Tuesday Teaching Tips 153, “Brilliant Barnabas – Acts 12.25-13.3”

Barnabas is brilliant. But what is it that makes him so “effective” as a speaker (Acts 14:1)?  We don’t know much about his technique, but we know a lot about his character and his spirituality.

In this series we will investigate brilliant Barnabas in the book of Acts and beyond. In doing so I hope we will all gain insights which will help us to be as effective as him.

We move on today to Acts 12.25-13.3.

Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the on the YouTube teaching tips playlist

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org

Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.

God bless,

Malcolm 

“Dead or Alive”, Easter Sunday 2019

Sermon for the Watford church of Christ

Introduction

Early church certainly thought he was alive: Acts references to resurrection/Jesus raised: Acts 1.3, 22; 2.24, 31, 32; 3.15, 26; 4.2, 10, 33; 5.30; 10.40; 13.30, 34, 37; 17.18; 23.6; 24.21; 25.19

Central message of early church. Jesus is alive and victorious Victorious because alive Because God vindicated his sacrifice

Christianity stands or falls on the fact of the physical resurrection: “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:13–14 NIV11).

Without the resurrection we cannot explain the existence of the early church: “If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”” (1 Corinthians 15:32 NIV11).

When a conspiracy is formed, three motivating factors are behinds such a move—power, greed, and/or lust. Disciples achieved none of those.

What would motivate those early Christians to not only be persecuted for their faith, but to do it asserting that they were confident of a belief in the resurrection which they claimed to have witnessed. Why would anyone die for something they knew was a lie?

How could Paul write to these words if he knew they could be contradicted? “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” (1 Corinthians 15:3–8 NIV11)

We are left with no other option than that the early Christians truly believed that Jesus was resurrected.

Not a fairy tale but a fact; Paul does not give us the option of allowing it to be metaphorical. The likelihood of them being mistaken about this is beyond fanciful.

What are we to make of this?

The Apostle Paul: Acts 26.1-32
“they had some points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a dead man named Jesus who Paul claimed was alive.” (Acts 25:19 NIV11)

Question: “What impact has seeing the living, risen Jesus had on Paul?”

He is: humble, bold, clear, urgent, obedient, courageous, faithful, risk-taking, change belief system, change religion, risk life, risk future, risk livelihood

Application

We’ve seen what the experience of the resurrected Jesus did for Paul. What does the Resurrection do for us?

1. Confidence
a. In Jesus – he predicted this “He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”” (Mark 9:31 NIV11) Therefore we trust him for other things he promised and predicted

b. In God hearing our prayers “…because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:24–25 NIV11)

c. In our eternal destiny. It is why we do not fear death.     “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 NIV11)

2. Motivation
a. Following – Motivation for a life of discipleship. “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.     For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.     Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.” (Romans 6:3–10 NIV11)

b. Persuading – Motivation for trying to persuade people. “Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:11–15 NIV11)

It is why we do not live for what we have here, and why we do not fret over what we do not have here.

Communion/conclusion

Confidence in Jesus, prayer and our eternal destiny. Motivation to follow Jesus and persuade people to follow him.

“This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2:23–24 NIV11)

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

The Sunday Sample: Episode 79. “6 mistakes that keep your church from singing”. Part 5 – “Can I please sit down now?”

I take “Worship Musician” magazine. I can thoroughly recommend it.  If you would like to subscribe, click here.  And no, I don’t have any commercial links to the magazine! 

An article I read in the January 2019 edition (vol 17) was titled, “6 mistakes that keep your church from singing” by Jon Nicol.  I was intrigued. The churches I serve sing well by and large. But they don’t always sing well. And, it’s clear that some people are less engaged with the musical side of worship than looks healthy to me.  What to do? 

I certainly don’t want to berate the congregation when they are not engaged in the singing. Neither do I want to bully individuals into participation!

There is a better way. I think you will find the six tips helpful. They may not all apply in your situation, but it’s worth using them to review the areas which might be hindering your church from fully embracing and enjoying all of what corporate musical worship has to offer.

Last week we talked about “Singing from the screen”, this week we are looking at “Can I please sit down now?”.

What do you find hinders congregations from singing? Please add your thoughts based on your local situation and personal experience.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Quiet Time Coaching, Episode 84: “Leaving Yesterday Behind”, 2 Samuel 12:15-23

What have cans of dark fruit cider got to do with prayer and the past?  Join me today as we explore how to leave yesterday behind.

One of the reasons we pray each day is to help us make sense of the previous day’s victories and mistakes. We cannot go faithfully into the day ahead unless we have cleared away the spiritual “rubbish” of the previous 24 hours.

We take some inspiration from King David in 2 Samuel chapter 12 and reflect on the significance of leaving yesterday behind.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Tuesday Teaching Tips 152, “Brilliant Barnabas – Acts 11.27-30”

Barnabas is brilliant. But what is it that makes him so “effective” as a speaker (Acts 14:1)?  We don’t know much about his technique, but we know a lot about his character and his spirituality.

In this series we will investigate brilliant Barnabas in the book of Acts and beyond. In doing so I hope we will all gain insights which will help us to be as effective as him.

We move on today to Acts 11.27-30.

Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the on the YouTube teaching tips playlist

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org

Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.

God bless,

Malcolm 

“The Nails of the Cross”, Watford church of Christ

Join us as we meditate on the meaning of the nails of the cross. Colossians 2.13-15.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

The Sunday Sample: Episode 78. “6 mistakes that keep your church from singing”. Part 4 – “Singing from the screen”

I take “Worship Musician” magazine. I can thoroughly recommend it.  If you would like to subscribe, click here.  And no, I don’t have any commercial links to the magazine! 

An article I read in the January 2019 edition (vol 17) was titled, “6 mistakes that keep your church from singing” by Jon Nicol.  I was intrigued. The churches I serve sing well by and large. But they don’t always sing well. And, it’s clear that some people are less engaged with the musical side of worship than looks healthy to me.  What to do? 

I certainly don’t want to berate the congregation when they are not engaged in the singing. Neither do I want to bully individuals into participation!

There is a better way. I think you will find the six tips helpful. They may not all apply in your situation, but it’s worth using them to review the areas which might be hindering your church from fully embracing and enjoying all of what corporate musical worship has to offer.

Last week we talked about “How does that go again?, this week we are looking at “ Singing from the screen”.

What do you find hinders congregations from singing? Please add your thoughts based on your local situation and personal experience.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Quiet Time Coaching, Episode 83: Psalm 5.2

“Listen to my words, LORD, consider my lament. Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”

(Psalm 5:1–3 NIV11)

“Hear”

His expectation that God will hear presupposes he has been done an injustice. 

“My”

  • Personal connection with God, “my King… My God”.

“Cry”

  • Cries for help are heard
  • “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” (Hebrews 5:7 NIV11)

“King”

  • Puts David’s own kingship into correct context.
  • Demonstrates humility and also understanding of his limitations.
  • His problems are not solvable by his own power. 

“God”

  • Elohim: emphasis on strength and power. 

“To you”

  • Rather than attack his enemies, and stoop to their level of behaviour, he takes the high ground and submits himself to God, committing the situation to him. 
  • Be careful in how we react to enemies – Proverbs 26:4-6
    • “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison.” (Proverbs 26:4–6 NIV11)
  • Bear in mind we are called to love our enemies
    • “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44)
  • And not to get distracted
    • “Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”” (Nehemiah 6:2–3 NIV11)

Most significant phrase for me – “MY”…


“You’re my Friend and You are my Brother, Even though You are a King. I love You more than any other, So much more than anything.”    

As the deer pants

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Three Big Questions” (3BQs) Class Series

Later this year we have a short three-lesson series called, “3 Big Questions” (“3BQ”).
We will tackle three common objections to the Christian faith. In doing so, I hope that we will be better equipped to talk about our faith in a way that reveals it to be “true and reasonable” (Acts 26:25). 

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV11)

I’m trailing this now because I’d like to know what you think the three big questions are.

What do people say to you as their biggest objections to or confusions with Christianity? I imagine the 3BQs could include things like, “I can’t believe in a God who allows suffering”.  Or there again, “If Christianity was true there wouldn’t be so many denominations.”

These are good questions, but are they the BIG questions?  Please let me know what you are actually, really hearing at the evangelism coalface.

The series does not begin until June. But we want to make the classes as effective as possible, thus lengthy and detailed preparation is anticipated. Because of this, please give me your responses by the end of April.

Many thanks and God bless, Malcolm

Tuesday Teaching Tips 151, “Brilliant Barnabas – Acts 11.25-26”

Barnabas is brilliant. But what is it that makes him so “effective” as a speaker (Acts 14:1)?  We don’t know much about his technique, but we know a lot about his character and his spirituality.

In this series we will investigate brilliant Barnabas in the book of Acts and beyond. In doing so I hope we will all gain insights which will help us to be as effective as him.

We move on today to Acts 11.25-26.

Thank you for listening to this recording. You can find more teaching tips here and on the on the YouTube teaching tips playlist

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org

Thanks again for listening. Have a terrific Tuesday, and a wonderful week.
God bless,

Malcolm