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Return to the Word of God: The Commonality in Judah's Revivals

There were five revival periods during the times of the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel. These were all identified by a return to the Word of God. They began with a return to the Word of God; revival followed which eventuated in a great moral reformation: (1) Asa—2 Chronicles 14–16 ; (2) Jehoshaphat—2 Chronicles 17–20 ; (3) Joash—2 Chronicles 23–24 ; (4) Hezekiah—2 Chronicles 29–32 ; (5) Josiah—2 Chronicles 34–35 . These periods were the only occasions of blessing in the dark era of the divided kingdoms.

J. Vernon McGee
Making the Midweek  Service Significant
Dallas Theological Seminary. (1954; 2002).
Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 111
(111:247).
From the Theological Journals Library

Text Selection: Freedom or Verse-by-Verse

From John Piper, commenting on how a pastor (or teaching church leader) must think about text selection. This was written in the first months of his pastorate at Bethlehem Baptist. It's a very good balance that gives some insight into how Piper has sought to "teach the whole counsel of God":

Two principles have to be balanced out. One is that we preserve the freedom of the Holy Spirit to interrupt and alter our plans. We must not be so locked into a verse-by-verse exposition of this book that he cannot hit us with another text from time to time that we may need to hear even more. That is the principle of freedom.

The other principle to keep in balance with it is the principle of discipline. Preachers are sinners who, like all sinners, tend to preach what they like and avoid what they don’t like. So we must find a way not to be so selective. Luke tells us in Acts 20:26f. what Paul said to the Ephesians when he left and what I want to be able to say to you when my work here is done: “I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” A preacher cannot say that, if he rides one or two hobbyhorses while avoiding other teachings of Scripture. One of the best ways to fulfill the principle of discipline is to preach through a book of the Bible.

These two principles, freedom and discipline, are in tension because it is not always easy to tell whether a desire to interrupt a series comes from the Spirit or from a fear of the next text. But there is no escape from this tension and so all I can promise is that I will do my best under God to listen to the prompting of the Spirit and to declare the whole counsel of God.

John Piper
The Aim of Dr. Luke
Sermon from November 9, 1980

HT: Unashamed Workman

Keywords: preaching

Quote: Have Communion With God in the Doctrine You Contend For

Wise advise from John Owen on how we are to approach the controversy that may be necessarily involved in contending for the truth of the gospel, having communion with the God of whom the doctrine refers

[More important than all is] a diligent endeavor to have the power of the truths professed and contended for abiding upon our hearts, that we may not contend for notions, but that we have a practical acquaintance within our own souls. When the heart is cast indeed into the mould of the doctrine that the mind embraceth—when the evidence and necessity of the truth abides in us—when not the sense of the words only is in our heads, but the sense of the thing abides in our hearts—when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for—then shall we be garrisoned by the grace of God against all the assaults of men.

John Owen
Cited by John Piper
The Future of Justification (from Desiring God or free pdf copy)
p. 28

Keywords: controversy

Quote: Zeal AND Informed Obedience

Commenting on 1 Chronicles 14-15, when after God had struck down Uzzah for touching the ark, David realized that they had not been transporting it and worshipping God rightly, D.A. Carson writes

Here is a profound lesson. At one level, doubtless God approves childlike praise and enthusiastic zeal. But he expects those with authority among his people to know what his Word says and obey it. No amount of enthusiasm and zeal can ever hope to make up for this lack. Zeal that is heading in the wrong direction never reaches the goal. It must either be redirected in the direction staked out in God's Word, or however enthusiastic, it is still wrong-headed and misdirected. There is no substitute for faith working itself out in informed obedience.
D.A. Carson
For the Love of God, Vol 1 (digital from Logos)
November 20

Quote: Admiring Self For That Which Has Been Given

"What a monster of pride is man! How full of that cursed venom, is human nature! We cannot receive any grace or blessing from the Lord--but corrupt nature is prone to be proud of it--and to boast in it! No one is exempt from this. I appeal to your hearts. I refer to your experience. When your heart has been enlarged in prayer; when your soul has been carried out in humblings, meltings, longings, aspirings, etc.; when you have heard the Word with warm affections and heavenly joy; when your tongue has with sweetness and liberty, talked of Christ to others; when your hand has been stretched forth to do any good work; now in all these--have you not found pride very busy? Have not you been ready to stroke yourself with pleasure, and to reflect with delight: "Well, now the Lord loves me indeed! Surely He loves me better--now that I find myself so holy--and feel myself so heavenly!"

But where is our precious Jesus all this while? We have looked at ourselves--until we have lost sight of Him! We have been admiring our vile selves for our graces--instead of being in raptures with Christ, who is altogether lovely, in whom all fullness of grace dwells, and out of whose fullness we receive grace upon grace!"

William Mason
The One Thing Needed to Make Poor Sinners Rich and Miserable Sinners Happy (amazon)

History Has a Purpose

On 1 Chronicles:

History is not accidental and without purpose...Of course, we can speak of history having purpose only if it has a purposer - a creator, director, and sovereign...That purposing ruler is not you or me; it is the Lord God Almighty, Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is not simply one among many gods; he is the one true God. His plans and purposes will be carried out, and he will use the mighty kings of Assyria or Babylon for his ends.

Mark Dever
Message of the Old Testament
p. 344

Keywords: history,sovereignty