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10 Steps To Prepare And Preach An Expository Sermon

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What steps should one take to prepare and preach an expository sermon?

First of all, we must consider what an expository sermon is. In a topical sermon, a preacher covers a major theme like love, salvation, or forgiveness, but the outline arises from the thought process of the preacher instead of from a Scripture text or series of texts. In an expository sermon, the theme, outline, and applications arise from the text and not the author’s thought process. The chief aim of exposition is to explain the original author’s intent behind a passage and persuasively apply it to a contemporary audience. This is done by using grammatical, historical, and textual principles.

With this understanding in mind, we will consider ten steps to prepare and preach an expository sermon.

Step 1: Choose A Passage.

When looking at a chapter of the Bible, the paragraph breaks, which are typically 3-10 verses, are usually preached. It’s a small section of Scripture with a common theme. To confirm that these verses will preach well together, look at expository commentaries and sermons. Did others preach this same section of verses? Did they broaden it or make it smaller? The fact that others have trodden the same ground (and we get to look at how they did it) helps encourage the preacher to prepare a sermon or sermon series over the same verses.

To find sermons on the same passage, simply Google it. For example, “Philippians 4:6-7 sermons.” Or search sermon sites like preceptaustin.org and bible.org.

Step 2: Gather Five To Ten Commentaries And Sermons For Research.

Why is it important to gather commentaries and sermons for research? It is good to remember that the Bible is an ancient historical book; therefore, it is difficult to properly interpret and apply without understanding the ancient background. We need to know how an ancient Jew or Gentile would have read a specific passage over 2000 years ago. What is the historical background? Was it written during war, peace, or persecution? Is there anything culturally relevant that we need to know to better understand the passage? Is there anything in the Hebrew or Greek that isn’t conveyed by the English? Commentaries and good sermons will help us mine the riches of the passage.

Another reason it is important to gather commentaries and sermons for research is because God has chosen to build his church through the ministry of pastors and teachers. Ephesians 4:11-14 says that God gave pastors and teachers to equip the church for the work of ministry, to help it come to a unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to help it mature, and to protect it from false teaching. This is not just true for congregations on Sunday, but it is also true for preachers. Preachers must be built up by other pastors and teachers before they build up their congregation. This is how God chose to equip his church. It is no more right for a preacher to say, “I don’t need to study commentaries and sermons because I have the Holy Spirit,” than it is for a church member to say, “I don’t need to listen to my pastor’s preaching because I have the Holy Spirit.” God equips his saints through gifted teachers. As Christ’s body, we must rely on the gifts of others (1 Cor 12:21). The preacher must drink deeply from theologians, Greek and Hebrew scholars, and pastors who have preached for forty years. By doing so, their sermons become wealthy, and their congregations are enriched. C. S. Lewis said, “My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others…in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself.”1 Let the preacher become a thousand godly teachers and yet remain himself.

As you gather, it is good to secure a diverse range of writings on the passage. Get devotional commentaries like Warren Wiersbe’s Be Commentaries, William MacDonald’s Believer’s Bible Commentary, the Life Application New Testament Commentary, and David Guzik’s Enduring Word Commentary. Get expositional commentaries (imagine a commentary and sermon combined) like MacArthur New Testament Commentaries, Kent Hughes’ Preaching the Word Commentaries, the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentaries, and The Bible Teacher’s Guide. Get a few exegetical commentaries (which are a little more technical) like Tyndale Commentaries and The Bible Speaks Today. And finally, find two or three good full manuscript sermons on sermon sites like preceptaustin.org, bible.org, or sermoncentral.com. Personally, I’m a big fan of Steve Cole’s and Bruce Goettsche’s sermons.

Step 3: Actively Read The Passage Multiple Times.

As you read, pay attention to coordinating conjunctions—words that join two or more words, phrases, or clauses—such as: and, but, or, nor, so, because, and if. These little words are important for understanding what the passage means and how the parts relate to one another. Conjunctions also are important for discovering main points and sub-points (and therefore sermon points and sub-points). It may be helpful to underline or highlight these and any other keywords (repeated words, action words, words that reflect the theme, etc.). In addition, while reading, ask the text questions, like:

Why does he say that? What does it mean? What is the main thought? How does this apply to our contemporary context? Are there any major doctrines taught or implied in this passage that I should teach? In light of the text, are there any false doctrines or contemporary threats that I should refute or expose? How should I order the main thoughts in a sermon outline?

If you gain any insights or are left with pressing questions, write them down and seek the answers when researching the commentaries and sermons. (It may be helpful to create two separate Word documents: a notes page and a sermon page. You will set aside the sermon page until Step Five when you transfer essential insights from your notes page to the detailed sermon outline, which you will have started on your sermon page.)

Step 4: Actively Read The Commentaries And Sermons And Document Insights.

While reading, write down anything insightful and useful, like helpful sermon points, illustrations, explanations, word studies, and cross-references. Organize these in an orderly manner on your notes page. Since this will be an expositional sermon, try to initially place these insights into separate categories under each verse that they help explain or illustrate. For example, if you were preaching Psalm 1:1-6, make Psalm 1:1 a heading, then Psalm 1:2, Psalm 1:3, etc. As you continue to study, you will discern sermon point headings that summarize the contents of a verse or group of verses, like Psalm 1:1 may fit under the heading The Path of the Wicked, Psalm 1:2-3 The Path of the Righteous, etc. As you research and see how other commentators and preachers have grouped the verses and placed them under headings, it will help with creating your own outline.

Step 5: Create A Detailed Sermon Outline.

On your sermon page, develop three to five sermon points from the passage that summarize the main ideas of a part of a verse, an entire verse, or a group of verses. Many of these will become clear in the midst of your research. As you write them, consider developing action points instead of thematic points, as it helps the audience better remember them. For example, if the theme for Psalm 1:1 is The Path of the Wicked, instead say Stay Away from the Path of the Wicked. And if the theme of Psalm 1:2-3 is The Path of the Righteous, instead say Follow the Path of the Righteous. After you develop the skeleton of your outline, flesh it out by transferring essential explanations and insights from your notes page. This will make it easy to rewrite in your own words or to directly quote as you write your sermon.

Step 6: Fully Manuscript The Sermon.

Fully manuscripting sermons is important for word clarity, hiding the sermon in your heart, being able to preach it again in the future, and also for making it available to your congregation or a wider audience. Your full manuscript should have these items:

  • An Introduction: The introduction should SHOCK the hearers in the sense that it tells them why they must listen to the sermon and why it is important. It will also prepare listeners for what will follow. The introduction should include three elements: a theme, an interrogative question, and an organizational sentence. These are explained below:

A Theme: The theme is the main idea that flows from the passage. Think of one word or phrase that is continually mentioned, implied, or sums up the passage you are preaching. For Psalm 1, it might be The Blessed Life or The Happy Life (as “blessed" can be translated “happy”).

Another helpful tip in discerning the theme is that it often includes a subject and a modifier. The subject answers the question, “What is the author talking about?” and the modifier answers the question, “How does the author limit the scope of the subject?”2 The modifier completes the subject by focusing and defining it. For example, the subject of Ephesians 6:10-19 is “spiritual warfare.” But the modifier is probably “standing firm,” as it is mentioned in one form or another four times in the passage (v. 11, 13, 14 NIV). Therefore, the theme is “Standing Firm in Spiritual Warfare.” Similarly, the subject of 1 Corinthians 13 is “love”; however, the modifier is probably “excellent,” since the passage is introduced by, “And yet I will show you the most excellent way” (1 Cor 12:31 NIV). Therefore, the theme might be “The Excellency of Love.”

An Interrogative Question: This is the theme of the passage translated into a question by using one of the following: who, what, when, where, why, or how.3 For example, the interrogative for Psalm 1 might be: “How can we live a blessed life?” The following sermon points will then answer that question. For example:

How can we live a blessed life?

  1. Stay Away from the Path of the Wicked (Psalm 1:1)
  2. Follow the Path of the Righteous (Psalm 1:2-3)
  3. Understand the Destiny of the Wicked (Psalm 1:4-6)
  4. Understand God’s Favor over the Righteous (Psalm 1:6)

An Organizational Sentence: The organizational sentence tells the audience what will happen in the sermon. It is often the last part of the introduction. For example, “In this sermon, we will look at four keys to living the happy life.” The audience will then have their ears and hearts ready to receive the four keys or principles for living a happy life. When the organizational sentence is not included, the audience is more susceptible to feeling lost during a sermon, asking questions like, “Where are we?” and “Where are we going?”

  • The Body of the Sermon. The body includes the sermon points and their explanations. After each point, the text it summarizes must then be observed (What does it say?), interpreted (What does it mean?), and applied (How can we apply it?). Observation takes place as the preacher points out grammatical, historical, and cultural aspects of the text that are important for interpretation. Interpretation takes place as observations and other cross-references are used to explain the meaning of the text. It is important to remember that Scripture interprets Scripture, and that Scripture, properly interpreted, never contradicts itself. Therefore, other verses should be used either from the context of the chapter, the book, or the whole of Scripture to explain the meaning. Finally, application occurs as contemporary equivalents to the ancient context are found. To find these, one should ask questions like, “How are the people in this context similar to people in ours? How is the setting or conflict similar to ours? What were the applications for the original audience? What are the timeless truths for all mankind?” As a general rule, the closer the contemporary equivalent to the ancient context, the more authority the application has, and the farther away from the equivalent, the less authority it has. For example, in many cultures, it is hard to find an equivalent to eating food offered to idols, while greeting one another with a holy kiss would correspond to any modern greeting. In addition, while fleshing out the sermon, consider using rhetorical questions throughout as a good application technique. It makes the audience stop and apply the message to their lives instead of just listening. For example, here are some rhetorical questions that could be used for Psalm 1: "Are there any ways you have started down the path of the wicked? What change is God calling you to make? How is your delight in God's Word? How is God calling you to increase your meditation on Scripture? Are you more like a tree—one who continually blesses others? Or are you more like a parasite or fungus—always taking but not giving?" Again, typically you will have three to five sermon points—each explained through observation, interpretation, and application.
  • The Conclusion. The conclusion is a brief summary of the sermon points or a final presentation on the primary application/exhortation of the sermon.

How long should the manuscript be? In general, it takes five minutes to preach a one-page manuscript (single-spaced and 12pt font). Therefore, if you plan to preach for twenty-five minutes, your manuscript should be five pages long. If you plan to preach for forty-five minutes, your manuscript should be nine pages long. One of the great things about fully manuscripting is that it helps to better control the length of a sermon.

Step 7: Read The Manuscript Several Times While Highlighting And Editing It.

By continually re-reading and editing the manuscript, you will hide it in your heart. Editing will also help the manuscript become more concise, which is great for communication. As you read and edit, highlight, bold, underline, and even increase the font size of important sentences in the manuscript to make them stand out when preaching. Also, take note of sections you plan to read verbatim during the message and those you plan to share from memory. Obviously, it would be wise to read the passage, the cross-references, and any great quotes from commentaries or sermons (unless you have a great memory). But, any personal stories, or even Bible stories, should probably be shared with little to no reference to the manuscript. Otherwise, when preaching, plan to briefly look at your main points, subpoints, and highlights throughout the message to keep you on track. In addition, when you read the verses, cross-references, and quotes while preaching, plan to use those moments to quickly look ahead on your manuscript.

Step 8: Preach The Sermon.

Before preaching and at times during preaching, be aware that it is normal to feel unprepared, a little anxious, and that the sermon has not fully come together. Do not be alarmed. Often God makes his preachers weak, so they will not depend on their flesh (2 Cor 1:9). God’s power is made perfect in our weakness (cf. 2 Cor 12:9). If God calls you to preach often, you will learn to expect this feeling of inadequacy and also the accompanying power that follows.

As you prepare and eventually preach, remember the wise counsel passed down by many seasoned preachers: “Think yourself empty; read yourself full; write yourself clear; pray yourself hot; be yourself, but don’t preach yourself!” There is no need to be like somebody else when preaching. God has called you to give his Word to that specific audience. God knows what he is doing.

Step 9: After Preaching, Be Careful Of Temptations.

There is the temptation of discouragement because you feel like you could have preached better. There is the temptation of succumbing to outside criticism. Some criticism is constructive, and we must listen to it and improve. However, the enemy loves to criticize the preacher with the hope of discouraging, weakening, and ultimately trying to shut his mouth. Be aware that this is the nature of preaching—full of discouragements (as well as joys). But then there is also the temptation of pride if our preaching went well and was well-received. God fights against the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). By God’s grace and through discipline, practice humility. Give thanks to those who compliment you, and at the same time, give praise to God since he is the source of every good work we accomplish (Phil 2:12-13, Eph 2:10).

Step 10: Pray, Pray, Pray!

Pray before you study, pray while studying, pray while writing, pray after writing, pray before preaching, pray while preaching, and pray after preaching. As you pray, also, ask your friends and congregants to pray. Paul said this in Ephesians 6:19-20 (NIV):

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, or which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for God to give him the right words and manner in preaching. He asked for prayer to preach it fearlessly twice. No doubt, this represents the constant threat of fear that often accompanies preaching. There is a fear of mishandling God’s Word, a fear of failing, a fear of being rejected, a fear of upsetting people, and even a fear of persecution that might come from proclaiming the truth. No doubt, because of this, Paul also asked the Colossians to pray for his preaching (Col 4:2). Like Paul, preachers should not be shy about asking for prayer. It is a fruit of humility in our lives; it’s a healthy discipline for our congregations, and ultimately, power, clarity, and boldness in preaching come from intercession—ours and that of others.

As you prepare and preach God’s Word, may there be constant grace on you and the hearers, and may God be glorified through it all. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Copyright © 2021 Gregory Brown

Holy Bible, New International Version ®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


1 Accessed 7/5/16, from https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/11/26/c-s-lewis-literature-reading-books/

2 McDill, Wayne. The 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching - Second Edition (Kindle Locations 1877-1878). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

3 McDill, Wayne. The 12 Essential Skills for Great Preaching - Second Edition (Kindle Locations 1591-1592). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Related Topics: Bible Study Methods, Hermeneutics, Pastors, Teaching the Bible

Q. If marriage is sacred, how do we explain God’s instructions in Exodus 21, which says that when a slave is freed, his master can keep his wife and his children (if the owner initially provided the slave with this wife)?

Answer

Dear *****,

Good question. The first thing I would say is that we do find ourselves scratching our heads at some of what we find in the Old Testament, regarding marriage (concubines, multiple wives, such as Jacob, Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon), and slavery (as here). From Ephesians 5:32 it does appear that the coming of our Lord and the founding of the church was a game-changer. This (Christ/church, husband/wife relationship) was a “mystery” in the Old Testament, and thus we should not be surprised to find that in Ephesians (5:25-30) and 1 Timothy 3:2 (one wife) different, higher, standards for marriage are now set forth. Now, the husband-wife relationship for the believer is to be patterned after the relationship of Christ and His church.

As I see it, the issue in Exodus 21 is two-fold, involving not only marriage, but slavery. What I would say is this; if the slave viewed his marriage as sacred, and held it in high regard, then a provision to sustain his marriage is set forth here in this text: the slave can renounce his “freedom” and remain a slave to his master, and in so doing, he can retain his wife and his children. Thus, the law (God) does not force the slave to dissolve his marriage and abandon his children.

The other thing I would say, is that I don’t read this as a “must do” command which forces the slave owner to send his slave away and keep the wife and children. The law only gives him the right to do so. When I look at men like Boaz in the Book of Esther, I see that men of great character see the law as the minimum standard, and that thus they are free to go beyond the basic requirements of the law. In other words, I believe one may choose grace over law in such situations.

I feel I must say that there is a certain danger when we spend too much of our time and energy thinking about how the Old Testament is different from the New, and thus it does not apply to us today. Is it possible that this law in Exodus 21, like other Old Testament laws, has a broader application for us, in principle? For example, I’m thinking of “Don’t muzzle the ox” in 1 Corinthians 9:

7 Who ever serves in the army at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its fruit? Who tends a flock and does not consume its milk? 8 Am I saying these things only on the basis of common sense, or does the law not say this as well? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” God is not concerned here about oxen, is he? 10 Or is he not surely speaking for our benefit? It was written for us, because the one plowing and threshing ought to work in hope of enjoying the harvest. 11 If we sowed spiritual blessings among you, is it too much to reap material things from you? 12 If others receive this right from you, are we not more deserving? But we have not made use of this right. Instead we endure everything so that we may not be a hindrance to the gospel of Christ (1 Corinthians 9:7-12, NET).

What if we were to look at Exodus 21 in the light of the cross? Jesus, in order to acquire a whole new “family” (the church) submitted Himself completely to the will of the Father (as we see in Philippians 2:4-8), set aside His rights, and died on the cross of Calvary? Does this provide husbands with a pattern for how they are to be Christlike as a husband? To retain the sanctity of the family, the husband must choose to surrender his “rights” and submit himself to Christ.

Here’s another thought, which might well apply to those who are single. Suppose the principle is something like this: “In order to have a wife and children, one must be willing to set aside some of his freedoms.”

Sound a bit far-fetched? Perhaps, but I believe the the Old Testament law is instructive for us today, and we would do well (as did the author of Psalm 119) to meditate on the law and how it does apply to us.

Hope this helps,
Bob Deffinbaugh

Related Topics: Christian Life, Marriage

Q. I fear that the sins I committed before trusting in Christ were unpardonable, and thus I doubt my salvation. Could I have committed the unpardonable sin and yet have also sought to trust in Jesus?

Answer

Dear Brother,

John 6:37 clearly states that if one comes to Jesus, He will certainly not cast him out. And, if we look at the first part of this verse, we must also conclude that the one who comes to Jesus is one whom the Father has given our Lord.

When we look at Mark chapters 3 and 4 we see that Jesus spoke in parables so that those who committed the unpardonable sin would not understand the gospel, and thus would not trust in Jesus:

28 “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin “-- 30 because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit” (Mark. 3:28-30, NAU).

11 And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12 so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN” (Mark 4:11-12).

Obviously, you have come to understand the gospel, and to have trusted in Jesus, so you must not have committed the unpardonable sin.

Further, in the Gospels the unpardonable sin is defined as attributing the work of the Holy Spirit in Jesus to the devil. All other horrible sins, Jesus said, are pardonable, including blasphemy:

28 “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin “-- 30 because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit” (Mark 3:28-30; see also Luke 12:10).

I think of Saul, who became the apostle Paul. He committed terrible sins against the church, and thus against Christ (see Acts 9:4), but Paul makes it clear that God saved him because of His grace and for His glory:

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,
13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen (1 Timothy 1:12-17).

Your sins, committed before your salvation, serve to demonstrate the grace of God, which now should assure you of your security in Him:

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation (Romans 5:6-11).

Remember that Satan is “the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). So who do you think wants to undermine your faith and cause you to doubt the greatness of God’s work of salvation in you?

Blessings,
Bob Deffinbaugh

Related Topics: Christian Life, Marriage

The Net Pastor’s Journal, Eng Ed, Issue 40 Summer 2021

A ministry of…

Author: Dr. Roger Pascoe, President,
Email: [email protected]

I. Strengthening Expository Preaching
Preaching Hebrew Poetry (Pt. 1)

Let me start this article by making some brief comments about poetic books and genre. While the book of Psalms is obviously the poetic book, a broader categorization would include much of the wisdom books (Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs). Of course, by the same token, many of the Psalms could be classified as wisdom literature. So, there is always this crossover when categorizing books by genre. According to Kaiser, “approximately one-third of the Old Testament and a surprising mount of the New Testament are in poetic form” (My Heart is Stirred, in Walter Kaiser and Moises Silva, An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, 86).

Looking at the broad category of O.T. poetry (i.e. including the wisdom books), these poetic books are usually categorized as “The Writings” (as distinct from the Law and the Prophets) and are located in the canon between the Torah and the Prophets. Thus, the structure of the canon recognizes their distinctive literary style and content. “The presence of these…books in the Writings makes a statement about their relationship to the Torah (Pentateuch) and the Prophets – they are neither Law nor Prophecy. In fact, their view of the world is quite different from that of Torah and Prophecy, even though they share many similarities” (C. Hassell Bullock, Preaching the Poetic Literature in Handbook of Contemporary Preaching, ed. Michael Duduit, 293).

While the purpose and primary function of the Psalms always has been (and is) liturgical (songs of worship, lament etc.), their inclusion in the canon is surely our authorization to preach them, not just to sing them. After all, they contain very deep theology. They really do show that worship in music and in preaching are both appropriate responses to God.

Nonetheless, we need to be acutely aware that the literary style of the poetic books requires that they be exegeted and sermonized in a way that reflects their unique genre. They need to be interpreted and applied within the context of the whole Psalter and its theology. “The Psalter is…a book of praise proclaiming that God, as Creator and Redeemer, has given to Israel through the Torah, through the revelation of himself in history, the possibility of new life and a complete indication of how it is to be lived” (William Dumbrell, The Faith of Israel, 212, cited in Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, 200).

The overall theme of the Psalms, then, is redemptive, focusing on God (the great King of his covenant people) and his historical acts of deliverance. As Graeme Goldsworthy writes, “The preacher needs to constantly bring his hearers back to this gospel-centered biblical perspective on God” (Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, 201).

What, then, is the appropriate use of the Psalms for the Christian church? Clearly, they may be used in the same way that they were used in biblical times – viz. as a hymn book. As the response of the original audience was to praise God for his redemptive acts, so it is appropriate that our response should be the same. Both the N.T. writers and Jesus himself used the Psalms extensively (Psalms is quoted in the N.T. more than any other O.T. book – estimated at 350 direct and indirect quotations, citations and references) both as prophetic of Jesus and as a source of, and authority for, their theology. For example, Paul quotes the Psalms in Romans 3:10-18 to support his argument about the sinfulness of humanity (Goldsworthy, 199).

Obviously, the great theme of the Psalms is their messianic focus (on Christ’s death and resurrection) and their impact on the human race either for the salvation of the righteous or the condemnation of the wicked (as Psalm 1 indicates).

Now let’s turn to an examination of the genre of the Psalms as Hebrew poetry.

A. Types Of Psalms.

There are various types of Psalms, such as didactic (e.g. Ps. 1); messianic (e.g. Ps. 2); creation Psalms (e.g. Ps. 19); laments (e.g. Ps. 22); salvation history (e.g. Ps. 78); praise (e.g. Ps. 96). The greatest number are laments, although many Psalms fall into more than one category.

B. Their Rhetorical Purpose And Function.

The Psalms are Hebrew poetry and reflect the literary structure and devices associated with that genre. As Tom Long writes, “Every Psalm in the psalter eventually came to be a part of the collection of psalms that, as Patrick D. Miller, Jr., states ‘have functioned in the worship of the community of faith, Jewish and Christian, widely, extensively, and without break’” (Thomas Long, Preaching the Literary Forms of the Bible, 44, with citation from Patrick D. Miller, Jr., Interpreting the Psalms, 20).

Like drama, the literary function of Psalms is to appeal to the emotions and imagination. They evoke a deep, internal response that goes beyond the rational. “Poems change what we think and feel not by piling up facts we did not know or by persuasive argumentation, but by making finely tuned adjustments at deep and critical places in our imaginations.” Long gives the example of Psalm 42:1 “As the deer pants for the water so my soul longs after you, O God.” The condensed words expand in our minds into a huge picture and then the Psalmist relates that picture to our spiritual reality, that is, our relationship to God (Long, 45).

The Psalms speak to us not only at the deeply intimate, devotional level (e.g. in our prayers and meditations on God), but also at the very practical experiential, pastoral level (e.g. in funerals, weddings, celebrations, sicknesses, hopelessness etc.). They speak with contemporary freshness and relevance at these occasions but also with traditional formality and repeatability. “The fact that the Psalter contains psalms of anger, abandonment, and despair affirms not only that such emotions occur in the life of faith but that such experiences are repeated, predictable, and expected. We have been this way before” (Long, 46).

C. Their Rhetorical Structure.

The form of Psalms is condensed, concise, and intense (as poetry is intended to be) and their use of words is different from other literature (as poetry is intended to be). As Robert Alter points out, “poetry, working through a system of complex linkages of sound, image, word, rhythm, syntax, theme, idea, is an instrument for conveying densely-patterned meanings, and sometimes contradictory meanings, that are not readily conveyable through other kinds of discourse” (Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry, 113, cited in Long, Preaching and the Literary Forms, 47).

Probably the main rhetorical structure in the Psalms is that of parallelism. So pervasive and important is parallelism in the Psalms, that McQuilkin recommends that we “use parallelism of Hebrew poetry to gain insight into meaning…The distinguishing mark of Hebrew poetry is a correspondence in thought, or parallelism, between one line and the following line; or between one section and the following section” (Robertson McQuilkin, Understanding and Applying the Bible, 199). To put it another way, parallelism is a literary device in which the poet gives us part of a line (A), and then gives us the next part of the line (B), in such a way that the content of (B) has some connection to the content of (A). This connection is done, primarily, in three ways:

1. Synonymous parallelism - similar thought in (A) is repeated in (B) with no significant addition. For example:

a) Ps. 73:1, (A) Truly God is good to the upright… (B) To those who are pure in heart.

b) Prov. 1:20, (A) Wisdom lifts her voice in the street…(B) She lifts her voice in the square

c) Gen. 4:23, (A) Adah and Zillah, listen to me… (B) wives of Lamech, hear my words

d) Luke 1:46b-47a, (A) My soul praises the Lord… (B) And my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour

2. By antithetic parallelism - thought in (B) is contrasted to or opposed to the thought in (A). For example:

Prov. 10:1, (A) A wise son brings joy to his father… (B) But a foolish son grief to his mother

Prov. 15:2, (A) The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable…(B) But the mouth of fools spouts folly.

3. By synthetic parallelism - thought in (B) extends, advances, adds to, makes clear the thought in (A). For example:

Ps. 22:2, (A) O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer… (B) And by night, but find no rest

Isa. 55:6-7, (A) See the Lord while he may be found…(B) Call upon him while he is near (55:6); and (A) Let the wicked forsake his way…(B) And the unrighteous man his thoughts (55:7)

Each of these forms of parallelism is evident in, for example, Psalm 1. The characteristics of the godly person are advanced by synthetic parallelism in verse 1, and contrasted with the unrighteous person by antithetic parallelism in verse 2. The Psalm then proceeds to unfold a powerful picture of the righteous person, who is like a tree planted by the water etc., in contrast to the wicked person, who is like chaff that is easily blown away. The space given to describing the righteous is so much greater than that given to describe the unrighteous, that the psalmist thereby indirectly discloses his viewpoint as to whom we should be like, a viewpoint which is made explicit at the end of the Psalm.

In summary, Long points out, “The rhetorical effect of the poetry of the psalm, then, is to create two contrasting spheres of activity in the awareness of the reader or hearer. One sphere is filled with frenetic, desperate, directionless motion which quickly fizzles. The other is still, steady, calm, rich with the quiet and strong action of the wise person reflecting upon Torah. An effective sermon on this psalm may well be one which not only describes this contrast but also recreates its visual and emotional impact in the hearers” (Long, 51).

D. Their Literary Devices.

Let me point out just two:

1. Symbolism – e.g. Prov. 11:22, “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout … is a beautiful woman without discretion.”

2. Figures of speech. How do we know when the poet is using a figure of speech and not speaking literally? Let me give you three criteria:

(a) There is a mismatch between the subject and predicate – e.g. “God is our rock.”

(b) The predicate attributes to the subject actions that are not possible in the real world – e.g. “the mountains clapped their hands.”

(c) The poet is giving dramatic emphasis, heightened feeling, memorability. Types of figures of speech include simile, metaphor, parable, allegory, irony etc.

In the next edition of this Journal, I will turn from the analytical and theoretical analysis of the Psalms (i.e. the structure of the Psalms) to the practical by investigating certain aspects of preaching poetic literature.

II. Strengthening Biblical Leadership
“The Ministry Of Reconciliation, Pt. 1: The Reconciliation Of All People” (2 Cor. 5:18-21)

This is a continuation of my series on biblical, pastoral leadership based on Paul’s exhortations in 2 Corinthians. You can read the other articles in this series in the following editions of this Journal, in this order: Spring 2013, Summer 2012, Summer 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2021.

Having expounded various fundamental aspects of pastoral ministry - confidence in ministry, the nature of authentic ministry, and the motivation for ministry - the apostle Paul now relates all of this to us at a practical level. Notice the following observations…

1. The Ministry of Reconciliation Applied to Us (5:18a). For those who have been transformed into “new creations in Christ” a whole new era has dawned, “The old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (5:17b). And the source of this massive, historic transformation is God himself - “All this is from God…” (5:18a). The One who brought all things into being at the original creation is the One who re-creates believers into “new creations” in Christ. Just as the work of creation was God’s alone, so the work of re-creation is God’s alone, effected through the agency of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5; Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12).

But it doesn’t stop there. Additionally, not only did God re-create us into a brand new image in Christ, but He also “…through Christ reconciled us to himself” (5:18a). Our re-creation by God in Christ necessarily leads to our reconciliation to God himself through Christ. The two ideas go together – our re-creation by God and our reconciliation to God.

Thus, reconciliation is part and parcel of being made new creations in Christ, for once we are made new, we receive new lives that are consistent with the life of God and, thus, reconciled to God. Sin is no longer a barrier to that relationship. That sinful nature that made us enemies of God, sons of disobedience etc. (Eph. 2:1-3), has been put to death and we have been raised up to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). Our relationship to God that was formerly irreconcilable (viz. sinful creatures vs. a holy God) has been reconciled to God through Christ’s death (Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:13).

Though man is responsible for fracturing the relationship in the first place through sin, God is all-powerful and all-loving and, in a past eternity, conceived the plan of redemption so that, through the death of his Son, “He might be just and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). The One who sovereignly created us has also sovereignly re-created us (Eph. 2:10) and reconciled us to himself (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21).

2. The Ministry of Reconciliation Committed to Us (5:18b-19). Having been made new creations in Christ and reconciled to God through Christ, He “gave us (committed to us) the ministry of reconciliation” (5:18c). Those who have been reconciled to God have been given the enormous privilege of “the ministry of reconciliation...” Our reconciliation to God through Christ becomes the basis and thrust of our ministry. Only those who have been reconciled to God are given this ministry of reconciliation, by which we declare the message of reconciliation so that others are enabled to be reconciled to God and to one another.

This, in a nutshell, is the ministry which we have been given and to which we have been called. This is the treasure that is born by and in earthen vessels. This is the glorious new covenant ministry, a message of reconciliation to God, “…that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself…” (19a).

Paul now expands on 5:18. God not only acted “through Christ” (i.e. Christ was the agent of reconciliation) but God also acted “in Christ” in this reconciling work - i.e. God was one with Christ in it; what Christ did, God did. The act of reconciliation was a united act of the Trinity, whose members are always one in thought, purpose, and action.

Further, the scope of reconciliation now broadens from “us” (5:18) to the world – “that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself” (5:19a). The reconciling act of God in Christ had in view making possible not only the reconciliation of “us” (5:18) but also the reconciliation of “the world” to himself. That Paul is referring to the world at large is reinforced by his use of the pronouns “their” and “them” (i.e. the world) in contrast to “we” and “us” (5:16, 18) - “…not counting (reckoning) their trespasses against them” (19b). This is not universal salvation (see my article on 2 Cor. 5:14-17 in Issue 39 of this Journal) but the universal scope / availability of reconciliation – past, present, and future. In the past, God provided and completed the only basis for the reconciliation of the world to himself, viz. through and in Christ and his finished work on the cross. In the present, God is now reconciling to himself all people who receive his offer of salvation and reconciliation, viz. elect believers. In the future, God will reconcile all things to himself at the end of the age, “according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph. 1:10; cf. Col. 1:20).

In summary, the argument in 5:18-19 goes like this: God has savingly “reconciled us (who are new creations in Christ) to Himself (5:18a) and, consequently, He “gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (5:18b), which is “that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses to them and (to emphasize the point) has entrusted to us the message of reconciliation” (5:19).

Those who have actually been reconciled are given a new covenant “ministry of reconciliation” (5:18b), which is declared in “the message of reconciliation” (5:19b) This is a commitment by God to us - He has entrusted to us this message, this word, of proclamation. That’s our ministry! The good news of reconciliation that God accomplished in and through Christ on the cross, He has committed to us to proclaim. Clearly, the implication is that our ministry is a ministry of proclamation that has the same scope as the work of reconciliation itself - namely, universal.

3. The Ministry of Reconciliation Declared by Us (5:20-21). “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We plead / implore (“you” is not in original) on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God’” (5:20). We who have been experientially, savingly reconciled to God through Jesus Christ are his “ambassadors for Christ” in this ministry of reconciliation.

So, how is this ministry of reconciliation to be carried out? It is carried out in the same way as an ambassador carries out his duties. An ambassador is a diplomatic representative of the government or ruling monarch of his country, which he represents in another country. He communicates the position or wishes of his government or monarch to the government or monarch of the country to which he is sent.

We are “ambassadors for Christ.” We are his representatives in the world, authorized to speak his message on his behalf. We are his voice in the world, “God pleading (making his appeal) through us…”. When we, as ambassadors for Christ, fulfill our ministry and proclaim the message of reconciliation by pleading with people to be reconciled to God, it is, in fact, God who is speaking through us, because we speak his message as disclosed in his Word, with his authority, empowered by his Spirit.

The preaching event, then, is equated by Paul with the actual words of God! When we faithfully declare the message that has been entrusted to us, God is actually pleading with people through us. This is incarnational preaching, preaching that embodies the truth and manifests God himself through us. Ministry is not something that is detached from us like a job. Rather, it is integral to who we are; it is part and parcel of our personality, character, behaviour, and nature. That’s why the declaration of what God has done in and through Christ is such a personal and passionate thing.

Thus, when we preach, we actually “plead / beseech / implore…”. We don’t just speak as in a lecture or a conversation; we plead with people as if their life depended on it, for their lives do depend on it. “We plead on Christ’s behalf,” speaking and acting as his authorized ambassadors to the world, “Be reconciled to God.”

The word “plead / beseech / implore” carries with it the connotation of urgency, passion, concern, persuasion. That must be the character of our ministry, declaring a message which lost people desperately need to hear, the urgency of which is dictated (1) by the brevity of the time available to believe it; and (2) by the prospect of judgement that will fall on those who refuse it. So, our ministry responsibility is to tell people how they can be reconciled to God, namely, through the sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection of Christ on their behalf (5:14-15).

Although the thrust of this paragraph is our declaration of reconciliation to unbelievers (cf. 5:11, 14-15, 19), nonetheless, God’s own people need this message of reconciliation as well, not just lost people (see 6:1-2). God's people need to be constantly reconciled to God, not because they lose their salvation, but because they lose their fellowship, their communion with God by acting, speaking, and thinking in ways that are contrary to his nature and character. God’s people sometimes backslide and don’t live like Christians. We enable such people to return to God and progress in their sanctification by proclaiming a message of reconciliation to them on Christ’s behalf.

What good would it do to entreat people to be reconciled to God if the basis and means of their reconciliation were not made known? So, we not only plead with them to be reconciled to God (i.e. to experience saving reconciliation), but we also explain to them the basis on which they can be reconciled – namely, because “for our sake He (God) made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (5:21). Those who are new creations in Christ and are savingly reconciled to God, do not have their sins charged to their account because their sins are charged to Christ’s account (cf. 5: 21). God made the sinless One (cf. Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 Jn. 3:5) “sin for us…”. In other words, the justice and wrath of God on account of our sin was vented upon Christ instead of us. He was our substitute. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). Christ was “offered once to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28).

Notice that it does not say that God made Christ a sinner or sinful. No! As Philip Hughes puts it, “to conceive of Christ as sinful, or made a sinner, would be to overthrow the very foundation of redemption, which demands the death of an altogether Sinless One in the place of sinful mankind. But God made Him sin: that is to say that God the Father made His innocent incarnate Son the object of his wrath and judgement, for our sakes, with the result that in Christ on the cross the sin of the world is judged and taken away” (Philip Hughes, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, NICNT, 213).

Just as Christ did not become a sinner or sinful, so we do not become righteous. Rather, we “become the righteousness of God in Him.” Divine righteousness is attributed to us. We receive his righteousness and are declared righteous (i.e. justified), but we do not become righteous because we are still capable of sin and do sin from time to time. Notice that our righteousness (and, thus, our reconciliation to God) is “in him.” We are wrapped up in him, identified with him in his death and resurrection. Our life is in him. Our hope is in him. God sees us perfect in him - “as he is so also are we in this world” (1 Jn. 4:17). Nonetheless, as far as our standing before God is concerned (as opposed to our state which may vary), we are viewed in, and have been credited with, “the righteousness of Christ,” so that we are no longer subject to condemnation because we are “in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).

Christ was the only one who could make reconciliation with God possible, for He alone was the sinless One who alone could offer the only sacrifice for our sins that would be acceptable to God (cf. Matt. 3:17; 17:5). Only a perfect man could take our place, since the life of another imperfect sinner would not satisfy God’s holy demands, for God demands the death of sinners - “the soul that sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:20). Only someone who lived a sinless life and needed no reconciliation Himself could and did willingly offer His own life as our substitute before God – He took our place, died instead of us and for our good, namely, that we could be reconciled to God.

He became sin for us, the purpose of which was that “…in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The exchange is thus complete. He became sin for us and we become righteous in him. This is what is sometimes called the double imputation. Those who receive this message of reconciliation have their sins imputed to Christ (He became sin for us by paying the debt of our sin at the cross) and his righteousness imputed to them (we become the righteousness of God in him), the benefit of which is that we are viewed by God as perfect in Christ. As Peter puts it, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sins and live to righteousness” (1 Pet. 2:24; cf. Rom. 4:6; 1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Pet. 3:18). This great exchange made it possible for God to “be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

So, it can be seen, that the basis and means of our reconciliation to God is the substitutionary, self-sacrificial, atoning death of Christ on the cross, which death made it possible for sinful human beings to have their sins washed away (expiated) and stand before God forgiven and justified as new creations in Christ.

This is the wonderful transformation that the gospel affords. This is the gospel in a sentence. This is the basis and means by which God has made the ministry of reconciliation, the gospel, possible – namely, by the substitutionary death of Christ. What a message we have to proclaim! What an exchange we have to offer! No wonder we must, as “ambassadors for Christ,” plead with people to receive it!

Final Remarks

This, then, is our pastoral ministry, “The Ministry Of Reconciliation: The Reconciliation Of All People” (2 Cor. 5:18-21). It is our responsibility as preachers of God’s word and leaders of Christ’s church to declare this message. The message of reconciliation which has been applied to us (5:18a) and committed to us (5:18b-19), is to be declared by us (5:20-21). Are you preaching this message? Do others through your ministry know how to be reconciled to God? Are others being reconciled to God through his Son as a result of your ministry?

III. Sermon Outlines

Title: Learning from Jesus, Part 1, Defeating Temptation (Matt. 3:13-4:11)

Theme: To defeat temptation, we need to be armed with he Word of God

Point 1: We need to be prepared to face temptation

1a) … by submission to the Word of God (3:13-15)

1b) … by the anointing of the Holy Spirit (3:16)

1c) … by the affirmation / blessing of God the Father (3:17)

Point 2: We need to be prepared to resist temptation

2a) Satan attacks God’s proclamation and provision (14:3-4)

2b) Satan attacks God’s power and protection (14:5-7)

2c) Satan attacks God’s purposes and plans (4:8-10)

Related Topics: Pastors

La Revue Internet Des Pasteurs, Fre Ed 40, Edition du l’été 2021

A ministry of…

Author: Dr. Roger Pascoe, President,
Email: [email protected]

I. Renforcer La Prédication Par Exposition
Prêcher Sur La Poésie Hébraïque (Pt. 1)

Permettez-moi de commencer cet article en faisant un bref commentaire sur les livres poétiques et le genre. Tandis que le livre des Psaumes est clairement le livre poétique par excellence, une classification plus générale inclurait la plupart des livres de sagesse (Job, Proverbes, Ecclésiaste, Cantique des Cantiques). De même, beaucoup de Psaumes pourraient également être classifiés comme de la littérature de sagesse. Par conséquent, il y a toujours cet enchevêtrement lorsqu’il s’agit de classifier les livres par genre. Selon Kaiser, “près du tiers de l’Ancient Testament et un pourcentage surprenant du Nouveau Testament sont en forme poétique » (My Heart is Stirred, in Walter Kaiser, de Walter Kasier et Moises Silva, an Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, 86).

Quand on considère la catégorie large de la poésie de l’A.T. (y compris les livres de sagesse, ces livres poétiques sont catégorisés comme des “Ecrits” (comme étant distincts de la Loi et des Prophètes), et ils sont situés dans le canon entre la Torah et les Prophètes. Ainsi, la structure du canon reconnaît leur style et leur contenu littéraire différents. La présence de ces…livres dans les Ecrits montre leur relation à la Torah (le Pentateuque) et les Prophètes – Ils ne sont ni la Loi, ni la Prophétie. En réalité, leur vision du monde est quasiment différente de la Torah et de la Prophétie, même s’ils partagent plusieurs similitudes » (C. Hassell Bullock, Preaching the Poetic Literature dans Livre de Poche de la Prédication Contemporaine, ed. Michael Duduit, 293).

Tandis que le but et la fonction primaire des Psaumes a toujours été (et continue d’être) liturgique (chants d’adoration, lamentation, etc.), leur inclusion dans le canon est sûrement une autorisation pour nous de prêcher sur eux, pas juste pour les chanter. Après tout, ils contiennent une théologie très profonde. Ils montrent vraiment que l’adoration en musique et en prédication sont toutes les deux des réponses appropriées à Dieu.

Néanmoins, nous devons être vraiment conscient que le style des livres poétiques requiert que l’on en fasse une exégèse et des sermons qui reflètent leur genre unique. On doit les interpréter et les appliquer dans le contexte tout le Psautier et de sa théologie. « Le Psautier…est un livre pour proclamer que Dieu, en tant que Créateur et Rédempteur, a donné à Israël à travers la Torah, par la révélation de Lui-même dans l’histoire, la possibilité d’une vie nouvelle et l’instruction complète de comment elle doit être vécue » (William Dumbrell, The Faith of Israel, 212, cité dans Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, 200).

Ce thème général des Psaumes, est donc rédempteur, mettant l’accent sur Dieu (le grand Roi de son peuple de l’alliance) et ses actes de délivrance historique. Comme Graeme Goldsworthy écrit : « Le prédicateur doit constamment ramener ses auditeurs à cette perspective biblique de Dieu, centrée sur l’évangile » (Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture, 201).

Par conséquent, quelle est l’utilisation appropriée des Psaumes pour l’église chrétienne ? Evidemment, ils peuvent être utilisés de la même manière dont ils étaient utilisés dans les temps bibliques - c’est-à-dire comme un livre de cantique. Comme la réponse de l’auditoire original était de louer Dieu pour ses œuvres de rédemption, ainsi, il est approprié de que notre réponse soit la même. Les auteurs du N.T. et Jésus Lui-même ont utilisé extensivement les Psaumes (Les Psaumes sont cités dans le N.T. plus que n’importe quel autre livre de l’A.T. – on estime à environ 350 citations et références directes et indirectes) en tant que source prophétique pour Jésus et ses apôtres et comme source d’autorité de leur théologie. Par exemple, Paul cite les Psaumes en Romains 3 !10-18 pour étayer son argument sur la nature pécheresse de l’humanité (Goldsworthy, 199).

Clairement, le grand thème des Psaumes concerne leur accent messianique (sur la mort et la résurrection de Christ) et leur impact sur la race humaine, soit pour le salut des justes, soit pour la condamnation des méchants (comme le Psaume 1 l’indique).

Maintenant, examinons le genre des Psaumes comme poésie Hébraïque.

A. Types De Psaumes.

Il y a plusieurs variétés de Psaumes, tels que des Psaumes didactiques (ex. Ps. 1) ; des Psaumes messianiques (ex. Ps. 2) ; des Psaumes de la créationnistes (ex. Ps. 19) ; des Psaumes de lamentations (ex. Ps. 22) ; des Psaumes d’histoire du salut (ex. Ps. 78) ; des Psaumes de louange (ex. Ps. 996). Le plus grand nombre en est les lamentations, bien que des s’imbriquent dans plus d’une catégorie.

B. Leur But De Rhétorique Et Leur Fonction

Les Psaumes sont de la Poésie Hébraïque et reflètent la structure littéraire et les accessoires liés à ce genre. Comme l’écrit Tom Long : “Chaque Psaume dans le psautier est éventuellement une partie de la collection des psaumes qui, comme le souligne Patrick D. Miller Jr., « a fonctionné dans l’adoration de la communauté de la foi, Juifs et Chrétiens, largement et extensivement, et ce, sans rupture’ » (Thomas Long, Preaching the Literary Forms of the Bible, 44, avec citation de Patrick D. Miller, Jr., Interpreting the Psalms, 20).

Comme le théâtre, la fonction littéraire des Psaumes est un appel à l’émotion et à l’imagination. Ils évoquent une réponse intérieure profonde qui va au-delà du rationnel. « Les Poèmes changent ce que nous pensons et sentons, non pas en entassant des faits que nous ne connaissions pas ou une argumentation persuasive, mais, finalement, en faisant des ajustements à des endroits profonds et critiques dans notre imagination. » Long donne l’exemple du Psaumes 42 :1 « Comme la biche soupire après les courants d’eau, ainsi mon âme a besoin de toi, ô Dieu ». Les mots condensés s’ouvrent dans notre esprit comme des images énormes et alors, le Psalmiste relie ces images à notre réalité spirituelle, c’est-à-dire notre relation avec Dieu (Long, 45).

Les Psaumes nous parlent, non seulement à un niveau dévotionnel profondément intime (ex. dans nos prières et méditations sur Dieu), mais aussi à niveau pastoral très pratique (ex. dans les funérailles, les mariages, les célébrations, les maladies, les désespoirs, etc.). Ils parlent avec une fraîcheur et une pertinence contemporaines lors de ces évènements, mais aussi avec la formalité et répétabilité traditionnelle. « Le fait que le Psautier contient des psaumes de colère, d’abandon, de désespoir affirme non seulement que de telles émotions arrivent dans la vie de la foi, mais aussi que de telles expériences sont répétées, prévisibles et attendues. Nous nous sommes sentis ainsi jadis » (Long, 46).

C. Leur Structure Rhétorique.

La forme des Psaumes est condensée, concise et intense (comme doit être la poésie) et, leur utilisation des mots est différente d’autres littératures (comme doit être la poésie). Comme Robert Alter l’indique : “la poésie, agissant à travers un système complexe de liaison de sons, d’images, de mots, de rythmes, de syntaxes, de thèmes et d’idées, est un instrument pour véhiculer des significations densément structurées, et parfois des sens contradictoires, qui ne sont pas immédiatement transmissibles par d’autres types de discours” (Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry, 113, cité dans Long, Preaching and the Literary Forms, 47).

Probablement, la principale structure rhétorique dans les Psaumes est le parallélisme. Le parallélisme est si pénétrant et si important que McQuilkin recommande que nous « utilisions le parallélisme de la poésie Hébraïque pour avoir de la compréhension… La marque distinctive de la poésie Hébraïque est la correspondance en pensée, ou le parallélisme, entre une ligne et la ligne suivante ; ou entre une section et la section suivante » (Robertson McQuilkin, Understanding and Applying the Bible, 199). En d’autre termes, le parallélisme est un outil littéraire dans lequel le poète nous donne une la partie d’une ligne (A), et nous donne une partie de la ligne (B), de telle manière que le contenu de la ligne (B) a quelque connexion avec le contenu de (A). Cette connexion est faite premièrement de trois manières par :

1. Le parallélisme Synonymique – une pensée similaire en (A) est répétée en (B) sans ajout significatif. Par exemple :

a) Ps. 73 :1, (A) Oui Dieu est bon … (B) Pour ceux qui ont le cœur pur.

b) Prov. 1 :20, (A) La sagesse crie dans les rues… (B) Elle élève sa voix dans les places.

c) Gen. 4 :23, (A) Ada et Tsilla, écoutez ma voix… (B) Femmes de Lémec, écoutez ma parole.

d) Luc 1 :46b-47a, (A) Mon âme exalte le Seigneur … (B) Et mon esprit se réjouit en Dieu, mon sauveur.

2. Le parallélisme antithétique – la pensée en (B) est contrastée ou opposée à la pensée en (A). Par exemple :

Prov. 10 :1, (A) Un fils sage fait la joie d’un père … (B) Et un fils insensé le chagrin de sa mère.

Prov. 15 :2, (A) La langue des sage sages rend la science aimable …(B) Et le bouche des insensés répand la folie.

3. Le parallélisme synthétique – la pensée en (B) étend, avance, ajoute à, et rend la pensée en (A) claire. Par exemple :

Ps. 22 :2, (A) Mon Dieu ! Je crie le jour et tu ne réponds pas… (B) La nuit et je n’ai point de repos.

Isa. 55 :6-7, (A) Cherchez l’Eternel pendant qu’il se trouve …(B) Invoquez-le tandis qu’il est près. (55 :6) ; et (A) Que le méchant abandonne sa voie …(B) Et l’homme d’iniquité ses pensées (55 :7).

Chacune de ces formes de parallélisme est évident en Psaume I, par exemple. Les caractéristiques de la personne pieuse sont avancées par un parallélisme synthétique au verset 1, et contrastés avec la personne inique par un parallélisme synthétique dans le verset 2. Ainsi donc, le Psaumes procède pour dévoiler une image puissante du juste, qui est semblable à un arbre planté près des courants d’eau, etc. ; en contraste, le méchant est comme de la paille qui est emportée facilement. La place dédiée à la description du juste est tellement beaucoup plus grande que celle dédiée à la description du méchant, si bien que le psalmiste dévoile son point de vue sur celui à qui nous devons ressembler, un point de vue rendu explicite à la fin du Psaume.

En résumé, Long remarque : “l’effet rhétorique de la poésie du psaume, est donc, de créer deux sphères contrastantes d’activité dans la conscience du lecteur ou de l’auditeur. Une des sphères est remplie d’une émotion frénétique, désespérée, sans direction, qui pétille rapidement. L’autres tranquille, ferme, calme, riche avec l’action forte et quiète de du sage qui réfléchit sur la Torah. Un sermon efficace sur le psaume peut bien être un sermon qui, non seulement décrit ce contraste, mais aussi récrée son impact visuel et émotionnelle chez les auditeurs » (Long, 51).

D. Leurs Appareils Littéraires.

Permettez-moi de mettre juste deux en évidence :

1. Le Symbolisme – ex. Prov. 11 :22, “Un anneau d’or au nez d’un pourceau… C’est une femme belle dépourvue de sens ».

2. Les figures de style. Comment savez-vous si le poète utilise une figure de style et ne parle pas littéralement ? Permettez-moi de vous en donner les critères :

(a) Il y a une discordance entre le sujet et le prédicat – ex. « Dieu est notre rocher »

(b) Le prédicat attribue au sujet des actions qui ne sont pas possibles dans la monde réel – ex. « les montagnes ont tapé les mains ».

(c) Le poète donne une emphase dramatique, un sentiment élevé, une mémorabilité. Les types de figures de style comprennent la comparaison, la métaphore, la parabole, l’allégorie, l’ironie, etc.

Dans la prochaine édition de ce Journal, je vais passer de l’analyse de théorique des Psaumes (ex. la structure des Psaumes) à l’analyse pratique en investiguant certains aspects de la littérature poétique.

II. Renforcement Du Leadership Biblique
“Le Ministère De Réconciliation, Pt. 1 : La Réconciliation De Tout Peuple” (2 Cor. 5 :18-21)

C’est une continuation de mes séries sur le leadership biblique pastoral basées sur l’exhortation de Paul en 2 Corinthiens. Vous pouvez lire les autres articles dans cette série dans les prochaines éditions de ce Journal, par ordre : Printemps 2013, Eté 2012, Eté 2013, Automne 2014, Printemps 2021.

Ayant abordé des aspects fondamentaux variés du ministère pastoral – la confiance dans le ministère, la nature du ministère authentique, et la motivation pour le ministère – maintenant l’apôtre Paul relie tout cela à nous à un niveau pratique. Notez les observations suivantes…

1. Le Ministère de la Réconciliation Appliqué à Nous (5 :18a). Pour ceux qui sont devenus des « nouvelles créatures en Christ », une toute nouvelle ère s’ouvre, « Les choses anciennes sont passées, voici, toutes choses sont devenues nouvelles » (5 :17b). Et la source de cette transformation historique énorme est Dieu Lui-même – « tout cela vient de Dieu… » (5 :18a). Celui qui amène toutes choses à l’existence lors de la création initiale, est Celui qui récrée les croyants pour qu’ils deviennent des « nouvelles créatures » en Christ. Tout comme l’œuvre de la création était l’œuvre de Dieu seul, l’œuvre de la recréation est celle de Dieu seul, rendu efficace par l’œuvre de Jésus Christ (cf. 1 Tim. 2 :5 ; Jn. 14 :6 ; Act. 4 :12).

Mais ça ne s’arrête pas là. Non seulement Dieu récréé en nous une toute nouvelle image de Christ, mais Il nous a aussi « réconcilié avec lui-même par Christ » (5 :18a). Notre récréation par Dieu en Christ conduit nécessairement à notre réconciliation avec Dieu par Christ. Les deux idées vont ensemble – notre récréation par Dieu et notre réconciliation avec Dieu.

Ainsi, la réconciliation est partie prenante du fait de devenir une nouvelle créature en christ, parce qu’une fois que nous avons été fait nouveaux, nous recevons des nouvelles vies qui sont conformes à la vie de Dieu et, ainsi, nous sommes réconciliés avec Dieu. Le péché n’est plus une barrière pour cette relation. Cette nature pècheresse qui avait fait de nous des ennemis de Dieu, des fils de la rébellion, etc. (Eph 2 :1-3), a été mis à mort et nous avons été ressuscités pour marcher dans une nouveauté de vie (Rom. 6 :4). Notre relation avec Dieu était formellement irréconciliable (c’est-à-dire, des créatures pécheresses vs un Dieu Saint) a été réconciliée avec Dieu par la mort de Christ (Rom. 5 :10 ; Eph. 2 :13).

Bien que l’homme est coupable d’avoir été le premier à briser la relation, Dieu est tout-puissant et tout-amour et, dans l’éternité passé, a conçu un plan de rédemption pour que, par la mort de son Fils, Il soit « juste tout en réconciliant celui qui a la foi n Jésus » (Rom. 3 :26). Celui qui nous a créé souverainement nous a aussi récréé souverainement (Eph. 2 :10) et, nous a réconcilié avec lui-même (Rom. 5 :10 ; Col. 1 :21).

2. Le Ministère de la Réconciliation Qui Nous a été Confié (5 :18b-19). Ayant été faits des nouvelles créatures en Christ, Il nous « a donné (confié) un ministère de réconciliation » (5 :18c). Ceux qui ont été réconciliés avec Dieu ont reçu l’énorme privilège “du ministère de la réconciliation… » Notre réconciliation avec Dieu par Christ devient la base et la motivation de notre ministère. Seuls ceux qui ont été réconciliés avec Dieu ont reçu ce ministère de la réconciliation, par lequel nous déclarons le message de la réconciliation, pour que les autres soient capables d’être réconciliés avec Dieu et réconciliés les uns avec les autres.

En un mot, c’est le ministère que l’on nous a donné et auquel nous avons été appelés C’est le trésor qui est porté par et dans des vases terrestres. C’est le glorieux nouveau ministère de l’alliance, un message de réconciliation avec Dieu, “à savoir, Dieu réconciliant le monde avec lui-même en Christ …” (19a).

Paul étend sur le 5:18. Dieu a agi non seulement “par Christ” dans l’œuvre de réconciliation (ex. Christ était l’agent de la réconciliation) mais Dieu a aussi a agi “en Christ” dans cette œuvre de réconciliation – ex. Dieu était un avec Christ en cela; ce que Christ a fait, c’est Dieu qui l’a fait. L’acte de la réconciliation était un acte de la Trinité, dont les membres sont toujours un en pensée, en but et en action.

En outre l’étendue de la réconciliation s’élargit à partir de “nous” maintenant (5 :18) au monde – “à savoir qu’en Christ, Dieu réconcilie le monde avec lui-même » (5 :19a). L’œuvre de réconciliation de Dieu avait en vue, non seulement de rendre possible « notre » réconciliation (5 :18), mais aussi la réconciliation du « monde » avec lui-même. L’usage des pronoms « leur » et « eux » (ex. le monde) en contraste avec « nous » (5 :16, 18) renforce l’idée que Paul se réfère au monde en général – « …en n’imputant point aux hommes leurs offenses » (19b). Il ne s’agit pas ici du salut universel (voire mon article sur 2 Cor 5 : 14-1 dans le Problème n°39 de ce Journal), mais l’envergure universelle / la disponibilité de la réconciliation – passé, présent et futur. Dans le passé, Dieu a pourvu et terminé l’unique base pour la réconciliation du monde avec lui-même, c’est-à-dire par et en Christ et son œuvre accomplie sur la croix. Dans le présent, Dieu est en train de réconcilier tous ceux qui reçoivent son offre de salut et de réconciliation avec lui-même, c’est-à-dire les élus et les croyants. Dans le futur, Dieu réconciliera toutes choses avec lui-même à la fin des temps : « … selon son bienveillant dessein qu’il a formé en lui-même… lorsque les temps seraient accomplis, de réunir toutes choses en Christ, celles qui sont dans les cieux et celles qui sont sur la terre » (Eph. 1 :10 ; cf. Col. 1 :20).

En résumé, l’argument du chapitre 5 :18-19 est comme suit : Dieu nous a salutairement « réconcilié » (nous qui sommes des nouvelles créatures en Christ) avec Lui-même (5 :18a) et, par conséquent, Il « nous a donné un ministère de réconciliation (5 :18b), qui est que Dieu était en Christ, réconciliant le monde avec lui-même, en imputant pas aux hommes leurs offenses et (pour mettre la partie en emphase), nous a confié le message de la réconciliation » (5 :19).

Un « ministère de réconciliation » (5 :18b) de la nouvelle alliance a été confié à ceux qui ont vraiment été réconciliés. C’est une assignation à nous par Dieu – Il nous a confié ce message, cette parole de proclamation. C’est notre ministère ! La bonne nouvelle de la réconciliation que Dieu a accomplie en et par Christ sur la croix, il nous l’a confié afin que nous la proclamions. Clairement, l’implication est que notre ministère est un ministère de proclamation qui a la même envergure que l’œuvre de la réconciliation elle-même – notamment, une envergure universelle.

3. Le Ministère de la Réconciliation Déclaré par Nous Us (5:20-21). “Nous faisons fonction d’ambassadeur pour Christ comme si Dieu exhortait par nous ; nous vous en supplions/implorons au nom de Christ » (5 :20). Nous qui avons par expérience et par salut été réconciliés avec Dieu par Jésus Christ, nous sommes ses « ambassadeurs pour Christ » dans le ministère de la réconciliation.

Ainsi donc, comment ce ministère de la réconciliation doit-il être mené ? Il doit être conduit de la même manière qu’un ambassadeur mène ses missions. Un ambassadeur est représentant diplomatique du gouvernement ou du monarque de son pays, qu’il représente dans un autre pays. Il communique la position ou les souhaits de son gouvernement ou de son monarque au pays auprès duquel il est envoyé.

Nous sommes « ambassadeurs pour Christ ». Nous sommes ses représentants dans le monde, « Dieu suppliant (implorant) par nous… » Si nous, en tant qu’ambassadeurs pour Christ, remplissons notre ministère et proclamons le message de la réconciliation en implorant les gens d’être réconcilié avec Dieu, en réalité, c’est Dieu qui parle à travers nous, parce que nous annonçons son message comme indiqué dans sa Parole, avec autorité, rendu puissant par son Esprit.

La prédication est ainsi assimilée aux vraies paroles de Dieu par Paul ! Si nous déclarons fidèlement le message qui nous a été confié, Dieu supplie vraiment le monde à travers nous. C’est une prédication par incarnation, une prédication qui incarne la vérité et manifeste Dieu par nous. Le ministère n’est pas quelque chose qui est détaché de nous comme un boulot. Il est plutôt intégré à ce que nous sommes ; il est partie prenante de notre personnalité, caractère, comportement, et notre nature. C’est pourquoi, la déclaration de ce que Dieu a fait en et par Christ est une chose si personnelle et passionnante.

Ainsi donc, si nous prêchons, en réalité nous « supplions/implorons… » Nous ne parlons pas simplement comme dans une conférence ou dans une conversation ; nous supplions les gens, comme si leur vie en dépendait, car leur vie en dépend. « Nous vous supplions au nom de Christ », parlant et agissant comme ses ambassadeurs accrédités auprès du monde, « Soyez réconciliés avec Dieu ».

Le mot « supplier / implorer » renferme une connotation d’urgence, de passion, d’intérêt, de persuasion. C’est ce qui doit être le trait de caractère de notre ministère, déclarant un message dont les perdus ont désespéramment besoin d’entendre, un message dont l’urgence est consacrée (1) par la brièveté du temps disponible pour y croire ; et (2) par l’anticipation du jugement qui tombera sur ceux qui le refuse. Par conséquent, notre responsabilité de ministère est de dire aux gens comment ils peuvent être réconciliés avec Dieu, notamment, par la mort expiatoire et le résurrection victorieuse de Christ pour eux (5 :14-15).

Bien que le point-clé de ce paragraphe est notre déclaration de la réconciliation aux non-croyants (cf. 5 :11, 14-15, 19), il n’en demeure pas moins que le peuple de Dieu aussi a besoin de ce message de réconciliation, comme les perdus (voire 6 :1-2). Le peuple de Dieu a besoin d’être continuellement réconciliés avec Dieu, non parce qu’ils perdent leur salut, mais parce qu’ils perdent leur communion avec Dieu en agissant, parlant et pensant de manière contraire à sa nature et son caractère. Parfois le peuple de Dieu recule et ne vit pas comme des Chrétiens. Nous aidons de telles personnes à revenir à Dieu et à progresser dans leur sanctification, en leur proclamant le message de la réconciliation au nom de Christ.

En quoi est-ce pertinent de supplier les gens d’être réconcilié avec Dieu si nous ne leur faisons pas connaître la base et le moyen de leur réconciliation ? Ainsi, non seulement nous leur supplions d’être réconciliés avec Dieu (c’est-à-dire, de faire l’expérience de la réconciliation salvatrice), mais nous leur expliquons aussi la bases sur laquelle ils peuvent être réconciliés – notamment, « parce que celui qui n’a point connu le péché, il (Dieu) l’a fait devenir péché afin que nous devenions justice de Dieu » (5 :21). Ceux qui sont de nouvelles créatures en Christ et qui sont réconciliés par la salut avec Dieu, ne sont plus coupables de péchés, parce que Christ a porté leurs péchés (cf. 5 :21). Celui qui n’a point connu le péché, Dieu l’a fait (ce. Héb. 4 :15 ; 7 :26 ; 1Pi. 2:22; Jn. 3 :5) « péché pour nous… » En d’autres termes, la justice et la colère de Dieu pour nos péchés ont été portées sur Christ à notre place. Il est notre substitut. « Mais il a été blessé pour nos péchés, brisé pour nos iniquités ; le châtiment qui nous donne la paix est tombé sur lui ; et c’est par ses meurtrissures que nous sommes guéris » (Esa. 53 :5). Christ a été « offert une seule fois pour porter le péché de plusieurs » (Heb. 9 :28).

Remarquez que le passage ne dit pas que Dieu a fait de Christ un pécheur ou une personne pleine de péchés. Non ! Comme Philip Huges le dit : « concevoir Christ comme une personne pleine de péché, ou fait pécheur serait de jeter par terre le fondement même de la rédemption, qui exige la mort de Celui qui est tout à la fois Sans péché à la place de l’humanité pècheresse. Mais Dieu l’a fait péché : cela veut dire que Dieu le Père a fait de son Fils innocent incarné, l’objet de sa colère et de son jugement, pour nous, avec pour résultat qu’en Christ sur la croix, le péché du monde a été jugé et enlevé » (Philip Hughes, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, NICNT, 213).

De même que Christ n’est pas devenu pécheur, nous ne devenons pas juste. Nous « devenons » plutôt « justice de Dieu en Lui ». La justice divine est notre attribut. Nous recevons sa justice et sommes déclarés justes (c’est-à-dire justifiés), mais nous ne devenons pas justes parce que nous sommes toujours en mesure de pécher, et péchons de temps en temps. Remarquez que notre justice (et donc, notre réconciliation avec Dieu) est « en Lui ». Nous sommes enveloppés en Lui, identifiés avec Lui dans sa mort et sa résurrection. Notre vie est en Lui. Notre espérance est en Lui. Dieu nous voit parfaits en Lui – “Tel il est, nous sommes aussi dans ce monde” (1 Jn. 4 :17). Néanmoins, en ce qui concerne notre position devant Dieu en opposition avec notre situation qui peut varier, nous sommes vus en, et sommes crédités avec « la justice de Christ », pour que nous ne soyons plus condamnés parce que nous sommes « en Christ Jésus » (Rom. 8 :1).

Christ était le seul qui pouvait rendre la réconciliation avec Dieu possible, parce que Lui seul était Celui qui est sans péché qui seul pouvait donner le seul sacrifice acceptable à Dieu pour nos péchés (cf. Matt. 3 :17 ; 17 :5). Seul un homme parfait pouvait prendre notre place, puisque la vie d’un autre pécheur imparfait n’aurait pas satisfait les saintes exigences de Dieu, car Dieu exige la mort des pécheurs – « l’âme qui pèche est celle qui mourra » (Ez. 18 :20). Seul celui qui a vécu une vie sans péché et qui n’a pas besoin de réconciliation avec Lui-même, pouvait et a donné volontairement Sa propre vie comme substitut devant Dieu – Il a pris notre place, est mort en notre lieu et place pour notre bien, notamment, pour que nous puissions être réconciliés avec Dieu.

Il est devenu péché pour nous, son dessein était qu’en “…lui, nous devenions justice de Dieu”. Ainsi donc, l’échange est complet. Il est devenu péché pour nous et nous sommes devenus justice en lui. C’est ce qui est parfois appelé la double imputation. Ceux qui reçoivent ce message de réconciliation ont leurs péchés imputés à Christ (Il est devenu péché pour nous en payant la dette de nos péchés sur la croix) et sa justice nous est imputée (nous devenons justice de Dieu en lui), ce dont le bénéfice est que nous sommes vus par Dieu comme étant parfaits en Christ. Comme le dit Pierre : « Lui qui a porté nos péchés en son corps sur le bois, afin que morts aux péchés nous vivions pour la justice » (1 Pet. 2 :24 ; cf. Rom. 4 :6 ; 1 Cor. 1 :30 ; 1 Pet. 3 :18). Ce grand échange a rendu Dieu capable « d’être juste tout en justifiant celui qui a la foi en Jésus » (Rom. 3 :26).

Ainsi, on peut voir que la base et le moyen de notre réconciliation avec Dieu sont la mort substitutionnelle et auto-sacrificielle de Christ sur la croix ; cette mort qui rend les humains pécheurs capables d’avoir leurs péchés effacés (expiés) et de se tenir devant Dieu pardonnés et justifiés comme des nouvelles créatures en Christ.

C’est cela la merveilleuse transformation que donne l’évangile. C’est cela l’évangile en une phrase. C’est la base et le moyen par lesquels Dieu a rendu le ministère de la réconciliation possible – notamment, par la mort substitutionnelle de Christ. Quel message à proclamer ! Quel échange nous avons à offrir ! Il n’y a pas de doute que comme « ambassadeurs pour christ », nous devons supplier les gens de le recevoir !

Remarques Finales

C’est donc cela notre ministère pastoral : Le Ministère De La Réconciliation : La Réconciliation de Tous Les Gens (2 Cor. 5 :18-21). C’est notre responsabilité de prédicateur de la Parole de Dieu et de leaders de leaders de l’église de Christ de déclarer ce message. Le message de la réconciliation qui nous a été appliqué (5 :18a) et confié (5 :18b-19), doit être déclaré par nous (5 :20-21). Prêchez-vous ce message ? Les autres savent-ils comment être réconcilié avec Dieu par votre ministère ? Les autres sont-ils en train d’être réconciliés avec Dieu par son Fils grâce à votre ministère ?

III. Plans De Sermons

Titre : Apprendre de Jésus, Vaincre la Tentation Part 1, (Matt. 3 :13-4 :11)

Thème : Vaincre la tentation ; nous devons être armés de la Parole de Dieu

Point 1 : Nous devons être préparés pour faire face à la tentation

1a) … par la soumission à la Parole de Dieu (3 :13-15)

1b) … par l’onction du Saint Esprit (3 :16)

1c) … par l’affirmation / la bénédiction de Dieu le Père (3 :17)

Point 2: Nous devons être préparés à résister à la tentation

2a) Satan attaque la proclamation de la Parole de Dieu et sa provision (14:3-4)

2b) Satan attaque la puissance et la protection de Dieu (14 :5-7)

2c) Satan attaque les desseins et les plans de Dieu (4 :8-10)

Related Topics: Pastors

Jurnalul Electronic Al Păstorilor, Rom Ed 40, Editia de Vară 2021

A ministry of…

Author: Dr. Roger Pascoe, President,
Email: [email protected]

I. Consolidarea Predicării Expozitive
Predicarea Din Literatura Poetică Ebraică (Pt. 1)

Permiteți-mi să încep acest articol făcând câteva observații scurte despre cărțile poetice și despre genul literar poetic. Cartea Psalmilor este, în mod evident, cartea poetică, însă o împărțire mai largă ar include și majoritatea cărților de înțelepciune (Iov, Proverbe, Eclesiastul, Cântarea Cântărilor). În plus, majoritatea psalmilor ar putea intra în categoria literaturii de înțelepciune. Așadar, când împărțim cărțile biblice în categorii literare, întotdeauna există această intersectare între categorii. Potrivit lui Kaiser, „aproximativ o treime din Vechiul Testament și o parte surprinzător de mare din Noul Testament sunt scrise în formă poetică” (Cuvinte pline de farmec îmi clocotesc în inimă, în Walter Kaiser și Moises Silva, Introducere în Hermeneutică, 86).

Categoria mai largă a cărților poetice din V.T. (i.e. inclusiv cărțile de înțelepciune) este numită, de obicei, „Scrierile” (pentru a o diferenția de Lege și de Profeți) și, în canon, se află între Lege și Profeți. Astfel, structura canonului recunoaște conținutul și stilul literar distinctiv al acestor cărți. „Prezența acestor… cărți în Scrieri spune ceva despre relația lor cu Tora (Pentateuhul) și cu Profeții – cărțile acestea nu sunt nici Lege, nici cărți profetice. De fapt, perspectiva lor asupra lumii este destul de diferită de cea a Torei și a Profeților, deși au și multe lucruri în comun” (C. Hassell Bullock, Preaching the Poetic Literature [Predicarea din literatura poetică] în Handbook of Contemporary Preaching [Manual de predicare contemporană], ed. Michael Duduit, 293).

Scopul și rolul principal al psalmilor întotdeauna a fost (și este) unul liturgic (cântece de laudă, de lamentație etc.), însă includerea lor în canon ne autorizează să îi și predicăm, nu doar să îi cântăm. În definitiv, psalmii conțin o teologie foarte profundă. Ei arată într-adevăr că închinarea prin muzică și prin predicare sunt ambele răspunsuri potrivite înaintea lui Dumnezeu. Totuși, trebuie să fim foarte conștienți de faptul că stilul literar al cărților poetice cere o exegeză și o predicare ce reflectă genul lor literar unic. Psalmii trebuie interpretați și aplicați în contextul teologic al întregii psaltiri. „Psaltirea este… o carte de laudă care proclamă că Dumnezeu, ca și Creator și Răscumpărător, a dat poporului Israel, prin Tora, prin revelația de Sine în istorie, posibilitatea unei vieți noi și indicații clare cu privire la modul în care aceasta trebuie trăită” (William Dumbrell, The Faith of Israel [Credința Israelului], 212, citat în Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture [Predicarea Bibliei ca Scriptură creștină], 200).

Tema generală a psalmilor, așadar, este răscumpărarea, cu accent pe Dumnezeu (marele Împărat al poporului legământului) și actele Sale istorice de eliberare. Graeme Goldsworthy scrie: „Predicatorul trebuie să își îndrepte mereu ascultătorii către perspectiva biblică despre Dumnezeu centrată pe evanghelie” (Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture [Predicarea Bibliei ca Scriptură creștină], 201).

Așadar, cum ar trebui folosiți psalmii în biserica creștină? Evident, pot fi folosiți așa cum erau folosiți în vremurile biblice, ca și carte de imnuri religioase. Răspunsul ascultătorilor de atunci era să Îl laude pe Dumnezeu pentru lucrările Sale răscumpărătoare, prin urmare aceasta este o reacție potrivită și din partea noastră. Atât autorii nou-testamentari, cât și Domnul Isus au citat adesea psalmii (cartea Psalmi este citată în Noul Testament mai mult decât oricare altă carte din Vechiul Testament – se estimează că ar fi 350 de citate, citări și referiri directe sau indirecte), atât ca profeții referitoare la Isus, cât și ca sursă și autoritate pentru teologia lor). De exemplu, Pavel citează din psalmi în Romani 3:10-18 pentru a-și susține argumentul cu privire la păcătoșenia omenirii (Goldsworthy, 199).

În mod clar, tema principală a cărții Psalmi este accentul mesianic (pe moartea și învierea lui Hristos) și impactul psalmilor asupra rasei umane, fie pentru salvarea celor drepți sau pentru condamnarea celor răi (după cum vedem în Psalmul 1).

Haideți să analizăm acum genul literar al psalmilor ca poezie ebraică.

A. Tipuri De Psalmi.

Există diferite tipuri de psalmi, cum ar fi psalmi didactici (ex. Ps. 1); mesianici (ex. Ps. 2); psalmi despre creație (ex. Ps. 19); psalmi de lamentație (ex. Ps. 22); psalmi despre istoria mântuirii (ex. Ps. 78); psalmi de laudă (ex. Ps. 96). Cei mai mulți psalmi sunt lamentații, însă mulți se încadrează în mai multe categorii.

B. Scopul Și Funcția Lor Retorică.

Psalmii sunt poezie ebraică și reflectă structura și procedeele literare specifice acestui gen. După cum scrie Tom Long: „Fiecare psalm din psaltire a ajuns, în cele din urmă, să facă parte din colecția de psalmi care, după cum spune Patrick D. Miller, Jr., «au făcut parte din închinarea comunității de credință, a evreilor și a creștinilor, pe scară largă și fără întrerupere»” (Thomas Long, Preaching the Literary Forms of the Bible [Predicarea din genurile literare biblice], 44, cu citat din Patrick D. Miller, Jr., Interpreting the Psalms [Cum să interpretăm psalmii], 20).

Ca și în cazul genului literar dramatic, funcția literară a psalmilor este să facă apel la emoții și la imaginație. Ei stârnesc un răspuns interior profund ce merge dincolo de rațiune. „Poezia schimbă modul în care gândim și simțim, dar nu arătându-ne lucruri pe care nu le știm sau printr-o argumentare convingătoare, ci făcând ajustări armonioase în locuri profunde și importante din imaginația noastră.” Long ne oferă exemplul Psalmului 42:1: „Cum dorește un cerb izvoarele de apă, așa Te dorește sufletul meu pe Tine, Dumnezeule!” Cuvintele condensate se extind în mintea noastră într-o imagine imensă, iar apoi psalmistul leagă această imagine de realitatea noastră spirituală, adică de relația noastră cu Dumnezeu (Long, 45).

Psalmii ne vorbesc nu doar la un nivel profund intim, devoțional (ex. în rugăciunile și meditațiile noastre despre Dumnezeu), ci și la un nivel foarte practic experiențial și pastoral (ex. la înmormântări, nunți, sărbători, în boală, în deznădejde etc.) Psalmii ne vorbesc cu o prospețime și o relevanță contemporană în aceste ocazii, însă și cu o repetabilitate și formalitate tradițională. „Faptul că Psaltirea conține psalmi despre mânie, abandon și disperare ne confirmă că astfel de emoții nu doar că apar în viața de credință, ci și că astfel de experiențe sunt repetabile, predictibile și previzibile. Am mai trecut prin ele și înainte” (Long, 46).

C. Structura Retorică A Psalmilor.

Psalmii au o formă condensată, concisă și intensă (așa cum trebuie să fie poezia) și folosesc cuvintele în mod diferit față de alte genuri literare (așa cum trebuie să facă poezia). După cum arată Robert Alter, „poezia, lucrând printr-un sistem de înlănțuiri complexe de sunete, imagini, cuvinte, ritmuri, sintaxă, teme, idei, este un instrument pentru exprimarea unor semnificații bogate și uneori a unor sensuri contradictorii, care nu pot fi exprimate ușor prin alte tipuri de discurs” (Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry [Arta poeziei biblice], 113, citat în Long, Preaching and the Literary Forms [Predicarea și genurile literare], 47).

Paralelismul este probabil principala structură retorică în cartea Psalmilor. Paralelismul este atât de des folosit și de important în Psalmi, încât McQuilkin recomandă să „folosim paralelismul poeziei ebraice pentru a putea pătrunde semnificația ei… Marca distinctivă a poeziei ebraice este corespondența ideilor, sau paralelismul, între un vers și următorul sau între o secțiune a poeziei și următoarea” (Robertson McQuilkin, Understanding and Applying the Bible [Cum să înțelegem și să aplicăm Biblia], 199). Altfel spus, paralelismul este un procedeu literar prin care poetul ne oferă o parte de vers (A), apoi următoarea parte a versului (B), în așa fel încât conținutul lui (B) are legătură cu conținutul lui (A). Legătura aceasta este realizată, în principal, în trei moduri:

1. Prin paralelism sinonimic – o idee similară din (A) este repetată în (B) fără un adaos semnificativ. De exemplu:

a) Ps. 73:1, (A) Da, bun este Dumnezeu cu Israel… (B) cu cei cu inima curată.

b) Prov. 1:20, (A) Înțelepciunea strigă pe ulițe…(B) îşi înalţă glasul în pieţe.

c) Gen. 4:23, (A) Ada şi Ţila, ascultați glasul meu!… (B) Nevestele lui Lameh, ascultați cuvântul meu!

d) Luca 1:46b-47a, (A) Sufletul meu mărește pe Domnul… (B) şi mi se bucură duhul în Dumnezeu, Mântuitorul meu.

2. Prin paralelism antonimic - ideea din (B) este în contrast sau în opoziție cu ideea din (A). De exemplu:

Prov. 10:1, (A) Un fiu înțelept este bucuria tatălui… (B) dar un fiu nebun este mâhnirea mamei sale.

Prov. 15:2, (A) Limba înțelepților dă știință plăcută …(B) dar gura nesocotiților împroașcă nebunie.

3. Prin paralelism sintetic - ideea din (B) extinde ideea din (A), o duce mai departe, o clarifică, îi adaugă ceva. De exemplu:

Ps. 22:2, (A) Strig ziua, Dumnezeule, şi nu-mi răspunzi… (B) strig şi noaptea, şi tot n-am odihnă.

Is. 55:6-7, (A) Căutați pe Domnul câtă vreme se poate găsi…(B) chemați-L câtă vreme este aproape (55:6); și (A) Să se lase cel rău de calea lui…(B) şi omul nelegiuit să se lase de gândurile lui (55:7).

Toate aceste forme de paralelism apar, de exemplu, în Psalmul 1. Caracteristicile unui om evlavios sunt scoase în evidență prin paralelismul sintetic din versetul 1 și sunt prezentate în contrast cu omul neevlavios prin paralelismul antitetic din versetul 2. Psalmul continuă apoi, dezvăluind o imagine grăitoare a omului evlavios, care este ca un pom sădit lângă apă etc., în contrast cu omul rău, care este ca pleava pe care o spulberă vântul. Omul evlavios este descris mult mai pe larg decât omul neevlavios, psalmistul lăsându-ne să întrevedem astfel punctul său de vedere cu privire la cum ar trebui noi să fim, un punct de vedere care apare chiar în mod explicit la sfârșitul psalmului.

Pe scurt, Long subliniază următoarele: „Efectul retoric al poeziei psalmului, așadar, este să creeze două sfere de activitate contrastante în conștiința cititorului sau a ascultătorului. O sferă este plină de o mișcare frenetică, disperată și fără direcție, care dispare rapid. Cealaltă este liniștită, statornică, pașnică, animată de acțiunea puternică și calmă a omului înțelept ce meditează la Tora. O predică eficientă inspirată din acest psalm poate nu doar să descrie acest contrast, ci și să recreeze impactul său vizual și emoțional asupra ascultătorilor” (Long, 51).

D. Procedeele Literare Ale Psalmilor.

Permiteți-mi să indic doar două:

1. Simbolismul – ex. Prov. 11:22: „Femeia frumoasă şi fără minte este ca un inel de aur pus în râtul unui porc.”

2. Figurile de stil. De unde știm când poetul folosește o figură de stil și nu un limbaj literal? Permiteți-mi să vă dau trei criterii:

(a) Atunci când există o nepotrivire între subiect și predicat – ex. „Dumnezeu este stânca noastră.”

(b) Atunci când predicatul atribuie subiectului acțiuni ce nu sunt posibile în lumea reală – ex. „Munții băteau din palme.”

(c) Atunci când poetul transmite accente dramatice, sentimente intense sau un lucru memorabil. Printre figurile de stil se numără comparația, metafora, parabola, alegoria, ironia etc.

În următoarea ediție a acestui Jurnal, voi trece de la analiza teoretică a psalmilor (i.e. structura psalmilor) la cea practică, explorând anumite aspecte ale predicării din literatura poetică.

II. Consolidarea Conducerii Biblice
„Slujba Împăcării, Partea 1: Împăcarea Tuturor Oamenilor” (2 Cor. 5:18-21)

Aceasta este o continuare a seriei mele despre conducerea pastorală biblică, având la bază îndemnurile lui Pavel din 2 Corinteni. Puteți citi celelalte articole din această serie în următoarele ediții ale acestui Jurnal, în ordinea aceasta: Ediția de primăvară 2013, Ediția de vară 2012, Ediția de vară 2013, Ediția de toamnă 2013, Ediția de iarnă 2014, Ediția de primăvară 2021.

După ce a explicat diferite aspecte fundamentale ale slujirii pastorale – încrederea în slujire, natura slujirii autentice și motivația pentru slujire – apostolul Pavel face acum legătura între noi și lucrurile acestea la un nivel practic. Haideți să privim la următoarele observații…

1. Slujba împăcării aplicată la noi (5:18a). Pentru cei care au fost transformați într-o „făptură nouă”, a început o nouă eră, „cele vechi s-au dus: iată că toate lucrurile s-au făcut noi” (5:17b). Iar sursa acestei transformări extraordinare este Însuși Dumnezeu – „Şi toate lucrurile acestea sunt de la Dumnezeu…” (5:18a). Cel care a adus toate lucrurile în ființă la creație este Cel care îi re-creează pe credincioși, transformându-i într-o „făptură nouă” în Hristos. Așa cum lucrarea de creație I-a aparținut exclusiv lui Dumnezeu, tot așa, lucrarea de re-creare Îi aparține în exclusivitate lui Dumnezeu, fiind realizată prin Isus Hristos (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5; In. 14:6; Fapte 4:12).

Însă lucrurile nu se opresc aici. Dumnezeu nu doar că ne-a re-creat, făcându-ne noi în Hristos, ci „…ne-a împăcat cu El prin Isus Hristos” (5:18a). Faptul că Dumnezeu ne-a re-creat în Hristos duce inevitabil la împăcarea noastră cu Dumnezeu Însuși prin Hristos. Cele două idei merg împreună – re-crearea noastră de către Dumnezeu și împăcarea noastră cu El.

Astfel, împăcarea este parte integrantă din transformarea noastră în făpturi noi în Hristos, pentru că odată ce suntem înnoiți, primim vieți noi care sunt în concordanță cu viața lui Dumnezeu și, astfel, suntem împăcați cu Dumnezeu. Păcatul nu mai împiedică această relație. Acea fire păcătoasă, care ne-a făcut vrăjmași ai lui Dumnezeu, fii ai neascultării etc. (Ef. 2:1-3), a fost dată la moarte și noi am fost înviați pentru a trăi o viață nouă (Rom. 6:4). Relația noastră cu Dumnezeu, care mai înainte era ireconciliabilă (creaturi păcătoase vs. un Dumnezeu sfânt), a fost făcută posibilă prin moartea lui Hristos (Rom. 5:10; Ef. 2:13).

Deși omul a rupt relația cu Dumnezeu prin păcat, El este atotputernic și iubitor și, din veșnicia trecută, a făcut planul de răscumpărare astfel încât, prin moartea Fiului Său, El „să fie neprihănit, și totuși să socotească neprihănit pe cel ce crede în Isus” (Rom. 3:26). Cel care ne-a creat în mod suveran ne-a și re-creat în mod suveran (Ef. 2:10) și ne-a împăcat cu Sine (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21).

2. Slujba împăcării încredințată nouă (5:18b-19). Fiind făpturi noi în Hristos și fiind împăcați cu Dumnezeu prin Hristos, El „ne-a încredințat slujba împăcării” (5:18c). Cei care au fost împăcați cu Dumnezeu au primit privilegiul extraordinar al „slujbei împăcării...” Împăcarea noastră cu Dumnezeu prin Hristos devine baza și încrederea slujirii noastre. Doar cei care au fost împăcați cu Dumnezeu primesc slujba aceasta a împăcării, prin care noi proclamăm mesajul împăcării, pentru ca și alții să poată fi împăcați cu Dumnezeu și cu semenii.

Aceasta este, pe scurt, slujba ce ne-a fost încredințată și la care am fost chemați. Aceasta este comoara ce se naște prin și în vase de lut. Aceasta este glorioasa slujire a Noului Legământ, un mesaj de împăcare cu Dumnezeu, „…că adică, Dumnezeu era în Hristos, împăcând lumea cu Sine…” (19a).

Pavel detaliază acum ideea din 5:18. Dumnezeu nu doar a acționat „prin Hristos” (i.e. Hristos a fost agentul împăcării), ci Dumnezeu a acționat „în Hristos” în această lucrare de împăcare - i.e. Dumnezeu era una cu Hristos în lucrarea de împăcare; ceea ce a făcut Hristos, Dumnezeu a făcut. Actul împăcării a fost un act comun al Trinității, ai Cărei membri sunt întotdeauna una în gândire, în scopuri și în acțiune.

Mai mult, sfera împăcării se lărgește acum de la „noi” (5:18) la lume – „adică, Dumnezeu era în Hristos, împăcând lumea cu Sine” (5:19a). Actul de împăcare al lui Dumnezeu în Hristos avea în vedere nu doar împăcarea „noastră” (5:18), ci și împăcarea „lumii” cu El. Faptul că Pavel se referă la lume în general reiese și din folosirea pronumelor „lor” și „pe ei” (i.e. lumea) în contrast cu „nouă” și „pe noi” (5:16, 18) – „… neținându-le în socoteală păcatele lor” (19b). Nu este vorba despre mântuire universală (vezi articolul meu pe 2 Cor. 5:14-17 în Nr. 39 al acestui Jurnal), ci despre sfera universală / disponibilitatea împăcării – trecută, prezentă și viitoare. În trecut, Dumnezeu a pregătit și a desăvârșit singurul fundament pentru împăcarea lumii cu Sine, adică prin și în Hristos și lucrarea Sa încheiată pe cruce. În prezent, Dumnezeu îi împacă cu Sine pe toți aceia care primesc oferta Sa de salvare și împăcare, adică pe credincioșii aleși. În viitor, Dumnezeu va împăca toate lucrurile cu Sine la sfârșitul veacurilor, „ca să-l aducă la îndeplinire la împlinirea vremurilor, spre a-Şi uni iarăși într-unul, în Hristos, toate lucrurile: cele din ceruri şi cele de pe pământ” (Ef. 1:10; cf. Col. 1:20).

Pe scurt, argumentul din 5:18-19 spune cam așa: Dumnezeu „ne-a împăcat (pe noi, care suntem făpturi noi în Hristos) cu El” (5:18a), iar apoi El „ne-a încredințat slujba împăcării” (5:18b), care este aceasta: „că adică, Dumnezeu era în Hristos, împăcând lumea cu Sine, neținându-le în socoteală păcatele lor, şi (pentru a sublinia ideea) ne-a încredințat nouă propovăduirea acestei împăcări” (5:19).

Cei care au fost împăcați cu adevărat au primit „slujba împăcării” (5:18b) a Noului Legământ, care este anunțată prin „propovăduirea acestei împăcări” (5:19b). Aceasta este o încredințare din partea lui Dumnezeu pentru noi – El ne-a încredințat acest mesaj, acest cuvânt de proclamare. Aceasta este slujba noastră! Vestea bună a împăcării pe care Dumnezeu a realizat-o în și prin Hristos pe cruce, ne-a încredințat-o nouă să o proclamăm. Rezultă, în mod clar, că slujba noastră este o slujbă de proclamare care are aceeași sferă de lucru ca și împăcarea - adică, o sferă universală.

3. Slujba împăcării propovăduită de noi (5:20-21). „Noi, dar, suntem trimiși împuterniciți ai lui Hristos, şi, ca şi cum Dumnezeu ar îndemna prin noi, vă rugăm fierbinte, în Numele lui Hristos: împăcați-vă cu Dumnezeu” (5:20). Noi, cei care am fost împăcați cu Dumnezeu prin Isus Hristos, suntem „trimiși împuterniciți ai lui Hristos” în această slujbă a împăcării.

Așadar, cum trebuie îndeplinită această slujbă a împăcării? În același fel în care un ambasador își face datoria. Ambasadorul este un reprezentant diplomatic al guvernului sau al regelui care conduce țara sa și pe care îl reprezintă într-o altă țară. El comunică poziția sau dorințele guvernului sau regelui său către guvernul sau regele țării în care este trimis.

Noi suntem „trimiși împuterniciți (ambasadori) ai lui Hristos.” Noi suntem reprezentanții Lui în lume, împuterniciți să rostim mesajul Său în numele Său. Noi suntem vocea Sa în lume, „ca şi cum Dumnezeu ar îndemna prin noi…”. Atunci când noi, ca ambasadori ai lui Hristos, ne îndeplinim slujba și proclamăm mesajul împăcării, îndemnând oamenii să se împace cu Dumnezeu, de fapt Dumnezeu este Cel care vorbește prin noi, pentru că noi transmitem mesajul Său, așa cum este descoperit în Cuvântul Său, cu autoritatea Sa și prin puterea Duhului Său.

Așadar, Pavel pune un egal între predicare și cuvintele directe ale lui Dumnezeu! Atunci când proclamăm cu credincioșie mesajul care ne-a fost încredințat, Dumnezeu îi îndeamnă, de fapt, pe oameni prin noi. Aceasta este predicarea personificatoare, predicare ce întrupează adevărul și Îl arată pe Dumnezeu prin noi. Slujirea nu este ceva separat de noi, ca un loc de muncă. Mai degrabă, face parte din ceea ce suntem; este parte integrantă din personalitatea noastră, din caracterul, comportamentul și natura noastră. De aceea proclamarea a ceea ce Dumnezeu a făcut în și prin Hristos este ceva atât de personal și de plin de pasiune.

Astfel, când predicăm, noi de fapt „îndemnăm / rugăm fierbinte / implorăm…”. Nu vorbim, pur și simplu, ca într-o simplă discuție sau ca și cum am ține o prelegere; îi îndemnăm pe oameni, ca și cum viața lor ar depinde de asta, pentru că viața lor chiar depinde de asta! „Vă rugăm fierbinte, în Numele lui Hristos”, vorbind și acționând ca trimiși împuterniciți ai Lui în fața lumii, „împăcați-vă cu Dumnezeu.”

Cuvântul tradus prin „îndemnăm / rugăm fierbinte / implorăm” conține o notă de urgență, pasiune, neliniște, insistență. Aceasta trebuie să fie natura slujirii noastre – noi proclamăm un mesaj de care oamenii pierduți au o disperată nevoie, iar urgența aceasta vine din faptul că (1) nu mai este mult timp pentru a crede acest mesaj; și (2) judecata va veni asupra celor care îl resping. Așadar, responsabilitatea slujirii noastre este să spunem oamenilor cum se pot împăca cu Dumnezeu, adică prin moartea ispășitoare și învierea triumfătoare a lui Hristos în locul lor (5:14-15).

Deși ideea principală a acestui paragraf este proclamarea împăcării în fața celor necredincioși (cf. 5:11, 14-15, 19), totuși, și poporul lui Dumnezeu are nevoie de acest mesaj al împăcării, nu doar cei pierduți (vezi 6:1-2). Copiii lui Dumnezeu au nevoie să se împace mereu cu Dumnezeu, nu pentru că își pierd mântuirea, ci pentru că își pierd părtășia cu Dumnezeu atunci când acționează, vorbesc sau gândesc în moduri contrare naturii și caracterului Său. Copiii lui Dumnezeu alunecă uneori și nu trăiesc ca niște creștini. Astfel, le dăm ocazia acestor oameni să se întoarcă la Dumnezeu și să continue să se sfințească, proclamându-le mesajul împăcării în numele lui Hristos.

Și la ce bun să-i rugăm fierbinte pe oameni să se împace cu Dumnezeu, dacă nu le spunem și pe ce bază și în ce mod este posibilă împăcarea? Așadar, noi nu doar îi rugăm fierbinte să se împace cu Dumnezeu (i.e. pentru a experimenta împăcarea salvatoare), ci le explicăm și pe ce bază pot fi împăcați – adică, pentru că „pe Cel ce n-a cunoscut niciun păcat, El (Dumnezeu) L-a făcut (pe Hristos) păcat pentru noi, ca noi să fim neprihănirea lui Dumnezeu în El” (5:21). Cei care sunt făpturi noi în Hristos și au fost împăcați cu Dumnezeu nu își mai poartă păcatele, pentru că Hristos le-a purtat în locul lor (cf. 5: 21). Pe Cel fără păcat Dumnezeu L-a făcut (cf. Evr. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 In. 3:5) „păcat pentru noi…”. Cu alte cuvinte, dreptatea și mânia lui Dumnezeu împotriva păcatelor noastre au fost vărsate asupra lui Hristos, în loc să fie îndreptate împotriva noastră. El a fost înlocuitorul nostru. „Dar El era străpuns pentru păcatele noastre, zdrobit pentru fărădelegile noastre. Pedeapsa care ne dă pacea a căzut peste El, şi prin rănile Lui suntem tămăduiți”(Is. 53:5). Hristos „S-a adus jertfă o singură dată, ca să poarte păcatele multora” (Evr. 9:28).

Observați că textul nu spune că Dumnezeu L-a făcut păcătos pe Hristos. Nu! După cum spune Philip Hughes, „a te gândi că Hristos a fost făcut păcătos ar însemna să distrugi fundamentul mântuirii, care cere moartea Unuia fără păcat în locul omenirii păcătoase. Dumnezeu însă L-a făcut păcat: adică Dumnezeu Tatăl L-a făcut pe Fiul Său întrupat nevinovat obiectul mâniei și judecății Sale, pentru noi, și astfel, în Hristos crucificat, păcatul lumii este judecat și îndepărtat” (Philip Hughes, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians [A doua epistolă către Corinteni], NICNT, 213).

La fel cum Hristos nu a devenit păcătos, tot așa nici noi nu devenim neprihăniți. Mai degrabă, devenim „neprihănirea lui Dumnezeu în El.” Ne este atribuită neprihănirea divină. Primim neprihănirea Lui și suntem declarați neprihăniți (i.e. justificați), însă nu devenim neprihăniți, pentru că încă putem păcătui și chiar păcătuim din când în când. Observați că neprihănirea noastră (și, astfel, împăcarea noastră cu Dumnezeu) este „în El.” Suntem îmbrăcați cu El, uniți cu El în moartea și învierea Sa. Viața noastră este în El. Speranța noastră este în El. Dumnezeu ne vede desăvârșiți în El – „Cum este El, aşa suntem şi noi în lumea aceasta” (1 In. 4:17). Totuși, în ce privește poziția noastră înaintea lui Dumnezeu (spre deosebire de starea noastră, care poate varia), suntem văzuți în „neprihănirea lui Hristos” care ne-a fost atribuită și nu mai suntem sub condamnare, pentru că suntem „în Hristos Isus” (Rom. 8:1).

Hristos era singurul ce putea face posibilă împăcarea cu Dumnezeu, pentru că doar El era Cel fără păcat și astfel doar El putea aduce singura jertfă pentru păcatele noastre care să fie acceptabilă înaintea lui Dumnezeu (cf. Mat. 3:17; 17:5). Numai un om perfect putea lua locul nostru, pentru că viața unui alt păcătos imperfect nu putea satisface cerințele sfinte ale lui Dumnezeu. El cere moartea păcătoșilor – „Sufletul care păcătuiește, acela va muri” (Ez. 18:20). Doar cineva care a trăit o viață fără păcat și nu avea nevoie de împăcare putea să își dea viața de bunăvoie în locul nostru înaintea lui Dumnezeu – El a luat locul nostru, a murit în locul nostru și pentru binele nostru, pentru ca noi să putem fi împăcați cu Dumnezeu.

El a devenit păcat pentru noi, „… ca noi să fim neprihănirea lui Dumnezeu în El”. Schimbul este, astfel, încheiat. El a devenit păcat pentru noi, iar noi devenim neprihăniți în El. Aceasta este numită uneori „dubla imputare”. Păcatele celor care primesc acest mesaj al împăcării Îi sunt imputate lui Hristos (El a devenit păcat pentru noi, plătind datoria păcatului nostru la cruce), iar neprihănirea Lui le este atribuită lor (noi devenim neprihănirea lui Dumnezeu în El) și, prin urmare, Dumnezeu ne vede desăvârșiți în Hristos. După cum spune Petru, „El a purtat păcatele noastre în trupul Său, pe lemn, pentru ca noi, fiind morți față de păcate, să trăim pentru neprihănire” (1 Pet. 2:24; cf. Rom. 4:6; 1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Pet. 3:18). Acest schimb extraordinar a făcut posibil ca Dumnezeu „să fie neprihănit, și totuși să socotească neprihănit pe cel ce crede în Isus” (Rom. 3:26).

Așadar, vedem că fundamentul și mijlocul împăcării noastre cu Dumnezeu este moartea substitutivă, benevolă și ispășitoare a lui Hristos pe cruce, moarte ce a făcut posibil ca ființele umane păcătoase să aibă păcatele spălate (ispășite) și să stea înaintea lui Dumnezeu iertate și justificate, ca făpturi noi în Hristos.

Aceasta este transformarea minunată pe care o aduce evanghelia. Aceasta este evanghelia pe scurt. Acesta este fundamentul și mijlocul prin care Dumnezeu a făcut posibilă slujba împăcării, adică evanghelia – și anume prin moartea substitutivă a lui Hristos. Ce mesaj avem de proclamat! Ce schimb avem de oferit! Nu e de mirare că noi, ca „trimiși împuterniciți ai lui Hristos”, trebuie să îi rugăm fierbinte pe oameni să-l accepte!

Observații finale

Aceasta este, așadar, slujirea noastră pastorală, „Slujba împăcării: împăcarea tuturor oamenilor” (2 Cor. 5:18-21). Este responsabilitatea noastră, ca predicatori ai Cuvântului lui Dumnezeu și lideri ai bisericii lui Hristos, să proclamăm acest mesaj. Mesajul împăcării, care a fost aplicat la noi (5:18a) și ne-a fost încredințat (5:18b-19), trebuie să fie proclamat de noi (5:20-21). Predici acest mesaj? Știu oamenii cum pot fi împăcați cu Dumnezeu datorită slujirii tale? Se împacă oamenii cu Dumnezeu prin Fiul Său în urma slujirii tale?

III. Schițe De Predici

Titlu: Să învățăm de la Isus, Partea 1, Cum să învingem ispita (Mat. 3:13-4:11)

Tema: Pentru a învinge ispita, trebuie să fim înarmați cu Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu

Punctul 1: Trebuie să fim pregătiți să întâmpinăm ispita

1a) … prin supunerea față de Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu (3:13-15)

1b) … prin ungerea Duhului Sfânt (3:16)

1c) … prin confirmarea / binecuvântarea lui Dumnezeu Tatăl (3:17)

Punctul 2: Trebuie să fim pregătiți să ne opunem ispitei

2a) Satan atacă ceea ce spune Dumnezeu și purtarea Lui de grijă (14:3-4)

2b) Satan atacă puterea și protecția lui Dumnezeu (14:5-7)

2c) Satan atacă scopurile și planurile lui Dumnezeu (4:8-10)

Related Topics: Pastors

Журнал для пасторов Net, Rus Ed 40, Летнее издание 2021

Служение Института Библейского Проповедования…

Автор: Проф. Роджер Паскоу, Президент,
Email: [email protected]

I. Усиливая Описательную Проповедь
Проповедуя Еврейскую Поэзию (Ч. 1)

Позвольте мне начать эту статью с нескольких кратких комментариев о поэтических книгах и жанрах. Хотя книга Псалмов, очевидно, является поэтической книгой, более широкая категоризация будет включать многие книги мудрости (Иов, Притчи, Экклезиаст, Песнь песней). Конечно, по тому же принципу многие псалмы можно отнести к литературе мудрости. Таким образом, при классификации книг по жанрам всегда присутствует пересечение. По словам Кайзера, «примерно одна треть Ветхого Завета и удивительная гора Нового Завета находятся в поэтической форме» (“Мое сердце взволновано”, Вальтер Кайзер и Мойзес Сильва, “Введение в библейскую герменевтику”, с. 86).

Если посмотреть на широкую категорию поэзии В.З. (также включая книги мудрости), эти поэтические книги обычно классифицируются как «Писания» (в отличие от книг Закона и Пророков) и находятся в каноне между Торой и Пророками. Таким образом, структура канона признает их особый литературный стиль и содержание. «Присутствие этих ... книг в Писаниях свидетельствует об их отношении к Торе (Пятикнижию) и Пророкам - они не являются ни книгами Закона, ни пророчеств. Фактически, их взгляд на мир сильно отличается от взгляда Торы и книг Пророчеств, хотя у них много общего» (К. Хасселл Баллок, “Проповедь поэтической литературы” в Справочнике по современной проповеди, изд. Майкл Дудуит, с. 293).

Хотя целью и основной функцией псалмов всегда была (и остается) литургия (песни поклонения, плач и т. д.). Их включение в канон, несомненно, дает нам право проповедовать их, а не просто петь. В конце концов, они содержат очень глубокое богословие. Они действительно показывают, что поклонение в музыке и проповедях, оба являются подходящими ответами Богу.

Тем не менее, мы должны четко осознавать, что литературный стиль поэтических книг требует, чтобы они были истолкованы и проповеданы таким образом, чтобы отражать их уникальный жанр. Их нужно истолковывать и применять в контексте всего Псалтыря и его богословия. «Псалтирь - это ... книга хвалы, провозглашающая, что Бог, как Творец и Искупитель, дал Израилю через Тору, через явление Себя в истории, возможность новой жизни и полное указание на то, как им следует ее прожить.”

(Уильям Дамбрелл, Вера Израиля, с. 212, цит. По: Грэм Голдсуорси, “Проповедь всей Библии как христианского Священного Писания”, с. 200).

Таким образом, общая тема псалмов - искупительная, сосредоточенная на Боге (великом Царе народа Его завета) и Его исторических актах избавления. Как пишет Грэм Голсуорси, «проповеднику необходимо постоянно возвращать своих слушателей к библейской точке зрения на Бога, ориентированной на Евангелие» (“Проповедь всей Библии как христианского Священного Писания”, с. 201).

В чем же тогда правильное использование псалмов в христианской церкви? Ясно, что их можно использовать так же, как в библейские времена, а именно. как сборник гимнов. Поскольку первоначальная аудитория восхваляла Бога за Его искупительные деяния, вполне уместно, чтобы мы делали также. И писатели Нового Завета и сам Иисус широко использовали псалмы (Псалмы цитируются в Новом Завете больше, чем любая другая книга Ветхого Завета - по оценкам, около 350 прямых и косвенных цитат, цитат и ссылок), как пророчество Иисуса, а также как источник и авторитет для их богословия. Например, Павел цитирует Псалтирь в Послании к Римлянам 3: 10-18, чтобы поддержать свои мысли о греховности человечества (Голсуорси, с. 199).

Очевидно, что главная тема Псалмов - это их мессианская направленность (на смерть и воскресение Христа) и их влияние на человечество либо для спасения праведных, либо для осуждения нечестивых (как указывает Псалом 1).
Теперь перейдем к рассмотрению жанра псалмов в качестве еврейской поэзии.

A. Виды Псалмов.

Существуют различные виды псалмов, например, дидактические (например, Пс. 1); мессианские (например, Пс. 2); Псалмы о сотворении (например, Пс. 19); сетования и плач (например, Пс. 22); история спасения (например, Пс. 78); хвала (например, Пс. 96). Наибольшее количество псалмов составляют сетования и плач, хотя многие псалмы относятся более чем к одной категории.

Б. Их Риторическая Цель И Функция.

Псалмы - это еврейская поэзия, отражающая литературную структуру и приемы, связанные с этим жанром. Как пишет Том Лонг: «Каждый псалом в псалтыре со временем стал частью сборника псалмов, который, как утверждает Патрик Д. Миллер-младший,« служил поклонением общине веры, еврейской и христианской, широко, глубоко и без перерыва» (Томас Лонг, “Проповедь литературных форм Библии”, с. 44, со ссылкой на Патрика Д. Миллера-младшего, “Толкование псалмов”, с. 20).

Как и в драме, литературная функция псалмов - вызывать эмоции и воображение. Они вызывают глубокую внутреннюю реакцию, выходящую за рамки рационального. «Поэзия меняет то, что мы думаем и чувствуем, не путем накопления фактов, которых мы не знали, или путем убедительной аргументации, а путем внесения тонких корректировок в глубокие и критические моменты нашего воображения». Лонг приводит пример из Псалма 42: 1: «Как олень жаждет воды, так жаждет душа моя. Сжатые слова расширяются в нашем сознании в огромную картину, и затем псалмопевец связывает эту картину с нашей духовной реальностью, то есть с нашими отношениями с Богом (Лонг, с. 45).

Псалмы говорят с нами не только на глубоко интимном, религиозном уровне (например, в наших молитвах и размышлениях о Боге), но также и на очень практическом, эмпирическом, пасторском уровне (например, на похоронах, свадьбах, праздниках, болезнях, безнадежности и т. д.) . В этих случаях они говорят с современной новизной и актуальностью, но также с традиционной формальностью и повторяемостью. «Тот факт, что Псалтырь содержит псалмы гнева, заброшенности и отчаяния, подтверждает не только то, что такие эмоции возникают в жизни веры, но и то, что такие переживания повторяются, предсказуемы и ожидаемы. Мы были такими раньше» (Лонг, с. 46).

В. Их Риторическая Структура.

Псалмы имеют сжатую, лаконичную и интенсивную форму (как и задумано в поэзии), а использование слов отличается от другой литературы (как и задумано поэзией). Как отмечает Роберт Альтер, «поэзия, прорабатывающая систему сложных взаимосвязей звука, изображения, слова, ритма, синтаксиса, темы, идеи, является инструментом для передачи плотно структурированных значений, а иногда и противоречивых значений, которые нелегко найти. передаваемые через другие виды дискурса» (Роберт Альтер, “Искусство библейской поэзии”, с. 113, цитируется в Лонге, “Проповедь и литературные формы”, с. 47).

Вероятно, основная риторическая структура Псалмов - это параллелизм. Параллелизм в псалмах настолько распространен и важен, что МакКуилкин рекомендует нам «использовать параллелизм еврейской поэзии, чтобы понять смысл… Отличительный признак еврейской поэзии - это соответствие мысли или параллелизм между одной строкой и следующей строкой; или между одним разделом и следующим разделом» (Робертсон МакКуилкин, “Понимание и применение Библии”, с. 199). Другими словами, параллелизм - это литературный прием, в котором поэт дает нам часть строки (а), а затем дает нам следующую часть строки (б) таким образом, чтобы содержание (б) имеет некоторую связь с содержанием (а). Это подключение осуществляется, прежде всего, тремя способами:

1. Синонимичный параллелилизм - аналогичная мысль в (а) повторяется в (б) без значительного дополнения. Например:

а) Пс. 73: 1, (а) Воистину, Бог добр к честным… (б) К тем, кто чист сердцем.
б) Притчи 1:20, (а) Мудрость возвышает голос на улице… (б) Она возвышает свой голос на площади
в) Быт. 4:23, (а Ада и Цилла, послушайте меня ... (б) жены Ламеха, слушайте мои слова

г) Лука 1:46б-47a, (а) Величит душа моя Господа… (б) И возрадовался дух мой о Боге, Спасителе Моем

2. Антитетичный параллелелизм – мысль в (б) противоположна мысли в (а) Например:

Притчи 10: 1, (а) Мудрый сын приносит радость своему отцу ... (б) А глупый сын приносит горе своей матери.

Притчи 15: 2, (а) Язык мудрых делает знание приемлемым… (б) Но уста глупых изрыгают глупость

3. Синтетический параллелилизм – мысль в (б) расширяется, продвигает, добавляет, проясняет мысль в (а). Например:

Пс. 21: 2, (а) Боже мой, я вопию днем, но Ты не внемлешь мне ... (б) И ночью, и нет мне успокоения

Ис. 55: 6-7, (а) Ищите Господа, пока можно найти Его… (б) Призовите Его, когда он близко (55: 6); и (а) Пусть нечестивый оставит свой путь… (б) А беззаконник – помыслы свои (55: 7)

Каждая из этих форм параллелизма очевидна, например, в Псалме 1. Характеристики благочестивой личности подчеркиваются синтетическим параллелизмом в стихе 1 и противопоставляются нечестивому в антитетическом параллелизме в стихе 2. Псалом затем раскрывает мощный образ праведника, который подобен дереву, посаженному у потоков воды и т. д., в отличие от нечестивого человека, который подобен мякине, которую легко сдуть. Пространство, отведенное для описания праведных, намного больше, чем для описания неправедных, что псалмопевец тем самым косвенно раскрывает свою точку зрения относительно того, на кого мы должны быть похожи, и точку зрения, которая ясно выражена в конце псалма.

Таким образом, Лонг отмечает: «Таким образом, риторический эффект поэзии псалма заключается в создании двух противоположных сфер деятельности в сознании читателя или слушателя. Одна сфера наполнена неистовым, отчаянным, беспредметным движением, которое быстро исчезает. Другая - тихая, уравновешенная, спокойная, богата тихим и сильным действием мудрого человека, размышляющего о Торе. Эффективная проповедь по этому псалму вполне может быть такой, которая не только описывает этот контраст, но также воссоздает его визуальное и эмоциональное воздействие на слушателей» (Лонг, с. 51).

Г. Их Литературные Приемы.

Позвольте мне указать только два:

1. Символизм - например, Прит. 11:22, «Что золотое кольцо в носу у свиньи… то женщина красивая и безрассудная».

2. Переносное значение слов (образная речь). Как мы узнаем, что поэт использует образную речь, а не говорит буквально? Приведу три критерия:

а) Существует несоответствие между подлежащим и сказуемым - например, «Бог - наша скала».

б) Сказуемое присваивает подлежащему действия, которые невозможны в реальности - например, «Горы рукоплещут».

в) Поэт делает акцент на драматизме, обостренном чувстве, запоминаемости. Типы образной речи включают сравнение, метафору, притчу, аллегорию, иронию и т. д.

В следующем выпуске этого журнала я перейду от аналитического и теоретического анализа псалмов (то есть структуры псалмов) к практическому, исследуя определенные аспекты проповеднической поэтической литературы.

II. Усиливая Библейское Руководство
“Служение Примирения, Ч. 1: Примирение Всех Людей”
(2 Koр. 5:18-21)

Это продолжение моей исрии о библейском пасторском руководстве, основанной на увещеваниях Павла во 2 Коринфянам. Вы можете прочитать другие статьи этой серии в следующих выпусках этого журнала в указанном порядке: Весна 2013 г., Лето 2012 г., Лето 2013 г., Осень 2013 г., Зима 2014 г., Весна 2021 г.

Изложив различные фундаментальные аспекты пасторского служения - уверенность в служении, природу истинного служения и мотивацию для служения - апостол Павел теперь связывает все это с нами на практическом уровне. Обратите внимание на следующие наблюдения ...

1. Служение примирения применимо к нам (5:18a). Для тех, кто был преобразован в «новые творения во Христе», наступила целая новая эра: «Старое прошло, вот все, новое пришло» (5: 17б). И источником этого масштабного исторического преобразования является сам Бог: «Все это от Бога…» (5: 18а). Тот, Кто создал все сущее в первоначальном творении, - это Тот, кто воссоздает верующих в «новые творения» во Христе. Подобно тому, как дело творения было делом только Бога, так и дело создания заново - это только Бог, осуществляемый через посредство Иисуса Христа (ср. 1 Тим. 2: 5; Иоанна 14: 6; Деяния 4:12).

Но это еще не все. Кроме того, Бог не только заново создал нас в совершенно новом образе Христа, но Он также «… через Христа примирил нас с Собой» (5: 18а). Наше воссоздание Богом во Христе обязательно ведет к нашему примирению с Самим Богом через Христа. Две идеи идут вместе - наше воссоздание Богом и наше примирение с Богом.

Таким образом, примирение является неотъемлемой частью того, что мы стали новыми творениями во Христе, поскольку, когда мы стали новыми, мы получили новую жизнь, которая согласуется с жизнью Бога и, таким образом, примиряется с Богом. Грех больше не является препятствием для этих отношений. Эта греховная природа, которая сделала нас врагами Бога, сыновьями непослушания и т. д. (Еф. 2: 1-3), была умерщвлена, и мы были воскрешены, чтобы ходить в обновленной жизни (Рим. 6: 4). Наши отношения с Богом, которые раньше были непримиримыми (т.е. грешные существа против святого Бога), были примирены с Богом через смерть Иисуса Христа (Рим. 5:10; Еф. 2:13).

Хотя человек несет ответственность за разрыв отношений в первую очередь из-за греха, Бог всемогущ и всех любит, и в прошлой вечности задумал план искупления, чтобы через смерть своего Сына «Он мог быть справедливым и оправдывающим верующего в Иисуса» (Рим. 3:26). Тот, кто суверенно сотворил нас, также суверенно воссоздал нас (Еф. 2:10) и примирил нас с Собой (Рим. 5:10; Кол. 1:21).

2. Служение примирения посвящено нам (5:18б-19) Будучи сотворенным новым творением во Христе и примирившись с Богом через Христа, Он «дал нам (доверил нам) служение примирения» (5: 18в). Те, кто примирились с Богом, получили огромную привилегию «служения примирения...» Наше примирение с Богом через Христа становится основой и направлением нашего служения. Только те, кто примирились с Богом, получают это служение примирения, посредством которого мы провозглашаем послание примирения, чтобы другие могли примириться с Богом и друг с другом.

Вкратце, это служение, которое нам было дано, и к которому мы были призваны. Это сокровище, которое рождается из глиняных сосудов. Это славное служение нового завета, послание примирения с Богом: «… то есть во Христе Бог примирял мир с Собой…» (19а).

Теперь Павел расширяет 5:18. Бог не только действовал «через Христа» (т.е. Христос был посредником примирения), но Бог также действовал «во Христе» в этой примирительной работе, то есть Бог был в ней един со Христом; то, что сделал Христос, сделал Бог. Акт примирения был объединенным актом Троицы, члены которой всегда едины в мыслях, целях и действиях.

Кроме того, сфера примирения теперь расширяется от «нас» (5:18) к миру - «то есть во Христе Бог примирил мир с Собой» (5: 19а). Примирительный акт Бога во Христе имел в виду сделать возможным не только примирение «нас» (5:18), но и примирение «мира» с самим собой. То, что Павел имеет в виду мир в целом, подтверждается использованием им местоимений «их» и «они» (т.е. мир) в отличие от «мы» и «нас» (5:16, 18) - «… не подсчитывая (считая) их преступлений против них самих» (19б). Это не всеобщее спасение (см. мою статью о 2 Кор. 5: 14-17 в выпуске №39 этого журнала), но универсальный масштаб / доступность примирения - в прошлом, настоящем и будущем. В прошлом Бог обеспечил и завершил единственную основу для примирения мира с Собой, а именно. через и во Христе и Его завершенной работе на кресте. В настоящее время Бог примиряет с Собой всех людей, которые получают его предложение спасения и примирения, а именно. избирать верующих. В будущем Бог примирит все с Собой в конце века «согласно своему замыслу, который Он изложил во Христе в устроение полноты времен, - соединить все небесное и земное под главою Христом, все на небесах и все на земле» (Еф. 1:10; ср. Кол. 1:20).

В итоге аргумент в 5: 18-19 выглядит следующим образом: Бог спасительным образом «примирил нас (новых творений во Христе) с Собой (5: 18а) и, следовательно, Он «дал нам служение примирения» (5: 18б), что означает «что Бог был во Христе, примиряя мир с Собой, не считая их преступлений перед ними, и (чтобы подчеркнуть этот момент) доверил нам весть примирения» (5:19).

Тем, кто действительно примирился, дается новый завет «служение примирения» (5: 18б), которое провозглашается в «послании примирения» (5: 19б). Это обязательство Бога перед нами - Он доверил нам нам это послание, это слово провозглашения. Это наше служение! Благую весть о примирении, которую Бог совершил во Христе и через Христа на кресте, Он поручил нам провозгласить. Ясно, что подразумевается, что наше служение - это служение провозглашения, которое имеет тот же масштаб, что и сама работа примирения, а именно всеобщее.

3. Служение примирения провозглашено нами (5:20-21). «Следовательно, мы посланники Христа, и Бог обращается через нас. Мы умоляем / умоляем («ты» отсутствует в оригинале) от имени Христа: «Примиритесь с Богом» (5:20). Мы, которые на собственном опыте, и через спасение примирились с Богом через Иисуса Христа, являемся его «посланниками Христа» в этом служении примирения.

Итак, как должно осуществляться это служение примирения? Оно осуществляется так же, как и посол выполняет свои обязанности. Посол - дипломатический представитель правительства или правящего монарха своей страны, которую он представляет в другой стране. Он сообщает позицию или пожелания своего правительства или монарха правительству или монарху страны, в которую он был направлен.

Мы «посланники Христа». Мы его представители в мире, уполномоченные говорить Его послание от Его имени. Мы - Его голос в мире: «Бог умоляет (обращается) через нас…». Когда мы, как посланники Христа, выполняем свое служение и провозглашаем послание примирения, умоляя людей примириться с Богом, на самом деле через нас говорит Бог, потому что мы говорим Его послание, как оно раскрыто в Его Слове, с Его властью, наделенной Его Духом.

Таким образом, проповедь Павел приравнивает к реальным словам Бога! Когда мы честно провозглашаем вверенную нам весть, Бог на самом деле упрашивает людей через нас. Это воплощенная проповедь, проповедь, которая воплощает истину и проявляет через нас Самого Бога. Служение - это не что-то оторванное от нас, как работа. Скорее, это неотъемлемая часть того, кем мы являемся; это неотъемлемая часть нашей личности, характера, поведения и природы. Вот почему провозглашение того, что Бог сделал во Христе и через Христа, является таким личным и страстным делом.

Таким образом, когда мы проповедуем, мы на самом деле «умоляем/упрашиваем/ взываем…». Мы не говорим просто так, как на лекции или в беседе; мы умоляем людей, как будто их жизнь зависит от этого, потому что их жизни действительно зависят от этого. «Мы умоляем от имени Христа”, - говоря и действуя как Его уполномоченные послы в мире, - примиритесь с Богом».

Слово «умоляем/упрашиваем/ взываем…» несет в себе коннотацию срочности, страсти, беспокойства, убеждения. Это должно быть характером нашего служения - провозглашать послание, которое отчаянно нужно услышать потерянным, безотлагательность которого продиктована 1) малым количеством времени, отведенного на то, чтобы поверить в Бога; и 2) перспективой осуждения тех, кто откажется от этой возможности. Итак, наша обязанность в служении - рассказать людям, как они могут примириться с Богом, а именно через жертвенную смерть и триумфальное воскресение Христа ради них (5: 14-15).

Хотя суть этого абзаца заключается в нашем провозглашении примирения с неверующими (ср. 5:11, 14-15, 19), тем не менее, это послание примирения необходимо и собственному народу Бога, а не только потерянным людям (см. 6: 1- 2) Божий народ нуждается в постоянном примирении с Богом не потому, что он теряет свое спасение, а потому, что он теряет свое общение, свое общение с Богом из-за действий, разговоров и мышления, противоречащих Его природе и характеру. Люди Божьи иногда отступают и не живут, как христиане. Мы даем возможность таким людям вернуться к Богу и развиваться в своем освящении, провозглашая им послание примирения от имени Христа.

Что хорошего в том, чтобы умолять людей примириться с Богом, если основа и средства их примирения не были известны? Итак, мы не только умоляем их примириться с Богом (т.е. пережить спасительное примирение), но мы также объясняем им основу, на которой они могут примириться, а именно, потому что «ради нас Он (Бог) создал Его ( Христос), Который не знал, что грех является грехом для нас, чтобы в Нем мы могли стать праведностью Божьей »(5:21). Те, кто являются новыми творениями во Христе и спасительно примирились с Богом, не получают взыскания за свои грехи, потому что их грехи вменяются на счет Христа (ср. 5:21). Бог сотворил безгрешного (ср. Евр. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Пет. 2:22; 1 Иоанна 3: 5) «согрешить за нас…». Другими словами, справедливость и гнев Божий из-за нашего греха излились на Христа, а не на нас. Он стал нашей заменой. «Он изъязвлен был за грехи наши и мучим за беззакония; наказание мира нашего было на Нем, и ранами Его мы исцелились» (Ис. 53: 5). Христос был «однажды принесен в жертву нести грехи многих» (Евр. 9:28).

Обратите внимание: здесь не говорится, что Бог сделал Христа грешником или грешным. Нет! Как выразился Филип Хьюз, «представить Христа грешным или сделанным грешником - значит ниспровергнуть само основание искупления, которое требует смерти совершенно Безгрешного вместо грешного человечества. Но Бог сделал Его грехом: то есть, Бог Отец сделал Своего невинного воплощенного Сына объектом Своего гнева и суда ради нас, в результате чего во Христе на кресте грех мира осужден и устранен» (Филип Хьюз, Второе послание к Коринфянам, NICNT, с. 213).

Как Христос не стал грешником или грешным, так и мы не стали праведниками. Напротив, мы «становимся праведностью Божьей в Нем». Нам приписывается божественная праведность. Мы получаем Его праведность и объявляемся праведными (то есть оправданными), но мы не становимся праведными, потому что мы все еще способны грешить и время от времени грешим. Обратите внимание, что наша праведность (и, таким образом, наше примирение с Богом) находится «в Нем». Мы окутаны Им, отождествляемся с ним в Его смерти и воскресении. Наша жизнь в Нем. Наша надежда на Него. Бог видит нас совершенными в Нем: «как он, и мы в этом мире» (1 Иоанна 4:17). Тем не менее, что касается нашего положения перед Богом (в отличие от нашего состояния, которое может варьироваться), мы рассматриваемся и нам приписывают «праведность Христа», так что мы больше не подвержены осуждению, потому что мы «во Христе Иисусе» (Рим. 8: 1).

Христос был единственным, кто мог сделать возможным примирение с Богом, потому что только Он был безгрешным, который мог принести единственную жертву за наши грехи, приемлемую для Бога (ср. Матф. 3:17; 17: 5). Только совершенный человек мог занять наше место, поскольку жизнь другого несовершенного грешника не удовлетворяла бы святым требованиям Бога, поскольку Бог требует смерти грешников: «душа согрешающая умрет» (Иез. 18:20). Только тот, кто жил безгрешной жизнью и не нуждался в примирении, Сам мог и добровольно предложил Свою собственную жизнь в качестве нашей замены перед Богом - Он занял наше место, умер вместо нас и для нашего блага, а именно для того, чтобы мы могли примириться с Богом.

Он стал для нас грехом, цель которого заключалась в том, чтобы «… в нем мы могли стать праведностью Божьей». Таким образом, обмен завершен. Он стал для нас грехом, и мы стали праведными в Нем. Это то, что иногда называют двойным вменением. Тем, кто принимает это послание о примирении, вменяют свои грехи Христу (Он стал грехом для нас, заплатив долг за наш грех на кресте), и Его праведность вменяется нам (мы становимся праведностью Бога в Нем), благо то есть Бог считает нас совершенными во Христе. По словам Петра, «Он Сам понес грехи наши в теле Своем на дереве, чтобы нам умереть для грехов и жить для праведности» (1 Пет. 2:24; ср. Рим. 4: 6; 1 Кор. 1: 30; 1 Пет. 3:18). Этот великий обмен дал возможность Богу «явиться праведным и оправдывающим верующего в Иисуса» (Рим. 3:26).

Итак, можно увидеть, что основа и средство нашего примирения с Богом - это заместительная, самопожертвованная, искупительная смерть Христа на кресте, смерть которой позволила грешным людям смыть свои грехи (искупленные) и предстоят перед Богом прощенным и оправданным, как новые творения во Христе.

Это чудесное преобразование, которое дает Евангелие. Это Евангелие в предложении. Это основа и средства, с помощью которых Бог сделал возможным служение примирения, Евангелие, а именно, посредством заместительной смерти Христа. Какое послание мы должны провозгласить! Какой обмен мы можем предложить! Неудивительно, что мы, как «посланники Христа», должны умолять людей принять его!

Заключительные замечания

Итак, это наше пастырское служение, «служение примирения: примирение всех людей» (2 Кор. 5: 18-21). Мы, как проповедники слова Божьего и руководители церкви Христа, обязаны провозгласить это послание. Послание примирения, которое было применено к нам (5: 18a) и передано нам (5: 18б-19), должно быть провозглашено нами (5: 20-21). Вы проповедуете это послание? Знают ли другие через ваше служение, как примириться с Богом? Примиряются ли другие с Богом через Его Сына в результате вашего служения?

III. План Проповеди

Название: Учимся у Иисуса, Ч. 1, Побеждаем искушение (Мф. 3:13-4:11)

Тема: Чтобы победить искушение, нам нужно вооружиться Словом Божьим.

Пункт 1: Мы должны быть готовы встретиться с искушением

1а) ... подчинением Слову Божьему (3: 13-15)

1б)… помазанием Святого Духа (3:16)

1в)… по утверждению / благословению Бога Отца (3:17)

Пункт 2: Мы должны быть готовы противостоять искушению

2а) Сатана атакует провозглашение и обеспечение Бога (14: 3-4).

2б) Сатана атакует силу и защиту Бога (14: 5-7)

2в) Сатана атакует цели и планы Бога (4: 8-10).

Related Topics: Pastors

Q. Salvation is too much work and I am tired. What should I do?

Answer

*****,

The first thing I would say is listen to Jesus:

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Listen to Paul:

2 This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain-- if indeed it was in vain? 5 So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 6 Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham (Galatians 3:2-7).

For a more lengthy discussion in Scripture, read Romans, chapters 2-8. The bottom line is that we cannot ever do enough to earn our salvation. Working hard to earn our salvation is an offense to God, because He sent His Son to accomplish our salvation by dying on the cross of Calvary and then rising from the dead. The good news is that Jesus achieved salvation for us, by taking our place, bearing our punishment, and giving us His righteousness. He offers salvation to everyone who believes in Him. We don’t have to work to earn our salvation. When we rejoice in what Christ has done to save us, we glorify God. When we strive to earn our salvation, we strive to glorify ourselves.

The only salvation I believe in is the salvation which Jesus accomplished for me, which I do not have to earn, but simply accept by faith.

In Romans, Paul says that the Jews tried to work for their salvation, and missed it, while the Gentiles did not work for their salvation, and received it, by faith:

30 What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; 31 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. 2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes (Romans 9:30-10:4).

This is the consistent message of the gospel in the Bible:

4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, 5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).

1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:1-9).

You’re working hard to earn that which God has already provided, in Jesus.

So here is a short version of the Gospel:

Every human being, including you and me, has failed to live up to the standard of righteousness which God has established (as we see it in the law of Moses, and in Jesus’ teaching -- see Matthew 5-7 and Romans 3:19-20; 3:23; 6:23). Thus, we are all unworthy sinners, deserving of God’s eternal wrath (see Romans 3:10-20). No one can ever earn God’s favor and blessings by their good works. Knowing this, God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth in human flesh (still fully God, but adding sinless humanity to His undiminished deity) in order to save when we were unworthy sinners (Romans 5:8-10). Jesus perfectly kept God’s law and lived according to His standard of righteousness. Jesus then died on the cross of Calvary so that we might be saved. He died in the sinner’s place (that’s me, and you), bearing God’s punishment for our sin. But He also rose from the dead to new life, so that we could live a new life as well (Romans 6:3ff.). We are saved when we acknowledge our sin, and accept Christ’s righteousness, and His death, burial, and resurrection on our behalf. We do not, we cannot, work to earn, or to keep, this salvation. Jesus did it all. We must simply believe Him and receive His gift of salvation.

No one is worthy of this salvation, and no one is too sinful to be saved. Just listen to Paul’s testimony, which was given to encourage us to receive Christ’s salvation also:

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life (1 Timothy 1:12-16).

Take special note of that last verse, verse 16. Paul said that God saved him, though he was chief of sinners, so that he could be an example of God’s grace through faith in Christ for those who were yet to be saved. LET THAT BE AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO YOU.

Blessings,
Bob

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Christian Life, Evangelism, Soteriology (Salvation)

网上牧师杂志–中文版(简体), SCh Ed, Issue 38 2021 年 冬季

A ministry of…

作者: Roger Pascoe, 博士,主席,
邮箱: [email protected]

(如果你有问题想与Roger牧师交流,欢迎写信到这个邮箱)

I. 加强讲解式讲道
“传讲希伯来故事(第一部分)”

在这期以及接下来一期杂志中,我将要开始谈论如何传讲旧约故事这个主题。

首先,我需要介绍一下旧约持久的重要性。注意圣经中是如何提及旧约的。例如…

罗15:4,“从前所写的圣经都是为教训我们写的,叫我们因圣经所生的忍耐和安慰,可以得着盼望”

哥前10:11,“他们遭遇这些事都要作为鉴戒,并且写在经上,真是警戒我们这末世的人”

提后 3:16-17,,“圣经都是神所默示的,于教、督责、使人归正、教导人学义都是有益的,叫属神的人得以完全,预备行各样的善事”

路24:27,“于是从摩西和众先知起,凡经上所指着自己的话,都给他们讲解明白了”。在这里,耶稣—生命的道,把旧约里指着他自己所说的经文都给他们打开,讲解明白了。

其次,让我来罗列一下旧约的三个组成部分...

1.妥拉/律法书(创世纪到申命记)。这部分包含了从起初到进入应许之地的时期。

2. 先知书

a)前先知书(约书亚记、士师记、撒母耳记、列王记上下)。这部分包含了从进入应许之地到被掳的这段时期)

b)后先知书。这包含了3个半的大先知书(一半的但以理书)以及12个小先知书,也就是总共15个半先知书:

被掳之前:约拿书、阿摩司书、何西阿书、弥迦书。以赛亚书、那鸿书、哈巴谷书、西番雅书和约珥书(共9个)

被掳时期:以西结书、俄巴底亚书、但以理书、耶利米书(共3个半)

被掳之后:哈该书、撒迦利亚书和弥迦书(共3个)

3.诗歌智慧书

小卷:路得记、以斯帖记、耶利米哀歌

神学历史:历代志上下、以斯拉记、尼希米记和一半的但以理书

智慧书:约伯记、箴言、雅歌和传道书

诗歌:诗篇

I.希伯来叙事导论

什么是叙事?简单来说,一个叙事(或故事)就是在某一段时期按时间顺序发生的一系列有关联的事件。比如,叙事的主要特征是运动,一系列按时间顺序发生的行动,也就是说,更像一个电影,而不是一个照片。故事不只是在时间上把事件联系起来,它们还把这些事件的发生联系起来—一个行动的发生会引起或导致另一个行动。这样一系列事件的发生,最终会得出一个结论,这是一个故事非常重要的一部分,因为它结束了一个故事。结论表明了所发生的一系列行动的后果。

所以,每一个故事都有一个开头,一个中间部分和一个结尾,就像一篇讲道一样,并且这其中的每一部分都是相互依赖的。开头交代了故事发生的情况、需要以及问题。中间部分描述了针对情况、需要或者问题所采取的行动。结尾是由中间部分发展来的,告诉你在中间部分所采取的行动所产生的结果。因此,结尾也和开头部分相连,因为结尾解决了开头提出的情况、需要或者问题。

.故事,不仅仅描述一系列按时间顺序发生的事件,而且故事就是为将这些事件组织起来而设计的,“给原本不连贯的事件赋予逻辑意义和轮廓 ”,所以一个故事里所描述的生活不是“一堆毫无意义、杂乱无章、互不关联的经历”(Tom Long, Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible, 72)。事实上,整个生活就是一个叙事,而不是像莎士比亚所说的那样“毫无意义”,而是有目的有意义的,因为神在掌权,成就他的目的。这就是为什么个人的见证那么有力量。

这里有几种不同的叙事。对于这篇文章而言,除非作者明确说明,否则当我们说到叙事时,指的都是有历史参照的“历史”叙事(也就是发生在历史上的真实故事)。因此,圣经背后是真实的历史。我们的旧约历史,其实是文学历史。它的某些部分可能有口头背景,某些部分可能有各种来源,但我们有包含叙事的文学是植根于历史的。就像Tom Long所说的,记住这一点总是好的,即旧约的作者,就像新约的作者一样,既是神学家,又是有技巧的作家:

“圣经作者是有相当技巧和经验的文学艺术家,他们熟悉语言的创造性、幽默以及可能性。然而,这些艺术倾向并没有被随意支配,而是受到更大的神学目的的约束,这些目的支配着作者的创作…这个崇高的神学目的将圣经作者安置在...两个互相作用的力量之间。一方面他们相信神的意志不可动摇,神的应许永不会改变,并且确定神对于被造物有一个协调的计划”。另一方面,他们知道人类历史实际上是混乱的,人的自由是随机的,以及人类的顽固和悖逆。叙事成为了一种特别合适的文学形式,用来捕捉这些对立力量之间相互作用的最大可能范围…简言之,圣经作者不是在真空中创作了叙事,而是在文学形式和他们的神学世界观的相互较量中找到一个合适的方式” (Thomas Long, Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible, 67)。

II.希伯来叙事的一般特征

1.希伯来叙事是场景式的。

这是最常见的一个特点(比如 大卫和歌利亚)。这个行动被分解成不同布置下的一系列场景。通常情况下,在行动、行动中涉及的人物和布置之间存在着一种特殊的关系。布置能够创造一种特别的氛围。所以,当你传讲旧约叙事的时候,要注意…

(a)人物。他们是如何被描述的(他们的地位、姓名、出生)?有谁参与了?他们之间如何互动?作者使用各种技巧来描述他们所写的人物。

(i)描述。希伯来叙事不注重细节,只是一般的描述。希伯来叙述更关心的是引导读者去发现这个人物是什么样的人,而不是展现一个人物的外表。

(ii)内化。叙述者为读者提供了了解人物心理或情感状态的窗口。叙述者可能会评论人物的想法或观点(比如创8:11b; 出2:24,25)。比如,叙述者可能广泛地引用人物的思想(比如出2:14;3:3)。

(iii)直接的对话。这是希伯来语叙事中维持情节的首选方法。

(iv)。哪怕没有语言,行动也可以叙述。一系列没有语言的行动能够突出人物。它们是对一个人物语言的无言评说(例 创30:33-34)。

(v)比。通过设置并列的人物形象,作者突出角色的特点—比如,底波拉和巴拉(士4-5)。底波拉总是很果断;而巴拉总是犹豫。

(vi)作者可以通过无所不知的叙述者的声音和眼睛或故事中的任何一个人物来呈现信息—比如大卫和拔示巴(撒下11)。叙述者从故事背景开始讲述这个故事(节1)。 接着读者看到大卫看到了什么(节2)。第三个角度是一个送信的人(节3)。在这章余下的段落里,作者让读者从一个人物的视角切换到另一个人物的视角—大卫、乌西雅、约押、送信的人以及拔示巴。故事以叙述者直接向读者指出问题而结束:“但大卫所行的这事,耶和华甚不喜悦”(节27b)。

(b)对话。注意不要对对话做心理分析。通常,人们说的第一句话往往表明了事件的核心, 这也是动机和思想显露的地方。

(c)情节(也就是事件的顺序)。情节的发展可能简单,也可能复杂,但它们都有一个开始,中间和结尾的进展。某些类型的冲突发生在开始,经过中间变得复杂,最终在最后得到解决。

(d)进度。故事是如何进行的?

(e)叙述者。叙述者可能是无处不在,隐藏或者匿名的。他也可能直接表达一个观点。他甚至可能通过其中一个角色出现。

2.旧约故事是简洁的。

旧约的故事都是压缩的。因此,要注意故事的安排和细节。注意作者如何选择他的素材。他的选择通常依据他要表达的观点—也就是,他只包含那些为了说明他的神学观点,我们需要知道的。不要试图提供作者没有告诉我们的细节,除非从经文中的暗示或其他段落能够看出来。

3.旧约叙事是隐含的。

.旧约故事告诉我们的远比它说出的多。一个大的声明可能隐藏在一个不起眼的评论、事件或者描述里。“叙述者只是偶尔向读者揭示神的观点”(Sidney Greidanus, Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text, 207)。一般来说,观点是要推理出来的。叙述者通常通过故事中人物的言语和行动来表达。他们是他传递信息的渠道。他自己通常是隐藏的,至少就直接的批评言论而言是这样

III.希伯来叙事种的文学结构和手法

1.重复。关键词、短语、句子、反复出现的主题(例如雅各故事中的石头、摩西故事里的水),和主题。

2. 重复出现的模式、结构和序列。例如,士师记以色列犯罪悖逆…神把他们交于仇敌手中…神给他们一个拯救者…他们得拯救…他们再次犯罪悖逆。

3.文字游戏。这些有时很难在我们的翻译中发现,但对原读者或听者来说是显而易见的。

4.叙事中的诗句。例如,“听命于献祭,于公羊的脂油”(撒上15:22)。

5. 书夹(首尾呼应和交叉式)。这些文学手法是构成叙事结构的常用手段,

首尾呼是对称的。它们显示了故事的开始和结束。你从雅各的故事中能清楚的看到这个(创28:10-32:31)。开始的时候,“太阳落了”在雅各身上(创28;11),而后来“日头刚出来的时候”(创32:31)。为什么作者认为应该包括这个细节?两个原因:

(1)这两个表达前后呼应这个部分—创32:31说道“日头刚出来”是我们联想到创28:11“太阳落了”。这两个短语形成了一个首尾呼

(2)在雅各的生命中,创28:11和创32:31形成了一个“属灵的周期”。他经历了属灵上的黑暗期(太阳落了—这可能是他一生中最黑暗的时刻,他从家里被赶出来,没有地方可去),来到了属灵的亮光(日头刚出来—经历了中间这许多年,雅各和神之间的关系有了一个重大的转折)

交叉式 使读者的注意力集中在故事的高潮,在路得记一书中,你能够很清楚地看到交叉的结构(见Tom Long 82-86)。

开头(1:1-22).拿俄米和路德生活螺旋式下跌

中间

a)路德和波阿斯关系的发展(2:1-23)

b)拿俄米的计谋和路德的回应(3:1-18)

c)向上的轨迹和高潮—波阿斯的回应(4:1-12)

.结尾(4:13-22)。波阿斯的救赎。路德和拿俄米受到祝福,重新有了希望。

6.类比和对比或者比较

旧约叙事经常采用比喻、明喻、夸张、拟人等修辞形式进行类比。通过这种方式,作者以吸引我们感官和想象力的方式来描述他在叙述中所谈论的现实。

同样地,旧约作者也经常用到对比和比较。比如,在撒母耳记上,作者不假思索地向我们介绍了哈拿(以及她的儿子,撒母耳)和以利(和他的儿子们,何弗尼和非尼哈)的对比。哈拿和他的儿子被神祝福,而以利和他的儿子们却面对神的审判。同样地,你看到扫罗和大卫之间延长的、鲜明的对比,扫罗就像大卫的陪衬一样—即,扫罗的性格特征与大卫完全相反,有利于突出大卫的性格。

、在本杂志的下一期,我将概述一些研究和传讲希伯来叙事的建议。

II. 加强圣经化领导

如果你认为你的婚姻誓言是你唯一承诺尊重和服从某人的时候,我有个消息要告诉你—它也应该是一个健康的教会对其领袖的誓言。在这篇文章中,我要根据希伯来书13:7-8和17-19来探讨“尊敬教会领袖”的主题。

一个教会和其领袖的关系这个主题,新约说得虽不多,但所说的却非常重要。希伯来书13节,教导我们“一个健康的教会尊敬她的敬虔领袖”。希伯来书的作者给了三个劝戒,定义了什么是一群会众对教会领袖的尊敬。

I. 我们尊敬教会的领袖,当我们学习他们信实的榜样(13:7-8)

“想念你/ 管理者”(13:7。我们要“想念”我们的领袖—那些曾在我们中间服侍的人,那些影响、造就今天的我们的人(我们的思想、行为和信仰)。作者对希伯来的基督徒说:“想想他们的为人,他们说过的话,做过的事,他们留下的属灵传承,他们如何影响你的生活。回想他们在你们中间的服侍”。这是一个有益的操练,不是为了怀旧,而是为了记念他们的信实和始终如一的榜样,以至于我们自己能够效法他们的样子。他们是我们的英雄,我们尊敬的良师。他们对我们的生活有主要的影响,他们的生活是基督徒生活的典范,有的时候我们会想:“他们对于某件事会如何说,如何做或者会怎么想?他们会如何教导?如何反应?在这种情况下,他们对给予我们什么样的劝告?”

我们生活在一个不尊重领袖的时代,特别是上一代的领袖。他们说,“他们走了就是走了,我们要转向更新更好的事物。过去的人对于那个年代和年纪还可以,但我们现在更进步了,事情已经改变了。”希伯来的作者说,“不!刚好相反,记念旧的里程碑和已经走过的真理的路。记念那些在真理上建造你的。记念那些在信仰中塑造你的人。记念那些曾经在你们中间劳苦、活出信心、传扬福音的人。”使徒劝戒我们要向他们学习…

1.我们要从他们的教导中学习(13:7a)

神之道的人”(13:7a。神的话语是他们谈话、教导和讲道的主题。他们不谈论或传讲无关紧要的事情。他们不传讲最时髦的信息。他们传讲福音。他们造就了教会,在你至圣的信心上建造你。他们的教导和谈话是支撑教会的基石。如果你挖掘深入表面之下,你会发现他们的教导依然鲜活。他们的人可能不在这里,但是精神却在…

我们尊敬他们,当我们效法他们信实的榜样。我们要从他们的教导中学习。也要…

2.我们要学习他们如何生活(13:7b-8)

“效法他的信心,留心看他们为人的局”(137b)。他们的“信心”涉及到他们教导什么,相信什么和怎样生活。这当然包括他们所相信的圣经真理以及他们在生活中所操练的对神的信靠两部分。这里所指的这些希伯来信徒被试探引诱离弃基督信仰,回归到他们原来的犹太教信仰和实践。因此,这个劝戒非常合宜…

(a)效法他们对神信实的信心—就是你们依靠神而活的信心;按着神在基督里丰盛的荣耀相信神会提供给我们一切所需的信心;虽然不知道未来如何,但因着信心敢于面对。

(b)效法他们对神真理的信心;曾经赐予众信徒的信心(犹3);神所默示的经文,包含了我们所需要的一切关于生命和敬虔的事(彼后1:3);组成我们所相信、依靠和教导的真理主体的信仰。

“效法”他们的信心。不是说因为他们是你过去的一部分或者你对他们有情感上的依赖,就盲目地效法他们,而是“留心他们为人的结局”而效法他们。仔细权衡他们的生活和教导;认真考察他们生活的结果,留心他们见证的果实,反复观看他们的生活对别人产生的影响,思考他们整个的生活(从头至尾,从上到下),观察他们如何过自己的生活之后,才来效法他们。效法他们的信心,像他们一样生活,一样说话。像他们一样,在信心上坚定不移。

并且,以免你认为教会领袖不一定可靠(有些好,有些不好;有些留下来,有些离开;有些给你留下了好印象,有些不好),那么就考虑和效仿教会的头,我们至高的领袖和信心最终的榜样,“耶基督”“昨日今日一直到永,是一的”的那位(138).他是永不改变、永远长存的。他就是“耶,救主,将他的百姓从罪恶中救赎出来的那位。他是“基督”,受膏的那位,救世主,受差遣的那位,神的儿子。他是永不改变的,“昔在、今在、永在”的那位。

耶稣基督“过去”是一样的,因为他是过去的神,创造主,救赎的神,是死而复活的那位。他“今日”是一样的,因为他是现在的神,在神的右手边为我们祈求的那位,我们的大祭司(5:6; 6:20; 7:17, 21, 24-25, 28; 9:24)。他“一直到永远”是一样的,因为他是将来的神,是永在的主,有一天天上地上的都要在他面前屈膝(腓2:10-11)。

并且,因为他是永不改变的,你可以依靠他。他是“昔在、今在、以后永在的”(启1:8。他是旧约的神,他也是新约的神,教会的主。如果有一位领袖或者管理者,我们可以无条件地相信,不论时间还是永恒,那就是耶稣基督。人类领袖也许会让我们失望,但他从来不会。人类的领袖可能来来去去,但他从不离开我们。敬虔的领袖指引我们去追随耶稣,因为耶稣是我们完全、完美,不变的榜样。他永不改变,你可以永远依靠他。“你起初立了地的根基,天也是你手所造的。天地都要没,你却要存;天地都要如外衣渐渐久了,你要将天地如里衣更,天地就都改了,惟有你永不改,你的年数没有尽。”(102:25-27.“因我耶和是不改的”(3:6

当你考虑那些对你有好的影响的教会领袖的结局时,请记住,他们做到这样的程度只是因为他们是我们伟大的、永恒的、真实的、不变的救主的映像。

所以,我们尊敬敬虔的领袖,当我们效仿他们的信实的榜样。并且注意,17节…

II.我们尊敬敬虔的领袖,当我们服从于他们的牧养管理(13:17)

今天的社会不愿意屈服于任何人。我们这个时代的精神是:“我按我的方式做。没人能告诉我该怎么做。” 可悲的是,这种态度有时也渗透到教会中。这种缺乏相互服从,这种对权威的不尊重造成了混乱、无秩序、分裂和不团结,最终教会的影响力会被削弱,撒旦获得益处。但是使徒劝戒我们“你要依从那些引的,且要服”(13:17a)。什么?因

1.他们被赋予神圣的权威。

这个劝戒对当时那些被引诱离弃基督信仰、回归犹太教的希伯来信徒特别重要。如果说有什么时候他们需要服从他们的敬虔领袖,那就是现在。显然,他们没有学会效仿他们的领袖,独立的态度盛行于当时的教会。

我们必须“依从”敬虔领袖的领导—他们的教导、决定和教会的方向。我们必须服他的权柄,因为他们的权柄来自于教会的主(也来自于会众)。

权威的领导是团结、和谐、有效的基础。依从意味着顺服,服从。这并不意味着盲目、不加思考的顺服。这并不意味着逃避责任的顺服。这并不意味着顺服于不符合经文的教导、带领,否则希伯来书13:9中关于“怪异的教训”的警告就没有任何意义。这并不意味着像邪教式的顺从,就是你不思考、放弃自己的信念、盲目的跟随别人。相反,这是对敬虔领袖智慧的、敏锐的服从,他们的言语和行为都是模范的。我们尊重他们的地位和权威,同时我们对所关心的问题进行有思想的、尊重的对话。我们所做的都服从于教会的主。

那些被神呼召做教会领袖的,有适当的恩赐,赢得会众的尊重,符合圣经所要求的标准,以及言语和行为圣洁、令人信服的人,也是那些用神的权柄治理我们,我们需要依从和顺服的(参照帖前5:12-13)。这就是经文中所说的“依从…和顺服!”。显然,这里所说的不包括不敬虔的领袖(结34)—那些引导别人走错路的人,那些教导错误教义的人,那些生活在道德上不纯洁的人。这不是使徒所教导的。这里有一项程序以及神的权柄,教会可以用来治理败坏的、犯罪的领袖(比如提前5:20)。但是这不是问题的所在。这里的问题是,这些希伯来信徒没有顺服于他们的领袖,这些领袖都是敬虔的人,他们的信心值得效仿,他们的生活证明他们是属灵的。这就是为什么作者告诫他们要效仿他们的领袖,服从他们,顺服他们。

我们需要确保这个世道的精神不渗透到教会中,我们和教会领袖的关系是健康的、透明的、彼此顺服的。我们顺服于教会的主的同时,也需要顺服敬虔的领袖。不顺服这样的领袖,也就是不顺服于基督,这样就使会众陷入到如死地的危险中。

我们要服从于他们的治理,因为他们被赋予神圣的权柄。我们服从于他们的治理,也因为…

2.他们对我们的牧养关怀负责。

因他们为的灵魂刻警醒,好像那将来交的人”(13:17b。 他们不是要我们因为恐惧而无条件服从的独裁者。他们是牧羊的人,天天挂念神羊群的状况(参照结3:17-18)。这是教会领袖的责任—警惕地监督他们会众的身体和属灵状况。他们的灵魂警醒” (按字面意思,“他们为你保持警醒”),“好像那将来交的人”—给教会交账,更重要的,在神面前交账。…

敬虔的教会领袖是牧者。他们喂养神的羊。他们保护羊免遭危险。他们带领羊走正确的方向。他们关心羊的状况,所以,为了你们,教会领袖担了很大的责任。他们给予我们的关怀越好,我们越应该对他们的忠诚和顺从。

我们应该服从敬虔的领袖,因为(1)他们被赋予神圣的权柄,因为(2)他们对我们的关怀牧养负责,也因为…

3.他们理应能够快乐地服侍。

要使他交的候有快,不至愁”(13:17c。我们应该用听从和顺服的态度尊敬他们,以至于他们履行他们职责的时候能够“有快,不至愁。” 牧羊人的工作不应该因为叛逆、忘恩负义、无礼、脾气暴躁的羊而成为负担。我们应该减轻他们的负担,使他们的服侍成为一种快乐,而不是负担。

你能够分别出来那些和他们领袖不一致,不尊敬他们领袖的教会。他们经常抱怨(就像几乎用重担杀了摩西的以色列百姓一样)。他们恶毒地批评他们的领袖,把他们打倒。事情本不该如此。你怎样对待你的领袖决定了他们是喜乐地还是忧愁地管理教会。当你听从、顺服、尊重和尊敬他们的时候,你带给他们喜乐,不是因为他们得到自己想要的,而是因为他们看到神的百姓快乐、结果子、合一。

我们的教会应当以喜乐为特征,而不是以叹息为特征。我们的教会应该由(1)知足的会众,在主里面喜乐,尊敬他们的领袖并快乐地跟随他们和(2)快乐的领袖,乐意于引领神的百姓进入到与基督以及与彼此更深的关系。

合一、一心向前、积极服侍神、彼此相爱、彼此相守、在真道上成长、用恩赐服侍神,是对一个教会的祝福。这样的教会使其他人想成为其中一部分的教会,使非信徒仆倒,说“神真是在你了”(哥前14:25。我们必须永远记住这不是教会,这是基督的教会—他在他的教会中掌权。我们向他交账。我们的领袖向他交账。使他们的工作繁重就是败坏基督为之牺牲的。

作者说,因为悖逆、反对和争执的重担使你的领袖忧愁,是“与你无益”。这些是无益的事情,使你们的领袖疲惫不堪、灰心丧气。这对教会来说是毁灭性的。

许多牧师因为重担而离开牧养事工。我以前在孟菲斯的斯蒂芬·奥尔福德中心教书,来自世界各处的牧师来到我们这里,他们中的很多人因为无法承受而在辞职的边缘,也有很多因为对事奉的幻想破灭而沮丧。他们曾经认为会成为喜乐的东西,却成为忧愁的根源。当这种情况发生时,每个人都是输家。牧师和会众都失去了他们在主里的喜乐和果子。

我们有时需要对领袖作一些改变吗?是的!并且有这样做的方式。但是,这不是这里所说的问题。这里所说的是正常的、健康的教会生活—神的百姓在一起生活,快乐、和谐并彼此顺服。

.所以,我们尊敬我们的领袖,当我们学习他们信实的榜样和服从他们的管理。并且…

III.我们尊敬我们敬虔的领袖,当我们为他们事奉中的难处祷告(13:18-19)。

这封信清楚地说明了这个教会的一些事情。这个希伯来教会不尊重他们的领袖,也在属灵上不长进。这就是为什么他们需要重复的、严厉的责备和警告。这个牧师(教会领袖)和会众之间发生了一些事情。也许这是那些认为批评比祈祷和对话更能达成他们目的的教会之一。无论如何,这个教会领袖没有用棍子打他们的头。他并没有责备他们的态度。他劝他们为“我祷告”(13:18a)

我们为什么要为我们教会的领袖们祷告?因为…

1.他们需要我们的祷告来应对批评的挑战。

们为祷告,因我良心无,愿意凡事按正道而行”(13:18)。很显然,这些希伯来信徒对这位领袖的行为提出了批评。这就是为什么他考察自己的“良心”并且肯定他“凡事按正道而行”的决心。他没有以愤怒或报复来回应他们的挑剔,而是要求他们为他“祷告”。对一个领袖来说,要他的会众为他祷告是一种谦卑的行为,一种依赖的表达,一种对需要的承认。

有什么是比谦卑更好的方式来回应批评。“我需要你们的祷告”,他说,鼓励和代求的祷告,为了智慧和恩典的祷告。我不是什么都知道。我不知道所有的答案。我的言行并不总是适当。我需要你们在神面前为我代求,在事奉中帮助我。我经常在事奉中感到撒旦的攻击。所以我需要你们祷告的保护。请为我祷告。

确实,这样一个要求代祷的谦卑请求有助于教会恢复。它是恢复合一的催化剂,是他们对他更新的爱的动力。这是促使他们心甘情愿地接受他的指示和警告,并消除他们批评的橄榄枝。无论如何,不管发生了什么事,他都问心无愧。“…因我良心无”(13:18)。尽管他们对他有明显的批评,他自己却问心无愧。毫无疑问,他的一些教义对这些犹太信徒来说是完全陌生的。或许他的教导—旧约以色列的条例和祭司以及利未祭司都在基督里成就了,不再需要,这对他们来说 太多了,难以接受。不论怎样,他向他们保证,他已经检查了他的行为、态度、动机和教导,所以他对自己的思想和良心“有信心”,相信他的教导是正确和慈爱的,他的警告是必须和恰当的,他的动机是纯洁的、没有什么可隐藏的。他不知道自己说过或做过什么需要收回或道歉的事情,也不知道他们对他的态度有什么正当理由。他对所发生的一切也不心存怨恨。他不因自己的地位而傲慢,他也没有对他们发号施令,却在他们中间谦卑自己,凡事愿意正道而行”。

看来他们对他的批评是针对他的行为,在审视了自己之后,他说“我愿意凡事按正道而行”。他对他们的呼吁让我们想起保罗对哥林多人的呼吁:“哥林多人哪,我向你口是开的,心是宏的。你狭窄,原不在乎我,是在乎自己的心狭窄。你也要照宏的心答我。我这话正像是自己的孩子要心地大收。我未曾亏负谁,未曾,未曾占的便宜。我说这话不是要定你的罪。我已经说过,你常在我心里,情愿与你同生同死”(哥后6:117:2-3)。并且,“我也甘心的灵魂费财费力。道我越发爱,就越少得你爱吗?”(12:15。保罗因哥林多教会的忧愁,和他因腓立比教会(1:3-4)和帖撒罗尼迦教会(帖前2:19-20;3-9)而得的丰盛喜乐,是多么强烈的对比。

这是对我们的挑战,不是吗?我做牧养事工多年,也受到不少的批评,所以我知道我在说什么。现在我教育和引导许多这样的牧师,他们的事奉因为批评成为一种负担,而不是喜乐。他们爱主并且希望神的百姓得益处。他们一次又一次地放下自己,站在卑微的位置上,听凭会众的处理和怜悯,得到的却是敌对人的拒绝、诬告,以及因紧张和争端而心力交瘁。

不久他们就灰心丧气。他们认为自己能力不够,或者神根本没有呼召他们做牧养事工,会有更好的人来带领这群会众。有时可能是这样,但更多情况下并非如此。通常这些人是真正的仆人,殷勤地服侍神的百姓。

教会领袖是不完全的。可能有些时候,你不同意他们的意见是合理的。但是继续尊重他们,友善地对待他们。当他们谦卑自己,当他们的良心无亏,当他们在我们面前正直的生活,他们值得我们的鼓励和祷告支持。

我们尊敬敬虔的领袖,当我们为他们事工的挑战祷告。他们需要我们的祷告来面对批评以及…

2. 他们需要我们的祷告来处理教会的不合一。

“我更求你们为我祷告,使我快些回到你那里去”(13:19。 这是一个特别的,紧急的,令人心碎的请求。我不知道这些希伯来信徒发生了什么,但是这个牧师祈求他们祷告他能够再次看到他们,享受和他们之间的团契。我不知道是否他们的批评导致他们之间的疏远还是其他的情况导致如此。不论发生了什么,他敦促他们祷告,使这距离、分裂得以愈合、回归合一、和谐、和平、喜乐,团契得以恢复。

不合一对敬虔的教会领袖来说是很大的负担,因为他们知道“弟兄和睦同居,是何等的善何等的美”(133:1-3。他们知道不合一是教会的灾难,耶稣在约翰福音17章曾预见这些并为之祷告。

结语

所以,从这段你可以看到“一个健康的教会尊敬敬虔的领袖。”我们从三个方面尊敬敬虔的领袖:(1)学习他们信实的榜样;(2)服从他们的牧养管理;(3)为他们事工中的难处祷告。

最终这一切都归结于祷告。所以,让我们共同立约,为我们的牧师、工作人员、教会领袖祈祷。他们需要、想要也值得我们的祷告。他们每天都肩负着教会的负担以及照管教会的责任。让我鼓励你积极参与到教会的祷告中来,举起你们领袖的手就像在出埃及记17章亚伦和户珥举起摩西的手一样。当你教会的领袖聚在一起讨论教会属灵和实际事务的时候,你可以为他们祷告,成为“亚伦和户珥一样的祷告者”。祷告他们有智慧、怜悯、辨别以及忠于真理。

最重要的是,愿我们尊敬我们的领袖,通过学习他们信实的榜样,服从他们的牧养管理以及为他们事工的难处祷告。这是教会和世界的唯一出路。

III.讲道大纲

题目:给七个教会的信:老底嘉—繁荣的弊病(启3:14-22)

主题:一个脱离基督而独立的教会,对基督可能是多余的

要点 1:基督知道每个教会的态度(3:15-17)

1a)当一个教会自我满足的时候,基督知道(15-16)

1b)当一个教会自欺欺人的时候,基督知道(17)

要点 2:基督知道每个教会的需要(3:18-19)

他知道,当我们需要…

2a)…他的丰富来医治我们属灵的贫乏(18a)

2b)…圣洁的衣服来遮盖我们属灵赤身的羞耻(18b)

2c)…医治我们的眼睛来纠正属灵的瞎眼(18c)

2d)…他的刑罚使我们悔改(19-21)

结论: “圣灵向众教会,凡有耳的,就当听”(3:22

Related Topics: Pastors

網上牧師雜誌 – 中文版(繁體), TCh Ed, Issue 38 2021 年 冬季

A ministry of…

作者: Roger Pascoe, 博士,主席,
郵箱: [email protected]

(如果你有問題想與Roger牧師交流,歡迎寫信到這個郵箱)

I. 加強講解式講道
“傳講希伯來故事(第一部分)”

在這期以及接下來一期雜誌中,我將要開始談論如何傳講舊約故事這個主題。

首先,我需要介紹一下舊約持久的重要性。注意聖經中是如何提及舊約的。例如…

羅15:4,“從前所寫的聖經都是為教訓我們寫的,叫我們因聖經所生的忍耐和安慰,可以得著盼望”

哥前10:11,“他們遭遇這些事都要作為鑒戒,並且寫在經上,真是警戒我們這末世的人”

提後 3:16-17,,“聖經都是神所默示的,於教訓、督責、使人歸正、教導人學義都是有益的,叫屬神的人得以完全,預備行各樣的善事”

路24:27,“於是從摩西和眾先知起,凡經上所指著自己的話,都給他們講解明白了”。在這裡,耶穌—生命的道,把舊約裡指著他自己所說的經文都給他們打開,講解明白了。

其次,讓我來羅列一下舊約的三個組成部分...

1.妥拉/律法書(創世紀到申命記)。這部分包含了從起初到進入應許之地的時期。

2. 先知書

a)前先知書(約書亞記、士師記、撒母耳記、列王記上下)。這部分包含了從進入應許之地到被擄的這段時期)

b)後先知書。這包含了3個半的大先知書(一半的但以理書)以及12個小先知書,也就是總共15個半先知書:

被擄之前:約拿書、阿摩司書、何西阿書、彌迦書。以賽亞書、那鴻書、哈巴穀書、西番雅書和約珥書(共9個)

被擄時期:以西結書、俄巴底亞書、但以理書、耶利米書(共3個半)

被擄之後:哈該書、撒迦利亞書和彌迦書(共3個)

3.詩歌智慧書

小卷:路得記、以斯帖記、耶利米哀歌

神學歷史:歷代志上下、以斯拉記、尼希米記和一半的但以理書

智慧書:約伯記、箴言、雅歌和傳道書

詩歌:詩篇

I.希伯來敘事導論

什麼是敘事?簡單來說,一個敘事(或故事)就是在某一段時期按時間順序發生的一系列有關聯的事件。比如,敘事的主要特徵是運動,一系列按時間順序發生的行動,也就是說,更像一個電影,而不是一個照片。故事不只是在時間上把事件聯繫起來,它們還把這些事件的發生聯繫起來—一個行動的發生會引起或導致另一個行動。這樣一系列事件的發生,最終會得出一個結論,這是一個故事非常重要的一部分,因為它結束了一個故事。結論表明了所發生的一系列行動的後果。

所以,每一個故事都有一個開頭,一個中間部分和一個結尾,就像一篇講道一樣,並且這其中的每一部分都是相互依賴的。開頭交代了故事發生的情況、需要以及問題。中間部分描述了針對情況、需要或者問題所採取的行動。結尾是由中間部分發展來的,告訴你在中間部分所採取的行動所產生的結果。因此,結尾也和開頭部分相連,因為結尾解決了開頭提出的情況、需要或者問題。

.故事,不僅僅描述一系列按時間順序發生的事件,而且故事就是為將這些事件組織起來而設計的,“給原本不連貫的事件賦予邏輯意義和輪廓 ”,所以一個故事裡所描述的生活不是“一堆毫無意義、雜亂無章、互不關聯的經歷”(Tom Long, Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible, 72)。事實上,整個生活就是一個敘事,而不是像莎士比亞所說的那樣“毫無意義”,而是有目的有意義的,因為神在掌權,成就他的目的。這就是為什麼個人的見證那麼有力量。

這裡有幾種不同的敘事。對於這篇文章而言,除非作者明確說明,否則當我們說到敘事時,指的都是有歷史參照的“歷史”敘事(也就是發生在歷史上的真實故事)。因此,聖經背後是真實的歷史。我們的舊約歷史,其實是文學歷史。它的某些部分可能有口頭背景,某些部分可能有各種來源,但我們有包含敘事的文學是植根於歷史的。就像Tom Long所說的,記住這一點總是好的,即舊約的作者,就像新約的作者一樣,既是神學家,又是有技巧的作家:

“聖經作者是有相當技巧和經驗的文學藝術家,他們熟悉語言的創造性、幽默以及可能性。然而,這些藝術傾向並沒有被隨意支配,而是受到更大的神學目的的約束,這些目的支配著作者的創作…這個崇高的神學目的將聖經作者安置在...兩個互相作用的力量之間。一方面他們相信神的意志不可動搖,神的應許永不會改變,並且確定神對於被造物有一個協調的計畫”。另一方面,他們知道人類歷史實際上是混亂的,人的自由是隨機的,以及人類的頑固和悖逆。敘事成為了一種特別合適的文學形式,用來捕捉這些對立力量之間相互作用的最大可能範圍…簡言之,聖經作者不是在真空中創作了敘事,而是在文學形式和他們的神學世界觀的相互較量中找到一個合適的方式” (Thomas Long, Preaching and the Literary Forms of the Bible, 67)。

II.希伯來敘事的一般特徵

1.希伯來敘事是場景式的。

這是最常見的一個特點(比如 大衛和歌利亞)。這個行動被分解成不同佈置下的一系列場景。通常情況下,在行動、行動中涉及的人物和佈置之間存在著一種特殊的關係。佈置能夠創造一種特別的氛圍。所以,當你傳講舊約敘事的時候,要注意…

(a)人物。他們是如何被描述的(他們的地位、姓名、出生)?有誰參與了?他們之間如何互動?作者使用各種技巧來描述他們所寫的人物。

(i)描述。希伯來敘事不注重細節,只是一般的描述。希伯來敘述更關心的是引導讀者去發現這個人物是什麼樣的人,而不是展現一個人物的外表。

(ii)內化。敘述者為讀者提供了瞭解人物心理或情感狀態的視窗。敘述者可能會評論人物的想法或觀點(比如創8:11b; 出2:24,25)。比如,敘述者可能廣泛地引用人物的思想(比如出2:14;3:3)。

(iii)直接的對話。這是希伯來語敘事中維持情節的首選方法。

(iv)行動。哪怕沒有語言,行動也可以敘述。一系列沒有語言的行動能夠突出人物。它們是對一個人物語言的無言評說(例 創30:33-34)。

(v)對比。通過設置並列的人物形象,作者突出角色的特點—比如,底波拉和巴拉(士4-5)。底波拉總是很果斷;而巴拉總是猶豫。

(vi)立場。作者可以通過無所不知的敘述者的聲音和眼睛或故事中的任何一個人物來呈現資訊—比如大衛和拔示巴(撒下11)。敘述者從故事背景開始講述這個故事(節1)。 接著讀者看到大衛看到了什麼(節2)。第三個角度是一個送信的人(節3)。在這章餘下的段落裡,作者讓讀者從一個人物的視角切換到另一個人物的視角—大衛、烏西雅、約押、送信的人以及拔示巴。故事以敘述者直接向讀者指出問題而結束:“但大衛所行的這事,耶和華甚不喜悅”(節27b)。

(b)對話。注意不要對對話做心理分析。通常,人們說的第一句話往往表明了事件的核心, 這也是動機和思想顯露的地方。

(c)情節(也就是事件的順序)。情節的發展可能簡單,也可能複雜,但它們都有一個開始,中間和結尾的進展。某些類型的衝突發生在開始,經過中間變得複雜,最終在最後得到解決。

(d)進度。故事是如何進行的?

(e)敘述者。敘述者可能是無處不在,隱藏或者匿名的。他也可能直接表達一個觀點。他甚至可能通過其中一個角色出現。

2.舊約故事是簡潔的。

舊約的故事都是壓縮的。因此,要注意故事的安排和細節。注意作者如何選擇他的素材。他的選擇通常依據他要表達的觀點—也就是,他只包含那些為了說明他的神學觀點,我們需要知道的。不要試圖提供作者沒有告訴我們的細節,除非從經文中的暗示或其他段落能夠看出來。

3.舊約敘事是隱含的。

.舊約故事告訴我們的遠比它說出的多。一個大的聲明可能隱藏在一個不起眼的評論、事件或者描述裡。“敘述者只是偶爾向讀者揭示神的觀點”(Sidney Greidanus, Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text, 207)。一般來說,觀點是要推理出來的。敘述者通常通過故事中人物的言語和行動來表達。他們是他傳遞資訊的管道。他自己通常是隱藏的,至少就直接的批評言論而言是這樣

III.希伯來敘事種的文學結構和手法

1.重複。關鍵字、短語、句子、反復出現的主題(例如雅各故事中的石頭、摩西故事裡的水),和主題。

2. 重複出現的模式、結構和序列。例如,士師記以色列犯罪悖逆…神把他們交於仇敵手中…神給他們一個拯救者…他們得拯救…他們再次犯罪悖逆。

3.文字遊戲。這些有時很難在我們的翻譯中發現,但對原讀者或聽者來說是顯而易見的。

4.敘事中的詩句。例如,“聽命勝於獻祭,順從勝於公羊的脂油”(撒上15:22)。

5. 書夾(首尾呼應和交叉式)。這些文學手法是構成敘事結構的常用手段,

首尾呼應是對稱的。它們顯示了故事的開始和結束。你從雅各的故事中能清楚的看到這個(創28:10-32:31)。開始的時候,“太陽落了”在雅各身上(創28;11),而後來“日頭剛出來的時候”(創32:31)。為什麼作者認為應該包括這個細節?兩個原因:

(1)這兩個表達前後呼應這個部分—創32:31說道“日頭剛出來”是我們聯想到創28:11“太陽落了”。這兩個短語形成了一個首尾呼應。

(2)在雅各的生命中,創28:11和創32:31形成了一個“屬靈的週期”。他經歷了屬靈上的黑暗期(太陽落了—這可能是他一生中最黑暗的時刻,他從家裡被趕出來,沒有地方可去),來到了屬靈的亮光(日頭剛出來—經歷了中間這許多年,雅各和神之間的關係有了一個重大的轉折)

交叉式 使讀者的注意力集中在故事的高潮,在路得記一書中,你能夠很清楚地看到交叉的結構(見Tom Long 82-86)。

開頭(1:1-22).拿俄米和路德生活螺旋式下跌

中間

a)路德和波阿斯關係的發展(2:1-23)

b)拿俄米的計謀和路德的回應(3:1-18)

c)向上的軌跡和高潮—波阿斯的回應(4:1-12)

.結尾(4:13-22)。波阿斯的救贖。路德和拿俄米受到祝福,重新有了希望。

6.類比和對比或者比較

舊約敘事經常採用比喻、明喻、誇張、擬人等修辭形式進行類比。通過這種方式,作者以吸引我們感官和想像力的方式來描述他在敘述中所談論的現實。

同樣地,舊約作者也經常用到對比和比較。比如,在撒母耳記上,作者不假思索地向我們介紹了哈拿(以及她的兒子,撒母耳)和以利(和他的兒子們,何弗尼和非尼哈)的對比。哈拿和他的兒子被神祝福,而以利和他的兒子們卻面對神的審判。同樣地,你看到掃羅和大衛之間延長的、鮮明的對比,掃羅就像大衛的陪襯一樣—即,掃羅的性格特徵與大衛完全相反,有利於突出大衛的性格。

、在本雜誌的下一期,我將概述一些研究和傳講希伯來敘事的建議。

II. 加強聖經化領導

如果你認為你的婚姻誓言是你唯一承諾尊重和服從某人的時候,我有個消息要告訴你—它也應該是一個健康的教會對其領袖的誓言。在這篇文章中,我要根據希伯來書13:7-8和17-19來探討“尊敬教會領袖”的主題。

一個教會和其領袖的關係這個主題,新約說得雖不多,但所說的卻非常重要。希伯來書13節,教導我們“一個健康的教會尊敬她的敬虔領袖”。希伯來書的作者給了三個勸戒,定義了什麼是一群會眾對教會領袖的尊敬。

I. 我們尊敬教會的領袖,當我們學習他們信實的榜樣(13:7-8)

“想念你們的領袖/ 管理者”(13:7。我們要“想念”我們的領袖—那些曾在我們中間服侍的人,那些影響、造就今天的我們的人(我們的思想、行為和信仰)。作者對希伯來的基督徒說:“想想他們的為人,他們說過的話,做過的事,他們留下的屬靈傳承,他們如何影響你的生活。回想他們在你們中間的服侍”。這是一個有益的操練,不是為了懷舊,而是為了紀念他們的信實和始終如一的榜樣,以至於我們自己能夠效法他們的樣子。他們是我們的英雄,我們尊敬的良師。他們對我們的生活有主要的影響,他們的生活是基督徒生活的典範,有的時候我們會想:“他們對於某件事會如何說,如何做或者會怎麼想?他們會如何教導?如何反應?在這種情況下,他們對給予我們什麼樣的勸告?”

我們生活在一個不尊重領袖的時代,特別是上一代的領袖。他們說,“他們走了就是走了,我們要轉向更新更好的事物。過去的人對於那個年代和年紀還可以,但我們現在更進步了,事情已經改變了。”希伯來的作者說,“不!剛好相反,紀念舊的里程碑和已經走過的真理的路。紀念那些在真理上建造你的。紀念那些在信仰中塑造你的人。紀念那些曾經在你們中間勞苦、活出信心、傳揚福音的人。”使徒勸戒我們要向他們學習…

1.我們要從他們的教導中學習(13:7a)

傳神之道給你們的人”(13:7a。神的話語是他們談話、教導和講道的主題。他們不談論或傳講無關緊要的事情。他們不傳講最時髦的資訊。他們傳講福音。他們造就了教會,在你至聖的信心上建造你。他們的教導和談話是支撐教會的基石。如果你挖掘深入表面之下,你會發現他們的教導依然鮮活。他們的人可能不在這裡,但是精神卻在…

我們尊敬他們,當我們效法他們信實的榜樣。我們要從他們的教導中學習。也要…

2.我們要學習他們如何生活(13:7b-8)

“效法他們的信心,留心看他們為人的結局”(137b)。他們的“信心”涉及到他們教導什麼,相信什麼和怎樣生活。這當然包括他們所相信的聖經真理以及他們在生活中所操練的對神的信靠兩部分。這裡所指的這些希伯來信徒被試探引誘離棄基督信仰,回歸到他們原來的猶太教信仰和實踐。因此,這個勸戒非常合宜…

(a)效法他們對神信實的信心—就是你們依靠神而活的信心;按著神在基督裡豐盛的榮耀相信神會提供給我們一切所需的信心;雖然不知道未來如何,但因著信心敢於面對。

(b)效法他們對神真理的信心;曾經賜予眾信徒的信心(猶3);神所默示的經文,包含了我們所需要的一切關於生命和敬虔的事(彼後1:3);組成我們所相信、依靠和教導的真理主體的信仰。

“效法”他們的信心。不是說因為他們是你過去的一部分或者你對他們有情感上的依賴,就盲目地效法他們,而是“留心他們為人的結局”而效法他們。仔細權衡他們的生活和教導;認真考察他們生活的結果,留心他們見證的果實,反復觀看他們的生活對別人產生的影響,思考他們整個的生活(從頭至尾,從上到下),觀察他們如何過自己的生活之後,才來效法他們。效法他們的信心,像他們一樣生活,一樣說話。像他們一樣,在信心上堅定不移。

並且,以免你認為教會領袖不一定可靠(有些好,有些不好;有些留下來,有些離開;有些給你留下了好印象,有些不好),那麼就考慮和效仿教會的頭,我們至高的領袖和信心最終的榜樣,“耶穌基督”“昨日今日一直到永遠,是一樣的”的那位(138).他是永不改變、永遠長存的。他就是“耶穌”,救主,將他的百姓從罪惡中救贖出來的那位。他是“基督”,受膏的那位,救世主,受差遣的那位,神的兒子。他是永不改變的,“昔在、今在、永在”的那位。

耶穌基督“過去”是一樣的,因為他是過去的神,創造主,救贖的神,是死而復活的那位。他“今日”是一樣的,因為他是現在的神,在神的右手邊為我們祈求的那位,我們的大祭司(5:6; 6:20; 7:17, 21, 24-25, 28; 9:24)。他“一直到永遠”是一樣的,因為他是將來的神,是永在的主,有一天天上地上的都要在他面前屈膝(腓2:10-11)。

並且,因為他是永不改變的,你可以依靠他。他是“昔在、今在、以後永在的”(啟1:8。他是舊約的神,他也是新約的神,教會的主。如果有一位領袖或者管理者,我們可以無條件地相信,不論時間還是永恆,那就是耶穌基督。人類領袖也許會讓我們失望,但他從來不會。人類的領袖可能來來去去,但他從不離開我們。敬虔的領袖指引我們去追隨耶穌,因為耶穌是我們完全、完美,不變的榜樣。他永不改變,你可以永遠依靠他。“你起初立了地的根基,天也是你手所造的。天地都要滅沒,你卻要長存;天地都要如外衣漸漸久了,你要將天地如裡衣更換,天地就都改變了,惟有你永不改變,你的年數沒有窮盡。”(詩102:25-27.“因我耶和華是不改變的”(瑪3:6

當你考慮那些對你有好的影響的教會領袖的結局時,請記住,他們做到這樣的程度只是因為他們是我們偉大的、永恆的、真實的、不變的救主的映射。

所以,我們尊敬敬虔的領袖,當我們效仿他們的信實的榜樣。並且注意,17節…

II.我們尊敬敬虔的領袖,當我們服從於他們的牧養管理(13:17)

今天的社會不願意屈服於任何人。我們這個時代的精神是:“我按我的方式做。沒人能告訴我該怎麼做。” 可悲的是,這種態度有時也滲透到教會中。這種缺乏相互服從,這種對權威的不尊重造成了混亂、無秩序、分裂和不團結,最終教會的影響力會被削弱,撒旦獲得益處。但是使徒勸戒我們“你們要依從那些引導你們的,且要順服”(13:17a)。為什麼?因為

1.他們被賦予神聖的權威。

這個勸戒對當時那些被引誘離棄基督信仰、回歸猶太教的希伯來信徒特別重要。如果說有什麼時候他們需要服從他們的敬虔領袖,那就是現在。顯然,他們沒有學會效仿他們的領袖,獨立的態度盛行於當時的教會。

我們必須“依從”敬虔領袖的領導—他們的教導、決定和教會的方向。我們必須“順服他們”的權柄,因為他們的權柄來自於教會的主(也來自於會眾)。

權威的領導是團結、和諧、有效的基礎。依從意味著順服,服從。這並不意味著盲目、不加思考的順服。這並不意味著逃避責任的順服。這並不意味著順服於不符合經文的教導、帶領,否則希伯來書13:9中關於“怪異的教訓”的警告就沒有任何意義。這並不意味著像邪教式的順從,就是你不思考、放棄自己的信念、盲目的跟隨別人。相反,這是對敬虔領袖智慧的、敏銳的服從,他們的言語和行為都是模範的。我們尊重他們的地位和權威,同時我們對所關心的問題進行有思想的、尊重的對話。我們所做的都服從於教會的主。

那些被神呼召做教會領袖的,有適當的恩賜,贏得會眾的尊重,符合聖經所要求的標準,以及言語和行為聖潔、令人信服的人,也是那些用神的權柄治理我們,我們需要依從和順服的(參照帖前5:12-13)。這就是經文中所說的“依從…和順服!”。顯然,這裡所說的不包括不敬虔的領袖(結34)—那些引導別人走錯路的人,那些教導錯誤教義的人,那些生活在道德上不純潔的人。這不是使徒所教導的。這裡有一項程式以及神的權柄,教會可以用來治理敗壞的、犯罪的領袖(比如提前5:20)。但是這不是問題的所在。這裡的問題是,這些希伯來信徒沒有順服于他們的領袖,這些領袖都是敬虔的人,他們的信心值得效仿,他們的生活證明他們是屬靈的。這就是為什麼作者告誡他們要效仿他們的領袖,服從他們,順服他們。

我們需要確保這個世道的精神不滲透到教會中,我們和教會領袖的關係是健康的、透明的、彼此順服的。我們順服於教會的主的同時,也需要順服敬虔的領袖。不順服這樣的領袖,也就是不順服於基督,這樣就使會眾陷入到如死地的危險中。

我們要服從于他們的治理,因為他們被賦予神聖的權柄。我們服從于他們的治理,也因為…

2.他們對我們的牧養關懷負責。

因他們為你們的靈魂時刻警醒,好像那將來交帳的人”(13:17b。 他們不是要我們因為恐懼而無條件服從的獨裁者。他們是牧羊的人,天天掛念神羊群的狀況(參照結3:17-18)。這是教會領袖的責任—警惕地監督他們會眾的身體和屬靈狀況。他們“為你們的靈魂警醒” (按字面意思,“他們為你保持警醒”),“好像那將來交帳的人”—給教會交帳,更重要的,在神面前交帳。…

敬虔的教會領袖是牧者。他們餵養神的羊。他們保護羊免遭危險。他們帶領羊走正確的方向。他們關心羊的狀況,所以,為了你們,教會領袖擔了很大的責任。他們給予我們的關懷越好,我們越應該對他們的忠誠和順從。

我們應該服從敬虔的領袖,因為(1)他們被賦予神聖的權柄,因為(2)他們對我們的關懷牧養負責,也因為…

3.他們理應能夠快樂地服侍。

你們要使他們交的時候有快樂,不至憂愁”(13:17c。我們應該用聽從和順服的態度尊敬他們,以至於他們履行他們職責的時候能夠“有快樂,不至憂愁。” 牧羊人的工作不應該因為叛逆、忘恩負義、無禮、脾氣暴躁的羊而成為負擔。我們應該減輕他們的負擔,使他們的服侍成為一種快樂,而不是負擔。

你能夠分別出來那些和他們領袖不一致,不尊敬他們領袖的教會。他們經常抱怨(就像幾乎用重擔殺了摩西的以色列百姓一樣)。他們惡毒地批評他們的領袖,把他們打倒。事情本不該如此。你怎樣對待你的領袖決定了他們是喜樂地還是憂愁地管理教會。當你聽從、順服、尊重和尊敬他們的時候,你帶給他們喜樂,不是因為他們得到自己想要的,而是因為他們看到神的百姓快樂、結果子、合一。

我們的教會應當以喜樂為特徵,而不是以歎息為特徵。我們的教會應該由(1)知足的會眾,在主裡面喜樂,尊敬他們的領袖並快樂地跟隨他們和(2)快樂的領袖,樂意于引領神的百姓進入到與基督以及與彼此更深的關係。

合一、一心向前、積極服侍神、彼此相愛、彼此相守、在真道上成長、用恩賜服侍神,是對一個教會的祝福。這樣的教會使其他人想成為其中一部分的教會,使非信徒僕倒,說“神真是在你們中間了”(哥前14:25。我們必須永遠記住這不是我們的教會,這是基督的教會—他在他的教會中掌權。我們向他交帳。我們的領袖向他交帳。使他們的工作繁重就是敗壞基督為之犧牲的。

作者說,因為悖逆、反對和爭執的重擔使你的領袖憂愁,是“與你們無益”。這些是無益的事情,使你們的領袖疲憊不堪、灰心喪氣。這對教會來說是毀滅性的。

許多牧師因為重擔而離開牧養事工。我以前在孟菲斯的斯蒂芬·奧爾福德中心教書,來自世界各處的牧師來到我們這裡,他們中的很多人因為無法承受而在辭職的邊緣,也有很多因為對事奉的幻想破滅而沮喪。他們曾經認為會成為喜樂的東西,卻成為憂愁的根源。當這種情況發生時,每個人都是輸家。牧師和會眾都失去了他們在主裡的喜樂和果子。

我們有時需要對領袖作一些改變嗎?是的!並且有這樣做的方式。但是,這不是這裡所說的問題。這裡所說的是正常的、健康的教會生活—神的百姓在一起生活,快樂、和諧並彼此順服。

.所以,我們尊敬我們的領袖,當我們學習他們信實的榜樣和服從他們的管理。並且…

III.我們尊敬我們敬虔的領袖,當我們為他們事奉中的難處禱告(13:18-19)。

這封信清楚地說明了這個教會的一些事情。這個希伯來教會不尊重他們的領袖,也在屬靈上不長進。這就是為什麼他們需要重複的、嚴厲的責備和警告。這個牧師(教會領袖)和會眾之間發生了一些事情。也許這是那些認為批評比祈禱和對話更能達成他們目的的教會之一。無論如何,這個教會領袖沒有用棍子打他們的頭。他並沒有責備他們的態度。他勸他們為“我們禱告”(13:18a)

我們為什麼要為我們教會的領袖們禱告?因為…

1.他們需要我們的禱告來應對批評的挑戰。

“請你們為我們禱告,因我們自覺良心無虧,願意凡事按正道而行”(13:18)。很顯然,這些希伯來信徒對這位領袖的行為提出了批評。這就是為什麼他考察自己的“良心”並且肯定他“凡事按正道而行”的決心。他沒有以憤怒或報復來回應他們的挑剔,而是要求他們為他“禱告”。對一個領袖來說,要他的會眾為他禱告是一種謙卑的行為,一種依賴的表達,一種對需要的承認。

有什麼是比謙卑更好的方式來回應批評。“我需要你們的禱告”,他說,鼓勵和代求的禱告,為了智慧和恩典的禱告。我不是什麼都知道。我不知道所有的答案。我的言行並不總是適當。我需要你們在神面前為我代求,在事奉中幫助我。我經常在事奉中感到撒旦的攻擊。所以我需要你們禱告的保護。請為我禱告。

確實,這樣一個要求代禱的謙卑請求有助於教會恢復。它是恢復合一的催化劑,是他們對他更新的愛的動力。這是促使他們心甘情願地接受他的指示和警告,並消除他們批評的橄欖枝。無論如何,不管發生了什麼事,他都問心無愧。“…因我們自覺良心無虧”(13:18)。儘管他們對他有明顯的批評,他自己卻問心無愧。毫無疑問,他的一些教義對這些猶太信徒來說是完全陌生的。或許他的教導—舊約以色列的條例和祭司以及利未祭司都在基督裡成就了,不再需要,這對他們來說 太多了,難以接受。不論怎樣,他向他們保證,他已經檢查了他的行為、態度、動機和教導,所以他對自己的思想和良心“有信心”,相信他的教導是正確和慈愛的,他的警告是必須和恰當的,他的動機是純潔的、沒有什麼可隱藏的。他不知道自己說過或做過什麼需要收回或道歉的事情,也不知道他們對他的態度有什麼正當理由。他對所發生的一切也不心存怨恨。他不因自己的地位而傲慢,他也沒有對他們發號施令,卻在他們中間謙卑自己,凡事願意為正道而行”。

看來他們對他的批評是針對他的行為,在審視了自己之後,他說“我願意凡事按正道而行”。他對他們的呼籲讓我們想起保羅對哥林多人的呼籲:“哥林多人哪,我向你們口是張開的,心是寬宏的。你們狹窄,原不在乎我們,是在乎自己的心腸狹窄。你們也要照樣用寬宏的心報答我。我這話正像是對自己的孩子說的你們要心地寬大收納我們。我們未曾虧負誰,未曾敗壞誰,未曾占誰的便宜。我說這話不是要定你們的罪。我已經說過,你們常在我們心裡,情願與你們同生同死”(哥後6:117:2-3)。並且,“我也甘心樂意為你們的靈魂費財費力。難道我越發愛你們,就越發少得你們的愛嗎?”(12:15。保羅因哥林多教會的憂愁,和他因腓立比教會(1:3-4)和帖撒羅尼迦教會(帖前2:19-20;3-9)而得的豐盛喜樂,是多麼強烈的對比。

這是對我們的挑戰,不是嗎?我做牧養事工多年,也受到不少的批評,所以我知道我在說什麼。現在我教育和引導許多這樣的牧師,他們的事奉因為批評成為一種負擔,而不是喜樂。他們愛主並且希望神的百姓得益處。他們一次又一次地放下自己,站在卑微的位置上,聽憑會眾的處理和憐憫,得到的卻是敵對人的拒絕、誣告,以及因緊張和爭端而心力交瘁。

不久他們就灰心喪氣。他們認為自己能力不夠,或者神根本沒有呼召他們做牧養事工,會有更好的人來帶領這群會眾。有時可能是這樣,但更多情況下並非如此。通常這些人是真正的僕人,殷勤地服侍神的百姓。

教會領袖是不完全的。可能有些時候,你不同意他們的意見是合理的。但是繼續尊重他們,友善地對待他們。當他們謙卑自己,當他們的良心無虧,當他們在我們面前正直的生活,他們值得我們的鼓勵和禱告支持。

我們尊敬敬虔的領袖,當我們為他們事工的挑戰禱告。他們需要我們的禱告來面對批評以及…

2. 他們需要我們的禱告來處理教會的不合一。

“我更求你們為我禱告,使我快些回到你們那裡去”(13:19。 這是一個特別的,緊急的,令人心碎的請求。我不知道這些希伯來信徒發生了什麼,但是這個牧師祈求他們禱告他能夠再次看到他們,享受和他們之間的團契。我不知道是否他們的批評導致他們之間的疏遠還是其他的情況導致如此。不論發生了什麼,他敦促他們禱告,使這距離、分裂得以癒合、回歸合一、和諧、和平、喜樂,團契得以恢復。

不合一對敬虔的教會領袖來說是很大的負擔,因為他們知道“弟兄和睦同居,是何等的善何等的美”(詩133:1-3。他們知道不合一是教會的災難,耶穌在約翰福音17章曾預見這些並為之禱告。

結語

所以,從這段你可以看到“一個健康的教會尊敬敬虔的領袖。”我們從三個方面尊敬敬虔的領袖:(1)學習他們信實的榜樣;(2)服從他們的牧養管理;(3)為他們事工中的難處禱告。

最終這一切都歸結於禱告。所以,讓我們共同立約,為我們的牧師、工作人員、教會領袖祈禱。他們需要、想要也值得我們的禱告。他們每天都肩負著教會的負擔以及照管教會的責任。讓我鼓勵你積極參與到教會的禱告中來,舉起你們領袖的手就像在出埃及記17章亞倫和戶珥舉起摩西的手一樣。當你教會的領袖聚在一起討論教會屬靈和實際事務的時候,你可以為他們禱告,成為“亞倫和戶珥一樣的禱告者”。禱告他們有智慧、憐憫、辨別以及忠於真理。

最重要的是,願我們尊敬我們的領袖,通過學習他們信實的榜樣,服從他們的牧養管理以及為他們事工的難處禱告。這是教會和世界的唯一出路。

III.講道大綱

題目:給七個教會的信:老底嘉—繁榮的弊病(啟3:14-22)

主題:一個脫離基督而獨立的教會,對基督可能是多餘的

要點 1:基督知道每個教會的態度(3:15-17)

1a)當一個教會自我滿足的時候,基督知道(15-16)

1b)當一個教會自欺欺人的時候,基督知道(17)

要點 2:基督知道每個教會的需要(3:18-19)

他知道,當我們需要…

2a)…他的豐富來醫治我們屬靈的貧乏(18a)

2b)…聖潔的衣服來遮蓋我們屬靈赤身的羞恥(18b)

2c)…醫治我們的眼睛來糾正屬靈的瞎眼(18c)

2d)…他的刑罰使我們悔改(19-21)

結論: “聖靈向眾教會說的話,凡有耳的,就應當聽”(3:22

Related Topics: Pastors

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