Expositional Devotions: Mark 16:1-4

aaron-burden-113284Do you want to know what I hated most about school? I hated the end of PE and recess. You know what it’s like. You are running and playing and laughing. Maybe you just started a new game with your friends. But whatever the case, you hear that loud whistle! Or, that loud shout, “Line Up!” You have to stop what you are doing and go back to class. Nothing would upset me more than leaving a game unfinished. When recess or PE was over, it dampened my day.

Well, on a much, much greater level, all of Jesus’ disciples were deeply saddened when Jesus died. They didn’t know all we know about Jesus’ death and what it meant for them. They thought Jesus was going to save the world and rule as a King, but they never thought he would take his kingdom by dying.

When Jesus died on the cross it was like a loud whistle blowing to stop all of the disciples’ hopes and dreams. Their leader, friend, savior, and God was dead. They saw him arrested. They saw him mocked. They saw him beaten. They saw him crucified. They saw his body taken off a cross. They saw him placed in a tomb. As far as they knew, it was all over.

Can you imagine what must have been going through their minds? Jesus had made claims to being God and the Messiah who would save his people from their sins. They must have at least thought, “Maybe he was not who he said he was.” Now, they trembled alone and afraid. They were scared because they knew what was probably coming. Their leader had been arrested. The religious leaders hated him. Their next move would have been to silence Jesus’ followers. I’m sure the disciples could not understand why the one they had fully trusted and followed for three years was lying dead in a tomb.

But that is exactly the point of our passage today. Jesus was dead and buried. Dead. Buried. Three women tried to honor the body of Jesus by bringing spices to anoint him. They waited because they were not able to buy the spices and oils necessary to anoint the body on the Sabbath. When they arrived at the tomb, they were wondering how they would be able to move the stone to gain access to Jesus’ body. What is the main point? Jesus is clearly dead.

The difference between the first disciples and us is massive—about 2,000 years! We have the privilege to know just what the death of Jesus means. While the first disciples were afraid when they learned of Jesus’ death, we can be confident and courageous! Satan’s day ended the day Jesus died.

As Jesus’ lay dead and motionless in the tomb on Saturday, he was in the process of unleashing all the power that sin and death hold over us. As you read about the death and burial of Jesus, do so with total joy, knowing what those first disciples did not know—that the one who lies dead in the tomb has given new life to all who come to him in repentance and faith.

Main Idea

As Jesus’ lay dead and motionless in the tomb on Saturday, he was in the process of unleashing all the power that sin and death hold over us.

Discussion Starter

Why is it important that we have this evidence that Jesus was actually dead?

Prayer Points

Thank the Lord that Jesus was truly dead, so that we can truly live.

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Eternal Roots

pexels-photo-2A truly blessed man is a man who has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. In fact, the ultimate example of the blessed man of Psalm 1 is Jesus himself. This psalm is a great description of Jesus, the one in whom his Father was well pleased (Matt. 3:17). By God’s grace and the sinner’s God-initiated faith in Jesus, a man is saved. Through union to the Blessed God-man is a man truly blessed.

Psalm 1 is very figurative and eloquent in its description of a truly happy person in God. This glorious Psalm is a continuous contrasting distinction between the righteous and the wicked. One way leads to life, and the other leads to death. The difference is where the righteous and wicked have been rooted. The righteous are rooted in God, while the wicked are rooted in the world or themselves.

Rooted in God

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers (Ps. 1:3).

The Psalmist compares a blessed and righteous person to a tree. All trees have roots. The stronger and healthier the roots, the stronger and healthier the tree will be. The same goes for fruit on a vine. The fruits of a vine are utterly dependent on the strength and health of the vine. The reason a man is blessed is because he has been rooted in the Word of God by meditating on it and delighting in it (Ps. 1:2). He has therefore rooted himself in God, sinking into the rich soils of his delightful Word.

The psalmist continues the metaphor by saying that the tree (the blessed man) is planted by streams of water. This water, this stream, flows directly from the heart and mind of God. We can be certain of this since the tree yields proper fruit for the season, and the leaves do not wither. The resourceful supply of the life-giving stream produces fruit in this tree.

If fruit did not yield from this tree, then there is an issue with the roots. There is no negative issue with God, and therefore fruit is yielded; “its leaf does not wither.” Commenting on Psalm 1, John Calvin writes, “[T]he children of God constantly flourish, and are always watered with the secret influences of divine grace, so whatever may befall them is conducive to their salvation.”[1]

Those who are in Christ Jesus will produce fruit because of the Soil they are rooted in. It is good soil, and it is planted beside the stream of life flowing from the fountain of God. These fruits greatly benefit others and glorify God. God is glorified greatly when it is clear that without him there would be no fruit. Without the stream flowing in an otherwise dry land, the tree would indeed wither and not bear fruit. The tree is utterly dependent on the life-giving streams of water.

Likewise, those who are in Christ are utterly dependent on God for life and for fruit bearing. We only prosper by his grace for the sake of his glory and the sake of others. Blessed is the man who is rooted in God, for he indeed will know God and know eternal life (Ps. 1:6; John 17:3).

Rooted in the World

The only alternative to being rooted in God in this life is being rooted in either the world or being rooted in self. These two are basically the same, as ultimately what the man is rooted in rather than God is sin or wickedness. Verse one describes men who are not rooted in God as “wicked,” “sinners,” and “scoffers,” which directly contrasts the way of the righteous and blessed man who is rooted in God. It can easily be deduced from the psalmist’s images of a blessed man that a wicked or sinful man is a tree in a dry land, not by streams of water.

Therefore, this tree will not produce good fruit, and it will ultimately die. Living a life filled with wickedness, sin, and scoffing is a life rooted in the world, and it is a life that is slowly decaying under the hot sun of fleeting pleasures. The wicked are also described as chaff, which is the husks and straw removed by threshing.

There is another place in Scripture where the wicked and sinners are compared to chaff. In comparing those who repent with those who do not, John the Baptist describes how Jesus is both a Savior King and a Sovereign Judge: His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat [blessed men; righteous men] into the barn, but the chaff [wicked men] he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:12, emphasis added).

Now that is a picture to behold! Jesus gathers his people to himself, and the rest he burns with an unquenchable fire. This is evidence that Jesus clearly believed hell is most definitely real. The illustration of the chaff is indicative of the truth that the wicked will not see the kingdom of God. All who are not tied tightly to Jesus Christ, and all who are not rooted in the Word of God will perish eternally. Period. There are no questions asked.

If you are rooting your life in sin, in this world and in yourself, take a long look at this text and see that you are a tree without fruit; a tree in a dry land without a supply of water; and a chaff that is blowing about in the wind only to be tossed out and burned with a fire that is unquenchable, for you have forsaken the living water of King Jesus.

Drink and Be Satisfied

While both trees in this metaphor are in a dry land, one will live and one will die. The tree by the streams of water will live, and the other will die in the desert. This world we live in is a massive desert, and we are all trees in it. The deciding factor for our eternity will be whether or not we are rooted in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, delighting in him beside the streams that flow from the overflowing spring of God’s grace which leads to eternal life.

The only alternative is that we are rooted in the desert of this world and the sin that corrupts it which leads to eternal death.In the words of the psalmist, “the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish” (Ps. 1:6).

Delight in the Word of God today, and drink living water at the spring of God. It may take deep reading and meditating, for the fight against temptation and sin is real and tiring, but the joy at the end of the journey is more than sufficient and is truly satisfying, as God will be greatly glorified. The spring flowing with living water is high at the top of a mountain, and the trek is difficult and wearisome. But when the climb is over, those huge gulps of water will be so satisfying, and the Spring will be glorified.

Read. Meditate. Delight. Live.

*This post originally appeared as a chapter in my book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God.


[1] John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms, Abr. ed. David C. Seale (Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 2009), p. 2.

Morning Mashup 04/18

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul | HANNAH ANDERSON

 

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No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God | AIMEE BYRD

 

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ARTICLES

MOVIE REVIEW: THE CASE FOR CHRIST | THE BLAZING CENTER

Zach Bartels: Be prepared: it kind of wrecked me, but then again, I’m easily affected by movies. And I was inspired by this one. Upon leaving, I kind of wanted to start a huge investigation of some kind that would result in a complex web of photos and string in my basement.

TWO KEYS TO FLOURISHING IN THE DIGITAL AGE | DESIRING GOD

Tony Reinke: Always connected to the web, always connected to social media, a smartphone with a camera is the most addictive tool of communication ever invented.

 STOP CALLING HEBREWS 11 THE HALL OF FAITH | J.A. MEDDERS

J.A. Medders: The Hall of Fame, in every sport, is an incredible but temporal accomplishment. By faith we look to a heavenly city where duds, the forgotten, the overlooked, are welcome by faith in Christ’s accomplishments. His and his alone.

2017 BOSTON MARATHON | THE BOSTON GLOBE

Proud of one of our Trace Crossing members, Jim Brown, for running and finishing the Boston Marathon.

10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CATECHESIS | CROSSWAY

Joe Carter: Catechesis a form of religious instruction, typically presented in oral form. The instruction is usually based on a book or document known as a catechism, which contains a summary of principles, especially of religious doctrine, often in the form of questions and answers. 

VIDEOS

THE CASE FOR CHRIST MOVIE PREVIEW

A SNEAK PEAK OF NEW CITY CATECHISM

 

Morning Mashup 04/12

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

The Imperfect Disciple: Grace for People Who Can’t Get Their Act Together | Jared Wilson

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Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture | John Piper

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ARTICLES

THE NEW MARTIN LUTHER MOVIE | PATHEOS

Gene Veith: I’m not a huge fan of this hybrid of documentary and drama, but this one works as well as I’ve seen.  Luther’s life is so interesting and so inherently dramatic that the narrative is gripping and entertaining, even though it is continually interrupted by the scholars.

THE HORROR OF CRUCIFIXION | DESIRING GOD

Tony Reinke: This week we celebrate the death of our Savior. And today we are going to look at the crucifixion from its historical and physical realities.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RECOVERY | CHRISTWARD COLLECTIVE

Nick BatzigWhen we have sinned in our Christian life or made a error in judgment in pastoral ministry, we need to remember that so much of the Christian life and pastoral ministry is in the recovery.

SOME HELPS FOR FAMILY WORSHIP | VASSAL OF THE KING

Geoffrey Kirkland: What is family worship? What does it look like? How does one get started? Is it really doable in our ‘fast-paced society’? This is the outline that I provided our men to guide us in our discussion through this important topic.

PASTOR, DON’T WASTE YOUR EXCLAMATION POINTS | TGC

Jared Wilson: If you’re one of those rah-rah guys firing on all emotional cylinders for everything from bake sales and the book table to baptisms and baby dedications, you create an equality between minutiae and missional milestones that can be disorienting, and ultimately dulling. But more directly, just remember that if everything is exciting, nothing is.

VIDEOS

MARTIN LUTHER | PATHEOS

 THE UNIQUENESS OF THE PSALMS | LIGONIER

Teach Your Children to Thank God for Basketballs and Balloons

pexels-photo-106225Bedtime is a precious time in the Gilbert home. With two boys under two, both full of energy, evenings, from time to time, find us all a little grumpy and a lot tired. After dinner, the boys are still ready to play, but they are clearly starting to wind down. It doesn’t take much to upset our (almost) two year-old, Jude, and our 7 month-old, Jack, is tough to keep happy as the sun starts to set behind the tree-line across from our house. By this time, I’m not typically in the best of moods. There are some nights when it doesn’t take much to push my buttons. If we aren’t careful, a perfect storm of complaining and grumbling can wreak havoc in our living room.

Which is why our nightly happen of prayer as a family is so important. Every night, just before Jude goes to sleep, we come together to pray. But before we pray we ask Jude to say what he wants to thank God for. His answers are the best. Over the past week, Jude has “tanked” God for Cheerios, trucks, trains, balloons, basketballs, outside, and Jack. The simple practice of thanking God for even the smallest graces he gives is more than just a cute little tradition.

Reminding yourself and your children that every good thing in their lives is a gift from above is a tonic for grumpy, tired souls. Teaching your children to thank God for the things they love is to teach them that God is the source of all blessing. Gratitude teaches the heart to rejoice in God. Raising your children to trust, obey, and enjoy God begins with showing them that God is worthy of our thanks. Training your children to thank God is to declare war on sin and disobedience in their little hearts, as well as yours.

Gratitude is the heart’s joyful response to God’s sovereign reign and saving work on behalf of sinners. Gratitude is not strictly related to the gift that is given, but rather to the giver of the gift. When you are aware of God’s glory and grace in your life, your heart will well up with gratitude, which will then overflow in glad obedience to him. Gratitude requires you to rightly see God’s grace and rightly respond to it.

While gratitude creates faith, ingratitude is central to unbelief and idolatry. The antithesis to gratitude is pride, self-love, and the pursuit of self-exaltation. A failure to give thanks to God is a failure to glorify God. It is a failure to depend on God’s grace. The root of every sin is ingratitude. New Testament scholar Tom Schreiner has written, “All the discrete acts of sin are a consequence of failing to honor and give thanks to God.” This echoes Paul’s words in his letter to the Romans: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).

Why is ingratitude so central to unbelief? Because in order to turn from sin and trust Christ, you have to see him as always right and yourself as always wrong. You have to see him as possessive of all the resources for the good life. You have to see him as the one from whom all blessings flow. You have to see him as a sovereign Lord in whom all things have their being. You have to see him as the source of righteousness, joy, and life. Faith requires humble gratitude, so a thankless heart is a heart that cannot and will not believe in Jesus for salvation.

The old life in the flesh is a life of thanklessness that rebels against God as sovereign ruler. The new life in Christ is a life of thankfulness that submits to God as sovereign ruler. Ingratitude says, “My way is better than your way!” Gratitude says, “Your way is better than my way!” As Paul counseled Timothy,

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Tim. 3:2-5)

Ingratitude may just be at the heart of this list. The original sin in the Garden was one of ingratitude. Adam and Eve failed to trust God to satisfy them. They failed to be grateful for what God had given them, and they craved the very thing God had forbidden them. Thanklessness led to discontentment and disobedience. The same thing happens in our homes. When we forget to give God thanks with our lips, we will forget to give God thanks with our lives. Thankless hearts lead to thankless lives.

So, we fight discontentment and disobedience with thanksgiving. Gratitude is central to saving faith, worship, and gospel living. Schreiner has said, “The call to give thanks in every circumstance represents the heart of the Pauline gospel.”

Gratitude is central to saving faith because it is through faith that we grasp God’s work on our behalf and renounce all efforts to earn his favor or live life our own way (see Luke 17:11-19).

Gratitude is central to worship because it is through worship that we see God as supremely valuable. We are teaching Jude to worship when we show him that we direct our thanks and delight to God for the good things we have and enjoy.

Gratitude is central to gospel living because it is through gospel living that we reflect God’s character to the world.

I believe the reason many of us fail to pursue holiness with joy is because our motivation for godly living is guilt, not gratitude. The reason many of us cease our spiritual growth after baptism is because we adopt the attitude that we must obey God in order to pay him back for saving us. “Jesus died for you, so what are you going to do for him?” Is this the right kind of motivation to fuel gospel living?

A better way forward to living the good life, the new life we now have in Christ, is to live every second of every day in thankfulness to God. When we are grateful to God, we are aware of his grace that he has freely given us in Christ. Gratitude creates the kind of gospel awareness necessary to cut off the lifelines of sin in our lives. Gratitude looks back in thanks to God for his grace in the past and looks forward in faith in God for his grace in the future.

Gratitude is central to gospel living because through our self-renouncing thankfulness we see both our need for God and his ability and willingness to meet our need. This empowers us to kill sin in its tracks and chase hard after righteousness. Only a grateful heart can thrive in kindness, patience, love, and forgiveness. Only a heart that recognizes God as the rightful ruler of heaven and earth will submit to his will and his ways, and so be conformed to his image.

So, teach your children to thank God for everything–Cheerios, trains, balloons, and basketballs included. Show them that every good thing they have or experience is a gift of God’s grace. In so doing, you will be sowing seeds of faith that may one day take root.

Expositional Devotions: Esther 9:16-19

Think of moments of great celebration in your life. Not birthday parties or family reunions. Has there been a day or event in your life that has been cause for special celebration? For some, it is the day they learn they have beaten cancer. For others, it is the birth of a child after years of infertility. Still for some it may be the return of a loved one from a distant battlefield. What day is of special significance in your family that leads to feasting and rejoicing?

After the fighting in Susa had ceased and the enemies of the Jews had been vanquished, there was peace and joy and feasting. A day of true and final salvation had come. The streets of Susa were filled with gladness. Every Jew in every village in the Persian Empire was celebrating their victory over their enemies.

The Jews in Persia did what any nation does after winning a war—they rejoiced. Peace and freedom from their foes had been accomplished. After two days of fighting, the Jews rested and decided to commemorate their rest. The same way we make certain days holidays, the Jews chose to mark their day of rest and victory as a kind of holiday—a day of feasting and gladness.

The Jews have gone from a marginalized and hated people to a celebrated and elevated people. Two of the three most powerful people in the Persian Empire were Jews. Some Persians pretended to be Jews just to stay on the side of the victors. The fear of the Jews spread throughout the kingdom. They finally received the honor that they lacked as exiles.

But, this Jewish feasting and celebrating is merely a glimpse into the celebration that will commence in the New Earth after Christ finally and forever vanquishes his enemies. On that day when sin and death are no more, we will celebrate at a feast like no other with our God who will reign over and with us forevermore. The victory of the Lamb over sin and death is a victory worthy of an eternal celebration. This victory brings true and lasting peace and freedom. In the words of John in Revelation 21,

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Main Idea
God’s victory over sin and death leads to feasting and rejoicing with him.

Discussion Starters
How does knowing that you will one day feast and rejoice with God help you when life gets tough now?

Prayer Points
Ask God for help to look forward to the New Earth when life in the old Earth is hard.


17498999_1870940272931412_6999370580315029592_nMathew Gilbert is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminaryand the author ofCome to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew and his wife, Erica, live in Tupelo with their two boys, Jude and Jack.

Expositional Devotions: Esther 9:6-15

If Esther 9:1-5 was a declaration of the grand reversal, verses 6-15 serve as the description of the reversal of fates. And boy what a description it is. I always appreciate when history/narrative books of the Bible are thorough in describing events. Bible book authors don’t shy away from details. The author of Esther is no exception. Though the battle descriptions aren’t too graphic, they aren’t exactly the best bedtime story either. These verses may not be “family friendly,” but they are factual. And the facts before us tell a story of God’s judgment, faithfulness, and mercy.

Esther 9:6-15 describe the bloodshed that commenced on the thirteenth of Adar between the Jews and their attackers. When you think of this war don’t think of the invasion of Normandy in World War II. As Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 there was vicious fighting and gunfire from both sides. Both sides suffered many casualties. Many men on both sides of the fight were killed. The fighting that occurred in Susa and all the Persian Empire was unlike most wars. This war was completely one-sided. The Jews completely conquered their enemies. It was a sweeping annihilation of all those who attacked them.

When we read or hear of the Jews killing over 800 Persians in Susa alone, it makes our eyes and ears quite uncomfortable. The original readers of Esther would have been cheering at this point in the story. We just sit quietly and scratch our heads. In thinking about Persian bloodshed at the blades of Jewish swords, we need to keep a few things in mind.

First, the Jews were participating in what we would call “just war.” The Jews’ attackers were not innocent bystanders. Persian followers of Haman instigated an unjust war because their fighting was based on hatred. The Jews, on the other hand, were right to defend themselves against their enemies. So, the Jews weren’t bloodthirsty mongrels, but rather a people fighting for their lives.

Second, the Lord had given the Persian attackers into the hands of his people. As he has done throughout the history of his people, God judged his enemies at the hands of his people.

Third, God displays his steadfast love and mercy toward his people. At just the right time and just the right way, God preserved his people from annihilation. His commitment to his people is not his response to their righteousness, but rather an outworking of his. If you belong to God in Christ, he is forever and always committed to you, and none of your enemies will be able to ultimately succeed against you.

Main Idea: God judges his enemies and shows mercy to his people.

Discussion Starter: Do you think it was right for the Jews to kill all their enemies? Why?

Prayer Points: Thank God for his merciful commitment to you despite your sin against him.


17498999_1870940272931412_6999370580315029592_nMathew Gilbert is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew and his wife, Erica, live in Tupelo with their two boys, Jude and Jack.

Expositional Devotions: Esther 9:1-5

Last Sunday night, Kentucky’s men’s basketball team played one of their biggest rivals, North Carolina, for a chance to go to the Final Four. We were just two games away from the National Championship. Kentucky tied the game with only ten seconds remaining. Kentucky fans everywhere, including those of us in Tupelo, were jumping and cheering for joy. However, just ten seconds later everything changed. One of North Carolina’s player’s hit a last second shot to win the game. The player everyone least suspected ended Kentucky’s hope for victory. The tables were turned on my Wildcats last week in dramatic fashion.

The Jews in Esther have experienced a reversal, or turning of the tables, far more dramatic than a basketball game. They have literally gone from fearing death to being feared. They have gone from running for their lives to running after those who would take their lives. Reversals do not get more ironic than the one we see play out in Esther 9. You’ve read, or at least heard of, books with perfect endings, right? Well, the ending of Esther is about as perfect as it gets. In fact, this story is so perfectly constructed that it’s hard to believe it’s real! It’s almost as if someone was intentionally orchestrating events to bring about this particular ending. Weird!

On the very same day that Haman’s plan for the destruction of the Jews was to be enforced, Mordecai’s plan for the protection of the Jews would win the day. In the words of the author of Esther, “the reverse occurred.” The Jews “gained mastery over those who hated them.” Those who were fighting in the name of Haman would meet his fate.

Not only do we see how God sovereignly reverses the fate of his people, but we see that God always conquers his enemies and the enemies of his people. Christ is a valiant warrior-king who tramples his enemies beneath his feet. He is the victorious snake-crusher of Genesis 3:15. While no one could stand against the Jews in Susa, no one in heaven or earth or under the earth will be able to stand against Christ the Lord.

Those who oppose Christ through unbelief now will be overcome by Christ later. Oh, but those who submit to Christ through faith now already walk in victory in the one who has overcome their greatest enemies—sin and death.


17498999_1870940272931412_6999370580315029592_nMathew Gilbert is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew and his wife, Erica, live in Tupelo with their two boys, Jude and Jack.

Expositional Devotions

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One of the most common experiential complaints about expository preaching is the tedious work of walking through a Bible book over an extended period of time. It can be difficult to stay energized, excited, or awake(?) throughout a 75 week sermon series through Romans.

At the same time, the struggle of every expositor is to not only faithfully preach the text, but to do so in a way that best suits his people. Expository preaching expresses itself uniquely in different settings. What’s best for one congregation may not be what’s best for another. However, whether you’re walking through a Bible book over the course of one month or one year, a crucial question remains: How can I best drive the message, themes, and content of this book into the minds and hearts of my people?

Other than commentaries, few of which are suited for lay people, there aren’t many resources designed to help churches walk through Bible books together. One way I help shepherd as a pastor at my church is to write devotions based on the passages we are preaching. As we walk through Bible books, our people are given five devotions every week to help them study the text throughout the week. The devotions function as gospel-centered commentaries on Bible books that speak directly to both the head and heart. The goal in writing these devotions is multi-faceted.

The goal is for readers to know and experience the text better.

The goal is to teach readers how to better study the Bible

The goal is to help readers better see glimpses of Jesus on every page of Scripture.

The goal is for God’s people to know, love, and enjoy him more. 

I’m going to start sharing these devotions on the blog in the future as we continue walking through Bible books. I pray the devotions published here will be helpful for all believers, but especially for those walking through Bible books in expository preaching.


Mathew Gilbert is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God. Mathew and his wife, Erica, live in Tupelo with their two boys, Jude and Jack.

Morning Mashup 04/03

Morning Mashup

A daily mashup of book recommendations, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Praying the Bible | Donald Whitney | $3.19 (Kindle)

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Prayer | Timothy Keller | $7.58

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A Praying Life | Paul Miller | $10.19

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Praying with Paul | D.A. Carson | $13.25

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ARTICLES

Are We Victims of Sin? | Head Heart Hand

David Murray: One of the keys to the Christian life is getting the right balance between confessing personal sin and lamenting the universal consequences of sin.

4 Surprises in Bible Publishing | TGC

Trevin Wax describes the biggest surprises he encountered in his role in helping publish the Christian Standard Bible.

You Cannot Raise Snowflakes in Jesus’ Name | Prince on Preaching

Excellent article for parents as they consider raising their children in a world where we can’t protect them from pain.

FAQ on the Collected Works of John Piper | TGC

Justin TaylorOur basic criterion for selection has been to include everything that John Piper has written for publication in printed books, magazines, and journals. The result is forty-five books, sixty articles and reviews, twenty-three forewords, and forty-two chapters—totaling around three million words.

How Calvinists Miss the Key to Happiness | Desiring God

Tony Reinke:  The joy of Calvinism is a joy purchased by Christ and emerges from the ever-present Spirit within us.

Graceless Dads, Overly Spiritual Pastors, and Sticky Notes | Gospel Centered Family

Jared KennedyWhen I am disciplining one of my girls, I may even go beyond misbehavior and shepherd her heart motivations. But like an older brother in Christ, am I willing to confess my own sin and repent before my daughters as well? If not, I’m in danger of being a graceless dad.

VIDEOS

How to Depict the Beauty of Complementarity? | TGC

Paul George vs. LeBron James in OT