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5. Mafundisho Ya Biblia Juu Ya Utatu

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Sikuwa natarajia kuziona siku 45 zilizokuwa zinafuata. Kama ilivyo kwa familia za kijeshi kila mahali, nilikuwa nikitoka kwa ajili ya biashara ya Mjomba Sam kwa muda wa wiki sita, na nikiwa na mke kijana na watoto watatu wadogo nyumbani, ilikuwa sio mchezo. Kuna jambo moja katika safari hii ambalo lilikuwa rahisi—ni kwamba nilikuwa nakwenda kukaa na Mkristo katika chumba changu. Nilikuwa natarajia kuwa na ushirika wa Kikristo nikiwa na Mkristo mwenzangu, lakini hata hivyo nitaendelea kupata kelele za nyimbo za walevi wa awali niliokuwa nao.

Baada ya kumaliza shughuli zetu za siku ya kwanza, mimi na Bill tuliingia katika ushirika wetu wa kwanza siku ile usiku. Baada ya kujifunza kwa kama dakika tano hivi, niligundua jambo la ajabu sana—Bill alikuwa amefundishwa mafundisho potofu juu ya Utatu katika kanisa lake. Nilishangaa sana kwamba alikuwa kwenye kanisa la kiBaptist ambalo lilisifika sana kwa kuihubiri Biblia, kufanya kazi za Misioni na Uinjilisti. Nilijua kuwa alikuwa akihudhuria mafundisho ya Biblia katikati ya wiki pamoja na Jumapili asubuhi na jioni; kuhubiri usiku na shule ya Jumapili. Alikuwa ameokokea katika hili Kanisa miaka mitatu nyuma—ilikuwaje asijue mafundisho ya ki-orthodox juu ya Utatu?

Siku chache zilizofuata, nilimwonyesha kile Biblia inachofundisha kuhusu Mungu wa Utatu, na alikuja kuuona ukweli. Pia niligundua jinsi alivyokutana na huu mtazamo potofu alioupata kabla. Kwa miaka mitatu akiwa katika ushirika wa kujifunza katika kanisa hili kubwa, maarufu na linalosifika, la kiBaptisti, hakuwahi kusikia Utatu ukitajwa hata mara moja. Uelewa wake ulitokana na majibu yaliyokosewa kutoka kwa Mwalimu wake wakati Bill alipojaribu kuuliza kuhusu jambo hili kipekee. Katika siku zetu 45 za kukaa pamoja, tulishirikishana mambo mengi na niligundua kwamba kanisa hili “maarufu” lilisisitiza tu juu ya Yohana 3:16, zaka, mwenendo mzuri na kurudi kwa Yesu Kristo mara ya pili—ni mafundisho mazuri lakini hayajabeba kweli yote.

Katika historia yote ya kanisa, maadui wa Mungu wamekuwa wakishambulia mafundisho ya kiBiblia kuhusu Asili, na hasa Uungu wa Mwana wa Mungu. Somo tunalokwenda kugusa hapa ni miongoni mwa mambo yanayoshambuliwa sana (na pia yanayotetewa) katika mafundisho makuu ya Imani: Mungu ni mmoja katika Utatu ambaye anajidhihirisha kama Baba, Mwana, na Roho (nafsi tatu ambazo ni tofauti)—lakini bado ni katika Mungu mmoja. Hili linaitwa ni fundisho la UTATU tangu wakati wa kanisa la kwanza, lakini vita vilivyojitokeza katika kanisa la kwanza na mijadala ya kifalsafa kuhusu fundisho hili yamepindisha dhana kwamba fundisho la Utatu linaungwa mkono kwa nguvu na Maandiko Matakatifu, na limetokana na Maandiko.

Kauli rahisi ambayo tumeitoa imetokana na maneno ya kitaalam yanayoelezea kile Biblia inachofundisha kila mahali kuhusu somo hili. Hii siielewi hata kwa sekunde. Hata hivyo, naelewa vizuri sana kwamba Biblia inafundisha mambo haya, kwa hiyo nayaamini na kuyafundisha bila kujali kwamba nayaelewa vizuri au la. Kwa hiyo, mawazo ambayo tunatakiwa kuwa nayo wakati tunashughulika na fundisho la Utatu ni hili: AMINI KILE BIBLIA INACHOFUNDISHA NA USIJARIBU TU KUKIELEWA. Fikiri kuhusu suala hili—fundisho hili linazungumzia asili muhimu sana ya Mungu, tunawezaje kulielewa?

Kwa kweli, karibu kila kikundi chenye mafundisho potofu ambacho kimeponyoka kutoka kwenye imani ya Kiinjili ya Kikristo, ama kilianza na mtu mmoja akijaribu kuuelezea Utatu au mafundisho ambayo yanakaribiana sana na harakati za kikundi hicho. Tukianza na wapotoshaji ambao walikuwepo wakati mitume wakiwa hapa duniani, na kuendelea na vikundi vya imani potofu ambavyo viliibuka miaka ya 60 pamoja na wainjilisti wanaotembea siku za leo, kukataa, kupinga au kupotosha mafundisho juu ya Utatu limekuwa ni jambo la kawaida kwa karibu wote hao.

  • Leo Mashahidi wa Jehova na Kanisa la Njia wanaukataa Uungu wa Yesu na pia nafasi na Uungu wa Roho Mtakatifu.
  • Watu wa Mormons na Armstrong (wanaodai kuwa ni Kanisa la Mungu la Ulimwengu) wanaamini aina fulani ya miungu wengi.
  • Makanisa mengi ya kipentekoste wanaamini katika upotoshwaji wa Utatu ambao humfanya Mungu kuwa anajifanya kuwa kama watu tofauti kwa nyakati tofauti. Utasikia wakisema “Uungu Mmoja” au “Yesu Tu”. Hii inafanana na vikundi vilivyoibuka kama miaka 1500 iliyopita.
  • Mtazamo wa kanisa la Orthodox pamoja na makanisa yake ya Kiinjili, Wakatoliki wa Roma, wamekuwa wakikataa fundisho la Utatu ambalo lilitolewa kwa watakatifu (Yuda 3).

Katika kujadili fundisho hili muhimu, nitajaribu kuepuka maneno ya kitaalamu ya kiufundi, lakini nitajikita zaidi katika maneno rahisi ya Biblia. Kutokana na umuhimu mkubwa wa fundisho hili, na hitaji la kupitia misingi yote muhimu, nitakupa mistari mingi ya Biblia ili ujisomee mwenyewe.

Fundisho la Utatu lina vipengele vifuatavyo: (1) Kuna Mungu Mmoja tu wa Kweli (2) Kuna “nafsi” katika Mungu ambazo sio za kufikirika, kubuni au za muda. (3) Baba ni Mungu (4) Mwana ni Mungu (5) Roho Mtakatifu ni Mungu. Zinakuwa kama zile hisabati za ajabu ambazo nimejifunza na hazina maana halisi ya hesabu za kibinadamu: yaani 1 + 1 + 1 = 1 badala ya 3. Yaani hapo ni jumla ya tatu bado inakuwa moja na tunasema kuna “utatu” katika hiyo moja ambapo Biblia inajaribu kuionyesha bila kujaribu kuelezea.

Kuna Mungu Wa Kweli Mmoja Tu [Monotheism]

Maadui wengi wa Ukristo, wakiwemo Waislam, Wayahudi, na Wakengeufu wengine kama Mashahidi wa Jehova, wamedai kwamba Utatu ni upagani kwa sababu ni kuabudu zaidi ya “mungu” mmoja. Hata hivyo msingi wa mafundisho ya Utatu ni kwamba kuna Mungu Mmoja tu. Hii inafundishwa kwa msisitizo katika Agano Jipya na Agano la Kale. Kauli ya imani ya Isaraeli inasema “Sikia ee Israel, BWANA Mungu wetu ni BWANA mmoja.” (Kumb. 6:4). Yesu alipoulizwa, alisema zaidi ya mara moja kwamba hii ndio ilikuwa amri kuu kuliko zote (Marko 12:28-34).

Uwazi wa Umoja wa Mungu umeelezwa kwa kurudia sana katika Agano la Kale: “…hapana mungu mwingine ila mimi” (Kumb. 32:39); “…Mimi ni BWANA, wala Hapana mwingine.”(Isa. 45:18); “…kabla yangu hakuumbwa Mungu awaye yote, wala baada yangu mimi hatakuwapo mwingine. (Isa. 43:10). Vivyo hivyo, Agano Jipya linaeleza u-moja wa Mungu: “Kwa sababu Mungu ni mmoja, na mpatanishi kati ya Mungu na wanadamu ni mmoja (1 Tim 2:5); “…na uzima wa milele ndio huu, wakujue wewe Mungu wa pekee wa kweli na Yesu Kristo, uliyemtuma…” (Yn. 17:3).

Katika Agano la Kale, Mungu alijitangaza kwa kutumia majina mengi, kila moja likielezea sifa yake, lakini jina lake la sifa alilotumia kufanya agano na watu lilikuwa ni YHWH au Yawe kulingana na matumizi ya lugha. Jina hili ndilo lililotafsiriwa kuwa Yehova. Tafsiri nyingi ndizo zilizoleta jina BWANA au MUNGU, kwa kuandika herufi zote kuwa kubwa. Yehova alitafsiri jina lake kwa Musa katika Kutoka 3:14: MIMI NIKO AMBAYE NIKO; akasema, Ndivyo utakavyowaambia wana wa Israeli; MIMI NIKO amenituma kwenu.” “MIMI NIKO AMBAYE NIKO” … Yehova hana kitu au mtu anayemdai katika kuishi kwake—Yeye anaishi na yuko peke yake, Mungu Mmoja wa Kweli.

Wingi: Katika Mungu Mmoja Wa Kweli Kuna Wingi Wa Nafsi

Katika matamko yenye nguvu Biblia inayoyatoa juu ya Mungu mmoja, hii ndiyo kauli yenye utata. Hata hivyo Biblia iko wazi juu ya wazo hili. Kwa kweli iko wazi kabisa kuwa kuna Mungu Mmoja. Hata hivyo, kuna wingi wa nafsi katika “u-tatu” kuhusu Mungu ambao Biblia inauelezea, ambao hatuwezi kuuelezea kwa namna za kibinadamu kwa mitazamo wa Umoja wake. Kwanza kuna maneno na majina ya wingi ambayo yanatumika kwa Mungu. Neno maarufu zaidi katika Biblia ni neno la Kiebrania Elohim. Vikundi kengeufu vimejaribu kutunga sababu za kwa nini Biblia inatumia wingi kumwelezea Mungu Mmoja, lakini maneno machache kutoka kwa mtakatifu wa zamani aitwaye John Gill yatawafanya watulie:

“Sasa Musa angaliweza kutumia majina mengine ya Mungu, katika kuelezea uumbaji, kama jina lake la Yehova, kwa kuwa ndilo ambalo Mungu alikuwa amejifunua nalo kwake, na kwa watu wa Israel; au Eloah, ambalo ni jina la Umoja la Elohim, ambalo alilitumia (Kumb. 32:15-16) na pia katika kitabu cha Ayubu mara nyingi; kwa hiyo lilikuwa siyo hitaji la maneno ya Umoja ya Mungu, wala udhaifu wa lugha ya Kiebrania iliyomlazimisha kutumia neno la wingi; ndivyo alivyochagua na kuipangilia…” (Body of Divinity, Kit. 1 uk. 187-188).

Maneno mengine yaliyoko katika hali ya wingi yaliyotumika kwa Mungu katika Agano la Kale ni pamoja na panim (sawa na prosopa, kumaanisha “nyuso,” “watu,” au “uwepo,”) ambalo linapatikana katika Kutoka 33:14-15, Zaburi 27:8-9, na Kumb. 4:37; neno la Kiebrania la Mtengenezaji au Muumba katika Ayubu 35:10, Zab 149:2, na Isaya 54:5 ni wingi, Watengenezaji; katika Mhu. 12:1, neno la Kiebrania ni Waumbaji. Mungu pia ameelezewa kwa neno la wingi, kama “…na tumfanye mtu kwa mfano wetu.”(Mwa. 1:26), angalia pia Mwanzo 11:6-8 na Isaya 6:8. Hatimaye katika Isa. 48:16-17 ni Tamko ambalo, likisomwa katika mwanga wa Agano Jipya, ni Tamko la Utatu kama lilivyo mahali popote katika Biblia, kama Bwana Mungu (Adonai Yehova) Roho. Na Mkombozi yote yametajwa katika mazingira yale yale ya watu tofauti.

Bila shaka kuna Maandiko mengi katika Agano Jipya yanayoongelea Baba, Mwana na Roho Mtakatifu katika muktadha uleule, na kwa mtazamo wa wazi unaozitofautisha. Katika Yohana 14 hadi 16, kuna rejea zinazojirudia kwa kutoa tofauti hizi. Iliyoko wazi zaidi ni ile ya Ubatizo wa Yesu katika Mathayo 3:16-17, ambapo tunaisikia sauti ya Baba, angalia Roho alishuka kwa mfano wa hua, na ona pia kwamba Mwana amesimama pale katika maji.

Baba Ni Mungu

Hii haingehitaji kusemwa, lakini kwa sababu ya wale wanaokataa uhalali wa nafsi ya kwanza ya Utatu, tunatamka kwamba (a) Yesu mara nyingi anaitwa ni Mwana wa Mungu, kwa hiyo Mungu ni Baba, na Baba ni Mungu. (b) Hakuna Maandiko yanayoonyesha hata kudokeza kwamba Baba anakoma kuwa Nafsi ya tofauti. (c) Kuna Maandiko mengi ambayo yanathibitisha kwamba kuna tofauti kati ya Baba, Mwana na Roho Mtakatifu. Tatizo hapa, kama lilivyodokezwa na Gregory A. Boyd katika kitabu chake, Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity, ni kwamba, wakati watu wanapoyasoma Maandiko wakiwa na mawazo mgando (kama vile mafundisho potofu kwamba hakuna tofauti kati ya Baba na Mwana), huviona vitu katika Biblia ambavyo havipo!

Ugumu mwingine (ambao ni maarufu kwa mapokeo yanaodai kuwa Yesu si Mungu) ni kwamba watu wengi wanashindwa kuelewa uhusiano kati ya Baba na Yesu Kristo. Sababu ya kushindwa kuelewa huku ni kwamba wanashikilia maneno yaliyosemwa na Yesu au juu ya Yesu wakati alipokuwa akiteswa hapa duniani. Uhusiano wa milele kati ya Baba na Mwana ni wa Usawa (Yohana 17:1 – 5, angalia anavyosemakwa Baba, na Ebr. 1:1-14, ambapo Baba anaagiza malaika wamsujudie. Kauli kama “…Baba yangu ni mkuu kuliko mimi.” (Yohana 14:28) inapaswa ieleweke katika mwanga wa kusudi lake katika huduma yake hapa duniani. Katika Waebrania, baada ya kuanza kwa kuangalia hali ya kuinuliwa na uungu wa Mwana (1:1-14) mtume anasema, “lakini tunamwona Yesu ambaye alifanywa mdogo punde kuliko malaika kwa ajili ya mateso ya mauti…”( angalia pia Flp. 2:5-11). Yesu alikuja duniani kukamilisha ukombozi wa milele. Uungu wake, ambao ni wa muhimu, ulifichwa katika mwili. Lakini kama jambo letu la pili linavyoeleza:

Yesu Kristo Ni Mungu

Sio tu kwamba Yeye ni Mwana wa Mungu, Yeye ni Mungu-Mwana. Hili ndilo fundisho la msingi la Ukristo—Yesu Mwenyewe alisema “…Msipoamini kwamba Mimi ndiye, mtakufa katika dhambi zenu.”(Yn. 8:24) Haya siyo tu mafundisho ya uchunguzi au falsafa—kama Mungu mwenyewe hatatukomboa hatutaweza kukombolewa (angalia Zab. 49:7, 15)! Kwanza tunajua kuwa Yeye ni Mungu kwa sababu anaitwa Mungu (Yn. 1:1). Ni kweli, katika Yn. 20:28, ambapo Thomaso anamwita Yesu “Bwana wangu na Mungu wangu…” kwa kiyunani inasomeka “…Bwana wa mimi na Mungu wa mimi.” Waebrania 1:4-14 ni kifungu muhimu sana cha maandiko, kwani manabii wa Agano la Kale wananukuliwa kuonyesha (1) Mungu anamwita Yesu Mwanawe, (2) Anawaambia malaika wamwabudu Kristo, heshima ambayo huwa anapewa Yehova pekee (Isa. 42:8). (3) Anamwita Mwana, Mungu. Anatangaza kwamba ufalme wa Kristo ni wa milele.

Sababu nyingine ya kujua kuwa Mwana ni Mungu wa milele Mwenyewe, ni kwamba yeye anaabudiwa. Isaya 42:8, Kutoka 20:3, na aya nyingi nyingine za Agano la Kale zinakataza tusimwabudu mwingine zaidi ya Yehova Mungu Mwenyewe—lakini tunaona katika aya nyingi kwamba Kristo akiabudiwa (mifano—Wafilipi 2:9-10, Matendo 7:59-60, Ufunuo 5:6-14), ambako kunaabudiwa mbingu pekee.

Sababu nyingine inayotufanya tujue kuwa Yeye ni Mungu ni kwamba kazi za Mungu zinaelezwa kufanywa na Yeye, Uumbaji (Yn. 1:3, Ebr. 1:2) Utunzaji wa ulimwengu (Kol. 1:17, Ebr. 1:2-3), kumtuma Roho wa Mungu (Yn 16:7) msamaha wa dhambi (Mdo. 5:30-31) na kutoa uzima wa milele (Yn 17:2-3) hii ni mifano machache tu ya kazi za kimbingu alizozifanya.

Alidhihirisha uweza wake juu ya asili, juu ya magonjwa, nguvu za mapepo, hata juu ya mauti, na katika matukio mawili, aliondoa utaji wa ubinadamu wake kwa kiasi. Katika mlima alikogeuka sura aliwaruhusu wanafunzi wake kuiona hali yake ya utukufu kama ilivyo, na wakati maaskari walipokuja kumkamata bustanini, aliwapiga wakaanguka chini aliposema.. “NI MIMI” (neno hili halipo katika tafsiri halisi za awali) (Yn 18:4-6). Kwa kweli alifanya kazi za Mungu.

Sababu nyingine inayotulisha kuwa Mwana ni Mungu ni kwamba Ana sifa za kiungu. Biblia inasema Yeye alikuwepo tangu mwanzo (Yn. 5:26), Umilele (Yn 1:2). Kujua Yote (Yn. 1:48), Kuwepo Kila Mahali (Mt. 18:20—ona kwamba alikuwa duniani, katika mwili na alitumia wakati uliopo, kuonyesha kwamba alikuwa na sifa hii ya uungu katika huduma yake hapa duniani, Kutokubadilika (Ebr. 13:8), Ukuu (Mt. 11:27), Uweza Wote (Mt. 28:18-20). Kuna kauli za nguvu kabisa juu ya Uungu wa Masihi katika Yeremia 23:5-6.

“…Tazama siku zinakuja, asema Bwana, nitakapomchipushia Daudi Chipukizi la haki; naye atamiliki mfalme, atatenda kwa hekima, naye atafanya hukumu na haki katika nchi. Katika siku zake Yuda ataokolewa, na Israeli atakaa salama, na jina lake atakaloitwa ni hili, BWANA NI HAKI YETU.”

Hapa tuna Yehova Mungu akizungumza kwa wazi, kama vile ni Masihi anaongea, na jina analompa Masihi ni Yehova –Tsidkenu—Mungu Mwenyezi anamwita Masihi Yehova!

Roho Mtakatifu Ni Mungu

(Maelezo mengi ya sehemu hii yanatoka katika kitabu kizuri kiitwacho The Holy Spirit Kilichoandikwa na A.W. Pink.)

Katika kauli hii inachukuliwa kwamba Roho Mtakatifu ni Nafsi (Mtu), na sio nguvu, ushawishi n.k. Vikundi vya imani potofu huukataa uungu na utu wake. Anachukuliwa kama aina fulani ya “umeme wa mbinguni”, au aina fulani ya nguvu kutoka kwa Mungu ambayo nzuri duniani. Hii inaenda sambamba na kuukataa Utatu. Hata hivyo, tukiangalia katika Biblia tunaona kwamba ana sifa anazoelezewa katika Maandiko—kama vile uelewa na maarifa (1 Kor 2:10-11), maamuzi (1 Kor 12:11), upendo (Rum 15:30), na huzuni (Efe 4:30). Zaidi ya hayo anaweza kudanganywa (Mdo. 5:3); Anaweza kujaribiwa, (Mdo 5:9). Pia tunaona matendo ya kibinafsi yakimwelezea katika Maandiko: Ananena (1 Tim 4:1, Ufu 2:7); Anafundisha (Luka 12:12, Yn 14:26); Huamuru (Mdo 13:2); na, Huombea (Rum 8:26).

Biblia hutumia wasifu binafsi kumwelezea—Anaitwa Mfariji (Yn. 14:16), Shahidi (Ebr. 10:15, Warumi 8:16), Mhesabu Haki na Mtakasaji (1 Kor 6:11).

Mwisho, katika sehemu nyingi kwenye Maandiko, maneno ya kibinafsi yanatumika kumwelezea (Yn. 14:26; Yn 16:7). Sio tu kwamba Roho Mtakatifu ni Mtu lakini pia Roho Mtakatifu ni Mungu, kama ambavyo Baba ni Mungu na Mwana ni Mungu, kwa namna fulani Mungu wa Kweli Mmoja lakini kwa namna kuu kibinadamu, ni nafsi ya kipekee katika Utatu.

Katika Biblia Roho Mtakatifu anaitwa ni Mungu (Mdo. 5:3-5; 1 Kor. 3:16—Linganisha 2 Kor 6:16). Roho Mtakatifu pia anaitwa Yehova—Ni Yehova aliyenena kupitia manabii (Lk 1:68-70) na Petro anasema ilikuwa ni Roho Mtakatifu (2 Pet 1:20, linganisha na 2 Sam 23:2-3 na Mdo 1:16). Ilikuwa ni Yehova ambaye Israeli walimwasi jangwani (Zab 78:4, 17-18), lakini Isaya anasema alikuwa ni Roho Mtakatifu (Isa 63:10). Katika Kumb. 32:12, Yehova aliwaongoza Israeli lakini katika Isaya 63:14, inasema ni Roho Mtakatifu ndiye aliyewaongoza. Yehova alimtuma Isaya nabii (Isa. 6:6-8), lakini Paulo anasema (chini ya Upako wa Roho Mtakatifu) kwamba alikuwa ni Roho Mtakatifu aliyemtuma nabii (Mdo 28:25-26).

Katika sehemu zote za Maandiko Roho Mtakatifu anadhihirisha sifa za Mungu katika matendo yake, utakatifu mkubwa na mdogo (Rum. 1:4; linganisha Kut. 15:11), Umilele (Ebr 9:14), Kuwepo kila mahali (Zab 139:7), Kujua Mambo yote (1 Kor 2:10 – 11) Kuwa na Nguvu Zote (Lk. 1:35; Mika 3:8; Isa 40:28), Mwenyezi (Mt 4:1—Alimwongoza Yesu!) (Yn 3:8, 1 Kor 12:11; Mdo 13:2-4; 20:28). Mwisho, Roho Mtakatifu hufanya kazi za Mungu. Alifanya kazi za Uumbaji (Ayu 26:13; 33:4; Mwa 1:2), Hutuhudumia (Isa 40:13-15; Mdo 16:6-7), Uvuvio (2 Pet 1:20-21), Kumpaka Mafuta Mwokozi (Isa 61:1; Yn 3:34), Kumfufua Mwokozi (Rum 8:11).

Fundisho la Utatu linamfunua Mungu ambaye ni tofauti sana na “miungu” ya kipagani, lakini pia ni tofauti sana na Mungu wa kimila wa kiyahudi, Waislam, Ariani na miungu wengine walioshamiri leo. Kuna tofauti kubwa kati ya Ukristo na dini nyingine zinazopinga Utatu. Kwenye dini hizi mambo muhimu mawili yanakosekana, nayo ni: mahusiano na ukombozi.

1. Mahusiano—mungu pekee yaani “mungu” ambaye hawa watu wanamwabudu huwa hawezi kufanya mahusiano. Hana wa kuhusiana naye, na wala hakuna jinsi ya kumfanya ahusiane na watu isipokuwa tu akiwa kama hakimu na akiwa kama kitu tu cha kuabudiwa. Mungu wa Utatu kwa upande mwingine ana ushirika ndani yake mwenyewe milele—na hutokea ndani yake. Kupitia Mungu-mwanadamu, Kristo Yesu, mtu huingia katika ushirika na mahusiano na Mungu Mwenyezi. Baba ni Baba yetu; Kristo ni Kaka yetu, na Roho ni Mfariji wetu. Tunapendwa, tunatembea katika ushirika na Mungu, ambaye ni mtaalam wa ushirika wa kweli.

2. Ukombozi—Dini zinazoukataa Utatu hazina ukombozi halisi. Mungu wao husamehe au kutoa rehema bila utaratibu unaoeleweka. Huhukumu au kuachilia kulingana na hali yake ya kujisikia, kwa kutumia masharti fulani-fulani. Dhambi haishughulikiwi kwa uhalisia wake, mtu hawajibishwi na huyo mungu wao anaweza tu kuipuuza. Hakuna haki kwenye mfumo wa aina hii. Katika Ukristo wa Kibiblia, kila dhambi inalipiwa, kwa sababu Mungu wa milele, Mungu-mwanadamu alikufa kuwalipia wenye dhambi. Wote wanaokuwa Wake kwa imani wanakuwa washiriki katika bei yake ya ukombozi.Wale ambao hawawi wake wanalipia adhabu yao—milele. Siri ya Msalaba ni kwamba Mungu-Baba alimwaga ghadhabu yake kwa Mungu-Mwana, lakini ni Mungu mmoja tu. Hili linachanganya akili zetu lakini hivyo ndivyo namna ya pekee ukombozi ungeweza kufanyika kwa haki. Kila kosa ambalo liliwahi kutendeka na mtu yeyote dhidi ya Mungu au watu linaadhibiwa, haki inatendeka na hali ya ulimwengu inawekwa sawa. Kama hakuna Utatu—hakuna ukombozi.

Sisi Wakristo tunamwabudu Mungu wa Utatu. Hatuwezi kuelewa; tunaushangaa; hakuna maelezo—lakini huo ndio Ukweli. Kikipungua chochote hapo basi sio Ukristo.

Mafundisho haya yametolewa na Charles T. Buntin na kutafsiriwa na Emmanuel A. Lyatuu

Charles T. Buntin ni Mwanajeshi Mstaafu ambaye ni Mtumishi wa Kanisa la Baptist Marekani.

Yeye pia ni mwalimu wa masomo ya Sanaa katika Sekondari.

Ana Shahada ya B.A katika Historia, M.S. Katika Uhusiano wa Kimataifa na M.A.R. kutoka Liberty University.

Kwa sasa anafanya kazi kama Mhadhiri na Mnasihi katika chuo cha Trinity Seminary kilichoko Newburgh, Indiana Marekani na pia anafanya shughuli za unasihi wa Kibiblia katika huduma iitwayo Covenant Counseling Ministries

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Trinity

Kutafakari Uhakika wa Kimaandiko

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Utangulizi

Mungu amejifunua mwenyewe kwa njia nyingi za ajabu katika historia (Ebr. 1:1-4). Amejifunua katika asili (Zab. 19:1-6), lakini pia amejifunua kwa matendo yake katika ulimwengu. Hayo “matendo” ya Mungu kama mafuriko, kutoka utumwani, na pia kuonekana kwake katika maono, ndoto n.k. –yote haya yaliandikwa kwa ajili yetu katika Maandiko, ambayo ni “ufunuo” kutoka kwa Mungu. Sababu iliyomfanya Mungu ainue watu kadhaa waandike matendo yake ilikuwa ni ili baadaye vizazi vya watu wake, kwa msaada wa Roho wake waelewe kuwa Yeye ni nani, jinsi ya kuwa na ushirika Naye, na jinsi ya kuishi katika namna itakayompa heshima na kuleta furaha kubwa kabisa kwetu kama watu wake (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

Kwa kuwa neno la Mungu mara zote limekuwa muhimu kwa Wakristo—na ndivyo lilivyo na kwa kuwa linatupa picha ya wazi ya kuwa Mungu ni nani, inakuwa muhimu kwamba tujifunze jinsi ya kujilisha neno mara kwa mara katika nafsi zetu. Tukiwa na jambo hili, hapa kuna aya tano kutoka katika Maandiko zinazosisitiza hakika fulani ambazo sisi kama Wakristo tunazo. Hakika hizi ni muhimu kwetu kuzijua ili tuweze kukua na kuwa imara katika maisha ya Kikristo. Nilijifunza hakika hizi miaka mingi iliyopita nilipokuwa nafanya kazi baharini na tangu wakati huo zimekuwa zikinisahihisha, kunikemea, na kunitia moyo kwani ni kweli kuu sana. Ilikuwa ni katika aya hizi ndipo nilipojifunza kwa mara ya kwanza jinsi ya kutafakari Maandiko na nakushauri na wewe ujaribu kufanya hivyo pia.

Lakini tuna maana gani tunaposema “kutafakari”? hapa hatuzungumzii kumwaga kila kitu katika akili zetu tunachofikiri (jambo ambalo hata hivyo haliwezekani), lakini tuna maana ya kujaza akili yetu na neno la Mungu kwa kulifikiria kwa makini na kwa undani, huku tukimwomba Mungu atupe ufahamu katika jambo hili.

Hapa nina maswali kadhaa ambayo unaweza kujiuliza katika aya yoyote ili uweze kuingia ndani kwa kina na kupata uzima.

  1. Je kuna dhambi ya kuacha?:
  2. Je kuna ahadi ya kuidai?
  3. Je kuna mfano wa kuiga?
  4. Je kuna kosa la kuepuka?
  5. Je kuna jambo jipya kuhusu Kristo au Roho Mtakatifu?

Jaribu kukumbuka maneno haya kwa njia rahisi jinsi utakavyoweza na pengine maswali yafuatayo hapa chini Yanaweza kukusaidia zaidi:

  1. Ni jambo gani ambalo nililipenda au sikulipenda katika aya hii?
  2. Aya hii inanifundisha nini kuhusu Mungu?
  3. Aya hii inanifundisha nini kuhusu mimi mwenyewe na wengine?
  4. Je, kuna lolote katika aya hii nisilolielewa na ningehitaji ufafanuzi?
  5. Mungu anasema nini na mimi kuhusu aya hii?

Hapa kuna maswali mengine,

  1. Aya hii inanifundisha nini mimi kuhusu Mungu?
  2. Aya hii inanifundisha nini kuhusu mimi na mahusiano?
  3. Aya hii inanifundisha nini kuhusu wokovu na kumwishia Mungu?
  4. Aya hii inanifundisha nini kuhusu vita ya kiroho?

Wakati wa kutafakari na kujiuliza maswali haya, watu wengi wamegundua kwamba inasaidia sana kukariri aya kisha kutafakari juu ya kila neno lililoko kwenye aya husika. Kwa mfano, katika Wagalatia 2:20, Paulo anasema,

Nimesulubiwa pamoja na Kristo ila si mimi ninayeishi, bali ni Kristo anaishi ndani yangu. Kwa hiyo uhai nilio nao katika mwili, ni kwa sababu ya uaminifu wa Mwana wa Mungu, aliyenipenda akayatoa maisha yake kwa ajili yangu.

Namna ya kuanza kutafakari mstari huu, baada ya kuisoma aya na muktadha wake mara kadhaa, ni kusisitiza kila neno ili uweze kupata ujumbe katika hiyo aya mara kadhaa. Kisha, katika hali ya maombi fupisha hiyo aya kwa maneno yako mwenyewe na kumwomba Mungu akupe ufunuo juu ya umuhimu wake kwako na kwa wengine. Hakikisha ufupisho wako unakubaliana na mstari huo katika muktadha wake. Hili linawezekana pia kwa kusoma ule muktadha tena kwa kulinganisha na aya nyingine za Paulo na zilizoko katika Biblia.

Ukishafanya haya na hakika zinazofuata, unaweza kumsaidia mtu mwingine kutafakari pia. Katika mazungumzo yanayofuata nitaorodhesha mstari unaohusiana na uhakika na kisha kukushirikisha tafakari fupi na rahisi katika aya husika. Lengo hapa ni kumtia moyo mwamini mpya.

Masomo kuhusu Uhakika

Roho mwenyewe hushuhudia pamoja na roho zetu kuwa sisi tu wana wa Mungu (Rum. 8:16)

Uhakika wa Wokovu – 1 Yoh 5:11-12

4Na huku ndiko kushinda kuushindako ulimwengu, hiyo imani yetu. Mwenye kushinda ulimwengu ni nani, isipokuwa ni yeye aaminiye ya kwamba Yesu ni Mwana wa Mungu? Huyu ndiye aliyekuja kwa maji na damu, Yesu Kristo; si katika maji tu bali katika maji na katika damu. Naye Roho ndiye ashuhudiaye, kwa sababu Roho ndiye kweli. Kwa maana wako watatu washuhudiao, Roho na maji na damu, na hawa watatu hupatana kwa habari moja. Tukiupokea ushuhuda wa watu, ushuhuda wa Mungu ni mkuu zaidi, kwa maana huu ndio ushuhuda wa Mungu kwamba amemshuhudia Mwanawe. [Yeye amwaminiye Mwana wa Mungu anao huo ushuhuda ndani yake. Asiyemwamini Mungu amemfanya kuwa mwongo kwa kuwa hakuuamini huo ushuhuda ambao Mungu amemshuhudia Mwanawe.] Na huu ndio ushuhuda kwamba Mungu alitupa uzima wa milele; na uzima huu umo katika Mwanawe. Aliye naye Mwana anao huo uzima, asiye naye Mwana wa Mungu hana huo uzima. Nimewaandikia ninyi mambo haya, ili mjue ya kuwa mna uzima wa milele, ninyi mnaoliamini jina la Mwana wa Mungu.

Mazingira: Yohana aliandika waraka huu kukabiliana na walimu wa uongo ambao walifundisha kwamba Kristo hakuwa mwanadamu kweli, lakini alionekana tu hivyo. Tatizo hapa ni kwamba, kama hakuwa kweli mwanadamu asingeweza kufa kwa ajili ya dhambi zetu, yaani, kufa kwa ajili yetu. Lakini ubatizo (maji) wake na kifo (damu yake) pamoja na Roho Mtakatifu—hawa wote wanaonyesha kuwa alikuwa mwanadamu kweli (na Mungu kweli) na kwamba alikufa kwa ajili ya dhambi zetu.

Mafundisho: Yohana ana uhakika juu ya uzima wa milele kwa ajili yetu; hana wasiwasi wala mashaka na anasema kwamba huu ni ushuhuda wa Mungu mwenyewe. Angalia hapa kwamba ni uzima ambao Mungu ametupa na kwamba uzima huu unahusu kuwa na Yesu moyoni. Hakuna eneo la katikati. Ni ama mtu awe na Mwana ili awe na uzima au mtu asiwe na Mwana na akose uzima. Tunapaswa pia kukumbuka kwamba uzima unapokelewa kwa kuamini na sio kwa matendo mema (Warumi 4:1-8; Waefeso 2:8-9). Mwisho, angalia uhusiano kati ya Yohana kuwaandikia na wao kujua kuwa wana uzima wa milele (mst. 13): kwa ajili yetu, tunapaswa kukumbuka kwamba uhakika wa wokovu huja kimsingi kupitia katika kumsikiliza Mungu katika Maandiko kwa jinsi Roho wake anavyoweka neno lake katika mioyo yetu.

Uhakika wa Msamaha—1Yohana 1:9

1:5 Na hii ndiyo habari tuliyoisikia kwake, na kuihubiri kwenu, ya kwamba Mungu ni nuru, wala giza lolote hamna ndani yake. 1:6Tukisema kwamba twashirikiana naye, tena tukienenda gizani, twasema uongo, wala hatuifanyi iliyo kweli. 1:7Bali tukienenda nuruni, kama yeye alivyo katika nuru, twashirikiana sisi kwa sisi, na damu yake Yesu, Mwana wake, yatusafisha dhambi yote. 1:8Tukisema kwamba hatuna hatia ya dhambi, tunajidanganya wenyewe, wala kweli haimo ndani mwetu. 1:9Lakini tukiziungama dhambi zetu, Yeye ni mwaminifu na wa haki hata atuondolee dhambi zetu, na kutusafisha na udhalimu wote. 1:10Tukisema kwamba hatukutenda dhambi, twamfanya yeye kuwa mwongo wala neno lake halimo ndani mwetu. 2:1(Watoto wangu wadogo, nawaandikia haya ili kwamba msitende dhambi.) Na kama mtu akitenda dhambi tunaye Mwombezi kwa Baba, Yesu Kristo mwenye haki, 2:2naye ndiye kipatanisho kwa dhambi zetu; wala si kwa dhambi zetu tu, bali na kwa dhambi za ulimwengu wote.

Mazingira: Kuna uhusiano gani kati ya madai yetu kuwa tunamjua Mungu na jinsi tunavyoishi? Ni nini tunachokifanya tunapotenda dhambi? Haya ni baadhi tu ya maswali ya msingi ambayo Yohana alikuwa akijaribu kuyajibu hapa katika 1 Yohana 1:5-2:2

Mafundisho: Yohana anaposema kuwa Mungu ni nuru, hapa anaangazia usafi wa Mungu wa maadili na utakatifu. Sisi kama Wakristo tunapaswa kulielewa hili ili tuweze kufahamu uhusiano uliopo kati ya kudai kuwa tunamjua Mungu na jinsi tunavyoishi. Kwa bahati mbaya, utamaduni wa kizazi kipya ambao tunaishi hauoni uhusiano hasa kati ya hali ya kiroho na namna tunavyoishi ambapo upendo ndicho kipimo. Wakati fulani nilikuwa na mwanamke fulani katika kikundi chetu cha kujifunza Biblia ambaye alitangaza kuwa anamjua Kristo, lakini aliendelea kufanya zinaa na dhambi zingine. Huenda alitudanganya kwa kitambo, ingawa baadaye tulimgundua, lakini kwa hakika hakumdanganya Bwana. Kwa maisha yake alidanganya kwa kile alichokuwa akikisema. Tunapaswa kutambua kwamba, kama tunamjua Mungu, tutaonyesha ushahidi wake katika maisha yetu. Kwa upande mwingine, kama tunadai kuwa tunamjua Mungu halafu tunaishi kama Shetani, hapa tena tunadangaya kile tunachokisema. Kristo ndiye mfano wa utakatifu ambao tunapaswa kufuata.

Jambo jingine tunaloliona katika 1 Yoh. 1:5-2:2 ni kwamba hakuna mahali katika maisha haya ya Kikristo ambapo kuna ukamilifu kabisa. Mtu yeyote anayedai kuwa mkamilifu bila dhambi yoyote, Yohana anatuambia kuwa anajidanganya, na hana kweli ndani yake na anapotosha ukweli wa Mungu. Hakuna mtu miongoni mwetu atakayekuwa mkamilifu hadi tutakapotukuzwa (linganisha na 1 Yoh. 3:2-3). Kwa kweli hata tunapokuwa katika ushirika wa sisi kwa sisi, bado tunaihitaji damu ya Yesu (Roho anatumia manufaa ya kifo cha Yesu) ili kuondoa dhambi zetu.

Kwa hiyo sisi kama Wakristo, tunaishi katika changamoto ya kutaka kumpendeza Mungu na mara nyingine kumhuzunisha tunapotenda dhambi. Hivi tunaishije ili kukabili dhambi yetu? Je huwa tunatafuta vitabu kwa ajili ya msaada binafsi? Je tatizo letu ni kukosa maarifa tu? Je tunajificha chini ya mkeka? Au tunasema, “Ah, mimi ndivyo nilivyo tu?” au “Wakati ule nilibanwa, n.k.”? Yohana anasema tunapaswa kuziungama dhambi zetu, yaani, tuziungame dhambi zile ambazo hazionyeshi kuwa tunahusiana vizuri na Mungu “ambaye ni nuru” na ambaye ndani yake “hakuna giza.”

Yohana pia anasema anawaandikia watu wa Mungu ili kwamba wasitende dhambi (2:1). Hapa tena kuna uhusiano kati ya neno la Mungu lililoandikwa na maisha ya kiroho na ukuaji wa Wakristo. Hili ni lazima tulikumbuke. Waraka huu usingewafaa wasomaji wake, yaani, Roho hangeweza kuutumia kama njia ya neema, kama wangeshindwa kusoma, kuutafakari kwa makini, kuelewa, na kuutendea kazi.

Angalia kinachotokea tunapoungama dhambi zetu: zinasamehewa na sisi tunatakaswa, yaani, dhamiri na fikra zetu zinatakaswa na kuwekwa huru. Hii ndiyo namna ya kushughulikia dhambi zetu na hii ndiyo namna ambayo Mungu hufanya sisi tunapofanya sehemu yetu.

Mwisho, mara zote husianisha msamaha na kila manufaa ya kiroho kwa Kristo na kazi yake msalabani. Yohana amefanya hivyo na sisi tunapaswa kufanya hivyo. Tuko katika uhusiano ambao umejengwa katika neema ya Mungu na sio nguvu zetu.

Uhakika wa Maombi Yaliyojibiwa—Yohana 16:24

16:19Yesu aliweza kuona kwamba walitaka kumuuliza juu ya mambo haya, akawaambia, “Ndilo mnaloulizana, ya kuwa nalisema, bado kitambo kidogo nanyi hamnioni, na tena bado kitambo kidogo nanyi mtaniona?” 16:20Amin, amin, nawaambia, Ninyi mtalia na kuomboleza, bali ulimwengu utafurahi; ninyi mtahuzunishwa, lakini huzuni yenu itageuka kuwa furaha. 16:21Mwanamke azaapo, yuna huzuni kwa kuwa saa yake imefika; lakini akiisha kuzaa mwana, haikumbuki tena ile dhiki, kwa sababu ya furaha ya kuzaliwa mtu ulimwenguni. 16:22Basi ninyi hivi sasa mna huzuni; lakini mimi nitawaona tena; na mioyo yenu itafurahi, na furaha yenu hakuna awaondoleaye. 16:23Tena siku ile hamtauliza neno lolote. Amin, amin, nawaambia, Mkimwomba Baba neno lolote atawapa kwa jina langu. 16:24Hata sasa hamkuomba neno kwa jina langu; Ombeni nanyi mtapata; furaha yenu iwe timilifu. 16:25 “Hayo nimesema nanyi kwa mithali; saa yaja ambapo sitasema nanyi tena kwa Mithali, lakini nitawapa waziwazi habari ya Baba. 16:26Na siku ile mtaomba kwa jina langu, wala siwaambii ya kwamba mimi nitawaombea kwa Baba; 16:27kwa maana Baba mwenyewe awapenda kwa kuwa ninyi mmenipenda mimi, na kusadiki ya kwamba mimi nalitoka kwa Baba. 16:28Nalitoka kwa Baba, nami nimekuja hapa ulimwenguni; tena nauacha ulimwengu; na kwenda kwa Baba.” 16:29Basi wanafunzi wake wakasema, Tazama sasa wasema waziwazi, wala huneni mithali yoyote! 16:30Sasa tumejua ya kuwa wewe wafahamu mambo yote, wala huna haja ya mtu akuulize; kwa hiyo twasadiki ya kwamba ulitoka kwa Mungu.”

Mazingira: Yesu anakwenda kwa Baba, yaani, wakati wa kutukuzwa kwake kwa njia ya kufa, kufufuka na kupaa umewadia. Atawaacha wanafunzi. Hata hivyo, anawahakikishia wanafunzi wake juu ya uwepo wake kwa njia ya Roho Mtakatifu ambaye baadaye angemtuma kwao (linganisha Yohana 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14; Matendo 2). Hata hivyo, wanafunzi wana maswali mengi ya kumwuliza. Lakini anawaambia kwamba wanaweza kuuliza kwa jina lake, yaani kwa msingi wa mamlaka na uhusiano wake na Baba. Kwa maneno mengine, wamempenda Mwana wa Baba kiasi kwamba wanaweza kwenda kwa Baba kupitia Mwanawe na Baba atayapokea. Wanaweza kumwomba Baba kwa jina la Mwana, na Baba atajibu maombi yao.

Mafundisho: Angalia mambo matatu kuhusu maombi katika Yn. 16:24. Kwanza, kuna uhakika kwamba tukienda kupitia kwa Mwana (kwa kutambua kuwa yeye ni nani na nafasi yake) tutapokea (I Yoh. 5:14-15). Pili, kutakuwa na furaha kuu inayoambatana na Mungu kujibu maombi yetu, hasa yale maombi yanayoomba kumjua Mungu vizuri zaidi. Tatu, kama Wakristo tunapaswa kutambua kwamba tunakuja kwa Baba, kupitia kwa Mwana, kwa nguvu ya Roho. Maombi ni njia kuu ya kuhusiana na Utatu wa Mungu.

Uhakika wa Kuongozwa—Mithali 3:5-6

3:5Mtumaini Bwana kwa moyo wako wote, wala usizitegemee akili zako mwenyewe; 6katika njia zako zote mkiri yeye, naye atanyoosha mapito yako.

Mazingira: Hakuna mazingira ya ajabu sana katika Mithali 3:5-6 ingawa Mithali 3:1-12 inasisitiza kweli na unyenyekevu, pamoja na kumtumaini na kumheshimu Mungu. Sehemu hii (Mithali 3:1-12) ni sehemu ya kifungu kikubwa zaidi cha Mithali 1 hadi 9., ambapo hekima hudhihirishwa na kuishi katika maadili safi na utauwa, kwa upande mmoja, na kujihadhari na mambo kama uzinzi, tamaa, maisha machafu kwa upande mwingine. Mithali ni misemo “yenye hekima” ambayo kwa kawaida huwa ni kweli. Misemo mingine husema moja kwa moja kile kilicho kweli kabisa ilhali zilizo nyingi husema kile kilicho kweli katika mahusiano ya kibinadamu. Kwa sehemu kubwa hazichukuliwi kuwa kauli za dhati, isipokuwa pale tu ambapo imeelezwa hivyo. Kwa mfano, Mithali 12:24, “Mkono wa mwenye bidii utatawala; Bali mvivu atalipishwa kodi.” Hii kwa jumla ni kweli, lakini sio kwamba ni kweli mara zote. Kuna watu wavivu wanawekwa kwenye utawala na wengine wenye bidii wanatawaliwa na watu wavivu.

Hata hivyo, katika Mithali 3:5-6 mkazo uko katika kumtumaini Mungu na ahadi ni kwamba “atanyoosha mapito yako”. Kama tukichukulia kwamba “atanyoosha mapito yangu” ina maana kwamba Mungu atanipa maisha makamilifu ambayo sitakaa nikutane na mambo magumu, basi hii itakuwa sio sawa; hata hivyo, kwa kusema ukweli, itakuwa sio tafsiri sahihi. Lakini tukielewa kwamba, “atanyoosha mapito yangu” ina maana ya, “atakuongoza kwenye maisha yanayompendeza, kwenye maadili na tabia njema,” basi hii Mithali itakuwa ni sawa. Mungu mara zote atafanya hivi kwa wale wanaoweka tumaini lao kwake kabisa.

Kwa hiyo ngoja nisisitize mambo machache kutoka katika Mithali hii. Kwanza, kumtumaini Mungu ni jambo la msingi katika kuwaongoza watu ambalo Mungu huwapa watu wake. Tunapaswa kudhamiria kumtumaini Mungu kwa ajili ya kupata uongozi wake, kwamba tunataka au la. Hata hivyo, yeye ndiye Mwenye mipango yote. Pili, hatupaswi kumwamini kwa sehemu tu ya moyo, lakini kwa moyo wetu wote, yaani, kwa nguvu zetu zote! Mungu hatatoa uongozi kwa watu wanaocheza-cheza naye.

Tatu, Tumeambiwa “tusizitegemee akili zetu wenyewe.” Watu wengine hufikiri kwamba hii ina maana kwamba Wakristo hawatakiwi kufikiri, ili wasizitegemee akili zao. Sio hivyo kabisa! (Watu hao wanasahau kwamba ni Bwana aliyewapa hizo akili!) Anachomaanisha Sulemani hapa ni kwamba tusizitegemee akili za kibinadamu na uelewa wenye dhambi wa jinsi ya kuishi, yaani hali ya kutokuamini, kana kwamba Mungu hayupo. Akili zetu wenyewe zinasema, “unastahili hiki na kile,” “una haki zako,” “dai haki yako upewe,” “ni sawa kumdanganya mkeo,” “fursa haiji mara mbili, kwa hiyo anayetokea tu, nenda naye, usizubae n.k.” La hasha, hatupaswi kuzitegemea akili zinazofikiri kwa namna hiyo, bali tuzitegemee amri, maagizo na hekima ya Mungu. Tunajua kwamba Kristo alifanyika mtumishi na akafa kwa ajili yetu (Mk. 10:45), kwa hiyo sisi nasi tunapaswa kuyatoa maisha yetu (kwa hekima) kwa ajili ya wengine. Hii ndiyo maana ya kusema “katika njia zako zote mkiri.” Kumkiri Mungu katika njia zetu zote ni kinyume na kuzitegemea akili zetu wenyewe; inahusisha kumtii Mungu katika maeneo yote ya maisha yetu. Hii ndio sababu inahusisha kumtumaini Mungu kabisa.

Uhakika wa Msaada katka Majaribu—1 Wakorintho 10:13

10:1Kwa maana ndugu zangu, sipendi mkose kufahamu ya kuwa baba zetu walikuwa wote chini ya wingu; wote wakapita kati ya bahari; 10:2wote wakabatizwa wawe wa Musa katika wingu na katika bahari; 10:3wote wakala chakula kilekile cha roho; 10:4wote wakanywa kinywaji kilekile cha roho; kwa maana waliunywea mwamba wa roho uliowafuata; na mwamba ule ulikuwa ni Kristo. 10:5Lakini wengi sana katika wao Mungu hakupendezwa nao; maana waliangamizwa jangwani. 10:6Basi mambo hayo yalikuwa ni mifano kwetu, kusudi sisi tusiwe watu wa kutamani mabaya, kama wale nao walivyotamani. 10:7Wala msiwe waabudu sanamu, kama wengine wao walivyokuwa; kama ilivyoandikwa, “Watu waliketi kula na kunywa, kisha wakasimama wacheze.10:8Wala msifanye uasherati, kama wengine wao walivyofanya, wakaanguka siku moja watu ishirini na tatu elfu. 10:9Wala tusimjaribu Bwana, kama wengine wao walivyomjaribu, wakaharibiwa na nyoka. 10:10Wala msinung’unike, kama wengine wao walivyonung’unika, wakaharibiwa na mharabu. 10:11Basi mambo hayo yaliwapata wao kwa jinsi ya mifano, yakaandikwa ili kutuonya sisi, tuliofikiliwa na miisho ya zamani. 10:12Kwa hiyo anayejidhania kuwa amesimama na aangalie asianguke. 10:13Jaribu halikuwapata ninyi, isipokuwa lililo kawaida ya wanadamu; ila Mungu ni mwaminifu; ambaye hatawaacha mjaribiwe kupita mwezavyo; lakini pamoja na lile jaribu atafanya na mlango wa kutokea, ili mwezi kustahimili.

Mazingira: Wakorintho walikuwa ni kanisa lililokuwa limesheheni nguvu za kiroho, mamlaka na uhuru binafsi. Kwa kweli waling’aa waliangalia haki zao, kiasi kwamba walikuwa wakiutumia uhuru wa Mkristo wa kweli kiasi kwamba walikuwa wakileta huzuni kubwa kwa Wakristo wengine na kuhatarisha maisha yao ya kiroho pia. Baadhi ya Wakristo walikuwa wakila katika mahekalu ya sanamu kwa kuwa walijua kuwa kitu kama sanamu hakikuwepo. Lakini Paulo anawaambia, kwanza kabisa wako kwenye hatari ya kumkasirisha Bwana, na pili, wanajeruhi dhamiri za Wakristo wengine ambao wanaongozwa kwenda kwenye mahekalu ya sanamu kula lakini hawaelewi kitu (yaani, hakuna kitu kama sanamu) kama jinsi wao wanavyofanya.

Aya hii inaanzia 8:1 na inaenda hadi mwishoni mwa 10:33. Jambo analolisema Paulo hapa ni kwamba uhuru ni mzuri kama ukiongozwa na upendo, lakini unaharibu watu wanaodai kuwa wako huru na wengine kwa kuwa hufanyika katika ubinafsi. Tatizo hapa ni kwamba tunajaribiwa kufanya mambo kwa namna zetu na sio kwa namna ya Mungu. Hatupaswi kufikiri hata mara moja kwamba kwa kuwa tumeokoka basi tunaweza kutenda dhambi (kwa kisingizio cha kuwa huru) na dhambi isikae. Ingawa hatupotezi karama ya Mungu ya uzima wa milele, tunaweza kuyaharibu kabisa maisha yetu (na ya wengine pia). Tunapaswa kukumbuka kwamba tunapojaribiwa, Mungu hufanya mlango wa kutokea, lakini hii haina maana kwamba atatusaidia tu hata pale tunapojiingiza kwenye dhambi kwa makusudi kwa kujua.

Mafundisho: Katika I Wakorintho 10:1-4 Paulo anawakumbukusha mambo mazuri Waisraeli waliyoyapata. Sisi kama Wakristo pia tuna mambo yetu mazuri. Katika I Wakorintho 10:5-10, licha ya hayo mambo mazuri ya Waisraeli, Paulo anawakumbusha jambo Mungu alilofanya kutokana na uasi wao kule jangwani. Matokeo yake yalikuwa mabaya sana. Kisha katika 10:11-12, Paulo anawaambia hawa Wakristo wakaidi kwamba kilichowatokea Israeli ni mfano kwa Wakristo na kichukuliwe hivyo. Kwa kifupi Wakorintho walionywa kwa upendo na ukali pia na, kwa kweli ndivyo wengi walivyo leo. Tusimchukulie Mungu kama “kitu chepesi tu.” Tunapaswa kuwa na heshima kuu kwa ajili ya utakatifu na kujitunza, katika namna ya Kikristo. Sasa ni katika mazingira haya Paulo anazungumza kuhusu majaribu katika 10:13.

Mawazo mengi hujitokeza tunavyopitia kifungu hiki cha 1 Wakorintho 10:13. Kwanza jambo hili linakutana na uzoefu wetu juu ya majaribu kwa nyakati fulanifulani. Huwa inatokea kwa ghafla na inauma. Lakini tunapaswa kutambua kwamba haya majaribu huwa ni “ya kawaida” kama yalivyo kwa wanadamu walioanguka kwa ujumla. Hii haina maana kwamba kila mtu anakabiliwa na majaribu ya aina moja, lakini ni kwamba majaribu huwa ni ya kawaida kwa mwanadamu katika hali yake ya kuanguka katikati ya ulimwengu ulioanguka. Hii ina maana kwamba haya majaribu, pamoja na msaada wenye uaminifu wa Mungu yanaweza kushindwa. Hata hivyo, kutarajia msaada wa Mungu na huku unafanya dhambi na uovu kwa makusudi, kama vile kula chakula katika hekalu la masanamu, ni suala jingine gumu. Kama walivyokuwa wale Waisraeli waliotutangulia, kama tukijihusisha na dhambi hiyo, tunaweza kutarajia adhabu kali tu.

Paulo ni mwepesi kuweka wazi kwamba Mungu ni mwaminifu kutusaidia katika jaribu lolote, na pia anataja hapa namna ambayo Mungu hutuletea huo msaada, yaani kwa kutufanyia “mlango wa kutokea.” Neno hili la “kufanya mlango wa kutokea” ina maana ya “kumaliza hilo jaribu.” Kwa hiyo kuna kipindi maalum cha muda ambao majaribu ambayo Mungu anayaleta yatakaa kwa wakati wake, wakati huo akitusaidia kustahimili (yaani, Mungu ni mwaminifu). Majaribu haya yamekusudiwa yatufundishe kuishi katika namna ambayo itampa Mungu heshima (Yakobo 1:3-5).

Hitimisho

Kuna matumaini kwamba tafakari hizi zitawasukuma wengine kusoma Biblia, kuzitafakari kweli zake, na kupata msaada, maelekezo, ujasiri na maono kwa ajili ya kila siku. Kama umepitia aya hizi, na kujaribu kuziweka katika kumbukumbu, zitamsaidia mtu kufanya hivyo-hivyo. Biblia iliandikwa kwa ajili ya kutuelekeza: “Kwa kuwa yote yaliyotangulia kuandikwa yaliandikwa ili kutufundisha sisi; ili kwa saburi na faraja ya maandiko tupate kuwa na Tumaini”(Warumi 15:4).

Imeandikwa na Greg Herrick na kutafsiriwa kwa Kiswahili na Emmanuel Lyatuu

Greg Herrick anaishi Calgary Alberta, Canada pamoja na mkewe na watoto 4. Ana mzigo wa kufundisha na kulea wengine.

Ni Mchungaji na Ana shahada ya Th.M na PhD kutoka Dallas Theological Seminary

Related Topics: Assurance

Corrie Ten Boom Meets Lieutenant Rahms

Shortly after her arrest and imprisonment for protecting Jews from the Nazi reign of terror, Corrie ten Boom met with Lieutenant Rahms, her pensive and troubled interrogator. He showed Corrie unusual kindness in his initial visits, though Corrie rightly suspected he was manipulating her to gain information about others involved in harboring Jews. Corrie spoke to the lieutenant about her ministry of preaching to the “feeble-minded,” in what she called her “church for mentally retarded people,” to which Lieutenant Rahms responded in typical Nazi fashion, “If you want converts, surely one normal person is worth all the half-wits in the world!” Nervous and contrite, Corrie ventured a reply, “The truth, Sir…is that God’s viewpoint is sometimes different from ours—so different that we could not even guess at it unless He had given us a Book which tells us such things.” Corrie “knew it was madness to talk this way to a Nazi officer,” but she continued: “In the Bible I learn that God values us not for our strength or our brains but simply because He has made us. Who knows, in His eyes a half-wit may be worth more than a watchmaker. Or—a lieutenant.”1

In a later encounter, Corrie spoke to the lieutenant about the message of God’s Book. “It says…that a Light has come into this world, so that we need no longer walk in the dark. Is there darkness in your life, Lieutenant?” After a long silence, and in a surprising moment of candor, the officer admitted, “There is great darkness….I cannot bear the work I do here.”2

I do not know the fate of Lieutenant Rahms, we can hope that his earthly darkness drove him to flee from eternal darkness and embrace the Light of the World. Maybe we will see him in heaven. Or, sadly, like Pontius Pilate, maybe he traded justice and reverence for God for his short-term power and livelihood and became an eternal tragedy.

Many participants in the Nazi reign of terror likely struggled with the evils with which Lieutenant Rahms struggled. Many made eye contact with the precious people who were dehumanized as apes by a worldview that saw Aryans as the apex of evolutionary progress. Most could not distinguish Jewish children from their own. Many saw the disproportionate accomplishments of Jews in society, contrary to the assertions of the propagandists. Yet they participated in the murder.

What lives might have been spared the terror of the racist Aryanism if people were rightly treated as endowed with dignity, as created in the image of God. What concentration camps would never have been built and what trains would never have carried their priceless cargo if people acknowledged dependence on God for purpose, meaning, and a moral compass. What horrors might have been prevented if Nietzsche had bowed the knee to the “God of the weak” and had never penned his deadly philosophy. The Nazi god, the Aryan pinnacle of human evolution, was no god, with no ultimate standard of right and wrong, no ultimate accountability, and no ultimate consequences for evil behavior. As William Penn once said, “If we are not governed by God, then we will be ruled by tyrants.”3

Many were partners in the evils of the Holocaust, so beware—if you reject and ignore God’s moral compass, someone else will provide one for you…. And the prevailing winds will drive us where we never dreamed we would go.

Adapted from Craig Biehl, God the Reason: How Infinite Excellence Gives Unbreakable Faith, Carpenter’s Son Publishing, 2015.


1 Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place (Chosen Books, 1971; Bantam Books, 1974), 160.

2 Ibid., 161.

3 Quoted in Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, rev. ed. (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 34.

Related Topics: Devotionals, Hamartiology (Sin)

3. What Covid-19 Can Teach Us About Evangelism

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When I read the Book of Acts and attempt to explain the rapid growth of the church the closest analogy I can think of is the current spread of the Covid-19 virus.

I know of a missionary who has been privileged to play a significant role in the explosive expansion of the gospel in a distant land. Because he has witnessed amazing success in evangelism, a number of mission agencies have asked him to come and share the secret to his success. He refuses to take any credit for what he knows is a powerful manifestation of God’s saving grace. Because of his experience, he has come to a whole new way of looking at the Book of Acts. He does not see the great number of conversions to the faith in Acts as the outcome of a strategic plan and program, planned, and executed by the apostles who led the charge. Instead, he sees it as a great and mighty work of God, with the apostles trying to keep up with what God was doing. Now, as I read the Book of Acts, I tend to see it the same way.

Think about this for a moment. At Pentecost thousands suddenly came to faith. Even though the Holy Spirit had given birth to a flourishing church in Jerusalem, the apostles did not form a missions committee to strategize how they would reach the rest of the world for Jesus. That was, after all, the command which our Lord had given them:

Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, NET).

The expansion of the church was not initiated by a missions committee or a missions conference. It was brought about by the persecution of the church, triggered by the death of Stephen (Acts 6:8—8:1; 11:19-21). Most of the church scattered abroad, with the apostles staying behind in Jerusalem (8:1). It was not the apostles who initiated the evangelistic thrust among the Gentiles, but some unknown and unnamed individuals who didn’t know how to keep the gospel to themselves:

19 Now those who had been scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the message to no one but Jews. 20 But there were some men from Cyprus and Cyrene among them who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks too, proclaiming the good news of the Lord Jesus. 21 The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord (Acts 11:19-21, emphasis mine).

The distressing fact is that the original 11 apostles were not aggressive in taking the gospel to the Gentiles. In fact, they drug their feet in this matter. Peter was reluctant to go to the home of Cornelius (Acts 10:9-16), but when he did and the Gentiles there came to faith, his fellow-apostles called him on the carpet for going:

1 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers took issue with him, 3 saying, “You went to uncircumcised men and shared a meal with them” (Acts 11:1-3).

Even though Peter’s explanation was compelling, and his fellow-apostles had to recognize that God had chosen to save Gentiles, as well as Jews, their profession and their practice were not consistent:

When they heard this, they ceased their objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted the repentance that leads to life even to the Gentiles” (Acts 11:18).

It was Paul, and men like Barnabas and Silas, Timothy, and Luke who became the frontrunners in taking the gospel to the Gentiles.

So, what does all this have to do with Covid-19 and evangelism? Simply this. Think of how the Covid-19 virus is being spread today. People do not deliberately go out, seeking to spread the virus to many others. They simply go about their lives as usual, and when they come into contact with others, the virus is unknowingly spread abroad. There are no classes, teaching people how to spread the virus. This is no need for them. The virus has a life of its own, and is spread by social contact as people go about their lives as normal.

Ideally – and certainly as we see it in the Book of Acts – the gospel was quickly spread abroad by people who went about, living their lives in contact with other people. These saints did not begrudgingly spread the gospel, nor was their evangelism the execution of a particular plan or script. (Mind you, I’m not saying that these methodologies and strategies are wrong, but they are not ideal, in my opinion.) I believe that Christians went about, filled with the Holy Spirit, and living in joyful fellowship with other believers. Their joy simply overflowed, and because their new-found salvation was so life-transforming they just couldn’t help but tell others about it. For them, evangelism was the result of the overflow of joy and praise to God that others observed, and “caught.”

44 All who believed were together and held everything in common, 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need. 46 Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, 47 praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved (Acts 2:44-47).

The joy-filled faith of new believers overflowed in unity, and in generosity toward those in need:

32 The group of those who believed were of one heart and mind, and no one said that any of his possessions was his own, but everything was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all. 34 For there was no one needy among them, because those who were owners of land or houses were selling them and bringing the proceeds from the sales 35 and placing them at the apostles’ feet. The proceeds were distributed to each, as anyone had need (Acts 4:32-35).

It is now common to hear or read of some video that has “gone viral.” I believe that the gospel went viral in the Book of Acts. And I pray that the gospel will once again go viral, making a global impact, because Spirit-filled Christians cannot be silenced, or their faith concealed. May it be so, to the glory of God and the salvation of many. Will you intentionally be a part of sharing the gospel and helping make disciples of Jesus as God has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20)?

Related Topics: Christian Life, Cultural Issues, Evangelism

Somo 5: Dhambi Na Wokovu

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“Tunaamini kwamba wokovu ni zawadi ya Mungu na mwanadamu huipokea kwa imani binafsi katika Yesu Kristo na kujitoa ili kusamehewa dhambi. Tunaamini kwamba mwanadamu huhesabiwa haki kwa neema kwa imani na si kwa matendo (Matendo 13:38-39, Warumi 6:23, Waefeso 2:8-10). Tunaamini kwamba waamini wote wa kweli, wakishaokolewa, huhifadhiwa salama milele (Warumi 8:1, 38-39; Yohana 10:27-30).”

Wokovu ni neno rahisi ambalo linajumuisha dhana nyingi—dhana ambazo haziwezi kueleweka kikamilifu kwa akili ya kawaida. Je, wokovu ni kwa ajili tu ya kuikimbia jehanamu? Je, ni bima ya maisha? Je, ni jambo ambalo Mungu alihitaji kulifikiria wakati Adamu na Hawa walipomwasi? La hasha, Maandiko yanatufundisha kwamba mungu aliupanga wokovu wetu kabla ya msingi wa ulimwengu, kwa sababu kwa kuwa anajua mambo yote, alijua kwamba mwanadamu atauhitaji sana.

Hitaji la Mwanadamu

  1. Kifo cha Kiroho-kutengwa na Mungu (walijificha na waliogopa)
  2. Kifo cha kimwili
  3. Asili ya dhambi iliyorithiwa na wazao wao wote.

Asili ya mwanadamu iliharibika au kupoteza thamani:

Fikra: 2 Wakorintho 4:4, Warumi 1:28
Maamuzi: Warumi 1:28
Dhamiri: 1 Timotheo 4:2
Moyo: Waefeso 4:18
Hali nzima ya mtu: Warumi 1:18-3:20

“Hali nzima ya mtu ina maana kwamba uharibifu wa dhambi unaenezwa kwa watu wote na inaenea katika maeneo yote kiasi kwamba hakuna kitu katika mwanadamu wa kawaida ambacho kinaweza kumfanya akubalike mbele za macho ya Mungu.” –Charles Ryrie

Mapaji ya Mungu

Ahadi na Picha

Kwa karne zote ambazo Agano la Kale lilipitia Mungu alitoa ahadi na mifano au picha za Mwokozi ambaye atamtoa baadaye kwa ajili ya wokovu wetu. Ahadi ya kwanza ilikuwa ni Mbegu ya mwanamke, ambaye Shetani angemjeruhi lakini mbegu hiyo baadaye ingemwangamiza shetani (Mwanzo 3:15).

Kisha aliwapa picha ya jambo ambalo Mwokozi angelifanya. Mwanzo 3:21: kila mnyama aliyetolewa sadaka katika Agano la Kale alimlenga Yesu Kristo. Kila madhabahu iliulenga msalaba.

Kutimilika kwa Kristo

Yesu Kristo ambaye ni Mungu-Mwanadamu, alikuwa ni Mungu katika mwili wa kibinadamu, ili aweze kuishi maisha yasiyokuwa na dhambi, akamwaga damu yake kwa ajili ya dhambi za watu wote, akafufuka kutoka kwa wafu na kisha kurudi mbinguni kuwa Mwombezi wetu.

Mambo yaliyokamilishwa na Kifo cha Kristo

Mbadala

Kuwa Mbadala ni maana kuu ya Kifo cha Kristo

Anti kwa kiyunani ina maana ya “kukaa badala ya” (Mathayo 20:28, Marko 10:45)

Huper ina maana ya “Kwa faida ya” au “kwa nafasi ya” (2 Wakorintho 5:21, 1 Petro 3:18). Yesu alikuwa Mbadala wetu kwa kuwa alikufa kwa ajili yetu. Alikuwa anatuwakilisha alipowambwa pale msalabani.

Mungu aliupenda ulimwengu kwa upendo ambao unaweza kupimwa kwa uwezo wake usiopimika wa kupenda. Mungu anawapenda viumbe wake kiasi kwamba anatutaka tuunganishwe naye. Alituumba ili tuwe na ushirika Naye. Lakini ushirika huo unashindikana kwa sababu ya dhambi ya mwanadamu. Adhabu yake ni kifo cha kiroho na cha kimwili. Mungu ndiye Mwamuzi aliyeitangaza hiyo adhabu. Tabia ya Mungu ni kwamba hawezi kutenda bila haki yote. Mwanadamu akiwa katika hukumu ya kifo, hana anachoweza kufanya kwa juhudi zake mwenyewe ili kuiepuka hiyo hukumu ya kifo. Kwa hiyo Mungu mwenyewe alikuja kuichukua hiyo adhabu kwa ajili ya mwanadamu wa kiume na wa kike aliyempenda. Yesu Kristo alikuja kwa hiari yake kufa kwa niaba yetu, kwa dhambi zetu na kwa faida yetu. Alichukua adhabu kamilifu kwa ajili ya kifo cha kimwili na kiroho.

Ni kwa nini yeye alikuwa ndiye mbadala mkamilifu?

Mwanadamu—angeweza kufa kwa ajili ya mwanadamu: mwenye thamani ileile, lakini sio kama ya wanyama.

Asiye na dhambi—aliweza kufa kwa ajili ya dhambi, lakini sio dhambi zake.

Mungu asiyepimika—aliweza kufa kwa ajili ya dhambi zisizohesabika.

Je, hii ina maana gani kwangu na kwako? Kama nadaiwa dola 100,000 na sina kitu cha kulipa, na mtu mwingine akanilipia deni langu, mimi sihitaji kulipa tena. Ninakuwa sina deni tena. Kwa kuwa Yesu alinilipia adhabu kwa ajili ya dhambi zangu, sina haja ya kulipia tena adhabu hiyo—kama nikimpokea kama Mbadala wangu na kuachana na mawazo ya kufanya matendo mema ili niweze kukubalika na Mungu.

Ukombozi

Agorazo: Ina maana ya kununua au kulipa bei ya kitu.

Ina maana ya kulipa kile ambacho dhambi yetu ilidai ili sisi tuweze kukombolewa (I Petro 2:1, walimu wa uongo; 1 Wakorintho 6:20, 7:23; Ufunuo 5:9).

Exagorazo: Ina maana ya kununua kutoka sokoni

Wagalatia 3:13, 4:5: Kifo cha Kristo sio tu kwamba kililipa gharama ya dhambi lakini pia kilituondoa kwenye soko la dhambi ili kutupa uhakika kamili kwamba hatutarudishwa tena kwenye utumwa wa dhambi. Hatutauzwa tena kama watumwa wa dhambi.

Lutroo: Kufungua-kuweka huru

Tito 2:14, I Petro 1:18: Ni kuachiliwa na kuwekwa huru katika hali nzima ya kulipiwa. Mafundisho juu ya ukombozi yana maana ya kwamba kwa kumwagwa damu ya Kristo, waamini wamenunuliwa, wametolewa kutoka katika utumwa na kukombolewa.

Je, hii ina maana gani kwangu na kwako leo? Wewe na mimi tumewekwa huru kutoka katika mambo yetu ya zamani, kutoka katika utumwa wa bwana wetu wa zamani, Shetani, kutoka katika namna zetu za dhambi tulizoishi kwazo. Bei iliyolipwa kwa ajili yetu ilinunua uhuru wetu milele kutoka katika soko la watumwa na kamwe hatutakuwa tena jinsi tulivyokuwa zamani. Uhuru huu ndio urithi wangu katika Kristo.

Upatanisho

Kupatanisha ina maana ya kubadilisha kutoka hali ya uadui kwenda kwenye urafiki. Upatanisho kwa njia ya mauti ya Kristo ina maana kwamba hali ya mwanadamu ya kutengwa na Mungu inabadilishwa na sasa mwanadamu anaweza kuokoka (2 Wakorintho 5:19-21). Msingi wa upatanisho wetu ni mauti ya Kristo (Warumi. 5:10-11). Ni lazima tuweke sawa hapa kwamba ni mwanadamu tu ndiye anayebadilishwa. Mungu huwa habadiliki kamwe.

Hili jambo lina maana gani leo? Mungu sio adui yetu. Mungu huwa hakai pale akisubiri kwamba tutengeneze uadui tena. Yeye ni Rafiki yetu. Anatutaka tuuamini huo urafiki. Hawezi kutuachia sisi ambao tumeweka imani yetu katika Kristo Yesu.

Kipatanisho

Neno hili linatokea mara tatu katika matoleo kadhaa ya Biblia: Warumi 3:25; 1 Yohana 2:2, 4:10. Neno hili linajitokeza pia katika hali ya kutenda. Limetafsiriwa kwamba ni “kufanya upatanisho.”

Maana nzuri inaelezea kuwa ni mtu anayeondosha ghadhabu (ya Mungu).

Katika hali ya kitendo inapatikana katika Waebrania 2:17 na Luka 18:13.

Neno Hilasterion katika Kiyunani lilitumika katika nakala za kale za Maandiko kuelezea kiti cha rehema. Kifuniko cha Sanduku la Agano kilitengenezwa kwa dhahabu. Makerubi wawili waliangaliana na kuangalia chini wakikitazama kiti cha rehema. Shekinah, utukufu wa Mungu ulilikalia Sanduku. Kwenye Siku ya Upatanisho, Kuhani Mkuu alinyunyiza damu katika mfuniko kwa ajili ya dhambi za watu. Mungu alipoiona damu, aliachilia rehema badala ya hukumu. Haki yake ilipatikana. Kuleta kipatanisho ilimaanisha kumridhisha Mungu. Ni kwa nini Mungu anataka kusuluhishwa? Mungu amemkasirikia mwanadamu kwa sababu ya dhambi yake (Warumi 1:18, Waefeso 5:6). Damu ya Yesu iliyomwagika ilitupatanisha na Mungu (Warumi 3:25), na kuepusha ghadhabu yake na hili limetuwezesha kupokelewa katika familia yake, sisi ambao tumeweka imani yetu katika Yule aliyempendeza. Ukuta ambao dhambi iliujenga kati ya Mungu na mwanadamu umebomolewa. Upatanisho umefanywa kwa ulimwengu wote (I Yohana 2:2). Kusema kwamba Mungu amepatanishwa na sisi ina maana kuwa ameridhika.

Je, hili lina maana gani kwako na kwangu leo? Hatuhitaji kufikiri jinsi ya kulipia makosa yetu tuliyoyafanya. Nia yetu ya kufanya matendo mema, kutoa sadaka au kujitolea katika mambo mbalimbali sio kumpatanisha Mungu na sisi, lakini ni kwa sababu mioyo yetu imejawa na shukrani. Mungu ameridhika kabisa na upatanisho alioufaya Yesu Kristo.

Kuhesabiwa Haki—kuokolewa kutoka katika adhabu ya dhambi.
Kuhesabiwa Haki: tendo la mara moja tu.

Warumi 3:26, 5:1: Hili ni kama Tamko la ki-mahakama kwamba HAKUNA HATIA. Hakuna uwezekano wa kuhukumiwa huko mbeleni (Warumi 8:1). Hiyo ni nusu tu ya kwanza. Kisha Mungu anatupatia haki ya Kristo. Anatuhesabu kuwa tu wenye haki. Maisha makamilifu ya Kristo na kifo chake kwa ajili ya upatanisho ndio msingi wa kuhesabiwa haki kwa imani pekee. Tunapoamini, yote yaliyo ya Kristo, Mungu huyahesabia kwetu; nasi tunasimama tukiwa hatuna hatia. Hatuhesabiwi haki tu kwa kuwa tunaamini—hii ingefanya imani yetu iwe ndiyo imefanya kazi. Imani ni mkono mtupu ambao unampokea Mwokozi.

Kwa nini ni muhimu kwa sisi kuelewa kuwa ni watu waliohesabiwa haki? Hii haimaanishi kwamba hatuwezi kutenda dhambi tena. Huwa tunatenda dhambi. Na huwa tunakutana na madhara ya dhambi hapa hapa duniani kwa dhambi tulizozifanya. Lakini HAKUNA HUKUMU YA ADHABU MILELE. Jambo hili linapaswa litupe ujasiri katika mahusiano yetu na Mungu. Mungu hawezi kusema uongo. Kama akisema, “Huna hatia” na “Hakuna adhabu,” anasema ukweli na tunaweza kuishika ahadi Yake.

Namsikia Mshitaki akinguruma
Kwa mambo niliyoyafanya
Nayajua na mengine elfu nimefanya
Yehova hakuyaona!

Utakaso—kuokolewa kutoka nguvu ya dhambi
Utakaso: mchakato endelevu

1 Wathesalonike 4:3, 1 Petro 1:16

Kwenye Nafasi: Mwamini ametakaswa katika nafasi yake kwenye familia ya Mungu.

Kwa uzoefu: Kuendelea kutakaswa katika maisha ya kila siku (1 Petro 1:16)

Dhambi haitatutawala kama tutatambua kwamba tunaongozwa na Roho Mtakatifu. Ataendelea kutuweka huru kutoka katika matendo yetu ya nyuma. Atatupa nguvu ya kukataa vishawishi kwa kuwa tumemruhusu atuongoze. Je, unaziona safu zilizoko katika wokovu wetu? Mungu amekwishatengeneza mazingira ambayo yatatuwezesha kuishi maisha yanayompendeza yeye. Mungu tayari ameshatunza dharura yoyote inayoweza kutokea. Kwa hali hii tunaweza kuendelea kukua katika Kristo katika siku zote za maisha yetu.

Kutukuzwa—kuokolewa na uwepo wa dhambi
Kutukuzwa: tendo la mara moja

I Yohana 3:1-3; 1 Wakorintho. 15:35-56: Tutapokea miili yetu ya ufufuo, kama mwili wa Kristo. Hauna asili ya dhambi. Ni vigumu hata kuwaza jinsi miili hiyo ilivyo, tunaweza? Hii ni hali yetu ya baadaye. Ndio maana tunatakiwa kuyaangalia maisha yetu hapa duniani yenye mateso, maumivu, huzuni na majenzi kupitia dirisha ambalo tunauona Umilele. Miaka 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 au 80 hapa duniani ni kitu kidogo sana ukilinganisha na miaka ya milele. Miaka hii Mungu ametupa ili tuitumie kujiandaa kwa ajili ya maisha ya milele. Maamuzi tunayoyafanya hapa, chaguzi na vipaumbele vyote vinabeba sura ya maisha ya baadaye. Tunapaswa kuacha kuishi kana kwamba maisha ya hapa duniani ndio maisha pekee. Sisi tuliompokea Kristo ni watoto wa Mungu, kwa hiyo tunalindwa, Tunapendwa na tumehakikishiwa urithi wa mbinguni.

Kuzaliwa Upya: Kuzaliwa mara ya pili, kuzaliwa na Mungu, Kuzaliwa kwa Roho

Yohana 3:3, 7; 1 Petro 1:3, 23; Yohana 1:13; Tito 3:5: Mara tu tunapomwamini Kristo tunapewa uzima (maisha mapya) wa milele: ambao ni maisha ya Mungu katika moyo wa binadamu. Uzima huu ni wa mara moja na haufutwi wala kurudiwa. Ni kuwa hai kutoka wafu na kupata kwa ubora kabisa maisha na kusudi jipya la kuishi (2 Wakorintho 5:15, 17).

Msamaha wa dhambi

Waefeso 1:7, Yohana 1:29: Msamaha ina maana ya kuondolewa, kama ilivyokuwa kwa kondoo wa kafara kwenye Mambo ya Walawi 16.

Msamaha wa Mungu sio sawa na misamaha yetu. Mungu alijua kwamba sisi hatuwezi kujisikia kukubalika naye au kuwa huru kumtumikia ikiwa ndani yetu tumebeba hatia na hukumu kwa sababu ya dhambi zetu za zamani katika dhamiri zetu. Alijua kwamba dhambi zetu zinapaswa kuondolewa kabisa. Hilo ndilo Yesu alilolifanya kwa kuichukua adhabu yetu. Hii ni kweli na sio kwa ajili ya dhambi tulizozifanya kabla ya kumpokea Kristo, bali kwa ajili ya dhambi tutakazofanya leo na kesho.

Msingi wa Kutakaswa kwa Mwamini

Damu ya Kristo iliyomwagika mara moja tu ndio msingi wa kutakaswa kwetu mara kwa mara kutoka dhambi (1 Yohana 1:7-9). Uhusiano wetu wa kifamilia unashikiliwa na kifo chake; ushirika wetu hurejeshwa kwa kuungama kwetu.

Je, hili lina maana gani kwetu? Hii ina maana kwamba mambo ya kale yalishasamehewa na tunaweza kuendelea kutembea na Mungu kuanzia sasa. Kuungama hapa ina maana ya kukubaliana na Mungu, ya kwamba akisema hii ni dhambi na sisi tunasema hii ni dhambi. Usianze kuitetea: Ooh nilikasirishwa, nilimjibu hivyo kutokana na tabia yake chafu; nina mume asiyejituma n.k Wewe sema, Nilidanganya, Niliiba, Nilimsema vibaya, Nilimjeruhi, Nilikosa upendo. Kiri au ungama jambo kama lilivyo. Kisha Mungu husamehe kwa sababu Yeye ni mwaminifu na wa haki. Mwaminifu maana yake ni kwamba, kwa kuwa alisema, basi atafanya. Wa Haki maana yake ni kwamba kwa kuwa adhabu ililipwa na Mwanaye, atakuwa sio wa haki kutudai tulipe tena. Hili ndilo jambo linalotokea Mungu anapotusamehe dhambi zetu.

Atazitua nyuma yako—Isaya 38:17
Hatazikumbuka—Yeremia 31:34
Ataziweka Mbali nawe—Zaburi 103:12, Mika 7:19
Hizo dhambi hazipo—Isaya 43:25-44:22
Dhamiri imetakaswa—Waebrania 9:14, 10:22

Je, wewe na mimi tunawezaje kuyaona haya? Tunapoziungama dhambi zetu, tunapaswa kuamini kwamba Mungu amesamehe na kututakasa, kisha kwa kuamua tu, tunaupokea msamaha Wake.

Nimemwona Mungu akiwafungua watu kutokana na hatia na aibu ya dhambi zilizopita kwa tendo hili rahisi tu. Hili linaonyeshwa kupitia mwanamke aliyefanya uzinzi mara moja.

Asili ya dhambi imehukumiwa

Warumi 6:1-10, 14: Kifo hakina maana ya kwisha au kumalizika, lakini ni kutenganishwa. Kusulubiwa kwa Mkristo pamoja na Kristo ina maana ya kutengwa na utawala wa dhambi katika maisha yake. Asili ya dhambi haifanyi tena kazi katika maisha yake. Kusulubiwa pamoja na Kristo pia ina maana ya kufufuka pamoja naye kuyaingia maisha mapya. Warumi 6:4: Matendo ya kihistoria ya Kifo cha Kristo na kufufuka vinakuwa sehemu ya historia yetu wakati tunapookoka. Utawala wa asili yetu ya dhambi unaangushwa na kifo cha Kristo nasi tunakuwa huru kuishi maisha yanayompendeza Mungu.

Jambo hili lina maana gani kwetu leo? Mkanda unaotuunganisha sisi na asili ya dhambi unakuwa umekatwa. Sasa tunaweza kukaa chini ya utawala wa Roho Mtakatifu na kumruhusu atengeneze tabia mpya ndani yetu. Nguvu ya dhambi za zamani kama tamaa, wivu, uzinzi, uchoyo, hasira, matusi na mengine—yanaweza kuvunjwa na tukatambua kwamba tumefufuliwa pamoja na Kristo ili tuishi maisha ya ushuhuda mzuri. Tumekuwa viumbe vipya (2 Wakorintho 5:17).

Msingi wa kuondolewa dhambi za Kabla ya Msalaba

Je, ni nini ulikuwa msingi wa msamaha kwa watakatifu wa Agano la Kale? Damu ya wanyama hufunika tu dhambi. Lakini Mwana Kondoo wa Mungu anaondoa dhambi ya ulimwengu. Hakuna kushughulikia dhambi kulikofanikiwa kabla ya msalabani. Kifo cha Kristo ndio msingi wa msamaha katika kila kizazi; imani ni njia tu ya kuufikia. Kitu ambacho hatukijui ni kiasi cha imani kilichokuwa kinahitajika katika Agano la Kale. Lakini kwa kuwa Kristo ni Mwana Kondoo aliyechinjwa kabla ya kuwekwa misingi ya ulimwengu (1 Petro 1:20), katika macho ya Mungu ilikuwa tayari imekwishafanyika, kwa kuwa Mungu haathiriwi wala kufungwa na muda. Hata kama watakatifu wa Agano la Kale hawakuwa na ufunuo mkamilifu ambao sisi tunao sasa, walichukua hatua ya imani kufanya kile ambacho Mungu aliwaagiza kufanya. Walileta dhabihu walizoagizwa na walisamehewa kwa sababu Mungu alijua kwamba angewatolea Mwana Kondoo mkamilifu siku moja.

Kukaliwa na Roho Mtakatifu

Yeye hukaa ndani yetu muda wote ili kutuumbia tabia ya Kristo ndani yetu. Hutupa nguvu za kushinda majaribu. Hulitia nuru Neno la Mungu, hutuongoza katika mapenzi ya Mungu. Tunakaliwa na Mungu Mwenyewe (Waefeso 4:6, Wagalatia 2:20, 1 Wakorintho 6:19, Warumi 8:9).

Kuasilishwa (Adoption)

Wagalatia 4:1-5, Warumi 8:14-17: Kuasilisha mtoto. Katika utamaduni huo, mtoto, kwamba amezaliwa katika familia au la, alipewa haki zote na majukumu ambayo yanamkabili katika familia husika.

Sisi ni watoto tuliozaliwa katika familia ya Mungu na kwa kuwasilishwa sisi ni wana na mabinti tulio na haki zote. Kuasilishwa huku kunatupa hadhi mpya.

Matokeo ya kuwasilishwa ni kukombolewa kutoka utumwani, kutoka dhambi na mwili.

Urithi

Hii ni pamoja na kukamilika katika Kristo (Wakolosai 2:9-10), tukiwa na kila baraka ya kiroho (Waefeso 1:3), na uhakika wa kwenda mbinguni (1 Petro 1:3-5)

Mwisho wa Torati

Warumi 10:4, Wakolosai 2:14: Torati humwonyesha mwanadamu hitaji lake la kumhitaji Kristo (Wagalatia 3:21-24), lakini haiwezi kuhesabiwa haki au kukufanya uwe safi. Sisi tunaishi chini ya sheria ya Kristo (Wagalatia 6:20), au sheria ya Roho (Warumi 8:2). Amri zote Kumi zimerudiwa katika Agano Jipya isipokuwa ile ya Sabato.

Je, hili lina maana gani kwetu? Amri Kumi ziliandikwa katika vibao vya mawe. Sheria ya Kristo Imeandikwa katika mioyo yetu na tunakuwa makini kuhakikisha kwamba tunajifunza Neno na kutii miguso ya Roho Wake.

Torati au Sheria inasihi,
Fanya Hivi ukaishi,
Mikono na Miguu hupewi,
Neno jema yaleta Injili,
Hutugusa turuke angani

Kuna watu ambao wanataka kuturudisha tukae chini ya Torati. Mambo mengine wanayotuambia yanaweza kuwa hayana madhara. Lakini mara tu mtu anapoleta sheria ili apime kiwango cha hali yetu ya kiroho, kama vile kutokula nguruwe au kutokunywa kahawa ni lazima tuwe macho. Baadhi ya mawazo haya hutokana na imani potofu, lakini mengine hutokana na Wakristo wanaotaka kupima kuwa mtu wa kiroho yukoje. Usimruhusu mtu yeyote akuweke chini ya Torati. Kristo aliitimiliza Torati kwa kuitii kikamilifu na kisha akachukua adhabu ya wote walioshindwa kuitii.

Msingi wa hukumu ya Shetani

Wakolosai 2:15, Yohana 12:31, Waebrania 2:14: Hukumu zote anazohukumiwa Shetani msingi wake ni ushindi ambao Kristo aliupata msalabani. Shetani ni adui aliyeshindwa.

Hili lina maana gani kwetu? Kabla ya wokovu, tulimilikiwa na ufalme wa Shetani. Tulipompokea Kristo, Mungu alituhamisha na kutuingiza katika Ufalme wa Mwanawe Mpendwa (Wakolosai 1:13). Alikuja akakaa ndani yetu kwa njia ya Roho Mtakatifu. Aliyeko ndani yetu ni mkuu kuliko Huyo aliyeko katika dunia. Usimfikirie sana Shetani. Wewe elewa tu kwamba una adui ambaye ameshindwa ambaye anajaribu kukushika kisigino ili nawe uwe ni Mkristo aliyeshindwa ambaye hana nguvu ya kumshuhudia Kristo. Tambua hila zake bila kunaswa nazo. Wewe sio mali yake tena.

Kwa kiwango gani?

Thamani au kiwango cha kifo cha Kristo ni kubwa sana na haipimiki. Kilikuwa ni kwa ajili ya watu wote na ni kwa muda wote. Lakini kina maana na thamani tu kwa wale wanaomwamini (Yohana 1:29, 3:17; 2 Wakorintho 5:19; 1 Timotheo. 4:10; 2 Petro. 2:1; 1 Yohana 2:2).

Wokovu unapatikanaje?

Kama mara elfu mbili katika Agano Jipya, wokovu unapatikana katika msingi wa imani katika Bwana Yesu Kristo ambaye alikufa kwa ajili ya dhambi zetu (Yohana. 3:16, 1:12; Matendo 16:31). Wokovu ni karama ya bure. Na inapaswa ipokelewe. Hakikisha kuwa mtu anaelewa kabla ya kumfanyia maombi.

Jadili hatari ya kumshinikiza mtu kwa kumwalika kumpokea Kristo.

Ulinzi wa Nje

Ushahidi:

  1. Roho Mtakatifu hutuweka katika Mwili wa Kristo—kwa ubatizo (1 Wakorintho 12:13). Hakuna mawazo kwamba tunaweza kuondolewa.
  2. Roho Mtakatifu humtia muhuri mwamini hadi siku ya ukombozi (Waefeso 1:13; 4:30). Hii ni alama ya umiliki na mamlaka. Kupoteza wokovu kungekuwa na maana ya kuuvunja muhuri kabla ya siku ya ukombozi.
  3. Roho Mtakatifu ni malipo ya awali au arabuni ambayo tunaipokea katika wokovu wetu (2 Wakorintho 5:5, Waefeso 1:14).
  4. Ni ahadi ya Yesu (Yohana 10:28-30).
  5. Warumi 8:28-39 ndiyo inayoshawishi zaidi na ina maelezo.

Maswali ya Kujifunza

Soma Waefeso 1:3-14; Warumi 8:28-30

1. Wokovu wetu ulipangwa lini? Ni nini kusudi la Mungu kwetu sisi tuliompokea Kristo? Ni nini matokeo yake (6, 12, 14)?

Soma Waebrania 9:22, 26-28; 10:11-14

2. Kwa nini sadaka za kuteketezwa zilitolewa? Kwa nini sadaka za wanyama hazikutosha? Kwa nini sadaka ya Kristo ilikuwa ni muhimu?

Soma Mathayo 20:28: Marko 10:45; 1 Petro 3:18

3. Ni nini maana kuu ya Kifo cha Kristo? Andika kwa kifupi kwa kutumia maneno yako mwenyewe kwamba kinamaanisha nini kwako binafsi.

Soma 1 Wakorintho 15:1-4, 12-19

4. Kwa ufupi injili ina maana gani? Kwa nini kufufuka kwa Yesu kulikuwa ni kwa muhimu?

Waefeso 1:19-23; Waebrania 7:23-27

5. Yesu yuko wapi sasa? Ni nini huduma yake ya kimbingu kwetu leo?

Soma 1 Wakorintho 6:20; 1 Petro 1:18-19; Wagalatia 3:13; Tito 2:14

6. Je Kristo alitimiliza nini kwa ajili yetu katika mistari hii? Ni nini kusudi lake kwa ajili ya maisha yetu?

Soma 2 Wakorintho 5:17-21

7. Ni kitu gani kingine kilichotimilizwa kwa ajili yetu?

Soma Wakolosai 1:13-14; I Yohana 1:7; Waebrania 9:14

8. Ni kitu gani kingine kilichotimilizwa kwa ajili yetu? Ni kwa jinsi gani tunaweza kusamehewa dhambi tulizozifanya baada ya kuokoka? Je Mungu anatutaka tuendelee kubeba hatia ya dhambi iliyokwishasamehewa? Kwa nini?

Soma Wafilipi 3:20; 1 Petro 2:5, 9; Yohana 1:12-13; Wagalatia 4:5; 1 Petro 1:4

9. Orodhesha faida nyingine za wokovu wetu ambazo zinapatikana katika aya hizi

Soma Warumi 8:31-39

10. Ni kitu gani ambacho ukikifanya utapoteza uhusiano wako na Mungu? Je, kuna jambo lolote ambalo mtu mwingine anaweza kufanya kwako ili kufuta kila kitu ambacho Kristo amefanya? Una maelezo gani kwa swali hili? Je, hali hii inakufanya ufikiri kuwa ni sawa tu kutenda dhambi kwa vile kuna kusamehewa? Au je, inakuhimiza kumpenda Bwana zaidi na kumtumikia kwa uaminifu zaidi?

Related Topics: Curriculum, Hamartiology (Sin), Soteriology (Salvation)

网上牧师杂志–中文版(简体), SCh Ed, Issue 29 2018 年 秋季

2018年秋季版

A ministry of…

作者: Roger Pascoe博士, 主席,
圣经讲道学会
剑桥市, 安大略省, 加拿大
邮箱: [email protected]
电话: 1-519-620-2375

Part I:加强讲解式讲道

“强化引言”

引言(开始的部分)和结束是一篇讲道很重要的两部分,然而也往往是最容易被忽视的部分。如果引言不好,你很难使听众相信(1)圣经指出了他们的需要,因此(2)他们应该听你讲的道。如果你的结束部分不好,那么你就无法完成讲道最主要任务,就是劝说听众去改变,产生一个生命蜕变的回应,使你所讲的道在听众的生活中发生作用。

A.引言的目的

1. 起到前后过渡的作用

每篇讲道,引言之前通常都有一些适当的评论。引言前的评论(引言之前的引言)的作用:

(a) 如果你是外面请来的牧师,你可以介绍一下你自己或者说一些事情和听众拉近距离。

(b) 你可以强调或者确认教会里的某个声明或者某个重要的事情

(c) 你可以将当天主日崇拜前面已经进行的部分联系起来,

一般来说,引言前的评论是将之前发生的部分和之后要进行的部分联系起来的桥梁(比如通过提及敬拜诗歌的主题)。它还给你提供了关照牧养事宜(比如某一个会众的疾病)的机会。

在这部分引言中,照顾到前面已经进行的部分——不要忽视前面的部分,就像从来没有发生一样。也要照顾整个崇拜的氛围。

2.为将要进行的铺路

引言的目的是为引入讲道,不是为了使听众发笑,或者讲故事,或者花言巧语吸引听众再来

3.和听众之间建立联系

利用引言这个桥梁来营造由你个性所带来的个人特有的氛围,使讲道不至程序化,刻板或者缺乏人情味。这样,使你在整个讲道过程中,或许是第一次,在个人层面上和听众联系起来。

B.引言的难处

为什么有的时候很难知道如何开始?可能因为你过早地写下你的引言。引言通常是你准备讲章过程中最后才来完成的部分之一。也可能因为引言部分如此重要,而又涵盖范围广,需要创造性。你或许早已完成讲道要做的研究以及讲章大纲,但是如果没有丰富且有创意的想法,你仍然无法有效的准备引言。

C.一个好引言所具备的因素

对于介绍任何公开的、口头的交流,关键因素是什么?

#1:明确你的目的/负担

你的引言必须与你讲道的目的一致,而且为这个目的服务。如果你没有目的,那为何要讲道呢?如果你连要达成的目的都不知道,那怎么能够完成呢?没有目的,你可以讲道,但对听众毫无作用和意义。你必须有一个努力的目标,瞄准的靶子。所以,在引言中明确你讲道的目的。

问你自己:

  • 你为什么讲这篇道?
  • 在这篇信息(讲道)中你要达成的目标是什么?在引言的开头写明你的目的,会很有帮助。这样有利于保持你在整篇讲道中不偏离主题。
  • 在结束时,你打算要求听众做出怎样的反应?
  • 你对你所宣讲的真理的信念是什么?
  • 为什么这篇信息(讲道)是至关重要的?

记住,每一篇讲道都有四个普遍的目的—激励;告知;使信服;劝戒。

讲道者的目的/负担可用个人关心的方式来表达,也可用说明为什么需要这个真理的方式来表达。这里有几个建议,来帮助你说明自己的目的/负担。

  •   “根据我们刚刚读过的神的话,我今天这篇信息的目的就是呼召你们所有人….”
  • “我个人的负担就是这篇讲道能够帮助你们每个人避免……”
  • “今天的讲道是呼召你们在关于…..做一个决定”

你信息的目的/负担拉近了信息和听众之间的距离。它提前说明了你信息的走向以及你所期望的结果。

你如何将讲道的目的和主旨(比如,主题/要点)联系起来?问你自己:“基于这段经文的主旨,神希望我的听众来理解和遵守的是什么?”换句话说,你之所以对会众讲这篇道应该与(圣经这段经文的)作者想要传递给他听众的信息是一致的。最初作者为什么要写下这些经文?他想要他的听众知道什么,做什么,或者是改变什么,遵守什么?

#2:从一个关联点开始介绍

从关联点入手介绍是为了快速吸引并保持听众的注意力。世俗的交流充斥着人们,并影响他们倾听的方式—比如简短的录音片段(电视、电影等)。台下的听众可能身处于各种不同的干扰因素中—过去一周所发生的事情,身边不听话的孩子等。讲道对于听众来说,要么成为关掉这些干扰的一段时间,要么成为收听这些干扰的一段时间。

在崇拜的前面部分,会众已经参与了歌唱,奉献等。这些保持了他们的注意力。但是现在(讲道时),他们作为听者和学习者,角色更加被动。讲道者的任务就是要活跃氛围,吸引听众的注意,但要避免老套、过于夸张和虚伪。

什么才是安全而有效的方法来吸引听众的注意力呢?我有以下建议:

  • 以一个与你信息的主题相关,又接近听众生活且有趣的说明、例子或者生活的片段开头,
  • 告诉听众在过去一周中发生在你生活中,而又与你所要讲的内容关联的一件事。但是注意不要经常这样做。没有人总是想要听牧师的生活。
  • 以一个挑战性的提问开头。但是同样的,如果你每个周都这样做,就会变得枯燥无味,而且听众预先就知道,反而破坏了你所要达成的效果。

#3:将听众和圣经联系起来

你的引言必须把听众的生活(他们的需要、困难和问题)、圣经经文以及你的讲道清楚地联系起来。听众需要明白你知道他们的需要,并且对于他们的需要,圣经中有相关的教导。所以,显明听众的需要以及你对他们需要的理解(比如“我们”一起—我们都经历这些,包括你—牧师)。你们(牧师和会众)处在共同的信仰与实践之旅中。

你如何建立或者确定会众的需要是什么?显然地,你需要了解你的会众:

  • 会众个人的生活以及教会整体生活如何?
  • 什么事情困扰他们?
  • 哪些需要纠正、发展或者称赞?
  • 在世界范围内哪些事情的发生可能使他们质疑自己的信仰、对神的理解或者问“为什么”?
  • 教会生活中哪些事情/问题需要被神的话语显明?(比如分裂、派系、嫉妒、事工中的软弱等)

了解你的会众,并非意味着你的教导要针对“感觉上的需要”,而是“真正的”属灵需要,不论感觉到还是没感觉到。现今人们真正所需要的,往往不会被“感觉到”,而是神在他的话语中显明出来。这需要大量的祷告和智慧才能够明白什么是圣灵想你要讲的,以及如何讲,才能针对你教会的一个真正地属灵需要。

你怎样指出这些真正的需要呢?一个方式就是提问题,比如:

  • “ 你们中有多少人曾经经历…?”
  • “ 在你个人生活或者教会的生活中,你是否曾经对….感到疑惑?”
  • “你想知道神对…是怎么说的吗?”

另一种方式就是对会众的需要做一个指引性的陈述:

  • “我们都有时会遭遇…”
  • “我相信你们都经常会疑惑—为什么…”
  • “我觉得对我们来说,现在是时候思考…”

一旦你明确了这篇讲道的必要性,接着便转移到圣经,告诉听众圣经指出了这个问题。在这里你并非要讲解你今天的经文——而只是简单地让听众知道圣经指出了这个问题并提供了解决途径。听众会想“这些与我们有什么相关?”。你的答案是“因为对你的问题,我有从圣经而来的答案。”在这里,你向听众提供了解决方法,就是告诉他们你最终要讲什么以及对他们的益处是什么。,

#4:确立你的权柄

你并非在给出所有的答案,而是承诺你有一个从神的话语而来的答案。这是此时听众需要知道的。

  • 你对正在讲的东西充满了热情。
  • 你正在讲的东西(例如你答案)有从神而来的权柄,来自于神的话(并不是你自己的想法)

#5:为听道提供一个动力

引言本身应该具有激励性。它将你要讲的内容和听众联系起来。它为“我为什么要听?”这类问题提供了答案。它使听众知道,你的讲道对他们有益而且很重要。

一些可以为听道提供动力的方式:

  • 你将要讲的内容对每个人都有影响的
  • 你将要讲的会改变他们的生活。
  • 你有他们所面对的问题或者需要的答案。

#6:明确你的主题

明确你将要讲什么。要简洁明了。约束你的主题,例如不要太宽泛;不要导致你的会众需要猜测你讲的是什么。

#7:道明你的主旨

将你的讲道浓缩成一句话(有时叫做主旨或中心思想),使听众知道。

  • 你要讲的主要内容/核心真理
  • 或者,你所要回答的问题
  • 或者你想要会众听从的劝导

问自己:你要证明、解释或者劝戒什么?你要传递的原则是什么?对这段经文,你想要讲的是什么?这就是你想要传递的主旨。它是对讲章的简单概括,是神学观点、是与生活相关的不变的原则。

总要用完整的句子讲明你的主旨。完整的句子能够表达完整的观点。这也是你进行充分而易懂的沟通的唯一途径。

主旨的论述包含两个主要因素:

(1)讲道的主题

(2)讲道的要点(你对这个主题将要讲的内容)

在已经点明了主题的情况下,现在你要在主旨中,将主题和关于这个主题你要讲的内容联系起来。比如你的主题是“神的爱”,问你自己:“关于神的爱,这段经文讲了什么?要点是什么?我们要听从的真理是什么?”换句话说,主旨就是主题的浓缩,精炼或者设限。

建议你采用应用性的方式讲明你的主旨。

应用性指的是采用直接的呼吁听众做出反应的陈述

  • 做真正的门徒要求我们(包括你自己和听众)顺服主耶稣,无论付出怎样的代价。(可8:34-38)
  • 有影响力的基督徒是那些为了神而在这个世界做出改变的基督徒。(太5:13)

我们使其更具应用性就是通过在主旨中点明可以应用到我们生活中的持久不变的原则,将我们从经文中(用词,文化背景,当时的人、事、物)转移到现代社会,

你怎样点明主旨,从而使你的听众知道何为你的主旨。

你可以采用介绍性的语句,比如:

  • “今天早上我们将从这段经文中看到…”
  • “真理是”
  • “今天我们要讲述的真理是…”
  • “今天,我想要你们对神话语中所启示的真理做出回应…”

你怎样确定你的主旨,这个很关键。通常来说,就是写下你讲章的要点,然后找到能够将这些要点都涵盖关联起来的点。因此,你的主旨是一个“要点中的要点”。主旨将所有内容结合在一起,因为你的要点来自于主旨,因此也就是你的整篇讲章都来自于主旨。关于这个的更多内容,请看2017年秋季版杂志。

#8:最后准备你的引言,或者至少要等到你已经完成讲章提纲之后。

#9: 保持你的引言简洁明了(清楚、重点突出、目的明确)

如果你将它保持在讲道时间的10-15%(3-4分钟),你必须简洁明了。

#10:完整写下你的引言,并且记住前几段。

写出来迫使你更好地思考,但是讲的时候,尽量不要被笔记束缚。记住前几段有助于你和听众建立起联系,使你能够以自己的方式接近听众。

#11:读经文段落并祷告

我建议你自己来读经文段落,之后可以提及两到三次。你也可以在这段经文的基础上加以评说。

注意,好的经文阅读应该:

  • 神得荣耀
  • 语速适中
  • 适当的重读或强调
  • 不要太快(这通常是牧师最容易犯的错误)
  • 有表现力但避免虚夸

这也是一个教给听众如何朗读经文以及如何从你的朗读方式中了解经文意义的极好机会。

不要忘记祷告。读完经文之后,接下来自然是祷告。要使祷告成为整个崇拜的重要部分。祷告也是敬拜的一种,应该承接前面的崇拜。

#12:使引言多样化

引言多样化可以避免你的听众疲劳。但是不要因此而变得戏剧化。有创意与耍花招吸引人不同。

这里有关于使引言多样化的十个建议(他们都包含相同的元素,但是安排方式不同)

(1)发生在你自己生活中的故事,引入与之相关的经文,接着说明讲道的目的。

(2)某个人真实生活的一个侧面,接着说明讲道的目的,然后引入经文。

(3)历史上的一个例子,接着说明讲道目的,然后阅读经文,最后点明主旨。

(4)从经文而来的一个直接的陈述,以及它与听众有什么联系。

(5)提及一个需求,一个被你的一部分会众提出或者推测出的需求,然后联系到这段经文如何满足这个需求。

(6)复述一个圣经故事。接着说明讲道的目的,以及我们有的指望,就是那在这个故事中行事的神,今日在我们中间也能够而且照样如此行事。

(7)举一个与经文相关的现代社会的问题,接着引入经文,然后说明今天讲解这段经文的真理正是解决这个社会问题的方法。

(8)问一个或者一系列的问题,促使听众来思考一个对人来说真实的需要或者需要面对的状况。强调这个需要(我们每个人都有这个需要);说明神如何能够满足这个需要,以及你的信息将如何解释神怎样来满足这个需要。

(9)道明主旨/你要讲的核心真理,给出纲要,然后接着进入你讲道的主体部分。

(10)提及一个人们关注的时事新闻。针对这个问题,看圣经如何说(例如,“为什么”这样的问题)。

#13:过渡到讲解,也就是讲章的主体部分

(1)提供理解这段经文所需要的上下文以及背景信息。也叫背景介绍。这使听众能够更准确全面地理解这段经文,并且使他们知道你所讲的东西来自于神的话。

  • 这段经文的复杂性
  • 讲道的类型(比如教义讲解;福音传道等等)
  • 这是否是一系列讲道的开始(这种情况下你可能会给出更多详细信息),或者是一系列讲道的后续信息(这种情况下你可能不会提供更多信息或者只是一点)

以一种有吸引力的方式提供背景或者上下文信息——不要枯燥无味,而要与信息息息相关且接近生活;也不要讲得太多免得听众失去兴趣。

(2)过渡到你要讲解的第一个重点。这里有一些技巧可以帮助你顺利地过渡到讲解部分。

  • 这里你提前说明你要讲解的要点“今天,我们要从这段经文看到…”

… 圣经从三个方面指出了这个问题-1…2…3…

…圣经从三个方面说明了为什么…-1…2…3…

  • 只用一个简语“注意到…”,接着介绍你的第一个要点

D.提醒

记住,一篇讲道,除非经过充分准备并且在圣灵的大能和带领下,否则不会产生任何持续的影响。

注意,没有任何一种讲道的模式或者方式在任何情况下都一定会适用于任何讲道者。历史上一些伟大的布道者并不遵循我所列出的这些讲道模式。他们不完全遵循这些规律,并不代表你就可以不使用。说不定如果他们发挥使用这些引言的技巧,他们的讲道可能会比实际更有能力。

记住,你必须使这篇讲道成为你自己的,才能够影响别人的生活。这就是我们所说的带着生命见证的讲道,即“道成肉身”。

Part II:能带来改变的领导

理解牧养事工的核心(歌1:24-2;5)

使徒保罗很明确地说到,牧师是“执事”或 “仆人”。我们是福音的执事(歌1:23)和教会的执事(歌1:25).这是我们最主要的职责。永远不要让其他的事情挤占了这些职责,这些是我们应该花精力的地方——传讲神的话和服侍信徒。因此,我想就歌罗西书1:24-2:5关于“牧养事工的核心”作一些点评。在这里保罗所说的重点是“牧师是为教会做基督的仆人”。注意…

A.在牧养事工中,我们为教会的缘故受苦(24)

“现在我为你们受苦,倒觉快乐,…要在我肉身上补满基督患难的缺欠” (歌1:24a)。这段经文中喜乐贯穿始终—一开始,保罗在受苦中倒觉欢乐(歌1:24),最后,保罗又因他们的信心而欢喜。这就是服侍基督和信徒最大的喜乐。这是我们的动力所在,也是我们的奖赏。但是与喜乐掺杂的,也有困苦艰难。作为牧师,我们为教会的缘故受苦。

1.在牧养事工中,我们因为和教会的关系受苦

保罗把自己的受苦看做是他服侍教会所应当承受的——“我为你们受苦(24a),为了他们的益处。保罗服侍他们,因此为了他们的益处而忍受苦难,比如监牢、嘲笑、鞭打等等。牧师为教会受苦是真实的。

(a)我们因为和信徒之间的关系而受苦。我们对他们的悲伤试炼感同身受,并且我们也作为祭司,在神面前坚立他们。

(b)当这些我们所爱所服侍的信徒被撒旦攻击,他们的生活开始偏离方向,我们受痛苦。并且有的时候,他们并不留意我们的劝戒。

(c)因为别人不能理解我们所说所做的,而遭遇批评拒绝。

2.在牧养事工中,我们因为与基督的认同而受苦

“…并且为基督的身体,就是为教会,要在我肉身上补满基督患难的缺欠” (24b)。保罗把自己的受苦和基督的患难联系起来。因他继续做基督的工作,所以他的受苦是基督所受苦难的延续。并且所有为基督的名而服侍信徒的人都会像基督一样受苦。

所以,牧师为教会的缘故受苦。理解这些,使作为牧师而受的苦和试炼变得有目的,有意义,有价值而且更能忍受,因为这些是在服侍教会和继续从事基督事工中所经历的。

牧师必须从这样的角度来理解和看待自己的工作,才能够处理和面对事工中的艰难苦痛,为了自己的福祉也为了教会的福祉。

B.在牧养事工中,我们是教会的管家

. “...我照神为你们所赐给我的职分作了教会的执事,要把神的道理传得全备”(25)。

我们是教会的管家。管家是照管别人财产和事物的人。牧师是基督教会的管家。我们作为基督执事的位分是仆人之一,职分则是管家之一。

1.我们是神话语的管家

我们作为管家的第一要务是把神的话传得完备。“要把神的道理传得完备” (25b)。我们所传讲的神的话语是“历世历代所隐藏的奥秘,但如今向他的圣徒显明了”(26)。我们把福音的“奥秘”,也就是先前隐藏的但如今向圣徒显明的奥秘,通过讲道以及牧养领导使圣徒明白,“神愿意让他们知道,这奥秘在外邦人中有何等丰盛的荣耀,就是基督在你们心里成了荣耀的盼望”。(27).

传讲神的话就是传讲“基督在你们心里成了荣耀的盼望” (27b),也是传讲“基督…用诸般的智慧劝戒各人,教导各人” (28a)。

我们是神话语的管家。这是我们作为牧师的第一要务—把神的道理传得完备。并且…

2.我们作为信徒的管家

我们的第二要务是神儿女属灵上的充分成熟—“要把个人在基督里完完全全地引到神面前”(28b)。我也为此劳苦,照着他在我里面运行的大能尽心竭力”(29)。我们作为神子民的管家劳苦至终是为了鼓励、造就、坚固那些神托付给我们去照管的人,以至于我们“要把个人在基督里完完全全地引到神面前。”这必须成为我们的目标,在将来的那一天,把基督身体里的每一个肢体在基督里完完全全地引到神面前。

你可能会说“谁能担得起做这些事情呢?我该怎么来做?这样的管家很伟大!”那么牧师可以从这句话里得到鼓励,即上帝使我们能够胜任做这个管家。事工是一项艰难的工作,有的时候既难且累,但是当我们为神的工作“劳苦”“尽心竭力”时,我们意识到是神“在我里面运用大能大力”。(29b)事奉的充足不是来自我们自己的能力,而是神在我们里面工作。

牧师必须使用神的大能。当事奉就像干苦力时(劳苦和尽心竭力),当我们需要力量去做额外的努力时,我们能够来到在我们里面“运用大能大力”的神面前。这是我们事奉充足的所在。当我们面对困难、冲突和失望时,这是我们能力的来源。神的能力激励我们,使我们重新有力量。神的能力是我们事奉有效的秘诀—不是我们的项目、技术、促销、心理或噱头,而是神“在我里面运用大能大力”。

因此,在牧养事工中,我们为了教会而受苦(24),我们是教会的管家(25-29).

C.在牧养事工中,我们为了教会的灵性而努力(2:1-5)

牧养事工是一种不断的努力。用保罗的话来说,我们在事奉中为了神的子民“挣扎/尽心竭力”(2:1)。我们为了什么“挣扎”?为什么劳苦?什么是我们为之不断努力的?我们是为了教会的灵性而尽心竭力。

1.尽心竭力的牧养是为了鼓励神的子民

…“要叫他们的心得安慰”(2:2a)。这意味着什么?是让每个人都自我感觉良好吗?是灌输每个人都积极思想吗?是总是说人想听的话吗?绝对不是!这里的“鼓励”指的是使他们有信心,激励他们,推动他们前进,属灵上扶持他们。我们怎样来做这些呢?我们怎样鼓励神的子民呢?

(a)通过促进他们在圣灵里的合一,以致他们“因爱心互相联络”(2:2b)。合一是主耶稣对他子民的热切期盼。这也必须是每个牧师和教会领袖的热切盼望。合一不是基于强迫,不是为了个人利益,而是基于共同的爱和尊重。这是基督在世上强大的力量。在爱里合一能使教会强大、稳定、抵挡仇敌的诡计,影响社区,健康且快乐。

所以,牧师通过促进他们在灵里合一来鼓励神的子民。并且他们鼓励神的子民…

(b) 通过促进他们属灵上的领悟,以致他们“丰丰足足在悟性中有充足的信心,使他们真知道神的奥秘,就是基督”(2:2c)。我们的任务就是教导会众神的全部旨意,使他们真知道他们信的是什么,信的是谁。

如果我们在自己的事奉中以这样的方式鼓励神子民的心,那么在神的时间和方式,我们会看到我们想看到的结果。

2.尽心竭力牧养的奖赏就是因他们的积极回应而喜乐

“见你们循规蹈矩,信基督的心也坚固,我就欢喜了”(2:5)

怎样才是你牧养领导的正面反映…

  • 教会循规蹈主要表现在事工中顺服、肢体协作、尊重、喜乐等。
  • 会众信心坚定。在基督里的信心面对攻击时不动摇,忠诚,不论发生什么都能够坚定。

结语:

这就是牧养事奉的核心。一方面,我们“喜乐”。另一方面,我们“受苦”。但是看到神的子民做事遵循真理的教导,信基督的心也坚固,使这一切都值得。牧养领导艰难吗?是的!值得吗?当然!

如果你对会众所怀的心意是他们在爱里合一,他们对神和神话语的全备知识,那么你真是基督的执事。今天让我来挑战并鼓励你实行你的牧养事工…

…成为一个为了教会而和基督一起受苦的人

…成为一个把神的道理传得全备的教会的管家,

…成为一个为教会属灵成长(合一、悟性、循规蹈矩、信心坚固)而努力的人

这是牧养事奉的核心。愿神丰丰富富祝福你的事工。

Part III:讲章大纲

如果想听关于这些的英文讲道,请点击链接:Link 1 - Jn. 18:38-19:3; Link 2 - Jn. 19:4-9; Link 3 - Jn. 19:9-10; Link 4 - Jn. 19:11-12.

题目:耶稣的君王身份

主题:耶稣的君王身份暴露了权利的冲突

要点 #1:舆论的控制力(38b-6)

要点 #2:恐惧的破坏力(7-9a)

要点 #3:知识的自信力(9b)

要点 #4:地位的自负力(10)

要点 #5:神的全备能力(11-12)

Related Topics: Pastors

網上牧師雜誌 – 中文版(繁體), TCh Ed, Issue 29 2018年 秋季

2018年秋季版

A ministry of…

作者: Roger Pascoe博士, 主席,
聖經講道學會
劍橋市, 安大略省, 加拿大
郵箱: [email protected]
電話: 1-519-620-2375

Part I:加強講解式講道

“強化引言”

引言(開始的部分)和結束是一篇講道很重要的兩部分,然而也往往是最容易被忽視的部分。如果引言不好,你很難使聽眾相信(1)聖經指出了他們的需要,因此(2)他們應該聽你講的道。如果你的結束部分不好,那麼你就無法完成講道最主要任務,就是勸說聽眾去改變,產生一個生命蛻變的回應,使你所講的道在聽眾的生活中發生作用。

A.引言的目的

1. 起到前後過渡的作用

每篇講道,引言之前通常都有一些適當的評論。引言前的評論(引言之前的引言)的作用:

(a) 如果你是外面請來的牧師,你可以介紹一下你自己或者說一些事情和聽眾拉近距離。

(b) 你可以強調或者確認教會裡的某個聲明或者某個重要的事情

(c) 你可以將當天主日崇拜前面已經進行的部分聯繫起來,

一般來說,引言前的評論是將之前發生的部分和之後要進行的部分聯繫起來的橋樑(比如通過提及敬拜詩歌的主題)。它還給你提供了關照牧養事宜(比如某一個會眾的疾病)的機會。

在這部分引言中,照顧到前面已經進行的部分——不要忽視前面的部分,就像從來沒有發生一樣。也要照顧整個崇拜的氛圍。

2.為將要進行的鋪路

引言的目的是為引入講道,不是為了使聽眾發笑,或者講故事,或者花言巧語吸引聽眾再來

3.和聽眾之間建立聯繫

利用引言這個橋樑來營造由你個性所帶來的個人特有的氛圍,使講道不至程式化,刻板或者缺乏人情味。這樣,使你在整個講道過程中,或許是第一次,在個人層面上和聽眾聯繫起來。

B.引言的難處

為什麼有的時候很難知道如何開始?可能因為你過早地寫下你的引言。引言通常是你準備講章過程中最後才來完成的部分之一。也可能因為引言部分如此重要,而又涵蓋範圍廣,需要創造性。你或許早已完成講道要做的研究以及講章大綱,但是如果沒有豐富且有創意的想法,你仍然無法有效的準備引言。

C.一個好引言所具備的因素

對於介紹任何公開的、口頭的交流,關鍵因素是什麼?

#1:明確你的目的/負擔

你的引言必須與你講道的目的一致,而且為這個目的服務。如果你沒有目的,那為何要講道呢?如果你連要達成的目的都不知道,那怎麼能夠完成呢?沒有目的,你可以講道,但對聽眾毫無作用和意義。你必須有一個努力的目標,瞄準的靶子。所以,在引言中明確你講道的目的。

問你自己:

  • 你為什麼講這篇道?
  • 在這篇資訊(講道)中你要達成的目標是什麼?在引言的開頭寫明你的目的,會很有説明。這樣有利於保持你在整篇講道中不偏離主題。
  • 在結束時,你打算要求聽眾做出怎樣的反應?
  • 你對你所宣講的真理的信念是什麼?
  • 為什麼這篇資訊(講道)是至關重要的?

記住,每一篇講道都有四個普遍的目的—激勵;告知;使信服;勸戒。

講道者的目的/負擔可用個人關心的方式來表達,也可用說明為什麼需要這個真理的方式來表達。這裡有幾個建議,來説明你說明自己的目的/負擔。

  •   “根據我們剛剛讀過的神的話,我今天這篇資訊的目的就是呼召你們所有人….”
  • “我個人的負擔就是這篇講道能夠幫助你們每個人避免……”
  • “今天的講道是呼召你們在關於…..做一個決定”

你資訊的目的/負擔拉近了資訊和聽眾之間的距離。它提前說明了你資訊的走向以及你所期望的結果。

你如何將講道的目的和主旨(比如,主題/要點)聯繫起來?問你自己:“基於這段經文的主旨,神希望我的聽眾來理解和遵守的是什麼?”換句話說,你之所以對會眾講這篇道應該與(聖經這段經文的)作者想要傳遞給他聽眾的資訊是一致的。最初作者為什麼要寫下這些經文?他想要他的聽眾知道什麼,做什麼,或者是改變什麼,遵守什麼?

#2:從一個關聯點開始介紹

從關聯點入手介紹是為了快速吸引並保持聽眾的注意力。世俗的交流充斥著人們,並影響他們傾聽的方式—比如簡短的錄音片段(電視、電影等)。台下的聽眾可能身處於各種不同的干擾因素中—過去一周所發生的事情,身邊不聽話的孩子等。講道對於聽眾來說,要麼成為關掉這些干擾的一段時間,要麼成為收聽這些干擾的一段時間。

在崇拜的前面部分,會眾已經參與了歌唱,奉獻等。這些保持了他們的注意力。但是現在(講道時),他們作為聽者和學習者,角色更加被動。講道者的任務就是要活躍氛圍,吸引聽眾的注意,但要避免老套、過於誇張和虛偽。

什麼才是安全而有效的方法來吸引聽眾的注意力呢?我有以下建議:

  • 以一個與你資訊的主題相關,又接近聽眾生活且有趣的說明、例子或者生活的片段開頭,
  • 告訴聽眾在過去一周中發生在你生活中,而又與你所要講的內容關聯的一件事。但是注意不要經常這樣做。沒有人總是想要聽牧師的生活。
  • 以一個挑戰性的提問開頭。但是同樣的,如果你每個周都這樣做,就會變得枯燥無味,而且聽眾預先就知道,反而破壞了你所要達成的效果。

#3:將聽眾和聖經聯繫起來

你的引言必須把聽眾的生活(他們的需要、困難和問題)、聖經經文以及你的講道清楚地聯繫起來。聽眾需要明白你知道他們的需要,並且對於他們的需要,聖經中有相關的教導。所以,顯明聽眾的需要以及你對他們需要的理解(比如“我們”一起—我們都經歷這些,包括你—牧師)。你們(牧師和會眾)處在共同的信仰與實踐之旅中。

你如何建立或者確定會眾的需要是什麼?顯然地,你需要瞭解你的會眾:

  • 會眾個人的生活以及教會整體生活如何?
  • 什麼事情困擾他們?
  • 哪些需要糾正、發展或者稱讚?
  • 在世界範圍內哪些事情的發生可能使他們質疑自己的信仰、對神的理解或者問“為什麼”?
  • 教會生活中哪些事情/問題需要被神的話語顯明?(比如分裂、派系、嫉妒、事工中的軟弱等)

瞭解你的會眾,並非意味著你的教導要針對“感覺上的需要”,而是“真正的”屬靈需要,不論感覺到還是沒感覺到。現今人們真正所需要的,往往不會被“感覺到”,而是神在他的話語中顯明出來。這需要大量的禱告和智慧才能夠明白什麼是聖靈想你要講的,以及如何講,才能針對你教會的一個真正地屬靈需要。

你怎樣指出這些真正的需要呢?一個方式就是提問題,比如:

  • “ 你們中有多少人曾經經歷…?”
  • “ 在你個人生活或者教會的生活中,你是否曾經對….感到疑惑?”
  • “你想知道神對…是怎麼說的嗎?”

另一種方式就是對會眾的需要做一個指引性的陳述:

  • “我們都有時會遭遇…”
  • “我相信你們都經常會疑惑—為什麼…”
  • “我覺得對我們來說,現在是時候思考…”

一旦你明確了這篇講道的必要性,接著便轉移到聖經,告訴聽眾聖經指出了這個問題。在這裡你並非要講解你今天的經文——而只是簡單地讓聽眾知道聖經指出了這個問題並提供了解決途徑。聽眾會想“這些與我們有什麼相關?”。你的答案是“因為對你的問題,我有從聖經而來的答案。”在這裡,你向聽眾提供了解決方法,就是告訴他們你最終要講什麼以及對他們的益處是什麼。,

#4:確立你的權柄

你並非在給出所有的答案,而是承諾你有一個從神的話語而來的答案。這是此時聽眾需要知道的。

  • 你對正在講的東西充滿了熱情。
  • 你正在講的東西(例如你答案)有從神而來的權柄,來自於神的話(並不是你自己的想法)

#5:為聽道提供一個動力

引言本身應該具有激勵性。它將你要講的內容和聽眾聯繫起來。它為“我為什麼要聽?”這類問題提供了答案。它使聽眾知道,你的講道對他們有益而且很重要。

一些可以為聽道提供動力的方式:

  • 你將要講的內容對每個人都有影響的
  • 你將要講的會改變他們的生活。
  • 你有他們所面對的問題或者需要的答案。

#6:明確你的主題

明確你將要講什麼。要簡潔明瞭。約束你的主題,例如不要太寬泛;不要導致你的會眾需要猜測你講的是什麼。

#7:道明你的主旨

將你的講道濃縮成一句話(有時叫做主旨或中心思想),使聽眾知道。

  • 你要講的主要內容/核心真理
  • 或者,你所要回答的問題
  • 或者你想要會眾聽從的勸導

問自己:你要證明、解釋或者勸戒什麼?你要傳遞的原則是什麼?對這段經文,你想要講的是什麼?這就是你想要傳遞的主旨。它是對講章的簡單概括,是神學觀點、是與生活相關的不變的原則。

總要用完整的句子講明你的主旨。完整的句子能夠表達完整的觀點。這也是你進行充分而易懂的溝通的唯一途徑。

主旨的論述包含兩個主要因素:

(1)講道的主題

(2)講道的要點(你對這個主題將要講的內容)

在已經點明了主題的情況下,現在你要在主旨中,將主題和關於這個主題你要講的內容聯繫起來。比如你的主題是“神的愛”,問你自己:“關於神的愛,這段經文講了什麼?要點是什麼?我們要聽從的真理是什麼?”換句話說,主旨就是主題的濃縮,精煉或者設限。

建議你採用應用性的方式講明你的主旨。

應用性指的是採用直接的呼籲聽眾做出反應的陳述

  • 做真正的門徒要求我們(包括你自己和聽眾)順服主耶穌,無論付出怎樣的代價。(可8:34-38)
  • 有影響力的基督徒是那些為了神而在這個世界做出改變的基督徒。(太5:13)

我們使其更具應用性就是通過在主旨中點明可以應用到我們生活中的持久不變的原則,將我們從經文中(用詞,文化背景,當時的人、事、物)轉移到現代社會,

你怎樣點明主旨,從而使你的聽眾知道何為你的主旨。

你可以採用介紹性的語句,比如:

  • “今天早上我們將從這段經文中看到…”
  •   “真理是”
  • “今天我們要講述的真理是…”
  • “今天,我想要你們對神話語中所啟示的真理做出回應…”

你怎樣確定你的主旨,這個很關鍵。通常來說,就是寫下你講章的要點,然後找到能夠將這些要點都涵蓋關聯起來的點。因此,你的主旨是一個“要點中的要點”。主旨將所有內容結合在一起,因為你的要點來自於主旨,因此也就是你的整篇講章都來自於主旨。關於這個的更多內容,請看2017年秋季版雜誌。

#8:最後準備你的引言,或者至少要等到你已經完成講章提綱之後。

#9: 保持你的引言簡潔明瞭(清楚、重點突出、目的明確)

如果你將它保持在講道時間的10-15%(3-4分鐘),你必須簡潔明瞭。

#10:完整寫下你的引言,並且記住前幾段。

寫出來迫使你更好地思考,但是講的時候,儘量不要被筆記束縛。記住前幾段有助於你和聽眾建立起聯繫,使你能夠以自己的方式接近聽眾。

#11:讀經文段落並禱告

我建議你自己來讀經文段落,之後可以提及兩到三次。你也可以在這段經文的基礎上加以評說。

注意,好的經文閱讀應該:

  • 神得榮耀
  • 語速適中
  • 適當的重讀或強調
  • 不要太快(這通常是牧師最容易犯的錯誤)
  • 有表現力但避免虛誇

這也是一個教給聽眾如何朗讀經文以及如何從你的朗讀方式中瞭解經文意義的極好機會。

不要忘記禱告。讀完經文之後,接下來自然是禱告。要使禱告成為整個崇拜的重要部分。禱告也是敬拜的一種,應該承接前面的崇拜。

#12:使引言多樣化

引言多樣化可以避免你的聽眾疲勞。但是不要因此而變得戲劇化。有創意與耍花招吸引人不同。

這裡有關於使引言多樣化的十個建議(他們都包含相同的元素,但是安排方式不同)

(1)發生在你自己生活中的故事,引入與之相關的經文,接著說明講道的目的。

(2)某個人真實生活的一個側面,接著說明講道的目的,然後引入經文。

(3)歷史上的一個例子,接著說明講道目的,然後閱讀經文,最後點明主旨。

(4)從經文而來的一個直接的陳述,以及它與聽眾有什麼聯繫。

(5)提及一個需求,一個被你的一部分會眾提出或者推測出的需求,然後聯繫到這段經文如何滿足這個需求。

(6)複述一個聖經故事。接著說明講道的目的,以及我們有的指望,就是那在這個故事中行事的神,今日在我們中間也能夠而且照樣如此行事。

(7)舉一個與經文相關的現代社會的問題,接著引入經文,然後說明今天講解這段經文的真理正是解決這個社會問題的方法。

(8)問一個或者一系列的問題,促使聽眾來思考一個對人來說真實的需要或者需要面對的狀況。強調這個需要(我們每個人都有這個需要);說明神如何能夠滿足這個需要,以及你的資訊將如何解釋神怎樣來滿足這個需要。

(9)道明主旨/你要講的核心真理,給出綱要,然後接著進入你講道的主體部分。

(10)提及一個人們關注的時事新聞。針對這個問題,看聖經如何說(例如,“為什麼”這樣的問題)。

#13:過渡到講解,也就是講章的主體部分

(1)提供理解這段經文所需要的上下文以及背景資訊。也叫背景介紹。這使聽眾能夠更準確全面地理解這段經文,並且使他們知道你所講的東西來自於神的話。

  • 這段經文的複雜性
  • 講道的類型(比如教義講解;福音傳道等等)
  • 這是否是一系列講道的開始(這種情況下你可能會給出更多詳細資訊),或者是一系列講道的後續資訊(這種情況下你可能不會提供更多資訊或者只是一點)

以一種有吸引力的方式提供背景或者上下文資訊——不要枯燥無味,而要與資訊息息相關且接近生活;也不要講得太多免得聽眾失去興趣。

(2)過渡到你要講解的第一個重點。這裡有一些技巧可以幫助你順利地過渡到講解部分。

  • 這裡你提前說明你要講解的要點“今天,我們要從這段經文看到…”

… 聖經從三個方面指出了這個問題-1…2…3…

…聖經從三個方面說明了為什麼…-1…2…3…

  • 只用一個簡語“注意到…”,接著介紹你的第一個要點

D.提醒

記住,一篇講道,除非經過充分準備並且在聖靈的大能和帶領下,否則不會產生任何持續的影響。

注意,沒有任何一種講道的模式或者方式在任何情況下都一定會適用於任何講道者。歷史上一些偉大的佈道者並不遵循我所列出的這些講道模式。他們不完全遵循這些規律,並不代表你就可以不使用。說不定如果他們發揮使用這些引言的技巧,他們的講道可能會比實際更有能力。

記住,你必須使這篇講道成為你自己的,才能夠影響別人的生活。這就是我們所說的帶著生命見證的講道,即“道成肉身”。

Part II:能帶來改變的領導

理解牧養事工的核心(歌1:24-2;5)

使徒保羅很明確地說到,牧師是“執事”或 “僕人”。我們是福音的執事(歌1:23)和教會的執事(歌1:25).這是我們最主要的職責。永遠不要讓其他的事情擠佔了這些職責,這些是我們應該花精力的地方——傳講神的話和服侍信徒。因此,我想就歌羅西書1:24-2:5關於“牧養事工的核心”作一些點評。在這裡保羅所說的重點是“牧師是為教會做基督的僕人”。注意…

A.在牧養事工中,我們為教會的緣故受苦(24)

“現在我為你們受苦,倒覺快樂,…要在我肉身上補滿基督患難的缺欠” (歌1:24a)。這段經文中喜樂貫穿始終—一開始,保羅在受苦中倒覺歡樂(歌1:24),最後,保羅又因他們的信心而歡喜。這就是服侍基督和信徒最大的喜樂。這是我們的動力所在,也是我們的獎賞。但是與喜樂摻雜的,也有困苦艱難。作為牧師,我們為教會的緣故受苦。

1.在牧養事工中,我們因為和教會的關係受苦

保羅把自己的受苦看做是他服侍教會所應當承受的——“我為你們受苦(24a),為了他們的益處。保羅服侍他們,因此為了他們的益處而忍受苦難,比如監牢、嘲笑、鞭打等等。牧師為教會受苦是真實的。

(a)我們因為和信徒之間的關係而受苦。我們對他們的悲傷試煉感同身受,並且我們也作為祭司,在神面前堅立他們。

(b)當這些我們所愛所服侍的信徒被撒旦攻擊,他們的生活開始偏離方向,我們受痛苦。並且有的時候,他們並不留意我們的勸戒。

(c)因為別人不能理解我們所說所做的,而遭遇批評拒絕。

2.在牧養事工中,我們因為與基督的認同而受苦

“…並且為基督的身體,就是為教會,要在我肉身上補滿基督患難的缺欠” (24b)。保羅把自己的受苦和基督的患難聯繫起來。因他繼續做基督的工作,所以他的受苦是基督所受苦難的延續。並且所有為基督的名而服侍信徒的人都會像基督一樣受苦。

所以,牧師為教會的緣故受苦。理解這些,使作為牧師而受的苦和試煉變得有目的,有意義,有價值而且更能忍受,因為這些是在服侍教會和繼續從事基督事工中所經歷的。

牧師必須從這樣的角度來理解和看待自己的工作,才能夠處理和面對事工中的艱難苦痛,為了自己的福祉也為了教會的福祉。

B.在牧養事工中,我們是教會的管家

. “...我照神為你們所賜給我的職分作了教會的執事,要把神的道理傳得全備”(25)。

我們是教會的管家。管家是照管別人財產和事物的人。牧師是基督教會的管家。我們作為基督執事的位分是僕人之一,職分則是管家之一。

1.我們是神話語的管家

我們作為管家的第一要務是把神的話傳得完備。“要把神的道理傳得完備” (25b)。我們所傳講的神的話語是“曆世歷代所隱藏的奧秘,但如今向他的聖徒顯明了”(26)。我們把福音的“奧秘”,也就是先前隱藏的但如今向聖徒顯明的奧秘,通過講道以及牧養領導使聖徒明白,“神願意讓他們知道,這奧秘在外邦人中有何等豐盛的榮耀,就是基督在你們心裡成了榮耀的盼望”。(27).

傳講神的話就是傳講“基督在你們心裡成了榮耀的盼望” (27b),也是傳講“基督…用諸般的智慧勸戒各人,教導各人” (28a)。

我們是神話語的管家。這是我們作為牧師的第一要務—把神的道理傳得完備。並且…

2.我們作為信徒的管家

我們的第二要務是神兒女屬靈上的充分成熟—“要把個人在基督裡完完全全地引到神面前”(28b)。我也為此勞苦,照著他在我裡面運行的大能盡心竭力”(29)。我們作為神子民的管家勞苦至終是為了鼓勵、造就、堅固那些神託付給我們去照管的人,以至於我們“要把個人在基督裡完完全全地引到神面前。”這必須成為我們的目標,在將來的那一天,把基督身體裡的每一個肢體在基督裡完完全全地引到神面前。

你可能會說“誰能擔得起做這些事情呢?我該怎麼來做?這樣的管家很偉大!”那麼牧師可以從這句話裡得到鼓勵,即上帝使我們能夠勝任做這個管家。事工是一項艱難的工作,有的時候既難且累,但是當我們為神的工作“勞苦”“盡心竭力”時,我們意識到是神“在我裡面運用大能大力”。(29b)事奉的充足不是來自我們自己的能力,而是神在我們裡面工作。

牧師必須使用神的大能。當事奉就像幹苦力時(勞苦和盡心竭力),當我們需要力量去做額外的努力時,我們能夠來到在我們裡面“運用大能大力”的神面前。這是我們事奉充足的所在。當我們面對困難、衝突和失望時,這是我們能力的來源。神的能力激勵我們,使我們重新有力量。神的能力是我們事奉有效的秘訣—不是我們的專案、技術、促銷、心理或噱頭,而是神“在我裡面運用大能大力”。

因此,在牧養事工中,我們為了教會而受苦(24),我們是教會的管家(25-29).

C.在牧養事工中,我們為了教會的靈性而努力(2:1-5)

牧養事工是一種不斷的努力。用保羅的話來說,我們在事奉中為了神的子民“掙扎/盡心竭力”(2:1)。我們為了什麼“掙扎”?為什麼勞苦?什麼是我們為之不斷努力的?我們是為了教會的靈性而盡心竭力。

1.盡心竭力的牧養是為了鼓勵神的子民

…“要叫他們的心得安慰”(2:2a)。這意味著什麼?是讓每個人都自我感覺良好嗎?是灌輸每個人都積極思想嗎?是總是說人想聽的話嗎?絕對不是!這裡的“鼓勵”指的是使他們有信心,激勵他們,推動他們前進,屬靈上扶持他們。我們怎樣來做這些呢?我們怎樣鼓勵神的子民呢?

(a)通過促進他們在聖靈裡的合一,以致他們“因愛心互相聯絡”(2:2b)。合一是主耶穌對他子民的熱切期盼。這也必須是每個牧師和教會領袖的熱切盼望。合一不是基於強迫,不是為了個人利益,而是基於共同的愛和尊重。這是基督在世上強大的力量。在愛裡合一能使教會強大、穩定、抵擋仇敵的詭計,影響社區,健康且快樂。

所以,牧師通過促進他們在靈裡合一來鼓勵神的子民。並且他們鼓勵神的子民…

(b) 通過促進他們屬靈上的領悟,以致他們“豐豐足足在悟性中有充足的信心,使他們真知道神的奧秘,就是基督”(2:2c)。我們的任務就是教導會眾神的全部旨意,使他們真知道他們信的是什麼,信的是誰。

如果我們在自己的事奉中以這樣的方式鼓勵神子民的心,那麼在神的時間和方式,我們會看到我們想看到的結果。

2.盡心竭力牧養的獎賞就是因他們的積極回應而喜樂

“見你們循規蹈矩,信基督的心也堅固,我就歡喜了”(2:5)

怎樣才是你牧養領導的正面反映…

  • 教會循規蹈矩主要表現在事工中順服、肢體協作、尊重、喜樂等。
  • 會眾信心堅定。在基督裡的信心面對攻擊時不動搖,忠誠,不論發生什麼都能夠堅定。

結語:

這就是牧養事奉的核心。一方面,我們“喜樂”。另一方面,我們“受苦”。但是看到神的子民做事遵循真理的教導,信基督的心也堅固,使這一切都值得。牧養領導艱難嗎?是的!值得嗎?當然!

如果你對會眾所懷的心意是他們在愛裡合一,他們對神和神話語的全備知識,那麼你真是基督的執事。今天讓我來挑戰並鼓勵你實行你的牧養事工…

…成為一個為了教會而和基督一起受苦的人

…成為一個把神的道理傳得全備的教會的管家,

…成為一個為教會屬靈成長(合一、悟性、循規蹈矩、信心堅固)而努力的人

這是牧養事奉的核心。願神豐豐富富祝福你的事工。

Part III:講章大綱

如果想聽關於這些的英文講道,請點選連結:Link 1 - Jn. 18:38-19:3; Link 2 - Jn. 19:4-9; Link 3 - Jn. 19:9-10; Link 4 - Jn. 19:11-12.

題目:耶穌的君王身份

主題:耶穌的君王身份暴露了權利的衝突

要點 #1:輿論的控制力(38b-6)

要點 #2:恐懼的破壞力(7-9a)

要點 #3:知識的自信力(9b)

要點 #4:地位的自負力(10)

要點 #5:神的全備能力(11-12)

Related Topics: Pastors

How to Use this Study Guide

Understanding open questions

Open questions require thinking and listening to God so that you wrestle with what you read in his Word. Rather than many questions, we ask only a few open questions that direct your attention to important themes and truths for your written responses on paper, perhaps in a journal. Let God speak from his Word, not only to learn about who he is and how he acts, but also in a personal way that applies to your own life and walk with him.

The simplicity of this study doesn’t equate to shallow

This study demands your involvement. Although the layout is simple, how deeply you go depends on you. As you spend time talking to God and recording your thoughts on the questions, he may lead you to other cross-references, but he will certainly give you insights into the verses. Don’t stop with initial surface answers, but ask God to clarify and guide. The time you spend in the scriptures with God gives him space to speak. Listen well, record your thoughts, share them with your small group, and glean from others’ insights.

Studying through three parts a week

If you like doing a little study at a time, each week’s lesson is set up in three parts, but feel free to go through it in any way that works best for you. If you prefer daily time in the Word, consider spending two days on each part, journaling about the optional starred section the second day. You may be amazed at what you see by reading the same passage twice. If you prefer to do the week’s study in one sitting, you may want to read all the passages first and then journal at the end. Of course, it’s great to be in God’s Word each day, but you may have other ways of doing that. Stick to what works for your schedule.

Additional reading and background information

Background information pertinent to your understanding is provided. Feel free to do your own research when you have interest or questions, but the group conversation will be focused on the passages studied by everyone.

*** A star identifies optional verses or suggested study for those with time and interest. The additional reading will help you wrestle with deeper insights into the passages.

Light for Living

The verses that begin each week’s lesson are great choices for memorization and/or discussion.

What you need

  • A quiet place, if possible.
  • A Bible that you can understand. If you don’t have one, ask your group leader for suggestions, or email us at [email protected] Modern versions are available as downloads, through Bible apps, or in print at any bookstore. (We are using the NET Bible at lumina.bible.org, a free online Bible translation with study helps.)
  • A notebook, loose paper, laptop, or tablet to record your thoughts and also carry them to your group meetings. (See Journaling 101 on p. 63 in the Appendix.)
  • The commitment to listen to God and write out what you hear as you read, study and pray.
  • Someone, or even better a group, to discuss this with you and provide support, encouragement and spiritual challenge

Best practices for group get-togethers (See also Appendix & leader videos)

Plan a regular place, time, and leader.

The leader should—

  • read the section “Tips for Leaders” in the Appendix p.67.
  • watch Beyond Ordinary Women’s (BOW’s) free, short videos or listen to the podcast versions: “Tips for Leading a Journaling Study” (https://vimeo.com/190999125) and the series “Listening Well” (https://vimeo.com/album/4065298). If your group includes Millennials, watch the series “Millennials: The Good, the Bad, and the Ministry” at https://vimeo.com/showcase/6829309.
  • start on time, not waiting for late arrivals.
  • move the group along, being sensitive to God’s Spirit.
  • encourage everyone to share without forcing it.
  • be a great encourager.
  • avoid dominating the conversation.
  • keep the focus on the women, not herself and her own thoughts.
  • provide time for the group to think and share from their journals.
  • contact absent group members to encourage them.
  • email the group weekly to remind them of the upcoming meeting, and share her excitement.

As a group—

  • come prepared and on time with your study, journal, and Bible.
  • share freely and honestly.
  • encourage one another.
  • don’t interrupt the speaker.
  • love one another.
  • rather than giving advice for the problems that other members of your group express, pray for one another and entrust each other and your problems to God.
  • be honest and vulnerable, but wise in how much detail you share personally.
  • stay in touch with each other between meetings for support and encouragement.

If your group meets within a larger group in a church setting

  • Look for a woman gifted in teaching God’s Word to teach a short time after the small group discussion. Watch the short, free video “Why Use Live Teachers, not Video?” at https://vimeo.com/209323216. (For help in preparing to teach, see our collection of videos at https://beyondordinarywomen.org/bible-teaching/ or contact us at https://beyondordinarywomen.org/contact-alternative/.)
  • Because the discussion isn’t about the teacher’s comments but focuses on the members’ personal study, the discussion should precede the teaching time. Based on educational research, this matters.
  • The teacher may spend 15-25 minutes adding to the background of the lesson, beginning and ending within the allotted time frame. The majority of the time together should be invested in small groups.
  • The teacher’s role is to clarify and extend what the group has studied, not retell what has been discussed.

Stories

Each week’s study includes a true story at the end that relates to the lesson. The names have been changed in some cases to protect people involved.

Week One: The Consequences of Disobedience

Light for Living

If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve . . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua in Joshua 24:15 (NASB)

As a mother, I found disciplining my children to be less than fun and often painful. At times I chose to simply ignore the problem, but that didn’t help train godly, polite, kind, and forgiving children. Although I didn’t enjoy dealing with disobedience and sass, imposing consequences on my children often affected their long-term behavior.

This week we’ll see that God is a great and good Father who may discipline his children by letting them live with consequences.

Background

The book of Genesis records the story of Abraham, whom God called out of an idol-worshipping family into a relationship with him by faith. God gave him three great promises: a nation, a land, and a blessing to the world; yet, these promises weren’t fulfilled in Abraham’s lifetime. He lived to see Isaac, the son of promise and his two sons, not much of a nation; he wandered as a nomad in the land; and he never saw the blessing, which wasn’t fulfilled until approximately two thousand years later through Jesus.

Genesis goes on to record God’s sovereign plan to save Abraham’s descendants from famine by sending them to Egypt where there was food (Genesis 37, 39-47 and 50:15-21). There they were enslaved for four hundred years and yet grew into a nation numbering in the millions. Under the leadership of God’s chosen man Moses, God freed them to return to the land promised to Abraham (the book of Exodus). After forty years of wandering in the wilderness because of their lack of faith, God gave their army victory after victory under Joshua (the book of Joshua).

When we believe that God is good and merciful, it’s very difficult to understand his instructions for conquering this land long promised to Abraham’s descendants:

When God, your God, brings you into the country that you are about to enter and take over, he will clear out the superpowers that were there before you: the Hittite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Those seven nations are all bigger and stronger than you are. God, your God, will turn them over to you and you will conquer them. You must completely destroy them, offering them up as a holy destruction to God.

Don’t make a treaty with them.

Don’t let them off in any way.

Don’t marry them: Don’t give your daughters to their sons and don’t take their daughters for your sons— before you know it they’d involve you in worshiping their gods, and God would explode in anger, putting a quick end to you.

Here’s what you are to do: Tear apart their altars stone by stone, smash their phallic pillars, chop down their sex-and-religion Asherah groves, set fire to their carved god-images.

Do this because you are a people set apart as holy to God, your God. God, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure (Deuteronomy 7:1-6, MSG).

Why would God ask them to destroy the people who lived in the land? K. Lawson Younger, Jr. summarizes three reasons: judgment of the Canaanites, protection of the Israelites from Canaanite religious influence, and fulfillment of the patriarchal promises concerning the land.1

*** Read what your Bible resources or commentaries say about God’s instructions in Deuteronomy 7:1-6. Write down anything that helps you understand this.

This is arguably the toughest command in the Bible, but these people were evil to the point of sacrificing their children to their gods. I can understand that such evil is like a terrible, infectious disease which threatens God’s people, but it’s hard to accept nevertheless. Yet, when I consider the lengths to which I would go to protect my own family from a threat, it’s easier to understand that God knew what had to be done.

For me, the issue comes back to Jesus. A God who would become man and live among us, accepting hatred, abuse and a horrible death on the cross to overcome evil for our sake, is a God who loves the people of the world, whether I understand his command to destroy these nations or not.

I identify with Peter’s response when Jesus’s hard teachings caused many of his followers to desert him. When Jesus asked the twelve if they would also abandon him, Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69, NIV).

Part One Study

The Era of the Judges begins with Joshua’s death and ends with Saul’s anointing as the first King of Israel. During this period God was their King, and the people were expected to listen to and obey him. What happened in reality was a far cry from that vision, however. A repeated theme in the book is found in two places, 17:6 and 21:25 (ESV): “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Seven times we read this repeated statement: “The descendants of Israel did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD and served the Baals” (2:11; 3:7, 12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; 13:1).2 Repeated ideas point to major themes in the book, so keep them in mind as you read.

Judges has three main sections: introduction (Judges 1:1-3:6), stories of the judges (Judges 3:7-16:31), and finally a double conclusion containing two stories of moral decay (Judges 17:1-21:25). You may want to read more background information about this book and time period in the Appendix on p. 55.

Before you read the introductory section, it’s important to understand that it’s not completely chronological. And there’s a double introduction: the first (Judges 1:1-2:5) presents the people’s perspective, and the second (Judges 2:6-3:6) reveals God’s point-of-view.3

Under Joshua’s leadership the Israelites defeated the major kings of Canaan in a series of battles, detailed in the book of Joshua. Then, the land was divided among the tribes, and each tribe was to complete the conquest of their allotted land.

Read Judges 1:1-2:5, the first introduction. (FYI—The tribes of Israel are referred to as if they are individuals here. For example, Judah is a tribe, not a person.) Then, write down your thoughts as you consider these questions:

  • Describe your reaction to God’s instructions to totally wipe out these people. (See the Background section of this lesson if you skipped it.) How well did the various tribes obey that command according to Judges 1? And how did they explain it?
  • What does God’s response to their disobedience reveal about him?
  • The response of God’s people to the messenger’s announcement in Judges 2:1-3 reminds me of 2 Corinthians 7:9-10. Read those verses and write down your thoughts about the correlation.
  • As you read the quote at the top of the next page in light of what you’ve seen in God’s Word, what is God saying about destructive patterns in your own life that have brought consequences? How have you, much like the Israelites, excused your disobedience and compromise?

“If we examine our lives, the bulk of our failures—especially in spiritual matters, but not exclusively—are the results of outright disobedience to God’s explicit, straightforward commandments, or of attempting to live in such a way that we blend into the world.”4

Part Two Study

The second introduction to the book of Judges is found in Judges 2:6-3:6. While the first introduction provides the Israelites’ point-of-view, this one reveals God’s perspective on the same events.

Read Judges 2:6-3:6, the second introduction.

(To be sure that you understand this, Judges 2:6 flashes back to Joshua 24. It isn’t chronological after 2:5, but instead these events occurred before Judges 1:1.)

  • Fill in the chart below with a summary of what happens over and over in the Judges’ Era.5 Draw the chart below if you’re using an online study. What does the cycle reveal about God? What is he like?
  • Compare this second introduction to the first one that you read in Judges 1:1-2:5. What differences do you see in the two points-of-view?

Judges Cycle

Read Joshua 24:1-29, Joshua’s farewell address to the nation. (Remember that Joshua 24:28 is the flashback point of Judges 2:6.)

  • As you think of God’s character and what the people did during the time of the judges, how does Joshua’s message explain the cycle? (Note the name LORD written in all caps in the Old Testament. This is YHWH, God’s personal name for himself based on the root meaning “I AM,” and is probably pronounced Yahweh.)

*** Yahweh describes himself as a jealous God (Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 4:24). The Old Testament prophets used marriage terminology to depict the covenant relationship between God and Israel, which involved describing Israel as unfaithful, a wife who prostituted herself (e.g. Jeremiah 3:6-12; Hosea 2:2-17). In the New Testament the church is Christ’s bride (Revelation 19:6-8), so James calls those who love the world adulterers (James 4:4). Read these references and note your thoughts about the positive role that jealousy plays in marriage and how it relates to the cycle of the Judges.

  • How is God speaking to you today?

Part Three Study

Reread Judges 3:1-6.

We see in v.4 that God used the consequences of disobedience for a positive purpose: “They were left to test Israel, so the Lord would know if his people would obey the commands he gave their ancestors through Moses.”

God allows temptation/testing/consequences in our lives for similar reasons—to reveal what’s really in us, not for his sake since he already knows, but for us so that we repent and bring him glory. Peter explains: “. . . you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials. Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away – and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7).

Applying Judges isn’t about focusing on sins common to people outside the church: sexual sins, murder, stealing, etc. When my focus is there, I feel pretty good and righteous. The sin of God’s people in Judges is idolatry, lack of trust in their God. Just as Adam and Eve sinned by trying to become like God, so we too bow to idols to get what we want. God expects each of us to focus on uncovering the idols of our own hearts, not pointing the finger at the culture.

“This is the right response to oppression: to see how God’s hand is working behind and through it, and look honestly at ourselves, and to cry out to the LORD for revival.”6

Journal your thoughts about these questions:

  • Applying Judges 3:1-6 and 1 Peter 1:6-7 (quoted on the previous page), in what ways might God be using our present culture and world in your life? What does this reveal about God?
  • In John 17, Jesus intercedes for his followers as our great High Priest. Read vv. 14-23 and comment on how his prayer for the church connects to the situation in the Era of the Judges.
  • How has God spoken to you through his Word this week?

*** I’m left with questions for myself and the church at large as to how we respond to the testing that comes from living in our culture. Journal your answers to questions I’m asking myself: Do I really put God and his kingdom first, or do I show more concern about idols like prosperity, entertainment, nationalism, ease, comfort and safety? Do I trust God or the powers of this world for tomorrow? When my idols are threatened, do I act like those who don’t know God instead of like Jesus?

Marla’s Story

At my workplace, I had an eyesore bookshelf that took up the whole wall of my office. It was an open-faced bookcase that just seemed to gather old manuals, office supplies, and dust all the time. I needed a new file cabinet in my office, and I needed the bookcase removed so that I could rearrange my office.

For two months I asked my boss to remove the bookcase. I sent him e-mails and verbally told him that I would like to fix up my office and the bookcase had to go. I stated that if he did not remove the bookcase I would tear it down. My boss let me know that if I tore down the bookcase, I would be fired.

After two months of patiently waiting (or what I thought was patiently waiting), I sent him an e-mail stating that I wanted the bookshelf gone by Friday. Nothing happened, so I tore the shelving down. Consequently, my boss wrote me up for insubordination and put me on probation. This action also changed the working relationship I had with my boss.

The lesson God taught me through this experience is how much this is like my relationship with God. I wait for God to answer me within my time frame not his. I think I’m being patient, and when God does not act, I react. In doing so, I do not receive God’s best and usually have to deal with the consequences of my actions.

As you consider Marla’s story, do you identify any idols? How do her actions ring true in your life?


1 K. Lawson Younger, Jr., NIV Application Commentary: Judges/Ruth, Terry Muck, ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan), 2002, 28-29.

2 “Baal is the Canaanite word for ‘lord.’” Timothy Keller, Judges for You: Edited from the Study by Tim Keller (India: The Good Book Company, 2013), 30.

3 Younger, 61.

4 Younger, 79.

5 For answers to the blanks on the chart, see the Appendix page 58.

6 Keller, 44.

Related Topics: Discipline

Week Two: Do Justice and Love Mercy

Light for Living

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

If you follow the news, you realize that like everything in our broken world, there is injustice in our judicial system. DNA testing has proven the innocence of many who were wrongly convicted and punished with dozens of years or more in prison for crimes which they didn’t commit. Others seem guilty and yet get off on technicalities. The systemic injustice for people of color in the U.S. becomes clear when their sentences are compared with those of white people who commit similar crimes.1

Our God is just and expects us as his image-bearers to work toward justice, as we see in this week’s verse. Ultimately, a day will come when God will right the wrongs of our all too human systems.

And yet God is not only just but also merciful, and he asks us to display all aspects of his character to the world around us. The more I study Judges, the more convinced I am that it is God’s mercy that is most prominent throughout the book. Mercy, like diamonds, shines most brightly when juxtaposed with the dark.

Part One Study

Review the cycles in Week One on p.14, in the Appendix on p. 58 of this study, or in Judges 2:11-19.

Judges taps into a theme that runs throughout the Scripture: God in his mercy is our Savior/Deliverer. This biblical theme is first introduced after sin enters the world and God curses the serpent who tempted Adam and Eve:

And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel. Genesis 3:15 (NIV)

This verse is considered the first proclamation of the gospel or good news. God promises that a child of a woman will heroically save/deliver the world from the forces of evil. Although Adam and Eve’s sin marred Paradise, hope was ahead, not because they, or we, deserve it, but because God is merciful. Those of us who live after the New Testament recognize the child as Jesus.

The Bible tells us that 2,000 years ago Jesus did come and die to deliver the world from the evil that enslaves us personally and corporately. The scriptures also describe a coming day when he’ll return, judge perfectly, and restore all creation to the paradise of Eden.2

The stories in Judges provide a shadow of the gospel story that only comes to light in the New Testament. The judges’ victories were incomplete and temporary, but they provide a glimpse of Jesus’s future rescue of his people from the power of sin and death. In this time between Jesus’s first and second comings, God deals with us as he dealt with the Israelites of the Old Testament days: he lets us live with the consequences of worshiping and relying on the gods of this world to cause us to cry to him and turn from our idols. Someday when the Savior returns, we’ll be freed from the very presence of sin as we live on a new earth with him forever—our deliverance complete!

The stories of the judges teach us that we can never put our trust in worldly deliverers who can only provide temporary safety. From where we sit in history, we understand that whatever happens our only hope for the present and future is in the God who has rescued us through Christ.

As you read these passages about our Deliverer/Savior, write your thoughts on the questions: John 1:1-5, 9-17; Romans 5:6-11; 6:5-10; Ephesians 2:1-10; Revelation 19:11-16 and 21:1-4.

  • Where are you spiritually? Do you believe what these verses reveal about Jesus? Do you need his mercy to free you from your dysfunctional life that causes pain to you and others because of sin? Do you need him to provide a life as God’s child? Will you follow Jesus by the power of God’s Spirit? Be prepared to share honestly with your group about your current relationship with Christ. We are all still growing. If you have questions about Jesus, contact your small group leader, minister, or contact us at BOW (https://beyondordinarywomen.org/contact-alternative/).
  • How do these verses about Jesus’s life and future relate to God’s justice and mercy?
  • What is God saying to you through these passages?

*** Read these additional passages in light of the questions above: John 3:16-21; Colossians 1:15-22.

Part Two Study

Remember that there are three sections in Judges: the double introduction (Judges 1:1-3:6), stories of the judges (3:7-16:31), and a double conclusion with two stories of moral decay (17:1-21, 25). We studied the introduction in Week One, and now we’ll begin reading about the judges in the second and longest part of the book.

As we study through the cycles in Judges, note that they descend in an overall downward spiral—the judges become less virtuous and the people adapt more and more to look and think like the people of the land.

Review Judges 1:11-15, and read Judges 3:5-11 about Othniel, considered by some to be the ideal judge.3 Then write your thoughts on these questions:

(FYI: There is some debate about how Othniel and Caleb were related.4 Many scholars believe that Othniel is Caleb’s nephew.)

  • How would you describe Othniel? Why might some describe him as the ideal judge?
  • How do you see God’s justice and mercy in the cycle that includes Othniel?
  • What is God saying to you about your own life?

*** Read in Bible resources about the idols Baal and Asherahs5 (Judges 3:7), and write down what gets your attention. Many outstanding Bible resources are free online, including bible.org.

Part Three Study

In every judge’s story the people of Israel dealt with an oppressive foreign ruler as a consequence of their idolatry, and yet God in his mercy raised up a deliverer. Sometimes innocent people deal with cruelty; it is not always a consequence of their personal sins or disobedience. so we have to be careful here. The faithful remnant also lives with the consequences that the majority deserves. As you think about applying Judges, remember that Israel is unique as a designated God-given land for the Jews. Because no other country falls into that category, we need to apply what we read to ourselves and our churches, not to the unbelievers in the nation around us.

We believers are to be salt and light in our nations as aliens, knowing that our first allegiance belongs to God’s kingdom (Philippians 3:20). To apply the stories in Judges consider how we as God’s New Testament people are making compromises, the nature of our idols, the ways we ignore God’s commands to love him first and our neighbors as ourselves, and the ways we replace trusting and worshiping God with trust in ourselves, other people, government, money, etc.

A God-given desire for justice lives deeply within all people. Sometimes, however, that desire leads fallen people to seek revenge or become self-righteous. The English words righteousness and justice are two forms of the same word in the Bible. Self-righteousness means judging ourselves as worthy and just while we vilify other people. We can often see it in our hearts when we lack empathy toward “those” who aren’t like us. When we do that, we aren’t merciful or loving toward our neighbors.

With that in mind let’s continue the stories of the judges. The cycle began again after 40 years of rest following Othniel’s deliverance.

Read Judges 3:12-31, and record your thoughts as you think through these questions:

(FYI: “An oxgoad was a long stick with a small flat piece of iron on one side and a sharp point on the other. The sharp side was used to drive the oxen during times of plowing, and the flat end was used to clean the mud off the plow.”6)

  • Compare Ehud and Shamgar to Othniel, the first judge. Consider their situations and methods, as well as anything the text tells you about their character. What makes each good or unusual choices for God’s leaders? Why would God choose judges with limitations?
  • What is God saying to you through the stories of these first three judges?
  • What three things does God require of us according to Micah 6:8, our verse this week? How might God be asking you to be an advocate/support for justice and mercy?

Just as the judges delivered God’s people from the oppression of foreign kings when the people cried out to God, so we participate in God’s kingdom work by speaking and working for justice. The more difficult the situation is, the more courage we need to stand against what is popular and accepted among our friends. The church has not always led the way in this area. As followers of Christ, we are called to speak out against inequality and injustice wherever we find it—on the job, or in the church, our nation or our families.

At the same time we’re to be forgiving and merciful because that shows God to others, maybe like nothing else does. We show mercy to the guilty and those affected by sin. Our desire for justice must be tempered by our realization that we too have received mercy— totally and completely undeserved. Harsh attitudes and hard lines that fail to love our neighbors are irreconcilable with the name of Christ.

*** Read, listen to, or watch a true story or facts about injustice, discrimination or oppression. Stretch yourself to consider a viewpoint outside of your personal experience from people unlike you. Where can you help bring justice, and where can you give mercy? How can you act on both concepts which are high on God’s priorities? (Need suggestions? See a short list in the list of “Resources on Injustice” in the Appendix on p. 61.)

A friend who worked through this study to provide input as I edited it suggested that I “strongly encourage” you to read the resources on injustice suggested in the starred optional section you just passed. She said that she’s so glad that I needed her input on them because she would’ve skipped them otherwise. She ended up challenged by what she read. Consider reading at least one of them! It’s easier to turn our heads and ignore injustice, but that leaves us as accomplices to evil.

Crystal’s Story

I grew up thinking that our country was a place where justice always prevailed. But then in February 2012, with the shooting of an unarmed black teen, Trayvon Martin, I started to question my views. Was racism still a reality in our country? Did people experience systemic injustice just because of the color of their skin? These questions forced me to dive back into the history of our nation and to revisit the story of the black experience in America through their perspectives.

Over the next few years, I read everything that I could get my hands on to understand more fully what I felt like was not being talked about in the classrooms or even the churches where I had grown up.

There continued to be more high-profile shootings of black and brown men, women and children, often in encounters with police, but now I was starting to see through the typical rationalizations offered that something deeply unjust was happening. Comments that I heard from other white Christians that racial justice was a “distraction from the Gospel” rang hollow.

When I started to study the Bible again, now in community with believers from diverse ethnicities and life experiences, my eyes were opened to the fact that these issues were central to God’s heart for justice and reconciliation. Because they are important to Him, they should be important to me as His child.

How has this changed my perspective now? Now I listen first before I speak. I grieve with those communities most affected by the brokenness and injustice in our world. I teach my kids that God has created us in all our differences and loves this diversity. I speak up and work to support those on the frontlines of creating more just communities where we live. Just as the Israelites learned in the book of Judges, I too have learned that my ultimate hope cannot rest in man but only in the God of perfect justice who has reconciled us in the cross and will make all things right again in the end.


1 The Sentencing Project, “Criminal Justice Facts,” at https://www.sentencingproject.org/criminal-justice-facts/ accessed 4/27/19.

2 If you have never studied the big picture story of the Bible, consider doing BOW’s study The ONE Story (https://beyondordinarywomen.org/the-one-story/) which focuses on the overall story and unity of the Bible.

3 Younger, Jr., 36.

4 Othniel’s “exact relationship to Caleb is uncertain. The antecedent of ‘his younger brother’ could be either Caleb or Kenaz, in which case he would be Caleb’s nephew.” Block, Daniel I., The New American Commentary: Judges and Ruth, Vol. 6, E. Ray Clendenen, Ed. (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1999), 93.

5 “The Asherahs were local manifestations of the Canaanite goddess Asherah.” Note 9 on Judges 3:7 in https://netbible.org/bible/Judges+3. See the Appendix section “Additional Information about Judges” p.57 for more specifics.

6 Note in Life Application Study Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2000), 387.

Related Topics: Christian Life

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