as a pastor is to be faithful in discipling and to create a culture of discipling in your church.

People naturally follow something and someone.

We are all disciples. The question is, “Of whom?”

Great Commission calls us to teach them to obey.

Discipling is more than preaching.

We live out the Christian life before others as basic discipleship.

In Jesus’ life we see the importance of both words and deeds.

What Dever does as a pastor to try to help others grow:

  1. Preaching – in your preaching, teach people the Bible.
  2. Prayer – He prays through the membership directory. He prays formally in the service, and even teaches people to pray through the regular, pastoral prayers.
  3. Membership – Hold people to faithfulness to the statement of faith and church covenant.
  4. Books – Give them away.
  5. Presence – Be around. Meet with people over lunch. Get people to go with you places.
  6. Conversation – Encourage people to have spiritual conversation.

7. Define – Discipling is trying to help other people to follow Christ. If you are not regularly trying to help people follow Jesus, I’m not sure what you mean when you say that you follow Jesus.

8. Include – Include people as you do ministry. Have others preach. Get feedback

9. Public services – Be thoughtful as you do things in the service. Let people know what you are doing and why you are doing what you are doing.

Shepherds Conference 2019 Session 2 Notes

Session 2

Sinclair Ferguson

Faithfulness and Holiness in the Life of the Minister

Hebrews 12

There is a stress on holiness in this book.

It seems that holiness has lost its position in the vocabulary of the life of gospel ministers.

Success and satisfaction are more often used.

Hebrews emphasizes faithfulness.

Hebrews emphasizes holding fast and being faithful.

Those to whom God is faithful become faithful.

Jesus is the revelation of the radiant glory of


HE is the Creator and the heir of the cosmos

HE is also the one who made purification for sins.

Holiness is written all over Jesus’ ministry.

Moses wished all of the people could have God’s Spirit. HE saw that the Old Covenant could not accomplish all that he wanted.

Christ’s priestly ministry effects holiness.

Christ brings us an imputed holiness.

Imputed holiness is inseparable from an imparted holiness.

Paul says we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

And yet we are being sanctified.

Sanctification is an accomplished reality in our lives.

We do not aspire to be saints or holy ones; this is what we are.

But there is also an ongoing sanctifying of believers.

There is a progressive sanctification.

Eventually, all who have looked to Jesus for salvation will come to look like Jesus in sanctification and ultimate glorification.

The therefore in Hebrews 12:1 is great.

It is true in you and your ministry.

You should desire to be holy.

You should desire to be as holy as it is possible for a saved sinner to be.

It is a rare thing to hear a gospel minister described as holy.

  1. The absolute necessity of holiness in gospel ministers

Hebrews 12:10, Disciplines are for our good that we may share in holiness.

12:14, holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Lack of holiness indicates that one has not received the grace of God.

We live in strange times when we see unusually gifted people falling horribly.

They have confused natural gifts with saving grace.

What do we substitute for real sanctification?

Do we substitute effectiveness in our gifts for actual sanctification?

If it is true that, without holiness, no one will see the Lord, then it is true that no minister of the gospel, without holiness, will ever see the Lord.

  1. Six Areas of Battle that are Vital in Gospel Ministers

Where do we stand strong under pressure?

Where do we battle?

  • Practices that may not be sinful, but which will not advance gospel in our lives

What might distract us?

Be careful with approving activities that you only say of them, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with it.”

Watch out for things that do you no gospel good.

Is there something that enslaves you?

Things that may be legitimate can actually become things that ensnare us in gospel ministry.

  • Sin that clings to us
  • Compromises to which the stresses of ministry may tempt us

The devil loves to exhaust our resources to resist.

He will tell you 99 things that re true to set you up for the 100th.

He will let you win the first set in order to wear you out in the match.

2 Cor. 4, Paul twice points out that we do not lose heart.

HE knows that is tempting.

The evil one is out to destroy our pursuit of faithfulness and holiness.

  • We find ourselves struggling with or even against divine providences

Might gospel ministers experience more painful providences than the generality of Christians?

Why do we experience these?

We are sore.

These humble us.

Laziness and pride are two great sins in the ministry.

If God is going to deal with men through you, he wants to deal with you so he can get through you to them.

You are the one who is most under your ministry of the word.

The congregation has no idea this is going on.

They do not understand how unclean you feel as you study the word and try to communicate it.

Often, we fight against this.

We forget that God has given us all that we need.

  • The danger of a root of bitterness

One of the most alarming danger signs in a minister of the gospel is, especially when he speaks of a person in a bigger ministry, the first thing to emerge is always negative.

I must come to the sweetness of Jesus Christ to dilute and cleanse my bitterness.

  • Sexual immorality

We need the expulsive power of a new affection.

Be careful compromising for short term gratification.

  1. The encouragements to holiness in gospel ministers

We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

Not the point that they are watching you.

But their story of their faithfulness should encourage you toward holiness.

What God did in them he can do in you.

Keep on running and enduring as they did.

The Old Testament is for this.

It is there to say keep going.

OT saints say that you got what they never saw.

I have a heavenly Father who is training me as a son so that I may share his holiness.

He is remaking us in his image.

God wants to enable us to say Abba, Father.

What a risk.

People often think that God is somehow like the person through whom his word comes.

Therefore, we must pursue holiness.

There needs to be real integrity between the word that we preach and the atmosphere and spirit and love and devotion with which we communicate.

We now enjoy what the saints of old did not have access to.

We have the Spirit.

We have come to a heavenly city.

We have New Covenant access to Christ.

Paul believed, in 1 Cor 11, that angels were present at that church and Jesus was leading the people in worship and speaking through the preacher.

How amazing that we can go into the presence of God with his people and worship him.

We want Jesus to preach his word to his people through our lips.

That must make you want to be as holy as you could possibly be for sake of the people of God.

We want the people to see pastors who are more and more like the Lord Jesus.

IF what we do is really important, then let’s give ourselves entirely to holiness.