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C&CW Ep. 22 - Strong Christians & Personal Opinions



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 22

Show Notes:

Stronger brothers and "personal convictions."

"Mature Christians should not have personal convictions."
Why say that?
"Personal convictions" are had by weaker believers, and you cannot be mature if you are weak in knowledge.

Also: "Mature Christians should never be stumbled."

Stronger Christians should never be stumbled by another's exercise of Christian liberty.
Because they have the accurate understanding that all things are lawful.

Using biblical terms in biblical ways. Use the terms God uses. And when using them differently than the Bible, clarify what you mean.

To say that stronger Christians, even mature Christians, may have personal convictions (in the sense of convictions that they do have) is not the biblical use.

Pastors cannot have personal convictions. They should be strong in knowledge, conviction, will, and conscience, and growing in love.

Do stronger brothers have "differing opinions"?

Personal Convictions: scruples of weak Christians (Rom. 14:22)

Stronger brothers know that nothing is unclean in itself. Adiaphora will not make them guilty. Likewise, they won't be offended by other strong Christians using their liberty. And they cannot be persuaded to violate their conscience. They don't condemn themselves in what they approve (Rom. 14:22).

Are all stronger brothers of the same opinion—meaning how they use their liberty?

Common misunderstanding: all stronger brothers will all engage in the same activities and never say "no" to anything.

Differing opinions: I approve of this, you approve of that.
Neither is sin. We are in the area of liberty, not sin.

Examples of OPINIONS:

  • public education
  • Netflix subscription
  • smoking
  • movie ratings
  • Bible translations
  • diet
  • liquor
  • clothing

In his excellent essay, "The Bible Doctrine of the Separated Life," J.G. Vos even mentioned opium and marihuana.

You should have a biblical rationale for your opinions; not arbitrary.

"One of the marks of a certain type of bad man is that he cannot give up a thing himself without wanting every one else to give it up."
—C.S. Lewis

Do stronger brothers have "misplaced scruples"? No. There is no guilt over things that are not sinful.

Could a weaker brother and stronger brother share the same scruple?
Yes, because it's an opinion.
Example: refraining from R-rated movies. Both could refrain, but for different reasons.
Weak: it's sin for him.
Strong: it's lawful, but not profitable for him. A differing stronger brother will not persuade him.

In regard to scruples, the difference between strong and weak believers is:
it moves from sin for them to not profitable.
As a weaker brother becomes a stronger brother, he may still refrain from the same indifferent thing, but his reason will have changed.

Strong Christians will have differing opinions, and each must be fully convinced in their own mind.

Fully convinced in your own mind.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 14 - Feeling Ready to Preach



1 Point Preacher
Episode 14

Show Notes:

What if you don't feel ready?

To frame it, you need to be able to answer three questions:

  1. Do you know what your text means?
  2. Do you know how it applies to your people?
  3. Do you know how to communicate that explanation and application clearly to them, in the preaching moment?

This isn't just a text-study issue.

Preaching isn't just Bible study—it's communicating it out loud to the congregation. You need to be prepared to deliver it.

People get nervous (think they aren't ready) because they try to predict "what will so-and-so think?" Or think "I'm not like one of the other pastors."

That's a trap.
God has commanded us to be faithful, rightly dividing the Word.
Measuring ourselves by others is sin; making another man your standard.

There will always be someone smarter than you in the congregation. Praise God and move on. That's not part of your preparation. Your attention is misdirected.

You want to be able to communicate easily. Common dialect. That should be taken into consideration. Slow down and take your time.

There are things you cannot do and must cut out of your schedule. Don't go to a party. Don't attend three weddings before preaching. Etc.
You need to be self-aware. Recognize you are a limited human being and cannot do it all. It's irresponsible to say "yes" to every opportunity.

Your first responsibility is to preach the Word. And you need adequate time to prepare. That time is based on your gifting and skill.

TIP: Preach your whole sermon at least three times, record, and listen to yourself. How comfortable are you listening to yourself?

You may need a sermon preparation checklist. If you don't know what you should be hitting, you need a checklist.
If you are inexperienced in preaching, don't be embarrassed. Walk through a checklist.

What if you are afraid of public speaking? Maybe you can't preach.
There's tension between an irrational fear that you need to overcome and being deathly afraid of speaking.

"Trembling while ascending the pulpit" is not anxiety and should not be a sinful fear of man. It should be knowing the weight of responsibility before God.

If you've been preaching for years and you still suffer anxiety, maybe you need to think about whether you should be preaching for the rest of your life.

Where do you get your confidence?
You know what your text means, how to apply it, and know how to communicate it in a way that's easy to listen to.

A helpful approach for quick prep: the minimal approach, like an outline.
Know the text, the immediate context. Answer basic questions (who, what, etc.). Basic ideas of intro and conclusion. If needed, write down what is difficult, controversial, or needs special attention. Then memorize all that. Hit that quickly.
Then, master that and move on.

Do you forget material while preaching? Maybe you were in a hurry.
Take extra time, even far ahead of time, on texts you haven't preached before.

During prep, give undivided attention. Do whatever is necessary for you to focus.

One thing that cripples preachers during prep and robs them of confidence during preaching, is the thought of forgetting something.
Preachers give too much weight to the possibility of forgetting.

No preacher forgets their entire sermon. Just sermon details (explanation, illustration, application).
Is forgetting sermon details catastrophic to preaching? No.
Don't overestimate the impact.

The congregation will never know—and don't tell them!

Sermon unity is intact if you forgot a detail and moved on.

The fear of forgetting is often irrational. Forgetting sermon details is blown out of proportion.
By the end, your people heard a whole sermon. Nothing is left out of the finished product.

You set yourself up to forget if you are preoccupied with forgetting.

Focus on preaching.
Be responsible in your prep time. Eliminate distractions. Learn how to tell people to leave you alone.

If after being responsible, you are still worried about forgetting, then stop and reconsider what preaching is: sermon point, sermon outline, what the text says, applications.
And focus on communicating effectively: restatement, rephrasing, transitions.
If you forget some details, too bad. But in the end, nothing was left out. It was a sermon.

You aren't there to look good, but to be faithful.

Check yourself by preaching through your sermon multiple times to see if you have it down. And do it again. Get comfortable with your sermon, without the fear factor.
If you can preach it in your room in front of your mirror, you can preach it behind the pulpit.

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C&CW Ep. 21 - Strength & Maturity



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 21

Show Notes:

Being precise is always good. That's the difference between truth and falsehood.

So far in our series, we have been using various terms: stronger brother, weaker brother, mature and immature.

Are these terms synonymous with their counterparts?

In 1 Cor. 8, 10:23–11:1, Romans 14–15:6, Paul is talking about knowledge.
Strong could refer to knowledge. And you cannot be mature if you are not strong in knowledge.
But when you are strong in knowledge, you are not necessarily mature—you're not necessarily godly. Paul did command stronger brothers to be loving, after all. Implicit: stronger brothers can lack in love.
Love, as the fruit of the Spirit, is a necessary component of maturity.

Mature Christian: strong in knowledge in God's Word, in practice, have trained their senses, and they are godly believers.

"...a fully-developed Christian character, expressing itself in consistent Christian living..."
—Sinclair Ferguson, Maturity: Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life pg. 3

Parallel passages:

  • Colossians 1:28
  • 1 Cor. 3:1–3

From where does the accusation of "infants in Christ" come from? Their behavior—acting like they are not Christians. Jealousy and strife, specifically.
Demonstrating a lack of Christian character.

Christian maturity is about completeness: Christian character and consistent Christian living; a comprehensive knowledge of the Scriptures and living that out.

You could be virtuous as a Christian, strong in love, but without covering the whole Bible. Apollos is a good example—his knowledge was incomplete.

  • James 1:4, And let perseverance have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

"'Lacking nothing'—stable, capable Christians whose gifts and graces have been developed; those who by God's grace have become masters of themselves, and are able to use all the gifts that God has given them in his service. The mature Christian has been finely shaped by the Holy Spirit and has been 'filled out' in a character which shows the fruit of the Spirit. Mature Christians possess the qualities which only Jesus Christ can produce, because he alone has exhibited them perfectly. This is maturity."
—Sinclair Ferguson, Maturity: Growing Up and Going On in the Christian Life pg. 7

Back to our initial question:
Is "stronger" synonymous with "mature"?
Is "weaker" synonymous with "immature"?

The categories overlap, but they are measuring different things.

Christian maturity is holistic, all-encompassing. The complete package.
Example: maturity is required for elders—the weight of qualification is on character.

What's included in maturity is not just knowledge in one area, but all doctrine, and the fruit of the Spirit. Knowledge and holiness (Heb. 5:11–6:3).

How does that relate to stronger and weaker brothers?
Could a stronger brother be immature? Yes, they could be unloving toward weaker brothers—selfish.

BUT, a mature Christian will normally be a stronger brother.
Because the mature believer must know the whole Bible, and that includes the teaching on liberty of conscience.
*Elders and pastors must know. They must have the knowledge and character.

Categories of stronger/weaker and mature/immature are measuring different dimensions of the Christian individual.
Maturity covers all doctrine and practice.
Stronger/weaker applies to what Paul is specifically addressing (1 Cor. 8, 10, Rom. 14).

Stronger/weaker are modifiers:
Stronger in what way?
Weaker in what way?
What knowledge is addressed? About things indifferent. All things are lawful. Nothing is unclean in itself.
Stronger/weaker in what other ways? "Faith" (conviction) and conscience. They will be strong or weak in what they approve of.

Stronger/weaker measures knowledge, conviction, conscience, and will.
And Paul is writing to the whole church.

Another absolute: Pharisees are always immature Christians.
*We are using "Pharisee" as a metaphor for the legalist.

The connections:
Weak in knowledge, and not being good Christians.
Pharisees don't have accurate knowledge that all things are clean.
Weak in conscience: not functioning according to the Word of God.
And Pharisees will not be taught. They will not even be persuaded to violate their weak conscience.
They are not stronger brothers, because they impose their convictions on others. That's not love, but overlording.

A legalistic Christian is always unqualified from being a pastor, because he is an immature Christian.
Furthermore, they should be disciplined if unrepentant of their legalism.

*If you want help with these issues, contact us.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 13 - Have You Prepared Enough?



1 Point Preacher
Episode 13

Show Notes:

How do you know when you've prepared enough?
Feeling ready is one of those issues.
Feelings aren't determinative. Feelings can be aligned with reality or not.

Confidence is an important factor in preaching. A lack of proper confidence will undermine the preaching of the sermon, even if you did adequately prepare.

How do you know that you've done enough?

The obvious: you remember the text you are going to preach.

At least memorize: sermon point, opening and closing.

This doesn't mean memorize your text.
Know your sermon point verbatim.
Know what you are going to say in opening and closing.

Talk out your sermon prep. Talk with your family members, even 5 minutes at a time. Go through it daily. Approach it in different ways.

Be able to answer any question about any part of your text, without notes.

Some people are unaware of what causes stress. Temperature, environment, too much sugar, lack of sleep—can all make you feel not ready to preach. There are physical, practical factors.

An absolute with being prepared: mastery of the text. You are preaching a text.

A good test: what if you lost your sermon notes? Could you work without it?

If you have the sermon text, you have the material you need.

Don't ignore your skills. If you can write, then write. But don't read in the pulpit.

Memorize your sermon point.
If for nothing else, to connect with the congregation. Eye-contact.
It is the point of the text applied to your congregation.
Speak it to them, don't read to them.

Be aware of your strengths and weakness when speaking extemporaneously.

If illustrations to come easily, then think ahead and write a cue.

Prutow said that if you're worried about forgetting something, you probably have too much.

What about resources? Have you used enough study material in your sermon prep?
Historical background, notes on the biblical languages, etc. Commentaries, sermons.

Know your text well enough, and if you can't get to that point on your own, look to other resources for help.
Do your work first, and look to other sources to answer your remaining questions.

We share confidence when we are confident.

You could go through your sermon backwards to check your preparation.

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C&CW Ep. 20 - Christian Maturity



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 20

Show Notes:

Transition episode in the liberty of conscience series, as we move from our exegetical work towards our systematic episodes that will define the key terms.

Let's look at a text addressing Christian maturity.

Hebrew 5:11–6:3
The author rebukes his audience—they should be farther along in their knowledge than they are.
Figuratively, they are infants. The are still occupied with elementary teaching. Stuck on milk when they should be eating steak.
The mature can have solid food—one who has been trained to discern between good and evil. Not dull of hearing, but can understand the more difficult teachings.

We can't make people grow up.

You should be teaching others, already.

You have need of someone to teach you.

Teaching others is hard work.

"Milk" here refers to the baby food of God's Word. They are not accustomed to the Word of righteousness.

When they are apathetic to growth, they are self-righteous.

Are we talking about time? Does the amount of time they have been a Christian determine maturity?
There is not a necessary correlation.

God has not gifted everyone in the same way. Those who are mature should be able to discern that Christians are different. Time is a factor.

It's easy to assume wrongly that the young or recently converted are immature, while the elderly are mature.

Many churches do not make disciples. Expository preaching is rare. Many longtime Christians are immature, as a result.

It is a sign of immaturity to not show grace to Christians who were not discipled by their churches—the immature.

Being knowledgable of the Bible is not the same as maturity.

You expect discernment and training of senses in the more mature.
Shouldn't you expect pastors and teachers to have gone to Bible college or seminary? Usually.
But that's not what this is talking about.

Maturity and training doesn't belong to seminaries only. This is speaking of every believer, not just church officers.

Maturity means knowledge of God's Word and godly living.

Why are we talking about this?
We are defining the mature.

Christian character, fruit of the Spirit, is part of maturity.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 12 - Preach Larger Texts



1 Point Preacher
Episode 12

Show Notes:

More on text selection.

What are the benefits/advantages of choosing larger sermon texts?

Biggest: feeding your people more of the Bible. More Bible is always good.
Especially if they are biblically illiterate.

They'll understand more of the Scripture more quickly, how it applies to them, and be sanctified more by the Spirit.

Possible objection: how will they follow more text?
They'll get the point if you get the point: of the book, of each section.
Example: Romans 14–15:6 is one section.

The way you study a text and develop a sermon is the same, regardless of text size.
The rules don't change.

More text doesn't necessarily mean more material. Hebrew poetry is a good example: repetition.

You are still working with one point.

Many preachers don't realize they already possess the fundamental skills to preach larger texts.

Is the explanation accurate?
You can be faithful regardless of text size.
Preaching smaller texts doesn't mean more faithful.

It will be encouraging to your people. The sense of progress of covering more of the Bible.

They have more of God's Word to apply.

People will learn to trust God more.

It will now be easier to preach those neglected parts of the Bible.
There will be less excuse for avoiding difficult and challenging texts.
You'll be finishing more books, faster. You'll have to choose what to preach next, more often.

You and your congregation need all of God's Word.

The congregation will be more equipped to judge you (the pastor) righteously, according to the Bible.

The people will learn what they never knew was there.

If you think they need more time, then open a time for discussion.

You'll be able to preach the long books of the Bible without committing to a 40 year plan.
Example: you would never choose Jeremiah if you thought faithful expository preaching is only 5 verses per sermon.

It's so good for families, college students, traveling workers, because they know you are teaching more of the Bible and covering the convicting texts.

Pastor's tend to choose what to preach according to their own strengths and weaknesses.
When you preach more of the Bible, you're thinking more about your people rather than your preference. God wants your people to learn the whole Bible.

There are other ways to go more in-depth with topics, other than the Lord's Day sermon.

Some pastors move so slowly through books because they enjoy in-depth so much, regardless of whether that's good for their people, and despite the fact that the congregation won't make much progress through the Bible.

More of God's Words, less of yours.

Even as a challenge to yourself:
You're convinced that sequential exposition is the best way to preach?
Test that commitment, and your skills, by taking more text at a time.
See you if you have been doing that with small texts, by seeing if you can faithfully explain and apply larger portions of Scripture.

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C&CW Ep. 19 - Liberty of Conscience: the Scriptures, pt. 5



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 19

Show Notes:

Too much Bible? This is the last episode on a supporting text. Promise.

1 Corinthians 10:23–11:1

v. 23, "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things build up."

What does "lawful" mean? Which law? The moral law of God.
If it doesn't break God's Law, it's not sin.

Just because it's not sin, doesn't mean it builds up.

v. 24: Your actions, even lawful actions, affect other believers.

This is the proper, biblical teaching on "sensitivity."

"Everything is spiritual because God created everything."
—Francis Schaeffer

Everything belongs to God (not the Pharisee or weaker brother).

Why not eat, if all things are lawful, in this case? (v. 28)
In the presence of an unbeliever.

The unbeliever's understanding of an idol is that it is something, a god. If you eat, then in his mind, you are participating.
You know the idol is not real, but it's for his conscience. Your physical participation, appearance of agreement is the point.

I should not be slandered concerning that for which I give thanks.

Give no offense to anyone.
The act of giving offense is what is wrong. Not trying to control everything to avoid people taking offense. Even Jesus didn't do that. He was called a glutton and a drunkard.

Legalists will always take offense.

Don't act in such a way that you know will be perceived as agreeing with their pagan practices.
But if they don't inform you, it's on them. Don't ask questions!

Is Paul trying to be a universal man-pleaser? (v. 33)
No, it refers to what is profitable—so that they may be saved. Unbelievers!

11:1, "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ."
Everything from 10:23–33.

Christ did not give in to the Pharisees for even a moment. He broke all the man-made rules, and they took offense at him. And he never sinned as he ate and drank with sinners.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 11 - Sermon Text



1 Point Preacher
Episode 11

Show Notes:

Let's talk again about text selection. This time: the preaching portion.

How do you decide what size of text to preach?
How many words, phrases, and verses?

How much time do you have? Look ahead at your schedule.

The content of the text is an important factor. If there's a special issue that takes a lot of attention, it will take more time to explain.
Is it a particularly challenging text?
Will it require extra application?

Challenging textually, even. The grammar itself is difficult to work with.

Your education level does play a part.

In addition to knowing the text, you need to know yourself well.

It's not the size of the text, but the content.

Is faithful, theologically robust, sequential expository preaching only 1–5 verses per sermon? NO.

As much as you learn the theory of preaching from books and classes, is hearing it modeled in actual preaching. Listen to sermons.

Most popular preachers preach at a very slow pace. "Preaching verse-by-verse" isn't the most helpful label.

Survey level preaching is more difficult. You could take a whole chapter.

Are your people biblically illiterate? Give them bigger sermon texts.

Is your congregation transient? Like in a university town where you only have a few years with many people.

If you think being faithful is to preach Romans over a 10 year span, are you givng people a balanced diet?

In 20 years, how many books of the Bible have been preached?

Preach more Bible.

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C&CW Ep. 18 - Liberty of Conscience: the Scriptures, pt. 4



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 18

Show Notes:

1 Corinthians 8

"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." (part of 1 Cor. 8:1)

This chapter concerns things sacrificed to idols.

v. 1–3 introduce the subject.

v. 4–13 is Paul's explanation.

Too many Christians like to talk only about a fragment of v. 1.

Knowledge without love for God puffs up and harms weaker brothers. Not an ignorant love. Love to God leaves to love for the brethren.

You know that idols are nothing. There's only one God.

v. 7, not all have this knowledge, and are accustomed to idolatry.
So when they eat sacrificed meat, they feel guilty, because their conscience is weak.

v. 9, Paul is addressing the stronger brothers, who have this knowledge and are strong in conscience.

Stumbling block: building up the weaker brother to eat.

Weaker brother:

  • weak conscience: feel guilty for doing things that are not sinful.
  • weak in conviction: he is influenced to follow the stronger brother's example.

Stumbling: ruined by sinning against his conscience.

Real weaker brothers will act against their conscience.

"A weaker brother (or sister) is a Christian who, because of the weakness of his faith, knowledge, conscience, and will, can be influenced to sin against his conscience by the example of a differing stronger brother."
—Garry Friesen, Decision Making and the Will of God, pg. 398

The responsibility falls on the stronger brother. If his use of Christian liberty, which is not sin, influences a weaker brother to act, his knowledge has puffed up.

Stumbling block is something that persuades a weaker brother to act against their conscience.

That's different than taking offense when none is given. If the person has not been influenced to sin against their conscience, they have not been stumbled (according to 1 Cor. 8).

Many who have authority in the church are weak in biblical knowledge.

You cannot separate obedience to God and love for God.

We are to care for weaker brothers. Being "puffed up" is not caring about ruining weaker brothers by your exercise of freedom.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 10 - Cross References, pt. 3



1 Point Preacher
Episode 10

Show Notes:

Part 3, on the proper use of Scripture references in preaching.

Now, the correct and helpful use.

What is the purpose of a supporting verse? Why is it helpful for a preacher to cross over to another part of the Bible?
It's in the name: supporting verse. It is to support the sermon point.

Support, not the foundation.

Parallel verse: helps people to see that the teaching is also found in another place.

Helps to give a more well-rounded understanding, without taking the place of the sermon text.

If the sermon text was explained, explaining supporting verses is unnecessary.

Choose texts that do not need additional explanation. It will be understandable in light of the sermon text.

Proper use of references will be the opposite of improper use.

  • Don't use too many. Be moderate. Be disciplined. Each reference takes time.
  • Consider the time spent, and the attention of the people. Do not distract from the sermon text.
  • Know the reference well. Don't fumble.

Allusion: reference without citation; verbatim or paraphrase, or concept.

Cross references are not the sermon text. Don't explain or apply them. That's not their purpose.

Is this a big deal? Yes, focusing on the sermon text is basic.

God uses men to preach—they need to know how to deliver the sermon effectively, that includes the use of supporting verses.

Stick to your sermon text.
Here's a principle: don't preach a text that isn't your sermon text.

Supporting verses are not filler.

Be wise in text selection and know your sermon text well enough.
Adequately study your text, so you don't even feel the need to add more material.

Simple tip: make sure you know what happens in the beginning, middle, and end of your text.
Don't divert from you sermon point.

A typical misunderstanding of expository preaching: 90% explanation, 10% application.
If you think you don't have enough text, then review your sermon details (explanation, illustration, application).
Why not add more application?
Maybe you have enough explanation of the sermon text, but you lack application.

That doesn't mean be creative. Know the text, and know your people. Based on the observation and interpretation, apply the text appropriately to themselves.

Final remark: you don't always need supporting verses.
A sermon can survive without them.

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C&CW Ep. 17 - Liberty of Conscience: the Scriptures, pt. 3



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 17

Show Notes:

Difference between personal convictions and biblical convictions.
This can't be subjectivism, so what is it?

Addressed to the stronger brother, Romans 14:15, "For if because of food your brother is grieved, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died."

v. 16, "Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be slandered"
People will slander, because they don't have the biblical knowledge to tell the difference.

Does this mean we should not help weaker brothers to become strong?

Weaker brothers are helped through preaching and teaching; patient instruction.

v. 17–18.
God is pleased when we consider the weaker brother.

The kingdom of God is not defined by what we consume or refuse to consume. Does food define who is inside and outside the kingdom? No.

Your experience, especially bad experiences with food or drink, or a practice that seemd to work, is not the standard. The Word of God is.

Asceticism is useless for restraining the flesh (Colossians 2:18–23).

v. 20, "Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food."
The stronger Christians are more responsible.

Weaker brothers don't go searching for exercises of liberty. Those are Pharisees.

v. 22–23, keep your faith to yourself. Don't taunt the weaker brother. In the Christian community, you'll know who is weak.

You are blessed if you don't judge yourself over something that is not sin.

"Personal Conviction" and "Biblical Conviction" are helpful terms. Could we be more precise?
There's biblical teaching, and then our belief in it (conviction).

Paul is personally convinced, and he's writing about it.

Personal conviction typically refers to a belief with insufficient biblical knowledge.

Stronger brothers may restrict their own liberty, and that is their choice, and we cannot condemn them.

A weaker brother stumbles when he eats with you (v. 23), acting without faith.
A weaker brother is not one who claims offense, but is not influenced to act against his conscience.

Weaker brothers will follow the example of stronger brothers, even though they are not convinced.

Romans 15:1–6
v. 1–2 is again the call to obedience. A repetition of an earlier idea.
v. 3–4 is based on Christ.
v. 5–6 is a benediction.

We are to build up our weaker brothers.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 9 - Cross References, pt. 2



1 Point Preacher
Episode 9

Show Notes:

References are no longer references when there is explanation and application.

It's even worse when it's done within the book being preached through consecutively.

Example: preaching through a gospel narrative. The preacher jumps ahead in the story and makes a reference further along. But also explains, and even makes explanation from that reference.
That is preaching a future sermon text.
When you get there, what will you say? Skip it? Repeat what you said?

Preaching a supporting verse is one thing. Preaching a future sermon text is another.

Why is this done?

  • Lack of confidence in the sermon text, because a lack of mastery.
  • Because of a word. Simple word association, but no real connection according to context.
  • Lack of confidence in God. God didn't fail in his inspiration of the text. Know that text first, to determine how many supporting verse could help.

Example: regardless of how proficient a driver you are, not everyone around you is. Other factors prompt you to slow down.
With a text, as you know it better, you adjust your pace. If you slow down and take more time, cross references will be the first to be cut out. They are expendable.

Another problem: the 15–20 minute recap.
Talking about the previous sermon or 3, with application. It's re-preaching. In the worst case, 30 minutes could be spent preaching a previous sermon text.

Lack of flexibility: needing to include all cross references in the sermon manuscript, and preaching for an hour and 10 minutes.

One more:

  • Text selection mistake. The preacher did not consider carefully enough his sermon text, and realizes he needs more material. He chose 1 or 2 verses, because of popular expository preachers, but failed to consider his own gifts.

To have too small a sermon text and add many other Scripture texts is to preach topically.

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C&CW Ep. 16 - Liberty of Conscience: the Scriptures, pt. 2



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 16

Show Notes:

Continuing in Romans 14:5
A principle from God: "Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind."

Principles don't always stand on their own: they must be understood as intended by God, the Author.
He's speaking of the one strong in faith and the one weak in faith.

v. 7–8, another principle.
Who is your Lord? Who do you live for? The pastor? Your sister?
You live and die for the Lord, if you are a believer. Are you?
Is Jesus your Lord, and is his Word the Law over your decision making?

One who uses his traditions, culture, experience, office or any other extra-biblical standard over you is sinning against you.

Paul didn't give a centimeter to the Judaizers. He opposed them.

v. 10–12
Who do you give an account to? Daily, who do you answer to?
Who has the authority to dictate every single action in your life? Who is the Judge?

Don't change your views if you don't believe. Be convinced from Scripture.

"Why do you judge your brother?" Why do you judge me?
Why do you view your brother with contempt.

Write this down:

  • The weaker brother is wrong.
  • The stronger brother is right.

Neither brother may hold the other in contempt.

Often the pressure is on stronger brothers. But Paul points at both.

Like children, teaching is a process. It takes time for them to change their mind. Like farming, it's a waiting game.

To remain weak is bad.
It is implicit in Romans 14–14:6, because Paul is teaching right here! This is the correction. Paul is not leaving weaker brother in their wrong understanding.

Weaker brother should grow in strength.

Who decides what is good and evil?
Who will you stand before on the Last Day?

By what standard will the Lord Jesus judge us? By his Word, which we already have.

There is real authority in the church that is exercised in church discipline, but the standard is the Bible.
But you can't have discipline of sin if there is no formal membership. Private Christians can always rebuke other Christians, but there can be no church discipline.

Romans 14:13–23

v. 14, "I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is defiled in itself."

Not in culture, or according to the Pharisees.
This is not a "personal conviction" of Paul. Peter had to go through this, with his vision of the sheet full of animals.

Like Jesus said:
And He said to them, “Are you lacking understanding in this way as well? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and goes to the sewer?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)
And He was saying, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.
—Mark 7:18–20

Romans 14:14 ". . . but to him who considers anything to be defiled, to him it is defiled."
This sounds like relativism.
But it's not. The weaker brother thinks it is wrong.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 8 - Cross References, pt. 1



1 Point Preacher
Episode 8

Show Notes:

Cross references are just references.

Cross references: referring to other text; not the sermon text.
Referring, not defering.

Often done poorly. Which is unhelpful.

We'll discuss the wrong ways, and the right way to use cross references.

This a technical issue; of method.

You have to be selective, no matter who you are teaching. Simplicity is always helpful.

If you are all over the place, you'll be hard to follow, regardless of audience.

The congregation comes with different problems and burdens, regardless of their level. Not being clear or simple doesn't help anybody.

Types of References:

  • Parallel Verse: same idea.
  • Cross Reference: strengthening, bolstering. Crossing over.
  • Supporting Verse: the broader term including the others.

Cross references are especially helpful in topical studies. When referencing, sometimes you just state it and read it. Refer, but don't explain; don't change topics.
They support the sermon text, but don't replace it.

Don't reference what doesn't support.
It should not add anything new.
The sermon should be fine without referencing other verses.

An expository sermon stands on its own from the sermon text. Supporting verses are only a help, but not necessary.

It depends on how well prepared you are; how well you know your text.
Can you use supporting references like examples?

  • Scripture Allusion: referencing with citing the chapter and verse numbers.

Make sure you don't lose the focus of the people as they try to keep track of your supporting verses.
*You don't have to take notes!

We need to state the obvious more, when preaching.

Teach your people how to hear. As much as preachers need to know how to preach, people need to know how to listen.

How Supporting Verses are Used Wrongly:

  1. Volume—too many references.

Many people expect many extra verses. More Bible! This expectation has been set by popular expository preachers.
Also, topical preaching—which is all supporting verses.

"Be simple" doesn't mean be simple-minded or simplistic. It means not putting too much food in people's mouths—listeners can only take so much.

Be disillusioned of the idea that you can say everything in your sermon. You are already selective. Be more selective—be choosy. Preaching is discipline.
Doing too much of any component is a lack of discipline.

  1. Expounding and Applying supporting verses.

Not just referencing.
Not truly expository anymore—you are preaching outside your sermon text.
Consumes time.
Affects unity of the sermon—you've changed direction.

Using other texts as examples or illustrations is different. This requires "framing"—saying what you are doing with this other text, and tying it back to the sermon text.

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C&CW Ep. 15 - Liberty of Conscience: the Scriptures, pt. 1



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 15

Show Notes:

It's time for an extended series on the topic of Liberty of Conscience—personal convictions, weaker brothers, stronger brothers, & Pharisees.

*This series will span 17 episodes (15–31)

We will begin, as always, with studying the biblical texts.

  • Colossians 2:16–23
  • Galatians 2:3–6
  • Galatians 4:7–11

God's Word should be the foundation of this conversation.
And it is rare, which is bad for the evangelical church.

These texts may seem unrelated to personal convictions and liberty.

Personal convictions and biblical convictions (they aren't the same), the weaker brother, the stronger brother, and the Pharisee.
Pharisee is metaphorical for the legalist. The legalist makes his personal convictions universal.

Are we talking about Christians? Often, ones who act like Pharisees were not Christians.

These texts help us recognize that before conversion, we lived according to an anti-Christian worldview, now we think according to Christ. We must be able to identify convictions as biblical or not.

Even in the Scriptures, those forcing extra-biblical convictions on others were false brothers.

First text: Romans 14:1–15:6

  • Romans 14:1–4

If some are weak in faith, then there are those strong in faith.

"Opinions" regarding adiaphora

Example: eating vegetables only.

Neither are to hold the other in contempt.

A principle after v. 3.:
Who's servant are you?
Who is your master and lord?

Who are you to judge the servant of another?

This is the bad kind of judgment.

We serve God, not the pastor, his wife, or his kids.

Human beings cannot be lords over someone else's conscience. God alone is lord of the conscience.

A profound question is: "says who?"

There is genuine authority in the church, but man cannot add to Scripture and compel you to do something not in God's Word.

"This is how I was taught. This is how I was discipled."
And it was wrong. It was not checked against Scripture.

We're dealing with the explicit commands and the implications. Sometimes we make bad and unnecessary deductions from Scripture. But we're not talking about that.
We're talking about adding commands to Scriptures.
Typically there is an acknowledgment that it's not in the Bible . . . but.
"Even though God doesn't tell you to do this, but I am telling you." Based on experience, culture, etc.

This is why we begin this conversation with God's Word.

  • Romans 14:5–9

Does this means Sunday is the same as every other day?
See also Galatians 4:7–11 and Col. 2:16.
Old covenant calendar and the papist church-calendar; professing Christians who hold to extra days beyond the Christian Sabbath.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 7 - Stick to One Gospel Account



1 Point Preacher
Episode 7

Show Notes:

A common problem.
A genre-specific issue.
This begins a running topic for this podcast: special challenges of biblical genres.

For this episode: the "gospel genre" (i.e. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)

Sequential expository preaching of the gospels, and sticking to the gospel you have chosen to preach.

I'm preaching through the Gospel of Mark. That's what I have chosen. I was listening to other preachers on Mark 1:1–13.

The clear-case example is the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness in Mark 1. Mark only gives 2 lines to it. Mark is brief, the briefest of the Gospels.

What did expository preachers keep doing with that text?
They would leave the Gospel of Mark, and would preach Matthew and Luke, instead. Even saying, "Let's fill-in the details."

Is this a big deal? Yes.
For those who are committed to expository preaching, the chosen text sets the agenda. Tell me what that text says.
In contrast to topical or textual preaching— content comes from other parts of the Bible.

Here was a snag with otherwise dedicated sequential expository preachers, in gospel-narratives.
Men who otherwise would stick to the sermon text, when it came to the gospels they just couldn't help themselves but preach all the gospels, instead of preaching their sermon text.

You're preaching Mark—not Matthew, Luke, or even John.
Are you doing a harmony of the gospels? Just say that.
"I don't want to teach John today. I want to teach them all, at the same time.""

It's about focus. Being true to God's inspiration of that gospel-account.
Where are you? Teach that.
They love the word "context." So stay in the context. When you leave Mark, you're out of context.

I preached Mark 1:1–13. The immediate feedback from another preacher was surprise over the brevity and lack of further details about Jesus' temptation and even baptism. He expected me to do a cross-reference—to leave Mark.

I said, "I understand, but at the same time, you should not be surprised. Because I'm preaching Mark. I'm not preaching Luke. I'm not preaching Matthew. I've chosen to preach Mark. And Mark doesn't give that information. I'm explaining and applying what Mark, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit has written."

The core of the issue:
If Mark saw fit to include further details, he would have written it.
More importantly, the primary author, God himself, did not put that information into that account.

If you supplement one gospel with another, you're not preaching that gospel anymore.

It's a lack of commitment to the principles that make expository preaching expository preaching. It's incoherent.

It's not being more faithful to the gospel account you are preaching.

What borders on dishonesty is to select Mark but not stick with Mark as you're preaching the book.
It contradicts the way that Mark wrote.

Implication: there's not enough in Mark to benefit us.

It's a matter of discipline.
"Preaching is discipline." —Dennis Prutow
It's a matter of self-control, restraint.
The goal of expository preaching is to say what this one text says.
If you've chosen a text, then preach the text the way the text is.

Sometimes people enjoy topical messages because they feel more faithful.
When you teach expositionally, you'll get to the other gospels eventually. Finish Mark first.

Cross-references are not bad, but when you teach those references, they are not cross-references anymore.
You've changed sermon texts. Or it was your intent the whole time.

Be focused and stick to the text.

It's the easy way out to take the cross-references to the other gospels for greater detail. There's plenty to fill a sermon with.
Rather than grappling with what Mark means by so briefly stating these events in the way he does. In context to the whole, what is he teaching?

"And once again, Mark chooses to record the incident with compelling brevity, and it's not my job to spoil his brevity."
—Alistair Begg

Be faithful to where you're at and what you are teaching. So the people you are teaching can grow in understanding that text.

These preachers rightly challenge "platform preaching"—using the text as a jumping board—or preaching biblical truths from the wrong texts.
Where's that challenge when they harmonize the gospel accounts?
"Biblical, but not from that text."

They are not expository sermons.

You miss the intent of the text when you take the easy way out, jumping to the other accounts.

Why "the easy way out"? It's going somewhere else instead of explaining your text—understanding how it's written, according to its context. If God wanted Mark to include more information, he would have added it. It's not an accident. It's a preacher problem—discipline and focus.

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