(this review looks at the unpaginated eBook version)
Christian Focus has published another brief but useful classic from Dr. Carson on II Timothy. The subject of “end times,” or even more dauntingly – eschatology, brings confusion for many, but Carson treats the heart of the matter: living faithfully for Christ in these last days. More information on the book can be found at The Gospel Coalition (though I myself did not have access to it at the time of the review). Carson’s book is an accessible guide for Christians unto faithful living packed with simple but gripping lessons, that is recommended for anyone.
Chapter 1, “Living in the Last Days,” is a smooth, concise, running commentary of prose on II Timothy 3:1 – 9. The entire text of 2 Timothy 3 – 4:6 appears just before, but without a note of explanation. Nowhere are you alerted to what this book is: a commentary? devotionals? summary? Despite a disorienting beginning, Carson’s insights into the text are engaging and helpful. Unlike the rocky beginning, the remaining chapters easily flow into one another. Continue reading →
We have spent some time thinking about the importance of sermons in the regular, spiritual diet of God’s people, including how to hear a sermon, and also how to live from a sermon. But this all assumes that we are hearing good sermons to begin with. What should we do when we listen to a bad sermon?
Scripture tells us that there are some sermons so bad, we should not listen to them. When Paul soberly warned and admonished Timothy “to preach the Word” (II Timothy 4:2), the emphasis must be retained: a sermon is only a useful sermon if the content is the Word of God. Paul himself resolved to “know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 2:2). Unfortunately, we live in a day and age where the content of many (most?) sermons do not rely on God’s Word and His power, but instead rely on the preacher’s experiences, storytelling, practical suggestions, and eloquence. The preacher may even begin with a Bible passage, but the content of the sermon that follows is not coming from sacred Scripture. If sermons today were edited down to only “Christ and Him crucified,” how much would be left?
Similarly, Paul warned Timothy that there would be a time when “people will not endure sound teaching, but they will gather around them a great number of [preachers] to say what their itching ears want to hear, to suit their own desires” (II Timothy 4:3). Continue reading →