• Pastoral Epistles: Guarding Sound Doctrine (Part 1 of 3)

    20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. 

    1 Timothy 6:20-21 


    First Timothy is the first of three Pastoral Epistles which also include Paul’s second letter to Timothy and one to Titus. The main purpose of the Pastoral Letters is to address areas of pastoral oversight and while these letters are of great relevance for pastors, it does not mean that they do not possess any wisdom or instruction for all believers. These letters contain shared concerns for things such as: rebuking false doctrines and holding firm sound teaching (1 Tim. 1:8–11; 2 Tim. 1:13–14; Titus 2:1), exhortations for godly living in being an example to the flock (1 Tim. 1:3–7; 2:8–10; 2 Tim. 1:3–12; 2:14–19; Titus 3:1–11), and matters of church polity (1 Tim. 3:1–15; 2 Tim. 2:22–26; Titus 1:5–9). While there are many other shared concerns in the pastoral epistles, we will focus on each of the mentioned items and this article will consider the first, guarding sound doctrine. 


    One evening on my way home from a wonderful dinner date with my wife, I got lost. My wonderfully, intuitive wife picked up on that fact and gracefully asked if I wanted her to GPS us home. But I’m a man and I have lived in Houston for most of my life, so I had this! I did not. We ended up driving in the opposite direction and added another 30 minutes to our drive. The sad truth is that there are many pastors who are like this. They are going astray and they refuse to admit it. They reject any admonish or rebuke from Scripture or other pastors, denying that they had lost their ways, and refusing to admit that they are in a dilemma. There are many reasons why a person may do this, but none of them justify such carelessness to their life and doctrine. 


    In the Pastoral Epistles, Paul exhorts Timothy and Titus to guard their lives and their doctrine. In 1 Timothy 4, Paul provides a reason for why this is so important by telling him that “by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers”. Paul impresses upon the heart of all ministers of the Gospel the gravity for holding fast and guarding good doctrine; it is the difference between eternity in Heaven or eternity in Hell for both yourself and your flock. And Paul does not just touch on this, considering only his first letter he implores Timothy to guard the doctrine and to refute false teachers in 25 of the 112 verses; that’s over 22% (1:3-4,7,18-20, 4:1-5, 6, 11, 13,16, 5:21, 6:2-5, 12-14, 20-21)! The authoritative source for truth is not found in our own intellect, opinions, or feelings. The authoritative source for truth is found in the Scriptures and Paul instructs them to take great care over it. 


    We hold fast to it so that we may bring many sons to glory. We take great care over our lives and guard sound doctrine because those who teach differently “understands nothing” and the consequence is eternally damning (1 Timothy 6:4). And step one is to, with humility and sincerity, immerse yourself in the Scriptures to have it expose the lie you have told yourself. Submit to the Scriptures where it tells you that you are lost, for then you may be found.


    Grace and Peace,

    Alex Galvez


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    These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan


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    1. Taunt Psalms

      Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. 

      Psalm 52:1 


      Many people know John Wycliffe as one of the early translators of the Bible into the common tongue of the people. However, there is so much more to his legacy than this. John Wycliffe grew up in a time of deep spiritual tenebras (darkness) where the people were unable to gain access to the Scriptures and were taught that they were to simply submit to the traditions, ceremonies, and practices as taught by the Roman Catholic church. It was in this context that John Wycliffe faithfully stood on the authority of the Scripture over and against the Roman Catholic church and he stands as an example of how to endure through persecution that comes from within. 


      For the most part, most of the persecution that the church had faced came from those outside of the faith, but in the case of Wycliffe he faced much persecution from those who named Christ as Lord in their lives. He was very vocal against the Roman Catholic Church for several false teachings to include: the belief that Christ’s body was physically present in the communion, the pope having more authority than true believers, and that the Gospel plus the sacraments are required for salvation. They hated Wycliffe so much, that 31 years after his natural death and they burned his carcass and threw his ashes into the river. 


      John Wycliffe’s story is not unique to him, but can be found throughout the history of the church. There will be enemies of God from within and without the church. All believers are called to feed, care for, love, and pray for their enemies. In the taunt psalms, we find yet an expression of prayer for our enemies in the form of imprecations, curses, and taunts. Although these psalms reproach the godless for their wickedness and call out the impending doom that is at hand for those who do not put their trust in God for their salvation, they also appeal to the steadfast love of God. 


      An example of this may be found in the 52nd psalm where we read of an imprecation from David on Doeg the Edomite. This wicked man had brought death upon the priests who had assisted David in Nob and David cries out to the Lord to execute his justice on the godless, evil man for his arrogance and lies. The taunt psalms remind us that God will execute His justice upon the earth, on the righteous and the unrighteous. And it teaches us how we may cry out to God to act in a consistent manner with His character and nature. When we sing these psalms, a hatred for sins should be felt, but always with the understanding that ruin will be the end of those who persist in it.


      Grace and Peace,

      Alex Galvez


      To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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      These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


      You may follow Overflow Church @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

      or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/


      If you would like to read the previous articles in the series, you may find them below:

      1. Psalms

      2. Hymns

      3. Community complaints

      4. Individual complaints

      5. Individual songs of thanksgiving

      6. Royal psalms

      7. Torah psalms

      8. Oracle psalms

      9. Blessing psalms

      10. Taunt songs

      11. Songs of trust

      1. Intro to Ruth

        "But Ruth replied, 'Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.'" 

        Ruth 1:16


        If, while reading the book of Judges, you are overcome with pity and irritation by the Israelites, the book of Ruth is one that brings a glimmer of hope. It is a book written “during the time of the judges” that retells the account of Naomi and Ruth, the main character for whom the book is named after (Ruth 1:1). And this book brings joy to our hearts as we read it because we see that there does remain a remnant of people who are faithful to trust on the Lord while seeing God’s sovereignty on display and His promise being fulfilled, not forgotten. 


        You will recall that the book of judges mentions in several places how the people lived to fulfill their own lustful and sinful desires. Imagine the scene, a whole nation who have been giving themselves to rampant sin being delivered by God from their enemies, after they cry out to him, only to quickly turn back to their sins to repeat the same vicious cycle. The story of Ruth occurs within this setting and timeline and context. And before ending with hope and joy, it starts off with pain and sorrow. In verses 3-5 we zoom through 10 years and feel the pain of Ruth as she loses her husband and both of her sons. She had lost everything that was dear to her. She had lost her source of security and protection. She had lost her providers and her hope. Naomi is left with nothing and decides that it is best for her daughter-in-laws to return to their homes but one of the daughters remains, Ruth. And the rest of the story of Ruth is about their return back to Bethlehem and the work that God orchestrates on their behalf and for His glory. 


        Throughout this story, look to the devotion and virtuousness of Ruth who is very much an example of a Proverbs 31 woman who is devoted to her family, speaking words of wisdom and love, and one who depends wholly on God. Praise be to God for this example of a godly woman and praise God for all the mothers who reflect this same character in their families. And praise be to God who is sovereign over all and can turn tragedy into triumph. Throughout the book of Ruth, we see how God orchestrates His will in the life of Ruth, guiding her and fulfilling his plan of redemption. In a very near and personal way to Naomi and Ruth, Boaz is the kinsman redeemer who brings hope to them. And in a divine sense, we conclude Ruth by reading a very brief genealogy that ends with David. When in the times of the judges, everyone did what was right in their own eyes because there was no king, we see that there will be a king raised up. And even better than that we know that, from the seed of David, Jesus is born, the redeemer of all mankind. 


        The book of Ruth starts with sorrow and loss, but in it we see God working, never gone away, turning tragedy into triumph. We can trust in the Lord and we can rejoice in the Lord for He has redeemed us.


        Grace and Peace,

        Alexander Galvez


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        These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


        You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

        or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/

        1. Blessing Psalms

          This is the nineth post in the “Types of Psalms” series where I will be highlighting the various types of Psalms that you will encounter in the book of Psalm. This is by no means the ultimate and final arrangement of the Psalms, but it is one that I have found to be very helpful.


          Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!


          Psalm 128:1


          There are many words of wisdom that would be foolish to ignore. Nuggets like looking both ways before crossing a street, taking a moment to think before speaking, or making sure the toilet seat is down and the toilet is clean before squatting. All of them, if ignored, will have varying degrees of consequences. However, to not fear the Lord has eternal consequences. As you know we have been looking through the different types of Psalms that you may encounter in the book of Psalms and today we consider the Blessing Psalms. What we encounter in these psalms are pronouncements of blessing from a priest upon the hearer(s), generally due to a response or action from the hearer(s). 


          And an important key to interpreting these psalms is to understand that the person who is being called blessed is not blessed because they are seeking the blessing or earning because of an action. To further elaborate on that point, a child who obeys his parents only because he gets $10 everytime he obeys is not truly an obedient child. If as soon as the reward is removed the child loses all motivation to honor and obey his parents, his heart is exposed. The blessing psalms are not lessons for behavioral modifications, nor are they examples of how to attain God’s favor by simply doing certain actions. On the contrary, these psalms highlight the fact that the person or nation is truly seeking God and so they are blessed. Their desire is only for God and for none other. 


          There are several examples of these pronouncements made in the Scriptures for those who have been forgiven of their sins (Psalm 32), have God alone as lord (Psalm 33), who trust in the Lord (Psalm 2), fears the Lord (Psalm 128), walks in righteousness (Psalm 1), are disciplined by God (Psalm 94), and who dwell in the House of the Lord forever (Psalm 84). These psalms point to the fact that those who are blessed are those who have been trust and worship the Lord alone. In a New Testament context, we see now that it is those who have been saved by grace through faith. 


          As you read through these psalms, rejoice in the salvation that is given to you from the Lord and may your praise awaken the dawn. No matter what your circumstance, find hope and joy knowing that you are truly blessed by God as recipients of His grace. And let those reminders drive you to be bold in your witness, with full trust in Him, as you walk in His ways.


          Grace and Peace,

          Alex Galvez


          To subscribe to the blog to never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/)

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          These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan


          You may follow Overflow Ministries@ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity

          or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/

          1. Intro to Philippians

            For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

            Philippians 1:21


            What would you be willing to do for $10,000,000.00? James Patterson and Peter Kim’s book, The Day America Told the Truth, reveal some shocking statistics about how far people in America were willing to go for that amount of money.


            Would abandon their entire family (25%)

            Would abandon their church (25%)

            Would become prostitutes for a week or more (23%)

            Would give up their American citizenship (16%)

            Would leave their spouses (16%)

            Would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free (10%)

            Would kill a stranger (7%)

            Would put their children up for adoption (3%) 


            What the above responses reveals is simply a reflection of what is in the heart of every person in the world, idolatry. In seeking after idols, we incorrectly attribute them as the source of true and perfect satisfaction and contentment. But idols will never satisfy, and they will never bring peace.


            Paul writes his letter to the church of Philippi during a time where he really could do with peace. And while it is a very short letter, we find teaching on how the church can live in humility, fellowship, and unity despite suffering and persecution. They are also warned against false teachings which promote legalism and perfectionism which stood in direct opposition to the doctrine of justification. He is currently in prison during the reign of Nero, one of the most brutal dictators of all time and an initiator of Rome’s official persecution of the church, and yet we find that he is joyful. 


            It is quite a positive, heartfelt, and personal letter which he writes to the church to inform and encourage them of his status and condition. And he does not keep secret the source for his joy and peace. Paul is able to be content and full of thanksgiving, despite facing death in prison, because he knew that in Christ he could endure through any situation as he did the Lord’s work. It was for this reason that Paul was completely satisfied with his lot in life and could proclaim that whether he died or lived, Christ would be honored in his body. 


            Paul knew that, in doing God’s work, he was bringing Him glory with his life and if he were to die that would be “far better” not because he had a death wish, but because he would be with the Lord (Phil 1:23). Paul’s letter reminds us that nothing in this world will bring us ultimate satisfaction, only when we submit ourselves to God will we find a peace that transcends all our understanding (Phil 4:7). As John Wesley said, “I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field.” My prayer is that may be our heart’s cry as well.


            Grace and Peace,

            Alex Galvez


            To subscribe to the blog to never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/)

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            These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan


            You may follow Overflow Ministries@ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity

            or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/

            1. God bless you Pastor Alex.
          2. published a bulletin

            ReadOverflow Church
            Overflow Ministries
          3. published a bulletin

            ReadOverflow Church
            4/21: Easter 2019
          4.  — Edited

            Intro to Judges

            18 Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for the Israelites, the LORD was with him and saved the people from the power of their enemies while the judge was still alive. The LORD was moved to pity whenever they groaned because of those who were oppressing and afflicting them. 19 Whenever the judge died, the Israelites would act even more corruptly than their fathers, going after other gods to worship and bow down to them. They did not turn from their evil practices or their obstinate ways. 

            Judges 2:18–19


            In the 1992 Summer Olympics, Great Britain placed 13th in the country medal count which was right around where they normally placed going back to 1936. Four years later, they finished 36th overall, only able to secure a single gold medal (15 total medals). This team was dubbed “The Team of Shame”. It is a wonder how such a great nation, with an elite pool of athletes, would turn around four years later with the worst showing in the nation’s history. You would think that the talent and abilities would have been taught to the following generation to either surpass or retain the same level of excellence and yet history tells a much different story.


            After conquering the land of Canaan and possessing the land of Promise, you would think that the Israelites would have drawn nearer to God and rejoiced in the salvation He gave in bringing them out of Egypt, in the immanence they enjoyed with Him dwelling with them, and sing about His protection against their enemies and power in conquering the Canaanites. However, just one generation after Joshua we read that the Israelites no longer knew the Lord and all that He had done for them (Judges 2:10)! Because of this rebellion, we read in Judges of the people becoming oppressed by their enemies and still God. in His infinite love and mercy, raises up judges to liberate them from captivity and to draw the people back to Himself. 


            You would think that the people would remember the Lord and return to His ways and obey His commands making this book a very joyful one; tragically, the opposite is true. What we read in the book of Judges is how the people reject God and turn to idols. And we may judge, pun intended, Israel as being ridiculously foolish as we watch how quickly they descend into idolatry, slavery and oppression until we take look in the mirror. We too are like the Israelites, incapable of serving the Lord perfectly and doing right in the eyes of God (Joshua 24:19). 


            The solution is quite clear when we come to the end of the book when we read these ominous, yet hopeful words, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted” (Judges 21:25). The solution to their problem is very much the solution for the church’s problem today. It is to follow our King and to serve Him faithfully. The Israelites did whatever they wanted and they did whatever was right in their own eyes just like we do so often (Judges 17:6). The solution is to not walk by sight, but by spirit in faith. To not practice and fulfill the desires of our own heart, but the will of the Father. When we read the book of Judges, we are also reading about ourselves and are forced to ask the simple question “Am I so easily swayed towards the lust of my own eyes, the lust of my own flesh, and the pride in my life?” Or to put it another way, “Do I desire to have something, do something, or be someone outside of the will of God?” Or am I one who walks by faith and lives by His Word? The generation who understands this truth will be one who will know the Lord, turning from evil practices and obstinate ways. That generation will be one that pleases God.


            Grace and Peace,

            Alex Galvez


            In case you were wondering, Great Britain turned it all around in the 2000 games, capturing 11 gold medals to place 10th in the total medal count with 28.


            Don't forget to subscribe and share this article. 

            To subscribe to the blog to never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/)

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            These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan

            You may follow Overflow Church @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity

            or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/

            1. Oracle Psalms

              Rise up, God, judge the earth, for all the nations belong to You. 

              Psalm 82:8 


              What are the Oracle psalms and what can we learn from them? Let’s start first with a definition of what this type of psalm is. They are songs which report a decree from God and the content of them often are about divine judgement. They also usually conclude with a prayer for God to carry out His decree. An example of this psalm can be found in the 82nd Psalm. This psalm is a very interesting one and one that is referenced by Jesus (John 10:34-36). It begins by reminding us that God is the one who is sovereign over all. This is both a declaration and a warning to those who judge unjustly against those who lord themselves over the people as though they were God. They have abused their God-given authority by judging with partiality, promoting wickedness, and neglecting those in need. 


              The call to God in this prayer is for Him to rescue the poor and oppressed from the power of those who have neglected their duty and perverted justice. These judges are described as thoughtless, neglectful in their duty. So, what is the decree from God? We find it in verses 6-7 as one of God’s magistrates they were provided with a level of authority and rule over His people. And as great of a privilege that they have been given, they are given a memento mori, a warning or reminder of death. These gods are, in fact, not God. Both in the manner with which they execute justice, God executes perfect justice, and in the fragility of their lives, God is eternal. As John Calvin put it, “for God, in appointing you his substitutes, has not divested himself of his own sovereignty as supreme ruler. Again, he would have you to remember your own frailty as a means of stirring you up to execute with fear and trembling the office intrusted [sic] to you.” 


              In a previous post, I had mentioned how the second half of the Psalm genres generally deal with how the people of God live. They are not merely expressions of the heart, but actions of the hand. Given that premise, how is it that the Oracle psalms exhort a specific type of behavior from God’s children? Firstly, it reminds leaders that their authority is God-given; with no transfer of divinity into themselves. They are still man and will have to give an account before the Lord. Secondly, it reminds us that God has commanded these leaders to act justly and care for those in need. Even when those poor and needy do not come in succor (request for assistance or support in times of hardship and distress) they are still accounted guilty for their negligence. Finally, we are reminded that God is a most holy God and that He will come to judge the world. Leaders, just like everyone else, must live Coram Deo, before the face or in the presence of God, understanding that all that we do ought to be for His glory as we are always under His gaze. The Oracle psalms remind us that the decrees of God are not in vain, and that we are to live in holiness.


              Grace and Peace,

              Alex Galvez


              Please subscribe and share this blog with all of your friends To subscribe, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/)

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              These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan


              You may follow Overflow Church @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity

              or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/


              If you would like to read the previous articles in the series, you may find them below:

              1. Psalms

              2. Hymns

              3. Community complaints

              4. Individual complaints

              5. Individual songs of thanksgiving

              6. Royal psalms

              7. Torah psalms

              8. Oracle psalms

              9. Blessing psalms

              10. Taunt songs

              11. Songs of trust

              1. The Most Important Exam

                5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless you fail the test.

                2 Corinthians 13:5


                You will recall from our intro to Second Corinthians that one of the major struggles of the Corinthian church was unity. They were divided on doctrine, leadership, and the ministry of Paul. These “super-apostles had sowed the seeds for this division and, to Paul’s disappointment, many of the Corinthians had accepted their critiques and were too challenging Paul. Some may have boldly demanded Paul to provide proof that Christ indeed was speaking through him.


                You can imagine emotions of betrayal and annoyance that he must feel needing to come for a third time to demonstrate the validity of his apostleship and ministry. This third visit, however, he warns will not be one marked with gentleness but of power (13:2-3). It could be that his leniency and mercy in dealing with wrongdoers were misinterpreted as weakness, and he warns them that he will not spare them. This word (pheidomai) is the same word used to describe the future ravaging of false teachers upon the flock in Ephesus (Acts 20:29) and the same verb form used of God not sparing His own Son, but offering Him up for us all (Romans 8:32). The idea being conveyed is that not one of these wrongdoers will escape his judgment. He will come in the power of Christ to deal with these wicked doers and opponents to him.


                Paul then turns the tables on them by pointing them to the more important question that they should have been asking. He had demonstrated to them the fact that Christ is in Him, thus the question was not whether or not Christ is in him, but if Christ is living in them. Just as Paul had wrote to the Galatians to test their own work (Gal 6:4), he calls for the Corinthians to not compare themselves to him, but to examine themselves. And this examination has a specific purpose. It is not to measure the degree of faithfulness, fruitfulness, and fidelity in their own lives to God. Surely a self-examination of one’s live would then validate the ministry of Paul because it was through him that they received the gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:2). So, for the Corinthians to approve of themselves, would also to approve of Paul.


                But there is one final purpose of this testing that is to be done. It is to test to see whether or not they are in the faith. They had become preoccupied with scrutinizing the life of Paul, and perhaps others, that they had neglected to dissect their own and this bears eternal consequences. In rejecting Paul, they are rejecting Christ, opposing the work that He is doing in Paul, discarding the commands Paul had given to them. In fact, a dual purpose for this letter was to “test [them] and know whether [they] are obedient in everything.” (2:9). As theologian Richard Hanson commented, “A Christian’s conduct, then, is a very good ready reckoner for determining his relationship to Christ, and a much better one than his religious experience.” The question we would do well to ask ourselves then is this, is Christ surely living in me?


                Grace and Peace,

                Alex Galvez


                Please subscribe and share this blog with all of your friends To subscribe, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/)

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                These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan


                You may follow Overflow Church @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity

                or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/