Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Test of Sonship (Part 9)

SERMON            GM14-030

SERIES:              The Christian Life Viewed as Sonship

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM

SUBTITLE:        The Test of Sonship     (Part 9)

SCRIPTURE:     1 John 4:2-3

SUBJ:                  Discernment

SUMMARY:       The children of God must practice spiritual discernment

SCHEME:           that Christians develop the disciple of discernment in order to distinguish between truth and error

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Friday, August 29, 2014

What Is Necessary for a Good Introduction to a Biblical Book?

In order to accurately and effectively teach a book of the bible, great care must be given to the introduction of the book being taught. Much information is gained by the preacher by such in-depth study. Also, a thorough introduction is the only way to gain first hand the intent and purpose of the author of the book under consideration.

Naturally some or much information may not be necessary for the congregation. The preacher must determine what is beneficial and necessary for his people in order for them to understand the intent, purpose, structure, and application of the book they are hearing taught from the pulpit.

Over the years I have come to use the following outline in order to prepare a thorough introduction of the book that I am teaching at the time:

  1. Authenticity - establish the canonicity of the book
  2. Apparatus - which MSS family and text is your translation from
  3. Arrangement - genre/each genre is interpreted differently
  4. Author - who is the writer?
  5. Audience - who was the book written to?
  6. Age - when was the book written?
  7. Argument - what is the intent or the main purpose?
  8. Aim - what the objectives the author wanted to accomplish?
  9. Analysis - what is the outline of the book that will be used?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Early Church Fathers, 38 Volumes

I have named it and I have claimed it but I still don't have it!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Do You Vary Your Introductions?

All of us who preach or teach each week face at least one absolute and concrete truth: next Sunday a new message must be prepared. No matter how well last Sunday was received, the minute you finished your message another one needs to be prepared.

I have discovered for me that the two parts of a message that are more difficult for me to prepare are the introduction and conclusion. Someone once told me that introductions were "the front porch" to the house. Well, for a good long season my "front porches" were bigger, better built, and more developed than the sermon itself. 

Having sat through a number of sermons, I know that 9 out of 10 guys don't know how to end or conclude a message. I have seen the extremes - from no conclusion at all to a whole 'nother sermon.

I have come across several introductory devices that I now use on a fairly rotating basis in order to prevent staleness from settling in. Maybe one or more of these can help you.


  • Begin by asking a "penetrating question"
  • Begin by giving pertinent facts
  • Begin by describing a descriptive scene
  • Begin by using an "astonishing/breaking news lead"
  • Begin by using a quotation
  • Begin by using a biblical illustration
  • Begin by telling a story
  • Begin by reading a related scripture to your text/theme
The idea of the introduction is to attract your people's attention to your theme and give them a reason to listen. Keep it simple and keep it short.

Your introduction should contain three specific items:
  • your introductory device
  • your transitional sentence tying the intro device to audience
  • your propositional sentence
What are you thoughts?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gentleman - Questions For Your Ministry

Many times I come across ideas that cause me to stop for a moment and do some real thinking. Many times I take these ideas and change them for at least five (5) reasons:

  • to help them fall more in line with Scripture
  • to fit my specific situation
  • to make more sense to me
  • to further develop a good or semi-good idea
  • to take them a bit further than they have gone
If you have been around me for even a short time you have come to know that I operate by a few specific axioms. One axiom that governs my thinking is this, "I have never had an original idea, but I know who to take a good idea and make it better."

I don't know where I got the following questions. I don't remember if I got them all at one time, or if I came across them from various sources. Unfortunately I can't give credit where credit is due. If you see your question here then forgive me for not foot-noting you.

Here are seven questions I ask myself all the time. Maybe they can be helpful to you in your field of ministry. I would love to see your answers to these questions. They will help me further my labor in the field of Kelso/Lexington.
  1. What is the spiritual age of my congregation?
  2. How do I plan for the maturity of my people
  3. How do I preach with a view to discipleship?
  4. How do I really get to know my people?
  5. How will they be brought to love the gospel  
  6. How will the come to love biblical preaching?
  7. How will they come to love God more than a  "form of godliness?"                  

Monday, August 25, 2014

What Is Your Way?

"The Way to enjoy the Divine presence, and to be fit for distinguishing service for God, is to live a life of great devotion and constant self-dedication to him: observing the motives and dispositions of our own hearts, whence we may learn the corruptions that lodge there, and our constant need of help from our God for the performance of the least duty: and, oh! dear sir, let me beseech you frequently to attend to the precious duties of secret fasting and prayer." (David Brainerd)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Test of Sonship (Part 8)

SERMON:  GM14-029

SERIES:  Christian Living in a World of Chaos & Contradiction

SETTING:  North Kelso Baptist Church


SUB-SECTION:  The Christian Life Viewed as Son-Ship

SCRIPTURE:  1 John 4:1

SUBJ:  Genuine Christians tests all spirits

SUMMARY: The Christian life is a life that demands constant discernment

SCHEME:  That Christians develop the discipline of discernment in order to distinguish between truth and error

The Test of Sonship
1 John 4:1 * Part 8


A.  The Difficulty of Discernmet

 Which do you think would be easier to discern—two objects that differ in weight by ¼ ounce or two objects that differ by ¼ pound?

 According to doctor and author Richard Swenson, “We can tell the difference between a letter weighting 1 ¼ ounces and one weighing 1 ½    ounces, but not between [a bowling ball weighing] 10 pounds and [one weighing] 10 ¼ pounds—the difference needs to be at least 2 percent.”

B.  The Desire for Discernment

It is like that for us. Discernment can be a tricky thing. In life, the ten pound bowling balls or life’s weightier issues can be more difficult to figure out or to discern


2A  The Christian Life Viewed AS SONSHIP  (2:29-4:6)

       1B  Sonship Demands the practice of righteousness
       2B  Sonship Demands the practice of love


       3B  Sonship Demands the practice of discernment

              1C  The Command given for discernment  (4:1)

                     1D  The People Addressed


                     2D  The Process Advised

                            " not believe every spirit..."

                            "...but test the spirits to see whether they are from God..."

                     3D  The Product Advocated

                             "...for many false prophets have gone out into the world."


       A. W. Pink said, ““The face of error is highly painted and powdered so as to render it attractive to the unwary.”

The false prophets, whether of the papist or the Protestant order, make a great show of devotion and piety on the one hand, and of zeal and fervor on the other, as did the Pharisees of old with their fasting and praying and who “compassed sea and land to make one proselyte” (Matthew 23:15).

They are diligent in seeking to discredit those truths they design to overthrow by branding them “legal doctrines” and denouncing as “Judaizers” those who are set for the defense of them.

Exhortation:  I exhort you to love with every ounce of your energy and with no limits test every person who claims to speak for God and determine from scripture whether they are from God since so many false prophets and teachers are in the world today. 

Paul wrote in Romans 16:18 (KJV) 

“…by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve.”

Let’s pray! J

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How Much Does A Person Have to Know to Be Saved?

The other day I was drug once again in that age old "discussion" of how much gospel does a person need in order to become a Christian. Another way of saying this is how simple can the gospel be made so that people can still be converted. Or just how much does a person need to know or be told in order to "get saved?"

Quite frankly I have disliked this discussion for quite some time. I have always felt that both the Lord and the gospel end up with the short end of the stick on this one. 

Those who are shallow in bible understanding and those who think that the gospel must be so simplistic, strip the gospel of vital information. I have heard some gospel presentations that were barely above Amway invitations. 

Do you remember those old Amway ambushes? Your friend, or a "couple" invited you to "dinner" or "snacks" and wouldn't tell you anything more. Then when the evening began you discovered you were a "target" set up in an ambush to be suckered into Amway. Oh, did I say suckered, did I mean to say solicited?

Stop and think about it for a minute will you? First, why do some people think the gospel should be so stripped down and so simple? 

That's easy-peasy! They don't think the "target" will get it. They don't think the "lost soul" that they are "sharing" the gospel with will understand it.

But wait a minute, what does I Corinthians 2:14 say? "The natural person [the unsaved individual in his/her natural state] does not accept [receive- with the view of understanding] the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly [foolishness] to him, and he is not able to understand them [why?] because they are spiritually discerned. (I Corinthians 2:14, ESV)

Until the Holy Spirit sovereignly chooses to regenerate an individual they will not and cannot understand spiritual truths. They cannot understand the spiritual principle, the spiritual truth, the spiritual motivation and animation behind biblical truth. It is true that faith comes by hearing the Word of God, but faith does not come until the Holy Spirit has imparted the gift of faith as He imparts spiritual life. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit then faith and repentance comes as the lost soul understands and repents by faith.

So, I think sharing the gospel is somewhat similar to answering the question most parents fear the most, "where do babies come from?" The most intelligent response gives just enough information to satisfy the child who has asked the question. 

Avoid two extremes - avoid giving a university level dissertation on reproduction and avoid giving so little information that the questioner is confused, unsatisfied, or seeks information elsewhere.

Share enough biblical truth based on your "hearers" abilities,background, circumstances, intelligence level, and/or need. Give the full gospel - don't hold back.

The "success" of the gospel, the person's salvation that you are dealing with is NOT DEPENDENT UPON YOU! God will save those whom He has ordained to eternal life. It is not up to you to get anyone to "sign on the dotted line." Your job is to prayerfully, graciously, and humbly share the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ and then to water that freshly planted seed with fervent prayer. God will give the increase to those whom He chooses in His timing,

So, go into all the world, as ambassadors of Christ, being witnesses to His death, burial, and resurrection. Preach, teach, and share the entire gospel news with every creature. Bear precious seed and you will return rejoicing bringing your sheaths with you.

And by the way, don't give me that asinine rubbish about "Share the gospel - and use words if necessary." The very fact that we are to preach, proclaim, or share the gospel requires words! Think about these things and don't naively accept them because they first, sound good, and second, sound "christianese." 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hungry People - Happy People

There is no greater joy than to share the Word of God with people who love the Lord and love His Word. There is such freedom in presenting an eternal truth for God's glory and the good of His people when His people want to hear His Word.

My heart goes out to a couple of Pastors whom I know who have lamented on more than one occasion that their people have absolutely no response to the Word whatsoever. It was  great day at North Kelso Baptist Church. Small, but such a positive, happy, and hungry group of wonderful people.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gospel-Driven Disciples Announces Retirement!

I first heard about blogging in February of 2009. I was up early, surfing the net in a Motel 6, on a cold, snowy, February morning in Bend, Oregon. I was on temporary assignment managing an American General Branch. I had come across an article by Abraham Piper giving six reasons why pastors should blog.

Needless to say I took the challenge. I found e-blogger that morning and the Gospel-driven Disciples was born. I have tried to produce a sound, solid, and scriptural blog that would exalt our Sovereign God, edify Saints, and evangelize sinners.

I have enjoyed my blog immensely. I have looked forward to almost each and every post. However, I have found that it is becoming more and more difficult to keep up with my studies, sermon preparation, and my desire to write a book.

Recently I have begun a new project that takes up most of my time. As you have noticed the time that I have had to develop quality posts has declined. I have not had the time to post each day as I did over the last several years.

Therefore I am announcing my retirement as a blogger on the Gospel-driven Disciples. The Gospel-driven Disciples Blog will come to a close on December 31, 2014. I will try to produce a quality and uplifting blog as often as possible until that day.

I cherish each and every one of you who have stopped by and commented on my posts will stay with me during this transition. I would like however to say, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you' to every loyal reader. I love everyone of you.

No, you are not going to get rid of me that easily. If you desire you can still follow my blogging on a new blog that I have toyed with over the last several months. I am now going to attempt to post daily in this new blog. I trust that you will follow me to my new blog and follow that blog just as you did this one. 

This new blog is entitled North Kelso Baptist Church and you can find it at You can also check out a new website under construction at

In addition to church news and announcements, I will continue to expose my readers to valuable books, writers, pastors, sermons, theological issues, biblical exposition, personal commentary and opinion, my warped sense of humor, and various other things of importance to today's believers.

Please continue to follow on my blog by joining the site, reading it each day, praying diligently for its content to both honor God and help the believer, and by leaving a comment. Please don't go away! :)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Test of Sonship (Part 6)

I am sorry and apologize for the formatting problems.

SERMON            GM14-026

SERIES:              The Christian Life Viewed as Sonship

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM

SUBTITLE:        The Test of Sonship     (Part 6)

SCRIPTURE:     1 John 3:16-18

SUBJ:                  John illustrates his point

SUMMARY:       You must love fellow believers through activity rather                              than by words

SCHEME:           that Christians love their fellow-believers by exemplifying their love

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Power of Prayer

God uses humility. He uses humble people. We are not going to change God's mind or plans regardless of the fervency and frequency of prayer, but God will use our prayer to change us bringing us in line with His eternal  plans and designs as we pray.

--Gregg Metcalf,
North Kelso Baptist Church

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Danger, Danger Will Robinson!

"So, considering everything, The Shack is a warm, enjoyable book that is only Christian fiction and we Christians shouldn’t take those areas where it directly contradicts God’s word to be a serious issue.  Why?  Because it is only fiction.  It isn’t real.  It's okay.  Lighten up.  Just enjoy the book and stop being so picky about stuff and stop comparing it to Scripture so much." (Matt Slick, The Shack is only Fiction, C.A.R.M.)

Are you kidding me? No, this is so serious that it cannot be a laughing matter. I don't know you Matthew Slick and for good or bad I don't know anything about C. A.R. M. But if you are serious, and I am still waiting for you to shout out, "April Fools,"but if you are serious then you are very, very, very dangerous man.

There are times I feel as if I am a lone, almost imperceivable voice in a vast wilderness. I feel like I am attempting to empty the Pacific Ocean with a spork (or if you want to be more technical, a foon.)

The Shack is not a warm, enjoyable book that is intended to be "only" Christian fiction. First of all, what in the world is "Christian Fiction?" I can't even conceive of what can be considered fiction for Christians. (No I did not say nor am I am implying that there is no such thing as fiction or that Christians can't enjoy fiction.)

Second, how can anyone who treasures the Bible as a special revelation from Almighty God seriously say to anyone that we should not be concerned when the Bible is contradicted by blasphemous lies?

Third, it can only be a brilliant lie from Satan himself to consider contradictions to God's Word as harmless fiction. And by the way, no sir! I will not lighten up. 

Satan has taken a brilliant means to continue to confuse, confound, and counterfeit his lies. The majority who read this trash will not know that it is merely "warm enjoyment." They may be confirmed in its intended deception. This is no different, at least to me, than saying, "Oh, here is a warm and enjoyable drink meant to comfort or entertain you. This drink is filled with vitamins, minerals, flavorings, and such. But oh by the way, the poison and the harmful other ingredients are not important they are just counterfeits and contradictions of real ingredients. So don't worry about,just sit back and drink up!"

How can I in all honesty lighten up and enjoy it without being "picky" about truth or what the book portrays. I will not stop comparing any teaching, fiction or non-fiction by checking it against Scripture.

Scripture is all I have. It is my authority. It authenticates truth and it invalidates all non-truth. If something violates either the glorious, majestic, holy, righteous, and magnificent character of my God I will not lighten up, I will stand up, and I will call it what it is.

I have a limited audience and very little influence. Regardless, of the fact that I am but a mere, almost invisible ripple in a huge body of water, I emphatically and most vehemently warn you that The Shack is not harmless fiction.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Diary of a Pastor, Entry 5

Once again it is Monday. Sipping a hot, black cup of coffee and staring at the pages of my ESV Study Bible. Sunday is over, it has come and gone. 

Great gathering at NKBC, or is it of NKBC? At...of... I don't know. But it was a wonderful Lord's day service. 

Such a joy to preach to people who truly and visibly appreciate the Word of God. I love what one congregant said, "We don't go by clocks around here, we just figure it is over when you are done."

God said, "For the preaching of the cross, is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God."

Paul said in Romans 16:26, 27 (BBE) "Now to him who is able to make you strong in agreement with the good news which I gave you and the preaching of Jesus Christ, in the light of the revelation of that secret which has been kept through times eternal, But is now made clear; and by the writings of the prophets, by the order of the eternal God, the knowledge of it has been given to all the nations, so that they may come under the rule of the faith; To the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory for ever. So be it."

There is no greater  privilege than to be called to preach God's word to God's people. There is nothing I can do that would be any better for God's people than to preach Jesus Christ.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Test of Sonship (Part 5)

SERMON            GM14-026

SERIES:              The Christian Life Viewed as Sonship

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM

SUBTITLE:        The Test of Sonship     (Part 5)

SCRIPTURE:     1 John 3:10b-15

SUBJ:                  John confirms his readers with the test of love

SUMMARY:       The God-given love for fellow-believers is proof or your                                     salvation

SCHEME:           that Christians love their fellow-believers proving the reality of their salvation

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Anxiety by A. W. Pink

"Be anxious for nothing" (Philippians 4:6)

Worrying is as definitely forbidden as theft. This needs to be carefully pondered and definitely realized by us, so that we do not excuse it as an innocent "infirmity." The more we are convicted of the sinfulness of anxiety, the sooner are we likely to perceive that it is most dishonoring to God, and "strive against" it (Heb. 12:4). But how are we to "strive against" it?

First, by begging the Holy Spirit to grant us a deeper conviction of its enormity.
Second, by making it a subject of special and earnest prayer, that we may be delivered from this evil.

Third, by watching its beginning, and as soon as we are conscious of harassment of mind, as soon as we detect the unbelieving thought, lift up our heart to God and ask Him for deliverance from it.
The best antidote for anxiety is frequent meditation upon God’s goodness, power and sufficiency. When the saint can confidently realize "The Lord is My Shepherd," he must draw the conclusion, "I shall not want!" Immediately following our exhortation is, "but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God." Nothing is too big and nothing is too little to spread before and cast upon the Lord. The "with thanksgiving" is most important, yet it is the point at which we most fail. It means that before we receive God’s answer, we thank Him for the same: it is the confidence of the child expecting his Father to be gracious.

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought (anxious concern) for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" 

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."(Matthew 6:25,33)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Be Strong

Sometimes we find it difficult to face the reality of our enemy head-on. We read of the battle that we are called to and it can cause even the most stout-hearted, battle worn warrior to grow faint. 

Periodically we are reminded by good preaching or teaching that we must ever be on our guard. The enemy’s fiery darts, subtle attacks, and ingenious counterfeits seemingly come at us from every quarter.

We sometimes begin to think who is strong enough for this? As we weaken we begin to think that maybe, just maybe the enemy is stronger than we could ever hope to be. Unfortunately, when we begin to think like this the enemy works fear in our soul and we become so distressed that we forget a number of valuable truths.

We are not to let our fears overwhelm us. We can march onward, to borrow a phrase from Stephen Ambrose, with undaunted courage. Why? The outcome of the battle rests on God’s performance and not on ours. It is not our skill or strength that determines the victory!

Listen to the Apostle Paul as he wrote to encourage the believers at Ephesus – "…be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10 ESV)

The word for “strong” is the word ενδυναμοω. It is used eight times in the New Testament and it means “ to be strong, endue with strength, strengthen or to receive strength, be strengthened, or increase in strength. It can be summed up with the idea of “be bold.” Take courage and be bold in the Lord.

God is not restrained by anything, as a result, there is no reason to be frightened of anything. Trust Him implicitly! He will never leave us nor forsake. He will never let us down.