26 Sermons/Bible studies in 19 Days

Based on my imprecise recollection, these are the 20 Bible studies and Daily Bread I oversaw and the 6 sermons I preached on 3 consecutive Sundays during the 19 days that I was in Manila in March 2014.

  1. How I Met God (My Mystical Conversion): How God Worked Mysteriously in My Heart (Gen 2:16-17); Come to Jesus (Mt 11:28-30); How one is changed (Jn 1:12-13; 6:37, 44). My first meeting at Fatima in Antipolo with about 30 students in Antipolo.

  1. Critical Thinking (2 Tim 2:7; Phil 4:8). Without critical thinking one does not make progress and grow to maturity, but remains predictably robotic. My first daily bread with a few men.

  1. Living the Christian Life: Fan Into Flame the Gift of God by the Power of God (2 Ti 1:8-9). Preached to 300 students on Ignite day.

  1. Love The God Who Loves You By Loving Others (Dt 6:5). Sermon at Valenzuela.

  1. Sin (Dt 1:1-46). Sermon at Antipolo.

  1. Sin is Crouching at the Door (Gen 4:7). My first meeting at Fatima at Valenzuela.

  1. Follow Me (Mk 1:17); Repent (Mk 1:15); Fruit (Mt 7:17-18); You Sow What You Reap (Gal 6:7); Critical thinking. Daily bread

  1. Syrophoenician Woman (Mt 15:21-28). Daily bread.

  1. Repentance Is To Come To Jesus (Mt 11:28-30).

  1. Finding An Identity Other Than In Christ. At University of the Philippines at Manila (UPM).

  1. Sanctification by the Gospel (Phil 2:12-13).

  1. Gentle and Humble (Mt 11:28-30).

  1. Obedience (Dt 4:1-40). Sermon at Valenzuela.

  1. ABCs of Christian Living (Phil 2:12-13) Sermon at Antipolo.

  1. Trials (Isa 43:2).

  1. Monotheism (Dt 6:4).

  1. One True Love (Gen 29:15-35). Fatima at Valenzuela.

  1. How to Discern God’s Will (George Mueller). UPM.

  1. The Hidden God (Gen 37:2-36). Fatima at Valenzuela.

  1. Man and Woman - The ABCs (1 Ki 2:2; 1 Pet 3:3-4). Fatima at Antipolo.

  1. Testing (Dt 8:1-20). Sermon at Valenzuela.

  1. Freedom (Gal 5:1; 2 Cor 3:17; Jn 8:32; Gen 2:16). Sermon at Antipolo.

  1. The Grace of God (Ac 20:24). Grace is a major theme throughout the OT and the NT.

  1. Identity In Christ/Grace (1 Cor 15:10; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 2:20).



Freedom is the unique distinctive of Christianity. If one is not free or does not proclaim and exemplify freedom through Christ, then they are either not a Christian, or they very badly misunderstand and miscommunicate Christianity. I shared this as a sermon in the Philippines based on these verses.
  • "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Gal 5:1).
  • "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Cor 3:17).
  • And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden” (Gen 2:16).
  • Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:31-32).


What Does God Require Of You? (Dt 10:12-22)

Dt 10:12-11:32 resembles Dt 4:1-40 (similar structure, vocabulary and application following history), moving on to the practical implication and outworking of Dt 9:7-10:11, and which resonates with language from chap.5-7. It builds up to a grand climax, completing the first part of Deuteronomy like a grand theological symphony, with Dt 10:12 resembling Dt 4:1 after the first recital of Israel's history in chap. 1-3.

Dt 10:12-22 are a reinstatement and filling out of the Shema (Dt 6:4-5), to enable Israel to begin again after the golden calf episode (Dt 9:7-10:11). They are a stiff-necked people (Dt 9:13). Thus, the central command of Dt 10:12-22 is Dt 10:16: "Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer."

In Dt 10:12-13, the Lord asks for five things which are frequently addressed throughout Deuteronomy:
  1. Fear God (reverence [Dt 4:10; 5:29]).
  2. Walk in "all his ways" (ESV, HCSB, NKJV) (Dt 5:33; 10:12; 11:22; 19:9; 26:17; 28:9; 30:16), in contrast to turning aside from the way (Dt 2:27; 5:32-33; 11:16, 28; 17:11, 17; 28:14), which is especially illustrated in the golden calf incident (Dt 9:12, 16).
  3. Love God, illustrating the importance of the Shema (Dt 6:4-5) with its anchor in God's election and choice of Israel, to which Israel must respond in kind. Israel was to love God because God first loved her (Dt 10:15-16; cf. Dt 30:6).
  4. Serve God with "all your heart and with all your soul," using language in Dt 6:5 for some attitude other than love.
  5. Keeping (obeying) God's commands is for their own good (Dt 10:13), indicating that the law was not a burden to be borne, but was Israel's life in all its fullness (Dt 32:47).

Basic to all obedience is fear (reverence) of God (Dt 5:29) and love of God (Dt 6:4-5).


Unrighteousness (Dt 9:1-29; 10:1-22) [Review chap. 7-9]

Deuteronomy 9:1-10:22; Key Verse: Dt 10:12

"And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."

Along with Dt 6:5, 10:12 could be a key verse to the book of Deuteronomy. It contains four verbs that describes what God expects of his people who--by grace and by the power of God--have been delivered from bondage to slavery in Egypt:

  1. Fear God.
  2. Obey God.
  3. Love God.
  4. Serve God.


Study The Bible

  1. Read the Bible: Read all of it (Dt 8:3; Ac 20:24). Read it regularly/daily (Ps 1:2; 119:97).
  2. Read commentaries.
  3. Read books (2 Tim 4:13).
  4. Read blogs.
  5. #1: Read relationally (Dt 6:5).
  6. Read and sense that there is one who is reading you (1 Cor 8:3; Gal 4:9).
  7. Read, discuss and share with others in community (Heb 10:25), not in isolation.
  8. Read with meditation, reflection and contemplation because you love God with all your mind, thoughts, feelings and emotion (Dt 6:5).
Martin Luther said, "In truth you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well."


Man and Woman: ABCs

MAN: “So be strong, act like a man” (1 Kings 2:2). "Be courageous like a man" (HCSB). "Show yourself a man" (ESV). "Prove yourself a man" (NKJV).
  1. Assertive.
  2. Bold. Brave. Not a bully.
  3. Courageous (Josh 1:8). Confident. Not a coward.
  4. Diligent (Gen 1:28; 2:15).
  5. Energetic.
  6. Friendly (Jn 15:15).
  7. Gentle (Mt 11:28-30).
WOMAN: "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight" (1 Pet 3:3-4).
  1. Affectionate (unAvailable)

The Girl Nobody Wanted (Genesis 29:15-35): Questions (3/11/14)

The Search for One True Love (Gen 29:15-35) [An alternate title (by Tim Keller): The Girl Nobody Wanted.]

I. The Desire of Love

  1. What might Laban know about Jacob (Gen 29:10-14)? What was the motivation of Laban and Jacob (Gen 29:15-20)? How is Laban's scheme ingenious, though cruel (Gen 29:21-26)? What did Laban gain?
II. The Devastation of Love
  1. Do you understand that "in the morning, it's always Leah...not Rachel" (Gen 29:25)? Though Jacob was shocked and furious (Gen 29:25), why did he agree so compliantly to Laban's explanation and further unreasonable offer (Gen 29:26-30)? How was Laban's deceit with Jacob parallel to Jacob's deceit with his old blind father? How might Leah feel through all of this?
  1. How does the affirmation of Gen 28:13-15 and the discipline of Gen 29:15-30 work together for Jacob's good (Heb 12:5-6; Prov 3:12; Amos 3:2; Gen 50:20)?

III. The Deconstruction of Love

  1. Identify the idols of Jacob (Gen 29:18,20,30), Leah (Gen 29:32-34), Rachel (Gen 30:1,8). How does God deal with the lovelessness of Leah (Gen 29:31)? The barrenness of Rachel (Gen 30:22-24)? What does this tell us about God's salvation (Isa 53:2; Jn 1:11; Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34; 1 Cor 1: 27-29)?
Reference: The Search For One True Love (Gen 29:15-35)


Consider Both Sides When You Express Yourself

I asked a friend why some UBFers are upset with this post that I wrote: Sin is having an identity other than in God. He explained it so well in an email to me:

"It was a good article, Dr. Ben. I think with any critical self reflection, we can inadvertently dismiss the heart of an entire community's efforts, which is ironically the antithesis of your article. It's not necessarily your duty to always cover all grounds, but I can see why people would feel dismissed by what you wrote since you didn't counter it with any mention of people's good underlying, heart's intention. It is probably true that not all people have the right heart's motive, but some, even many do. Though they may have been misled to think that using social pressures is okay, I find many people just want to be used by God for the salvation of souls and the development of Jesus' disciples."

Very useful points for me to always consider are:
  1. "Dismissing an entire community's efforts." I failed to realize this.
  2. "It's not necessarily your duty to always cover all grounds." Yet, I should always attempt to do so.
  3. "Not countering what I write with any mention of people's good underlying, heart's intention." I've done this occasionally, but not often enough.
  4. "Some, even many do have a right heart's motive." I believe that this is true, and that they would be hurt by the dismissive way I write.
  5. "They may have been misled to think that using social pressure is okay." I keep pounding this point, but I perhaps should back off on this, or write about this very tenderly and gingerly (which I may not know how to do!).
  6. "Many people just want to be used by God for the salvation of souls and the development of Jesus' disciples." Without a doubt I know that this is true. I should remember Phil 1:18.
I thought this is so useful for me to remember and consider every time I need to express myself or write something, anything. (Here is David Weed's very useful comment on (abusing one's) freedom.)


ABCs of Christian Living

"...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you" (Phil 2:12b-13a).

Very simply, if you are a Christian you:
  • Admit you're a sinner, 
  • Believe in Christ and 
  • Confess your sins.
How would you then live practically? You "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil 2:12-13).
  • Know that God is working in you through all the good and bad that is happening about you.
  • In response to God working in you, you work it out in the practical details of your life.
  • In all things you seek to obey the will of God for your life (Phil 2:12a).
These are suggestions for practically working out the Christian life:
  1. Accountability (Heb 3:13; 2 Sam 12:1-14). Atonement (Lk 23:34; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 2:20). Availability. Accessibility.
  2. Beauty (Ps 27:4; Isa 33:17). Be a Blessing (Gen 12:3; Jn 13:34; Jas 1:19; Phil 2:3; Rom 12:3). Blessedness. Begin with the Bible (Dt 8:3; Ps 1:2; Ac 20:27). Not bound by boredom (tedium, duty, responsibility).
  3. Constancy of Christ (Mk 1:15, 35; 1 Th 5:17). Community (Ps 133:1). Confession. Church (1 Tim 3:15).
  4. Delight in the Divine (Ps 37:4). DO IT! (Jn 13:17; 2 Tim 2:1-10).
  5. Experiantial life (Ps 34:8). Equality (Gen 1:27). Evangelism (Mt 28:29).
  6. Freedom (Gal 5:1; 2 Cor 3:17; Jn 8:31-32; Gen 2:16). Friendship (Jn 15:15). Fellowship (Ps 133:1; 1 Jn 1:3).
  7. Grace (1 Cor 15:10). Gospel (Ac 20:24). God (2 Cor 13:14).