Archive for the ‘Philippians’ Category

Italian Magnum Opus

November 27th, 2011

In A Brief History of Time, Carl Sagan introduces the Cambridge Professor of Mathematics, Stephen Hawking,  by saying something thoughtful:  “We go about our daily lives understanding almost nothing about the world” (ix).  Maybe Sagan was speaking more of himself than for Christians (see Romans 1:19-21).  But, it does appear that he had a valid point.  Our problem with a purely Marlamaterial position of the world is that it is strongly tilted toward a set of presuppositions which exclude outside forces  (namely the Lord God) from the git-go.    That is why, when people sometimes state, “I believe in Science,”  they are actually admitting to a higher power that is observable.  An immediate problem here involves the nature of God being spirit, not chemical or a mere force field (John 4:24).  So, end of discussion, right?

The world from a physical standpoint does have four fundamental forces: (1)  Gravitational  (2)  Electromagnetic  (3) Weak Nuclear, and (4)  Strong Nuclear.  The Bible writer to the Hebrews, in 1:3, 10-12; 10:3 , presents Christian faith as including a  cosmological view of things.  So, those forces for Hawking are contained; while for Christians they are contingent.  Allowing for this data, we may move into the discussion of God in history.

There appear to be some firm components in the mind of the apostle Paul.  One such idea is that God is at work in the world.  But, even before Paul, we may delve into what Jesus himself thought of the world.  What kind of a place is it neighborsanyway?  For, to think as Jesus thought, to feel as he felt, and to see as he saw , we will need to acquire his set of beliefs (or, belief system).  John 5:17 captures this assumption in a  few words. Jesus believed that the Father was at work in the world, and that he was also involved in this magnum opus.  When the gospel is preached and people respond in baptism, they are raised by the power of God out of the watery grave of Christian baptism.  This is the Lord’s  continuation of John 5:17.  This is furthermore a call to believers to participate in the work of God (opera in Italian), by submitting to his plan.  If it begins here, commencing in baptism, it takes the believer far away and yet nearer to the one who calls.  This may be seen in Philippians 1:6, where the work of God in history has high continuity with John 5:17 and Colossians 2:12.

Why then emphasize making new friends or teaching worldview to bambini in Italy?  Of course, it is part of the plan!  Sagan and Hawking have done their homework and have gained the plaudits of men.  But, they have also limited their world with the rejection of any divine working in cosmos or history.  That is because of the Science, right?  Think again.  Sagan may know why stars twinkle (to the human eye), but we know why they shine on (Rom. 1:19-21; Ps. 19:1-6; Mal. 4:2; Dan. 12:3).    The great Italian Magnum Opus does not belong Albertaexclusively  to Columbus, Galileo, or Fermi.  The sub-atomic level may appear random; neutrinos, for example.  But, the speed of light is still a constant (300,00 kilometers per sec.).  Dare to participate in the drama.  Jesus will meet you there (Jn. 5:17; Col. 2:12; Phil. 1:6).  Pronto?

Holy Spirit Fundamentals

September 23rd, 2007

“For we are the real circumcision who worship by the Spirit of God”

(Philippians 3:3)

Due to the vast amount of published bologna in the field of devotional literature about the Holy Spirit, not to mention all of the popular pastoral pulpit theatrics, we submit the following fundamentals to guide our thinking about the Holy Spirit.

1. The Holy Spirit is not a silent partner in the Godhead today (see Heb. 3:7; 4:12; 10:15,29 Eph. 6:17).

2. Neither emotionalism nor religious experiences are positive proofs of the Spirit’s presence (Matt. 7:21-23; Col. 2:18-19; 1 Ki. 18).

3. Speaking in tongues ( + miraculous) was a temporary and non-normative feature of the early church (Heb. 2:3-4; 1 Cor. 12:29-31).

4. Evidence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life should reflect the New Testament pattern of Acts 2:38-39; 5:32 (initially at conversion) and Galatians 5:16-25 (subsequent to conversion).

Anymore, the Holy Spirit has come to mean practically everything or virtually nothing. When the New Testament documents are superseded by the subjective experiences of men, the will of the Lord via the word of the Lord is certainly marginalized (1 John 4:6; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; 2 Peter 1:3).

– Robert M. Housby

A Christian Challenge: The Winter of Our Discontent

January 1st, 2006

“So dark when I roam in this wintry world shrouded,
The hope of my spirit turns trembling to Thee”

(Thomas Moore, The Heart’s Prayer)

“Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York”

(Shakespeare, King Richard III)

We begin by asking a personal question—Christian, are you content or discontent? (Joshua 7:7; Judges 19:6; I Timothy 6:8; Hebrews 13:5). Christians are challenged to live lives of personal contentment. The apostle Paul addresses this matter of personal contentment in Philippians 4:10-19.

1. Christians do not deny the reality of trouble; to the contrary, they affirm it (Philippians 4:14).

2. Christians may learn the secret of contentment by learning and living out theological knowledge (Philippians 4:12).

3. Christian contentment is not based upon circumstances; but, rather upon the presence of God in one’s life (Philippians 4:11, 19).

While the winter of discontent threatens all living human beings, the possibility of joy looms large for all “in Christ” (Philippians 4:4, 19). Make the necessary changes for 2006 today. Begin the New Year right–right now.

-Robert M. Housby

Get Forward Thinking!

December 25th, 2005

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and
straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on …”

(Philippians 3:13-14)


January, 2006 Preaching Schedule


1-1 Winter in Nicopolis (Tit. 3:12-15)
(Decisions, Desires, and Devotion)

1-8 The Romantic Tradition of Gospel Preaching (1 Pet. 1:12,25; 4:6,17)
(Declaring with Passion)

1-15 The Blinding of Elymas (Acts 13:4-12)
(Dealing with the Diabolical)

1-22 Our Majestic Heritage (1 Tim. 1:17; 6:15-16)
(How to Escape Pessimism)

1-28 Wincing in the Wind (Matt. 14:22-32)
(We’re Often Made to Wonder)

May the Lord bless you in 2006! And, may your commitment to Christ
and His church grow ever deeper (Eph. 3:21; Psalm 1:3).

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, New Testament, Philippians, preaching Tags:

Samson and Christ

September 4th, 2005

How Samson Prefigures Christ

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

(Philippians 4:13)

“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice …”

(Hebrews 11:32,33)

The Hebrew scholar, Dr. John Willis, entitles Judges 13-16, “The True Source of Strength” (The Message of Old Testament History, Vol. 2, p. 81). This is the story of Samson. While Samson does not prefigure Christ in all ways, there are some remarkable Messianic similarities:

1. Both were men of faith (Hebrews 3:2,5; 11:32,33).
2. Both received angelic birth announcements (Judg. 13:3,6,7; Lk. 1:30,31).
3. Both men were empowered by “the Spirit of the Lord” (13:25; 14:6,19; 15:14; Matt. 3:16).
4. Both men were deliverers (Judg. 13:5; Matt. 1:21).
5. Both men were mocked in their last hours (Judg. 16:23,25,27; Lk. 18:32; 23:35-38).
6. Both men died between two verticals, left and right (Judg. 16:25; Lk. 23:32, 33).
7. Both men died in victory (Judg. 16:28-30; Col. 2:15).

The story of Samson, as the story of Christ, mingles tragedy with triumph.

-Robert M. Housby