Lecture 39: An Encouragement to Church Leaders
Course: A Guide to Christian Theology
Lecture: Wrap Up
This is the 39th lecture in the online series of lectures on a Guide to Christian Theology by Dr Breshears. Recommended Reading includes: Biblical References from the Course and Study Guides 1 – 39.
(Any slides, photos, study guides or outlines that the lecturer refers to should be down loaded separately. If they are not available, you may be able to find something similar using the Google© search engine.)
I. Encourage Others in the Word
This journey in theology has been aimed at church leaders who want to know what doctrine looks like. I want to call together a couple of critical things: the first being the attitude in theology. This attitude is so central is regards to leaders. For example in Titus 1 we have the aspect of character. We have spent a lot of time on knowledge and doctrine which is important, but fundamentally it is about character. We must be blameless and faithful to your family and to brothers and sisters and to Jesus Christ. We must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. You must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that you may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. So we need to hold fast to the truth of the Word as that we can encourage others. Do you fine your role in life to encourage others and give them confidence to try things for Jesus. As leaders your real goal is to equip others to do ministry. We are to encourage others to be like Jesus. Do you have a picture of theology as in thinking God’s thoughts so that your life is completely changed? Do you think God’s thoughts so you can live the life of God? It is nothing worse than having a head full knowledge that doesn’t go anywhere.
II. The Heart of Righteousness
What is the heart of the Abrahamic righteousness that we are talking about? In Genesis 12, God comes to Abram who worships other gods as Joshua 24 tells us. God tells him that he will make him a great nation and bless him and all nations will be blessed through him. He sets out and when he gets to Canaan, he builds an altar to Yahweh there. There is a unique loyalty to God. That is the first test; how loyal to Yahweh? God says let us go? Will we go with him? Will we be faithful to him even in a place where there are many other gods? In Genesis 15 we see God’s promises to Abram, even though Abram questions God. It was like Jesus in the garden! God shows him the stars and says that this will be the number of his descendants. Abraham believed the Lord. He took God at his word and ordered his life around trusting Yahweh. In Genesis 18:18 God reconfirms his promise saying that he chose Abraham for a purpose. Abraham was to keep to the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice. This is a state where community consists of God, Creation, Self and others. Are we pursuing justice? Are we keeping the way of the household with our children, our friends and our church? This ‘keep’ is like the Hebrew word ‘shama’. Are we going to the orphan, the widow, the stranger, the poor and the forgotten people in our society; those who don’t know him; the lost and the dispossessed; to bring them to God and God’s way? This is a potent picture!
III. God and Jesus on Mount Zion
And there is another picture in Genesis 22 where God’s tests Abraham in testing his only son. This is clearly a Christological picture of father and son, a prophetic dramatic picture of what God is going to do on the Zion outside Jerusalem where the Father and Son participate together, both active and agonizing, both involved in a horrific sacrifice for our sin. This is so we can share in their love and delight despite our sin. That picture begins and ends in 22:14 where Abraham called the place, ‘the Lord Will Provide’ or Jehovah Jira and until this day on the mountain of God is shall be provided. This is so real as Hebrews 11 confirms, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Do you taste the goodness of God? Do you live the life of Yahweh? So the study of God’s Word is not a head for the sake of facts, but rather a realization of God who comes to a sinful world in his holiness and he is moved to redeem sinful people to bring restoration and wholeness at an unbelievable cost to himself. And if you find that you like this picture of God and you want to be like him; this is the worldview of theology that God wants you to have; a worldview of peace even when it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. This is what happens with God coming to this world of sinfulness and death so that we can share in his cup of life and righteousness. So the character and the mission that comes out of good theology is part of it, don’t stop with information; live the life of God and you will find yourself full of joy.