Monday, July 27, 2009

The Hymn of Christ

Philippians 2:5-11

Philippians 2:5-11 is called THE HYMN OF CHRIST, because scholars tell us that this passage records an actual hymn that was sung in worship by the early church. Contextually, Philippians 2 is a call to spiritual unity. In verses 1-4, Paul says, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry and conceit, but in humility count others as more significant than yourself. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” The rest of this chapter gives four models of the selfless humility needed for spiritual unity: Jesus Christ, Paul himself, Timothy, and Epaphroditus. The example of Christ is first and foremost. The supreme example of the Lord Jesus is gloriously celebrated in the hymn of Christ. Verse 5 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” If you truly want to know what it means to humble yourself, look at Jesus and adopt his mindset. Verses 6-11 explain the mind of Christ. This explanation of the selfless humility of Christ simultaneously explains the gloriously majesty of Christ. This text is one of the most important Christological passages in the New Testament. It records a vital statement about the divine nature, redemptive work, and sovereign authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. The text makes this statement about Jesus Christ in two parts.


Philippians 2:5-8 says: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yourselves in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” These verses explain the humiliation of Christ by contrasting the eternal deity and the human life of the Lord Jesus. First, verse 6 teaches…


The Bible is clear and consistent in teaching that Jesus Christ is God. Yet the deity of Christ is the doctrine of Christ that has been more often attacked in church history. Other doctrines of Christ have been attacked to undermine the doctrine of Christ’s deity. For instance, there are those who reject the historical fact of his physical resurrection, not because there is no credible evidence for it, but because to affirm the resurrection would be to acknowledge the deity of Christ. The deity of Christ is constantly and vehemently attacked because it is essential to the historical Christian faith. Simply, Christianity is Christ and Christ is God. If you can undermine the deity of Christ and make him merely a good teacher or a great prophet, you render Christianity impotent. All of our hopes rest on the fact that Jesus Christ is God.
First of all, the preincarnate Christ was God by his NATURE. Verse 6 describes Christ as being “in the form of God.” This statement refers to the eternal nature of Christ before he came into the world as a human being. He was “in the form of God.” The word form speaks of the internal reality of a thing being expressed in its external appearance. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus Christ is eternally, equally, and essentially God. Likewise, the preincarnate Christ was God in his STATUS. Verse 6 says that he had “equality with God,” meaning that the preincarnate Christ totally shared the fullness of God’s nature. So Christ must never be placed in any category below or less than God. God the Father and Jesus Christ equally share the nature, authority, and glory of God. But note the contrast. Jesus Christ is eternally God. But…


Verse 6 says “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” The word grasped translates a Greek term that is used only here in the New Testament. It speaks of plunder, a prize, or anything to be seized or greatly desired. It is used here to speak of the attitude of Christ toward the perfect will and redemptive plan of God the Father. Every privilege of deity belonged to Christ, because he is God. Yet he did not hold on to the glory of his deity, like a robber clutching his stolen loot. Christ, who had every reason to put his rights first, did not. He did not view his divine glory as something that he must hold on to at all costs. Verses 7-8 affirm this humiliation of Christ in two ways: the incarnation and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

THE INCARNATION. Verse 7 says Christ “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” The phrase “made himself nothing,” translates a verb that means to empty, make void, drain out, abase, or neutralize. Christ, who by nature and status was God, made himself nothing when he came to earth as a human being. G. CAMPBELL-MORGAN wrote: “He was the God-Man. Not God indwelling man. Of such there has been many. Not a man deified. Of such there has been none save in the myths of pagan systems of thought; but God and man, combining in one personality the two natures, a perpetual enigma and mystery, baffling the possibility of explanation.” Think about it.
• Christ, who in eternity rested on the bosom of the Father without a mother, in time rested on the bosom of a mother without an earthly father.
• God, who in Eden’s garden took from a man a motherless woman, in Bethlehem’s barn took from a woman a fatherless man.
• Jesus, the Ancient of Days became the infant of days – a baby as old as his heavenly Father but ages older than his human mother, Mary.
• Jesus, who created the angels, was made a little lower than the angels.
• Jesus, who said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” was born two thousand years after Abraham died.
Historically, the church has referred to this miracle of the incarnation as the doctrine of the KENOSIS. The word “Kenosis” is derived from the verb that is translated in verse 7 as “made himself nothing” or “made himself of no reputation” (NKJV). The church formally stated this doctrine to defend this text against misinterpretation. It teaches that the incarnation was not Christ emptying himself of his deity or exchanging his deity for humanity. The Kenosis was a sovereign self-renunciation. In the Kenosis, Christ laid aside his heavenly glory and the independent use of his authority, divine prerogatives, eternal riches, and favorable position with the Father. But never in the process did he every stop being God. The Godhead is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Therefore, if Christ stopped being God, God himself would cease to exist. That is impossible. God is self-existent, eternal, and immutable. So Christ could never stop being God. But in the Kenosis, Christ became something in addition to being God without becoming something less than God. He became what he had not been in his eternal deity: a human being.
Verse 7 says He “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Christ made himself nothing in the reality of the incarnation. But he made himself nothing by his role during the incarnation: a servant. The incarnation proves that the gospel is not something we could think up. It is inconceivable to our finite minds that God, who enjoyed eternal glory, infinite sovereignty, and unlimited power, would take on the weaknesses and limitations of humanity. Even if we could come up with the idea of the incarnation, we would have messed it up by making God a human being with great power, influence, wealth, fame, and skill. But that is not what God did. Christ “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” NATE SERVANT said it well: “If we could just grasp the significance of the Incarnation, the word ‘sacrifice’ would disappear from our vocabulary.”


THE CRUCIFIXION. Verse 8 says, “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” The death of Christ is mentioned twice in verse 8. And these two statements describe the submissive nature and sacrificial manner of his death. First, the death of Christ was an act of SUBMISSION. Verse 8 says “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.” You and I have a date with death that we have no control over. You can diet, exercise, and live right, but death is still imminent and inescapable. But that is not the way it was with Christ. Death had no control over him. Death did not kill Jesus. He freely, willingly, and voluntarily gave up his life. The death of Christ was not the result of the plot of the religious leaders or the betrayal of Judas or the protest of the crowd or the sentence of the Roman government or the actions of the Centurion soldiers. Verse 8 tells us what actually happened: “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.”
• He could have declared that his GLORY was too precious to disrobe for sinners.
• He could have declared that his POSITION was too high to condescend to sinners.
• He could have declared that his POWER was too great to lay aside for sinners.
• He could have declared that his HEAVENLY POSSESSIONS were too valuable to part with for sinners.
• He could have declared that his BLOOD was too good to shed for sinners.
• He could have declared that his HANDS were too holy to be pierced for sinners.
• He could have declared that his LIFE was too sacred for him to surrender for sinners.
But he did not do that. Thank God he did not do that!

Likewise, the death of Christ was an act of SACRIFICE. Crucifixion, death on a cross, was the most painful form of execution in the ancient world. It was cruel and unusual punishment of death by suffocation that could take days to accomplish. Death by hanging, stoning, or even burning, was considered an act of mercy in comparison to crucifixion. It was so painful that a new term was coined in Latin to describe the agony: excruciating. Crucifixion was not just execution; it was torture. When verse 8 says “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,” it declares the totality of Christ’s obedience. But when it goes on to say “even death on a cross,” it declares the extent of his obedience. Earth has no darker sin, history no blacker page, humanity no fouler spot, than that of the Savior’s crucifixion. But Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is the founder and perfecter of our faith “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” This leads us to the second part of this hymn of Christ.


Verses 6-8 record the humiliation of Christ. But verses 9-11 record the exaltation of Christ. These two parts of this great hymn are connected by the first word of verse 9, “therefore,” which signifies that what is about to be said is based on what has already been said. Verses 6-8 is a powerful description of how Jesus Christ, the second Person of the holy Trinity, humiliated himself when he came to earth as a man, lived as a servant, and died on a cross. But this second part describes God the Father’s sovereign response to the selfless humiliation of his only begotten Son. Verse 9 says, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” If you end the story of Jesus at the crucifixion, you do not have the whole story. The cross is not the end of the story, for God “highly exalted him.” That phrase, “highly exalted,” is emphatic in the original. It is a compound term that could be translated, “God super-exalted him.” God lifted him above everything. God exalted him to the highest place. God raised him to a position of supreme majesty.
The humiliation of Christ was fully compensated by God. In fact, there was totally reversed. Verse 6 says he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. Verse 9 says that God highly exalted him. Verse 7 says that he made himself nothing. But verse 9 says that God has given him the name that is above every name. Verse 7 says that he took the form of a servant. But verse 10 says that every knee shall bow at the name of Jesus. Verse 8 says that he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross. But verse 11 says that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus is no mere baby in a manger or great teacher or mighty prophet or miracle worker or religious martyr. We worship, serve, and trust the exalted Christ who is eternally worthy of an exclusive name, sovereign lordship, and universal worship. In John 17:4-5, Jesus prayed, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” Philippians 2:9-11 records that Father’s answer to that prayer. God highly exalted his Son, Jesus Christ. And these verses record the present reality and future realization of the sovereign exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Verse 9 says, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” Notice that God is the source of the exaltation of Christ. Christ did not exalt himself. And he was not and is not exalted by men. We often speak of exalting Christ. But in worship we only acknowledge, affirm, and adore the exaltation of Christ. We do not accomplish it. God has highly exalted him. And it is a done deal. The term “highly exalted” is in a grammatical emphasis that means God has exalted Christ once-and-for-all. Jesus is the exalted Christ. And this exaltation is not some mystical or esoteric idea. The exaltation of Christ is rooted in three real, concrete, and historic events.
God exalted Christ through the RESURRECTION. The real, physical, and historical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the bedrock of the Christian faith. It is the bedrock of our faith because we believe that the resurrection was God’s validation of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. We believe that God stamped his approval on the humiliation of Christ when he raised him from the dead. In Acts 2:32-33, Peter said, “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.” Likewise, God exalted Christ through the ASCENSION. Acts 1:9-11 says, “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up. And a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who has taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’” This dramatic departure of the risen Christ marks again and in a greater way the end of the humiliation of Christ and his entrance into exaltation. It tells us that Christ was not only exalted from the grave; he was also exalted over earth itself.
Finally, God exalted through the CORONATION. The coronation of Christ tells us where he went when he left planet earth in the ascension. Ephesians 1:20-22 says that God “raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.” In the resurrection, Christ was exalted over sin, death, and the grave. In the ascension, Christ was exalted over time and space. But in the coronation, Christ was exalted over every name that is named. That is why verse 8 says that God has “bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” What exactly is this “name that is above every name”? That is the natural question of the conscientious reader. But to ask that question is to miss the point. The word “name” does not refer to some title for Christ. The significance of the word “name” is found in the comparative phrase attached to it: “the name that is above every name.” This is a statement of the exalted office of infinite majesty, glory, power, dignity, and authority Jesus Christ received from God the Father. This statement is not about a proper name. It is about a glorious position of sovereign Lordship.


Philippians 2:10-11 explains the intended purpose and proper response to the exaltation of Christ: “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST WILL NOT BE DENIED. Verse 10 says, “at every name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” The bowing of the knee pictures submission, surrender, even slavery. And this verse teaches that the bowing of the knee is the physical posture that is deserved and demanded in response to the exaltation of Christ. When a dignitary or celebrity enters a room, people stand, applaud, even cheer. But if Christ were to walk into that same room, no one would stand. No one would be able to stand. Every knee should bow down before him. And note the emphatic extent of this mandated reverence for the exalted Christ. Paul says, “Every knee should bow.” That is clear enough. But then he punctuates the point by outlining the three places where the knee must bow before Christ: “in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” The Lordship of Christ is total, absolute, and universal. The day is coming when the Lordship of Christ will not be denied. Every knee shall bow before Christ.
• The holy angels in heaven will bow before Christ.
• The glorified spirits of the redeemed will bow before Christ.
• The Christ-followers on earth will bow before Christ.
• The unbelieving sinners in the world will bow before Christ.
• The devil, his demons, and all the lost souls in hell will bow before Christ.
THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST WILL NOT BE DEBATED. Verse 10 sees THE PHYSICAL RESPONSE to the Lordship of Christ. Verse 11 hears THE VOCAL RESPONSE to the Lordship of Christ: “and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Verse 10 emphasizes the scope of Christ’s Lordship. Verse 11 emphasizes the sovereignty of it. Verse 11 states it in four words: “Jesus Christ is Lord.” The Lordship of Christ is the initial confession of the church. Scholars tells us that this confession, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” was the first creed of Christianity. Long before the church formally stated its convictions about the Trinity, Justification, and other important doctrines; it was clear about this essential truth: Jesus Christ is Lord. Likewise, the Lordship of Christ is the authentic confession of every Christian. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” And the Lordship of Christ is the ultimate confession of all creation. Verse 11 declares that there is coming a day when every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

This text does not teach UNIVERSALISM. It does not teach that every person will be saved. We are called to evangelize the lost because every person will not automatically or inevitably be saved. UNIVERSALISM and the GREAT COMMISSION are mutually exclusive concepts. We are commanded to go and make disciples of all nations because there will be no universal salvation for all people. But there will be a universal confession of the sovereign Lordship of Jesus Christ. Now, the primary message of this hymn is to the church: humble yourselves and God will exalt you. But there is also a secondary message here for the lost: Humble yourselves and be saved. Have you every asked the question: “What is the world coming to?” Philippians 2:9-11 answers that question. The world is coming to a day when every being in the created universe will recognize Jesus Christ as Lord. No tongue will be silent; no knee will be unbowed. But we are still in an age of grace. That means the promise of Romans 10:9 still stands: If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
• To acknowledge him now is to receive his grace; to acknowledge him later is to suffer his judgment.
• Now you may bow and confess; then you must bow and confess.
• Now it may be in joy; then it will be in terror.
• Today you can confess him as Lord and Savior; then it will only be a Lord.
If you have already received Christ as Savior and Lord, you can fulfill the purpose of the humiliation and exaltation of Christ: the glory of God. And verse 11 says, “every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” To God be the glory for the Lord Jesus Christ!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Notes from Sunday -07/26/09

Today was long but rich and blessed day. The Lord was gracious to smile on our worship services today at Shiloh.

Thank you for praying for me, as I have not been feeling well this week. I am still having up and down days. But I am grateful that the Lord has been giving me strength to preach at the appointed times. Please continue to pray for me and my health. And pray that the Lord will give me wisdom to follow doctor’s instructions and my boss’ commands - Crystal!

Our youth and young adults choirs led the music in today’s services. I encouraged by the continual progress. May the Lord continue to use them to his glory!

Praise God for those who followed Christ in baptism today.

I continued to teach on the church in my New Members Class. It really does make my day to teach that class each week.

I preached “The Hymn of Christ” from Philippians 2:6-11. It is one of the most important Christological passages in the New Testament. And I was very excited to preach a text to my congregation.

For the record, I absolutely love preaching to the Shiloh Church family. I am blessed way out of my league to have the privilege to shepherd such a wonderful congregation.

I am still having a wonderful time studying and preaching through the book of Philippians.

Next Week’s Message: “The Ins-And-Outs of Christian Living” (Philippians 2:12-13).

Praise God for those who were saved and added to the church today in our worship services.

I left the church and Crystal took me straight to the airport. I had a flight to Atlanta to preach for Pastor Timothy Fleming at the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church at 3 PM. By the time I arrived at the church, the service had already started. It was a warm worship. And the Lord gave me strength to preach.

Believe it or not, I preached about 30 minutes this afternoon. The service was to be followed by a picnic on the grounds for the membership. And the congregation was patient to listen to me with the aroma of good food in the atmosphere. So I “chopped up” the message quite a bit. But I think the Lord helped me to get the heart of the message across. And one was added to the church. Praise God.

About ten years ago, I preached the closing night of Pastor Fleming’s “Upper-Room Conference.” As the service was going on, Crystal was rushed to the hospital and gave birth to our son, H.B. He was born more than six-weeks premature. Pastor Fleming’s prayers, compassion, and encourage meant so much to me and my family at a very critical time. I am honored to be invited back to Mt. Carmel to preach again.

I will be preaching at Mt. Carmel the next four nights. Please remember this meeting in your prayers.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An Old Picture of My Dad

From Left to right: Unidentified, W.P. Carter, Gardner C. Taylor, H.B. Charles, Sr., Lawrence A. Felix, Sr., Horace N. Mays

Than you Professor Paul Felix for sharing this picture of our fathers with me.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Notes from Sunday - 07/19/09

Long day. Good worship. Important message. Hard work. Totally exhausted.

I am grateful to God for the privilege he has given me to shepherd the saints at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church.

The Lord richly blessed our Vacation Bible School. Forty-three young people took of step of faith to Christ. Praise God!

As always, I am grateful to God for the guests who worshiped with us at Shiloh yesterday.

In New Members Class, I continued my study of the church. I spent our time focusing on Matthew 18:15-20. It was a good time of study.

I began my study of Philippians chapter 2 with a message of verses 1-5, entitled, “A Call to Spiritual Unity”

Next Sunday’s message: “The Hymn of Christ” (Philippians 2:6-11).

Praise God for those who were saved and added to our church family today.

The Lord has a way of using the kindness of others to encourage you just when you need it the most.

Please remember me in your prayers this week.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Gift of Suffering

This past Sunday, I concluded my study of Philippians chapter 1 with a message on verses 29-30, entitled, "The Gift of Suffering." Here is the sermon skeleton:

TITLE: “The Gift of Suffering”

TEXT: Philippians 1:29-30


THEME: The gift of suffering

POINT: Christian suffering is a gift from God to be embraced and endured with joy.

TRANSITION: Consider with we me three things these two verses teach us about Christian suffering.


I. The privilege of Christian suffering (1:29)

A. Belief in Christ is a gift from God: "For it has been granted to you for the sake of Christ not only to believe in him"

B. Suffering for Christ is a gift from God: "but also to suffer for his sake"

II. The purpose of Christian suffering (1:29) - "for the sake of Christ"/"For his sake"

A. Our suffering advances the gospel of Christ

B. Our suffering advances our growth in Christ

III. The proof of Christian suffering (1:30)

A. We are engaged in a spiritual conflict: "engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and hear that I still have"

B. We are engaged in the same conflict: "engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and hear that I still have"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Notes from Sunday -07/12/09

We had a good day of worship at Shiloh yesterday. I have a “hard saying” to preach. But as the saying goes, difficult texts make good preachers. If so, I became a better preacher for struggling with the text this week. And I pray that the church was made the better for hearing the word.

One the practical benefits of verse-by-verse exposition is that it forces you to deal with passages and subjects that you would otherwise avoid. This discipline helps us to preach the whole council of God, not just our favorite subjects.

Praise God for those who were baptized as a public expression of their faith in Jesus Christ.

In my New Members Class, I continued to teach on the church. I spend our time surveying the two places in scripture where the Lord Jesus directly mentions the church – Matthew 16:13-20 and 18:15-20. I look forward to continuing my look at Matthew 18 next Sunday.

I was excited to get the pulpit after spending a week at an expository preaching conference. I was reminded that I have so much to work on to be a better preacher. But I left encouraged to work harder at my craft, so that I may be the clean, sharp, and ready tool in the hands of the Lord.

I concluded our study of Philippians 1 with a message on verses 29-30, entitled, “The Gift of Suffering.”

Next Sunday’s message: “A Call to Spiritual Unity” (Philippians 2:1-5).

It took me ten sermons to get through Philippians 1. I did not expect it to take that long. I plan to get through chapter 2 in seven messages.

Thank God for those who were added to the church in our services yesterday.

Our Vacation Bible School begins today. Please remember the workers and children in your prayers. May the Lord draw these precious children to himself through the ministry of the word this week. And may the have a good time in VBS as well!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Speaking @ the E.K. Bailey Expository Preaching Conference 2009

Two dramatic events took place in my life in February of 1990. First of all, I turned eighteen-years-old. My birthday was on a Monday. And by the end of that very week, I was moving into my first apartment. It was one in a series of events in which the Lord was forcing me to grow up quickly.

During that same month, I hosted our first revival at Mt. Sinai Church, where I been the pastor for three months. My guest speaker wanted to go to Mt. Moriah that Tuesday to here Dr. E.K. Bailey. I had heard of Dr. Bailey’s name before. But I knew absolutely nothing about his ministry. But if my guest wanted to go to church, we were going to church.

That day changed my life. Dr. Bailey preached on Joshua 7. That sermon changed my life. I was spiritually challenged by the word of God that day. But the message also sent my preaching in a new direction. I heard expository preaching that day, in which Dr. Bailey simply explained what the text meant by what it says. I had recently begun studying expository preaching. And I began to listen to some expository preachers. But that day sealed the deal for me. I remember leaving the service saying to myself, “That is what I want to do.”

Over the years, Dr. E.K. Bailey of the Concord Baptist Church in Dallas remained one of my homiletical heroes. And I was excited and encouraged when I learned about his Expository Preaching Conference. The year I attended, I had the joy of sitting under the teaching of Dr. Bailey, A. Louis Patterson, Jr., Kenneth Ulmer, Myles Jones, Warren Wiersbe, Stephen Olford, and Jasper Williams, among others. It was also the year that Dr. Bailey preached his classic sermon on Zacchaeus. Unfortunately, it was the only year I was able to attend. But I have purchased the tapes and CDs over the years, and have richly benefited from them.

My friend, Brian Carter, the senior pastor of the Concord Church, graciously invited me to participate in this year’s conference. I am schedule to speak this evening (Monday). And I am teaching a workshop on developing expository sermons on Tuesday afternoon. I do not have the words to express how grateful I am to have this opportunity to participate in this conference.

I will also have the opportunity to hear some good preaching and teaching this week. Brian Carter, Joel Gregory, Ralph West, Maurice Watson, and Robert Smith will all be speaking. Likewise, my pastor, Melvin Wade, is scheduled to teach on spiritual discipline and devotion.

This should be a great week of worship, fellowship, and study. Just going through the hotel lobby, I have bumped into friends from Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Oklahoma City, and Newark.

Please remember this great conference in your prayers. May the Lord cause much fruit to come from our time together in his work this week!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Notes from Sunday -07/05/09

It was good to be home and back in my own pulpit this morning. I missed being in worship with Shiloh last Lord's Day. And I am thankful that the Lord allowed me and my family to get home safely and be reunited with our church family.

This was my first 4th of July weekend in Jacksonville. I did not know what to expect this morning. I was pleasantly surprised.

We celebrated both Christian ordinances - baptism and the Lord's Supper in worship this morning. What a blessing!

I resumed teaching my new members class today. We discussed one my favorite subjects - the church.

One of the important and difficult parts of verse-by-verse exposition through a book is the selection of preaching portions. This week's text created a great dilemma for me. The paragraph consists Philippians 1:27-30. And until Saturday afternoon, it was my plan to preach the text in one message. But the more I wrote out my thoughts, the more I knew that it would take me two messages to deal with the text. This put me way behind in my preparation. But I still believe I made the right move.

I preached on Philippians 1:27-28. I entitled the message, "A Call to Steadfastness." In these two verses, Paul exhorts the church to steadfastness with threefold instructions:

1. Live for the gospel: "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you......" v. 27

2. Live in unity: "that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel" v. 27

3. Life without fear: "and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign for them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God." - v. 28

It was a hard day in the office today.

Next week, God willing, I will preach verses 29-30 - "The Gift of Suffering."

Praise God for those who were saved and added to the church today.