Essential Ingredients For Spiritual Growth

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, – 2 Peter 1.3


My mother is the type of cook that can throw things into a pan…mix it up…and when she’s done, she ends up with a delicious red velvet cake. I like to cook, but I’m not that kind of chef. I need a recipe. If the recipe is good, then usually I can pull off a pretty good meal myself. If the recipe is bad, then the end result is usually bad.

I recently attempted to make, what my family calls, a no-bake cheesecake. However, when I purchased the ingredients, I mistakenly bought light cool whip instead of regular. It didn’t end well. The recipe is simple. There are 4, maybe 5 ingredients. If the right ingredients are mixed together, there’s always success. However, as I learned, an unworthy substitute rendered unflattering results.

Our growth as believers requires the proper ingredients as well. The recipe isn’t complex, but these ingredients are essential. The ingredients are: biblical faith and good theology. A combination of these two ingredients results should result in a savory biblical growth.

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Emotions And Doctrinal Preaching

An overemphasis on doctrinal preaching as teaching often stems from and can lead to misconceptions concerning the relationship between doctrine and emotions. In other words, some advocate that doctrinal preaching should not be understood as preaching as much as it is understood to be teaching. A passionate delivery of theological content could be understood as unintelligent or less thought through.

Out of a fear of manipulating their hearers, pastors may avoid emotion in doctrinal preaching. Concerned over this issue Henry Mitchell wrote, “Preachers need not shy away from issues that touch them deeply. How can the hearers be moved if the preacher is not? This is not emotional ‘manipulation,’ as some students have suspected. It is shared meaningful experience— spiritual contagion.”*

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Three Benefits Of A Church With Sound Theology

Doctrinal preaching is not, nor should it ever be, simply the collection and distribution of biblical information. What one knows and thinks about God greatly impacts his worldview. Doctrine influences understanding, attitude, choice, and action. If doctrine is anything, it is practical. It is emotive. Doctrine impacts life. Sound theology is important for the people of God. They need it.

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What Happens Next? Revelation 21: The New Heaven, Earth & Jerusalem

Chapter 21 can actually be subdivided into two large sections. The first deals with the new heaven and new earth in verses 1-8, The second deals with the new Jerusalem in verses 9-26.

Vision three of Revelation contrasts the two rival cities, the prostitute Babylon and the bride New Jerusalem. In chapters 17–18 John foresaw the prostitute city’s doom. In chapters 19–20 the Lamb-Bridegroom’s wedding was announced. Now, at last, the third vision concludes with a brief scene of the holy bride city. At once John is ushered into his fourth and final vision (21:9–22:5). This time, he is shown the bride city in detail. The most wonderful part of the final vision, however, is his portrait of Jesus among his people throughout eternity. – Easley, K. H. (1998). Revelation (Vol. 12, p. 393). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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What Happens Next? Revelation 20: The Millennium; The Great White Throne

“The two competing major solutions should be summarized briefly, even at the risk of oversimplification. The first one that developed in Christian history usually goes by the names millennialism (Latin mille, “thousand,” and annus, “year”) as well as premillennialism. In this solution, the return of Christ will be followed by the visible, earthly kingdom of Christ and his people on earth that lasts numerous 365-day years, probably a thousand. After this, there will be one final battle in which the last human rebels will be crushed, the devil will finally be cast into eternal torment, the final judgment of humanity will occur, and at last there will be a new heaven and new earth. Chapter 20 is a central point in this view, especially the perceived literary unity between the closing verses of chapter 19 and 20:1–3, where the “demonic trinity” meets its judgment. This solution faded into obscurity for more than a thousand years of Christian history but has reemerged in the past two centuries in several forms.

The second major solution was urged by Augustine in the early medieval period. It completely dominated Christian thinking both throughout the Middle Ages and throughout the Reformation era. It still finds many devout, Bible-believing proponents, and is usually called amillennialism. In this solution, the return of Christ described in Revelation 19 is preceded by the invisible, spiritual kingdom of Christ and his people that lasts throughout the period between his First and Second comings. After this, there will be one final battle in which the last human rebels will be crushed, the devil will finally be cast into eternal torment, the final judgment of humans will occur, and at last there will be a new heaven and new earth.

Bitter theological battles have been fought over which view is correct. The more this writer has studied Revelation and the rest of Scripture on the millennial question, the more difficult it has been to decide. Both views have strengths. Both views have weaknesses…” – Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 367–368.

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Exegetical Notes: Psalm 100

  • A psalm used in the temple to accompany sacrifices of praise.
  • Similar Psalms: 47; 93; 95-99.Celebrating God’s kingship, sovereignty, majesty, etc.
  • “God is not merely Creator and Ruler of the world. He is also Founder, Guardian, Lord, and Shepherd of His Church. His people should exhibit their sense of this relation, and especially give it expression in public worship,  in order that all the world may discover that this God is the only God, to adore whom, men of all lands should unite with the Church.” – John Peter Lange et al., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Psalms (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 515.
  • “We have here, 1. A strong invitation to worship God; not that God needs us, or any thing we have or can do, but it is his will that we should serve the Lord, should devote ourselves to his service and employ ourselves in it; and that we should not only serve him in all instances of obedience to his law, but that we should come before his presence in the ordinances which he has appointed and in which he has promised to manifest himself (v. 2), that we should enter into his gates and into his courts (v. 4), that we should attend upon him among his servants, and keep there where he keeps court. In all acts of religious worship, whether in secret or in our families, we come into God’s presence, and serve him; but it is in public worship especially that we enter into his gates and into his courts. The people were not permitted to enter into the holy place; there the priests only went in to minister. But let the people be thankful for their place in the courts of God’s house, to which they were admitted and where they gave their attendance.” – Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 887.

1  Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

  • This psalm was sung as people approached and entered into the temple for worship. See verse 4a.
  •  “Make a joyful noise” – One word in Hebrew which means “raise the noise”, or “to shout”. We might say, “sing loudly”.
  • “to the Lord” – God’s creation wasn’t meant to celebrate haphazardly, but to celebrate with one focus. Our celebration should be directed to The Lord. APP: It is often most easiest to celebrate when you’re in the presence of that which you wish to celebrate. Consider watching football on TV vs going to watch one in person.
  • “all the earth” – An all inclusive call. “All y’all” or “everybody up in here”. Maybe not now, but one day it will be. APP: Consider this your invitation to join in this choir.

Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing

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