I wanted to give some highlights of the preaching that is going on down here at the Shepherds conference in California.
The first sessions was opened by John MacArthur and he preached on 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1.
A few interesting points:
America was the first nation to separate politics and religion. All other nations before ingrained religion with politics because what a person believes can't be broken apart from his politics. What we believe shapes the way we view everything.
2Co 6:14 says: Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
The church should be distinct from the culture not like it. This does not mean that a husband should divorce his unbelieving wife or that we should not be in the world sharing the gospel or that we should not be in a secular school but it does mean that we should be separated from the world in our lifestyle, our spirit, our words and so on.
What are the issues that Christians should divide over? John lists: Scripture, doctrine, worship, teaching, and ministering issues. Christians should divide over these points because:
1. It is irrational to yoke with unbelievers who think exactly opposite in everything.
2. It is sacrilegious to do this
3. It is disobedient to God.
4. It is unprofitable
5. It is ungrateful
The point of 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 is that if you want the favor of God then don't do this stuff. Don't compromise with the ungodly people and systems of this world.
Tom Pennigton Preached next on 1 Corinthians 2. He blew us away with his exposition. There were so many good things in his sermon that I can't put them all so I will just lay out a few things that hit me.
No man can give the impression that he is cleaver and at the same time glorify God.
From every text in Scripture there is a road to Christ. Our job as preachers is to find that road and follow it in our sermons.
We need to depend on God's grace and not our personal ability. (1 Cor. 2:3)
An interesting point about Paul when he said he came in weakness, fear and in much trembling was that he was already preaching for 20 years. 1 Cor. 15:10 said that Paul depended on God's grace. We must approach the ministry in the same way.
We must trust in the Spirits power and not any human method or technique. 1 Cor. 2:4. This way God gets all the glory.
Question to consider:
What are the persuasive methods we are tempted to depend on instead of the Spirit?
God never blesses laziness. Careful preparation and exegesis are essential but we must fully trust in the Spirit.
John MacArthur preached the evening session. Her are a few points.
We need to have 3 levels of integrity:
1. In our family
2. In our church
3. In our relationship with the people around us.
MacArthur said the hardest part of the ministry was to be falsely accused.
4 reasons to defend our ministry:
1. reverence for the Lord. v. 11
2. concern for the church. v. 12
3. devotion to the truth. v. 13
4. Gratitude for our Salvation. v. 14