All tagged Beacon Baptist Church
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It serves as King David’s magnum opus as he eloquently describes the incredible refuge God’s Word is for him. It isn’t certain what occasion in David’s life inspired these words, but whatever it was it must have been a truly terrifying circumstance to galvanize the kind of resolve on display here to trust in God’s Word alone. But the ending of Psalm 119 is the most telling, the most intriguing part as this glorious psalm seemingly ends with a fizzle.
In this episode of Ministry Minded, I sit down with my mentor and former pastor, Dr. Jim Blalock, to have a conversation about the canon of Scripture and one’s approach to biblical criticism.
At the beginning of Revelation, John is instructed by Christ himself to record his marvelous visions and accompany his writings with specific missives to the “seven churches in Asia.” (Rev. 1:4, 11) What’s clear in each of the seven letters is Jesus’s inexorable determination to stir and to strengthen the faith of his children in each church body. It’s no different in the seventh of these letters to the church at Laodicea, in which the Spirit of God seeks to disrupt their leisurely lives with the urgency and currency of the gospel.
It’s often been said that if you don’t learn from the past you’ll be doomed to repeat it. Such is why every history professor stakes their reputation on the fact that their class is the most important. History comes alive in the remembrance of past lives, hopes, dreams, and families. The same is true of biblical history. In Psalm 78, Asaph recounts a history lesson in the gospel of faith that informs and inspires our own faith.
I am always leery of stories that publish that claim to corroborate Scripture. I’m conflicted when I read stories like these. On one hand, I’m intrigued by something ancient being found and “proving” Scripture. On the other hand, I’m saddened that stories like this garner so much attention and are gobbled up by Christians everywhere. We like stories like this because we think, “Aha, see, I told you so!” But the Bible never defends its veracity, it assumes it.
Engaging in ministry is, at times, a troubling prospect. There’s so much that’s unknown and unpredictable that it is very easy to get distracted or discouraged by the circumstances around you. But, in a very strange way, Jesus endeavors to encourage his apostles for their ministry by reminding them of two of the most significant promises in all of Scripture.
In Matthew 15, Jesus’s disciples are accused of forsaking the law and propagating lawless doctrine. Christ’s response to these accusations isn’t to explain their actions so much as it is to enhance the accuser’s and his disciples’ and, by proxy, our own understanding the law. It is much more rigid than we think. In fact, you might even say, it’s impossible. But, as Christ makes clear, that’s good news.
Mark 8 records for us perhaps the strangest and most prescient healing performed by Christ. Taking the entire chapter into account, we are made to understand precisely what our Lord was doing and saying and showing about himself. It is through this odd occurrence that we are given a luminary portrait of Christ Jesus as Savior and King.
The story of the apostle Paul’s conversion is a remarkable example of the power and reach of God’s grace. From darkness to light, Paul is pulled by the Spirit from a life of violence to a life of service; from a life of self-preservation and self-promotion to a life of sacrifice and surrender. We are, therefore, made to marvel at the illimitable, uncontainable hand of God in our salvation.
In Acts 6 and 7, we are given the account of Stephen’s trial, sermon, and execution. What’s most intriguing about his sermon, however, is its utter lack of personal defense or excuse for his words and actions. In fact, Stephen doubles-down on his faith and makes an adamantine presentation for the gospel of the crucified and resurrected Christ in one of the most important discourses in all the Bible.
One of Christ’s most famous interactions is certainly his terse conversation with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19. The young man who sought to justify himself was abruptly met with the inflexibility of God’s law, as Jesus exposes the frailty of the young man’s own righteousness. Notwithstanding the young ruler’s giftedness and spirituality, Christ makes plain that the only righteousness heaven accepts is that of heavenly origin.
There are some stories in the Bible that are so perplexing that it makes you wonder why they were ever uttered by our Lord in the first place. I think there’s no better example of this than the parable of “The Workers in the Vineyard” from Matthew 20. The tale at first feels incredibly unbiblical and opposite of Jesus’s penchant for justice. But, another glance at this story reveals it to be another grandiose expose of grace.