Ten Ways to Tell if You’re a Pharisee (part 2)

Continuing this post from last week, here are three more ways to tell if you’re a Pharisee. These are taken from a sermon at Christ the King Church called “Barriers: Religion.” #4 Pharisees don’t extend grace to others. The Pharisees were not interested in restoring this woman who was caught in adultery. Grace was not part of the equation. They seized the opportunity to condemn her simply because it served their desire to trap Jesus. We can see this in our own hearts when we fail to forgive, or when we hold grudges, or we seethe with anger over things other people do. The Pharisee feels as though she has the right to be treated better and when this doesn’t happen she becomes angry and bitter and unforgiving. The Pharisee is upset by the sin of others because she feels that “I deserve better than this.” #5 Pharisees practice selective…

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Ten Ways to Tell if You’re a Pharisee

From a sermon at church yesterday, we discussed 10 Ways to Tell if You’re a Pharisee. I will post them all here throughout this week. The Scribes and Pharisees used a woman caught in the act of adultery as a pawn to get to Jesus in John 8:1-11. From this text, we can learn a few lessons about how the heart of a Pharisee works and how we can avoid these same traps. #1 Pharisees focus on externals more than internals. They look at what’s on the outside of a person rather than what’s on the inside. The Pharisees were more than happy to condemn this woman for her external, obvious sin. Jesus’ response to them was to force them to look internally at their own hearts. The Gospel empowered life starts with a heart that has been changed by God’s grace and works its way out to the external…

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What Church Elders Do

This is a quote from Alexander Strauch’s book, “Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership” (p 98). Biblical elders do not dictate, they direct. True elders appeal to their [flocks] to faithfully follow God’s Word… Out of love, true elders suffer and bear the brunt of difficult people and problems so that the lambs are not bruised. They bear the misunderstandings and sins of others so that the assembly may live in peace. They lose sleep so that others may rest. They make great personal sacrifices of time and energy for the welfare of others. They see themselves as men under [God’s] authority. They depend on God for wisdom and help, not on their own power and cleverness. They face the false teachers’ fierce attacks. They guard the community’s liberty and freedom in Christ so that the saints are encouraged to develop their gifts, to mature, and…

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Advice for Young Pastors

This post from Kevin DeYoung lists 45 nuggets of wisdom for young pastors and theology students. If you’re a young pastor, a theology student, or someone who cares about the character of pastors, you’ll enjoy this post. Part One. Part Two.

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The Gospel and Social Justice

Here is a very interesting video series where Mark Dever and Jim Wallis discuss the relationship between the gospel and social justice. The staff at my church has been wrestling through ways to practically live out the reconciling message of the gospel in our neighborhood. Part One deals with racial reconciliation in the local church. HT: Timmy Brister.

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Starting a New Church Through Criticism and Complaining

In the heart of every leader is this inevitable dissatisfaction with the status quo which drives him to lead. That’s normal. Some have even called it a “divine discontent.” It is part of God’s call on a leader. There is an ugly and sinful side to this, however, and it affects those of us who plant churches. This attitude is the desire to plant a church to correct all wrongs, excesses, and theological inconsistencies of our prior church experiences. Instead of setting out with a positive vision of a desired future, we end up starting an anti-movement and attracting a bunch of malcontented complainers who are great at diagnosing the problem but are much less motivated to trust God with anything positive and truly transforming. I’ve been reading A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards and he addresses this problem. He likens complaining church planters to Absalom. Absalom was…

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Helpful Summary of “New-Calvinism”

Here’s a helpful summary of New Calvinism from the resurgence website. New Calvinism is more than a view of how people become Christians, it is a complete worldview which acknowledges God’s total control over the universe. Read it here.

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Two Powerful Articles on Idolatry

In my sermon yesterday, I made reference to two articles that have had a great influence on my thinking regarding how sin works and how God defeats it. Here are the links to the articles if you’d like to read them for yourself. The first of these is David Powlison’s, Idols of the Heart and Vanity Fair. Powlison says that humans are, by virtue of being created in God’s image, worshipers. Our hearts will find an object of desire to worship. This is unavoidable. We can either worship the God who created us through faith in Jesus Christ, or we can worship some alternative that promises us fulfillment but fails to deliver. The second publication that I mentioned was a sermon by a Puritan pastor named Thomas Chalmers. He published a sermon entitled The Expulsive Power of a New Affection. He explains that we cannot merely identify an idol and…

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10 Ways to be a Great Core Group

I am in the middle of planting a church, Christ the King Church. We are in the core group development phase, and so this post from Luke Simmons is very helpful. Read the whole thing here, but here’s the basic list: 1. Your primary job is to create a culture that you and God will be happy about 10 years from now. 2. Your new pastor and church will eventually disappoint you and let you down. 3. Work to create an evangelistic texture to every ministry environment. 4. Always talk as though nobody knows who your heroes are. Don’t use names of people like “Tim Keller,” “John Piper,” and so on without explaining who they are. 5. Be known by what you’re for, not what you’re against. 6. Don’t moralize your personal preferences. 7. Leave your current church on great terms (or go make it right if you didn’t). 8.…

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