Biblical Exposition Workshop at Tenth Presbyterian Church

Today was the second day I attended the Biblical Exposition Workship at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. The Event is sponsored by The Charles Simeon Trust. The primary speakers were Phil Ryken and David Helm. I have greatly benefited from the instruction, preaching, and fellowship over the past two days. In between each of the speaking sessions the men break off into small groups and discuss various passages from 1 Kings or the Sermon on the Mount. The theme of this years workshop is “Preaching Christ as King.” Phil has preached two sermons from 1 Kings and has given a talk on “Melodic Lines” (i.e. various themes, such as power, money, and sex, present in each chapter–as well as Christology) through the Solomon narratives of 1 Kings. These have been excellent times of instruction. David Helm, pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, has spoken on the importance of the biblical-theological context, texual and sermon structure, and issues relating to principles of interpretation. David is a good teacher with many sound principles to impart.

I was in the small group led by the Rev. Marion Clark. This has been a very edifying and profitable time. We have met several times already, and each time a different pastor/participant brings and outline of a text he has been assigned. After considering the theme, aim, application, and structure of the passage we talk about things we noticed or how we would preach. Then we consider how we would bring in the person and work of Christ in accord with the text of Scripture.

All of this has made the workshop a very valuable experience. One of the highlights for me was in this afternoons discussion. We came together to consider Matthew 5:25-34. A fairly well know passage where the Lord Jesus Christ gives the command not to worry. Marion pointed out something very interesting that I have not seen before. The text comes directly after our Lord’s teaching about not laying up treasures on earth, and even more immediately after Jesus says, “You cannot serve God and money.” Jesus is clearly teaching about the evil of greed and coveteousness in verse 19-23. In verses 25-34 He is clearly teaching on the sin of worry and anxiety. So what is the connection? I had thought it was simply connected by the concept of stiving for earthly goods. Food and clothing could be considered as the very basic, representative things that we stive after. But Marion suggested that Jesus is perhaps anticipating those who would respond to what He has said in verse 19-24 by saying, “Well Lord, we are not laying up treasures on earth because we do not have the money that others have to do so.” So Jesus’ response is, “Do not worry about what you will eat or about what you will drink…” In the first place He condemns the sin of greed and in the next place He condemns the sin of anxiety. For the rich, greed is a particularily prominent sin and for the poor anxiety is a prominent sin. This is not to say that the rich do not become anxious or that the poor do not become greedy. But it is an interesting observation that those who have very little are more likely to become anxious about what they need while those who are rich are more given to greed.

We ended our discussion by talking about how in Christ, the poorest person can be a joyful, contented, trusting person. One of the pastors talked about the Haitian Christians who have nothing and yet are so full of joy and peace because of the work of Christ. He reminded us of the contrast seen on the countance of the unbelieving Haitians. This was a moving and sobering time for us. I hope I will not forget it.

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