Theology in Ancient Graffiti

The Alexamenos graffito

2016-12-13_21-35-10The Alexamenos graffito is a piece of Roman graffiti scratched in plaster on the wall of a room near the Palatine Hill in Rome from around 200AD. The Greek inscription reads something like “Alexamenos worships [his] God.” While it was meant to demean Alexamenos, it perfectly communicates his theology and how it was received. He worshipped Jesus, as God, who died on the cross. This Gospel was not well received by his friends.

Have you ever considered the fact that some of the things people say about you may be around for 1,000 years. Will it reveal the sincerity of your faith? 

2016-12-13_21-34-54

Black and White Etching

Ironically, in the next chamber adjoining where the Alexamenos graffito found – another etching was discovered which reads –  Alexamenos fidelis, Latin for “Alexamenos is faithful”.

2 Corinthians 2:15–16 (ESV)

15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?

What is Preaching?

Disclaimers: Over the next few weeks I am going to be posting my thoughts about the science and art of preaching. Two things I preachingwant to say up front:

  1. I am not writing this material I think I am personally a great preacher. I think of myself more like a coach. The coach (at times) is the overweight guy on the sidelines yelling at the players, but his perspective and experience can make each player and the team as whole better.
  2. I know that not all of you who follow this blog are Preachers. But, it’s my blog and I can post what want. 🙂

With that said, let’s begin…

What is Preaching?

According to Mounce the most common Greek word translated preach, kēryssō means to proclaim, tell, often urging acceptance of the message, with warnings of consequences for not doing so.

Preaching is different from reading, teaching, or dialoging. We get a hint of this in 2 Timothy 1:10–11, when Paul writes, “[Christ] abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.”

Notice that there is a difference in those three tasks…

  • As an Apostle Paul was to Record the Truth
  • As a Teacher Paul was to Explain the Truth
  • But as a Preacher – Paul was to Herald or Proclaim the Truth.

Preaching is an authoritative declaration.

John Piper described it this way – Preaching is what a town crier does when there is a message from the king. He gathers a group of people and says, “Here ye, hear ye, be it known to you today that by royal order of his highness, the king, there will henceforth be granted to this town an imperial watch of one hundred soldiers to protect you from the rebel bands who plunder the king’s subjects.”
 And a cheer goes up among the people. (Those are the amen’s of the congregation.)
 And he continues, “Furthermore be it known to you that the cost for this protection shall be born not by taxation but by the beneficence of the king from his royal treasury!” Again cheers! (Amen!) “Moreover, the king would have you know that he loves you, his loyal subjects, and will use all his royal counsel and power to defend you and supply your wants.”
 Again cheers. (Amen! Amen!) “And lastly he sends through me his royal blessing. Blessed be the people whose trust is in the king!” Cheers. (Amen!)

Preaching is more than teaching – it is, heralding a message. Preaching is one man standing and speaking with authority to others. Preaching is calling people to account. A.W. Tozer said, “We come not as diplomats but as prophets and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.”

Preaching, however,  in and of itself is arrogant and meaningless unless it is saturated with truth. That is why the Apostle Paul urged his young protege in the faith to “preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2). Thus, the content of the sermon is vastly more important than any aspect of it’s delivery.

So in this series of posts I am referring to preaching in this sense – a man compelled by the Holy Spirit to deliver a message that accurately and authoritatively explains the truth of God’s eternal word.

Rest for the Soul

Hebrews Part 4

According to Dr. Jim Folk – Anxiety has become the number one mental health issue in North America. It’s estimated that one third of the North American adult population experiences significant anxiety issues. Another report found that more than half of college students sought help for their anxiety issues. That’s not even to mention those who self medicate or never seek help. Of the top 7 most prescribed Psycho-tropic Drugs – 6 of the 7 are specifically to treat Anxiety and only one for is for depression.

Perhaps it is one of the most often used quotes throughout church history – from Augustine who wrote in his book, “the Confessions” a prayer, “Oh Lord – thou hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee”.

The restlessness of the heart is mark of this generation. Our hearts grow restless, wandering, searching, seeking – that for which they were made. This passage of Hebrews gives us the cure for the restless heart.