January 2018

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Standing together around Jesus

 Standing together around Jesus

If we try to walk alone against a hurricane, it will blow us away. We stand a better chance of keeping our footing if we hold hands with others. However, even the strongest wind will not budge us if we join together around Jesus.

I grew up in the windy city of Port Elizabeth where it blows so often that the pigeons, accustomed to leaning into the wind, fall forward on their beaks when it stops – or so goes the tongue in cheek legend. Physical wind can be destabilising and sometimes lethal, but spiritual winds are no less destructive. In Ephesians 4:14 Paul writes of immature believers who are ‘blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming’.

From time to time, folk request me to write or speak about any number of ‘winds’ blowing into the face of the church. Some of these are obviously ‘ill winds’ and they are easy to identify, but some are not. For instance, Satanism is an unmistakably foul wind, but modern Gnosticism is harder to define yet also noxious.

You might be surprised at some of the things that I regard as malevolent winds blowing into the church. By the way, what makes aberrant teachings so dangerous is that they invariably contain a modicum of truth sufficient to disguise their fatal errors. Here are just some, possibly eyebrow-raising, examples:

  • Calvinism with its fatal confusion of sovereignty with predeterminism – the key assumption that God can only truly be sovereign if He determines all things at all times, and if He does not, then He cannot really be God.
  • Modern Gnosticism that presents a complex form of reincarnation and celestial rankings in the life between earthly lives.
  • Roman Catholicism with its exclusive system of religious orders, rankings, rites, and rituals.
  • Updated dominionism parading under the catchall ‘New Apostolic Reformation’.
  • Extreme Word of Faith’ism together with its bastard child, Hypergrace.
At this point, I need to hold up a hand and say; “Yes I know I am making some radical claims and using complex and loaded language. However, an article like this is just too limiting to develop these ideas. In my TruthTalk podcast Q & A I will elaborate a little, and you are free to email me or comment on this post if you want to take issue with me or seek clarification.”
In this short article, I want to simply make one simple yet bold statement – to stand against the winds of false teaching and practice we need to stand together around the central figure of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Ephesians chapter 4, Paul makes a series of connected points:

  1. There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all’ Ephesians 4:4-6.
  2. The ascended Jesus has given to the church, ‘some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’ Ephesians 4:11-13.
  3. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work’ Ephesians 4:14-16.

Put in the simplest possible terms – Jesus is the source of truth and the central pillar of the church around which we gather like flesh around the skeleton of a living body. If we centre ourselves on Jesus – what He said, what He did, and who He is – then TOGETHER we will become mature enough to withstand even the strongest winds of deceitful false teaching.

I am always reluctant to write or speak about ill winds because I know that to withstand them we need to know Jesus and the communal strength of His church rather than know about the foulness of the winds.

Focus on Jesus. Be part of His church and benefit from the gifts He has given to us as members of His ‘body’. This is how we stand against even the strongest gales of deception.

 

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Free Online Bible Study Tools

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It is the beginning of a new year and so I thought it might be helpful to give you a brief overview of the 5 Freee online bible study tools I find the most helpful.

Bible study tools are not just for serious scholars because they help us all to better understand the meaning of the biblical text. Also, most of the sites I am featuring have daily reading and devotional sections.

We are so blessed to have access to such comprehensive resources and it is easier than ever to comply with 2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth
The only major flaw common to all 5 featured sites is that they use public domain commentaries. However, many of the old commentaries are very good although they tend to be weighted towards Reformed theology.

All 5 resources offer similar facilities, but their user interfaces, layouts, and ease of use differ.

HERE is a pdf document with details, comments, and screen-shots.

If you don’t have time to read the whole article, or you are curious to know my personal favourite, it is the blueletterbible.

Be blessed as you study and meditate on the written Word of God.
[icon icon=icon-download size=14px color=#000 ] Online Bible Study Tools

 

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TruthTalks Sermons

TruthTalks (Sermon): Shine, Jesus, Shine

 Shine Jesus Shine

On Sunday 7th January 2018 I preached a message of hope and optimism concerning our national condition. You can listen to it HERE:

 

You can also access the biblical text HERE. If you would like to listen to other sermons I have preached, you can find them  HERE.

I have included my sermon notes for those of you who would like to follow along as you listen to the message.

  1. Well known hymn by Graham Kendrick, ‘Shine, Jesus, shine’ written many years ago but to appropriate to us today: [Say it with me as a prayer for SA] ‘Shine, Jesus, shine, fill this land with the Father’s glory. Blaze, Spirit blaze, set out hearts on fire. Flow, river, flow. Flood the nations with grace and mercy. Send forth your word Lord, and let there be light.’
  2. In Nov 2016 I wrote an article ‘The worm has been turned’, but only published it in April 2017. • ‘I am convinced that we will look back on 2nd Nov 2016 as the day the worm was turned’; The Supreme Court order to release the Public Protractors ‘State capture’ report. • ‘Light is now shining brightly on the areas of corruption … the rocks are being turned over one by one and light is shining brightly on the worms beneath’.
  3. What we have witnessed since early April 2017, just 9 months ago, has been truly illuminating… here are just some of them: • The Gupta leaks – Eskom – SAA – SARS – SABC – Bell Pottinger – Trillion – KPMG – FBI investigations – Nuclear deal – Concourt rulings.
  4. How the light is shining and how the worms are wiggling – THANK YOU LORD! Shine, Jesus, shine!
  5. But now it’s the start of 2018 – what should WE be doing, saying, and hoping for? How should we be shining the light of Jesus into our land?
  6. Eph 5:8-21 [Read]
  7. Vs. 8 ‘You yourselves used to be in darkness’… now ‘you are in the light’
  8. Why? Because of being ‘in the Lord’… Born again of the Spirit.
  9. The change agent from darkness to light for a person and for a nation is spiritual transformation… not ‘radical economic transformation’.. but
  10. At both an individual and national level, meaningful transformation at every level, political, economic, and social, flows from spiritual regeneration
  11. This text refers to the outworking of spiritual regeneration as ‘the good, righteous and true fruit of the light’.
  12. We have been praying for national revival for 8 years now – this is not the time to stop, but rather to pray with even greater passion and urgency – we start again this year on Mon 15th at 7h30 pm… come and join us. 1st thing WE can do in 2018.
  13. If praying for revival is the first thing we can do in 2018, the year of the fruit of the light, then the 2nd thing is to ‘find out what pleases the Lord’ (Vs. 10).
  14. This injunction is repeated in Vs, 17 ‘Do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is’
  15. Vs. 11 mentions two things that please the Lord, that we can start with:• ‘Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness’• ‘rather expose them’
  16. Thank God for the courageous whistle blowers, honest journalists, God-fearing politicians, and judges… they have been bright torches during 2017, shedding light on massive corruption, crime, and monstrous iniquity of all kinds.

  17. So in 2018, we need to be praying for these brave people and organisations – supporting them financially – speaking well of them, and to them… We can ALL do this!
  18. 3rd thing Vs 15 ‘Be very careful how you live’ – in our financial dealings, moral stance, our example… BE LIGHT!
  19. Live as Christ-bearers in every circle of influence we have.
  20. 4th thing Vs 16 ‘making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil’.• We all have opportunities for being the light in the normal course of events.• But if we ask, the Holy Spirit will present us, each of us, with supernatural opportunities that we would otherwise not experience.
  21. That is why Vs. 18 ‘Be filled with the Spirit’
  22. One last thing to take from this passage for 2018 is in Vs.19-21 [Read]
  23. This speaks of our corporate life as members of a local church:• Speak to one another with words of praise and thanksgiving to God • Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ Jesus
  24. We do not have to shine alone in the darkness for we are part of the greater light of the church [Illustration of one candle lighting other that light others etc.] SHINE, JESUS, SHINE
  25. I want to end where I started, with Vs. 8 ‘For you were once darkness, but now are light in the Lord.’
  26. I know this applies primarily to our personal rebirth BUT the Spirit whispers encouragement to me to apply it also to our national situation.• Nov 2016 marked a turning point for our country with the judicial release of the State Capture report.• April 2017 marked another critical moment with the mass Bloemfontein prayer meeting.• Dec 2017 revealed a sequence of political decisions and judicial rulings that I believe constitute a 3rd decisive point in our history.
  27. Radical change HAS STARTED and I believe that it is time for us to come out of the emotional caves of scepticism and despair.
  28. It is time for us to speak faith, hope, and love to ourselves, our families, and our nation.
  29. Make no mistake, there is much to do and many challenges, twists and turns along the way. Much to reform, redress and rebuild.
  30. BUT we are no longer walking deeper into the darkness; we are immerging into the light!
  31. Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Isa 60:1-2

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TruthTalks Sermons

TruthTalks (Sermon): The Joy of our Salvation

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Greetings and welcome to 2018. May you all be blessed in this year and the ones to come.

Today’s post is a TruthTalk sermon called ‘The Joy of our Salvation’, which Dr. Christopher Peppler preached at Lonehill Village Church on Christmas day. In this TruthTalk we hear about what is described as ‘a silver river of joy running through the bible’  called JOY.

This is a wonderful message for those of us who need to remember what it is to be joyful and, more importantly, WHY. 1 Peter 1 is the main reference for this happy and hopeful sermon, so give it a listen now.

 

Please CLICK HERE if you would like to listen to more of Dr. Christopher Pepplers sermons online or peruse his sermon notes.

Happy and blessed 2018 to all!

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.