Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: March 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Has Converging With Evangelicals Been a Dangerous and Failed Experiment?

A good article by Lou Martuneac


Anonymous comments will not be allowed. 
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Monday, March 7, 2011

II.The Primacy of Preaching

Preaching with Unction 

We are living in another time of drastic change within Baptist fundamentalism. There are those seeking to redefine a new normal while declaring the old normal to be abnormal. When I got saved, it was in a fundamental Bible believing church. I immediately became a fundamental Christian. 

1. I accepted the 66 books of Scripture as the inspired, inerrant Words of God.
2. I accepted the autonomy of the local church and abandoned any connection to any form of denominational hierarchy.
3. I understood that with my gift of salvation, God made me a priest before him and that along with that position came certain obligations.
4. I accepted the fact that I was given individual soul liberty as to my personal decisions of faith and practice, but with that liberty came accountability to the Great Sovereign God. 

As Christians, we become so preoccupied with being blessed by God that we forget that the priority of the Christian life is to be a blessing to God. In being that blessing to God, His blessings flow to us. Every Christian should get into a blessing contest with God and then look forward to being a looser. 

I often hear Christians pray for God to reveal Himself to them. That is a prayer of unbelief. God has given us 66 books of inspired Scripture. How much more revelation of God do we need? I say stop praying that God will reveal Himself TO you and start praying that God will reveal Himself THROUGH you. These are the things that define an anointed Christian life. These are things that define living in the “unction” of the Spirit of God. 

Our understanding of God’s ordained purpose in preaching is critical to defining who we fellowship with both individually and ecclesiastically. There are two issues that must be considered regarding cooperative ministry with other individuals and other local churches so as not to interfere with God’s anointing: 
1. Spiritual defilement before God due to false associations

2. Spiritual defilement before men due to careless identification

10 In the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ask now the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 If one bear holy flesh in the skirt of his garment, and with his skirt do touch bread, or pottage, or wine, or oil, or any meat, shall it be holy? And the priests answered and said, No. 13 Then said Haggai, If one that is unclean by a dead body touch any of these, shall it be unclean? And the priests answered and said, It shall be unclean. 14 Then answered Haggai, and said, So is this people, and so is this nation before me, saith the LORD; and so is every work of their hands; and that which they offer there is unclean” (Haggai 2:10-14; OT sacrifices were never salvational; they were intended to restore broken fellowship with God). 


Human beings cannot manufacture the supernatural. The word “fellowship” in the Bible is a word that refers to a partnership in work. The work is the supernatural “work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12) in fulfilling and obeying the threefold command of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). God has called us TO DO things we are absolutely powerless to do (John 15:5; “without me ye can do nothing”). The word “fellowship” describes a supernatural relationship with God that is supernaturally created by two connecting links to the Holy Spirit of God: 
1. Spiritual union with God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
2. Spiritual unity with God through the filling of the Holy Spirit 
Both of these two realities must exist before “fellowship” with God can exist and before God releases His supernatural enabling through any believer’s ministry. Living in habitual “fellowship” with God is referred to by Jesus as abiding in Him (John 15:1-8). Spiritual union and spiritual unity together are referred to in I John 2:20 as “unction” and in I John 2:27 as “anointing.” Both words are translated from the same Greek word (chrisma; khris’-mah). 
18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him” (I John 2:18-27). 
There are those who define spiritual growth as merely growing in the knowledge of the Word of God. Certainly this is part of spiritual growth in that knowing God’s will is necessary to obedience. However, true spiritual growth is a supernatural operation of the Spirit of God in the progressive transfiguration of an individual’s life as that individual yields to the indwelling Holy Spirit progressively through the renewing of his mind through incremental decisions of faith and acceptance of God’s will. 
There is a spiritual dynamic in preaching that is directly related to being filled with the Spirit of God. This is what I John 2:20 refers to as unction. This is Spirit anointed study, proclamation, and explanation of the Word of God. There is a moving of the heart by the Spirit of God in all three levels of study, proclamation, and explanation. However, this spiritual dynamic in the life of the Spirit filled preacher begins long before the actual delivery of God’s message through the explanation of God’s Word. 
A preacher cannot merely be Spirit-filled during the preaching moment. The preacher must be Spirit-filled in His moment-by-moment daily walk with God; in the study, in his meditation, in every aspect of his daily routine, in his relationship with his wife, children, neighbors and friends. It is through all of these daily events that God builds the preacher and builds a sermon to be delivered through the preacher. The actual deliverance of the sermon is merely the supernatural overflow of that moment-by-moment Spirit-filled walk with God. Revival and spiritual decisions are naturally produced through Spirit-filled preaching that is the overflow of a revived preacher’s life. This spiritual dynamic in preaching with unction cannot be over emphasized. 
Let me deal with a radical departure from what defines preaching with unction. There are those today who are proposing a kind of teaching, we dare not call it preaching, that is little more than another form of Gnosticism. This is a Neo-Gnosticism that speaks of saving knowledge and spiritual growth through various levels of merely knowing truth. This Neo-Gnosticism removes the necessity of incremental decisions and various degrees of commitment to obedience to God’s Word. I believe this Neo-Gnosticism is an outcome of an extreme view of Theistic causation in the Sovereign Grace movement of hyper-Calvinism. 
“Another version of Fundamentalism that we repudiate is revivalistic and decisionistic. It typically rejects expository preaching in favor of manipulative exhortation. It bases spirituality upon crisis decisions rather than steady, incremental growth in grace. By design, its worship is shallow or non-existent. Its philosophy of leadership is highly authoritarian and its theology is vitriolic in its opposition to Calvinism. While this version of Fundamentalism has always been a significant aspect of the movement, we nevertheless see it as a threat to biblical Christianity.”[1]
It is in synergism/fellowship with the supernatural operations of the Holy Spirit of God that preacher discovers the primacy of preaching

12 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed {present, passive; i.e., are being changed} into the same image from glory to glory {from varying degrees of partial transfiguration to final and complete transfiguration/glorification}, even as by the Spirit of the Lord {in an ongoing work of creation}” (II Corinthians 3:1-18). 
The word “changed” in II Corinthians 3:18 is from the Greek word metamorphoo (met-am-or-fo'-o). This is the same word translated “transfigured” in Mark 9:2. In Romans 12:2, this same Greek word is translated “transformed.” The word in Romans 12:2 should also be translated transfigured as it is used in the same context as it is used in II Corinthians 3:18. 

In Romans 12:2, the Greek word metamorphoo (met-am-or-fo'-o) is a present, passive, imperative. The important aspect of the use of this word in Romans 12:2 and II Corinthians 3:18 is that the uses are in the present passive; i.e., are being transfigured. The passive aspect of the verb conveys the absolute dependency upon the indwelling Holy Spirit to accomplish this progressive transfiguration in our lives as we yield our wills to Him. We cannot transfigure ourselves. This is a supernatural work of God. Yet, In Romans 12:2, the verb is used as an Imperative; i.e., a command. Although we cannot accomplish this progressive transfiguration, we are commanded to be transfigured. This dynamic defines the primacy of preaching. Take away this dynamic and your teaching of the knowledge of the Word of God results in mere legalism. 
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace {referring to the supernatural energizing through complete yieldedness to the indwelling Spirit} given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith” (Romans 12:1-3). 
Chafer’s Systematic Theology[2] gives us some great insight into defining God’s intent in the believer’s progressive transfiguration through progressive sanctification and the primacy of preaching. 
“It is evident that a thing is transformed by influences from without while a thing is transfigured by the outshining of a light or vitality which is resident within. Christ’s essential glory was veiled while here upon the earth, but in the moment of transfiguration His intrinsic Shekinah glory was allowed to break forth. He was not merely assuming a glory or standing in the radiance of an outward glory which fell upon Him. The glory was His own, and originated in Him and emanated from Him. It is a truth which lends so much importance to the two passages wherein transfiguration is related to believers – Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18. The believer is subject to transfiguration and not to mere transformation. The divine Presence within is as a light, and this is to have its normal outshining and will work great changes within the heart where that Nature dwells.” (Bolding added) 
The significance of this is that the indwelling Holy Spirit is doing a progressive work of creation within us as we habitually yield our wills to Him. This progressive work of creation that progressively transfigures us is the supernatural empowerment that takes place when the Tripartite of Power exists within the believer’s life. In this Tripartite of Power the glory of God within the believer is released and the believer manifests a partial transfiguration (i.e., “light” shines; Matthew 5:16). (Full transfiguration does occur until the believer’s ultimate and final glorification.) 

On the Day of Pentecost, the Shekinah of God descended from Heaven and indwelled every individual that was trusting in Jesus and His finished work of redemption. The Shekinah is the indwelling glory of God in the Person of the Holy Spirit; the omnipotence of God. Every Christian is commanded to let their light shine. This happens through the filling of the Spirit of God. Can we possibly comprehend what we have in our new birth in Christ? 


My life was just a ball of clay, 
Tightly packed with diverse sin. 
One day I turned things all around 
When I asked the Saviour in. 

Once saved, I was told to yield to Him 
And through my life He’d shine, 
This ball of clay was so tightly packed, 
His “light” was trapped inside. 

I prayed and said, “What ere it takes, 
Any trial, struggle or scrape, 
Make me Lord, break me Lord, 
And let your light escape. 

The trials came in a steady flow, 
I wrestled with Divine, 
Then God, He finally broke my heart, 
Now through the cracks, He shines. 

[2] Lewis Sperry Chafer; Systematic Theology, Volume V, Page 86; Dallas Seminary Press, Dallas, Texas, Thirteenth Printing, June, 1976 

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I. The Primacy of Preaching

Preaching for Decisions and Revival

If you are a pastor and getting a little discouraged, remember that the world loves the race horse, but God loves the plow horse. Do not envy the glory given to the race horse. The plow horse loves to give all the glory to the Master. The primary goal of preaching is what I refer to as the redirection of priorities. As worldly and carnal people, we are all prone to worldly and carnal priorities. The preaching of the Word of God ALWAYS redirects the importance of any decision in life to ask one simple question; how will/can what I am doing, or what I am thinking about doing, bring glory to God? Therefore, the primary purpose in preaching within the redirection of priorities is also a redirection of focus. The world of unbelief considers all of this a mere waste of time or “foolishness.” However, God has ordained this “foolishness.” Whenever a preacher redirects the focus of a life priority with the Word of God, such redirection ends with an appeal for a decision to act upon what God’s Word says. Preaching that merely conveys knowledge, without including an appeal for a decision, is not preaching at all. This is the difference between preaching and mere teaching. 

17 For Christ sent me not to baptize {because Paul was an Evangelist}, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent {through preaching}. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise {fishermen, publicans, and common people; Paul was the only trained theologian in the bunch and God had to take him into the wilderness for three years to fix him}; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord {what God does through men, not giving glory to the men; cp I Corinthians chapter 3}:” (I Corinthians 1:17-30). 

Spirit-filled preaching is defined by a prerogative, at least three definitive parameters, and at least four purposes/objectives

  • Prerogatives; an exclusive right, privilege, etc., exercised by virtue of rank or office. Although all believers are to preach the Gospel, the Word of God explicitly commands that preaching (as a calling) is to be limited to qualified individuals. These specially called and gifted men are required to possess certain definitive character qualities (I Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). 

8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-12). 

Ephesians 4:8 is quoting from Psalm 68:18. We must understand what Paul is saying from the context of that text. “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” When Christ “ascended on high,” He ascended to the position as a new High Priest of a new priesthood. Upon His ascension, God gave Him “gifts for men.” According to Ephesians 4:11, these “gifts for men” of Psalm 68:18 are especially God-gifted men. In other words, they have a special vocational calling and special supernatural enabling for that calling. According to Ephesians 4:12, these specially gifted men are given “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The only two continuing gifts of men throughout the Church Age are “evangelists” and “pastors/teachers.” 

  • Parameters: what is the primacy in preaching? This is defined by the parameters of preaching. Parameters are the limits/boundaries of preaching. A parameter is a characteristic factor that both limits and determines the genuine viability of something. 

1. “Preach the Word;” preaching is the interpretation, proclamation, explanation, and application of what God has said in His inspired Word. 

“1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (II Timothy 4:1-2, cp. Neh. 8:1-8). 
2. Preaching is Christ centered (Christocentric) as opposed to people-centered (anthropocentric). At any time a text of Scripture is avoided, or the explanation of the message of a text is reduced, generalized, or purposefully neglected so as to avoid division or to avoid confronting anyone about anything that Scripture condemns, but culture condones, that preaching ceases to be Christocentric. People-centered preaching is what the Word of God refers to as respecting persons. This is certainly true of the damnable philosophy known as Positivism

1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4 Are ye not then partial {discriminating} in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts {the idea is making a prejudicial or bias judgment that is contrary to what is right}” (James 2:1-4)? 

3. Preaching is God glorifying in its focus; perhaps the greatest danger to any preacher is the desire for the praise of men for by this one fault all the rest of his motivations will soon be corrupted. 

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31). 

Everything we do should be done with a finger pointing to God. As soon as someone begins to point their finger of praise to us, we should immediately correct them and redirect them to glorify God. In order to insure that we do not perform for the praise of men, every Christian needs to consider “his precepts, and the propriety, expediency, appearance, and tendency[1]” for receiving, or even wanting, the praise of men for our actions. 

Anything that generates applause for the performance to the performer is false spirituality. That which brings glory to God and directs all glory to God is true spirituality. 

There is a great but simple truth here. If you want or perform for man’s praise you will lose God’s blessing. Now think about this for a moment. Are you willing to settle for a meager few seconds of applause or praise from men or do you believe that our loving heavenly Father might possibly be able to give you a spiritual blessing so great that it is beyond your imagination? Do you want a handful of peanuts or do you want the peanut farm? You answer these questions by where you want the glory to go and by the degree you act to insure the directing of that glory to God. 

  • Purposes/Objectives: an objective is something that one’s efforts or actions are intended to attain or accomplish; a purpose or goal. The preacher must always remember that “fruit” production is God’s work accomplished through the Spirit filled preacher as the preacher interprets, explains, and proclaims God’s expectations. 

1. To persuade people to make spiritual decisions especially regarding the issues of faith or trusting God. The very first decision is to accept the sixty-six books of the Bible as the Word of God. Until the Bible is accepted as the Word of God, there are no dogmatic foundations for faith. Apart from the inerrant, inspiration of Scripture all faith in God is reduced to Empiricism and Relativism in that all doctrine becomes relative to empirical evidences. 

A. Autopisticism: accepts the Bible’s claims of inerrancy and inspiration by faith.
B. Axiopisticism: accepts the Bible as the Word of God only to the degree it can be proven accurate by history, science, and external evidences. This is the primary purpose and methodology of Apologetics. 

2. To lead people to an understanding of their sinfulness before God and their condemnation by God. To lead people to understand God’s loving promise and provision of redemption “by grace through faith and to understand the Gospel of the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. This understanding must include His resurrection/glorification in fulfilling God’s promise of redemption for “whosoever will.” This ends with an appeal to people to “obey the Gospel” by repenting of sin, believing/resting in the objective facts of the Gospel, confessing Jesus as Jehovah, calling on the Name of Jesus for salvation, and receiving the Lord Jesus in the Person of the indwelling Spirit Holy Spirit. 

3. Once people have been led to trust in Christ and are “born again,” these people are to be led to formally unite with the living organism of a local church through water baptism. This is a physical testimony that they understand that they are committing to die daily to the “old man” and daily walk in the “newness of life” through yielding to the indwelling Holy Spirit and being habitually filled with the Spirit. This is the initial decision and commitment to begin their discipleship process in progressive transfiguration (Romans 12:2). 

4. To teach God’s Word to believers so that they can be equipped with the tools necessary to the “work of the ministry.” This is the third phase of the Great Commission (“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you,” Matthew 28:20). This is the goal of discipleship through progressive levels of spiritual decisions in practical sanctification. No one can said to be evangelized until all three phases of the Great Commission have been accomplished in a life. 

[1] Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, SwordSearcher Software 6.1, comments on I Corinthians 10:31

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.