Stunning prophetic sermon from the 1960s.
Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page
(This sermon was preached on January 25, 2009 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY. You may listen to the mp3 , then go to listen to other sermons in the archive. Take time to read Luke 8:16-21. Part I and Part II are here as well.)
In Luke 8:19-21, we read:
Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd.  And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.”  But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
We see that Jesus is teaching the crowd that has gathered. Some trust him (such as his disciples, to whom he revealed the secrets of the Kingdom – Luke 8:10), but some did not, which is why he spoke in parables. As he is teaching, he is interrupted by his family.
We know that God instituted the family—it was the first institution He created. We understand that the fifth commandment is to honor our father and mother (repeated numerous times in the New Testament) so that our days may be long on the earth is of utmost importance.
Yet, how does one reconcile these words with what Jesus says here? Is he showing disrespect to his biological family? No, not at all. He always gave them the respect due them. But He always kept the proper relationships in the proper priorities! His biological family confronted him, but then shows that his spiritual family was what possessed ultimate priority.
But notice how he identifies His spiritual family? “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the Word of God and do it.” Mark 3:35 in the parallel passage notes, “For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” Put these two passages together, and you begin to see the picture: the will of God and the Word of God seem to be equivalent. You cannot know and do the will of God without knowing and doing the Word of God. The Word of God does not simply show us His will, it is His will.
So, two questions loom. First, are you hearing the Word? By that, I mean are you fully engaged in the Word both personally in your devotions and publicly as it is read and expounded upon? Kent Hughes speaks of how an example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer helped him. During the years of Nazi Germany, Bonhoeffer ran an underground seminary. He was intelligent and had a very discerning mind able to critique correctly on many levels. In his preaching class, he would listen to his young seminary students preach, setting aside his pencil and opening up his Bible –regardless of how poor the sermon was. He believed that preaching God’s Word ought to be attended to as whether we listen to the very voice of God.
He’s not overstating it. Preaching Christ crucified, the entire point of the Scriptures, is as listening to God Himself because it is His Word empowered by His Spirit.
Once that is established, what then? The Spirit may be convicting you this morning about your view of the Word. He may be convicting you that you may be coming to church for what church means to you rather than what Christ means to His church and how you may serve Christ. The point of our gathering together is that you may feast on the glories and riches of Christ so you may have the spiritual wherewithal to serve Him. Remember, we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice “in view of God’s mercies.”
Michael Horton is his new book Christless Christianity serves us well with two scenarios that are often found in our churches. The first service is geared on God’s work for us—the Father’s gracious plan, the Son’s saving life, death, and resurrection, and the Spirit’s work of bring life to the valley of dry bones through the proclamation of Christ. The preaching focuses on God’s work in history found in Genesis to Revelation to redeem sinners from their plight. Trained and ordained to mine the Scriptures’ riches for the benefits of God’s people while the ministers push their agendas in the background so that God’s Word is clearly proclaimed. The congregations are receivers, recipients of grace enjoying the bread of heaven. Having been served the Word, they go into the world filled with praise and thanksgiving for all the God has accomplished through Christ. Because they have been served the Word in its depths, they are able to engage those they encounter with a clear picture of God’s work in history and are able to communicate this with unbelievers they come across.
Contrast this with church #2. The church is it’s own personal community in which people assume they come to do something. The emphasis is on their work for God. The preaching concentrates on principles and steps to living a better life, with a constant stream of exhortations: Be more committed, read your Bible more. Pray more. Witness more. Give more. Get involved in this cause or that movement to save the world. Their calling by God to secular vocations is secondary to finding their ministry in the church. The result is a group who work due to a charismatic leader rather than being motivated by knowledge and godliness. They always serve, but are rarely served. They have to shepherd themselves, and are thus ill-informed about God’s grand work in his history. All they can talk about is their own “personal testimony,” slogans, formulas. They are so busy with church-related activities, they have no time to develop relationships outside the church. Yet, if someone were to bring this friend to church, they would wonder if they would ever hear the gospel!
I give these scenarios because we must realize the primary reason and point of why we do what we do—to hear the Word of God so that it may take root in our hearts and bear fruit in every area
of our lives. The best way Boone’s Creek Baptist Church can serve you is by giving you the Word.
I am currently preparing for a four-part sermon series on “Creationism v. Darwinism: Can The Bible Be Trusted?” in light of Charles Darwin’s (1809-1883) 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s magnum opus, On the Origin of Species.
What has amazed me most in the research on this is not the inconsistencies of Darwinism (nothing on a macro-evolution level has yet to be proven or substantiated), but on how many Christians want to wed Darwin’s theory with the biblical account and impose Darwinian science on the clear text of Scripture.
The most popular way to do this is to take the six days of creation and turn them into “millions of years.” What many want to say is that the word ‘day’ doesn’t mean ‘day’ in the 24-hour sense, but that ‘day’ really means an era or an extended amount of time. Ken Ham on his Answers in Genesis podcast has a whole list of ministers who fail to hold to a literal six days (James Dobson, James Montgomery Boice, to name some), and I would regretfully add Tim Keller to the list as you examine his otherwise fine work The Reason for God (pp. 89-92).
A.E. Wilder-Smith in his wonderful work Man’s Origin, Man’s Destiny says, “An effort has been made to overcome some of the difficulties of harmonization by reckoning the seven creative days of Genesis as seven geological ages. It is in our own view, however, that the attempt to overcome some difficulties by this method often introduces even greater problems” (43). Wilder-Smith notes the absurdity of having plant life (Day 3) exist for millions of years prior to the sunlight being created (Day Four)–especially with the necessity of coal mixtures needing a good dose of sunlight. Plus, did God really rest millions of years? It just doesn’t fit.
But the question is: does this really compromise the Gospel? I believe it can because we risk being inconsistent in taking the gospel found in the Scriptures literally, yet taking the Genesis 1 account which is laid out like history (not poetry) non-literally. It compromises our witness. Just look at the transcripts of the Scopes “Monkey” Trial where Clarence Darrow called prosecuter William Jennings Bryan to the stand. Bryan compromised on the literal nature of the Bible, and Darrow took advantage.
Scientists who embrace Darwinism out of hatred for the possibility of biblical creationism go for this aspect. If they can get us denying the literal nature of the very first chapter of the Bible, then they will not worry about going after other items such as the resurrection. We have already shown the inconsistency–and they have won the day.
What say you?
Why another blog? I am more and more convinced that an understanding and embracing of the Gospel ministers to every area of body, mind, and soul–and ministers to every area of life: marriage, family, struggling with addiction, life in the workplace, politics, etc.
I have another blog which deals with wider areas that may be of interest to my church. GBTG is an off-shoot of my new web ministry “Him We Proclaim,” in which we preach Christ crucified, proclaiming Him to encourage and warn others about the issues which take us away from the intention of our Creator.
I look forward to posting and dialoguing with all of you.
Go back to Luke 8:18: “Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” Again, back to the Parable of the Soils. The seed of the Word of God has been planted in your hearts. The good soil which holds on, bears fruit with patience. Thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold.
Now what? “Take care then how you here, for to the one who has, more will be given.” The fruit borne with patience (or perseverance) may take time, but we hold on knowing the full effect of the Word on our hearts. It’s by the Word of Truth, the gospel, that we are saved and maintained. We hear the Word so more seed may be planted, more fruit borne in the gospel, and the abundance helps us persevere and be nourished.
Christians who have the Word of God must put it into practice as that fruit is being borne and growing. John 15:8 says, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” If we seek to spread God’s glory from our neighbors to the nations, then we must bear fruit. How? John 15:8 says to bring glory to God. Meaning we should do nothing that is contrary to His nature, work, will, and plan.
I was reading an article about how some plant owners grow easily frustrated when their fruit trees fail to grow any fruit early on. Some then begin to give up on their growth, but this article brought in some important factors.
Size and age. Standard apple, peach, and apricot trees take 3-5 years to grow fruit. Why? They need time to mature and develop. So too with the young Christian. Psalm 1 says the righteous one is planted by streams, yielding great fruit and growth in Christ.
Sun Exposure: A tree in full to partial shade is fighting an uphill battle. Fruit trees can survive in partial shade, but they will take longer to begin bearing fruit. We do not want to get by on partial sunlight, but on the full light of the gospel of Christ and His glory. We just read from the Word that it’s a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. But the Son also feeds us the nutrients we need.
Soil Fertility: Fruit trees, like all plants, require some nutrients to survive. But excessively rich soil or heavy fertilization may encourage branch and leaf growth at the expense of fruit production. Did we not find out from Jesus that we need the proper soil to be ready to receive His word?
Pruning: All fruit trees benefit from annual pruning, if done in moderation. Pruning rejuvenates fruit trees and encourages the growth of fruiting spurs. Removing more than a third of the tree could have just the opposite effect you were going for and stimulate more branches, as the tree repairs itself, and no fruit. Lack of regular, moderate pruning is one of the most common causes of no fruit production. The Christian needs to prune as well. We need to prune away areas of sin of the pleasures, cares, and interests of the world so they don’t choke out the Word (Luke 8:14).
So not only does Jesus tell us to take care of how we hear, we need to take care of the Word that is heard, so that fruit may bear. Why? “…and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.” What we must understand is that this is not simply talking about in this life, but also in reference to the Day of Judgment. You have the Word? Persevere, then more will be given. Reject the Word? Then what you claim to have will be taken away.
(This sermon was preached on January 25, 2009 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY. You may listen to the mp3 , then go to listen to other sermons in the archive. Take time to read Luke 8:16-21.)
Would it not be wonderful if large crowds gathered at a house of worship automatically meant that God’s work was being done? In Luke 8:4, the Word says, “And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him.” Yet, great crowds at Christian churches, even the crowds that followed Jesus, did not mean that they would become followers. John 2:23-25 says,
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many
believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.  But Jesus on his part did not entrust
himself to them, because he knew all people
 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew
what was in man.
People saw what Jesus did, heard what Jesus said, and even followed Jesus’ lead. Did this show saving faith?
In Luke 8, Jesus demonstrates the Spirit power of the Word. From the calming of the storm to the healing of a demoniac, to even raising someone from the day, Jesus showed the authoritative power of the Word because it bears the seal of God. God sends His ambassadors from His heavenly country with His message of deliverance and mercy from his wrath against our sin and into His mercy through Jesus’ work on the cross.
As we look at this passage this morning, Jesus gives us a phrase that we must take to heart. “Take care then how you hear. . . .” Mark 4 in the parallel passage says, “Pay attention to what you hear.” Jesus seems to be making a distinction on how one hears. Apparently, one can hear without hearing. You can have the sound waves hit your eardrum, pass through the small bones in the ear which resonate, sending a signal to your brain so you can hear the words which are spoken. How you hear the word and what you do with the Word you have heard reveals much about the condition of your heart before God.
1. Hear the Word as a light for your path.
In verses 16-17, Jesus says, ““No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.  For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.”
Understand where this passage falls. The Sunday before I went to Trinidad, we examined Luke 8:4-15 in looking at the Parable of the Soils. The sower went to plant seed, which Jesus tells us served as the Word of God. The parables served to proclaim the Word, but the message of that Word was hidden to those who not only refused to hear, but from those whose hearts did not have the proper soil for the Word to take hold.
Jesus though goes further. He says basically, “If you have good soil and have received the message, don’t cover the message up! You are
lamps because of the Word that is in you. Now shine!” You see, we as the people of God cannot be lights in the world unless the Word of Christ is dwelling in us richly (Colossians 3:15). In fact, do you recall that Psalm 119:105 tells us, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
What are lamps good for? Lamps light up rooms so people can see where they are and what is located in those rooms. Lamps also
light the way we are going. And His Word moving in us shows the way. While in Trinidad, they had this Christian radio station on the
majority of the time. During one of the breaks in music, the deejay came on and said, “Dear Christian, you just need to dream those big dreams that you have, and when you have faith to believe it will come to pass, God will give you what you want.” I had just read about where Joel Osteen said that you need a life of generosity, and because of your generosity, God will bless you abundantly.
In America and in Trinidad, so many preach the message, “Do this, dream this, smile more, pray more, read more, give more, and God will
bless.” Messages like this are not lamps, but are caution lights blinking for us to move away and detour to the actual gospel. The lamp of God’s Word always shines upon Jesus Christ and Him crucified, who says, “I am extending my grace and mercy to you based upon what I’ve done. You are like sheep who have gone astray, each turning to your own way. What you need is not to chase after dreams by drumming up more faith and doing more so my Father will bless. He has already blessed you with the cross and empty tomb. You can dream and do and act, but you do not have the spiritual furniture arranged in your mind to handle, because even our best dreams drift
away from God.”
James 1:16-18 says:,
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creation.”
Notice: every blessing we have does not begin with a “dream within,” but from the Father above. Notice that our “dreams” may change with our inner emotions or our outward circumstances, but the Father has “no variation or shadow due to change.” He is steadfast, our rock and refuge. Notice that we become believers not by our own will and decision but “of his own will … by the word of truth.” Notice it is all of him. And once we get away from the Word of God, we stray from the path of God until the Spirit of God convicts us of the truth of God so we will repent and ask forgiveness of God so we will be restored by God.
Now that I’m back from Trinidad and am relatively settled in, I will be back to my usual sporadic blogging.
In regards to my Trinidad trip, I posted some short videos on my YouTube channel. I warn you: I was only equipped with a digital camera, so the quality is not super sharp.
Here is a video I took of the church where I ministered, the Mt. Beulah Evangelical Baptist Church in Point Fortin:
I also had the opportunity to visit and interview two pastors. One is Pastor Boodoo Gopaul of the Granville Open Bible Church (below).
The other pastor was Vickran Hajaree , Pastor of the Open Bible Cathedral in Point Fortin. Below is a picture of Hajaree, followed by his beautiful sanctuary.
I had the blessing of conducting a pastors’ conference on Friday-Saturday, January 16-17 at Mt. Beulah. You see the registration and the books many of you contributed.
This was during a break at the conference.
I like to read… but only certain things. Some love reading fiction and just have to read the latest bestsellers that are out. I enjoy reading books that deal with theology, ministry, and the trends of the culture.
In 3+ days, I will be heading out to Trinidad with 38 copies of “Spirit Empowered Preaching,” one copy of the ESV Study Bible for the Trinidadian pastors. But what I find myself truly concerned about is not what clothes to wear, but what books to take on the trip. The nature of the pastorate at this point along with me being at the writing stage of my DMin project does not always allow me to do a lot of leisurely reading. Fiction is out of the question (although it’s not a huge loss for me–I just have a hard time losing myself in something not in reality).
I have to make sure that with my five-hour flight from Houston to Port of Spain, Trinidad and back, plus a 5 1/2 hour layover in Houston. It’s following the mandate of Ephesians 5: “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:16).
So, I have decided to get reacquainted with an old friend, read a new book, and read up about a new ministry. So here is the list of books I shall be reading:
- “Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers” — a biography by Lewis Drummond
- “Lectures To My Students” by C.H. Spurgeon
- “Why Small Groups?” by C.J. Mahaney
- “Seeing With New Eyes” by David Powlison or Instruments in the Redeemers Hands by Paul Tripp
- Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church by Michael Horton
- The New Modern Reformation magazine dealing with Christ in the Postmodern Culture
- Articles from Answers in Genesis, in preparation for the “Creation” sermon series in February.
I’m loading up my iPod with some sermons by Alistair Begg, Ken Ham, Don Whitney, Tim Keller, plus a boatload of Sovereign Grace Music, Christafari, Dave Brubeck, among others.
Pray that I would use this time away from phones, e-mail, computers, etc., to really connect with my Lord and Savior.
We seek to spread God’s glory from our neighbors to the nations. What will this look like at Boone’s Creek? How will this help us in strengthening our people and sharing His gospel? Take a look!
I enjoy the humor of Dave Berry immensely. Take a look at his year in review.