Sovereignty in 140 Characters

sovereign

Can you capture some of the mystery and majesty of the sovereignty of God in 140 characters or less? It’s like trying to capture the wind in a thimble. But give it a shot. It will force you to be concise and precise in your doctrine.

So here’s how it works:

  • Today’s doctrine is THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.
  • If you use Twitter, post a Tweet that explains this glorious doctrine. Put the tag #systheol on the Tweet so others can find it.
  • If you don’t use Twitter, leave a comment explaining God’s sovereignty in 140 characters or less.

Let’s do it.

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The Incarnation On Twitter

Last Friday I invited my Twitter friends to explain the glorious incarnation of Christ in 140 characters or less. Here are some of my favorite answers:

By @jxd:

Jesus=Word Who was God & was with God & humbled Himself & took on flesh. Fully God/fully man. A must 4redemption.

By @steeejei:

the Eternal becomes finite, the all-Glorious in human flesh, the unseen becomes seen, what the prophets longed for revealed to us.

By @JoelofCydonia:

The Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent is confined to one body, at one time, in one place to give his glory to beggars.

By @concisetheology:

Infinite glory births finite story. Born with skin, borne our sin.

My absolute favorite was by @EMcTwitty:

The ever eternal fills a lifespan. Invisible, infinite glory is revealed. Inexhaustible self-sufficiency hungers, thirsts, tires.

Thanks to everyone who participated. You can see all the responses by clicking here.

Let’s do it again tomorrow.

The Power of Gospel Preaching

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An overlooked evangelism opportunity is inviting people to church, for Christ’s power is present when his people gather (see Monday’s post).  Another reason to invite people to church is that God has designed preaching as a means of salvation.

…you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God… And this word is the good news that was preached to you (1 PE 1.23, 25).

When God’s living word, the imperishable seed of the gospel, is preached,  it causes people to be born again.

The gospel has intrinsic power to give life to dead hearts.  Like when Jesus called “Lazarus, come forth” to the dead man in the tomb and Christ’s very word injected life into him.

Paul says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” …So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ  (RO 10.14-17).

In other words, saving faith results from spiritual hearing, which God grants to people through the preaching of the gospel.

God has ordained preaching to be a means of salvation.  “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.”  (1 CO 1.21).

So any time you can, invite people to church where they can hear the gospel preached, and many will be born again by the imperishable seed of the word.

photo by patricia soransso

Why Bother With Preaching?

preaching

Why should we bother with preaching anymore?

I mean, come on, this is the 21st century. People aren’t into listening anymore. This is the age of conversation, of opinions, of open sharing. Preaching is so one-dimensional, so limited, so non-Facebook-like. People need something more interesting, more interactive. Something that lets them connect with God and others at the same time. You can’t post comments on a sermon.

Does anything good really come out of sermons?

Yes. Emphatically yes.

1 Timothy 3:16-17 says:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

But aren’t these verses just speaking of Scripture in general? Can’t I get all the benefits of scripture by sitting at home and reading my Bible?

No. You can’t get all the benefits of scripture through private bible study.

In the very next verse, Paul says to Timothy:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Is it an accident that Paul links the effects of God’s word to the preaching of God’s word? I don’t think so. The true preaching of God’s word always gets things done in our lives. By the preaching of God’s word we are reproved and corrected. We’re exhorted and trained in righteousness. We’re equipped to do good works for the glory of God.

This equipping, correcting, reproving, and training happens in a unique way through preaching that doesn’t occur through personal Bible study. Don’t get me wrong, personal Bible study is absolutely indispensable. But so is preaching.

If we don’t hear God’s word preached, we won’t be properly equipped to serve God. We desperately need the correction, reproof, equipping, and training in righteousness that comes through preaching. I want to serve God at maximum capacity.

So I need preaching. And so do you.

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+photo by Brent Nelson

Invite Them To Come In

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You may not always be able to share the gospel with someone, but there’s an often overlooked opportunity to evangelize that’s so easy even a caveman can do it – invite people to church.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says there is a “mysterious element in the life of the Church.  What is this?  It is what our Lord was suggesting, I think, when He said, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst.’  It is not a mere gathering of people; Christ is present…There is something in the very atmosphere of Christian people meeting together to worship God and to listen to the preaching of the Gospel.

“I remember a woman who was a spiritist, and even a medium…She was sitting in her house and she saw people passing by on their way to the church where I happened to be ministering in South Wales.  Something made her feel a desire to know what those people had, and so she decided to go to the service, and did so.  She came ever afterwards until she died, and became a very fine Christian.  One day I asked her what she had felt on that first visit, and this is what she said to me…She said, ‘The moment I entered your chapel and sat down on a seat amongst the people I was conscious of a power.  I was conscious of the same sort of power as I was accustomed to in our spiritist meetings, but there was one big difference; I had a feeling that the power in your chapel was a clean power.’  The point I am making is simply this, that she was aware of a power.  This is the mysterious element.  It is the presence of the Spirit in the heart of God’s children, Gods people, and an outsider becomes aware of this.”  – from Preaching and Preachers

A few years ago, a young Buddhist woman attended our church.  As soon as we began to worship, she began weeping.  The same thing happened two weeks ago to a Christian couple who came for the first time.  I believe in both cases, they were experiencing the presence of Jesus.

So invite your friends to church.  Invite your classmates and co-workers.  Give your waiter a church invitation – and be sure to leave a generous tip.

photo by ninaL (Grazyna Letellier)