Showing posts from November, 2023

How To Be a Gospel-Shaped Church (preaching resource for Advent 3, December 17, 2023)

This post exegetes 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, providing context for the RCL Epistle reading for 12/17/2023 (third Sunday of Advent). This exegesis draws on John Stott's commentary. Early Christian Worship in the Catacombs (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction   In the second half of 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, the apostle Paul calls on the church to strengthen their life together as 'brothers' in the family of God. He does so by addressing three vital aspects of gospel-shaped Christian community: the church's leadership, the church's fellowship, and the church's worship.  The church's leadership  1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 Jesus Christ, the Chief Shepherd, delegates to under-shepherds ('pastors') the oversight of the flock which Jesus bought with his own blood (Acts 20:28). We do not know what prompted Paul to write verses 12 and 13. Perhaps some church members had been disrespectful towards their leaders. Perhaps some leaders provoked this re

The Day of the Lord (preaching resource for Advent 2, December 10, 2023)

This post exegetes 2 Peter 3, providing context for the RCL Epistle reading for 12/10/2023 (the second Sunday of Advent). It draws on commentary from from Warren Wiersbe ("Bible Expository Commentary") and David Wheaton ("New Bible Commentary"). Icon: Second Coming (via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction  Already in this second epistle of Peter, the apostle has characterized the false teachers troubling the churches in Asia Minor as “arrogant” (2Pet 2:10b) heretics (2Pet 2:1). They are an “accursed brood” (2Pet 2:14b) of blasphemers (2Pet 2:12a). They are also “unreasoning animals” (2Pet 2:12b); “blots and blemishes” (2 Pet 2:13b) who are “slaves of depravity” (2Pet 2:19). And now Peter adds another charge—they are “scoffers” who pursue “their own evil desires” (2Pet 3:3). In their scoffing, they “willingly forget” (2Pet 3:5) God’s word concerning the judgment that will accompany Jesus’ return (2Pet 1:16, 3:13). Peter scoffs right back at them, reminding us all of thre

Signs of the End (preaching resource for Advent 1, December 3, 2023)

This post exegetes Mark 13:1-37 to provide context for the RCL Gospel reading for 12/3/2023 (the first Sunday of Advent). It draws on commentary from Alan Cole ("New Bible Commentary") and John Grassmick ("Bible Knowledge Commentary"). "Titus Destroying Jerusalem" by Kaulbach (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)  Introduction In Mark 13:1-37, the evangelist recounts the warning that Jesus gave his inner circle concerning the judgment about to come upon the people of Jerusalem and Judea due to their rejection of Jesus and his Kingdom. This judgment will be a time of testing for Jesus’ inner circle of disciples.  The subject is introduced by the prophecy of judgment on the temple (Mark 13:2). Jesus’ disciples probably believe that destruction of the temple means the end of the age, and thus they are anxious know the signs (Mark 13:3-4). But Jesus’ answer essentially avoids the issue of timing, though in Mark 13:3 he tells them that these terrible things wil