Sunday, November 28, 2010

Take Care How Your Hear!

Please read Luke 8:4-18, and Isaiah 6:9-10

I'd like to recommend a sermon I heard recently by John Piper. The sermon is on the parable of the sower as recorded in Luke 8, and is called Take Care How You Listen! Part 1.

The biggest thing that I learned from this sermon is that the parable of the sower is about hearing, and yet for some reason I'd always missed the whole point of it. It's all about how you hear!

Have a look at how many times the verb to hear is specifically used in this passage (ESV) (emphasis mine):

And when a great crowd was gathering and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold." As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant, he said, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.' Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

"No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away."

Do yourself a favour, and listen to this sermon; above all, taking care how you hear!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Paul Washer's Shocking Youth Message

Read Matthew 7:13-27
If you haven't already seen this sermon, please open your heart and mind and watch. You'll need to set aside an hour to watch it; once you start you won't want to stop. Not everything he says is 100% technically correct when examined under the theological microscope, but please don't discard the message and the man because of that. Please don't harden your heart to this man preaching the gospel with heart-felt passion and conviction.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

John Piper and the Prosperity Gospel

Read Galatians 1:6-10.

I'd like to share one of my favourite YouTube clips. The speech audio is the voice of John Piper speaking about the "Prosperity Gospel". It sounds like an extract from a sermon; I'm not certain of the context. The music, images and text that have gone into the production of this video clip are very effective in driving home the core message.

I invite you to spend three minutes to watch this:

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Burn-a-Koran Evangelism Program

Read 1 Corinthians 9:1-23

Paul starts the chapter by asking the great rhetorical question,
"Am I not free?"
In the "western world" (including Australia and the USA), we are immersed in a culture of freedom, and exercising our individual rights to do what we want. Paul has a different view (v. 15):
"But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision."
Why doesn't Paul exercise his rights? For the gospel!

Please read again 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

To the Jews, Paul became as a Jew, in order to win Jews.

How might we apply this passage to guide us in winning Muslims for Christ? I think it's a pretty simple exegesis: "To the Muslims, we should become as a Muslin, in order to win Muslims."

Afraid this may compromise your faith? Never! Paul never compromised his faith in Christ in any way to become "as a Jew" or "as one outside the law"; he simply adapted his behaviour - and diet - so as not to offend those people. Why would we ever put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ? Why would we ever allow ourselves to be that obstacle.

So let's turn now to the recent actions of some obscure preacher in Florida, USA. He attained international notoriety with his on-again-off-again plans to burn a whole pile of copies of the Koran, Islam's holy book. What was he thinking? What would any Christian be thinking that supports this?

Burning the Koran will win Muslims to Christ as quickly as using the Talmud as toilet-paper will win the Jews or barbequing beef-steaks on the lawns of the Taj Mahal will win the Hindus. In fact, even after the Koran-burning was cancelled, protesters in Afghanistan were still shouting "Death to America" and "Death to Christians" (Source).

Let's become all things to all people that by all means we might save some. And if we are wronged, and our Bible and our flag are burned, let's turn the other cheek, and continue in love.