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The Importance of Abraham

April 9, 2017
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These words in chapter 3 captivated me as I prepared to teach through the book of Galatians:

Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Paul is telling this mixed group of believers in the churches located in Galatia that they all are sons of Abraham. Now imagine if you will a famous Anglo preacher telling a group of Syrian refugees that proclaim to be a follower of Jesus that they are sons of Abraham right along with a group of Congolese Africans. Picture the strange looks that preacher would get. Paul here is writing a letter not speaking to them in person, and yet while it’s being read the body language of the hearers is telling a thousand stories as they shift, abruptly move, completely change, or harden.

There’s something rather unique here in Paul’s words. Abraham is given a level of importance that he’s rarely allowed to have in Western churches. God the Father made a covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12. God told him that in you, Abraham, all the nations (people groups) shall be blessed. God told Abraham that because he was giving him a glimpse into the gospel message. This glimpse was small but good enough for Abraham because God knew what he was doing – he was saving gentiles by faith just like he was saving jews by faith!

This is key because of what we read Paul saying in Ephesians 1:4- even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

So God chose Jews and Gentiles in him by faith before the foundation of the world. Then he gave Abraham a glimpse of this gospel reality by telling him that the nations would be blessed in him. The Holy Spirit helped Paul make sense of this as he wrote scripture. What a blessing! To cap this off, Paul says that those who are followers of Jesus are sons of Abraham. Paul definitely seems to be raising the importance of Abraham in the New Testament and it’s nigh time we do the same.

The desire of God to take Jews and Gentiles and form one new man in Christ by faith is something that was planned before the foundation of the world. Then God makes this announcement to the world to and through the covenant he made with Abraham. This is the beauty of transculturalism.


The Standard That’s Ignored

September 22, 2012
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Church folks are typically the main ones to comment on PKs in the church. Everybody knows the preachers’ kids and boy are they watched closely with scrutiny! Ironically, the preacher’s kids comment on the church folks’ kids but for different reasons. Church folks talk about the unruly behavior displayed by the preacher’s kids; preacher’s kids talk about the freedom  and wild behavior displayed by the church folks’ kids. Obviously there’s a standard floating around in the church, yet no one identifies it. That standard is found nowhere else but in the Bible. Big surprise, right? Well, sadly enough I believe it is a huge surprise to most folks, mainly those within the body of Christ.

Pastors and commentaries tend to agree on the teaching and usefulness of 1 Timothy 3. Primarily, this chapter deals with pastors and deacons as the only two offices found in the church warranted by Scripture. Secondarily, this chapter describes how men in the church ought to govern themselves and their households. Oddly enough, far too many churches ignore the secondary application of 1 Timothy 3 to the detriment of their church and the health of their members. But why? I could provide several reasons as to why I think this is the case, but suffice it to say that I don’t believe most pastors truly want to call men and families to be just as faithful to the text as pastors are expected to be. What’s really sad about this is that when God raises up faithful men to be pastors, only then are they held to the qualities laid out in 1 Timothy 3 if at all. Meanwhile, the rest of the men and fathers get to slide on by. Let’s review this passage:

It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to doAn overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?), and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Isn’t that an old-time saying often echoed in homes and businesses throughout our society? But why? Because there’s a standard. And this standard is presupposed and alluded to all day long without ever being clearly explained. The apostle Paul is not in that category. Here in this passage, Paul touches on something that preacher’s kids and church folks’ kids should know well: “He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity.” If you’re a pastor, husband, or father, you should be held to this standard. The scary thing is that men are being given the title of pastor and their home is in disarray. Not only that, when churches search for a pastor, they hardly ever ask the wife and kids about how daddy manages the home.

So why do the preacher’s kids get a bad wrap and not the other parents kids?  I honestly don’t know. Who knows what might happen in churches if pastors who held to this standard held other pastors to this standard, and they held men to this standard. This isn’t nothing to ignore. A church must not call for pastors to only have one wife and be able to teach because God doesn’t just call them to that. Remember, these are the words of a holy God, Jesus is building his church, and believers are indwelt with the Spirit. We have every reason to be mindful and faithful to all of this chapter. On a side note, 1 Timothy 3 speaks to there only being two offices in the church, yet we find so many more offices/titles being doled out in the church today that at some point members ought to ask their leadership how they understand this chapter.

The standard floating around our church is that men are to manage their homes. The leadership holds men to this, and vice-versa. Parents teach their kids this so they can teach the coming generations. It’s about time we get faithful don’t you think.