The primary function of the Pastor is to faithfully exposit the word of God to the body, in obedience, love, and truth. Doing this glorifies God and serves the body. Many Pastors today are overburdened and inundated with projects and outreach. They have been told by many pragmatic men that the way to grow the church is to do, do, do. This isn’t the model of the gospel and it isn’t the model of growing true converts. Certainly it will work to add goats to your pews. Yes, the number of people attending will go up. Yes, there might be some that get converted listening to you preach the gospel on Sunday. These are not your primary duties that you have been commended to do. You sir, have been entrusted with the Holy Word of God and His elect beloved! Do not stray from your commission. All of the techniques that the world employs are not to be in your toolbox. You have the blessing and obligation to plumb the depths of God’s word and return to the flock with a bountiful harvest of truth. When you preach from the pulpit don’t think of it as a chance to evangelize a few lost sinners visiting the church, but view it instead as a time of ministry to God’s elect. He knows what they need to grow and to do the work He has for them. He has a plan to provide for them, and that plan involves you. God wants to use you to educate His people. He wants to use you to help in their sanctification. He wants to use you to equip them Biblically so that they can do the work of evangelism and outreach. By laboring on behalf of the Lord’s gospel you equip and impassion the flock to evangelize the lost, feed and clothe the poor, visit those in prison, and provide for the orphans and widows. It is easy to mix up your personal walk as an individual Christian and your commission as a Preacher of God’s word. There are things that you will do as an individual for God, and there are things that you will do as a Preacher. The first comes from being a born again believer and the other is a Holy Vocation. God in His sovereignty will grow or shrink a congregation. It won’t be based on your efforts. You are called to be faithful, to live by faith, to do what has been ordained by faith.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, what does it all mean? I had trouble with this when I was younger, but over the years good teachers and wiser men informed by God’s word have been able to help me. I would like to help those of you who might be having some difficulties with the titles.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are titles of roles that each one of the personages of the trinity are. Jesus isn’t literally the offspring produced by sexual copulation like the Mormons believe. He isn’t a created being made from the essence of God or brought forth from it like the Arians believe. (Assemblies of Yahweh, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Mormons) Jesus is co-eternal along with the other two personages of the trinity. The title of, “Son” explains the eternal purpose of His role. Jesus before His incarnation as the hypostatic union existed. We know that everything was made by Him. Before God made anything, He had a plan to save us from sin. He had a plan to demonstrate His longsuffering and loving kindness. We are part of that plan. He, as the Son would provide our propitiation. He as the Father would require it. The Spirit would enable us to see and hear. The Father is the ultimate authority. His will is the will of the trinity. The Son obeys the Fathers will and seeks to bring glory to the Father. The Spirit is subordinate to the Son and the Father. He glorifies the Son and enables us. This is not to say that He is literally a child of the Father. He was not brought forth out of the essence of God as a lower god. Jesus fulfills the role of the Son. He is eternally the Son.
Some of us are old enough to remember the funny Wendy’s commercial with the, “where’s the beef?” lady.
Just like how most fast food chains can leave you unsatisfied and wondering just, “Where is, the beef?” The prosperity gospel and life enhancement version of Christianity leaves people unsatisfied and lacking the appropriate knowledge. They are spiritually malnutritioned and existing as the walking dead. They drone on through life never getting it. One can only wonder how long people will continue to pay this man to hear his silky smooth distracting messages delivered through his 10,000 watt smile.
Many folks get angry when you mention any wrong doing of Joel and his ilk. I have been surprised at how many Christian brothers and sisters have gotten down right perturbed at me for besmirching their golden cow. Joel is not any better than any of us. He certainly is not educated and rooted in the word, like many genuine theologians and Pastors. Joel is firmly in the, “Word of Faith” movement. He teaches that your words have power and if you have faith when you speak you can declare prosperity for yourself and God will provide it. How messed up is that? “Say, I think I’ll twist the arm of the sovereign Creator of everything into giving me a better house and car with my, “less than a mustard seed of faith.” It is men like him who give good unsung Pastors a bad name.
Think about all of the times you have listened to him on television or the books of his you have read. Can you recall anything that he has done that looks anything like, “You were once a vile sinner. You were under the condemnation of sin. You were going to be cast into Hell for eternity, but you repented of your sins and believed in the atoning work of Christ Jesus on the cross. He paid the price of your sin debt. He satisfied the justice of God through His propitiation. Now go and be holy for God is holy.”
Joel isn’t a Pastor, he is a self-help guru with a Christianesque guile. He is the burger with fillers and washed in ammonia. He is not the real deal. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying he is not saved. I don’t know that. I am saying he isn’t qualified to be a Preacher of God’s word. He is not a Preacher of the gospel. He has this humungous platform to do something really great for the kingdom of God, but instead he backs away from boldly proclaiming the gospel and preaching the word. Why is that? What sort of Preacher does that? I haven’t even really addressed his teachings here. That wasn’t my goal for today. I simply wanted to draw attention to the lack of good, God centered, gospel proclaiming, life giving, preaching of God’s word. Now I declare, go read your Bible Joel and repent. Use that television platform, and mega-church for the right use.
If you love Joel ask him to preach the gospel every Sunday. Ask him for clear and correct teaching instead of the prosperity life enhancement fluff. Who knows, maybe he’ll listen.
Biblical ignorance is one of the biggest obstacles for the evangelist to overcome. There are many false doctrines and misconceptions being propagated in society today. We have to answer so many false claims while practicing apologetics. Hopefully we can fix one of those problems today with this article.
God is eternal and unchanging. God has always existed just as He is. He has never existed not, or existed in any different state. He does not change. The nature of being uncaused and eternal is what we call, “the aseity of God.” The nature of not changing is what we call, “the immutability of God.” Both of these qualities are important when understanding God’s eternality and many of His other attributes. For today we are going to focus on His eternality, aseity, and immutability.
How do we answer, “If God is unchanging, didn’t He change when He turned into Jesus?” This demonstrates a woeful ignorance of theology. Children in the Puritan era might have asked this, but certainly not adults. It is true that if God’s nature changed during the incarnation we would have a problem. An eternal Creator that was not immutable could not be counted on to always be just, or good. So the fact that God is immutable is a blessing for us. God did not turn into Jesus at the incarnation. God was always as He is, Triune. He is one being in three personages. At the advent of Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity joined Himself to human nature without mixing, or mingling His deity with His humanity. This is what we call the hypostatic union. It means that the incarnate God is 100% God and 100% man, joined together perfectly in accordance with the will of God. The incarnation did not change God. This misinformed idea reveals how little we are trained in theology and Biblical truths.
The Mormons say that God was once a man, who was created by a father and mother god, who themselves were once mere humans, who were created by a father and mother, and on and on perpetually. This is how they understand their god to be eternal. How does our God differ? Our God is explained by His word. We know that He created everything. We know He didn’t just move matter around to form some things on this planet. If He created everything, and is the source of all then He would have no pre-existence as a man. He would not have been created by other gods, who were once human. He would be eternal all in and of Himself. I would ask the Mormons, “Who was the first god who made the first man, who later would become a god? Why wouldn’t you worship this first god who supposedly made the first man? Why would you worship a being who is not the creator of everything?” The God of the Bible is truly a transcendent being. He is above and beyond any imaginings a person would have in conceiving a false god. That is why when you encounter a false religion it is easy to spot problems. Of course this is only true if you are a person who has been saved and knows the true God. Once you know Him you can spot a fake. How could anyone worship suck limited beings as the ones they imagine? It should blow us away when we hear some of these descriptions.
The God of the Bible created everything there is without diminishing Himself. He created it out of nothing. There was nothing there for Him to build things out of versus the god of Mormonism who just reformed matter and was the great great great great great great great great grandson of some other little god. The winner is, the God of the Bible. This is one of the many reason that Mormons are not Christians. They might claim to be, but if they believe the doctrines of their cult, then they are not Christian. We obviously worship a different God than they do. Their god is a finite creature, created by others.
Ours is NOT! We need to be happy about this and correct them when they publically claim to worship the same being. They cause confusion and draw support when we don’t explain the differences. A god who was created is not a god at all. Only a God who is outside of creation, who made everything without diminishing himself, who made everything from nothing makes sense.
What does it mean to be, “eternal?” Have you ever thought about this? Most of us have thought about what it would be like to live forever, but all we can really conceive of is living a very long time. We can’t imagine what it would be like to have no beginning or end. It is something that only God can understand fully. We might as, “Is it possible for any other being to be eternal outside of God?” The Bible says we will live forever with God if we are saved, but that isn’t being eternal. That is just being resurrected to everlasting life. We had a beginning. God created us, and He keeps us alive.
It doesn’t it make sense to have another eternal being outside of God. If there was then God would not be alone and unique in His deity. There would be other Gods with separate wills and equal power. We know that God says in His word that He is the only one and that He is not a liar.
What about the gods of other faiths, are they eternal? This is simple, they don’t exist. They can’t be. For something to be eternal it would have to exist.
If they are false, because they are not eternal or actual then what is going to happen to their worshippers and why? If they never repent and put their faith in Christ then they are under the condemnation of their sin. They will die and be found guilty of their sins. They will be in Hell suffering the torment of God’s wrath being poured out on them, not because they believed different or because they didn’t grow up here, but because they are guilty sinners just like us.
How can they be saved? We must preach the gospel of Christ to them. They must come to salvific repentance and faith in Christ. When they find out that they are sinners, their hearts must be convicted of this. They must be humbled and become penitent. Then they must confess their sinfulness to God and ask Him to forgive them. They must submit to God as their new master. They need to accept that they cannot earn favor with God. They need to rely and fully trust in the finished, perfect, and atoning work of Christ on the cross.
Theology is a Greek word that means, “The study of God.” The first part of the word is, “Theo” from, “Theos” (Θεός) which is Greek for god. The second part of the word is, “logy” from the Greek word, “logia” (λογία) which means, “The study of.” So to the Christian the word, “theology” specifically is the study of God. This is different for the lost person. They look at theology as a study of some deity that may or may not exist. In the secular world there are colleges and universities that have classes teaching this, dare I say, “Study of god.” Their sources are like ours, as far as many of the texts go, but they don’t know the true God, and as such study Him with incorrect presuppositions. It is imperative that Christians start with proper presuppositions.
First and foremost, is that God is the originator of all things, known and unknown to us. This includes what can be learned. All knowledge comes from the LORD. Our ability to reason, use logic, remember, recall, convey, communicate and feel all comes from God. We would not be able to know anything if He did not will it to be. This seems basic, but there are books of theology that never assert this truth. Think about this for a moment. What does a tree know of God? What does a child know of God? What does a lost person know of God? What do you know of God? Read through those questions again and ponder the implications of each one of them, replace the, “what” with, “how.” God is a communicative Creator. We know this by His inclusion of the attributes essential to communication being integral to our faith and existence. Without those attributes we could not know God the way He intended. He planned to give us the progressive revelation of His word, in the form of the Bible. He planned for us to be able to write, read, and relay the knowledge of Him and His good message. We can know Christ the eternal God through what is written therein. So it is supremely important that we ascribe God the Creator, primacy in originating all things, including theology.
We must not ascribe attributes to God that He Himself does not affirm in His word. This would be a very dangerous endeavor. We would be making a god for ourselves, which is not the same as the true God who reigns supreme over all creation. Idolatry is, and has been, an insidious and cancerous evil. It substitutes a counterfeit god who cannot save us. The attributes or perfections of God that are taught in His word reveal to us the things that can be known by us of Him. Let us study theology then, in true faith and repentance, humbly approaching the feet of God, giver of all things.