Dave Jenkins – Overcoming Sexual Sin Through the Gospel

Introduction

Pornography is an insidious cancer that is spread quickly throughout the world devastating men, women, children and destroying marriages, cities, nations and civilization. Pornography is a problem, I know all too well since I struggled with it throughout my teenagers years into my early twenties. Pornography is a problem that is crippling not only men but also women. Since I’ve struggled with pornography what I’m writing about is not just the theories of someone who hasn’t struggled, but rather as one who has struggled and continues to fight against this sin. The Gospel is good news for those who are struggling with sexual sin because it provides the power to put sin to death by the grace of God through the Spirit of God to the glory of God.

Overcoming Sexual Sin

The first way to put sexual sin to death is by understanding at the heart of sexual sin is idolatry. Idolatry is worshipping anything other than God. The best way to deal with idolatry is to understand what the Gospel is and what it demands. The Gospel demands our complete allegiance and devotion. The Gospel is not a call to embrace our sin but rather a call to embrace the sinless Savior who died for sinners. The Savior calls for His disciples to take up the Cross and follow Him in all of life. Finally, to overcome sexual sin men and women need to be accountable to other godly believers. It is important to qualify that last sentence by saying that a man should never be accountable to another woman and a woman should never be accountable to another man. A man should be accountable to another man, and a woman should be accountable to another woman.

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Dave Jenkins – Charles Spurgeon on the Holy Spirit and Preaching

Charles H. Spurgeon’s understanding of the connection between the Holy Spirit, prayer and preaching can be paradigm shifting. His understanding of the connection between preaching and the ministry of the Holy Spirit is not new, but it does need to be brought to the forefront for the modern reader. John Broadus in On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons stated that “The ultimate requisite for the effective preacher is complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit.” Bryan Chapell (chancellor of Covenant Theologial Seminary) teaches that the biblical description of the Spirit’s work challenges “all preachers to approach their task with a deep sense of dependence upon the Spirit of God.”

There is little attention given to the Spirit in relationship to preaching and teaching. Author Zachary Eswine explains that “Spurgeon’s intentional explicitness regarding the work of the Holy Spirit in preaching offers reasonable explorations into deeper caverns of intricacy, which may enable an infant theology on the Holy Spirit to take more steps.” Spurgeon believed that “the Spirit of God was precious to the people of God, and therefore sought to make the person and work of Christ the main focal point of his preaching and instruction to other preachers.”

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Dave Jenkins – Theology as the Foundation of Christian Practice

Some branches of the church have always placed great emphasis on practical, experiential Christianity. In recent decades groups such as Navigators and Campus Crusade for Christ rightly have stressed “discipleship” and the need for application in the day life of the believer. Since the early 1970s many mainline churches have joined this emphasis, teaching classes on such topics as “How to Have a Quiet Time,” “Scripture Memory,” “Marriage and the Family,” and “Sharing Christ in the Marketplace.” Too many of these groups, with non-mainline churches as well have dropped offering “Basic Christian doctrine” classes altogether. We want to know how Christianity affects our lives today and how it can help us make it through tomorrow.

In their devotional times, many Christians find themselves returning again and again to the “practical” sections of Scripture, like the book of James or those sections of Paul’s writings in which he deals with “real life” issues, such as marriage or money. This material can be applied readily to the nitty-gritty issues of living in contemporary culture. On the shelves of any Christian bookstore, one finds hundreds of Christian self-help books on a plethora of topics and only a handful dealing with theological issues.

At times we drift dangerously close to the backwater of our culture’s pragmatism, going so far as to judge sermons on the basis of whether we were offered anything practical or relevant. If the truth taught in a Bible study, devotional time, or sermon does not have immediate implications, we do not embrace it. With our society we glorify “doers” above “thinkers.” Thus, the rock star or the football hero who may be immature and shallow theologically is elevated as a star witness to Christianity.

Warm-hearted devotional, application-oriented Christianity should be encouraged. The Scriptures were written to change, mold and direct the lives of God’s people. Yet grave danger lies in focusing on the so-called “practical” teachings of Christianity to the neglect of the theological. Theology and practice are both vitally important aspects of following Christ. Notice that in his introduction to the book of Hebrews, the author of Hebrews in Hebrews 1:1-4 lays a foundation for his entire sermon with basic Christian doctrine. He uses dogmas as a precursor to praxis.

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Dave Jenkins – Effective Evangelism

Effective evangelism begins and ends with understanding who Jesus is and what He has done in His death, burial and resurrection. The content of the Gospel provides the fuel and motivation for why Christian’s are to engage in evangelism. Jesus sends forth His disciple’s with the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit to make disciples of all the nations.

In the Gospels, there are several snapshots that one could look at in order to learn how Jesus ministered to people. One of my favorite Gospel accounts is John 4. In John 4 Jesus goes out of his way to meet a Samaritan woman at the well. As the woman encounters Jesus, He uses questions designed to expose her need for Himself. In the course of the conversation, the woman learns that the One talking with her is none other than Jesus Christ, the Promise Messiah (John 4:25-29). Effective evangelism begins with meeting people where they are in order to share with them the Life-giving Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—His life, death, burial and resurrection.

The story of the woman at the well also illustrates that the one engaging in evangelism ought not to see oneself as better than others (John 4:27). Christians are often accused of being “holier than thou” but Jesus ministers His grace to the woman at the well regardless of who she was or what she had done. In the end the woman was confronted by the reality of who Jesus is and her life was so radically changed that she went back to her town, and called people to “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (John 4:29) and “They went out of the town and were coming to him.” (John 4:30). Jesus had such an impact on the woman that she eagerly went to share the news among the townspeople whom she had previously avoided because of her reputation. Her witness and candor regarding her own life so impressed them that the came to see Jesus for themselves.

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Dave Jenkins – Gosnell an American Tragedy: How Christians Should Engage the Pro-Life Issue

Introduction

When I first graduated high school, I decided I wanted to study philosophy. One of the first classes I took at a community college in the Seattle, Washington area was moral philosophy. In that class, I heard the world’s take on every moral and social issue. One of the topics that came up was abortion. As I listened to the topic of abortion being taught, I quickly became horrified and sickened to my stomach. As I interacted with people throughout the school I began to note that the vast majority of them did not hold to the pro-life position.

Currently there is a trial for a man who has been accused of doing horrible things to unborn children. Apparently there was a media blackout, and so naturally Facebook and Twitter exploded with people’s thoughts about this event. This incident got me thinking about sitting in that moral philosophy class over ten years ago and how in that timespan the debate hasn’t abated but rather has become more heated. The events of the Gosnell case, much like when I was sitting in that secular moral philosophy class learning about how the world views moral and social issues, have once again saddened and horrified me about the moral and spiritual trajectory of our society.

Life is important and special since the Lord God breathed life into Adam and into the lives of every human being since. Abortion is murder because the Lord breathes His life into every human whom He created in His image and likeness. Abortion is an issue of worldviews as people from across the political, religious, theological and philosophical spectrum have divergent opinions, believing their position to be the right one. More important than opinion is the Truth from the mouth of the Creator who created, gave, and sustains life.

In order to understand why abortion is such an important issue we need to understand what an abortion is, the biblical evidence for the pro-life position, why abortion is wrong, statistics on abortion and why Christians should engage this issue proclaiming the truth of the Word of God.

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Dave Jenkins – Reading and Studying the Bible (Part 3)

Introduction

In part one of spending quality time in the Word of God we learned about hearing God’s Word, reading God’s Word and studying God’s Word. In part two we learned about about memorizing God’s Word. In today’s post we will focus on meditating on the Word of God. Many people both inside and outside the Church are confused about what meditation is. Some think its emptying their minds or something else. Today, we will learn to meditate on the Word of God, and the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Meditating on God’s Word- Benefits and Methods

Meditation in today’s culture is most identified as non-Christian systems of thought than with biblical Christianity. Even among Christians, the practice of meditation is often closely associated with yoga, transcendental meditation, relaxation therapy, or the New Age Movement. As a result of this many Christians are uncomfortable with the whole topic of meditation and suspicious of those who engage in it. Christians must remember that meditation is commanded by God and modeled by the godly in Scripture.

The kind of meditation encouraged in Scripture differs from other kinds of meditation in several ways. While some advocate a kind of meditation in which one empties their mind, Christian meditation involves filling your mind with God and truth. For some, meditation is an attempt to achieve complete mental passivity, but biblical meditation requires constructive mental activity. Worldly meditation employs visualization techniques intended to create one’s reality. Christian history has always had a place for the sanctified use of one’s God-given imagination in meditation, imagination is one’s servant to help one meditate on things that are true (Philippians 4:8). Instead of attempting to create one’s reality through visualization Christians link meditation with prayer to God and responsible, Spirit-filled human action to effect changes. Meditation is the deep thinking on truths and scriptural realities as revealed in Scripture for the purposes of understanding, application and prayer. Meditation goes beyond hearing, reading, studying and even memorizing as a means of taking in God’s Word.

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Dave Jenkins – Worldviews in Conflict: Biblical Christianity, Gay Marriage and the Word of God

Introduction

Recently there has been much conversation both inside the Church and outside the Church about the issue of gay marriage. One example of this inside the Church is from former pastor Rob Bell who recently preached at an Episcopal church in California. In response to a question regarding same-sex marriage, Bell said, “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. I think the ship has sailed and I think the church needs — I think this is the world we are living in and we need to affirm people wherever they are.” This news didn’t surprise me given the trajectory of Rob Bell’s theology but it did get me thinking about gay marriage and its effects on the Church.

Outside the Church, gay marriage is an issue that is coming up to be ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court this week and likely will be dealt with more in the coming days. President Obama, whose constitutional responsibility requires him to defend the laws of the United States, has ordered his Attorney General not to defend The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.

Given the fact our country has increasingly through movies, television shows and any and all media portrayed gay marriage as culturally acceptable, it is not shocking the gay community feels it has enough momentum to challenge this issue in the Supreme Court, whereas about four years ago it did not want to take such cases to the Supreme Court for fear it might hurt their cause.

The decision of the Supreme Court one way or another will change the landscape of America for generations. Dr. Albert Mohler remarks:

“The very fact that the march for same-sex marriage has reached this point is telling. It reveals a fundamental confusion at the very heart of our society. The ideological support for same-sex marriage is deeply embedded in a host of ideas that are driving our society to the point of moral breakdown. The U.S. Supreme Court may well decide the future of marriage as a legal institution, but the church must hold to marriage as far more, but not less than, a legal reality. Marriage is one of God’s most gracious gifts to humanity. It will be the Church’s responsibility to honor marriage, no matter what the Court may decide.”

Regardless of what happens on either side, I believe that gay marriage is a distortion of the Biblical pattern- God established in the garden when He gave Adam, Eve to be his helper in marriage.

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Dave Jenkins – Peter Enns, Jesus, and Genesis

In the past few years, a handful of books from ostensibly conservative Christians have challenged the traditional interpretation that God created man from the dust of the ground. Instead, these authors have argued for some eclectic blend of creation and evolution when it comes to mankind’s origins.

An Old Error Given New Life

The danger of reinterpreting Genesis and the precedent it sets are many. If one desires to reinterpret (reject) certain parts of God’s Word because of man’s fallible opinions about the past that are based on anti-supernatural presuppositions, then at what point do we stop reinterpreting the Bible? If Genesis should be reinterpreted to accommodate billions of years and other evolutionary ideas proposed by the majority of scientists, should we not also reinterpret other sections of Scripture that are at odds with the majority of scientists, such as the virgin birth, Resurrection or ascension of Christ?

“Oh, come on, that will never happen,” some Christians might argue. The door of compromise has now been opened to such an extent that the gospel itself is under attack. In one of his most recent books, intended to provide a rational for rethinking Christianity in light of the claims of current evolutionary theories, Dr. Peter Enns promotes the idea that Adam and Eve were not real, historical people. To bolster this claim, Enns relies on the discredited documentary hypothesis to say that the first five books of the Bible were not written until after the Babylonian exile. According to this theory, Moses did not write them, but instead it was some scribe or group of scribes that compiled oral and written traditions and stuck them together. Despite a wealth of biblical and historical evidence to the contrary, Enns portrays this idea as a given, accepted by any scholar wroth his or her salt. In a footnote in his new book, Dr. Enns addressed one of the objections to this view—namely, that Jesus said that Moses wrote about Him:

“Although treating this issue fully would take us far afield, I should mention at least a common line of defense for Mosaic authorship: Jesus seems to attribute authorship of the Pentateuch to Moses (John 5:46-47). I do not think, however, that this presents a clear counterpoint, mainly because even the most argent defenders of Mosaic authorship today acknowledge that some of the Pentateuch reflects updating, but taken at face value this is not a position that Jesus seems to leave room for. But more important, I do not think that Jesus’s status as the incarnate Son of God requires that statements such as John 5:46-47 be understood as binding historical judgments of authorship. Rather, Jesus here reflects the tradition that he himself inherited as a first-century Jew and that his hearers assumed to be the case.”[i]

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Dave Jenkins – Reading and Studying the Bible (Part 1)

Since I learned to read, I’ve been reading the Bible, but I didn’t start studying the Bible in depth until I was a teenager. One of the issues I’m increasingly becoming concerned about is the lack of reading or apathy of Christians towards the Bible. A post I wrote last year titled “Eleven ways to Reignite Your Passion for the Bible” helped many people to learn how for the first time in their lives to be passionate about their Bible reading. As I was thinking recently about the topic of biblical literacy it struck me that it may be important to write a series of posts on why reading, and studying the Bible is important. The focus of this first post will be on why reading and studying the Bible is important, but before we go there, I first want to touch on the problem of biblical illiteracy in America.

Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: “Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.

Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments. “No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don’t know what they are,” said George Barna, president of the firm. The bottom line? “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.” See George Barna’s Site

Multiple surveys reveal the problem in stark terms. According to 82 percent of Americans, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better–by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’s family.

Some of the statistics are enough to perplex even those aware of the problem. A Barna poll indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. We are in big trouble.

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