The Gift of the Gospel in Romans 1

pexels-photo-104966One of the most important questions for a Christian to be prepared to answer, both for himself and others, is What is the gospel? You should ask yourself this question often and always be prepared to give an answer to others. The reason many Christians don’t grow in holiness and righteousness is because they ironically don’t have a firm grasp on the gospel. The same is true for Christians who don’t go with the gospel to their neighbors and the nations—they simply don’t think enough about the gospel. Deep meditation on the gospel will increase your joy in God and ignite a passion for others to know God through the gospel.

When Paul writes that he desires to preach the gospel among the Roman Christians, he means that he wants to take part in both discipleship and evangelism. This means he wants to preach the gospel to the Roman Christians for their discipleship. He also wants to preach the gospel with the Roman Christians for the evangelism of the lost in Rome. But what is this gospel Paul wants to proclaim? What is this message he desires the Christians and lost in Rome to know?

The gospel and theme of the entire letter of Romans is stated nicely and clearly for us in Romans 1:16-17. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” The theme of the gospel and the letter of Romans is that the righteousness of God is freely given to sinners.

Paul wants to preach the gospel in Rome because he is not ashamed of the gospel. He is fearless to share the gospel, and he is proud of the universal effects of the gospel. The gospel carries the power of salvation for anyone who believes in Jesus—Jews, Gentiles, and everyone in between. You can be unashamed of the gospel in these same ways. Be fearless to share the gospel and live your life in line with the gospel. And, be proud and glad to share the gospel freely with anyone. There is power in the gospel to save even the worst person you know.

The reason we can be unashamed of the gospel is because it is a message from God and it contains power of God for salvation. God produces salvation, not human effort. You cannot do anything to earn salvation. It is entirely a work of God to save his people from the penalty of death we deserve. God reveals his righteousness in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Jesus, who was perfectly and divinely righteous, dies in the place of those who are unrighteous. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). The gospel is a gift. It is a gift of God’s righteousness given freely to the unrighteous who receive it by faith. Share this gift as freely and generously as you have received it.

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is the author of Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (Westbow Press, 2016). He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.


Morning Mashup 08/08


A mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


Beat God to the Punch: Because Jesus Demands Your Life | Eric Mason | $0.99


Heaven on Earth: Capturing Jonathan Edwards’s Vision of Living in Between | Stephen Nichols | $3.99



John Piper’s Funeral Prayer for a Family of Five | John Piper

Horrific tragedy. Beautiful prayer. Endless hope.

Is the New Evangelical Liturgy Really an Improvement? | Kevin DeYoung

Written three years ago. Still true today. I’m thankful to be a part of an SBC church in the South that actually takes liturgy seriously.

If Pedophilia is a Sexual Orientation, Now What? | Denny Burk

Because of our deep connection to our father Adam, it is possible for our sexual incongruity to feel quite natural to us. But the incongruity is not rendered congruous simply because it feels “natural.” Natural is defined by God’s revelation, not by our feelings one way or the other. So Christianity provides a limiting factor that stops the normalization of pedophilia in its tracks. I don’t think the spirit of our age can provide the same.

Karl Barth on the Olympic GamesKarl Barth on the Olympic Games | John Fea

Doesn’t sound like a fan.

Nicene and Quicunquan Styles | Fred Sanders

When Fred Sanders writes anything on the Trinity, stop everything and read!

The Surprising Truth About False Teachers | David Mathis

No matter how small a minority the church becomes, and no matter how fragile we feel, the very one who is both the subject of true teaching and the model of true living is also our life-and-soul-preserver.



Who’s First?: The Relationship Between Faith and Repentance


One of the controversies within The Marrow Controversy, which Sinclair Ferguson has recently dedicated an entire book to explore, is the relationship between faith and repentance. The historic controversy that fueled disagreement and dissent in Reformed Scottish churches some 300 years ago revolved around whether or not repentance precedes faith. In other words, should Jesus Christ–as he is revealed in the gospel–be offered to those who show no signs of repentance? Is it possible to come to Christ without first turning from sin? Where does repentance logically fall in the economy of the gospel? Before or after faith?

Historically, those who have answered that repentance is not necessary for the gospel to be proclaimed or even intellectually and willfully accepted have been accused of antinomianism. Conversely, those who have answered that repentance is necessary for the gospel to be proclaimed and received have been labeled as legalists. In his new book, The Whole Christ, Ferguson deals with the historical, theological, and biblical implications of this issue thoroughly.

The relationship between faith and repentance and where they fall in the ordo salutis isn’t a conversation merely fit for ivory towers and seminary classrooms. Understanding the relationship between faith and repentance drastically impacts the preaching, teaching, and evangelistic ministries of the church. It also takes a right understanding of God’s grace to stand in reverent awe of God’s glory. Understanding God’s sovereign grace in rescuing his people from sin produces Godward adoration. Seeing a big God of booming grace is fuel for the fire of personal holiness and living a God-centered life. So, considering the implications of the relationship between faith and repentance is practically useful for every Christian.

Let’s consider the relationship between faith and repentance for a moment. There is a natural tendency for us to see repentance as a necessary precursor to faith. After all, when we see how good God is in comparison to how bad we are, shouldn’t this cause us to desire to turn from sin and embrace Christ? In order to run to Christ, don’t we first need to turn from our sin?

First, it is important to remember that turning from sin and trusting Christ occur (experientially) instantaneously. The Christian does not know repentance of sin or faith in Christ without the other. Neither is merely an instantaneous action, though. Repentance and faith mark the whole life of a Christian. Ferguson puts it this way:

Repentance is not a discrete external act; it is the turning round of the whole life in faith in Christ…Repentance then is not the punctiliar decision of a moment but a radical heart transformation that reverses the whole direction of life. In the context of faith the repentant sinner is immediately, fully, and finally justified–at the very beginning of the Christian life (The Whole Christ, 100).

There is so much rich truth in that quotation. Repentance and faith begin in an instantaneous moment. But they do not end there. Repentance and faith only end when faith becomes sight and sin is no more. The key issue in the relationship between repentance and faith is whether a volitional act (repentance) can be accomplished apart from the reception of God’s saving grace through saving faith. In other words, can repentance live outside the garden of faith? The Westminster Divines, including Thomas Boston, as well as John Calvin before them would answer emphatically, “Absolutely not!”

True repentance cannot exist outside of true faith in Christ. According to the Westminster Confession of Faith, it is only “upon the apprehension of his mercy in Christ” that sinners repent of sin. Calvin would write, “Both repentance and forgiveness of sins–that is, newness of life and free reconciliation–are conferred on us by Christ, and both are attained by us through faith.” And with surgical precision, Thomas Boston declared, “In a word, gospel repentance doth not go before, but comes after remission of sin, in the order of nature.”

True repentance cannot exist independently and true faith won’t! For while repentance never precedes faith, it always follows it. Faith motivates repentance. Boston wrote, “Faith then directly grasps the mercy of God in him, and as it does so the life of repentance is inaugurated as its fruit.” Faith is the heart’s glad apprehension of Christ in the gospel, and it is always pregnant with repentance. The heart that is awakened and resurrected to see Christ as a superior treasure has been given new tastes. Sin has for the first time become distasteful to the palette of the soul. And our hearts have had their inaugural good taste of Christ in the gospel.

God is only desired and sin is only despised when the heart receives Christ in his fullness as Savior, Lord, and Treasure. In the words of Edward Fisher,

Sorrow and grief for displeasing God by sin, necessarily argue the love of God; and it is impossible we should ever love God, till by faith we know ourselves loved of God.

No man can turn to God, except he be first turned of God; and after he is turned, he repents…The truth is, a repentant sinner first believes that God will do that which he promiseth, namely, pardon his sin, and take away his iniquity; then he rests in the hope of it; and from that, and for it, he leaves sin, and will forsake his old course, because it is displeasing to God; and will do that which is pleasing and acceptable to him. So that first of all, God’s favor is apprehended, and remission of sins believed; then upon that cometh alteration of life and conversion.

First, we believe that God will do what he promises to do in Christ, pardon our sin by his propitiation. Then, and only then, will we “forsake our old course” and find our sin utterly displeasing to both God and ourselves. Seeing repentance as the fruit of faith results in three implications:

1. Your standing with God is not on the basis of a volitional act of morality or mortification of sin

God’s grace is conferred in the gospel to sinners through saving faith, which is the reception of the gift of God’s grace in Christ. True faith is a glad reception of Christ. It is the product of regeneration–God’s work in giving life to a dead heart. God is not waiting for you to act in a particularly penitent way before uniting you to himself. God saves you in Christ by his grace and through faith.

2.You do not have to wait for signs of repentance before sharing the gospel

Those who have freely received Christ freely offer Christ indiscriminately. It is Christ who saves! Faith is the heart’s glad reception of the whole Christ and all he has done for sinners. The ordo salutis has great evangelistic implications. If you are waiting for signs of repentance before offering Christ, you will likely rarely offer Christ. But because faith precedes repentance, we know the only way for a person to be truly transformed is for them to see and savor the Christ of the gospel. So, offer Christ indiscriminately, knowing that God’s grace in the gospel creates faith, which produces true repentance unto life.

3. If you have trusted Christ you have the power to turn from sin

Because faith precedes repentance and repentance is a necessary fruit of faith, sin has no power over you. Before you trusted Christ, sin had total dominion over you. You were never truly sorrow for your sin. You never adequately desired God or pursued holiness. But after you saw Christ and delighted in what you saw, which is the act of saving faith, sin’s grip has been eternally loosed by the power of the cross. Your life can now be a continuous work of trusting and turning. As Calvin has said, “A man cannot apply himself seriously to repentance without knowing himself to belong to God. But no one is truly persuaded that he belongs to God unless he has first recognized God’s grace.”

Only through the “explosives power of a new affection” will a sinner have a life marked by trusting Christ and turning from sin. This new affection is the product of God’s grace, received by faith, and played out in repentance and obedience.

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

The Greatest Treasure: Seize the Kingdom With Joy (Part 4)


In Matthew 13:44-46, Matthew records two of Jesus’ shortest parables. However, while there isn’t a lot of drawn out detail or extended storyline, there is profound gospel truth here. On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be much going on in these parables. But upon further review, we can easily overturn that call and say that the most important truth in the entire universe is summed up in these two parables. The greatest news for those in Christ and the worst news for those not in Christ are each found in these parables.

Over the next four days, I’ll be offering four separate reflections on the Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value. My goal is not merely to (hopefully) say some helpful things in the unpacking of these verses. I also hope to teach you to linger on a passage. Meditation fans the flame of affections for God in the heart of a Christian. And true biblical meditation takes time. Slow and intentional lingering in the Word is a good and necessary discipline for anyone wanting to draw nearer to God.

Within the two parables of Matthew 13:44-46, there are four elements that convey one main point. I’ve outlined each of these elements in the following chart. While these parables differ in specific detail, they include the same four elements and convey the same truth.

Seeing A man stumbles upon a treasure A man seeks after a great pearl
Savoring He rejoices in what he sees He rejoices in what he sees
Sacrificing His joy compels him to sell all he has to get it His joy compels him to sell all he has to get it
Seizing He buys the field to get the treasure He buys the pearl

In short, the main point of the parables of the hidden treasure and pearl of great value is that the kingdom of heaven is so valuable that losing everything you have, but gaining the kingdom is a bargain.

The four elements within these parables include seeing, savoring, sacrificing, and seizing.

Seize the Kingdom With Joy

Over 50 years ago, C.S. Lewis famously wrote,

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

The greatest problem with the human race is a failure to properly praise. It is a failure to rightly rejoice. Sin in all of its various and vicious forms is at its core a pursuit of pleasure in all the wrong places. We were created to crave. We were created to pursue joy and satisfaction. Our fall into sin only disoriented this reality; it didn’t abolish it. Before the Fall, the first humans pursued their joy in God and were never disappointed. However, from the first taste of the lesser pleasure Satan offered, the heart of each and every person to ever walk the face of the earth has been making mud pies in a slum. The palettes of our hearts are simply far too easily satisfied. And the ominous reality of tasting sin and seeing it as good is that the very thing we delight in are slowly but surely killing us from the inside out.

The best news about the gospel is that God doesn’t call us to stop seeking pleasure. Instead, he brings us to the place where we will truly find pleasure. Nothing stopped the men in our parables today from obtaining their treasure. In the end, they get the object of their affections. The man buys the field. The merchant buys the pearl. Those sold possessions are long forgotten. The best news about the kingdom is that if you want it God will give it to you. If your heart desires to have the kingdom, your Father will give it to you.

One day, the King will return, and he will consummate his kingdom. He will bring his work to completion and we will finally be home. In that perfected kingdom, our joy will be complete and there will be no sin to kill every day, because it will be eternally dead. In that day, there will be no racism or fear or terrorism. We will be fully reconciled to God and one another in Christ.

There is no limit to the kind of joy found in finding the kingdom. When you see the kingdom for what it is, you will savor it. And your joy will compel you to rid your life of anything that could keep you from rejoicing supremely in Jesus. Finally, nothing will keep you from receiving the kingdom. If you want it, it’s yours. The price has already been paid. Christ Jesus died for sinners, and he invites them into his eternal kingdom. But the only way you can enter is by finding more joy in Jesus than anything else.

God created you to rejoice in him. What is the chief end of man? To glorify God by enjoying him forever. Don’t settle for lesser pleasures. Open the eyes of your heart to see the treasure of the kingdom, a pearl without compare, and in your joy, sell all your puny pleasures to gain pleasures that are forevermore. Give up your mud-pie making and enjoy a day at the beach. I’ll close out this series with these words from Piper, “Fix your eyes on the all-satisfying treasure of Jesus Christ who loved us and gave his life as a ransom for our everlasting joy.”

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

Morning Mashup 06/08



A mashup of Kindle deals, articles, and videos for your information, edification, and enjoyment.


C.S. Lewis’s Remarkable (and Surprising) Sermon | Justin Taylor

Seventy-five years ago tomorrow C.S. Lewis ascended the pulpit at the University Church of St Mary the Virgin in Oxford and delivered “The Weight of Glory,” one of the most insightful sermons of the twentieth century.

6 Ways to Influence a Culture of Evangelism | Taylor Turkington

We must depend on Jesus for help to lead well, but we must also be intentional. So how do we lead well in evangelism? The tone we set in our community changes the way those around us see the value of proclaiming the gospel. Here are six ideas to consider as others watch you.

On Abortion and Racism: Why There is a Greater Evil in this Election | Thabiti Anyabwile

It’s been more difficult to be an African-American and an “Evangelical” or “Reformed” these last few years. It was never an easily negotiated identity or space. But a certain quietude about matters of “race” and racism made it possible to enjoy a measure of unity in theological matters and some seeming trust as spiritual family. A degree of political affinity, defined largely by the obvious wrongs we opposed, created a co-belligerence that kept our eyes off our differing political needs and emphases along ethnic lines. Suspicion and mistrust were kept at bay by a tacit sense that some things were more important.

Can You Name All Ten Commandments? If Not, This (and 18 Other Questions) Could Get You Deported | Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra

These questions, among the nearly 20 questions in CT’s quiz below, have been asked of Christian converts from Islam who are applying for asylum in the United Kingdom. Wrong answers put them at a high risk of deportation.

6 Theses on Online Writing and Civility | Jake Meador

Put another way, the problem with internet writing isn’t just the particular internet tools we use; it’s also with the people using the tools. And those same people who make such a mess on blogs or public social media channels are the ones populating our private forms of online media. So even if we no longer have to deal with particularly destructive tools, we still must deal with the destructive sins we ourselves commit every day. A shift toward more private media, then, may help reduce the impact of certain problems created in part by bad technology, but it cannot solve the problem entirely.

Four Ways for Fathers to Engage at Home | Jeremy Adelman

Admittedly, it is often difficult to remain engaged at home. After a long day, it is easy to detach from our family and enter the worlds of media, technology, and sports. Our minds are occupied with the work we left behind or looking forward to the sleep that is to come, but God calls us to more as husbands and fathers.Here are four ways, among many, that men can be more engaged at home.

Fahrenheit 381 | Carl Trueman

Trueman and others at Mortification of Spin have called complementarian leaders (CBMW & TGC) to the carpet on serious charges of Trinitarian heresy. I’ll be following this exchange closely.


Morning Mashup 04/22


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


11 books in the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary Series for just $2.99


Edited by Danny Akin, Tony Merida, and David Platt, these books are currently on sale for Kindle at $2.99. Take advantage of this great offer!

Same-Sex Attraction and the Church by Ed Shaw ($2.99)


Recovering Redemption by Matt Chandler ($2.99)


The Gospel-Driven Life by Michael Horton ($2.99)



The Secret History of Tiger Woods – Long, but compelling piece on the unraveling of Tiger Woods.

5 Reasons Why the New Calvinism is Worth Supporting – Love this honest and encouraging article from Jeffrey Jue, provost of Westminster Theological Seminary.

The Birds, the Bees, the Awe, the Wonder – Tim Challies shows how “the talk” is more than parental responsibility; it’s parental privilege as well.

The Pastor’s Typical Week – Convicting and sound advice for pastors.

9 Marks of Healthy Biblical Complementarianism – Kevin DeYoung: “The core of complementarianism is not up for discussion. How we talk about complementarianism is. And how we practice complementarianism too. Is the problem that we lack courage or that we are missing compassion? Have we gotten too soft? Or have we gotten too restrictive? Does complementarianism need a re-branding, a reformation, a revival, or a retrieval?”

A Pastor’s Reading Plan – What should be part of a pastor’s regular reading?

$5 Friday from Ligonier – Wonderful resources from Ligonier for $5.


Steven Furtick and the Influence of Preaching and Doctrine

Christians living in the 21st century have a grave misunderstanding of the law of God. Many believe the law has been supplanted by grace. Others believe the law stands in tension with grace. Steven Furtick’s now infamous 2-minute excerpt from a July sermon is proof enough of a common thread of ignorance when it comes to biblical theology.

Furtick is clearly not alone in believing “God broke the law for love.” The phrase itself sounds radically gracious, heroic, and courageous. It was so moving when first preached that Furtick received a roaring ovation. I’m often quick to jump the gun on heretical statements like this, sounding the heresy-police-siren for all to hear. But as I’ve reflected on Furtick’s statement my heart has been broken by the glad acceptance of Bible teaching that sounds enough like the gospel to appear true, but actually contradicts the gospel and Christianity.

The erroneous teaching point from Furtick along with the positive response from Furtick’s congregation and many I’ve encountered on social media expose five realities:

1. The pastor needs to embrace his role as resident theologian for his congregation.

Pastor-theologians should not be limited to conference stages or seminary classrooms. Pastors should work to help their people see how the Bible fits together (biblical theology) and how the whole Bible addresses individual topics about God, man, Christ, salvation, church, etc. (systematic theology). Error flows from the pulpits filled by men who fail to embrace their role as resident theologian.

2. Doctrine shapes the overall culture of a church.

Because of his short illustration and point that “God broke the law for love” Furtick has given his congregation, and many others through the Internet, a category for understanding the law and gospel. He has taught a form of antinomianism (anti-law) that produces apathy toward the law and holiness in general. There are countless applications that could be drawn from his sermon that lead to an unhealthy church culture. If God broke his law in order to love his people, then why would we not also violate the law for love? Though the Bible clearly condemns unrepentant sexual immorality, should we simply ignore these “laws” in order to love our brother who is addicted to porn?

I’m not saying Furtick or the people of Elevation Church make these applications, but there is nothing, doctrinally speaking, for any of these applications to be farfetched realities. This is because the doctrine espoused by the preaching and teaching ministries of a church directly impact the daily culture of a church.

3. Churches trust their pastors and what they say each week from the pulpit.

Yes. Intelligent people will follow the teaching of the pastor because he is the man on stage. If they remain uninformed and ignorant of biblical and theological doctrine, they will find themselves roaring with applause over a statement that contradicts the very reason they claim to be in the church.

4. The preaching of the Word should take priority over other (important) ministries.

Preaching is viewed by many churches as little more than a motivational pep talk for another week of service in other areas of ministry. Furtick’s preaching amounts to little more than this, which is why I’m not at all shocked at the revelation of his false teaching. But the reason droves of church-goers struggle to even see a problem with teaching like this is because they have never heard solid, biblical preaching. They have never been a part of a faith family where the preaching of the Word takes primary priority in the life of a pastor. When preaching takes a backseat, false teaching can seep into the fabric of a faith family.

5. The preaching of the Word shapes worldview convictions.

Whether taken as priority number one or not, the preaching pastor has the ability to shape the worldview of his congregation. Pastors are responsible for the spiritual health of their congregation. This is why church membership is so serious. The preaching event is an act of worship, but also a declaration of victory. It is the work of a herald who has received the greatest news in the history of the world. The Lord has communicated his word and will in the 66 books of the Bible. It is the job of the preacher to declare the truths communicated in the Bible as they were communicated in the Bible. Preachers communicate their own worldview, which should be the biblical worldview, and urge their hearers to align their view of the world with that of the Bible. So, for good or ill, the preaching of the world shapes worldview convictions of a congregation.

Pastors and church members alike should guard their hearts from deception and realize the impact of preaching and doctrine on their lives. Church members, judge what flows from the pulpit on the basis of God’s word, not what is culturally trendy at the moment. Pastors, realize the weight of your responsibility and the range of your influence. What you teach and preach shapes the worldview and culture of your congregation. See yourself not as a creative inventor, but rather as a faithful herald, ready at all times to proclaim the truth that the King has come in both righteousness and love to bring his people home.

Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.

Morning Mashup 03/29

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

Book Deals


How Do We Relate to Superman? – Aaron Armstrong reflects on the new Batman vs. Superman movie and how we identify with the Man of Steel.

The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis – And all Lewis admirers said, Amen.

The Tragedy of the Resurrection – Beautiful piece from Carl Trueman on the often overlooked tragic elements in Christian theology, particularly the resurrection. He writes, “The lack of a sense of the tragic in Christian worship indicates a lack of biblical balance in the liturgies of today’s services.”

Has Ken Ham Embraced Evolution? – Dr. Kenneth Keathley of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary believes so. Tim Challies disagrees in this article.

Baptists and the Benedict Option in American Babylon – This article by Nathan Finn is worth reading a few times over.

Did the Second Person of the Trinity Die? – I believe Mark Jones convincingly refutes R.C. Sproul’s Christological belief that only Jesus’ humanity suffered death.

A Biblical Theology of the Resurrection – D.A. Carson at his best.


“We cannot serve God and the world at the same time. It is vain to attempt it. The thing cannot be done.”

— J.C. Ryle

Morning Mashup 09/25

A mashup of articles for your information, edification, entertainment, and enjoyment.

Hajj Stampede Near Mecca Leaves Over 700 Dead – Horrible tragedy. Praying for the families of those affected.

9 Marks of a Generous Giver – Comprehensive and concise article on the Christian and giving. “The first three marks involve where your giving goes; the next three tease out heart motives in your giving; and the final three explore dynamics between your giving and Caesar (as well as non-profits you support).”

Why Don’t Protestants Have a Pope? – With Pope Francis in the States, Kevin DeYoung answers an important question with some help from Herman Bavinck.

How to Read the Bible and Do Theology Well – Don Carson: “Although we cannot know anything with the perfection of God’s knowledge (his knowledge is absolutely exhaustive!), yet because God has disclosed things, we can know those things truly.”

Pastoring Rappers – Richard Clark interviews the artists of Humble Beast.

Some Thoughts on the Reading of Books – Albert Mohler shares his reading habits and strategies while offering some suggestions on how to make the most of books.

Speaker Boehner to Resign at End of October – Reaction from Republican leaders varies, but there is a clear commitment to preventing a government shut down.

15 Key Quotes from Pope Francis’ Address to the United Nations – “In the lengthy address Pope Francis covers a wide range of topics, from the rule of law to nuclear weapons to the drug trade. Here are 15 key quotes from the speech.”

God’s unconditional love poured out in our heart is the unique force impelling us to love him and others. –G.K. Beale

Precious Time: Brief Reflections on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-16

Infinity-Time1Have you ever done something or went somewhere and then said to yourself, “Boy, that was a waste of time!” I remember waiting in line to get the autograph of one of my favorite authors. I had one of his books with me and was so excited for him to sign his name on the inside cover of the book and take a picture with me.
I waited in line almost an hour and my favorite author still wasn’t there. Suddenly, I heard the crowd at the front of the line grumble. Word passed from front to back that the author was unable to sign autographs after all. He wasn’t feeling well and was heading to the airport to fly home. I remember rolling my eyes and sighing with everyone else, saying, “Boy, that sure was a waste of time!”

When we spend a lot of time or energy doing something, we want it to be worth something. We want it to count. We want it to matter. We never want to waste our time. Paul wanted the Thessalonian Christians to know that he had not wasted his time with them. He wrote, “For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain” (v. 1). You see, being a Christian in Thessalonica was not easy. Christians were not popular in this city. Paul himself suffered in this city, but he wanted the Thessalonians to know their time and his time was not wasted.

Why? Why would Paul’s time with these Christians not be wasted? And how does Paul know this? Is it worth it to follow Christ when it’s not a popular thing to do? Is it a waste of time to go to church? Is it a waste of time to have family devotions? Is it a waste of time to intentionally pray or share the gospel with your neighbor?

We will never waste our time when we talk about, think about, and share the gospel. Spending time on the gospel is always time well spent. Paul had shared the gospel with these Christians “in the midst of much conflict” (v. 2). Through all the trouble Paul faced, he continued to share the gospel and do whatever it took for these Thessalonians to believe in Jesus. Paul didn’t waste time trying to please other people because he wanted to please God. Paul didn’t waste time keeping the gospel to himself. The gospel was given to him, so he wanted to give it to others (v. 4). Paul didn’t waste his time bragging on himself. Instead, he spent his time bragging on Jesus (v. 5-6).

Paul shared everything he had with the Thessalonians. Most importantly he worked “night and day” both earning a living and sharing the gospel (v. 9). He didn’t waste his time with what he taught the Thessalonians. He taught them the gospel and showed them how to live it out each day (v. 10-12).

Do you know how Paul knows his time wasn’t wasted? First, he obeyed God’s command to teach and preach the gospel. You will never waste your time obeying God. But his time was also not wasted because the gospel found a home in the hearts of the Thessalonians and they were changed. They started imitating Jesus (v. 14). They suffered for Christ (v. 15). When the gospel changes your life, you know you are not wasting your time in church or in Bible study or in family devotions or sharing the gospel with your neighbor. Whatever helps you look more like Jesus is not a waste of time.

You can do a lot of things that are a waste of time. Following Jesus is never one of them. You will never waste your life following Jesus. You will find it.

11751958_1209158262442953_3486622930933138849_nMathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church in East Bernstadt, KY. He is an M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their son, Jude Adoniram.