Archive for the Clarus 15 Category

Mar 21

Session 4 Recap: Helm, “Preaching: God’s Strategy”

2015 | by Nathan Sherman | Category: Clarus 15

Editor’s Note: Michael Kelshaw is the Head Minister at Trinity at the Marketplace, Albuquerque, NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This post is a summary of David Helm’s message from Saturday morning at Clarus, March 21, “Preaching: God’s Strategy,” from Acts 17:16-34.


In the fourth session of Clarus ’15, David Helm walked through the entire book of Acts, showing that preaching was the strategy of God for the expansion of the gospel.

What Is Preaching?

According to Helm, preaching “is the public announcement of the gospel from the Scriptures by one who is authorized to have responsibility for it.” The Greek word “to preach” is literally the public proclamation of a message by a herald on behalf of a king, and in the context of the New Testament, preaching is connected to an object—the gospel. The Word of God is the gospel; it is the message from God of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the need for repentance and offer of forgiveness in Him. This public proclamation of the gospel from the Scriptures is to be done by one who is authorized with the responsibility to do so. Implications from this include the need for local churches to give themselves to the public proclamation of the Scripture and to carefully assess who is able to do this work.

What Does Preaching Do?

Helm continued with an overview of the book of Acts, and he showed that preaching convicts (Acts 2:37), it converts (Acts 2:41), it establishes community (Acts 2:42-47), and it brings conflict (Acts 7:54-60). One of the repeated patterns all the way through the book of Acts is how the Word of God convicts all who hear—some to agitated conflict while others to eternal life (Acts 11:18-19). A clearer understanding of what preaching does, should cause us to return to our local churches with a new excitement for preaching. It will also cause us to reorder our tactics in the local church around the reality that God’s Word does its work, and it will force us reshape our expectation that, as missionally-minded churches, we will be marginalized in society.

What Strategies Does Paul Employ?

Our culture is more and more lacking any biblical categories, and in that way our world in Albuquerque is becoming increasingly like the world of Athens. In engaging this culture, Paul had a versatile and diverse strategy for gospel work (Acts17:2, 17): reasoning from the Scriptures, explaining the gospel, and proving it by setting the gospel before people so they could observe it (16:34). Implications of this multi-faceted strategy for us today include: finding appropriate ways to play our part in this as the family of God, thinking through ways to read the Bible with people with the gospel before them, and sitting under God’s Word together with others.

Mar 21

Session 3 Recap: Panel Discussion with Alistair Begg, D.A. Carson, and David Helm

2015 | by Nathan Sherman | Category: Clarus 15

Editor’s Note: Ethan Hester is the Interim Senior Pastor at Grace Bible Church, Las Cruces, NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This post is a summary of David Helm’s message from Saturday afternoon at Clarus, March 21, “Preaching: God’s Speech,” from Acts 17:16-34.


Question: Help someone out who would say, “Where do I go to see how the Bible is put together?”

Don Carson:  The most important thing is to read the Bible. There’s a danger in reading the resources so much that you don’t read the Bible itself.  I often worry about future-pastors who go out and haven’t actually read the text but have only listened to secondary literature. However, there are  increasing numbers of books that help to see how to put the Bible together, and if you don’t know where to start ask your pastor. A few examples would be The God Who Was There and God’s Big Picture.

Question: Alistair, in your sermon, you said that we come to church to hear the voice of God. Where does the Bible claim that the preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God?

Alistair Begg: Deuteronomy 4 is a good starting point where Moses explains that God has assembled the people to listen to his voice.  And where now is the Word of God?  In the New Testament the Word of God was preached and explained and was then inscripturated.  If we want to know what God has said, we look to what was breathed out in Scripture.  There is also this mysterious work of the Spirit where the skeptic can’t fully explain the effectiveness of the Word in terms of the skill or effectiveness of the preacher.  The skeptic has always tried to understand the book that he is reading, but in the Bible he often finds that the Book understands him. The best argument for the authenticity of the Bible is the Bible.

Question: This weekend is about expository preaching.  David, you’ve written a book on it.  Could you give us a definition of what expository preaching is?

David Helm: Expository preaching is empowered preaching where the shape and emphasis of the sermon is rightly submitted to the shape and emphasis of the text.

Question: Doesn’t that presuppose a singular text?

David Helm: Tomorrow I will try to answer that, but generally speaking that answer is yes.


Mar 21

Session 2 Recap: Carson, “Why Does Jesus Tell Stories?”

2015 | by Nathan Sherman | Category: Clarus 15

Editor’s Note: Grant Blankenship is the Preaching Elder at Cedar Springs Church in Cedar Crest, NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This post is a summary of D.A. Carson’s message from Friday evening at Clarus, March 20, “Why Does Jesus Tell Stories?,” from Matthew 13:10-17, 34-35.


In the second session, D. A. Carson set the stage for his message from Matthew 13 by asking a very intriguing question: Why did Jesus tell stories? Even though Jesus sometimes did speak plainly to his inner-most circle about his mission here on earth, he frequently taught in parables and stories to the public. But why?

Dr. Carson first addressed a few wrong answers, such that Jesus told stories because he was an excellent story teller.  He was able to make use of powerful illustrations in order to really pull on the heart strings of his listeners and really drive his point home.  And by telling stories, Jesus was able to leave the lesson open ended to his hearer’s imagination in order that the application could continue in their mind beyond the initial setting. While there is some shred of truth to these suggestions, Mathew 13 gives a much fuller picture.

Jesus Tells Parables Because, In Line With Scripture, His Message Blinds, Deafens And Hardens

Dr. Carson began his explanation in Matthew 13 by explaining why Jesus quoted from Isaiah 6.  In Isaiah 6, Isaiah is told by God that he will proclaim what the Lord has told him so that Israel would “see but not perceive, hear but not understand”.  Dr. Carson explained that part of the reason Jesus told stories was so that the message would be heard by some only to ensure that the message would harden their hearts. Thus it is the faithful preaching of the truth itself that, for many people, actually guarantees their unbelief. Fully aware of this reality, Jesus knew he was often speaking to people who were blinded by the light, and he intentionally made his teaching more perplexing.

Jesus Tells Parables Because, In Line With Scripture, His Message Reveals Things Hidden In Scripture

At this point, Dr. Carson asked the question everyone wonders at some point in their spiritual walk: Why does Scripture so often speak in poetic, metaphoric language?  Why doesn’t Scripture just come out and say exactly what is going to happen, when it will happen, and by whom exactly will it happen?   Dr. Carson showed that in the fullness of God’s matchless wisdom, he set forth trajectories until the fullness of time when God sent forth his Son.  Moreover, if the Old Testament was plain in its description of how the future would unfold, our sinful nature would run to be part of that fulfillment, while raising all sorts of questions about God’s sovereignty vs. human free will.

Finally, Dr. Carson concluded with a few applications from his exposition.  First, we should gain wonder in worship where there is a fresh grasp of understanding how God has put the Bible together. Second, we should gain discretion.  The believer should be aware that there are times when discretion is appropriate in an environment that is hostile toward the truth no matter how it is explained.  And finally, the believer should gain gratitude and humility in understanding that the gift of sight has been granted to them only by the Holy Spirit. The ability to understand the immensity of God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness foretold in the Old Testament and fulfilled in Jesus Christ is truly a gift from God. Praise be to God!

Mar 20

Clarus ’15 Photo Roundup, Friday, March 20

2015 | by Ben Moore | Category: Clarus 15

Clarus-1 Clarus-2 Clarus-3 Clarus-4 Clarus-5 Clarus-6 Clarus-7 Clarus-8 Clarus-9 Clarus-10 Clarus-11 Clarus-12 Clarus-13 Clarus-14 Clarus-15 Clarus-16 Clarus-17 Clarus-18 Clarus-19
Clarus-21 Clarus-22 Clarus-23 Clarus-24 Clarus-25 Clarus-26 Clarus-27 Clarus-28 Clarus-29 Clarus-30 Clarus-31 Clarus-32
Clarus-34 Clarus-35 Clarus-36 Clarus-37

Conference Photography by Ben Moore Photography. Contact Ben at

Mar 20

Session 1 Recap: Begg, “Assembled Under the Word”

2015 | by Nathan Sherman | Category: Clarus 15

Editor’s Note: Mike McDonald is the Lead Pastor at Faith Church, Rio Rancho, NM. He is a member of the Albuquerque Chapter of The Gospel Coalition. This post is a summary of Alistair Begg’s message from Friday evening at Clarus, March 20, “Assembled Under the Word,” from Nehemiah 8.


Pastor Alistair Begg opened the session and the conference by posing the question, What is the real reason that people come to church? While many may respond with preference for a particular ministry or a certain program, the primary reason given in the Scriptures is that the people gather to hear and submit to the voice of God in his Word.

The Word of God does the work of God through the Spirit of God in the people of God.

The People Gathered Expectantly

In Nehemiah 8, the people came expectantly to hear the Word of God read and explained. They gathered as one man, knowing of their individual and collective need to hear from God. The expectation of the people was tied not to Ezra’s ability to teach, but to the book that he held in his hand. They gathered on this day to hear from God—a notion that every believer should remind themselves of on Sunday mornings.

The People Listened Attentively

The ears of the people were attentive to the Book of the Law, as they listened to what God Himself had spoken to them. Pastor Begg urged that listening has much to do hearing sounds but with ‘all the ears of our hearts.’ One’s ability to listen is connected with one’s willingness to know God.

The People Responded Properly

The people of Nehemiah 8 were not only attentive listeners but were also proactive in their response. They lifted their hands, bowed their heads and they worshipped the Lord. They wept because they were broken, and their postures spoke volumes to their response. When the Word of God is heard, the people of God will respond.

The People Departed Joyfully

As the people responded to the Word of God being spoken, they were encouraged as they left. The Levites specifically exhorted them not to be grieved, because the joy of the Lord is their strength. While they initially found themselves weeping, they eventually moved to a place of great rejoicing. Before we can fully embrace all that God’s grace offers, we must first understand how broken we are. The gospel is most glorious when grace is most amplified. This same principle is seen in the people of Nehemiah 8, who are first broken, but ultimately depart joyfully because of God’s great work.

Pastor Begg concluded by drawing the audience’s attention towards the ultimate gathering that unfolds in Revelation 7. As the people gathered in Nehemiah’s day and as churches gather under the Word of God today, they both point to a time when all followers of Jesus will gather as one. But until that day when Jesus speaks face to face, the church is to assemble together under God’s Word. The Word of God is the driving force that shapes local church life, and unless our first desire when we gather is to hear and submit to God’s Word, then we have missed the point of gathering entirely.