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Entrusted with the Gospel: Pastoral Expositions of 2 Timothy by John Piper, Philip Ryken, Mark Driscoll, K. Edward Copeland, Bryan Chapell, J. Ligon Duncan Paperback – October 6, 2010
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“These authors delight in the realistic, uncompromising gospel ministry, which beautifully accents every page of this book. Entrusted with the Gospel abounds with ancient, biblical wisdom for every generation. It isn’t just a book for pastors but for everyone who needs, knows, loves, and proclaims the gospel of Jesus Christ. God has entrusted every Christian with the glorious ministry of his abundant life-giving gospel, but like Timothy, many Christians are timid and lack confidence and wisdom in their efforts to herald the gospel entrusted to them. This book offers a much needed clarion call to gospel-established ministry for the church at the beginning of the twenty-first century.”
—Burk Parsons, Copastor, Saint Andrew’s Chapel, Sanford, Florida; Editor, Tabletalk magazine
“Every minister of the gospel would be wise to reflect carefully and prayerfully on 2 Timothy. The esteemed contributors to this volume will help you do just that with insightful biblical exegesis, discernment of pressing contemporary challenges, and love for Christ and his church.”
—Collin Hansen, Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition; author, Blind Spots
“There are seasons of pastoral work in which the faithful shepherd faces serious challenges, and at these times he longs for words of refreshment, wisdom, encouragement, power, and endurance. These six expositions of Paul’s last charge to his suffering protégé provide a shot in the arm to stir both weary and strong shepherds to greater faithfulness in the ministry trust given to them by Christ. They are sober and sound catharses for the overseer’s soul. Through these sermons you hear the Spirit reminding you with joy, ‘Rely on me so that you can stay in the game with diligence until the end!’”
—Eric C. Redmond, Assistant Professor of Bible, Moody Bible Institute; Pastor of Adult Ministries, Calvary Memorial Church, Oak Park, Illinois
“Piper, Ryken, Driscoll, Copeland, Chapell, and Duncan are very different people, but they are all proven champions of the unchanging gospel of Jesus. This book will help all Christians study to be faithful to the task we have been entrusted with to spread that same message. Paul’s advice to his young apprentice Timothy is ably explained in these pages. Do your family, friends, and fellow church members a favor—read this book and apply it.”
—Adrian Warnock, author, Hope Reborn and Raised with Christ
“What you hold in your hands is a diversity of approaches to expositional preaching by some of today’s most capable expositors who model the unity of the one gospel, applied by one man (Paul), in one context (the church in Ephesus), written to one pastor (Timothy). And because all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable, I am certain that you will profit from these expositions as you apply this one gospel, presented in 2 Timothy, to your own ministry context and your personal life.”
—Juan R. Sanchez, senior pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church, Austin, Texas; author, 1 Peter for You
“For preachers still wrestling with the place biblical exposition should have in ministry, Entrusted with the Gospel speaks with one voice—‘Preach the Word!’ The proclamation of God's Word is God's way of accomplishing his work in the world. These messages will encourage you to keep God's Word at the center.”
—David R. Helm, Pastor, Holy Trinity Church, Chicago; Chairman, The Charles Simeon Trust
About the Author
D. A. Carson (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is a cofounder of the Gospel Coalition and has written or edited nearly 120 books. He and his wife, Joy, have two children and live in the north suburbs of Chicago.
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, A Peculiar Glory, and Reading the Bible Supernaturally.
Philip Graham Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford) is the eighth president of Wheaton College. Formerly, he served as senior minister of Philadelphia’s historic Tenth Presbyterian Church. He has written or edited more than 40 books, including the popular title Loving the Way Jesus Loves, and has lectured and preached at universities and seminaries worldwide.
Bryan Chapell is the senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Peoria, Illinois. He is also the host of a daily half-hour radio Bible teaching program, Unlimited Grace, and the founder and chairman of Unlimited Grace Media (unlimitedgrace.com). Bryan previously served as the president of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, and is the author of a number of books, including Holiness by Grace.
Ligon Duncan (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is the chancellor & CEO and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He previously served as the senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, for seventeen years. He is a cofounder of Together for the Gospel, a senior fellow of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and was the president of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals from 2004-2012. Duncan has edited, written, or contributed to numerous books. Ligon and his wife, Anne, have two children and live in Jackson, Mississippi.
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Top Customer Reviews
Copyright © 2010 by The Gospel Coalition
Published by Crossway
This book a series of expositions that were given at the 2009 Gospel Coalition National Conference. If you don't know much about The Gospel Coalition, please check them out. It is a great network that our church is a part of. It represents a broad sector of Evangelicalism that is committed to Gospel-centeredness, Biblical exposition, and faithful pastoral ministry.
The first chapter features John Piper, with the message "Feed the Flame of God's Gift: Unashamed Courage in the Gospel" (2 Tim. 1:1-12). In Piper-esque fashion, the exposition is passionate and offers much exhortation. Just as Paul called upon Timothy to "fan the flame" in the discharge of his ministry, so also must contemporary Gospel ministers tend to their calling. Piper says,
Timothy, keep feeding the white-hot flame of God's gift--of unashamed courage to speak openly of Christ and to suffer for the gospel. Feed it, Timothy. Do that. Fan that flame. Feed that fire. And every time you preach the Word of grace to yourself and strengthen your heart with blood-bought promises of life and help, look deep into eternity to see why you are doing this.
Piper also reminds us of the incredible suffering that Paul encountered and reminds us that we must fan the flame in the face of suffering...in fact, it's the only way to survive through suffering.
The second chapter, "The Pattern of Sound Words (1 Tim. 1:13-2:13)", was my favorite. Phillip Ryken draws attention to the trait of faithfulness, which is necessary to persevere in ministry,
Ministry takes courage--sometimes unusual courage. It takes courage to expose idolatry or to cross ethnic and social lines with the gospel. It takes courage to stand up and say that Jesus is the only way, not just for Christians, but also for Muslims and atheists. It takes courage to go to the hard places in the world and share the gospel. But this is what faithfulness requires.
Ryken also contemplates the mentoring ministry of Paul to Timothy and how Timothy is called to train other faithful men as well. We have an example of apostolic succession, not through the ordaining of infallible mouthpieces, but rather through the deposit of the Gospel. We also must contemplate how our ministry is fruitful in raising up faithful men who subsequently train others as well. He proceeds to draw upon the faithful illustrations given by Paul: Soldier, Athlete, and Farmer. These illustrations are not coincidental, but share a unifying theme of focus and discipline. This is what ministers are called to. Summarizing his treatment of these illustrations, Ryken shares the following,
All three of the occupations that Paul mentions require faithful hard work and dedicated, undistracted labor. All of them entail hardship and suffering. But they also hold the promise of a reward. "Beyond warfare is victory, beyond the athlete's effort is the prize, and beyond agricultural labor is the crop."10So work faithfully for the gospel reward, which God will bring in his own good time.
God's reward for faithful ministry is beautifully illustrated by the story of Luke Short, converted at the tender age of 103. Mr. Short was sitting under a hedge in Virginia when he happened to remember a sermon he had once heard preached by the famous Puritan John Flavel. As he recalled the sermon, he asked God to forgive his sins right then and there, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Short lived for three more years, and when he died, the following words were inscribed on his tombstone, "Here lies a babe in grace, aged three years, who died according to nature, aged 106."
Here is the truly remarkable part of the story. The sermon that old Mr. Short remembered had been preached eighty-five years earlier back in England! Nearly a century passed between Flavel's sermon and Short's conversion, between the sowing and the reaping. Sooner or later, by the grace of God, faithful work always has its reward.
Lastly, Ryken draws our attention to the faithfulness of our Savior and Father. It is because of His faithfulness that we show any semblance of faithfulness in our ministry. It is His faithfulness that upholds His own name in spite of our unfaithfulness,
It is not just our persons that are accepted by God because of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ, but also our services, that is, all the things we do for God in ministry. We are called to be faithful in the sacred trust of gospel ministry. But the acceptance of our ministry does not depend on our faithfulness to God, but on his faithfulness to his Word. Admittedly, our ministry isn't what it could be. At times we may wonder whether anything we have ever done for Jesus is worth anything at all. Or perhaps, after failing, we doubt whether God can still use us. It is at such times, most of all, that we need to remember Jesus Christ and know that we are loved and accepted by God. Even our own ministry is accepted on the basis of his perfect life, atoning death, and glorious resurrection.
Even if we are not really sure if we could ever be any kind of success in ministry, we should still try for Jesus, and when we fail for Jesus, we should believe this promise, "If we are faithless, he remains faithful--for he cannot deny himself."
The third chapter, "The Marks of Positive Ministry (2 Tim. 2:14-26)", offers surprisingly mature insights from the relatively young Mark Driscoll. Driscoll defines three basic categories for people: positives, negatives, and neutrals. Essentially people fall in one of these groups. Just as Timothy calls Paul to deal with the "negatives", so also must pastors deal with this laborious task of calling out the negatives in one's fellowship. Driscoll offers this fairly comprehensive list of what these negatives are:
Negatives are people who do ungospel-things in ungospel-ways for ungospel-reasons. They are distrusting, unsupportive, discouraging, and contentious. They burn bridges, are wounded by bitterness from past hurts, and are often the source of criticism and conflict. Negatives bring organizational sickness, division, and trouble because they are more interested in proudly winning their cause than in the triumph of the gospel and the good of the whole church. Negatives tend to draw other negatives toward themselves as factions; they also prey on neutrals in order to increase their own power and control. In the Bible, negatives are often referred to as wolves.
There are about as many kinds of negatives as there are types of sins. Some notable negatives include these:
1. Success-jealousy negatives snipe and criticize because they covet your ministry, covet your success, and/or covet God's grace in your life.
2. False-witness negatives spread lies or "half-truths" about others.
3. Misinformed negatives criticize, complain, whine, or perhaps just become passive out of ignorance or susceptibility to wrong information.
4. Personal-dislike negatives equate distaste for the pastor's tone, style, personality type, sense of humor, and so forth, with appraisal of his character or ministry qualification.
5. Take-up-offense-for-another-person negatives are always willing to make someone else a martyr or relay anonymous grapevine chatter on behalf of someone who allegedly can't or won't speak for themselves.
6. Missiological negatives are Christians who either on the right, rather like fundamentalists, disengage from culture and practice ecclesiological isolationism, or on the left, like liberals, shave off fidelity to the gospel and to the authority of Scripture in their efforts to be more culturally acceptable.
7. Single-issue-voter negatives view the gospel as Jesus plus something else, typically something political or cultural like voting Republican or Democrat, homeschooling, or saving the planet ecologically, but sometimes their issues are more theological like KJV-onlyism or the regulative principle.
8. Little-world negatives do not feel any sense of urgency for hurting and lost neighbors but are distrustful of anything or anyone outside of their proverbial church community, theological faction, denominational affiliation, favorite publishing house offering, political party, or other idol that has obscured their view of God's kingdom.
9. Chain-of-command negatives want more than anything to be at the top. And if they can't be at the top, they want access to the top. They don't obey the chain of command of church leadership, but presume and press, appointing themselves the person at whom the buck stops and demanding to be heard whenever they deem their opinion important.
10. Tradition negatives are anti-change.
11. Unforgiving negatives are mired in bitterness and keep retrieving the same old rocks they have thrown repeatedly, just so they can throw them again.
12. Plank-speck negatives like to preach repentance without actually practicing it, while conveniently overlooking their own sin as they judge others.
13. Diotrephes-negatives are like their forefather in 3 John who apparently employed a two-pronged affront consisting of slandering the character of ministry leaders and seeking to keep neutrals away from the positives. They want to be known; they want to be listed on the literature; they want to be honored; they want to be publicly thanked. They don't want Jesus to be first because they want to be first.
14. Distrust negatives are cynical, suspicious, hard for a leader to win their trust, and even harder for a leader to keep their trust.
15. Control negatives prefer to wield power rather than influence by working through church politics, stall tactics, and other passive-aggressive ways to lead without being a leader.
16. Critic negatives are the hall monitors of church life. They love to nitpick and dig up dirt, no matter how minuscule, and are good at keeping a record of wrongs.
17. Warrior negatives have zeal that usually knows no bounds and are always looking for the next hill to die on.
18. One-handed negatives put everything either in the open hand of flexibility (liberals) or closed hand of inflexibility (fundamentalists). Lacking discernment to know what goes in the open and closed hands, they are constantly half-right and half-wrong, which makes them always a problem.
19. Gossip negatives are always talking about others but never talking to them, often outlandishly doing this in the name of prayer.
20. Theological negatives are the heretics, apostates, and other various theological wing nuts who have an appetite for error.
I thought this list was very insightful. This is not a popular part of pastoral ministry (dealing with negatives), but I have learned that you either deal with them or they will inevitably kill your calling and drive you out of pastoral ministry. There is no neutrality.
K. Edward Copeland delivers the fourth exposition, "Shadowlands: Pitfalls and Parodies of Gospel-Centered Ministry (2 Tim 3:1-9)". What was particularly encouraging about Copeland's message was the eschatological reminder of what all our labors are leading to in the big scheme of things. God wins in the end!!! We must minister with one eye towards eternity, being reminded and encouraged by the outcome of our labors.
Bryan Chapell reminds us in his exposition, "Preach the Word (2 Tim 3:10-4:5)", that we must have an unwavering confidence in the infallible sacred Word of God. We must be mighty in the Scriptures or we are of no use to the people we serve. Chapell reminds us that we not only preach to the glory of God, but for the eternal good of His people. Our people must hear the voice of God in the preached Word.
J. Ligon Duncan's closing exposition, "Finishing Well (2 Tim 4:6-22)", reminds us that me must avoid the pitfalls of compromising the ministry amidst the ongoing pressure of contemporary culture. Duncan also draws attention to Paul's personal greetings for particular saints, signifying for us Paul's love for the people. This is a reminder that pastors must be lovers of people, quick to encourage and commend those who love the Savior. Lastly, Duncan reminds us of the benediction, which proclaims God's grace upon Timothy. From beginning to end, we need grace. The good news is that God is rich in His supply of grace. We need not despair, but can always come boldly before the throne of grace and find help in times of need.
The book is very encouraging for all who minister and recommended even for those who may not necessarily discharge ministry from the office of pastor/elder. I'm grateful to Crossway for publishing this book and sending me a copy to review. I'm also grateful for the venerable D.A. Carson, who edited this work.
"Entrusted With the Gospel" is like a buffet of favorite authors and speakers: Piper and his trademark joy and passion, Ryken and his practically applicable fireside manner, Driscoll and his pull-no-punches edge and savvy, Copeland and his flowing, beautiful language and carriage, Chapell and his magnetic clarity and speech and Duncan in his gentle, intellectual candor... each one different and unique, yet valuing and accomplishing the clear exposition of the biblical text, presented in their own way. I think Carson summed up well, the value of taking such a unique project (exposition of an entire book of scripture in a series of building keynote addresses at a national conference) and delivering it in such a way that many are encouraged and educated [more deeply about the Gospel and practical application as pastors and leaders]:
"...if you listen to only one preacher all the time, you will become a clone; if you listen to two, you will become confused; if you listen to many, you are on the threshold of becoming wise and of growing into your own style... ...The best of expository preaching takes its message and its thrust, and, ideally, even its form, from the biblical text itself. Most of our preachers managed this superbly while remaining, in form and style, exceedingly diverse. So let wisdom grow and stylistic freedom reign." (9-10) D.A. Carson
The focus of the text itself is centered around the encouragement in the work of the pastorate while focused on the unity of the gospel in the ministry to the church. Taking the wisdom Paul laid down for Timothy, the authors deftly unpack the highs and the lows of pastoral ministry while clearly resounding the call to able handling of the gospel of truth, while joyfully dealing with adversity and suffering for its sake. This is our focusing point, our reason for ministry, our gift, our responsiblity:
"Timothy, keep feeding the white-hot flame of God's gift-of unashamed courage to speak openly of Christ and to suffer for the gospel. Feed it, Timothy. Do that. Fan the flame. Feed that fire. And every time you preach the Word of grace to yourself and strengthen your heart with blood-bought promises of life and help, look deep into eternity to see why you are doing this." (23) John Piper
There is much that could be fleshed out and spoken upon from this volume, but my greatest recommendation is to simply read it, chew on it, implement it. Six sermons, really, but thought-provoking, fiercely practical and uplifting gospel truth for handling and understanding the Word. As pastors, this is a highly recommended read, as a pastoral and preaching resource it provides a fresh wind for those who have labored long and direction to those who have received God's call, new in their lives. It is also recommended to the lay person, as it is not simply for pastors and leaders alone. Really it could also be considered for inclusion as expositional commentary, much in the vein of Boice's "Expositional Commentary" series or Sproul's "St. Andrew's Commentary". The greatest aid this text provides to the lay person is in the explanation of Paul's passionate exhortation to Timothy. It helps the everyday man to understand your pastor's desire (or need) to communicate the importance and transformative power of the gospel while seeing their [the lay person's] role to become (as Driscoll terms in his portion) "positives" in the health and ministry of the church.
"There are streams of living water in the Word that satisfy the thirsty heart with God. For this reason the apostle Paul says clearly and passionately, `Preach the Word.' Preach the Word. This should be our privilege and passion, knowing that when we do so, we share the voice, the hand, and the heart of God with thirsty people. Whether they know they are thirsty or not, their hearts' cry is always, `Give me Jesus.'" (124) Bryan Chapell