Tuesday, December 6, 2016

HUSBAND: PRAY FOR YOUR WIFE!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

There just might be some news that would toweringly soar far above any other news you could receive today. That news is that you have, at this present instant, a Great High Priest who intercedes for you before God’s heavenly throne. At this moment, wherever you are, whatever you’ve done, and however you may feel, if you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you have a Surety in heaven who pleads His own merits before God the Father on your behalf. Jesus, right now, prays for you. In fact, He does not stop praying for you. He loves you and brings you incessantly before the Father’s throne in prayer. Dear Christian, this is what your bridegroom does for you!

So husband, strive to emulate this by praying for your wife. Just as your Savior brings you before the Father, so you should bring your wife before the Father frequently.  Just as your Savior intercedes for you out of fervent love, so you can intercede on behalf of your bride before the Father with a heart overflowing in love.

Husband, do you pray for your wife? Not just a few words here or there. But do you really pour out your soul to God in desperate pleadings, fervent cries, and intercessory petitions on behalf of your most treasured possession on earth, your bride? If God were to affirmatively answer all of your prayers right now, at this instant, how much would really change in your marriage, or in your wife’s life?

Pray with frequency for your wife. Seek the Lord early for your bride. Prayerfully lead her to the throne before she even brings herself to the throne of grace. Beg God for strength to equip her to stand strong in almighty grace and to ward off the devil’s wily schemes. Seek the Lord that she may grow in grace, in wisdom, in love, in patience, in holy zeal, and in evangelistic opportunities.

If you have small children in the home, do you pray specifically that your wife will be empowered by the Spirit to speak gospel-truth to the hearts, minds, and lives of your little ones -- however young or old they may be? Perhaps your wife is nursing a newborn. Pray that, like Eunice, she may impart the sacred Scriptures even to those infant-minds so that they would hear divine truth even from the youngest of days.

Your wife may also be at home with young children during the day -- maybe toddlers, or early elementary school age. Intercede on her behalf for God’s strength to enable her to respond with grace when they sin. Pray that she would have overwhelming love and selfless resolve to discipline them when they sin, bring them to the cross in speaking the gospel, and to instruct them in the wondrous ways of God, work of God, character of God, and awe of God. Pray for her to be reliant upon God in her heart-attitude, in her words, and in her responses to various situations.

Maybe you have teenagers of any and all sorts. Maybe they are believers. Maybe they’re not. Maybe they are in relationships. Perhaps they’re not. Maybe you have one. Maybe you have four teenagers. Plead with Christ to give wisdom to your wife as she cultivates their hearts with divine truth and seeks to bring God’s wisdom to bear from the word of God in conversations that they have together.

Pray, O husband! Nothing in all the world can compare with the power of prayer. Bring all the military regimes, artillery, and nuclear arsenals from the entire globe and the weakest saint, praying to God, is mightier than them all! The devil trembles when the weakest believer comes before the almighty Throne in prayer. The fervent prayers of a righteous man are powerful and accomplish much! Pray, O husband!

Not sure where to pray or how to start? Not sure how to specifically bring her before God’s throne? Begin with Psalm 1 and begin praying through the Bible (i.e., the Psalms) and use God’s language (in the psalms) to frame and provide variety to your prayers for your wife. Then, you may choose to spend time praying through Psalm 119 for your wife. Read a verse. Then pray it back to God on behalf of your wife. Or you may choose Paul’s prayers (Colossians 1, Philippians 1, Ephesians 1 & 3, Philemon 1, 1 Corinthians 1) and take the Spirit-given language and allow it to fuel your petitions to God for your wife.

And don’t forget to thank God for the undeserved gift He gave you in your wife. Even with all her flaws -- however many they may be, you don’t deserve her. Even if she is a nonbeliever, still thank God for the companion He gave you in her. If she doesn’t fulfill you sexually as you’d like, praise and worship and bless God for her and for her unspeakable beauties and ask God for His grace in that particular area of your marriage. If she is a big sinner, remember that you’re a bigger one still. And yet -- neither of you are beyond the saving grace of God and the restoring mercies of the Savior! Refuse to complain! Storm the mercy seat and come boldly! Come with confidence! Come for your bride! Come with your bride in prayer. Pray for her and pray with her. And may God transform your marriage as you emulate Christ, your Bridegroom, who right now, at this moment, is still praying for you before the Father’s throne.

More articles & essays can be found at Pastor Geoff's articles page.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


HUSBANDS: SACRIFICE FOR YOUR WIVES!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO)




Love costs a lot. It’s easy to get and to receive and to take, but that’s not love! True love is a sacrificial giving of oneself to another for their good. It’s easy and natural to get things from others. But it’s unnatural to sacrifice self for the blessing of another. But that’s precisely what Christ has done for ungodly sinners. And as Christ, the Bridegroom, as loved His Bride with this kind of sacrificing love, so husbands are commanded to emulate this love by sacrificially loving their wives.

“Got it!” men say. But what does it mean to sacrifice? How does it look in the marriage relationship? The more that husbands understand the kind of sacrificial love that Jesus demonstrated for His people, the more will they will see how to love their wives.

A sacrificing love is a time-consuming love. Think of how Jesus spent time with people. He maximized moments with people. He spent time with sinners. He sat and talked. He walked and preached. He stood and heralded. He loved and pleaded with souls. Jesus’ life was a life of time-consuming sacrifice for sinners. But it’s just that where this becomes so difficult for the 21st century man. This takes T-I-M-E. And that’s just one thing we don’t have; or rather, one thing men often aren’t willing to make. True sacrificial love occurs when time is spent together. Jesus modeled it for sinners. Husbands must emulate this toward their wives.

A sacrificing love is an unhurried and genuine love. Superficial love is easy and fake. But it’s hypocritical and easy to see through its facade. With only enough time, the truth of this mask will be uncovered and the real selfishness of love will tragically ooze forth. How amazing is it to observe the unhurried life of Jesus. He set his face toward Jerusalem and for the cross. And yet He found Himself interrupted constantly by sinners, providential appointments, sick persons, and the like. And he loved them genuinely. When God graces our days with interruptions let us not fight with the heart-filled lust for control of our schedule but let us remain unhurried and genuine in our thankfulness to God and our genuineness of love for others -- especially our precious brides.

A sacrificing love is an exclusive love. Jesus gave up His life for His sheep. He didn’t die for everyone. Nor does He swallow up all people of all religions of all beliefs in his salvation. He sacrificed Himself exclusively for His people whom the Father fore-loved, predestined, and gave to Him countless ages ago. Husband, sacrifice for your wife. And sacrifice for her exclusively and preeminently. Let nothing in your heart or life be remotely comparable to the exclusivity of your life for your mate. Give up anything and everything for her. Tell her this. Show her this. Prove it to her. Encourage her with this. Sacrifice self for her! Die to self for her! Only for her!

A sacrificing love is a pursuing love. A simple reading of Song of Solomon, the God-given and Spirit-inspired love-poem given to believers, will show that godly husbands will pursue their wives. Of course, this only follows the preeminent example of Christ who pursues His own. Remember the mission statement of Jesus: the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus is the seeker. He is the initiator. He is the pursuer. He is the instigator. He is the relentless and tireless one who chases after his wife. As Jesus pursued you, O husband, so you also should pursue your wife. And this is costly. It’s Christlike. And yet, this is sacrificing love.

A sacrificing love is an others-serving love. The Song of Solomon provides a marvelous definition of marital love: “There I will give you my love” (Song 7:12b). Sacrifice, O husbands, for your wives as you follow the example in God’s Word. Give! Love gives! God so loved the world that He gave (John 3:16). Christ loved me and He gave Himself for me (Gal 2:20). Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for you (Eph 5:25). Make it your driving ambition to serve your mate first and foremost. Have the same attitude in yourselves which also was in Christ Jesus. Serve others as Christ served you, even if your bride is unworthy of it! For remember, you were far more unworthy of Christ’s sacrificial love toward you as you scorned his grace and scoffed His love for so long. Serve your spouse!

A sacrificing love is a self-dying love. Quite simply: as much as possible, do what she wishes to do. This is not relinquishing your leadership role. Not at all. But rather than always choosing where to go, where to eat, what to do, how to spend the evening, what to do on Saturday, deliberately die to self and find joy in doing what she wants to do. Make intentional efforts. Surprise her. Love her. Cherish her. Make intentional efforts to do things that she would love and appreciate. Again, when you said: “I DO” you said (in essence), “I DIE TO SELF.” So do it!

A sacrificing love is a gospel-picturing love. All of this must be the case in marriage because the covenantal bond between a husband and wife is a breathing and visible illustration of the spiritual union between Christ and His Bride. So the more that you sacrifice for your precious bride, out of heartfelt love and stemming from joyful worship to Christ, you evidence the happy and pleasing satisfactions of the gospel as the work of Christ continues to change you and conform you more into His likeness. After all, He gave all for you. So sacrificially love your bride in giving all for her. Hold nothing back.

More at Pastor Geoff's articles page.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

WHY I PREACH WITH AN OPEN BIBLE.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Blogs and articles abound in promoting myriads of ideas relating to preaching and of being relevant to the audience and clever in the delivery. My commitment has been and will continue to be simple: to open the Bible, to read a biblical text, to explain that biblical text, to press home its application to the hearer’s heart, and to proclaim the saving gospel and call sinners to repent and believe. In doing this, I preach with an open Bible -- always. I’ve compiled a few reasons why I preach with an open Bible.

1. it conveys my only authority.
When the preacher speaks, he has only one authority -- the voice of God that goes forth in the declaring of divine truth as it is sourced in the written Word. Other than that, the man has nothing to say. When I open my Bible and preach from it, it conveys to the congregation that my only authority to stand before them and speak is simply and solely is the written and sufficient Word of God. I want it to be seen. I want the audience to understand I’m a man under divine authority as I speak God’s truth to His people.

2. it models biblical hermeneutics.
Preaching is hermeneutics publicly spoken. To preach the Word means that a man has prayed and studied and done all the hard work so as to present biblical truth in a clear, compelling, and understandable way. I preach with an open Bible because I want to model biblical interpretation -- good hermeneutical principles and practices -- even in the act of heralding God’s Word. I don’t want people to ever come away and say “I believe this because Pastor Geoff said it!” Rather, I want people to leave convinced of theological truths because they say: “I see this in the Bible!” I want to model for them the art and discipline and proper methods of arriving at the proper meaning of the biblical text. And preaching with my open Bible aids me in this endeavor.

3. it prevents self-contrived ideologies.
Preaching with an open Bible prevents me from inventing self-contrived ideas and self-promoting messages. How easy it would become to start tickling the ears of the audience and fall into the cunning trap of people-pleasing. But to preach with an open Bible prevents me from creating and crafting my own fabricated ideologies and sermonettes and it causes me to preach what God wants me to preach in the following paragraph as I preach expositionally and sequentially through entire books of the Bible. I don’t want to be in charge of what I say or preach; I want God to dictate what and how I preach. And to prevent my own ideas infiltrating in, I believe that having an open Bible on the pulpit before me and constantly referencing verses in the Bible helps prevent self-contrived ideologies.

4. it visualizes the Headship of Christ
Jesus rules His church. I don’t think very many people would argue with that. But when you observe much of American Christianity you see something vastly different. One way, I believe, to emphatically show that Jesus rules this church is to preach from an open Bible on the pulpit so that all the congregation knows and hears and understands that Jesus Christ speaks to us now through the exposition of sacred Scripture as it is read and expounded through God’s appointed messenger. I don’t want to neglect anything that would downplay the headship of Christ. I don’t want to pick and choose verses and paste them on a screen. I want people to see the truth in their own Bibles. I want people to see me hold my Bible. I want the congregation to see me point to my text of Scripture. I want them to see my authority comes from Christ as it is codified and revealed in the inerrant Scriptures.

5. it proclaims its own sufficiency
Preaching with an open Bible in front of me is a simple proclamation in and of itself. It declares the sufficiency of the Bible. I don’t need gimmicks, or dramas, or entertaining techniques. I don’t need visual aids or clever anecdotes or humorous stories to catch people’s attention. God does that. So in opening my Bible, reading it, explaining and applying it, and pressing it home to people’s hearts and consciences, I believe that this testifies to the Bible’s own power and sufficiency.

6. it enhances frequent cross-referencing
One key principle of rightly interpreting the Bible is the analogy of Scripture -- comparing Scripture with Scripture and interpreting texts in light of other biblical texts that speak to the same truths. When I preach, I want the congregation to all know that the Bible -- though containing 66 uniquely inspired books -- comprises a glorious unity of divine wisdom. Nothing ever contradicts itself. No part of Scripture will ever diminish or negate or eliminate another. So in my preaching, I want my Bible to be open so that I can readily tell the congregation: “turn to…”, or, “let’s see this further in another portion of Scripture…” So in the open Bible before me as I herald, I want the freedom and readiness of turning to many Scriptures throughout the entirety of the message to aid and serve the message going forth. An open Bible helps with this.

7. it reminds me of my grave responsibility.
Quite simply, preaching is a sober calling and a majestic task. In a sense, the preacher always fails when he preaches because he can’t due justice to the beauty and glory of the God that is being presented, nor can human words adequately convey the splendor of Christ and the efficacy of His atonement. Nevertheless, all biblical preachers fearfully and joyfully take up the divinely-given call to preach. No greater joy exists in the world than to open God’s clear word and explain its meaning to the people God has brought to hear it. Preaching with an open Bible serves as an ongoing reminder that my responsibility is great and my duty is lofty. I am a mouthpiece, a messenger, an ambassador, a prophet-like man, to take God’s given revelation and speak it faithfully, unchangeably, and powerfully to all who have assembled. Having an open Bible serves to continually bring the weight of sobriety on my soul that I am a man under obligation, a man devoted to God, a man enslaved to Christ, a man in love with souls. Thus, I preach God’s Word to God’s people with an open Bible with joyful trembling and sober expectation that God will work in and through the going forth of His word to accomplish His perfect will.
HUSBANDS: AFFIRM YOUR WIVES!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church



Just read The Song. Yes, open the book of Song of Solomon and marvel at how Solomon verbally affirmed his bride. And let this serve as a Spirit-inspired, divinely given model for godly men to speak affectionately, honestly, and encouragingly to their own wives. It may accurately be said that there is no example anywhere in all of Scripture of a husband and wife so passionately, tenderly, and edifyingly affirming one another to the glory of God!

All things must be done for the upbuilding of God’s people. The Apostle Paul states this truth throughout 1 Corinthians 14. If this applies to the Christian church at large, how much more does this apply to Christian couples at home! Let all things be done for the edification of the saints. So, then, dear husbands, affirm your wives for their edification, for their strengthening, for their encouragement, for their upbuilding. It should be said at this point that the husband has the duty of edifying his wife simply because he is to lead her and love her selflessly and proactively. He must not affirm her or verbally adore her for the purpose of getting something (sex, submission, etc.). The husband must affirm his wife regardless of how she responds.  

With this said, what are some practical tips on how to do this?

Affirm your wife specifically. Solomon models throughout the Song of Songs a husband who specifically affirms and admires his wife. Just read chapter seven, for instance. He goes from the bottom of his wife to the top of his wife. He speaks specifically of her feet, the curves of her hips, her naval, her belly, her breasts, her neck, her nose, her head, and her hair. It’s specific. It’s passionate. It’s thoughtful. It’s absolutely appropriate! This is far from the tendency of men to simply say nothing to the wife or simply provide some generic: you’re beautiful! The more specific you can be, the better. It shows thought. It shows care. It shows intentionality. And it shows creativity. Specifically make it your ambition to notice features, body parts, attitudes, patterns of growth, and aspirations for holiness and affirm her with intentionality and joy.

Affirm your wife proactively. At the outset of the Song of Solomon, he speaks tenderly and verbally to his dearest lover even when she battles fear and worry. He initiates and proactively verbalizes his love and care for her. He tells her that she is the most beautiful among women. He showers her with overwhelming affirmations of love that she is beautiful, his darling, his lover, his dove. She has captivated him. And he does not wait for something to get right for him to then bless her verbally. Rather, he initiates, he proactively pursues and deliberately creates ways of affirming her, her body, her heart, and her character. Let all husbands learn from this. He proactive in leading your wife in verbal admirations. Don’t wait for her to do something before you then respond with loving words. You initiate it! Proactively affirm your precious bride.

Affirm your wife lovingly. Love, by definition biblically, means to give of oneself sacrificially to another for their benefit regardless of how they respond. It is always self-giving and others-benefitting. It is always self-sacrificing and lavishly-abounding. Love is not selfish. It is not merely taking or receiving, but giving! This means that husbands can verbally affirm their wives selflessly and sacrificially. A husband may quip: ‘but what if she doesn’t respond and encourage me back?’ Then, keep lavishly showering her with tender love! Or, ‘but what if she doesn’t respond with giving me sex?’ Love her expecting nothing in return. Love her deliberately and intentionally and happily -- just as Christ has loved you! Or, ‘but what if I can’t find anything to affirm her for or speak well of?’ Then, remember the gospel and how there was nothing for which Christ could have spoken well of you and yet notice how he initiated such overwhelming love in the gospel by showering you with grace, with love, with tenderness, with affirmations and promises! Go and do likewise!

Affirm your wife tenderly. Be tender, O husbands! Speak to her in winsome and warm ways that she will appreciate. This means you need to know your wife. Learn her. Study her. Know her heart and her longings. Know what she loves and appreciates. Then speak tenderly and admirably to her and praise her with husbandlike tenderness and Christlike warmth.

Affirm your wife continuously. A husband may be of the mindset that he told his wife he loved her on the wedding day and that’s sufficient throughout the marriage. Wrong! Lavishly affirm her. Constantly admire her. Repeatedly embrace her. All through the Song of Solomon there are occasions of verbal admiration and acclamation of beauty, of longings, of attractiveness, of exclusivity, of togetherness. Husband, seek to continuously lavish your God-given bride with warm and wooing words of tender affection and love. You can’t praise and admire her enough!

Indeed, O husbands, consider how Christ our ultimate Bridegroom speaks to and affirms His blood-bought bride! Consider how ultimate His promises are! Consider how tender His words are! Consider how thoughtful His affirmations are. He finds His bride supremely beautiful as she is robed in His glorious righteousness and washed in His blood. And O how He has spoken clearly, warmly, tenderly, and lavishly throughout the pages of Scripture! Do likewise, dear husband with the wife that He has mercifully given to you!

More articles available at Pastor Geoff's articles web-page.
HUSBANDS: LEAD AT HOME IN REPENTANCE!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church


Husbands should be the leading repenters in the home. This does not intimate that he does so merely to earn a prideful title. Rather, it means that out of every person in the home, the husband must be the one who leads the entire household in a proper understanding of God which will lead him to a proper understanding of self which will then cause him to realize a deeper understanding of his sin which will then catapult him to a regular lifestyle of repentance. The husband must lead his wife by repenting first. The husband should lead his family by repenting honestly, humbly, and quickly.

This requires, however, that the man have a proper understanding of the biblical doctrine of repentance. Some suggest that repentance means no more than a change of ‘mind.’ Though repentance certainly includes a changing of the mind, true repentance always includes much more. To repent is the vomit of a soul over a sin as it is seen in comparison with the blazingly holy character of God. To repent means that the penitent sinner views his sin rightly. It means that he hates his sin vehemently. It means that he mortifies his sin violently. It means that he turns from his sin decisively. It means that he replaces that sin with godliness. It means that he journeys on toward Christlikeness continually. To repent is synonymous with ‘turning around’ in the Bible and ‘changing one’s ways.’ 

The husband following after Christ seeks to model repentance in the home. He sets the example for the rest of the family to see. He shows how to repent. He shows what godly mourning is like. He exemplifies what godly sorrow and true repentance really is. How can be demand his wife and children to do that which he himself does not do? Thus, a biblical husband is a repenting husband. He rightly believes that repentance is at the very heart of the gospel call to salvation and that the only proper response to the gospel call is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and repentance toward God. Like the call of John the Baptist, the biblical husband bears fruits in keeping with repentance!

The biblical husband knows also that our flesh and sinful tendencies within us cause us to want to ignore sin, or refuse to deal decisively and violently with such sins -- even so called ‘respectable sins’ -- and for this reason, he sets himself on course to teach and instruct repentance in his household. He must not only model it practically in the home but he must instruct doctrinally so that everyone understands what God says in the Bible about this most important -- yet often misunderstood -- doctrine. He teaches during family worship. He instructs before and after church services weekly. He uses practical occasions with his wife (or, children) to instruct on what true turning really involves. He goes after the heart, not merely the actions.

Because he loves Christ so supremely, he ensures that no sin remains unchecked and unrepented of in his own heart. Then, he ensures that sin does not go ignored or shoved aside at home. He keeps short accounts with God as he seeks to confess quickly and repent decisively and exchange sinful habits for godly habits zealously. He knows that the true repenter is one who continues to see Christ as glorious and sufficient and as he does this, he sees his own sins and shortcomings. As this happens, he comes again and again to the cross for mercy and grace (which always is lavishly available for God’s people) which drives him to heartfelt and worshipful mourning over his sin and a resolve to follow hard after Christ.

Still all the while, the man of God who loves his bride seeks to honor Christ by repenting of sin and living a holy life, all of which is only able to occur through the Spirit’s enabling grace. The godly husband loves Christ so much that he hates sin intensely. He pursues holiness vigorously so he repents continuously and regularly. Repentance, rather than being a momentary act at the initial moment of saving faith, continues to be a lifelong discipline for the Christian who grows in conformity to the likeness of Jesus Christ. Repentance is a painfully joyful and necessarily growing opportunity for Christian men to love Christ supremely and put off sin in the context of their own homes. May God equip and enable all truly converted men to serve Christ and their wives by repenting diligently.

More articles in this Husband's Handbook and the full eBook will be available soon at his website.

Friday, November 25, 2016

HUSBANDS: LEARN YOUR WIVES!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Husbands must live with their lives in an understanding way (1 Pet 3:7).
The Greek phrase for “an understanding way” literally could be translated, ‘according to knowledge.’ Every husband must dwell together with his wife in such a way that he knows her -- very well. That means, quite practically, that husbands must date (and continue to date!) their wives. The wedding ceremony doesn’t mean the work of learning one another has ceased. Rather, it only has launched!

What does it look like for husbands to learn their wives?

First, learn her intentionally. This means that the husband must actually try and remember that he must be deliberate and proactive in reaching her heart and learning more about her. Because, naturally, this won’t happen automatically. Men can so quickly fall into laziness and apathy which can be utterly catastrophic for a thriving and holy marriage relationship. Thus, the man must strive to ask questions, pursue her as much after the wedding as he did to win her before they were even dating. Second, husbands must learn her emotionally. Women change as different seasons of life come and go. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just life. Seasons and life and families change. So husbands have the wonderful privilege of knowing and learning and seeking to learn how their wives are doing on the inside. This allows the husbands to shepherd and love their wives well.

Third, learn her repeatedly. It’s not a one-shot endeavor. Rather, this is an ongoing pursuit. It’s relentless. It’s undying. It’s a continual desire to ask questions and more questions and dialogue together and ask good, heart searching questions regularly. Again, this is to remain throughout the entirety of one’s marriage. Fourth, learn her studiously. Husbands can tend to study theology more than their wives. Husbands can tend to study their work and hobbies and sports teams more than their wives. And this ought not to be. Every husband must study his bride. He should be constantly asking and learning. Constantly inquiring and seeking to know why she thinks and speaks and does and reacts and lives the way she does. This comes with time. It’s not a quick, drive-thru, get it done easily and quickly endeavor. This studying of the wife is a life-long pursuit.

Fifth, learn her cheerfully. God has given the wonderful blessing to husbands to live with their wives according to knowledge (understandably). Indeed, this makes for a happy and healthy home life when the man leads well and cheerfully pursues his wife. Few women would say that they feel adequately pursued and happily embraced by their husbands as much as they would like. O husbands can learn from this. Take joy in the study of that amazing gift that God has given you in your wife. Go deep with her. Linger long with her. Embrace her tenderly and gently. Affirm her verbally and constantly. Take delight in the presence of and dialoguing with your wife.

Sixth, learn her pursuingly. This is a reminder that marital harmony and deep one-ness and knowledge doesn’t automatically come when the ring is on the finger or when a certain number of decades pass by. Strangely and tragically, three or four decades could pass in a marriage relationship and, in reality, the couple might not know each other one whit. The duty falls to the man to pursue his wife and live understandably with her. This way he can serve her well and bring happiness and joy to the gracious treasure that God has given to him.  And finally, the husband is to learn her tenderly. This takes patience and consideration. This means that it takes time -- yes, T-I-M-E -- with her and lots of conversations and dialogues to understand her. But keep tenderly pursuing her. Keep gently learning her. Keep intentionally investing in her. Keep asking her questions.

As a husband learns his wife, he will better equip himself to know her wants, her fears, her happiness, her anxieties, her struggles, her sins, her enjoyments, and what satisfies her most. Only in spending much time together, regularly, and making it happen (on the calendar) can this kind of deep, intimate knowledge occur. It’s not a matter of a husband asking to make it work. It’s a husband’s duty to move and shuffle and exchange things if necessary so he can have adequate time with his wife.
How to actively serve in worldwide missions where you are in your local church.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church


We must labor hard for the global spreading of the gospel because God’s heart is for the nations. He beckons the nations to worship Him! Indeed, He deserves worship from every creature that He has made. How can Christians who find themselves established in a season of life vocationally in a particular place, serving in a good ministry, and rooted with family in a particular city? How can a Christian actively serve in worldwide missions where they currently reside in the ministry context in which they already serve?

The New Testament can simply be broken down into two imperatives: GO! or SEND! There are no additional options. Apathy is not permitted. It has been said that one either goes, or sends, or disobeys.

Are you a goer?
Are you a sender?


James Fraser, a missionary to the Lisu people in China, wrote to his prayer partners back home, “I believe it will only be known on the Last Day how much has been accomplished in missionary work by the prayers of earnest believers at home.”

When pleading with those who sent him to China to persevere in prayer for his ministry, James Fraser expressed what any faithful missionary believes: “Solid, lasting missionary work is done on our knees.”

You, dear Christian — working full-time, raising a family, established in a church, and serving in that ministry context — can actively serve in missionary work. But it’ll cost you. It’ll cost you time, effort, labor, and earnestness on your knees. The advancing of the gospel thunders when saints bow humbly on their knees.

So how can you serve? How actively can you engage? Indeed, how must we involve ourselves in God’s global plan for His glory to be displayed for all the nations to see?

1. Give generously.
One very tangible and sacrificial way that you can catapult a love for global missions in your own heart and life is to give your money. Why? Your heart follows where your treasure goes. You want more of a heart for missions & God’s plan for the nations? Then put your money there and watch your heart follow! Let us give regularly to the needs of missionaries. Let us give generously to them -- not skimping, not holding more for us, not giving them the leftovers, not heartlessly, but generously and bountifully. Let us give sacrificially. Let us give as if souls depend on it! Let us give so that it actually costs us something. Let us give so sacrificially that we have to say no to something so that we can give more to global missions. Let us give above and beyond. Do we give a certain amount regularly? What if you give more and ask and trust and watch God provide? What if you give for specific needs that arise? Again, if you’re not a goer, then you’re the sender. Give generously and bountifully and happily and sacrificially so that God’s work can spread for His glory.


2. Pray persistently.
Financial giving and fervent prayer go together. A man could give all the money in the world but unaccompanied by the prayers of God’s people it is worthless and worldly cash. Let your money be given to your church for the spread of the gospel globally as it is married with your persistent and fervent prayers. So, then, dear Christian, let us pray individually for missionaries. Don’t know them? Then start by emailing your pastors/elders (or outreach/missions leader) and get the names and begin praying one by one for them, name by name regularly. Pray with faith and believe that God will hear and answer your prayers as you pray in accordance with His will as the Word of God guides your praying (begin with Psalm 67 or Psalm 117 or Psalm 115). Let us even pray for missionaries in our home contexts of family worship so that our spouses and children can learn that God’s plan far surpasses our own immediate context in our own little city. Let us pray for missionaries in our prayer meetings at church. Let us gather with other believers and pick a missionary, or two, or a location, or a school, or an outreach and pray with others at the church gathering for God’s work to spread and thrive. Let us pray with variety to keep things from becoming boring. Pray for revival, bible translation projects, leadership training, church planting, the unreached and unengaged people groups that have never heard, pray for seminaries and bible colleges, and for biblical counseling centers. Pray for the persecuted church that God would use them in the contexts of suffering for the advancement of the gospel.

3. Communicate encouragingly.
Don’t forget that we live in a day where we can communicate around the globe instantly -- literally. We can send emails, text messages, have Skype calls, and engage with those in the far, remote, distant continents across the oceans. Let us utilize these blessings and communicate encouragingly to these dear saints giving their lives in different contexts for Christ’s name. Find the missionaries that your church engages with and send them emails, letters, texts, and encouragement notes. What if one person from your church emailed a missionary each week so that a missionary received a weekly report, update, and encouragement from a fellow believer. Imagine the encouragement. What if you (yes, you, even if you don’t know them very well!) initiated a Skype with them. Better yet, what if you have your children be a part of this Skype call so they can learn and engage and be taught about God’s global plan. Write letters to them and include church bulletins, flyers, and other little booklets. Encourage one another, dear brethren!


4. Host happily.
And when a missionary comes in town, if I may so bluntly say it, cancel everything and clear the calendar to host these dear saints. Sure it’ll bless them to have a bed to sleep on and some warm home-cooked food to enjoy. But you will find yourself the one most supremely blessed as you sit and talk with them and hear how God is working, saving, sanctifying, and spreading His gospel around the world. So, if a missionary comes to town, let us eagerly host them, let us lavishly serve them. Indeed, I would suggest that we shower them ‘over the top’ and overdo it and show them double-honor as those who are giving their lives for the cause of Christ. Give them rest. Let them read and sleep and pray and meditate on Scripture. Enjoy them but don’t make them so busy that they cannot rest.


5. Focus geographically.
As you personally focus on praying and serving in worldwide missions (from wherever God currently has you), the world is big and there’s lots of ministries out there. So start with a specific geographical region. Start a bit smaller, be specific, and be intentional. Maybe pick a few missionaries or a few locations that your church supports (and, thus, where your faithful, regular, sacrificial giving goes) and pray in specific ways. This may mean you need to contact the missionaries and get some specific requests that they have. Then, pray and watch. Pray and watch. Pray and expect. Pray in faith. And see God work. Pick a region of the world and pray for it. Pray for the lost -- by name. Pray for cities and villages -- by name. Pray for unreached people groups -- by name. Pray for the unengaged who have never heard the name of Christ. Focus your time and your efforts and instead of large-sweeping prayers: “God save everyone in China” consider praying more specifically, more intentionally, more focused, and more knowledgeably and watch the Lord use you to further the gospel as your prayers speed God’s Word through His laborers globally!


6. Talk intentionally.
Don’t forget the missionaries. One great hardship in serving overseas is that it can become very lonely -- quickly. You in your local church can begin to talk with others about global missions. Your church doesn’t talk much about it? That’s ok. You can. Start a conversation with a friend and talk about how God is growing you through your praying, contacting, letter-writing, communicating, and family worship as you uphold a missionary in a particular ministry and in a particular location in the world.  Even consider talking with others about going, sending, giving, supporting. Don’t be afraid to ask others what they give to. Don’t be afraid to ask others how they give financially globally. Let’s encourage each other by talking intentionally, helpfully, and deliberately about God’s work going on around the world. Indeed, one profound and powerful conversation that, I believe, should be had often is to encourage young people to go! Young people who are not yet married, who have the time, who aren’t established in careers yet, who have energy and vigor and zeal should be encouraged to give all for Christ and prayerfully consider if God may have them serve around the world and take the gospel to a people group that has never heard of Christ! Of course it’s hard! It’s dangerous! Christ never said following Him would be easy or safe. But walk by faith. Serve Christ happily and eagerly. See how God can use you -- a weak vessel -- to encourage others in your ministry context to prayerfully consider serving Christ around the world.

All that said, never think that missions work is ‘their’ job out ‘there’.  Never fall into the trap of just heartlessly giving a few bucks here or there when a missionary comes in town. Involve yourself. And if you don’t see many opportunities, then find them! Make them! Create them! Initiate them!

Not sure where to start? After going first to your local church for information on the missionaries they support (where your money that you give goes), then go to these websites and pick a region/missionary and begin praying, contacting them, and start friendships and relationships:

TMAI.org — The Master’s Academy International
Heartcrymissionary.com — Heart Cry Missionary Society
Frontlinemissions.info — Frontline Missions International

Let’s remember the solid counsel from James Fraser who pleaded with those who sent him to China to persevere in prayer for his ministry: “Solid, lasting missionary work is done on our knees.”

Thursday, November 24, 2016

HUSBANDS: LOVE YOUR WIVES!

Love! It might as well just be one of the most misunderstood words today. What is love? Songs are composed asking the question and countless lyric-poems seek to define what love is. But when God is not the root and when Christ is not the ultimate example and when the gospel is not the foundation, then all endeavors to define and explain love prove, in the end, to be fruitless and empty. True love is a self-sacrificial giving of oneself to another for their good regardless of how they respond.

Who would do this? Honestly, who in their sane mind would embark in a lifestyle of love that is foundationally characterized by self-sacrifice and self-giving -- even if nothing comes in return! Who would do this?

And where in the world can we go to see this modeled? We must turn to the ultimate one who is Love, God Himself. The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8). Indeed, God has loved His covenant-people with an ‘everlasting love’ and indeed He draws her with lovingkindness (Jer 31:3). That means that God’s love fails not! That means that God’s love is a drawing, a winning, a wooing, an inviting love. Indeed, God’s love ravishes His people. It overcomes them! But still, how can we see this kind of love enfleshed and embodied for us to be gripped in our hearts and instructed for our lives?

To this we must turn to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He enfleshed Himself so that He walked the earth as true God and as true man. He came to His own people and tabernacled among them and was full of grace and truth. And this love that He has ultimately was driven by His undying and unrelenting commitment to His Father. And this unquenchable passion and indomitable drive led Him to love and die for the ungodly. Who would do this? Indeed, our great God shows his love by sending Christ to die for us -- ungodly sinners. Moreover, sinners are ungodly, wretched, foul, filthy, and wholly blasphemous through and through and Christ, out of unspeakable and unexplainable and uninfluenced initiative, came to those for whom the Father had given Him in all eternity past, and He purchased them by dying for them. Indeed, love self sacrifices one’s passions for the well-being of another -- even to death. This is what Christ did.

And the Bible commands husbands: love your wives just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. So the blueprint for husband-like love is Christ Himself. What did Jesus do? How did Jesus act? How did He suffer? How did He persevere? How did He prove His faithfulness? And to this, the Scripture tells husbands: do likewise.

Husbands, then, should love the precious bride that God has given with supreme and Christlike love. First, it must be a sacrificial love. Love isn’t easy. It’s a choice. It’s the sacrificing one’s own wishes and desires so that the other can be blessed. Second, it must be a determined love. Love isn’t a feeling. It’s a choice. It flows from the will. It stems in the heart -- the mission-control-center of the man. This eliminates all language such as: “I’ve fallen out of love” or “I just don’t love her anymore” or “she’s just quite hard to love.” All these are erroneously based on the supposition that love is a feeling and it comes or goes. Rather, the truth is that love is a choice of the will. You choose to love and then, always, the emotions and feelings will follow. Third, it must be a dying love. You must love in such a way that you give of yourself so wholly and fully and sacrificially and extremely that you’re willing to die for the well-being of another. Christ did it. And so must husbands. Fourth, it must be a prioritizing love. You, dear husband, must prioritize your wife before everything. Yes, everything. Work, children, hobbies, yourself, TV, football, video games. Everything must take back seat to your overwhelming passion and priority that you have for your wife in your love for and care for her. It’s not enough to just ‘affirm it’ verbally. Does your wife actually know this? If I were to ask her, would she say that you prioritize her before anything or everyone else in your life?

Fifth, it must be a soul-sanctifying love. Any man can say he makes money and gives it to the woman and allows her to buy stuff for herself and call that ‘love’. But remember, true love goes beyond the physical to the spiritual. A man can make lots of money and give it to the wife but that’s not love. Love remembers what’s of utmost priority. And that is the heart of the wife. The husband’s main responsibility is to shepherd and care for and nurture his wife’s soul in sanctification on this life-journey till Christ receives us to glory. The husband, then, is to be the soul-sanctifier of his wife as he (yes, the husband!) is the primary ‘pastor-of-the-home.’ He’s the resident-pastor. He’s the soul-carer. He’s the one who is to feed his wife’s soul, give her time with God, pray with and for her, lead her in repentance, suffering, joy, gratitude, and in family worship.

Of course, when husbands fail, he must be quick to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and also ask for forgiveness (specifically and without justifying it or blame-shifting) from his wife. The God of love is the God of all grace who lavishes forgiveness upon those who sin -- even many times a day. Run into His overwhelming love. Receive His perfect grace that covers all your sin in Christ. And model this humble repentance for your wife. Go to God. Keep short accounts with God; indeed, let no sin linger and fester and grow and gain strength in your life. O men, you’ll fail. Yes, we do. But go again to Calvary! Cling with Spirit-graced resolve to Scripture and Christ! Follow Christ, your glorious Bridegroom, and love your precious wife with the same fervor, care, tenderness, and selflessness that you have have received by Christ Jesus.


More of these articles in this "Husband's Handbook" can be found & downloaded here.
HUSBANDS, LEAD YOUR WIVES!


LEAD! How do you lead? Every husband is a leader. The question is not whether the man is a leader or not; rather, the question is, what kind of leader is he really? God calls the husband to lead his wife well and to do so with utmost integrity, faithfulness, care, and gentleness. And wonderfully, God has not left men without an example in this call to lead.

Christ Jesus leads His own people just as a shepherd leads his own sheep. Christ died for His own and cares for them and leads them to pastures. Christ goes before His people and paves the way for them. He never calls them to do something that He Himself has not done. He would never demand a believer to do something that He is afraid to do. A leader leads by example. And yet, a leader leads with integrity. What does this mean?

To lead well demands that one be truthful thoroughly and faithful perseveringly. A leader does not lie or stretch the truth. Nor does a leader give up when times are tough. Moreover, a leader does not just count tally marks and call something a ‘success’ and give up entirely. Rather, a leader is one who is faithful. He puts his heart and his mind to something and he works hard at it and perseveres at it and continues without losing heart. To lead well requires humility, a servant’s heart, a willingness to be last, setting an example, and caring specifically for those allotted to his care. Christ modeled this for all of those for whom the Father gave Him. And this is precisely what the husband must do as he leads his own wife in the home.

To lead in the home context of the marriage means that the husband must lead his wife humbly. He must be willing to sacrifice his own desires for hers. He must lead his wife sacrificially. He must give of himself relentlessly and tirelessly to bless her, nourish her, care for her, and provide for her. He must lead his wife lovingly. He must lead with a Christlike and gentle spirit and never (ever!) with a dominating, heavy-handed, angry and harsh mentality. He must lead his wife protectively. The husband is to protect her as His own cherished possession that he would treat as if she were rarer than the most expensive vase that he purchased in a far away land; because, she is, indeed, rarer than any other precious find! He must lead his wife biblically. The duty falls to the husband to make sure his wife is growing spiritually and in his walk with Christ. He must ensure she has time with God each day and in prayer. He must serve her to be with the ladies of the church and to get time away to meditate on Christ and Scripture. He must lead his wife faithfully. He has the wonderful opportunity to embody the faithfulness of Christ as he lives with integrity, faithfulness to her, exclusivity to their marriage relationship, and faithfulness to Christ in his own heart.

To lead means that people follow. A godly husband strives to lead his wife in such a way that he runs to follow him. Indeed, she cheerfully and happily follows him wherever he leads in life. Even if she finds herself in a potential situation of uncertainty or fear, she will rest confidently knowing that her husband follows Christ, fears God, holds Scripture, and has her best interests in heart. This is the kind of leader that a wife triumphantly follows. Lead her by being last. Lead her by putting off your devices and sitting with her and enjoying her. Lead her by selflessly pursuing her even when she doesn’t seem to reciprocate. Lead her by constantly  and joyfully pointing her to Christ even in the dark trials of the night. Lead her by refusing to do what you want to do (or, always do) for the purpose of doing what you know would bless her and bring her great joy. Lead her by pursuing her heart, engaging her mind, giving her time, shepherding her soul and nurturing her tenderly. By God’s grace and with the Spirit’s enablement, as you’re guided by and full of Scripture, you can lead your precious wife as Christ, your Bridegroom, leads you ever so tenderly and faithfully.


 
*This is part 1 of a 15-part forthcoming series in "The Duties of Christian Husbands — A Husband's Handbook."
The pdf eBook will be available for download here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


REASONS WHY OPEN AIR PREACHING IS ALWAYS EFFECTIVE.

by: Geoffrey R. Kirkland and Mike Stockwell
  1. Because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
  2. Because Christ’s Name is worthy to be exalted in the open air (public venues).
  3. Because the Word of God never returns to Him void and always accomplishes what God sends it out to do.
  4. Because the Word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword that pierces and divides.
  5. Because for some it hardens for judgment, for others it softens to salvation and still for others it encourages for growth in sanctification.
  6. Because preaching is the primary means by which God saves sinners.
  7. Because it delivers the one message of eternal life to spiritually dead souls.
  8. Because it is good news of Jesus Christ.
  9. Because it obeys the clear commands of God to preach the Word.
  10. Because the preacher heralds with absolute confidence that only God can save His elect.
  11. Because God’s sheep hear His voice, He knows them and He gives them eternal life.
  12. Because the preacher’s feeble words cannot thwart God’s power and decrees in saving a soul.
  13. Because God is magnified when His Word is publicly proclaimed.
  14. Because a greater number of people can hear the good news of the gospel who might not otherwise enter a biblical church.
  15. Because it is not spoken with wisdom of men but preached by the power of God.
  16. Because it does not come with the gimmicks and pragmatism of this age but with supernatural power.
  17. Because it encourages and empowers believers to be bold in their proclamation of Christ.
  18. Because it is one method of discipleship in the local church for Christians to learn from others and grow in courageous proclamation of the good news of salvation.
  19. Because it tears down strongholds, worldviews, and lofty speculations raised up against the knowledge of God and confronts it with the truth.
  20. Because the message of the cross is the power of God unto salvation.
  21. Because it is one way that God has used throughout human history to take the gospel to a wicked and perverse generation.
  22. Because the proclamation of the gospel opens the door for gospel conversations with the lost.
  23. Because it proclaims the reality of hell and urges sinners to repent before it’s too late.
  24. Because it leads everyone to the cross and all who are ordained to eternal life will believe.
  25. Because it’s an obedient act of confident faith in God’s sovereignty.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How do I speak of Christ? I don't feel equipped!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

As society raises its intolerable fist at evangelical, Bible-believing Christians, there are many believers that simply don’t feel equipped to speak of the gospel of salvation.  Many attend church faithfully, they read their Bible regularly, they pray with diligence, and they even want to speak of their Savior. They just feel ill-equipped and incompetent to be a mouthpiece for the Lord in the midst of a hostile and hellbent society. What is to be done?  This brief essay provides five helpful encouragements for every Christian so you can speak of Christ as His ambassador and for His glory!

1. Speak what you know.    PROCLAMATION
Every Christian is called to evangelize. None are excluded. ‘But how can this be?’ one may reply. Simple: if you are a Christian then you have heard the truths of the gospel and you have come to believe it to be true. If you yourself are saved, then you know enough to share with others so that they may be saved. You may not have the finesse and theological mastery that some others may have, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Better to have diligence, passion and tenderness in evangelism than heady, arrogant and even apathetic fact-telling of the gospel. So, Christian, speak what you know! You know God and His holy character! Then speak of that! You know of your sin and man’s inability to save himself! Then speak of that! You know of God sending His Son and putting Him on the cross as the sin-bearer to extinguish God’s wrath and to forgive of your sin. Then speak of that! You know of the need to repent and forsake your sin and trust in Christ alone to be clothed with His spotless righteousness! Then speak of that! Dear Christian, speak of what you already know. Proclaim the truths that are hidden in your soul that are so precious to you.

2. Speak of whom you love.   AFFECTION
A Christian is part of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church is termed throughout the New Testament as the Bride of Christ. Just as a bride loves her husband, so the church of Jesus Christ loves her Bridegroom. Just as a bride enjoys her husband, submits to him, loves him, honors him, and follows him, so the bride of Christ enjoys, submits to, loves, honors, and follows the ultimate and everlastingly sweet Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.  Speak of the one your soul loves. Speaking theological, gospel facts is one thing. Speaking these blessed truths with passion because they erupt from a soul that has been ravished and satisfied by the sweet embraces of Christ can be a very powerful gospel witness. Of course, it’s not a show. But true believers love to speak of the One they love. As we speak of our newborn children when they are born because we love them so much, how much more ought the people of God to speak often and speak highly of our great Savior who has won our affections.

3. Speak with loving urgency.   URGENCY
Eternity is soon-coming. Countless millions of souls live as practical atheists: whether or not they profess to believe in God, they live as though God does not exist and as though they are accountable to no one. Hell is truth learned too late. All in hell understand that they reside there forevermore because they did not repent. This must instruct and inflame us to speak often and urgently to the lost with gospel truth. To be urgent regarding something is to present something as of supreme importance that necessitates careful hearing, diligent response, and focused attention. Dear Christian, you don’t need to be a scholar to speak gospel truth, you simply need to love God and love your neighbor. You don’t need to know all the theological arguments of eschatology and all the opposing arguments (and counter-arguments) for the false beliefs of the afterlife. Rather, speak urgently and winsomely as you have a great love for the souls of others and you want them to join you on the journey to heaven and to experience the fullness of Christ’s face and embrace in the everlasting bliss of happiness. You’d be urgent if someone’s house was on fire. You’d be urgent if a toddler walked into the street with oncoming traffic approaching. How much more must we be urgent with the undying souls of others -- those whom we know and those whom we don’t know. Be urgent! Be loving! Be speaking!

4. Speak of God's grace to your soul.   TESTIMONY
Never underestimate the power of your testimony. Your gospel story is a unique, God-given, divinely-graced experience. Of course, every person’s story is different in some details but the gospel will always remain the same. Sinners were dead. God freely came out of infinite and sovereign love and imparted life to the spiritually dead soul. And the regenerated person repented of sin, trusted in Christ, saw Him as glorious, and happily forsakes all to follow Him. Speak this gospel story to others. Everyone loves a story. Tell them what happened to you. Tell them how God changed you. Tell them how Christ saved you! Tell them how the sovereign Spirit drew & regenerated you. Speak of what God has done for you. You can do this! You can recount your life. Brag on the Lord. Bless His Name. Make much of His grace, His redemption, His crosswork, His beauty, His forgiveness, His righteousness, His patient and everflowing mercies. So Christian, no degrees are needed for this. Speak of the story of God’s radically transforming work that He wrought in the depths of your soul that thus changed your life. If you aren’t sure how to do this, focus on how Paul does this throughout the Book of Acts. Share your testimony. Be unashamed and be happy to share this!

5. Speak of what you're studying.      MATURATION
Often people will ask you on a Monday morning: “how’d your weekend go?” Or, maybe on a Friday morning, they may ask: “how are you today?” Consider having a thoughtful reply to such questions rather than just the easy, typical, thoughtless responses that we can sometimes mechanically mutter. Speak to others of what you’re learning in your own Bible reading. Share with others what you’re hearing preached from your local church on Sundays and Wednesdays. Be willing to express how you have been changing and growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Speak of what you’re studying. People usually want to learn and hear what people are learning, thinking about, or contemplating. Be willing to share these things with others. As you mature, make it known to others. Are you hearing a sermon series through the Book of Psalms? Then share with others how you’re learning that God’s Word is sufficient for the people of God to guard and guide them through any and all issues and circumstances of life (the good, the bad, the ugly). Are you currently reading Romans on your own? Share with others what you’re reading and meditating upon in the early morning hours. Are you reading a book on the attributes of God? Then, share a bit of information from your reading with others that may stimulate their thinking and open up more conversations. Dear Christian, you are equipped to share the gospel. No education is necessary. Grow, of course! Study more, obviously! Seek to deepen your knowledge and widen your understandings of the gospel but don’t think that you need something else in order to be equipped to share the gospel of God’s grace.

So, then, dear Christian, if you have been saved by God’s grace, then you are equipped and can speak of Christ! So go and be proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus has done for you (Luke 8:39)!


More articles at Pastor Geoff's website.

Friday, October 14, 2016

From Charles Spurgeon:

"In our schools you do not try to bring children to the baptistry for regeneration, you point them away from ceremonies; if I know the teachers of this school aright, I know you are trying to bring your classes to Christ. Let Christ be the sum and substance of your teaching in the school. 

Young men and young women, in your classes lift up Christ, lift him up on high; and if anybody shall say to you, "Why do you thus talk to the children?" you can say, 'Because my soul yearns towards them, and I pant for their conversion;'"

From a sermon from Mark 10:13-16

Thursday, October 13, 2016

John Calvin has a wise word from Luke 18:15-17 text when little babies were brought to Christ.

Calvin affirmed:

"Those little children have not yet any understanding to desire his blessing; but when they are presented to Jesus, he gently and kindly receives them, and dedicates them to the Father by a solemn act of blessing …   To exclude from the grace of redemption those who are of that age would be too cruel … it is presumption and sacrilege to drive FAR from the fold of Christ those whom he cherishes in his bosom, and to shut the door, and exclude as strangers those whom he does not wish to be forbidden to come to him.”  

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why DEFINITE ATONEMENT (Particular Redemption) Must Be True
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The doctrine of definite atonement or particular redemption refers to the biblical truth that Jesus died on the cross only for His elect and actually procured their eternal salvation at Calvary. All that the Father gave to the Son are those for whom the Son died. And all that the Spirit regenerates are those that the Son redeemed. This is contrasted with what is sometimes called unlimited atonement or universal redemption (Jesus died for everyone). The atonement of Christ is limited in scope, not in extent. All that Christ died for are fully and everlastingly redeemed by Christ since He ‘accomplished redemption’ at Calvary. What follows are nine reasons why definite atonement must be true.

1. Because of the UNITY OF THE TRINITY
The Lord Jesus prayed in John 17 and repeatedly referred to those people that the Father had given Him. From eternity past, the glorious Father gave a particular, a special, a peculiar people to the Son. These are particular souls. These are divinely chosen ones. The Son came in human flesh to live for & die for these particular ones that the Father gave Him. All that the Father gave to the Son were fully pardoned at Calvary.  The Spirit of God grants life to all who are elect. He gives life to them. The Father and the Son give life to a particular group of individuals. And thus, the Son came to redeem them. To pit the Son of God against the Father and the Spirit would make the members of the Triune Godhead to be at odds with each other. And this cannot be. The Godhead always works in glorious concert, beauty, happiness, and harmony together.

2. Because of the INTENTION OF CHRIST’S REDEMPTION
Jesus often made mention of mission statements, or life-ministry statements. He said: The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). If he died for everyone, then everyone is either saved or Christ’s crosswork did not actually save anyone but merely made people savable. Elsewhere Jesus said the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. He came and delivered Himself up to ransom (to purchase, to buy, to possess) a certain group of people. Thus, Christ’s intention was to actually save sinners, not to make all men savable. The intent of the atonement defines the extent. His intent was to save, to redeem, to atone, to ransom. By this intent to save, Christ actually saved them.

3. Because of the TESTIMONY OF BIBLICAL REVELATION
The Word of God says that Jesus died for His Bride and gave Himself up for her to make her holy (Eph 5:25-26). Elsewhere Jesus said that He came to give Himself as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). The prophet Isaiah said that the Servant of Jehovah would justify the many (Isa 53:11). Indeed, this Suffering Servant also “bore the sin of many and interceded for the transgressors” (isa 53:12). The teaching of the Bible claims that Jesus came to suffer and die for only His elect people and live on their behalf.

4. Because of the ACTUALITY OF CHRIST’S ATONEMENT
What did Jesus actually accomplish at the cross? Did Jesus really save people or did Jesus make people savable by dying for them? What did the atonement achieve? The many words that comprise the theological range that describes what Jesus did on the cross all underscore that Jesus perfectly saved people by dying for them. He was made sin on our behalf (2 Cor 5:21). Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law having become a Curse for us (Gal 3:13). Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me (Gal 2:20). In Him we have redemption through His blood (Eph 1:7). Christ took the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us, and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross (Col 2:14). These verses clearly affirm that Jesus actually atoned, indeed, in definitely saved, moreover, he everlastingly procured salvation for His own.

5. Because of the REALITY OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT
Something supernaturally mysterious took place at Calvary. It is unfathomably deep and ineffably sublime, namely, that the God-Man would bear the infinite & holy wrath of God the Father in the stead of sinners. The nails and crown of thorns didn’t redeem or save sinners. The whips and mockings didn’t save rebels. What saves sinners is that the Father’s righteous and holy wrath was poured out not on the sinner who deserves it but on the sinless Substitute, the Lord Jesus, by grace, in their stead. This everlasting, divine wrath of God was satisfied and appeased by virtue of Christ’s substitutionary death. Jesus did not bear this for every person alive. Jesus bore the eternal punishment only for His people. All those who do not repent and believe will bear their own penalty that they justly and rightly deserve in everlasting punishments in hell. Because Christ took the divine curse for them, He must have died only for His own otherwise everyone’s penalty would be paid and there would be none in hell (but the Bible thoroughly charges ‘universalism’ as heresy and as a damning gospel. Praise God for His sovereign, securing & saving love!

6. Because of the INABILITY OF MAN’S NATURE
There are those who teach that Jesus died for all but the benefits of Christ’s crosswork only apply to those who place their saving faith in Christ and, then, the privileges and benefits of the cross save them -- by virtue of their faith. But, there is a great biblical problem with this. The Bible declares that all men are sinners and thus are born ‘dead in sin’ (Eph 2:1, 5). Dead sinners don’t put their faith in Christ. They can’t. They are not able to do so. Man is so unable to come to God because He is wholly full of sin and entirely pervaded with the poison of corruption in his nature, his being, his words, and his actions. Thus, for someone to say that Christ died for all but the saving benefits are given to those who put their faith in Christ assumes that an unregenerate man could in fact do such a thing. But this is entirely impossible and emphatically something that could never be done. Thus, because of man’s deadness in sin and inability to believe, Christ died only for His people and the Spirit gives life to the dead souls for whom Christ died.

7. Because of the SOVEREIGNTY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Bible says that it is the Spirit who gives life. God saves. Man does not save himself by believing upon Christ. Man cannot cause the crosswork benefits to be applied to himself through his faith. Rather, God the Spirit mercifully, sovereignly, irresistibly, and particularly grants new life (the new birth) to those whom the Father has chosen. The Spirit does not give life to everyone. Nor does the Spirit give life to those who first chose Him. Rather, it is the Spirit, the blessed and glorious third member of the Triune God-head, who imparts instantaneous, supernatural, everlasting life into the souls of the dead sinners that the Father gave the Son and for whom the Son purchased.

8. Because of the VERY MEANING OF ‘ATONEMENT’
The biblical meaning of the word ‘atonement’ carries with it the connotation of blood sacrifice, substitute, appeasing of anger and the pacifying of wrath. It means that something (an innocent one) died in the place of guilty ones. It means that the sins are covered because the penalty has been paid and poured out on another. For Jesus to die and atone for His people, it means that the life of the flesh had to be given and this is what made atonement for the souls of God’s people. This must intimate that Christ actually atoned for His people or else the blood sacrifice, the substitute, the appeasing of divine anger would have actually pacified the wrath of God for everyone. But the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ atoned in full for all the sins of all God’s people alone.

9. Because of GLORY DUE CHRIST JESUS
The cross of the divine Savior accomplished something else as well. If Jesus did not actually procure and perfect salvation for His people at Calvary then the crosswork is nothing more than a ‘good try.’ Since then it remains up to sinners to put their faith in Christ and then finish the deal. But rather, Christ Himself is worthy to receive all glory and honor and praise for the Lamb of God, even in heaven, is praised for His being slain and purchasing for God with His blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Rev 5:9). Thus, the very fact that Christ died and really saved, perfectly pardoned, everlastingly placated God’s fury, and expiated all the sins of His elect produces infinite reasons to praise the God-Man for His wonderful work of love for His people. The love of God, the mercy of Christ, the divinity of Christ, the propitiation of Christ, the regeneration of the Spirit, and the grace of God perfectly harmonize together to produce a well-deserved and everlastingly-happy song of praise to Jesus Christ, the Lord, who is the Lamb slain when He offered up Himself for His people (Heb 7:27).



More essays and articles can be found at Vassal Of the King.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

REJOICE, YOUNG MAN!  [Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:1]



Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church


Young men, God calls you to rejoice! Perhaps nothing will distinguish you as a young man of God more than a happy, joyful, satisfied Christian. This most surely will set you apart from the world. But you, young man, may ask: is it even possible for me to rejoice? I have so much going on, so many emotions, so many hardships, so many hurt and broken relationships, so many confusing changes in life, can I rejoice? Indeed, you may ask: how can I rejoice? To that question, I want to provide 5 words of counsel to you, young people, so that you would rejoice in your God!

1. WATCH THE DOOR OF YOUR HEART.
God calls you, young man, to rejoice in Him! Indeed, you are to rejoice in your youthful years. And the way that God instructs His people to do that is to let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. This provides a wondrously helpful clue into living a life of true joy and happiness -- guarding your heart. Your heart is the gate into the city of your life. Your heart is the door that protects your house. Your heart is the door that, when opened, lets out everything that has been contained inside. The words you speak are merely the revealing of what’s in your heart. The things you watch and ponder demonstrate what it is you really want. The conduct and actions of your life will prove what it is you really chase after and pursue. To guard your mouth, your desires, and your actions, the solution is quite simple: watch the door of your heart. And this is what God says: let your heart be pleasant during the days of young manhood. How do you do this? Put down the device and fill your heart with Truth. There is truth. There is objective truth -- and it’s God’s Truth, revealed in the Word of Truth & you can commune intimately with Him who is the Way and the Truth, and the Life. Guard the door of your heart. Fill your heart with God’s truth in Scripture. Download truth daily into the hard-drive of your heart. Go back again and again to the treasure of God’s truth!

2. KEEP FUTURE JUDGMENT IN MIND.
A plague seems to be hijacking young people’s minds and taking them to the grave perilously -- and that is that young people live for the here and now and give no thought to life after death (=eternity). God says to you, young man: follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes! Ah, but just remember one thing: God will bring you to judgment for all these things (Ecclesiastes 11.9). What is God’s word of wisdom to you? Live your life well and enjoy life, but in all that you do, remember that God will judge you for it. Quite simply, young man: live your days, speak from your lips, let your eyes gaze, conduct your life in such a way that you constantly remind yourself that God will judge you for these things. After all, God made you and He knows you. He cares for His creation! If you perpetually placarded upon the frame of your brain that God would bring every act of yours into judgment on that Great Day to come, you would think twice before you click on that link, zoom on that picture, touch that woman, go to that party, listen to that music, or engage in that activity. Young man, you would do well to keep future judgment always in mind.

3. FIGHT HARD AGAINST SIN.
Life is a fight. For young men, you get that reality. The tragedy is that many young men fight for the fleeting, momentary pleasures that just don’t satisfy because they were never intended to satisfy the deep recesses of your soul. Sex, money, pleasure, friendships, grades, jobs, careers, popularity are chased after with relentless zeal in our day. But young men, remember this: you must exert great energy to fight -- and fight hard -- against sin! There is one great goal in life: to love God and to worship God and to follow God. Whatever keeps you from the triumphant treasure and the seriously delightful journey of joy must be cast aside so you can fight hard against sin and fight hard to follow Christ. God says to you, young man, remove grief and anger from your heart and put away pain from your body (Ecclesiastes 11:10). What does God mean by this? Make the most of your youth because these prime years of your life are fleeting. Don’t indulge in sinful lusts of youthfulness. Rather, put away such sins by fighting fervently against sin and following hard after God. And our great and loving God is so wise. Young men, God doesn’t only tell you not to do something. He compassionately tells you what it is that you must pursue. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22). Fight hard against the sins that rush against your heart with the immense pull of an ocean current and seek to put off those sins with the ferocious fight of following God in pursuing righteousness (what is right in God’s eyes), faith (growing in the faith once for all delivered to the saints found in God’s Word), love (a genuine, self-giving, and sacrificial service to others for their good regardless of how they respond to you), and peace (harmony and reconciliation of relationships). By God’s grace and with His help, young man, you can fight hard against sin!

4. UNLEASH YOUR ENERGIES FOR CHRIST.
Solomon was one of the wisest men who ever lived and he wrote a word of counsel to you: whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). God, the glorious and gracious Spirit, guided the hand of Solomon to write down this clear word of counsel to you, young men: unleash your energies for Christ! Live wholly for Him. Live sold-out for Him. Your energy, your passion, your drive, your zeal, your tirelessness is to be used and utilized and unleashed for the greatest good: for the magnification and praise of the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. Are you in school? Unleash your energies by working and studying hard for God’s glory as you study hard and speak much of Christ on campus. Are you working a job? Unleash your energies by arriving on time, working hard while on the clock, refusing to engage in deceptive, lazy, wicked behavior and, of course, always refuse to join in gossip, slander, and bitterness. Are you playing a sport? Unleash your energies by doing the best you can with the body and strength God has given you as you practice hard and perform to the best of your ability as you give praise and honor to Christ for what He allows you to do. Your energy and your passions and your abilities and your zealousness is not bad! Direct your energies for Christ’s glory!

5. LIVE FOR, LINGER WITH, & LOVE YOUR CREATOR!
In the wondrous wisdom of God, He has given you, young man, a mind whereby you can remember things. You remember passwords. You remember to check social media. You remember musicians. You remember lines from movies. You have been given a mind to know, to remember, to ponder, to hide within you. Do this with God! God says: remember your Creator in the days of your youth (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Let it humble your soul to ponder the reality that you didn’t create yourself, chance didn’t create you, evolutionary theories did not result in ‘you’. No! Rather, the gloriously mighty and sovereignly loving and unspeakably merciful hand of God made you. Remember He created you. And it will do you well to remember this in the days of your youth. You’re not your own. You’re made by another. You, really, belong to another -- to God! So remember Him! It’s more than simply bringing a thought to mind. A man could say to his boss: I remembered that I was scheduled to work today but I didn’t do anything about it. That man would quickly be searching for new employment. Thoughts and remembrance must lead to obedience and action. It’s like a birthday. When you remember that it’s your friend’s birthday, you do something about it to celebrate. So, to remember God, live for His glory! Indeed, linger much with Him in prayer, in Bible reading, in your local church, in serving others that God has placed around you. To remember God, love Him, obey Him, praise Him, thank Him, repent of your sin before Him, plead the promises of God in prayer, preach gospel-truth to your soul daily. Young man, in all your remembering, remember Christ the Savior of sinners who died in the place of His people by fully satisfying God’s just punishment aimed at their hearts. What a merciful Christ. What a friend of sinners! What a companion to linger with in prayer and worship. What a Champion to live for and proclaim from the housetops. What a Creator to declare on campus and to friends. Live for, linger with, and love your God, young men, for this truly is the path of undying joy and serious gladness and delightful happiness in the days of young manhood.


Download this article as a pdf & a host of others at Pastor Geoff's articles page.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sitting through the Sermon — Some Encouragements.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

When God speaks amazing things happen. Mountains quake. Winds blow. Rain falls. Souls receive eternal life. Armies are put to flight. The voice of God thunders with unstoppable force and supernatural power. When the man of God takes the Bible and speaks God’s Word faithfully it is truly a remarkable event when God addresses His people through the mouthpiece of a man. In every sermon there are two preachers: the human mouth and the divine voice.

This essay provides some helpful encouragements for the people of God as they gather and sit through sermons every week.


1. Take Your Bible.
As a sailor would never leave without the map, so the Christian should not journey to church without his Bible. As the soldier would carry and utilize his weapons, so the Christian must carry and utilize his Bible. The cook needs his utensils, the accountant needs his computer, so the Christian needs his Bible. When going to church, take your Bible with you so you can open it, follow along, read the text, mark it up, and then go home and return to it at a later point for further reflection, study, and meditation. A preacher’s delight is to see his congregation with their Bibles open.

2. Open Your Bible.
Furthermore, don’t just take your Bible to church but open it and follow along. If you don’t need to open your Bible because the man does not preach from the Bible, then it would be time to leave and find a Bible-teaching church. But as the man teaches from God’s Word, open your Bible and follow along with the man as he journeys thru the text.

3. Follow in Your Bible.
In preaching through the selected paragraph, follow along carefully in your own Bible. When he turns to other Scriptures make it a point to try to turn with him to those cross-references so you can learn how to interpret Scripture with Scripture and how you can see how God’s Word wondrously unifies together.

4. Think Deeply About What's Said.
Engage! Listen! The minister spends much effort preparing and exerts much focus in preaching the Word with clarity. And just as he does this, so also the hearers must engage and spend much effort in hearing and focus deeply in the listening to the preached Word. Engage with what is said. Amen what is spoken truthfully in your own heart (or, verbally if so you choose). Think about God’s character. Commune with Christ. Let the words of Scripture sink deep into your ears. Fight hard to not hear a message and say it was good but resolve to engage thoughtfully and deliberately with God’s truth that went forth.

5. Apply Specifically what You Hear.
Hearing -- even, hearing well -- is not enough. James exhorts believers to be hearers and doers of the Word. The one who hears but does not obey the Word of God has deluded himself and is deceived about his faith. The one who builds his house on the rock is the one who hears and obeys God’s Word. So, then, specifically apply what you hear. Listen well and apply well. Hear well and implement specifically. Find 1 or 2 specific items and plan to practice them.

6. Take Notes & Plan to Review Them Thru the Upcoming Week
As the minister proclaims God’s truth to you, it may benefit you to jot down some gleanings from the text to mark in your Bible, put in a file on your computer, or write it on a card and place it where you’ll see it with some frequency. Review your notes throughout the upcoming week. That’s one way to take the meal and chew the cud. Eating is one thing. Digesting is another thing. Don’t just receive the Word. Work it through the mouth, down the throat, into your stomach and let it sustain you for a long period of time. I know of no better way to do it than to rehearse the sermon -- or truths from the sermon -- in prayer and devotional time to grow in holiness by it.

7. Fight! Fight! Fight! for Focus & Resisting Distractions!
You may have to move to the front row. Many churches, buildings, venues have plenty of distractions. Maybe it is focusing your mind to resist the upcoming week’s work-travels. Or perhaps it may be resisting the distraction to allow the mind to wander to a relationship, an upcoming trial, or a sporting event. Fight to focus your heart on God and on His Word. The Devil would love nothing more than for you to sit in church and to have your mind millions of miles away. He would bombard you with fiery-temptations of distractions and would love for you to externally look good at church but inwardly to be focused on self or on the world. That would not be worship. And for that, Satan would rejoice. Maybe it’s an attractive person sitting near you. And you need to initiate a move elsewhere in the worship gathering. Maybe you need to move to the front row so that nothing is in front of you as you hear the Word heralded. But fight, not only physically, but intellectually and mentally, to meet with God for He is worthy of worship!

More essays can be found at Pastor Geoff's articles page.
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