installation service for PACCI officers

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Here are the notes to my installation service for the Philippine Advent Christian Conference officers, on may 17, 2017.

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
29  “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;
30  and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.
31  “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.


προσχετε αυτος – Hold
yourselves accountable!


The word translated “be on guard” is προσχω which combines the verb “to have or hold” with the preposition for “to”
or “with.” The idea is to hold yourselves as a team to the same standards. That
entails not only keeping yourself strong and mistake free, but also having the
same concern for the other members of your team. I charge you to hold
yourselves to your agreed standards. These include:

  • maturity
  • integrity
  • credibility
  • authenticity
  • holiness

 

ποιμανειν τν κκλησαν – Shepherd
the church!

 

A shepherd’s
job description
is that he risks his life in
order to…

  • feed the flock
  • provide rest and security for the flock
  • prevent straying from the flock
  • restore the lost to the flock


When
Paul told the Ephesian elders to shepherd the church, all of these activities
were implied. So, today I charge you to take on that shepherding responsibility
for the conference and its churches.

 

γρηγορετε τν λκων – Watch out for the wolves!

 

Paul also warned of dangers that the
Ephesian elders would face. There would be dangers from outside the church and
dangers inside the church. Paul described those dangers as wolves.

 


  • Wolves
    in wolves clothing

  • Antichristian religions

  • secularism

  • Politicians and parties seeking
    endorsement

  • Wolves
    in sheep’s clothing

  • movements demanding exclusive loyalty
    and betrayal of others

  • theologies watering down the gospel

  • philosophies dangerous to the
    conference’s identity

  • people seeking to divide and separate
    the conference.

How Christian growth happens

prayer or quote pic (193)

Hebrews 5:11-6:3 NASB

11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.12For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. 1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do, if God permits.

The teacher of the Hebrews had already said much about Christ.

First, he identified Jesus as the eternal Son of God.

  • · The ultimate spokesman for God (1:2).
  • · The appointed heir of all things (1:2).
  • · The creator of the world (1:2,10).
  • · The radiance of God’s glory (1:3).
  • · The exact representation of God’s nature (1:3).
  • · One member of the trinity declared to be the Son of the Father (1:5; 5:5).
  • · Heir of an eternal kingdom passed on from the Father (1:8).

Then, he is identified as greater than the angels.

  • · No angel was begotten as God’s Son (1:5).
  • · The angels were commanded to worship the Son (1:6).
  • · No angels were enthroned and given the promise of victory (1:13)

Then, he identified Jesus as the High Priest of the new covenant.

  • · To qualify, he had to be made temporarily lower than the angels (2:7,9).
  • · He suffered to become the author and source of salvation for many sons (2:10; 5:9).
  • · He had to be fully human to become a merciful and faithful high priest (2:17).
  • · He is the Apostle and High Priest of our confession (3:1).
  • · He is the one who can bring us into God’s rest (4:8-11).
  • · He has passed through the sky as our great high priest (4:14).
  • · He is a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek (5:6)

Then, he identified Jesus as greater than Moses.

  • · Moses was a servant in God’s house, but Jesus was its builder (3:3-6a).

But now the teacher of the Hebrews takes a little break. He confesses that it is hard to go on with his lessons, because his listeners are failing to apply what they hear.

  • · “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing” (5:11).

o The word translated “dull” is νωθρς which means to ‘be backward’ in something, or ‘not applying oneself’ to something, sluggish, to the extent of appearing to be stupid.

  • · “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God,” (5:12a).

o The word translated “elementary principles” is στοιχεον which means one item in a στοῖχος ‘series, row’, ‘part of a complex whole.’

  • · “you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant” (5:12b-13).

o The word translated “infant” is νπιος, ‘a child in an early period of life’, and it is the same word that the apostle Paul used in Ephesians 4:14: “we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.”

  • · “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

o The word translated “mature” is τλειος, meaning ‘free from any deficiency, omission, or corruption.’ It is the same word that the apostle Paul used in Ephesians 4:13: “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”

So, Now the teacher explains how Christian growth happens. How do we get from infants in Christ to mature in Christ.

  • · To explain the idea of Christian growth, the teacher needs to change his metaphor. So he stops talking about infants and milk, and he now talks about a building and its foundation stones.
  • · “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation” (Hebrews 6:1a).
  • · The building of the Christian life is founded upon three major foundation stones: Repentance, Faith, and Instructions. These are the elementary principles that the teacher mentioned in 5:12, and the “elementary teaching about Christ” that he mentioned in 6:1.

o Repentance is μετνοια, ‘a serious change of mind and heart about a previous point of view or course of behaviour.’ When a person has truly repented, his heart and mind is now predisposed to follow Christ. Repentance from “dead works” entails a new commitment to do living works, following Christ’s example and teachings.

o Faith is πστις, which includes belief in, confidence in, trust in, and faithfulness to something. Faith towards God is placing yourself entirely in his hands, obeying his will, and trusting in his plan.

o The instructions that make up the third foundation stone consists of teaching about how your repentance from sin and faith in God will now affect your life today, your future hope, and your attitude toward unbelievers. The teacher lists four different instructions.

  1. § First, a new believer must understand that to follow Christ, he will have to undergo some baptisms. These probably include water baptism as a sign of the believer’s identity in Christ, Holy Spirit baptism for empowerment and guidance, and perhaps baptism into suffering to develop perseverance.
  2. § Secondly, a new believer will be gifted with certain spiritual gifts and ministries, and these were usually accompanied by the laying on of hands.
  3. § Thirdly, a new believer has a new confidence that although he will die just like all those in Adam will die, his future inheritance is sure because of Jesus’ promise to raise him from the dead.
  4. § Finally, a new believer understands that unbelievers all around him are in danger of being destroyed in the final and permanent judgment. This awareness brings with it an urgent need to reconcile unbelievers to God in Christ.

So, now let us depict what the teacher has said visually:

foundations

So, to summarize:

CHRISTIAN GROWTH HAPPENS WHEN A BELIEVER HAS REPENTED FROM ALL THE DEAD WORKS OF HIS LIFE, PUT HIS FAITH, TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN GOD, SEEKING ALWAYS TO BE FAITHFUL TO HIM, AND HAS BEEN INSTRUCTED ABOUT THE BAPTISMS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE, THE LAYING ON OF HANDS FOR MINISTRY. HE HAS PUT HIS HOPE ENTIRELY ON THE RESURRECTION BY CHRIST AT HIS RETURN, AND HAS A PASSION TO REACH THE LOST DUE TO THE TERRIBLE AWARENESS OF THE FINAL JUDGEMENT THEY WILL FACE IF THEY ARE NOT SAVED.

Discipling with a mother’s touch

Discipling with a mother’s touch

1 Thessalonians 2:1-9

1 For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2 but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition. 3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit;

4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. 5 For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed–God is witness– 6 nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. 7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. 8 Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. 9 For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

One of the foundational objectives of all Christians is to make disciples. Jesus commanded that we all take on this responsibility, and so we must ask ourselves what we are doing to make disciples of all nations every day.  But the Bible also gives us examples and instructions on how to disciple. Today we look at one of the passages where the apostle Paul describes his discipling ministry. In this passage, Paul told the Thessalonians that his missionary team discipled them with a mother’s touch. Let’s examine what he said more closely.

A mother boldly loves her children despite the pain and hardship her investment costs her (1-2).

 

  • My mother often said, “When they are small, they step on your toes, when they grow bigger, they step on your heart.” She knew that raising kids is hard work, and it is often painful and costly.
  • Paul reminded the Thessalonians that his team’s mission work in Thessalonica “was not in vain” — it was an investment of hard and costly work that paid off. We learn from 1 Thess. 1 that…
    • They brought the gospel to Thessalonica with full conviction, and displayed God’s power among them.
    • The Thessalonians learned the character of the mission team.
    • The Thessalonians became imitators of Paul’s team, receiving the gospel with joy despite the suffering it caused them.
    • The Thessalonians became an example of faith for other believers to follow in the regions of Macedonia and Achaia.
    • The Thessalonians turned from idol worshippers to true servants of the living and true God, and put their hope in the resurrected and returning Christ.
  • Paul reminded the Thessalonians that his team “had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi” – In Acts 16:9-40 we discover that …
    • Paul was in Troas when he saw a vision of a man from Macedonia begging him to come over to Macedonia and help the people there.
    • When they arrived in Philippi, they waited several days for an opportunity to preach the gospel.
    • They finally found a group of women that had come together. They shared the word with those women, and one of them – Lydia – came to Christ, and led her household to Christ, and opened her home for the mission team to use as their base while in Philippi.
    • They encountered a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination. They cast the spirit out. The owners of the slave girl had Paul and Silas arrested, the crowds rioted and beat them, and then they were thrown in jail.
    • Paul and Silas prayed and sang for joy while in jail. I think I know why they were joyful. I’ll tell you in a minute.
    • At midnight, while Paul and Silas were singing, an earthquake shook the foundations of the jail house, and everyone’s chains were broken.
    • When the guard of the jail woke, and saw what had happened, he was about to kill himself. But Paul stopped him, and led him to Christ instead. Now, it is just my opinion, but I think Paul knew that this man was going to became a Christian the moment he saw him. He had seen in the vision at Troas a vision of a man from Macedonia. I think he saw that man.
    • After being released (and apologized to) the team left Philippi and headed to Thessalonica.
  • Paul’s team “had the boldness … to tell the Thessalonians the gospel of God amid much opposition.”
    • The Greek word for boldness here is παρρησιάζομαι to ‘speak without a sense of constraint’. The mission team challenged the people of Thessalonica to change their minds about Jesus.
  • In Acts 17:1-10a, we discover that…
    • They went to the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews from the scriptures.
    • Some of the Jews were persuaded, and so were a great many devout Greeks.
    • But the Jews who were not persuaded caused a riot, and had several of the believing Jews arrested. They were eventually fined and released, but they feared for the safety of the mission team, so sent them away by night to Berea.

A mother honestly loves her children without pretending to be someone she is not (3-6).

  • We raised our children in an environment very different from our own, by Penny did quite well because she never tried to be another friend for our daughters. They didn’t need another friend. They needed a mother who cared enough about them to challenge them to live right.
  • Paul said that his team’s exhortation did not come from error (3).
    • The Greek word is πλάνη ‘a wandering/roaming from the standard route’. The team preached the truth about Jesus. They didn’t falter from that standard.
  • Paul said that his team’s exhortation did not come from impurity (3).
    • The Greek word is ἀκαθαρσία filth, dirt, impurity. The team preached from pure motives.
  • Paul said that his team’s exhortation did not come from deceit (3).
    • The Greek word is δόλος ‘cunning that relies on deception for effectiveness.’ The team did not have to trick anyone, because the truth was enough to change people’s minds.
  • Paul said that his team’s exhortation did not come with flattering speech (5).
    • The Greek word is κολακεία ‘flatter’. The team did not have to appeal to anyone’s ego. The only thing they needed to know about their audience was that it was composed of 100% sinners in need of Christ.
  • Paul’s team’s exhortation did not come with a pretext for greed (5).
    • The Greek word is πλεονεξία ‘motivating force for gaining something beyond an acceptable standard’, greed, avarice. The team had nothing to gain from their audience except building the kingdom of Christ.
  • Paul’s team’s exhortation did not come with seeking glory from men (6).
    • The Greek word is δόξα the primary idea is one of ‘appearance’, then of ‘opinion’ based on what seems good or impressive, with ‘esteem’ as product] glory, honor. The team’s investment of their time and effort was temporary. They were interested in changing people’s minds about Christ, not gaining glory for themselves.

A mother tenderly loves her children, knowing that they need a gentle touch (7).

 

 

  • Paul said that his team “proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.”

A mother sacrificially loves her children, pouring out her life so that they can have what they need (8-9).

 

  • Mothers are among the hardest workers on the planet, yet ironically, they usually get no salary from the hardest work that they do.
  • Paul said, “we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives” (8).
  • He said, “For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God” (9).
    • in hendiadys κόπος καὶ μόχθος trouble and toil = exhausting toil.
    • What kind of troubles did Paul face? (2Co 11:23-28 NLT) I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have travelled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. 28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.
    • Paul told the Corinthians, “All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory” (2Co 4:15 NLT).
    • But what if you face the ultimate trouble? What if you die on your mission? (2Co 4:14) “We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you.”

The New Testament mentions a few mothers who were also exceptional disciplers:

 

  • John Mark’s mother (Acts 12).
  • Rufus’ mother (Romans 16).
  • Timothy’s mother (Eunice) (2 Timothy 1).

 

These ladies had what it takes to influence their children to commit their lives to Christ. We need disciplers like that.

 

We, the church of Jesus Christ, are called to make disciples, wherever we go, whatever we do. We can learn much about discipling by looking at a mother’s love, and caring for others with a mother’s touch.