Avoiding spiritual immaturity and thinking rightly about preachers

Text 1 Corinthians 3:1-9  Time February 17 2017 Place London Seminary
I want us to look this morning at 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. I want us to begin, however, by thinking first about a baby and then about a field of growing corn. You could think about a building being built too, if that takes your fancy, but I won't be saying anything about that. 
I'll tell you why I want you to think about a baby and a field of growing corn a little later if you haven't worked it out. It's great to have this opportunity to preach to you. I want to take as my subject today is avoiding spiritual immaturity and the related subject of rightly understanding what a faithful preacher is. 
So as you think of a baby and a cornfield at the same time I want you to have some questions in your minds too – Am I a mature Christian? What is my understanding of preachers and preaching? Are my ideas biblical or unbiblical, mature or immature? In 1 Corinthians, as you know, the first thing Paul talks about is unity in the church. In the young church at Corinth there were real problems in this area. The people had heard or knew of various preachers and instead of thanking God for each one of them and seeking to learn from them all, they instead began to form into little parties. As Paul puts it in 1:12 one of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, ‘I follow Christ’ (probably those who claimed to be above all this but were forming into a party, nevertheless).
Today it is an even more likely scenario, perhaps, for regular visitors to Sermonaudio. “One of you says ‘I think Paul Washer is best'; another, ‘I prefer Kevin deYoung’; another, ‘I like Tim Keller best’; still another, ‘my favourite is whoever preaches with the clear anointing of the Spirit’.”
This is clearly quite wrong so Paul begins to attack the problem by asking Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptised in the name of Paul? The mention of baptism leads him to say that he had baptised some but that his main work was preaching. That in turn leads him into what in some ways is a digression in 1:18-2:16. It is only here in Chapter 3 that he begins to get back to the subject of unity. Digression, of course, is the wrong word. Paul is dealing throughout with what was the underlying problem at Corinth, spiritual immaturity, an immaturity that made them think in worldly terms.
All the way through 1:18-2:16 Paul contrasts the gospel he preached with the world's message. The message of the cross he preached is foolishness to unbelievers but those being saved see that it is the power of God. The world has its wisdom, of course, but since in God's wisdom this wisdom is not enough to know God, God was pleased to save people another way - through the foolishness of what was preached that is Christ crucified which is a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those God calls ... Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For says Paul the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. Most people converted in Corinth were not among the elite of this world But as Paul puts it God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; ... the weak things of the world to shame the strong … the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. The real wisdom in the gospel is Christ not some worldly wisdom.
This is why Paul didn't come to Corinth with eloquence or human wisdom. He resolved instead to make his focus Jesus Christ and him crucified. When he preached he did so not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. He knew what Corinth was like and so was concerned that their faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. It isn't that what he preached or what we preach is actually foolish, it just looks like that in terms of men's wisdom, the wisdom of this age. It is God’s wisdom, a wisdom not understood by the elite of this world but revealed to believers by the Holy Spirit, who searches all things, even the deep things of God. Paul says plainly (2:12) What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is why he sought to preach not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The natural man doesn't accept it, of course but considers it foolishness, and cannot understand it … but The person with the Spirit does understand.
This is Paul's point then. He's not preaching worldly wisdom but God's wisdom, not the spirit of this age but by the Spirit of God - Jesus Chris and him crucified. This is something that the Corinthians have only really begun to grasp and indeed Paul is not sure that some of them have really grasped it at all. And so as we come to what we call Chapter 3 he begins to tackle the problem. And so we say today two things.
1. Recognise the danger of an immature and worldly mindset
We will look first at verses 1-4.
In order to help us get what Paul is saying here it will be good to fix in your minds the illustration he uses. So think again of that baby I mentioned, that infant. What do babies feed on? Well, you know that they drink only milk. Usually for the first few months all their nutrients come from milk – ideally their own mother's milk or, if there's a problem, some sort of substitute formula. It is usually only after a few months that solid food is introduced. Now imagine a situation where a baby just doesn't take to solids. This does happen sometimes and can be a cause for concern but it usually sorts itself out by 9 or 10 months. But imagine now a baby that goes on taking only milk at 12 months, 18 months, 2 years old, 3, 4 or 5! That is the picture that Paul uses here to describe the immaturity that the Corinthians were falling into. Brothers and sisters, he says I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, worse still you are still not ready. What does he mean? He says (3) You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere human beings? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not mere human beings?
In Chapter 2 Paul contrasts the natural man, the man without the Spirit, that is the unbeliever, with the spiritual man, the believer. That is the big difference between people, the essential difference. When the Word is preached a person either believes it or they don't. Once they believe, they are converted and all is well. While a person goes on refusing to believe then he is in great danger. Hell hangs over him like the sword of Damocles at every moment.
Having said that, even among believers there can be gradations. It is possible to be what Paul here calls a worldly or unspiritual Christian, a mere baby, an infant in Christ. Such people can only cope with milk, not with solid food. Now Paul is not saying that there are three categories of people. Some people have seized on his words and tried to suggest that there are – unbelievers; people who have accepted Christ as Lord; and others who have accepted him as only as Saviour but not as Lord and so they go on just like unbelievers, even though they are actually Christians. That is to distort what Paul is saying here. No, Paul 's point is that although the Corinthians had been converted they were still in some ways thinking like unbelievers. The very way that they claimed to be followers of Paul or Apollos was proof of that. It betrayed an immature and worldly way of thinking, an unspiritual mindset.
There was a fun song on these lines some years ago. It went

I know a man, maybe you know him, too. You never can tell; he might even be you.
He knelt at the altar, and that was the end. He's saved, and that's all that matters to him.
His spiritual tummy, it can't take too much. One day a week, he gets a spiritual lunch.
On Sunday, he puts on his spiritual best, And gives his language a spiritual rest.

He's just a fat, He's just a fat little baby! Wa, wa, wa.
He wants his bottle, and he don't mean maybe.
He sampled solid foods once or twice, But he says doctrine leaves him cold as ice.

He's been baptized, sanctified, redeemed by the blood, But his daily devotions are stuck in the mud.
He knows the books of the Bible and John 3:16. He's got the biggest Bible you've ever seen!
I've always wondered if he'll grow up someday. He's momma's boy, and he likes it that way. 
If you happen to see him, tell him I said, "He'll never grow, if he never gets fed."

So here's the question for us - are you mature in your thinking? I know you are theological students and you want to be ministers but given that it is possible to be a Christian but to remain like a baby, to be spiritually immature, thinking too often in the same way as the people of the world think, the question is a fair one. Do you think in a spiritual way? We will look at a specific manifestation of this in a moment but unspiritual thinking can come in at any point. 
Let me give you a little test on how mature you may be spiritually.
In Chapter 7 Paul says something about Christian attitudes to marriage and to happiness and sadness and to this world's goods. Now if you are mature in Christ then if you have a wife or husband there is a sense in which you will live as though you do not because your mind will be on higher things. When you are sad it will be as though you are not and when you are happy, it will be as though you are not too because you see that this world in its present form is passing away. It means that when you buy something you will not think of it as being yours to keep. You use the things of this world, of course, but you are not engrossed in them.
Or think of Chapter 8 where Paul raises the subject of food sacrificed to idols. Corinth was a pagan society and when you bought meat in the market you were never entirely sure whether it had been offered to idols or not. This bothered some of the believers. They didn't want to eat such meat. It was against their consciences. Others took the attitude that given pagan gods are no gods at all there should be no real problem. Not only did they eat the meat but they belittled those who refused to do so. In fact some were so confident they were happy to go to pagan temples if they needed to and take part in pagan festivals. Perhaps you take a similar approach to questions of conscience. It is a mark of immaturity. Paul begins his whole discussion of the subject by saying that knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Are you remembering that simple fact? You will be, if you are mature.
If you are mature in Christ then you will be making every effort to add to your faith. You will be becoming more good, more knowledgeable in the faith. There will be increasing self-control, growing perseverance in the things of God, more godliness. There will be an increasing affection and love for God's people. How we need mature Christians, those who are no longer babies surviving on milk but who crave solid food.
Of course, it is unlikely but just possible that someone is here and you're not even an immature baby Christian. Unlikely but it is remotely possible that you've not been born again at all. You can't even take in milk. You have no appetite at all for anything in the Bible. You know you need to repent and put your faith in Christ. All your thinking is worldly. The idea Jesus Christ and his death on the cross is the answer to all your problems seems so far from being the answer you reject the gospel. What a dangerous thing to do! Reject the wisdom of this age and trust in Jesus Christ today.
2. Understand what faithful preachers are like
One of the areas where this immaturity was showing itself most in Corinth was in their attitudes to preachers. Earlier Paul has emphasised that preaching needs to be a demonstration of the Spirit not an exercise in human wisdom or eloquence. In verses 5-9 he begins to talk about preachers, by way of example mentioning himself and Apollos and how the Corinthians should think of them as preachers. Some six things can be isolated.
1. Faithful preachers are servants of God. 5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe. Most preachers are called ministers. The word simply means servant. It is very easy for ministers and their hearers to forget this. Ministers are sometimes presented as entertainers or celebrities of some sort. That helps no-one. No, the work of a minister is to serve. He serves those he preaches to and he serves God. He does it by preaching the gospel so that people may know how to be saved. It isn't very glamorous to be a servant but it is worthy work and if a man is humble and willing to put others first then he can do it under God
So when you think of a preacher – yourself or some other preacher, someone you discover on the internet or see on the TV, perhaps, just remember that if he is genuine he is there to serve.
2. Faithful preachers are called to work in different situations. Paul adds in verse 5 as the Lord has assigned to each his task. In verse 6 he introduces the picture of the field. He says I planted the seed, Apollos watered it. It was Paul who planted or founded the church in Corinth. He was the one who began it. Apollos came and preached there later. You could picture their work in terms then of planting and watering.
And so the chief work of some ministers is to evangelise or to church plant. You are aware I'm sure that on Wednesdays the Plant! students are here. These men, I guess, are involved in church planting, beginning new churches.
More commonly men, like myself, serve in established situations. My main work is watering what is already there. No doubt, that is the sort of work that most of you have in mind. Many, possibly most of the people, will be people not necessarily converted through your ministry but through others. Most Christians over the course of a life time will benefit from the preaching of a variety of ministers.
Some churches, most probably, like my own, are small churches – about 40 or 50 on a Sunday morning – many even smaller. Other churches are larger, some much larger. The Lord assigns to different ones different tasks. Sometimes a minister looks at a situation and he feels he could not do that, though he is able to serve where he is. We are not always the best judges of that but clearly we have to be able to minister in the situation in which God puts us. One of the frustrating things is that one can feel there might be more fruit in a different situation but feeling called to a more needy situation.
Comparing ministers is not a good idea. There are too many factors involved. You cannot simply say – big church, good preacher; small church, not a good preacher. That sounds like special pleading but I'm preaching to myself as much as anyone. The temptation to look at things immaturely is strong.
I knew a man many years ago who thought planting churches was relatively easy because he had had some success in it. He had great success down in the west of the country but when he came to London and tried it some years later, he found it was not anywhere near as easy as he had expected.
3. Faithful preachers wholly depend on God for success. That leads us on to the next point. What Paul actually says in verse 6 is that he planted the seed and Apollos watered it but God made it grow. He concludes, therefore, (7) So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. It is very important that we grasp this. This is an essential element in mature spiritual thinking. It would be tempting to think that this man is a successful minister because he is very gifted or because he is very intelligent. However, when one investigates, it is not that simple. A man may be very gifted, very intelligent and yet not be successful. You can even have the situation where a man is successful in one place but not in another.
I mentioned a man who was very successful with church planting at one time but then not at all in London and later in Cardiff. \\I know of another man who was again very successful in one part of the country in the seventies but when he moved to another church and did the same things he had done there, it was something of a disaster.
I know a man who preaches often in India. He sometimes remarks on how he can preach the same sermons here with little apparent affect that are used to convert people there in India.
I could mention another man here in London who has been pretty successful, a good sound man, Reformed and very faithful. Now he says that all you have to do is follow his method and you too can have a large congregation. He seem to quite forget all the factors that apply in his situation but not in most other parts of London. I would be slow to criticise but may be he is in danger of forgetting that it is God who gives the increase.
A minister or his people can get very proud on one hand or very frustrated on the other, if they forget that ultimately success entirely depends on God. It is not that God does not use means, he does. We must not make excuses for our laziness. However, God reserves to himself who shall prosper and who not, which churches will grow and which will not.
4. Faithful preachers all have the same purpose. Another important thing to remember is (8a) that The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose. In one sense it does not matter that some have big churches and some have small ones as long as we remember that we all have the same purpose. Some churches may see many converted but they always lose them to other churches. One of the frustrations we have had up in Childs Hill is how many Christians leave us for one reason or another. As longs as they are moving on to places where the same gospel is preached, we do not need to worry too much about that as all faithful preachers have the same purpose. I don't if any of you have been recently to Kew Gardens. In that place there are lots of jobs to do I'm sure. I'm not sure how it is all arranged but I can't imagine anyone getting in a strop because a plant they planted was watered by a different person. Can you imagine someone saying “I planted those Galanthus Nivali (snow drops to you or me). I don't want anyone else doing anything to them”. No, the people at Kew have one purpose I would guess (they say it is to inspire and deliver science-based plant conservation worldwide) and although they may have their conflicts, the purpose hopefully is not forgotten. 
We need to take the same attitude. A person may be converted through one minister, settle under the ministry of another for 10 years, then be under another for the next 20 and in retirement be under yet another. All the while they may be getting help from many others who preach at the church or at conferences or that they hear elsewhere. As long as the purpose of those preachers is one, there is no problem.
When a child is brought up, obviously the parents have the biggest input but usually there is input from many other sources as well, more and more as they get older – neighbours, school teachers, Sunday School teachers, people who run various clubs, TV presenters, Internet presenters, etc. Sadly, not all those influences have the same purpose but in an ideal world all the influences would be good. In a similar way, if all the preachers a person hears are faithful then their purpose will be one.
5. Faithful preachers will be rewarded according to their own labour. Paul adds something interesting in 8b and they will each be rewarded according to their own labour. You notice that he does not say and they will each be rewarded according to their success. No, the reward is according to labour.
We still have two boys in school and when we get reports for them there are always at least two columns to look at. If I remember rightly, there is both the mark you score and another column that aims to show you how much effort they have been making. It is very hard to measure such a thing but God can do it easily. One day he will reveal his findings with regard to preachers. One man may have served 30 years in a Muslim country and seen no converts. Another may have served on the outskirts of London in a large church and seen regular converts. Those men's rewards will not be according to the numbers they saw come to faith or how many they built up in the faith. No it will be according to their labours, which God alone can assess.
Are you spiritually-minded? If you are, then you will see that and will keep it in mind as you oth listen to preachers and seek to serve as preachers yourselves.
6. Faithful preachers are workers with God. The final thing today is verse 9. Paul says For we are God’s co-workers. This is by way of summary. It is quite an amazing statement, isn't it? Paul and Apollos and all preachers simply work alongside God. God is the one who makes the difference. The preacher merely joins in that work, assisting in what ways he can by God's grace. That is the spiritual way to think of preachers then – of our own work and of the preaching of others. I trust that is the way you will think of what I have had to say to you today. Amen.

The Pastor as An Ambassador of Christ

Topic The pastor as an Ambassador of Christ Time October 2016 Place APC, South Africa

Our final session is on the pastor as Ambassador of Christ. That word ambassador has clearly been taken from 2 Corinthians 5:20 where Paul says We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
There is a more general sense in which a pastor is an ambassador for Christ. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones has written of preaching in general (Preaching and preachers) in these terms

Any true definition of preaching must say that a man is there to deliver the message of God, a message from God to those people. If you prefer the language of Paul, he is 'an ambassador for Christ'. That is what he is. He has been sent, he is a commissioned person, and he is standing there as the mouthpiece of God and of Christ to address these people.

This is also the way some books on being a pastor can get into all sorts of unexpected areas. In Jay Adams Shepherding God's Flock he talks about the importance of good table manners. It seems an abstruse point, perhaps, but it doesn't help the gospel if the pastor is an embarrassment at the table. We could spend a lot of time on matters like that but it is clear from the context of the Scripture quoted that Paul has in mind evangelism and evangelistic preaching in particular. It immediately brings to mind that verse where Paul tells Timothy he is to do the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5). It is not entirely clear what that verse may mean but clearly Timothy is not to content himself with feeding the sheep. He needs to be out there winning the lost to the Saviour. That is part of the call for every pastor. \\It is no surprise then that in our home chapter of Acts 20 we read in verses 17ff Paul saying
You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus ....
That was always Paul's approach, declaring to all the need to turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus .... It should be ours too.
Now different preachers will take different views of how they are going to preach evangelistically. Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, like many others, deliberately preached in an evangelistic way every Sunday evening when he was pastor of Westminster Chapel. Of course, one of the snags with that approach is that unbelievers may come at any time, not necessarily Sunday evening. That is why Spurgeon's approach, including something evangelistic in all his sermons, is to preferred. However, it is very easy in that method to start saying very little of the basic gospel message. Whatever method we adopt this is a subject we need to keep coming back to and reappraising. Am I really giving the attention to evangelistic preaching that I ought to?
Roger Carswell
In a recent book called Evangelistic preaching the evangelist Roger Carswell has set out five elements that he believes should characterise all evangelistic preaching.
1. These are, firstly, focusing on Christ and him crucified. Every passage in the Bible leads in one way or another back to Christ and so there ought not only to be expository preaching but evangelistic preaching too, preaching that focuses on Christ and what he has done for sinners. Carswell suggests there are vital ingredients in any evangelistic address and he seeks to make sure he always includes them.
These are

  • God's character including the fact he is a Trinitarian God
  • Sin and judgement and the fact we deserve punishment
  • Jesus and especially his death and resurrection
  • An emphasis on the need to repent and believe
  • He always mentions heaven and hell 

It is important that we always mention certain things if we are going to really preach the gospel. Another way to go about it is to summarise the gospel. Here is such a summary based on Jeremiah Burroughs
It concerns the Lord Jesus Christ. By nature we are all of us lost because of Adam's sin and we are subject to God's wrath. A sentence of death hangs over us all. Although God has done nothing for fallen angels, he is concerned about us human beings and has provided a way to be at one with him again, to be reconciled to him again.
Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, has taken to himself a human nature and has become the Head of another covenant in place of Adam. In this covenant he stands charged with sin. He has answered for it by suffering what the law and divine justice require and by making satisfaction for keeping the law perfectly. This satisfaction and righteousness he tenders up to the Father as a sweet savour of rest for the souls that are given to him by the Father. This mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, proclaimed to people of every nation or rank, freely offering to all this atonement for sinners. It requires them to believe in Christ. On believing, they are promised not only a discharge from all their former sins so that they will not enter into condemnation but none of their sins or unworthy traits will ever hinder God's peace in them and through him they will be accepted into the number of those who have the image of God renewed again in them and be kept by God's power to eternal salvation.
Further, such souls, with their bodies, will be raised to as high a glory as such creatures are capable of. They will live forever enjoying the presence of God and his Christ, in the fullness of all good.

Would that be too much to include every time? Probably.

2. Carswell's second point is that evangelistic preaching should manifest love. We are speaking to sinners but they are in ignorance and like our Saviour we ought to be moved with compassion for the crowds. Love should constrain us. He quotes John Stott

I constantly find myself wishing that we twentieth century preachers could learn to weep again. But either our tear-springs have dried up, or our tear-ducts have become blocked. Everything seems to conspire together to make it impossible for us to cry over lost sinners who throng the broad road which leads to destruction. Some preachers are so preoccupied with the joyful celebration of salvation that they never think to weep over those who are rejecting it. Others are being deceived by the devil's lie of universalism. Everybody will be saved in the end, they say, and nobody will be lost. Their eyes are dry because they have closed them to the reality of eternal death and outer darkness of which both Jesus and His Apostles spoke. Yet others are faithful in warning sinners of hell, but do so with a glib and even a sick pleasure, which are almost more terrible than the blindness of those who ignore or deny its reality

3. Carswell's third point is that evangelistic preaching demonstrates creativity. This time he quotes Warren Wiersbe saying “People's minds are not debating chambers but picture galleries; therefore speak so that you turn people's ears into eyes and they see the truth.” This is not a modern thing about communication but a realisation that to capture hearts and minds takes great skill. In Preachers and preaching (215, 216) Lloyd-Jones wrote interestingly

If I am asked which sermons I wrote, I have already said that I used to divide my ministry, as I still do, into edification of the saints in the morning and a more evangelistic sermon in the evening. Well, my practice was to write my evangelistic sermon. I did so because I felt that in speaking to the saints, to the believers, one could feel more relaxed. There, one was speaking in the realm of the family. In other words, I believe that one should be unusually careful in evangelistic sermons. That is why the idea that a fellow who is merely gifted with a certain amount of glibness of speech and self-confidence, not to say cheek, can make an evangelist is all wrong. The greatest men should always be the evangelists, and generally have been; and the idea that Tom, Dick and Harry can be put up to speak on a street corner, but you must have a great preacher in a pulpit in a church is, to me, the reversing of the right order. It is when addressing the unbelieving world that we need to be most careful; and therefore I used to write my evangelistic sermon and not the other.

4. Next Carswell says evangelistic preaching connect with the non-Christian. This is really a plea to take every opportunity and to make sure that the message is appropriate for the unbeliever it is aimed at.

5. His final point is that evangelistic preaching expects results. That is the only way to preach the gospel.

David Murray
The seminary professor David Murray has also tackled this matter of evangelistic preaching in a blog. He uses eight words. Evangelistic preaching must be

  • Present, that is majoring in the present tense. These are not sermons that are taken up with large amounts of history, geography and chronology. They may begin there, but move swiftly to the here and the now. He is talking about what Lloyd-Jones called the “urgent tense”.
  • Personal. When we are going after lost souls, we have to move swiftly, we have to engage more rapidly, we have to show relevance much earlier on. Let it be eyeball to eyeball, too. Try and get into their minds.
  • Persuasive. In evangelistic preaching the great aim is persuasion. We are here to persuade. People must see our anxiety that they respond to the gospel in faith and repentance. 
  • Passionate. To be really persuasive, we must also be passionate. Let people see that we feel this deeply, that we fear for their eternal state, that we are anxious over them, and that we love them deeply. Let that be communicated in our words, but also in our facial expressions, our body language, and our tone.
  • Plain. If we love sinners and we are anxious for them to be saved, we will be clear and plain in our structure, content, and choice of words.
  • Powerful. When we go into the pulpit with an evangelistic sermon, let’s not go in defensively, and apologetically.
  • Persevering. We preach. No one’s converted. We do it again. We preach. No one’s converted. We do it again, and again, and again.
  • Prayerful. Above all, of course, evangelistic preaching is to be prayerful – before, during, and after.
An example
I thought I might finally give you an example of how I myself have tried to preach evangelistically. I preached on John 3:1-18 both in church and later in Trafalgar Square. I entitled the sermon
I began by saying
The story of Nicodemus's visit to Jesus recorded in John Chapter 3 is one of the most famous incidents in the New Testament and one we should know well. John 3, of course, includes the most famous verse in the Bible, verse 16, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. I'd like us to look at the incident again this morning and remind ourselves of its teaching, the most obvious thing being that You must be born again. Let's look at the first 18 verses then.
I went on to say three things
1. Understand your state by nature – benighted and dead
We are told at the beginning of the chapter Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. We hear about this Nicodemus later in John's Gospel and we know that he became a disciple of Jesus – secretly at first but then at the death of Jesus he helped Joseph of Arimathea in the burial. At this time, however, he was a Pharisee and, like Joseph, a member of the Jewish ruling council, and entirely ignorant of the truth.
John emphasises this in a rather subtle way by saying (2) that He came to Jesus at night. Why did he come at night? His decision could have been prompted by many factors. He could have been trying to keep his visit secret or it may simply have not been possible to visit Jesus in the day time so busy was he. I think it is most likely that as a Pharisee it was Nicodemus's custom to use the daylight hours for study and that sort of thing and then in the evenings, when night fell, he would give himself to conversation. That seems to be what is going on here. The important thing to notice, however, is that John has mentioned this because he wants us to see that Nicodemus was spiritually in the dark.
It is a theme you can pursue all the way through the book. In verses 20 and 21 of this same chapter we read This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. This was Nicodemus's state regardless of all his religion and the state we are all in by nature. We love darkness instead of light because our deeds are evil. We hate(s) the light, and will not come into the light for fear that our deeds will be exposed.
So when Nicodemus says Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him whatever question he was leading up to, the fact is that he was not truly seeking the truth. Yes, he thought he was, but in fact he was in darkness and like a mole in the ground always turning from the light he, like us all, loved darkness instead of light because his deeds were evil. He hate(d) the light, and would not come into the light for fear that his deeds would be exposed.
That is why Jesus cuts in so abruptly in verse 3 with Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. It is not possible to know the truth, to come to God, to be out of the dark, unless something totally radical happens to you. There has to be a complete renovation, what Jesus here calls being born again or born from above – it all has to start again right from the top!
Nicodemus's response to this again shows how much in the dark he is – how benighted and dead he is. 4 How can someone be born when they are old? Nicodemus asked. Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother's womb to be born! Now we don't know if he said that in an incredulous way or a sarcastic way or perhaps in a regretful way – surely you don't mean a man has to become a baby all over again. Whatever way he said it, he clearly did not understand what Jesus was talking about. And may be you have no idea what I mean when I say you need to be born again. And that shows then how ignorant and how much in the dark you really are. It is how we all are by nature.
My first application was
This is the first thing to grasp then. By nature we are all spiritually dead. We are in the dark – ignorant and lost. Unless something very radical indeed happens to us we will remain in our sins and we will die forever. That is the case for all of us, religious or not. I was giving out tracts one day and a woman said to me “You ought to be giving a tract to him not me” (pointing to a drunk sitting on the bench nearby). She said she was an evangelist and in the en she did agree that we all need forgiveness but she really thought some need it more than others, whereas the truth is that we all need it – desperately.
2. Realise that you need to be born again
So this is our need – to be regenerate, to be born again or from above. In verse 5 Jesus says Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. There has been quite a bit of debate about what exactly Jesus meant by this.
Some people think there is a reference to baptism here somehow but Nicodemus would not have known much about baptism so it is unlikely that Jesus introduces that subject here.
Some think being born of water is a reference to physical birth. You know that there is an amniotic sac that breaks just before the birth of a baby (hence the expression “her waters have broken”). Born … of the Spirit would then be spiritual birth or new birth.
If we bear in mind other Scriptures, however, especially Ezekiel 36:25, 26, a Scripture Nicodemus would have known, and that talks about God sprinkling clean water on his people and giving them a new heart then it is most likely that Jesus is using two expressions to refer to the same spiritual event. It is being born of water as it is a washing (what Paul calls somewhere in Titus (3:5)  the washing of regeneration) and it is being born of the Spirit as it is a spiritual renewal (in the same place Paul talks of renewal by the Holy Spirit).
This is what we all need then – a fundamental washing away of our sins (symbolised in baptism), a radical renewal that transforms us and makes us new people in Christ.
Jesus goes on (6) Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. This is amplifying his point. In the physical realm Flesh gives birth to flesh, a woman of flesh gives birth to a baby of flesh. In the spiritual realm the Spirit and I think it is right to use a capital there as we are talking about the Holy Spirit gives birth to spirit. The Holy Spirit is able to bring about a new birth, a radical spiritual change. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' Jesus continues. Jesus says that everyone needs to be born again. It is not a command but a statement of truth – we all need regeneration.
Jesus use another illustration at this point - 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. You cannot see the wind but you see the effects of it. You can see the trees move, things blown into the air. So the Spirit works in people's hearts changing them so that they are born again. You cannot see that. It is entirely invisible. What you see is the effects – the way their lives are transformed so that they turn form evil and begin to do good.
My second application was
So you see that the great need of every man and woman and boy and girl is to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. By nature we are benighted and dead. We need the light to be turned on, to be spiritually made alive. The only way this can happen is if the Spirit of God himself does it. He alone can wash us clean. He alone can enlighten us. He alone can renew us. He does his work secretly but effectively in people's hearts. Have you been born of water and the Spirit? Has the fresh breeze of the Spirit blown into your life? Have you been born again? It is the only way into the kingdom of God. It is the only way to be a true Christian
3. Recognise that Christ has come so that you may trust in him and have life
So Jesus sets it out all very clearly but Nicodemus is still a good way off. How can this be? He asks in verse 9. (10-12) You are Israel's teacher, says Jesus, and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? Nicodemus was a Pharisee. This was the strictest sect among the Jews at the time. He was a man people looked up to, a rabbi, and yet he was unfamiliar with the most basic teaching about God's kingdom that there is. At this point Jesus is only speaking of earthly things – being born again here on earth. He has not gone on to the end of time, to the Second Coming and the judgement and heaven and hell and so on. It seems incredible to think that such an apparent man of God was so ignorant and yet there are plenty of examples of such things throughout history and to the present day. There are popes and cardinals and metropolitans and archbishops and bishops and deans and so on who don't know the first thing about being born again.
By this stage of his ministry Jesus had preached to very many but the general response was one of refusal to listen, refusal to accept the need to be born again. It is the same today.
In the early days of Dr Lloyd-Jones ministry, in the 1920s, he was once told “… you talk of God's action and God's sovereignty like a hyper-Calvinist, and of spiritual experience like a Quaker, but the cross and the work of Christ have little place in your preaching.” This chapter is certainly about being born again and it needs to be emphasised. Only God can save you. You also need to trust in Jesus Christ without doubt. But how does that make a difference? It is because of justification by faith. We all need two things. We need new birth, renewal and we need to be justified – to be declared righteous by God. We can be declared righteous because Jesus has died in the place of sinners like us. So if we trust in him we will be justified. Jesus goes on to open up on how people are saved in the verses that follow. It is not entirely clear where his words to Nicodemus end and where John has added other statements. It is all important to know, however. We will go as far as verse 18 today.
Jesus speaks first of his incarnation, then of the cross, then of the two together, emphasising the need for everyone to trust in him to know eternal life.
So first Jesus says (13) No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven - the Son of Man. When he says that No one has ever gone into heaven he means in his own right. In 1:18 John says similarly No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. Jesus has unique access to God and to heaven. By coming from heaven as the Saviour he has opened up a way into heaven for people like us. Some manuscripts add who is in heaven. The niv does not include it but there is no real difficulty with it because Jesus is man and God and so he was in heaven even at that very moment according to his divine nature.
In verses 14 and 15 Jesus draws on an Old Testament incident to explain how by his death he was going to provide eternal life. When God's people were in the desert they often rebelled, On one occasion God punished them by sending poisonous snakes among them. People got sick, some died. God then directed Moses to fashion a bronze snake, which he was to hold up in front of the people. Everyone who looked at it would be healed that moment. So Jesus says Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that is he must be crucified that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. Jesus says he is going to die as he did. Once he dies, everyone who trusts in him will be forgiven and they will have the gift of eternal life.
Jesus sums it up in verse 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Out of his love for this world in all its rottenness and sin God sent his one and only Son into it. He did it so that whoever puts their faith in Jesus, whoever it is at all, might know the blessing of eternal life. Verses 17 and 18 re-inforce the teaching. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. The world was already condemned by the law. We have not lived as we should. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. It is all about faith in the end, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.
My final brief application was
So Nicodemus learns not only that he needs to be born again but also that Christ by his death provides a way of salvation for all who trust in him. We too need to see that we need to be born again and we need to trust in Christ and be justified. Have you been born again? You will know it if you have. Have you put your faith in Jesus Christ? I urge you to do that today? You must trust in him. Only he can save you.

The Pastor as Theologian

Topic The pastor as theologian Time October 2016 Place APC, South Africa
The second thing we want to talk about today is the Pastor as theologian. Let me begin by repeating the story of the minister walking through a cemetery with his little girl. The girl stopped at one of the graves and read the inscription. “O look” she said “two men are buried in this one grave.” “Why do you say that, dear?” says her father. The reply? “Because on the tombstone it says, “Here lies a pastor and a theologian.” This little girl didn't realise that one person could be both a pastor and a theologian! Hopefully, her father did and hopefully you do too.
In an interesting article on the subject, Southern Baptist Seminary President Al Mohler, expresses the opinion that “every pastor is called to be a theologian”. As he notes, this assertion may come as a surprise to some pastors. This is because they see theology as an academic discipline studied at a seminary rather than as something that should characterise the life and ministry of every pastor.
Part of the reason for this way of thinking is the transformation of theology that has taken place since the time of the Puritans, whereby it has increasingly become the province of the university rather than of local churches and their pastors. If you go back to someone like the Elizabethan Puritan William Perkins (1558-1602), or the later Dutch theologian, Hermann Witsius (1636-1708), you will get quite a different understanding of theology. In his Golden Chain of 1590 Perkins famously calls it “the science of living blessedly forever.” In an essay on The character of a true theologian, his inaugural lecture at the University of Franeker,
Witsius similarly wrote

By a theologian, I mean one who, imbued with a substantial knowledge of divine things derived from the teaching of God Himself, declares and extols, not in words only, but by the whole course of his life, the wonderful excellencies of God and thus lives entirely for His glory.

When we take that view of things, it is clear that what Al Mohler says is true

the health of the church depends upon its pastors functioning as faithful theologians - teaching, preaching, defending, and applying the great doctrines of the faith.

He is surely correct to say that “the pastoral calling is inherently theological”. The pastor is called to be a teacher and preacher of the Word. “The idea of the pastorate as a non-theological office is inconceivable in light of the New Testament.” This is made explicit in the pastoral letters.
Tom Ascol says that in the 242 verses that make up the three letters, the word, “doctrine” appears at least 16 times. “Theology” he says “was to be at the heart of Timothy’s and Titus’ understanding of what a pastor is to be and do.”
Take these verses from 2 Timothy for example

2 Timothy 1:13, 14 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
2 Timothy 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 4:1-4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather round them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Also see 1 Timothy 4:13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
Titus 1:9 which says of the elder He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

If we are to teach people, if we are to faithfully defend the truth, if we are to be effective evangelists, then we need to be theologians. Indeed, as Mohler says, again

There is no dimension of the pastor’s calling that is not deeply, inherently, and inescapably theological. There is no problem the pastor will encounter in counselling that is not specifically theological in character. There is no major question in ministry that does not come with deep theological dimensions and the need for careful theological application. The task of leading, feeding, and guiding the congregation is as theological as any other vocation conceivable. People regularly point to various models or styles of pastoral ministry – the manager, the helper, the coach and it may be that such models have something to teach us but the New Testament approach is clearly one in which the pastor is a theologian. The very shape of Paul's letters, where he regularly begins with doctrine and moves on to practice is a powerful witness on its own.
That is why “today’s pastors must recover and reclaim the pastoral calling as inherently and cheerfully theological”. In his Preachers and preaching Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones raises the question of what preaching is. His answer is evocative. “Logic on fire!” he says, “Eloquent reason!” “Are these contradictions?” he asks.

Of course they are not. Reason concerning this Truth ought to be mightily eloquent, as you see in the case of the Apostle Paul and others. It is theology on fire. And a theology which does not take fire, I maintain, is a defective theology. Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire. A true understanding and experience of the Truth must lead to this.

He also says

Preaching must always be theological, always based on a theological foundation. … There is no type of preaching that should be non-theological.

He especially advocates systematic theology

To me there is nothing more important in a preacher than that he should have a systematic theology, that he should know it and be well grounded in it. This systematic theology, this body of truth which is derived from the Scripture, should always be present as a background and as a controlling influence in his preaching.

B B Warfield's essay on The indispensability of systematic theology to the preacher begins similarly

Professor Flint, of Edinburgh, in closing his opening lecture to his class a few years ago, took occasion to warn his students of what he spoke of as an imminent danger ... a growing tendency to "deem it of prime importance that they should enter upon their ministry accomplished preachers, and of only secondary importance that they should be scholars, thinkers, theologians." "It is not so," he is reported as saying, "that great or even good preachers are formed. They form themselves before they form their style of preaching. Substance with them precedes appearance, instead of appearance being a substitute for substance. They learn to know truth before they think of presenting it. … They acquire a solid basis for the manifestation of their love of souls through a loving, comprehensive, absorbing study of the truth which saves souls." In these winged words is outlined the case for the indispensableness of Systematic Theology for the preacher. It is summed up in the propositions that it is through the truth that souls are saved, that it is accordingly the prime business of the preacher to present this truth to men, and that it is consequently his fundamental duty to become himself possessed of this truth, that he may present it to men and so save their souls. It would not be easy to overstate, of course, the importance to a preacher of those gifts and graces which qualify him to present this truth to men in a winning way - of all, in a word, that goest to make him an "accomplished preacher." But it is obviously even more important to him that he should have a clear apprehension and firm grasp of that truth which he is to commend to men by means of these gifts and graces. For this clear apprehension and firm grasp of the truth its systematic study would seem certainly to be indispensable. And Systematic Theology is nothing other than the saving truth of God presented in systematic form

Not that either would undervalue biblical theology. However, they would hold that biblical theology should lead to systematic theology so that when we come to a fresh passage of Scripture we have a systematic understanding of Scripture undergirding the way we approach the passage. One useful tip here. If you want to know whether you understand a doctrine properly then try to simply explain it out loud. Try justification or regeneration, for example.

There was an article in Christianity Today last year called Why being a pastor-scholar is nearly impossible where Andrew Wilson sounded some warning bells regarding being both a pastor and a scholar. He asks there

But how feasible is it to be both a scholar and a pastor? I suspect many of us know individuals who, by aiming to be both a pastor and a scholar, have ended up being neither. More commonly, some aspire to be both equally, but indicate by their speech and actions - let alone by their weekly timetables - that they major in one and minor in the other.

He points up three obvious areas of tension. First, the generalist-specialist one. Pastors are generalists who have to know a lot about many things, while scholars tend to specialise. Pastors can rarely say “but that I not my field” or “I will do a paper on that and let you have it in six months time”. Second, the practical-theoretical tension. Scholars tend to theorise, while pastors need to be practical. The congregation wants to know what to do next and is seldom interested in the history of theories of how the soul is generated or the ins and outs of early Christian heresies. Thirdly, he consider the university-church tension. If you have studied at university or seminary level you will know how different these spheres can be. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
As he says,

full-time academics have to play by all sorts of scholarly rules, many of which constrain them from speaking with confidence about any number of issues. The academy loves nuance and finesse. But when transplanted into a local church context, such speech can seem evasive, flowery, and obscure. Although sounding quite negative about scholar-pastors he ends more positively by reminding us that tension can be good for us. Of course, what we are arguing for here is not that we become scholars in the sense of entering the academic world, Rather our concern is that pastors think in a theological way. Whether that includes any academic activity is another question entirely.

Practical steps
Given that all pastors should be theologians, what practical steps can we take to ensure that, if we are pastors we are pastor-theologians, a we ought to be. In an essay from the 1980s by James Montgomery Boice on The preacher and scholarship he gives four recommended guidelines.

1. Get all the formal training you can
Our circumstances differ and some will only be able to get a limited amount of formal training or none at all. Whatever opportunities come your way, grab them with both hands. You will not regret it.
2. Never stop learning
It is important that whether or not you are able to get formal training or not that you do not stop there. Your study should be ongoing. Read books, make judicious use of the Internet, attend conferences like this one and take other opportunities to learn. Boice suggest we focus on three areas
1 The Bible. This must always be first and foremost. Above everything else, we must know our Bibles. This is our textbook. Read the Bible daily. As a minister you should be reading the Bible once through at least every year. The M'Cheyne reading calendar which takes you through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice every year is demanding but very profitable. Really get to know your Bible inside out. One of the points that John Piper makes in a paper on Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) and what he teaches us is that pastors ought to “labour earnestly to know the Scriptures”. He recalls Edwards' 28th resolution in the series of such resolutions he made while studying at Yale.

Resolved: To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

Piper says

Don't get your vision of God secondhand. Don't even let Edwards or Packer be your primary source of divinity. This was the example Edwards himself sets for us. His early biographer Sereno Dwight said that when he came to his pastorate in Northampton, "he had studied theology, not chiefly in systems or commentaries, but in the Bible, and in the character and mutual relations of God and his creatures, from which all its principles are derived" (Works, I, xxxvii).

He quotes an Edwards sermon called The Importance and Advantage of a thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth.
Edwards says

Be assiduous [!] in reading the Holy Scriptures. This is the fountain whence all knowledge in divinity must be derived. Therefore let not this treasure lie by you neglected (Works, II, 162).

Perhaps you know how one day Edwards took a Bible apart page by page and then sowed it back together interleaved with blank sheets. He then drew a line down the centre of each blank page in order to make two columns for notes. The Bible still exists and is in the Beinecke Library at Yale. Piper says that on page after page in the remotest parts of Scripture there are extensive notes and reflections in his tiny almost illegible handwriting.
He asks

How many of us have a plan for growing in our grasp of the whole terrain of Scripture? Don't most of us use the Bible as a source for getting sermons and devotionals and personal devotional help? But do we labour over the Scripture in such a way that we can plainly see that today we understand something in it that we did not understand yesterday? I fear that many of us work at reading books on theology and church life with a view to growing, but have no plan and no sustained effort to move steadily and constantly forward in our understanding of the Bible. … Study the Bible so steadily and constantly and frequently that you can clearly perceive yourself to grow in them.

Someone (Charles Graham) once wrote

It is said of some of the mines of Cornwall that the deeper they are sunk the richer they prove; and though some lodes have been followed, 1000 and even 1500 feet, they have not come to an end. Such is the Book of God ... a mine of wealth which can never be exhausted. The deeper we sink into it, the richer it becomes.

2 Theology. Keep reading theology. Preaching on 2 Timothy 4:13 where Paul urges that Timothy bring him books, C H Spurgeon (1634-1892) says

He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. Brethren, what is true of ministers is true of all our people. YOU need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible. We are quite persuaded that the best way for you to be spending your leisure, is to be either reading or praying. You may get much instruction from books which afterwards you may use as a true weapon in your Lord and Master’s service.

Tom Ascol says, very practically

The recent reprinting of older works makes the Puritans and their heirs more accessible today than at any time in the previous century. Get on the mailing lists of trusted publishers of such works, like Banner of Truth … Talk to fellow pastors and discover what books they are finding helpful. Read good theological journals and don’t skip the book reviews!

3 Other books. Here he mentions several areas and names specific volumes, As he says,

for the minister reading in almost any area can be useful and so we will vary from person to person. Do take advantage of books on church history, however, including biography. All sorts of things can be learned from Christian books of various sorts and from some of the more widely read secular books too, at times.

3. Set aside specific times for study.
Bopice recommends that we take time in the mornings and/or the evening and during holiday periods to give ourselves to serious study. This is an area where any sabbatical time given would be very usefully spent. To do this we will need to find somewhere where we are not going to be interrupted. He points out that unless we are vigorous about this, it simply will not happen.

4. Tackle some big problems. His final recommendation is that we give some time to tackling areas of thought where we are not so sure of ourselves. However much training you mange to get, you are bound to find that there are gaps in your thinking. May be you are not very clear on covenant theology,what it is and how you understand it. Perhaps it is eschatology or how exactly we are to understand Song of Solomon or Ecclesiastes. Somehow time needs to be found to give yourself to these questions. It is on this basis that I have written the books I have written – on conscience, in the heavenly intercession of Christ, on regeneration, etc. You don't have to write a book on a subject to study it!
Let me close with a paragraph or two from John Piper on The pastor as scholar. This is where he talks about the link between Christ exalting joy and scholarly effort. He says

The question here is how the life of the mind relates to treasuring Christ - how thinking relates to joy in God. I would state it like this: Right thinking about God exists to serve right feelings for God. Logic exists for the sake of love. Reasoning exists for the sake of rejoicing. Doctrine exists for the sake of delight. Reflection about God exists for the sake of affection for God. The head is meant to serve the heart. So knowing truth is the proper means to admiring truth. Both thinking and feeling are indispensable. But they are not both ultimate. Thinking exists to serve admiring. Thinking is meant to serve worship and delight and satisfaction in God. The Devil himself has many right thoughts about God. My guess is that the Devil, on some doctrines, is more orthodox than us - more correct than we are. But none of these doctrines, in the mind of the Devil, gives rise to any love for God, any worship of God, any delight in God. The Devil believes that Jesus died for sinners. The Devil believes that Jesus rose from the dead. The Devil believes that Jesus is coming back. And the Devil hates him! So knowing right things about Jesus doesn’t automatically produce right affections. But knowing those right things about Christ is essential for having right affections for God. What I am getting at is that Christ-exalting joy depends on right thinking about God. If God is going to be glorified in our being satisfied in him, then our satisfaction in him must be based on truth. And truth is what we find by the right use of the mind - by scholarly effort.