10 Quotes from Deacons by Matt Smethurst

Matt Smethurst is managing editor of The Gospel Coalition. He has served as both a deacon and an elder at Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and is now in the process of planting River City Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia.

Check out the River City Baptist Church here.

Go get a copy of Deacons.

Listen to his conversation about his book with Crossway.

10 Quotes from Deacons

A church without biblical deacons may exhibit signs of health for a while, but over time its health will suffer. (pg. 21)

When deacons flourish, the whole congregation wins. (pg. 22)

Deaconing is not training wheels for eldering. (pg. 33)

Deacons are like a congregation’s Special Ops force, carrying out unseen assignments with fortitude and joy. (pg. 39)

Public ministry is impossible without private service. Had the seven not freed the apostles to focus on teaching and prayer (Acts 6:4), the gospel would not have spread (Acts 6:7). (pg. 56)

Deacons serve at the elders’ pleasure not because elders are ultimate, but because Jesus is. (pg. 80)

No doubt locations and circumstances vary greatly, but the common denominator – the heartbeat – of diaconal work remains the same: self-giving service for the good of Christ’s church and the glory of his name. (pg. 116)

The world has always measured greatness by the standard a person receives, not by what he gives. But Jesus radically reverses our fallen logic. (pg. 122)

Deacon, your office has an expiration date, but your status as the King’s servant will never end. (pg. 127)

Faithful deacons should see their fingerprints in the unity of their congregation, for which Jesus prayed (John 17:22). (pg. 132)

Book Briefs: Signs of the Messiah

Andreas Kostenberger is research professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology and Director of the Center for Biblical Studies at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written numerous books, including The Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters, Encountering John, and The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament.

To purchase a copy of Signs of the Messiah, check out Lexham Press.

Given Dr. Kostenberger’s credentials, he is a go-to scholar on the Gospel of John. When he writes a book on the Gospels, it would be a good thing for pastors, seminary students, and lay people to pick it up. This work is especially geared for everyone. Anyone and everyone should be able to pick up this book and read.

Signs of the Messiah gives a great overview of the Gospel of John for a new believer or a Christian who has studied this Gospel for a long time. It is under 200 pages so it is accessible for many.

This work is broken into 3 Parts:

1. Authorship, Prologue, and Cana Cycle (John 1-4)

2. Festival Cycle (John 5-10)

3. Conclusion to the Book of Signs (John 11-12) and Book of Exaltation (John 13-21)

*This would be a great book to use while you are walking through the Gospel of John. The figures/charts in this book are helpful to show the overview of the Signs while also showing their connection throughout the whole Gospel of John. If you miss the signs, you miss major points in this Gospel.

One of the figures on page 35 lays out the 7 Signs in John:

1. Turning water into wine (John 2:1-12)

2. Clearing the Temple (John 2:13-22)

3. Healing the Gentile Centurion’s son (John 4:46-54)

4. Healing the lame man in Jerusalem (John 5:1-15)

5. Feeding the Five Thousand (John 6:1-15)

6. Healing the man born blind (John 9)

7. Raising Lazarus, foreshadowing Jesus resurrection (John 11)

It also contains other figures/charts such as a comparison of Nicodemus and the Samaritan Woman in John 3 and 4. It has discussion questions and other recommended reading as well.

After you read this book and you walk through the Scriptures, it will lead you to rejoice in Jesus! If you need to walk through a concise book on the Signs in John or need a book to read on the Gospel of John, put this on your list.

We only get one life and it will soon pass. Only what is done for Christ will last.

*I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

2021 Reading List – Creston Thomas

Creston Thomas is a native from Pine Bluff, AR. He is married to Alina and they have 6 beautiful children. He is also a recent graduate from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a degree in Biblical and Theological Studies. Currently, Creston is pastoring at Christ The Redeemer in his hometown.

For more information about Christ The Redeemer, click here.

James Montgomery Boice – Genesis: An Expositional Commentary, Vol. 1: Genesis 1-11 (Reading Chapters 3-8)

Kent Hughes – Acts (Preaching the Word): The Church Afire (Reading Chapters 7-15)

Richard C. Barcellos- Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology

Thabiti – The Life of God in the Soul of the Church: The Root and Fruit of Spiritual Fellowship

Jerry Bridges – The Practice of Godliness

D. H. Dilbeck- Frederick Douglass: America’s Prophet

Jeffrey D. Johnson – The Absurdity of Unbelief: A Worldview Apologetic of the Christian Faith

Vocab Malone – Barack Obama Vs the Black Hebrew Israelites: Introduction to the History & Beliefs of 1west Hebrew Israelism

Jeffrey D. Johnson – The Five Points of Amillennialism

Albert N. Martin – Pastoral Theology, The Man of God: His Calling and Godly Life (Vol. 1)

Book Briefs: Reformed Dogmatics

This review will not be a critical take of Vos’s theology. I am convictionally a reformed baptist and there would be aspects in which I would disagree with Vos. However, every believer can benefit from this volume and have a great respect to what he has written.

Geerhardus Vos was born in 1862 and died in 1949. He served on Princeton’s faculty as the first chair of biblical theology. 

This one volume of Reformed Dogmatics by Lexham Press was translated and edited by Richard Gaffin. Lexham Press has previously published 5 volumes of Vos’s Reformed Dogmatics, but now have made it into one volume.

In this work, there are 5 different sections. 

  1. Theology Proper 
  2. Anthropology 
  3. Christology 
  4. Soteriology 
  5. Ecclesiology, The Means of Grace, Eschatology 

Lexham has done a fantastic job with this volume. It is not overwhelmingly large compared to other systematics so you will not feel weighed down if you carry it in a backpack. They have also made it at an accessible price point for $59.99 retail. The only negative with this volume is how thin the paper is. As a result, I would suggest taking notes in a journal.

Readers will benefit from this volume even if they disagree with some of Vos’s points. Reformed Dogmatics is laid out in a manner that the chapter begins with question one and then Vos answers the question that was raised. Each chapter looks like a Q&A back and forth. Unlike some volumes where the layout makes it hard to find a place and refer back to it. This volume has made it accessible to find the information you are seeking and will be a handy reference. At the end of the volume, Lexham has put an index for all of the questions brought up in this work. It contains a subject and author index as well. Lexham Press has done a fantastic job with making this volume a valuable resource that will be used for years to come.


Evan Knies is from West Monroe, LA. He is married to Lauren and father to Maesyn. He is Pastor of Families and Missions at North Hills Church. He is a graduate of Boyce College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies.

Quotes from “The Ascension of Christ” by Patrick Schreiner

Patrick Schreiner is a New Testament professor at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has also written The Kingdom of God and the Glory of the Cross and Matthew, Disciple and Scribe.

This book may be only 127 pages, but it packs a punch!

Purchase a copy here.

  1. The arc of the moral universe is long, but the Messiah’s ascension determines its finale. (pg. xv)
  2. If the resurrection fully confirms Jesus’ lordship, then the ascension becomes an anticlimax. We can have the tendency to cut off what is implicit in the apostles’ presentation and only speak of the resurrection. (pg. 6)
  3. The ascension culminated Christ’s earthly work and marks a shift and climax in the Messiah’s three key roles. It not only confirms Christ’s work but continues Christ’s work. He once labored on the earth; now he labors in heaven. (pg. 17)
  4. While we tend to relegate the climax of Christ’s prophetic work to his days on the earth, the biblical authors look at Christ’s work as a whole. They intentionally expand Christ’s prophetic work to both his earthly life and his continuing life in heaven. (pg. 25)
  5. Christ arrived as the prophet who delivered God’s word, performed signs and wonders, and possessed the Spirit on the earth. He fulfilled the old covenant by being the anointed Prophet. However, he also promised a time when he would leave and this prophetic task would continue and also be transferred to his people. It is not that he would not be involved; he would simply be involved in a different way after his ascent into heaven. (pg. 30)
  6. Because Christ currently presents his blood in the heavenly temple, we are able to also ascend the mountain of the Lord and enter into the throne room of God. (pg. 46)
  7. Jesus did not adorn himself with humanity to simply discard it. He adorned himself with humanity so that he might perfect humanity as our true priest. (pg. 60)
  8. Jesus is not embarrassed by his people. He proudly represents his people as the God-Man before the Father. Like the priests of old, he wears you as jewels on his breastplate. (pg. 66)
  9. Jesus did not simply come to the earth to conquer. He ascended to the right hand of the Father to receive his rightful rule. In doing this, his work as king culminates and continues. Kings sit down and are installed in order to rule. (pg.75)
  10. The resurrection vindicated Christ, but his ascent confirmed that vindication. (pg. 110)