God’s Love: Better Than Unconditional – David Powlison

0875526861_bHow many times have you uttered the words, “God’s love is unconditional?”  Yet the term is strangely absent from Scripture.  One might argue that other terms are absent as well, like “Trinity” and “hypostatic union.”   Of course, the terms are missing but the truth of the Trinity and the hypostatic union are clearly taught.

So what does one make of the notion of God’s “unconditional love.”  David Powlison tackles this important subject in his book, God’s Love: Better Than Unconditional.  Here’s his proposal: “God’s love is much different and better than unconditional … God cares too much to be unconditional in his love.”

Powlison is not the only one who resists the notion of God’s unconditional love.  R.C. Sproul adds, “I can think of no more pernicious lie to destroy people’s souls than this, which some preachers are spreading around the world: God loves you unconditionally.  No, he does not.  If we do not meet the conditions that he established for us in creation, then God will send us to hell forever” (Truths We Confess, Vol. I, 216).

Powlison grounds his argument with four “unconditional truths.”

1. It is true that “conditional love” is a bad thing.

2. It is true that God’s love is patient.

3. It is true that true love is God’s gift.

4. It is true that God receives people just as they are.

The author admits that the phrase “unconditional” has a “noble theological lineage in describing the grace of God.”  But the term is fraught with difficulties.  He suggests four biblical improvements:

1. There are more biblical and vivid ways to capture each of the four truths just stated.  The Bible provides much richer descriptions of God’s love than “unconditional.”

2. It is clear that unmerited grace is not strictly unconditional.  While it is true that God’s love does not depend upon what you do, it very much depends on what Christ did for you.  In that sense, it is highly conditional.

3. God’s grace is something more than unconditional in that it is intended to change the people who receive it.

4. “Unconditional love” is filled with cultural assumptions.  Such a term implies the minimizing or even elimination of expectations on the one receiving the love.

Powlison urges readers to consider the notion of “contraconditional love.”  He continues, “God has blessed me because his Son fulfilled conditions I could never achieve.  Contrary to what I deserve, he loves me.  And now I can begin to change not because I can earn his love, but because I’ve already received it.”

I commend God’s Love: Better Than Unconditional to fellow pilgrims.  It contains the biblical answer to the questions in regards to the love of God.  Readers concerned with Powlison’s thesis will be quickly persuaded and encouraged to pursue God with greater obedience and passion – an overflow of the love received from the sovereign and loving God of the universe.

5 stars

Walking With God: Meditations on Psalm 119 – Brian S. Borgman

Brian S. Borgman, Walking with God: Meditations on Psalm 119 (Conway: Free Grace Press, 2019), 187 pp.

The apostle John writes, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4, ESV). As such, followers of Christ should be people of the book: reading, meditating on, studying, and memorizing Scripture. God’s people, by definition, then, should treasure the Word of God.

Brian S. Borgman’s book, Walking with God: Meditations on Psalm 119 is a tool that enables Christians to saturate themselves with Scripture. Specifically, the book introduces readers to Psalm 119.

Walking with God is a devotional commentary that guides readers through each stanza of Psalm 119. The author writes, “I am convinced that the Psalm reflects the challenge of walking with God as an exile in a hostile world.” In light of this, each chapter is filled with exegetical insight that helps readers forge a God-centered path in a world that opposes God and the ways of God.

The great strength of this resource is its brevity and readability. The content may be accessed by readers at every stage of the Christian journey. Each chapter concludes with a short application that includes points of pastoral counsel and guidance for Christians.

I heartily recommend Walking with God and trust that many will be strengthened and encouraged by this fantastic book.

When Doctrine Divides the People of God – Rhyne R. Putman

Rhyne R. Putman, When Doctrine Divides the People of God (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2020), 314 pp.

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching (didaskalia) that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of great gain” (1 Tim. 6:3-5). Paul’s words to Timothy struck a chord then and continue to reverberate in our day.

Doctrine has always divided people, sometimes rightly so. But other times, doctrine creates unnecessary division because people are unable to humble themselves and hear and opposing position. Rhyne R. Putman develops these themes in his recent book, When Doctrine Divides the People of God.

Part One: Why We Disagree About Doctrine

Part one focuses on foundational matters that are hermeneutical in nature. The author helps readers understand various approaches to hermeneutics and discusses how texts and doctrines are handled on the basis of tradition and belief. Readers who do not have a background in hermeneutics may be intimidated and struggle to put the pertinent pieces together.

Part Two: What We Should Do About Doctrinal Disagreement

Part two is more reader-friendly as the author offers practical suggestions for moving forward with doctrinal disagreement. His counsel is solid, measured, and biblical.

Chapter seven was the most valuable chapter for me, personally. Putman zeroes in on heresy and provides practical help with moving forward in an age marked by theological compromise. Additionally, various tests are offered that helps Christians navigate the “choppy theological waters” that characterize our age.

In the end, When Doctrine Dividesreminds us that doctrine matters. Indeed, Spurgeon said, “Those who do away with doctrine … are the worst enemies of Christian living.” Our challenge is to determine where the lines need to be drawn. Putman helps draw those lines.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

Suffering: Gospel Hope When Life Doesn’t Make Sense – Paul David Tripp

tripp 2Paul David Tripp, Suffering (Wheaton: Crossway, 2018), 210 pp.

C.S. wrote, “If I knew a way of escape I would crawl through the sewers to escape the pain.” Whether a person agrees with Lewis’s radical conclusion or not is a matter of personal opinion. However, the problem of suffering is a universal dilemma that every person must face. How we respond to suffering reveals the strength of our Christian resolve and character.

Paul David Tripp’s recent book, Suffering explores a weighty subject and invites readers onto a personal journey that will encourage deep humility and personal growth. Speaking personally, Dr. Tripp’s book took my breath away. The author’s transparency and humble approach spoke deeply to my heart and lifted my spirit.

In the final analysis, this book has less to do with coping with suffering and more to do with how suffering can supernaturally transform the lives of God’s people. Listen to Tripp’s meditations and allow his words to sink in deeply:

“Suffering has the power to turn your timidity into courage and your doubt into surety. Hardship can turn envy into contentment and complaint into praise. It has the power to make you tender and approachable, to replace subtle rebellion with joyful surrender. Suffering has the power to form beautiful things in your heart that reform the way you live your life. It has incredible power to be a tool of transforming grace.”

Suffering in many ways is like pouring ice-cold water on an unsuspecting victim; a battering ram that brings even the most powerful to a place of humility and surrender. This volume is quick to remind us that all those who suffer are in desperate need of grace. Tripp adds, “This physical travail, in the hands of my Savior, is a tool used to drive me away from self-sufficiency and into a deeper dependency on God and his people.” Therefore, suffering is greatly used by God to propel his people to a place they never would have reached apart from suffering.

This fundamental message of transformation stands at the heart of Tripp’s book and has the power in itself to encourage and equip a lot of people in God’s kingdom.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers – Dane Ortlund

Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton: Crossway, 2020), 221 pp.

Dr. Dane Ortlund has gained a reputation for writing Christian books that are solid, edifying, and gospel-centered. His newest work, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Suffers is No Exception. Ortlund uses Matthew 11:29 as the basis for his writing:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

The author writes, “This book is written for the discouraged, the frustrated, the weary, the disenchanted, the cynical, the empty. Those running on fumes.” Ultimately, Ortlund is jealous to draw the attention of readers to the heart of Jesus Christ.

23 chapters await readers who will be captivated, encouraged, and loved y their Savior. Some readers will need to readjust what they have previously learned about Jesus and move in a more biblically oriented direction. Ideally, this book should be read one chapter at time, in a devotional sort of way. Such an approach will allow the mind to be sufficiently instructed and the heart to be filled with encouragement.

A few citations will give a sense of the tone and direction the book takes:

Jesus is not trigger-happy. Not harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated. he is the most understanding person in the universe.

The Jesus given to us in the Gospels is not simply the one who loves, but one who is love; merciful affections stream from his innermost heart as rays from the sun.

It is impossible for the affectionate heart of Christ to be over-celebrated, made too much of, exaggerated.

Jesus Christ is closer to you today than he was to the sinners and suffers he spoke with and touched his earthly ministry.

If God sent his own Son to walk through the valley of condemnation, rejection, and hell, you can trust him as you walk through your own valleys on the way to heaven.

Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers is packed with heart-warming scholarship and Christology that moves the soul. It is eminently practical and encouraging from start to finish. It will prove to be one of the most important Christian books in 2020!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

What if I’m Discouraged in My Evangelism – Isaac Adams

Isaac Adams, What If I’m Discouraged in My Evangelism? (Wheaton: Crossway, 2020), 57 pp.

Evangelicals, for the most part seem passive when it comes to evangelism. Passive is a kind term. Disobedient would be more accurate. Isaac Adams addresses this important subject in his booklet, What If I’m Discouraged in My Evangelism? A part of Crossway’s Church Question Series, Adams’s work is desperately needed as many Christians have a desire to share their faith, but are discouraged, as the title indicates.

After setting the stage for biblical evangelism the author presents nine important aspects of the hope we enjoy as followers of Christ. Each of the nine points draws readers to the Bible and points them to the gospel. The great strength of Adam’s work is its brevity (as is the case with the other booklets in the Church Questions Series. His gracious tone will invite many to grow in their obedience and confidence and set their feet on a path that leads to faithful evangelism.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

Unified – Tim Scott & Trey Gowdy

unifiedTim Scott & Trey Gowdy, Unified  (Carol Stream: Tyndale, 2018), 220 pp.

We may live in one of the most divided times in American history. The cultural climate is rising without any hope of resolution in sight. Senator Tim Scott and Congressman, Trey Goudy recognize the problems in our land. Yet, they both have a realistic outlook, which is laced with optimism. Their book, Unified invites readers to pursue racial reconciliation and restoration, which will strengthen the fabric of our fractured nation.

Unified is a very basic book that reads like a conversation between two lawmakers. These conservative thinkers, who have become the best of friends, bring their unique conservative perspectives to the table. Their mutual love and respect for one another are apparent from the outset. These two men, who are both committed Christ-followers model what friendship can and should look like.

Senator Scott and Congressman Gowdy steer clear of politics, however. Their aim is to promote an optimistic vision of hope for the future of our nation:

“We believe that our nation can be united and transformed by conversations and friendships that lead to reconciliation and understanding. As Americans, we must uphold the ideals of freedom, equality, justice, and opportunity, even as we continue to work together to make those ideals a reality for all. We must come together, find solutions, and get to a point where we can see that our strength as a nation is rooted in all that is good in our world.”

There are no quick fixes here. The authors understand and acknowledge that legislation will not cure the illness in American culture. True and lasting change must take place in the lives of people. In what may prove to be the most important insight in the book, Senator Scott writes, “We will change the nation only by changing the condition of the human heart.” This change, undergirded by the gospel of grace has the power to change individuals and families. Then and only then, will our nation see a renewal.

Unified is a worthy read by two men of integrity; men who are striving to make America a better place. This is the first of many steps but it is a step in the right direction.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

The Gathering Storm – Albert Mohler

R. Albert Mohler, The Gathering Storm (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2020), 223 pp.

The postmodern clouds loom large over our heads. What Francis Schaeffer anticipated in the sixties and seventies in now upon us – in full force. What was once suspected has now arrived. The full force of secularism has invaded our culture and is wreaking havoc in the church.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler addresses the theme of secularism, culture, and the church in his latest book, The Gathering Storm. Each chapter sounds a warning cry to followers of Jesus Christ as the author demonstrates how secular humanism has managed to essentially “dechristianize the culture.” I As Francis Schaeffer once wisely noted, “The tragedy of our situation today is that men and women are being fundamentally affected by the new way of looking at truth, and yet they have never even analyzed the drift which has taken place.”1 Over and over, Mohler demonstrates the radical nature of this seismic shift.

The central theme of the book is that the storm is real and unavoidable. In the eye of the storm lie several key issues – the sanctity of life, marriage and family, and matters that pertain to gender and sexuality. Ignoring the storm will not alter the forecast. Evangelicals, then, must refuse to plant their heads in the ground like the proverbial ostrich.

While the storm is alarming, Dr. Mohler is quick to leave his readers with hope: “The one true God is Lord over history, and he has now called Christians in this generation into the storm.” Anything less would be cowardly and unfaithful to God and his gospel. I commend The Gathering Storm to followers of Christ and also challenge them to pay careful attention to Al Mohler keen insight in this area.

  1. Francis A. Schaeffer, The God Who is There (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1982 reprint), 5.

What If I Don’t Desire to Pray?

John Onwuchewa, What If I Don’t Desire to Pray? (Wheaton: Crossway, 2020), 48 pp.

It is not uncommon to hear about Christians who struggled with prayer. John Onwuchewa addresses this theme in his excellent book, What if I Don’t Desire to Pray? The author’s work is a part of the Crossway series, Church Questions.

Onwuchewa’s book brings much-needed perspective to the subject of prayer. It is not a book that surveys the philosophy of prayer. Rather, it contains several gems that will motivate readers to analyze their reluctance to pray and get them moving in the right direction.

There is no hint of legalism here. The author refuses to use guilt tactics to push his readers in a prayerful direction. Rather, the book is motivated by grace.

Recommended for both new and seasoned Christ-followers.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

The Bucket List

The Bucket List, starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson is about two very different men who are both diagnosed with terminal diseases. One of the men, upon learning of his condition, decides to draft a “bucket list.” The list would include achievements and things to see before he “kicks the bucket.” After viewing the film, I began to re-visit my bucket list:

  • Attend a baseball game at every major league park in America
  • Visit the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London
  • Walk the streets of Geneva where John Calvin ministered
  • Stand at the Castle Door in Wittenberg
  • Climb the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial

A bucket list is an important tool because it helps a person discern what is most important in life. What is on your bucket list? Who would you want to see? What would you want to accomplish? Where would you travel?

We know that the Apostle Paul had some important goals in his life. But if Paul had a bucket list, what would be on it? Philippians 1:12-18 is a window into the heart of Paul:

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice …

At the top of Paul’s “bucket list” is that the gospel of Jesus Christ would spread to every man and woman and every boy and girl in great power to the glory of God. And indeed, the gospel spread like wildfire in the ancient world. The gospel would eventually explode in Europe and Africa and China. The gospel would ignite all around the world! What caused this gospel to progress with such great power?

The Gospel Progressed Because of Ferocious Persecution

The Method God Used

Imagine serving on a team that was commissioned to help promote the flourishing of the gospel. What methodology would you employ? Would you initiate a massive advertising campaign? Would you pump money into a missions program? Or perhaps you enlist the help of an army of volunteers?

In the first century, God providentially used Paul’s imprisonment to cause the powerful spread of the gospel. This persecution came as no surprise to the apostle and should not surprise us either. Jesus told the disciples,

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour” (Matt. 10:16–19, ESV).

One of the methods that God used and continues to use to advance the gospel is persecution.

The Meaning Behind God’s Method

Paul refers to the advance of the gospel. The word advance comes from the Greek term prokopei which refers to the progress of an army. It comes from a verb that means “to cut down in advance.” It describes the removing of any barriers which would hinder the progress of an army.1 Paul’s imprisonment took place so that the gospel might advance in a mighty way. The end result is that people would benefit greatly and God would be greatly glorified.

Verse 13 describes a flourishing gospel; one that became known “thought the whole imperial guard.” “The praetorian guard,” writes John MacArthur, was likely a group of nearly ten thousand soldiers who were stationed throughout Rome to keep the peace and protect the emperor.”2 Paul glories in this gospel which became known “to all the rest” for the great name sake of Jesus, his Savior.

The Model Prisoner

The apostle Paul was chained to a Roman guard (Acts 28:16). Consequently, the guards circulated in and out as their shifts changed which gave Paul a remarkable opportunity to bear witness to Christ. No doubt, the guards would have witnessed his body language and learned things about him that would have otherwise been difficult if not impossible. In short, God used this model prisoner to serve as an ambassador for Christ.

No less than one hundred years later (A.D. 155), Polycarp of Smyrna would also serve as a model prisoner and give his life for his Savior. After his arrest, the judge ordered Polycarp to renounce Jesus. The judge promised that if he would swear by the emperor and curse Christ, he would be set free. Polycarp’s response is priceless: “For eighty-six years I have served him, and he has done me no evil. How could I curse my king, who saved me?”3When the judge threatened to burn him in the pyre, Polycarp simply answered that the fire would only last a moment, whereas the eternal fire would never be extinguished. After Polycarp was tied to the post in the pyre, he gazed into the heavens and prayed aloud, “Lord Sovereign God … I thank you that you deemed me worthy of this moment, so that, jointly with your martyrs, I may have a share in the cup of Christ … I bless and glorify you.”4The gospel progressed because of ferocious persecution. Notice two principles that will serve us in our generation.

First, remember to maintain an eternal perspective. God’s in his providence permits persecution so that Christ might be proclaimed. We may reason, “In order for the gospel to progress in a country like China, communism must be rooted out.” But the reality is this: Communism continues and the underground church is flourishing! God’s providence may close doors that open others doors. Paul maintained an eternal perspective. He maintained his passion for the spread of the gospel and made the best of every opportunity.

Second, allow persecution to strengthen your resolve for proclaiming the gospel of Christ. When you are ridiculed for believing in a personal Creator who fashioned the world, be encouraged. Continue to proclaim the truth, despite the ferocious persecution. When you are mocked for believing in absolutes, be encouraged in that truth and proclaim it despite the ferocious persecution. And when you are challenged for believing that Jesus is the only One who can forgive sin, be encouraged in that truth and proclaim it, despite the ferocious persecution.

How did the gospel progress in the first century? It progressed in large measure because of ferocious persecution. But the gospel also progressed because it was fearlessly proclaimed.

The Gospel Progressed as it was Fearlessly Proclaimed

The persecution of Paul not only helped advance the cause of the gospel; it strengthened the resolve of Christians to preach the uncompromising message of the gospel.

The Definition of Proclamation

The Greek term for preach in verse 15 means “to be a herald; to proclaim with authority.” This message must be listened to and obeyed. Paul sets forth this imperative to herald the truth in 2 Timothy 4:2-4. He writes,

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Martin-Lloyd Jones says, “The most urgent need in the Christian church today is true preaching; and as it is the greatest and most urgent need in the church, it is the greatest need of the world also.”5 And Steven Lawson adds, “True biblical preaching is authoritative in nature and body proclaims God’s Word without compromise or apology.”6 Such is the call of every Christ-follower who fearlessly proclaims the truth.

The Defining Marks of Proclamation

Two marks, in particular, emerge in Philippians 1:14-17. First, proclamation must be confident. Peithō, the Greek term which is translated, confident means “to have faith; to be persuaded of a thing concerning a person – in this case, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 8:38-39 highlights the confidence that believers enjoy: “For I am sure (peithō) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39).

Second, proclamation must be bold and fearless. Paul stresses the importance of speaking the word boldly without fear (Phil. 1:14). The word translated bold means to “endure; to have courage.” Dr. Luke refers readers to the courage of Paul the apostle, who proclaimed the truth “with all boldness and without hindrance” (Acts 28:31). Such a ministry marks the one who is committed to the proclamation of God’s Word.

William Tyndale was a man who modeled the marks of bold proclamation. Born in 1494, he attended Oxford, Magdalen Hall, and Cambridge Universities. A student and adherent of the Protestant Reformation, Tyndall engaged in numerous debates with Roman Catholics. One Catholic leader mocked Tyndale: “We are better to be without God’s laws than the Pope.” Never content to put up with heresy, Tyndale replied, “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you.”

Tyndale was a confident, bold, and fearless theologian and scholar who translated the Bible into an early form of Modern English, likely with Luther’s help in Wittenberg. But he was arrested and imprisoned for 500 days. He was tried for heresy and treason in a kangaroo court and ultimately convicted. He was sent to be strangled and burnt at the stake in the prison yard on October 6, 1536. The final words were, “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes.”

Unfortunately, not everyone has the courage of Tyndale. In fact, Paul tells us that there are two different kinds of preachers.

The Different Kinds of Preachers

Some preach Christ “from envy and rivalry” (v. 15). Paul explains that this man proclaims Christ out of selfish ambition. Such a man is not sincere and proves to be unfaithful in the final analysis (v. 17).

Some preach Christ from “good will.” Paul says the motivation of this man is love (v. 16). Such a man understands that the apostle was providentially placed in prison for the defense of the gospel.

The Gospel Progressed as it was Faithfully Proclaimed

“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice” (Phil. 1:18).

The gospel refers to the “glad tidings of the kingdom of God” or the “good news.” It is the proclamation of the grace of God which is manifest and pledged in Christ.

Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a perfect life and was tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15). He perfectly kept the law of God. Jesus died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures; he was buried and raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3). Jesus was glorified and seated at the right hand of the Father. He bore the wrath of God on the cross for everyone who would ever believe (Rom. 3:25). He redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Gal. 3:13). Jesus became our substitute on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21). He reconciled us to God by making peace by the blood of his cross (Col. 1:20). He made us right with God so that we might have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). And Jesus forgives sinners and enables them to stand holy in the very presence of God.

CONCLUSION

In the first century, the gospel progressed because of ferocious persecution, fearless proclamation, and faithful preaching. It was the gospel of Jesus Christ that motivated the apostle Paul. Proclaiming Christ and hearing that Christ was being preached was his passion. The apostle writes, “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

I had the pleasure of visiting a small church in a former communist country a few years ago. The pastor was so proud of the little structure which was smaller than most elementary school classrooms. I noticed a sign above the pulpit, written in a language unfamiliar to me. I asked the pastor, “What does that sign say?” With a smile on his face, he said through a translator, “We preach Christ crucified!

What would it look like if each one of us committed ourselves to fearlessly and faithfully proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ? What would it look like if we committed ourselves to fearlessly and faithfully proclaiming the gospel in the sphere where God has placed us?

The gospel progressed because of ferocious persecution, fearless proclamation, and faithful preaching. Will you make it a goal to proclaim the gospel of Jesus fearlessly and faithfully, despite the persecution that surrounds you? May gospel proclamation become a part of every Christ-followers bucket list!

  1. See William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1975), 20.
  2. John F. MacArthur, Philippians (Chicago: Moody Press, 2001), 61.
  3. Cited in Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity – Vol. 1 (San Francisco: Harper Collins Publishers, 1984), 44.
  4. Ibid, 44.
  5. Martin Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), 9.
  6. Steven J. Lawson, Famine in the Land: A Passionate Call For Expository Preaching (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2003), 42.