Da review 1/6/20
Primary Audience: Users who have gone through PathwayStart and Forward. They should already be very familiar with the gospel, but this lesson is intended to remind, refresh, and deepen their grasp on the gospel.
Title: The Good News Unpacked
Series: Discipleship in 3D
Image: No Need
Excerpt: No Need
Jesus referred to the “Good News” or the “gospel” as the “keys to the kingdom” (Matt 16:13-20). The gospel is the one message that unlocks heaven’s doors to us when we turn from our sin and idols to wholeheartedly embrace the Lord and Savior offered to us in it (cf John 5:24; 14:6; 2 Thes 2:13-14). It ushers us into God’s presence wherein we receive the true knowledge of God, including His kind intentions toward us through His complete pardon and the new standing He gifts us (John 3:16; Eph 2:1-10). Through the gospel we experience God’s great love and His renewing power for a life lived in the enjoyment of His presence and the pursuit of the holiness that so pleases Him and is good for us ( Thes 2:13-14; 2 Cor 7:1; 2 Tim 1:7; Heb 12:1-2; 1 Peter 1:15-16).
Again, Jesus called the gospel, the keys of heaven. From this statement alone, we can assess the importance of grasping, digesting, internalizing, and clearly articulating this precious message. It is the very word of God, which through the Spirit, works so powerfully in our hearts (1 Thes 2:13; Heb 4:12-13). It is the very word of God preached to every creature under heaven (Matt 24:14: Col 1:6, 23), showing forth the only name under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Every good thing from God, both in this life and in the next, flows to us by faith – faith that lays hold of Christ in the gospel (cf. Rom 8:28-39; 2 Tim 1:9-10).
Key Objectives for This Lesson
To understand the four aspects of the one message of the gospel
To summarize the gospel in your own words
To memorize a key gospel verse
To pray through the gospel in God's presence
To prayerfully share the gospel with others in your world
One Message - Four Aspects
The gospel teaches us that:
God Created Us, Male and Female, in His Image
We were created in the image of the One, Sovereign, and Majestic God - unique, holy, loving, wise, and powerful - in order that we might know, enjoy, and serve Him fully (Gen 1:26-27, 2:7). We were designed and therefore find our greatest delight in returning to Him continuous thanksgiving, praise and honor (Gen 1:26-27; 2:7). In short, the term image evokes related ideas of ownership, relationship, and representation. He owns us (1 Cor 6:19-20) and we depend on Him for our very existence (Gen 2:7). He desires a deep relationship with us (Psalm 73:25), and we for our part must faithfully represent His character, will and ways in the world He created (2 Cor 5:14-15). As image-bearers we are fundamentally accountable to Him for the purity and truthfulness of our worship, our character and lives before Him, and our actions and relationships in His world (Romans 14:10; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 22:12).
But, We Have Rebelled against Him
Our first parents turned away from Him, leading inexorably to the just judgment of God and plunging all of us into spiritual and physical ruin (death) - a ruin we freely and willingly live out each day (Gen 3:1-24; Rom 3:23; 5:12-14; Eph 2:1-3; 4:17ff). We continually suppress His glorious presence and transgress His commands, thinking it wise and lofty to despise Him and His rightful claim on our existence and lives (Rom 1:18-32). We have replaced Him with ourselves, exalting our will and desires over His, staunchly refusing to give Him thanks and relentlessly pursuing autonomy (idolatry). While His image in us remains, it is seriously corrupted and polluted. We foolishly entrench ourselves daily in a misery of our own making. In short, as a divine and just consequence of our rebellion and spiritual infidelity, we live separated from the One who loves us; we live in ruin, misery, and death, personally, corporately and historically (Eph 2:1-3; 4:17-19).
Christ Paid the Just Penalty for Sin
God, because of His great mercy and love for His erring, image-bearing creatures, sent His Son - the perfect God-Man - to save us from the guilt and pollution of our sin, and God's just judgment against us (1 Thes 1:9-10). He willingly and freely offered Himself to the Father as the cross-ransom for our sin, paying the penalty we incurred before our Creator, delivering us from His just wrath against us. The penalty paid, Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over sin's judgment, and now reigns as Lord and Life-giver at the Father's right hand (Acts 2:36; Eph 1:20-22) .
God Promises To Welcome Those Who Return To Him in Faith and To Judge Those Who Do Not
God is working out His plan for human history (Eph 1:11) and is likewise summoning all people everywhere to repent from their sin and place their faith in Christ alone (Acts 4:12; 17:30-31). He freely and graciously promises to completely welcome, pardon and renew - now and eternally - all who turn to Him in faith (John 3:16; 5:24; Eph 2:8-9). He likewise promises judgment - present and eternal - to those who persist in their stubborn autonomy (Matt 7:21-23; 25:41-46; John 5:28-29; 2 Thes 1:8-10; Rev 14:9-11).
In Your Own Words
Try to put the gospel message into your own words, being careful to include the details of the four points. You can use the Notes pane to record your thoughts.
Memorizing John 3:16
You can use the translation that you're familiar with. Below is the NET translation of John 3:16.
3:16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
Praying the Gospel in God's Presence
There are four main or principle parts to the one message of the gospel. Bring each one before the Lord in prayer with the following questions and thoughts in mind:
Lord, what does it mean to have been made in your image? To give thanks and praise to you? To enjoy, serve, and joyfully submit to your ownership of my life? What does it mean that you created me to be free in you and to be accountable to you?
Lord, I see sin - refusal to worship you, etc - in my life and I agree with you that I am accountable for it. Help me to see how much you love me and yet how sinful my sin really is in your eyes.
Lord, give me understanding; how great is my sin if Jesus - the Perfect God-Man - had to die to secure my pardon and renewal? Help me see, Lord, how Jesus' death provides the complete cleansing for my rebellion and guilt, and the sure foundation for my relationship with you. Help me see how it is the hope for every person!
Lord, you are summoning me to turn from my sin and embrace Jesus by faith. Help me to do this with my whole heart, knowing that you promise to receive, welcome, pardon and renew me fully. Help me to see Lord that I can return to you only through faith and trusting you, and that I dare not rely on my own autonomous effort to secure your pardon, for such would be to denigrate and render void the sin-cleansing cross of Christ. Strengthen me, Lord, to share your life-giving gospel - lovingly and wisely - with my friends and family.
Share the Gospel with God's Strength
Sharing the gospel with family, friends, co-workers and others is a great privilege. We have been called as Christ's ambassadors to do just that (2 Cor 5:20)! Therefore, let us learn how to communicate with greater skill, all the while learning to pray and trust God for the people we speak to about the gospel. Here are a few tips to assist you in sharing the gospel
Pray for Your Friends Who Do Not Yet Know Christ
Invest Time Listening and Asking Good Questions
Do Not Present Christ as a Therapeutic Solution Only or Primarily
Remember, Sharing Christ Is Often A Process
Summary & Go-Fwd
We were created for God and find our truest self in relationship to and with Him; He is most glorified in our dependence upon Him. He is glorified by our humble and willing obedience and we are most thrilled and joyful when bringing delight to Him (Psalm 149:4).
Our relationship with God, however, is not automatic; we are not born in relationship with Him, we are born separated from Him and need to understand and respond (repentance and faith) to His gracious offer in the gospel, lest we continue to expose ourselves to His wise and just judgment.
It is critical, then, to grasp the one, unified message of the gospel in terms of its four main aspects. Taken together they constitute the Christ-centered keys of the kingdom and God's gracious offer of forgiveness, restoration and renewal in Christ. To misunderstand, misstate, denigrate or deny any aspect inherent in the gospel is (1) to weaken or even destroy real, genuine, saving faith, for true faith lays hold of the one, true God according to His revelation in the gospel, and (2) to variously distort true gospel living. In short, everything claiming spiritual, moral, or eternal status is to be measured by the glorious gospel of the blessed God (1 Tim 1:11) and deviation from it justly exposes one to God's curse (cf. Galatians 1:6-9; Romans 6:17; 1 Thes 2:13; 2 Thes 2:13-14).
So the biblical gospel leads to phenomenal blessing, indeed, the blessing of the kingdom (cf. Gal 3:6-14). To enter into relationship with God through Christ (John 14:6), wherein He reigns through His Spirit and His word in our lives (Rom 8:9), is tantamount to entering the kingdom of God. The kingdom was inaugurated at Christ's first coming - through His incarnate Person and sacrificial death on the cross, leading to His resurrection, ascension, and exaltation to the Father's right hand (Psalm 2:6-7) - followed by His pouring out of the Spirit on all those who believe the gospel (i.e., the "good news")...
But, more about these amazing truths in the next lesson...
This three-part expository study was preached at Flagstaff Christian Fellowship in 2020. Audio and manuscripts are available for each lesson.
For permission to reproduce/distribute these resources from Steve Cole (including the Word document and audio files found on the individual lesson pages below) please see Bible.org's ministry friendly copyright and permissions page. Likewise, to reproduce/distribute PDF/audio versions of his messages which may be found on Flagstaff Christian Fellowship's website see their permission statement.
1. How God Works in Dark Times (Judges 6:1-24)Related Media
Gideon, Lesson 1
January 12, 2020
If you keep up with the news, it’s difficult not to get depressed. Every day brings stories of human suffering through war, terrorism, natural disasters, coronavirus or crime. In addition, I get daily emails that tell how the world is attacking our Christian faith from every angle imaginable. Even the news about Christianity reports many stories of Christian leaders and churches falling into sin or defecting from the faith. We live in spiritually dark times that can lead us to despair.
The book of Judges sketches one of the darkest spiritual times in Israel’s history. Joshua had led Israel out of the wilderness and into the promised land. Under his leadership, Israel had conquered much of the land which God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. But after Joshua’s death, we read (Jud. 2:10-13):
All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals, and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the Lord to anger. So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.
Those verses describe the bleak condition of Israel 11 or 12 centuries before Christ. But they also can apply directly to us today. If you grew up in a Christian home as I did, it is a great blessing, but there is also an inherent danger: Your parents knew the Lord and experienced the power of the gospel in their lives. But the question is, do you know the Lord? Have you experienced the power of the gospel in your life? If you’re only a cultural Christian without a personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, you are susceptible to following the idols of our godless culture even as Israel was doing in Gideon’s day.
But the encouraging message of the book of Judges is that God is at work even in the darkest of times and even with the weakest, most mixed up people, to accomplish His sovereign purpose for His glory. Gideon never would have done what he did if God had not taken the initiative. And so, Gideon is not really the hero of this story. God is the hero! But God chooses to work through some weak people whom He teaches to trust in Him. As Paul put it (2 Cor. 4:7), “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.”
In this message, we will look at Gideon’s calling (Judges 6:1-24). In the next two messages, we will see Gideon’s conditioning (Jud. 6:25-7:15a); and, Gideon’s conquering, followed (sadly) by his compromising (Jud. 7:15b-7:25; 8:22-35). Applied to us, the lesson from Gideon’s calling is:
Because God is at work even in the spiritually darkest times, we can trust Him to use us even in our weakness to accomplish His sovereign purpose.
1. God is at work even in the spiritually darkest times.
When you look around at the depressing news, it may seem that God has gone on vacation. But He never does. As Paul states (Eph. 1:11), we have been “predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.” That was true in Gideon’s day as well. The book of Judges contains at least six similar cycles: Israel falls into sin; because of their sin, God brings an enemy that forces them into servitude; eventually, when the suffering seems overwhelming, Israel cries out to God in supplication; in response, God sends a “judge” who leads them to salvation. The judges were not like modern courtroom judges, but rather were leaders who provided military deliverance from Israel’s enemies and political oversight in limited geographical regions of Israel.
The fact that God was willing to repeat the deliverance of His idolatrous people over and over shows His great patience and grace. But the harsh servitude that He brought on His sinning people teaches us that sin never delivers on its promises. It promises happiness and prosperity, but in the end, it brings enslavement and suffering to nations, families, and individuals.
The theme of Judges is (21:25): “In those days, there was no king in Israel. Every man did what was right in his own eyes” (see, also, Jud. 17:6; 18:1; 19:1). Many of the judges were flawed men who showed that Israel needed a godly leader who could unify the nation in the worship of Yahweh. In the story line of the Bible, Judges follows the conquest of the land under Joshua and precedes the short story of Ruth, which shows how a Moabite widow trusted the God of Israel and was adopted into His covenant people. The punch line at the end of Ruth (4:17-22) tells us that she became the great-grandmother of King David. Then 1 Samuel tells how Israel finally got a king: first, the unfaithful King Saul and then David, the faithful king after God’s heart, whose descendant would be Jesus the Messiah.
In Gideon’s day, Israel was being overrun by the Midianites, a nomadic people who lived southeast of Israel. They were descendants of Abraham and his concubine Keturah (Gen. 25:1-2). During Israel’s time in the wilderness, the Midianites had joined with the Moabites under the counsel of Balaam to seduce Israel into immorality and idolatry (Num. 25:1-9). As a result, God told Moses to strike the Midianites in war (Num. 25:16-18).
In Gideon’s day, Midian would stay east of the Jordan River until harvest time. Then, with the Amalekites (another enemy of Israel) they would swarm into Israel like locusts, devour their crops, and steal their farm animals (Jud. 6:4-5). The Israelites did not have the military strength to fight off these hordes, so they had to hide out in dens and caves in the mountains and watch helplessly as the crops they had worked to harvest were consumed by these foreign raiders. This had gone on for seven years. The people were brought very low and finally cried out to the Lord (Jud. 6:1, 6-7).
Before God raised up Gideon as a military deliverer, He sent an unnamed prophet to confront Israel with their apostasy. After rehearsing God’s deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt, the prophet reminded them of the Lord’s command not to fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land they lived. Then the Lord added pointedly (Jud. 6:10b), “But you have not obeyed Me.”
Next, we see the Lord at work when He showed up in Gideon’s village of Ophrah as “the angel of the Lord” (not “an angel,” but “the angel”). While some scholars dispute that the angel of the Lord was God Himself, I think that Scripture shows that He was the Lord Jesus Christ in preincarnate form (F. Duane Lindsey, The Bible Knowledge Commentary [Victor Books], ed. by John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck, 1:381). He had the appearance of a man, but after He touched Gideon’s meal offering with his staff, causing it to be consumed with fire from the rock, He then disappeared. At that point, Gideon thought he would die because he had seen the angel of the Lord face to face (Jud. 6:22). Later, Samson’s father Manoah feared the same fate after he and his wife saw the same angel. Manoah calls the angel of the Lord, “God” (Jud. 13:21-22).
So even though Gideon lived in dark times politically and spiritually, God was at work. He was at work in disciplining His wayward people. He was at work to raise up a prophet to confront the people with their sin. He was at work to show up bodily in Gideon’s town and then to call Gideon to deliver His people. No matter how dark the times and even if you can’t see how the Lord is working, you can be sure that He is working to accomplish His sovereign purpose for His glory. How does He do it?
2. God uses weak people to accomplish His sovereign purpose.
God didn’t look for a man with renowned military skills, who was already a recognized leader in his community and nation. Rather, He picked a weak man who remained somewhat weak through the whole story and who (at the end of the story) finally failed. We see Gideon’s weakness in our text in at least five ways:
First, Gideon was defeated and cowardly. He was threshing wheat in a winepress. Normally, farmers would thresh wheat (to separate the wheat from the chaff) by using oxen pulling a heavy threshing sledge over it in an exposed area where the wind would blow the chaff away. But Gideon was down in a winepress beating the wheat with a stick “in order to save it from the Midianites” (Jud. 6:11).
Second, Gideon was dense spiritually. He either had not heard or not understood the message of the prophet, who attributed Israel’s abysmal situation to their sin. Gideon rehearsed for the angel how the Lord had delivered Israel from Egypt through mighty miracles. But he mistakenly concluded (Jud. 6:13), “But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” He was right about the Lord giving Israel into the hand of Midian, but he was wrong in saying that the Lord had abandoned them. As we’ve seen the Lord was working even in this spiritually dark time.
Third, Gideon was depressed. We see this in his complaint that God had abandoned Israel. Gideon had lost hope for any deliverance from this oppressive enemy that was literally eating Israel’s lunch!
Fourth, Gideon was down on himself rather than being focused on the Lord. When the angel tells Gideon (Jud. 6:14), “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian,” He was not implying that Gideon had the strength in himself to deliver Israel from the Midianites. Rather, Gideon’s strength was to be found in the angel’s rhetorical question, “Have I not sent you?” and in the angel’s promise (Jud. 6:16), “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” But Gideon was focused on his own incompetence rather than on the Lord’s power and presence. In verse 15, Gideon tells the angel (note the repeated “I” and “my”), “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.”
Fifth, Gideon was doubtful of God’s promises. The angel promised to be with Gideon and that Gideon would defeat the enemy. But Gideon needed a sign to confirm the angel’s word. God graciously complied with His weak servant’s request, first by incinerating Gideon’s offering; and then by making Gideon’s fleece first wet and then dry. Finally, knowing Gideon’s remaining doubts about attacking the Midianites, God graciously provided a final sign by allowing Gideon to overhear an enemy soldier telling about a dream in which Gideon was victorious over the Midianite army (Jud. 7:9-14). But up to that point, Gideon was marked by doubts.
Perhaps you can relate to one or more of these forms of weakness. Maybe you are defeated by some sin that robs you of the fullness of God’s blessing in your life. Or, you’re spiritually dense. You don’t see how God can possibly be at work in your dark situation. Maybe you’re depressed because of your circumstances. You’ve lost hope for any kind of deliverance. Or, perhaps you’re focused on yourself rather than the Lord. You feel as if you’re too weak and insignificant for God to use you. And maybe you’re doubtful of God’s promises to be with you and to give you victory over the enemy. In other words, you’re a lot like Gideon!
What’s the solution? It’s not, as the world tells us, to believe in yourself. It’s not to build your self-esteem or to follow some best-selling author’s steps to success. Rather, as C. H. Mackintosh wrote (Miscellaneous Writings [Loizeaux Brothers], 2:21), “If we can do nothing, self-confidence is the height of presumption. If God can do everything, despondency is the height of folly.” Or as the apostle Paul wrote (2 Cor. 1:8-9), “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.” Trusting in God is the solution for weak people who want to see Him work in their dark situation.
3. The weak people God uses must learn to trust His mighty strength.
Paul wrote (1 Cor. 1:26-29):
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.
Paul also told the Corinthians (2 Cor. 12:9-10),
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Besides Paul, throughout Scripture we see God using weak people who trust in Him. Abraham and Sarah were barren and beyond their ability to bear children when God promised Abraham that he would be the father of nations. Jacob had to trust God to protect him from his stronger brother, Esau. Moses had to spend 40 years in the wilderness tending sheep to break him of his self-confidence. When the Lord then called him to deliver Israel, Moses complained that he was unable to speak well. He asked God to find someone else. Peter failed terribly by denying the Lord before the Lord used him to bring 3,000 to faith on the Day of Pentecost.
But trusting God can be sort of nebulous. Our text reveals five requirements of trusting God that helps bring it more into focus:
First, trusting God requires repenting of compromise with the world. The prophet whom God sent confronted Israel’s idolatry (Jud. 6:10). But their crying out to God for help was not the same as repentance. As we’ll see (Jud. 6:25-32), Gideon had to begin at home by tearing down his father’s idols before God could use him to rout the Midianites. At the heart of idolatry is using spiritual powers for your own advantage. In this sense, many professing Christians try to use God for personal success or to gain whatever blessing they’re looking for. If He comes through, they thank Him and put Him back on the shelf until the next time they need Him. If He doesn’t come through, they look for another god who can deliver the goods. But trusting God means repenting of trying to use Him for our own agenda and submitting to Jesus as Lord, even if it means suffering and martyrdom.
Second, trusting God requires knowing His power on behalf of His people in the past and His promise of power for what He calls us to do. The prophet rehearsed the familiar story of how God had delivered Israel from Egypt. Gideon knew that story, but he didn’t yet see how God would work in the current gloomy situation. The angel promised that he would “defeat Midian as one man” (Jud. 6:16), which either meant “all at once” or “as easily as one man could be defeated.” Repeatedly in Scripture God reminds His servants that nothing is too difficult for Him to do (Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:27; Matt. 19:26; Luke 1:37).
Third, trusting God requires knowing God’s purpose for your future. I’m not talking about knowing all the details of how He will direct your future! Rather, I’m talking about knowing in some way how God wants to use you in His kingdom purposes. The angel first told Gideon (Jud. 6:12), “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.” Gideon probably looked around to see if He was talking to someone else! At that point, Gideon wasn’t a valiant warrior. He was a defeated coward, threshing out wheat in a winepress. But God calls His servants by what He will make them, not by what they are when He first calls them. Jesus called fickle Peter “a rock” and promised to build His church on Peter’s confession (Matt. 16:16-18). Paul called the carnal Corinthians “saints,” or “holy ones,” even though at that point they were far from holy (1 Cor. 1:2). In Ephesians 1-3 he sets forth our glorious position in Christ before he exhorts us (Eph. 4-6) how to walk in light of that position. He tells us, “Here is who you are in Christ; now, live that way.”
The angel specifically told Gideon that He was sending him to defeat the Midianites (Jud. 6:14). You might wish that God spoke directly to you like that to clarify what He wants you to do. But in general terms, He says to us (1 Pet. 4:10), “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” If you don’t know what your gift is, start serving somewhere and the Lord will direct and refine you in the process. Your gift will be something you enjoy doing (not that it’s always easy!) and it ministers to others.
Fourth, trusting God requires knowing His presence in your daily life. Twice (Jud. 6:12, 16) the angel of the Lord promised Gideon that He would be with him. If God is with us and He is for us, then who can stand against us (Rom. 8:31)? Both David Livingstone, the intrepid missionary to the interior of Africa, and John Paton, who lived among the cannibals of the New Hebrides Islands, relied heavily on Jesus’ promise in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:20), “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Livingstone said, “On these words I staked everything, and they never failed!” Paton buried his wife and a short time later, their infant son, not long after they arrived in the South Seas. He said that in danger and in grief, he was sustained by Jesus’ promise, “Lo, I am with you always.” (Both stories are in A Frank Boreham Treasure [Moody Press], compiled by Peter Gunther, pp. 107, 127-129.) Today the New Hebrides, now known as Vanuatu, is one-third Presbyterian, making it the most Presbyterian country in the world!
Fifth, trusting God requires knowing that we are at peace with Him through the sacrifice of His Son for us. It is not clear what Gideon intended by bringing the food offering to the angel. Perhaps at first he viewed it as a hospitality gesture. But when the angel touched the food and it was burned up and then the angel disappeared, Gideon was afraid that he would die, because he had seen the Lord. But the Lord told him (Judges 6:23), “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” Then we read (Jud. 6:24): “Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace.”
You cannot trust God to use you in serving Him until you know that you are at peace with Him through trusting in the sacrifice of His Son. Paul wrote (Rom. 5:1), “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” If your faith is in Christ and His sacrifice for your sins, then you are at peace with God. Even in the darkest of times, He wants to use you in your weakness as you trust Him, to help accomplish His sovereign purpose for His glory.
Our world, our nation, and our community are spiritually dark. Perhaps you’re going through a spiritually dark time personally. You can know that God is at work even if you don’t see immediate evidence of it. He wants you to trust Him to use the gifts He has entrusted to you as a part of His plan to be glorified through His church. Hudson Taylor, the pioneer missionary to China, said (goodreads.com/author/quotes/4693730.James_ Hudson_Taylor), “God uses men [he meant women, too] who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him.” That’s how God works in spiritually dark times!
- Think of a dark time in your life when you later realized that God was at work. What did you learn through this time?
- How can you discover your spiritual gifts so that you know how God wants to use you?
- Read a good biography of a missionary (David Livingstone, John Paton, Hudson Taylor; for others, see my bibliography on the church website). How did he or she trust God in dark times?
- Some Christian psychologists say that telling someone to trust God is “worthless medicine.” Agree/disagree? Why?
Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2020, All Rights Reserved.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation
Jarida La Mchungaji Wa Net, Swa Ed, Toleo La 1, Kuanguka 2011
Kuanguka Toleo La 2011
Dk. Roger Pascoe, Rais,
Taasisi ya Mahubiri ya Kibiblia
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
“Kuimarisha Kanisa katika Mahubiri ya Ki-Bibilia na Uongozi”
Hili ni toleo la kwanza la jarida la robo mwaka kwa wachungaji, kila toleo litajumuisha baadhi ya makala katika baadhi ya mada zifuatazo: Kuhubiri, uongozi wa kanisa, maswala ya huduma za kichungaji, historia ya kanisa, Mpangilio wa mahubiri na makala juu ya Ibada kwa ajili ya kukutia moyo wewe binafsi. Huduma ya Tovuti hii hasa ni kwa ajili ya wachungaji na watu wote wanahusika katika huduma ya kikristo kwa ujumla.
Dhamira yetu ni “Kuimarisha kanisa katika kuhubiri na juu ya uongozi wa kibiblia” na tunatarajia kwamba uchapishaji huu wa kielektroniki utafanya hivyo tu pale tunapojaribu kufundisha, kusaidia, na kuwatia moyo watu katika huduma hii ulimwenguni pote, hata katika sehemu za ndani zaidi.
Mungu akubariki sana katika huduma yako kwa ajili yake, yawezekana makala hizi zikawa chanzo cha msukumo na motisha katika kukiri kwako juu ya Neno la Mungu na uongozi wako kwa watu wa Mungu.
Sehemu Ya I. Kuhubiri: Ni Nini?
Na Dkt. Roger Pascoe, Rais,
Taasisi ya kuhubiri Biblia,
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Mahubiri ya ki-Biblia ni utangazaji wa ujumbe wa wazi (Umma) wa ujumbe kutoka kwa Mungu, unaotokana na maudhui ya kimaandiko. Kuhubiri katika Biblia kunahusisha kuhubiri ujumbe kutoka kwa Mungu kwenda kwa wasikilizaji fulani mahali fulani na kwa wakati fulani, ambao ujumbe unatoka kwa neno la Mungu, maandiko matakatifu, ambayo unafafanua na unahusisha maisha ya wasikilizaji wako.
Ni muhimu sana kujua kwamba ujumbe huo huo uwe wa kwanza kukusaidia wewe a kuhusisha na maisha yako binafsi (kile tunachokiita “kuhubiri kwa mwili”) ili kwamba kile unachokihubiri kinaonekana kwako kwa njia ambayo wasikilizaji wako wanaweza kuona ujumbe unauishi mbele zao.
Kuhibiri ki-Biblia siyo mhadhara; siyo hotuba, siyo mchezo wa kuigiza. Bali iko katika mfumo wake yenyewe. “Mhubiri siyo mwandishi anayesoma swaada wake mwenyewe; yeye ni sauti, ni moto, mtangazaji, ni jasiri katika kazi yake takatifu- anazungumzia jina la Mbinguni na nguvu. Kuna waandishi wengi kwenye mimbari kuliko wahubiri.”1
Kuna tafsiri nyingi za kuhubiri kibiblia (wakati mwingine inaitwa uhubiri wa maonyesho) kama vile:
Stephen Olford: “kuhubiri kwa maonyesho ni ufafanuzi wa nguvu iliyowezeshwa na Roho na kutangaza neno la Mungu, kwa kuzingatia ukweli wa kihistoria, kimazingira, kisarufi na mafundisho muhimu ya kifungu ulichopewa, na kitu maalumu cha kuomba matokeo na majibu ya mabadiliko ya Kristo.”
Haddon Robinson: “Mahubiri ya maonyesho ni mawasiliano ya dhana ya kibiblia, inayotokana na kupitishwa kwa njia ya maandishi ya kihistoria, kisarufi, na fasihi ya kifungu katika mazingira yake, ambayo Roho Mtakatifu kwanza huhusisha katika utu na uzoefu wa mhubiri kisha kwa wasikilizaji wake.” 2
John Stott: “Mtangazaji anafungua kile kinachoonekana kufungwa, huweka wazi kilichofichwa hufunua kilichofungwa na kufua kile kilichojaa kabisa… Jukumu letu kama wachukuzi ni kufungua (Maandishi) kwa njia ambayo inazungumza ujumbe wake wazi, wazi, kwa usahihi, sawa sawa, bila kuongeza, kuondoa au uwongo.” 3
J. I. Packer: “Wazo la kweli la (Kuelezea) mahubiri ni kwamba mhubiri anapaswa kuwa msukumo wa ujumbe wake, na kuufungua na kuuhusisha kama neno kutoka kwa Mungu kwenda kwa wasikilizaji, akizungumza tu ili kwamba ujumbe unaweza kusema wenyewe na ukasikika, na ukifanya kila hatua kutoka katika ujumbe wake kutoka katika ujumbe huo kwa njia ambayo wasikilizaji watambue (sauti ya Mungu).” 4
Ninazo tafsiri mbili- moja fupi na nyingine ndefu:
Tafsiri yangu fupi: “Lihubiri Neno” (2 Timotheo 4:2)
Ufafanuzi wangu mrefu: “Kuhubiri Kibiblia, ni kutangaza neno la Mungu, kwa nguvu ya Roho mtakatifu… ambayo inatafsiri maana yake kwa usahihi, inaeleza ukweli wake wazi, inatangaza ujumbe wake kwa mamlaka, na inahusisha kwa maana yake kweli (kwa mfano. Maisha ya kisasa)…Kwa lengo la kutoa majibu yenye mabadiliko kiroho kwa wasikilizaji.”
Mahubiri yote ni lazima yawe ya ki-Biblia. Lazima ichukuliwe kutoka na pia katika kweli, na kweli iwe Neno la Mungu lililosemwa na mhubiri. Mahubiri ya ki-Biblia ni ukweli wa Mungu uliotolewa kupitia wakala wa kibinadamu. Kwa hivyo mahubiri ya ki-Biblia yanahitaji mtazamo wa juu wa ki-Maandiko- kwamba yamevuviwa na Roho Mtakatifu, na pia inaaminika kabisa maandiko ndio mamlaka ya juu kwa Wakristo kwa kile tunachoamini na jinsi tunavyoishi. kwa hiyo ni mamlaka yetu pekee ya kuhubiri. Ikiwa tunashindwa kuhubiri maandiko, mahubiri yetu hayazidi falsafa.
Kuna njia mbili za kuhubiri- moja inaitwa kuhubiri Ki-Biblia (au, ufafanuzi) na nyingine inaitwa kuhubiri kwa maandishi. Mada ya kuhubiri inaanza na mhubiri kuamua juu ya mada na kisha kuikuza kupitia maandishi yanayo husiana na asehemu husika. Hatari ya ufundishaji huu ni (1) hii inaweza kuwa inawachanganya wasikilizaji kwa sababu kawaida anuwani ya maandishi hurejewa; na (2) wakati mwingine inaweza kupotosha, hasa ikiwa maandishi hutumika nje ya muktadha (ambayo mara nyingi huwa hivyo) lakini kuhubiri kwa maandishi inaweza kuwa na faida kwa sababu inatoa fursa ya kuwasilisha wigo mpana wa mafundisho ya kimaandiko juu ya mada fulani. Kwa maeneo mengine, inaweza kuwa uwasilishaji wa kimfumo wa mada ya kibiblia.
Mahubri ya ki-Biblia, kwa upande mwingine huanza na maandishi, ambayo mhubiri anakuwa ameamua mada. Kwa sababu hiyo sasa, mhubiri huanza kutoa maandishi kwanza na kitu cha pili hutoa mada kuhusiana na maandishi hayo, anashughulika tu na maandishi hayo na mada hiyo katika mahubiri yake. Hii haimaanishi kwamba hatarejelea maandishi mengine yanayohusiana na kila anachohubiri. Mara nyingi tunaleta maandishi mengine ili kuunga mkono kile tunachosema na kwa njia hii huonesha umoja wa Neno la Mungu. Kwa hiyo njia zote mbili zina uhalali, lakini naamini kuwa njia nzuri ya kuhubiri ni kuanza na Neno na kueleza mada ambayo imefunikwa katika kifungu ambacho tumechagua. Njia yeyote ile unayochukua, hakikisha “Unaliihubiri Neno!”
Kwa hiyo kuhubiri ni nini? Kuhubiri kunajumuisha mambo manne:
- Kuhusisha katika maisha
Katika maswala yanayokuja ya Jarida hili, tutazungumzia kila moja ya mambo haya ya kuhubiri. Bwana akubariki sana unapotafuta kumtukuza kwa uaminifu na kutabngaza wazi wazi ukweli wa Mungu kwa maisha ya kila mtu.
Sehemu Ya Ii. Uongozi Ni Kuwa Mfano Wa Ki-Mungu Wa Kuigwa
“Leta mfano wa kibinafsi- kimawazo, Neno na Matendo”
Na: Daktari Roger Pascoe, Rais,
Taasisi ya kufundisha Biblia,
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Mfano wa Kuigwa ni nini?
Mfano wa kuigwa ni kielelezo- mtu au kitu cha kuiga au kufuata. Kuwa mfano bora wa Kiungu kulikuwa na maana sana kwa mtume Paulo. Siyo tu kwamba alikuwa mfano wa kuigwa maishani mwake, lakini anatushauri na sisi kuwa mfano wa kuigwa wa kiungu katika maisha yetu. Anaiweka katika njia hii:
- “Nawatia moyo ninyi, kisha, muige maisha yangu” (1Wakoritho 4;16)
- “Mambo haya yaliwapata wao kwa ajili ya mfano…”(1 Wakorintho 10:11)
- “Mnifuate mimi kama mimi ninavyomfuata Kristo” (1 Wakorintho 11:1)
- “Ndugu zangu mnifuate mimi, mkawatazame wao waendao kwa kufuata mfano tuliowapa ninyi” (Wafilipi 3:17)
- “Hata mkawa kielelezo kwa watu wote waaminio…” (1Wathesalonike 1:7)
- “Mwajua wenyewe jinsi iwapasavyo kutufuata; kwa sababu hatukwenda bila utaratibu kwenu” (2 Wakorintho 3:7)
- “…sisi wenyewe ni mfano kwenu ili mpate kuiga kielelezo chetu” (2 Wathesalonike 3:9)
- “…uwe kielelezo kwa waumini katika usemi, mwenendo, upendo, uaminifu na usafi” (1Tim. 4:12)
Waandishi wengine wa Agano Jipya (NT) pia msisitizo wao ni umuhimu wa kuwa mfano wa kiungu, au kielelezo.
Yakobo. “Ndugu watwaeni manabii walionena kwa jina la Bwana, wawe mfano wa kustahimili mabaya, na wa uvumilivu” (Yakobo 5:10)
Petro. “Sababu hiyo mliitiwa, kwa maana Kristo naye aliteswa kwa ajili yenu, katuachia kielelezo…” (1 Petro 2:21)
“Wala si kama wajifanyao mabwana juu ya mitaa yao, bali kwa kujifanya vielelezo kwa lile kundi” (1 Petro 5:3)
Waebrania. “… Bali mkawe wafuasi wa hao wazirithio ahadi kwa imani na uvumilivu” (Waebrania 6:12).
Mtume Yohana pia anatufundisha kanuni kwamba tunapaswa kuiga mifano mizuri na kuachana na mifano mibaya: “Msifatishe yaliyo mabaya lakoni yaliyo mema” (3 Yohana 11). Gayo Yohana alikuwa akimwandikia) alikuwa anamwiga Demetrio kama mfano wa kuigwa wa kimungu, jinsi ya kuishi kama kiongozi anayemwogopa Mungu. Demetrio”alishuhudiwa na wote.” (12)- Mfano alikuwa na sifa inayojulikana- kama mtu ambaye angeweza kuaminiwa; . mtu wa kuigwa na kufuatwa. Alikuwa mtu mzuri, ambaye alitenda kweli.
Kawaida, mfano ulio bora ni ule wa Mungu na Bwana Yesu Kristo. Paulo anasema “Hivyo mfuateni Mungu, kama watoto wanaopendwa…”(Waefeso 5:1..) Tunawezaje kumuiga Mungu? Tunamuiga Mungu kwa njia zote chanya na hasi. Chanya, tunamwiga Mungu kwa “Kuishi kwa upendo, kama Kristo alivyotupenda sisi…” (2) Nasi, tunamwiga Mungu kwa kutoruhusu tabia zozote za uovu zinazofanywa kati yetu, “kwani hizi hazifai kwa watakatifu” (3)
Yesu mwenyewe alisema kwa wanafunzi wake, “Kwa kuwa nimewapa kielelezo; ili kama mimi nilivyowatendea, nanyi mtende vivyo.” (Yohana 13:15). Yesu aliwaosha miguu wanafunzi wake miguu, alikuwa akiwapa mfano mkubwa wa utumishi na unyeyekevu, ambao aliwasihi wafanye hivyo katika maisha yao wenyewe. Kiukweli, mfano mkuu zaidi ya yote ni kafara ya Bwana Yesu pale msalabani. Huo ndio mfano wa unyenyekevu, sadaka, na mateso kwa faida ya wengine. (Wafilipi 2:1-16)
Kuwa mfano wa kuigwa kwa wengine ni kile tunaita “Kushauri” Tunawashauri watu sivyo? Kuna ushauri wa kimakusudi ambapo unatumia muda na mtu na wanajifunza kutoka kwako namna unavyoishi, unavyofikri, kufanya, na vile unavyoamini, unavyoitikia, jinsi unavyohusiana na wengine n.k. Na pia kuna ushauri wa “watazamaji” ambapo watu hukaa kukuangalia kwa mbali – wakiangalia unavyofanya, wakisikiliza kile unachosema nk. Na wanajifunza kutoka kwako; wanakuiga wakati mwingine bila wewe kujua. Hii ni kweli hasa kwa wachungaji. Tunatazamwa na makutano yetu, na majirani zetu, na familia zetu na wale ambao tunafanya biashara nao. Wanatafuta kuona tunavyoishi na wanaamua ikiwa sisi ni watu ambao wanapaswa kuigwa na kufuatwa. Huwezi kujua wakati mtu anakuangalia na ushawishi ulio nao katika maisha yao. Tunachunguzwa kila wakati katika familia zetu, katika maeneo yetu ya kazi na katika jumuia yetu ya wakristo.
Mfano wako unaweza kuwa mkubwa kama Wathesalonike ambao…” nanyi mkawa waigaji wetu (Paulo anasema) na wa Bwana, kwa kuwa mlilipokea neno chini ya dhiki nyingi pamoja na shangwe ya roho takatifu. hivi kwamba mkawa kielelezo kwa waamini wote katika Makedonia na katika Akaya. Ukweli ni kwamba, si kwamba neno la Yehova kutoka kwenu limevuma tu katika Makedonia na Akaya…” (1 Wathesalonike 1:6-10). Kile walichokiona na kukisikia kutoka kwa mtume Paulo kilikuwa ni kiini cha maisha yao na mashahidi, hivyo wakawa kielelezo kwa wengine. Hii ndiyo athari kwamba kuwa mfano wa kuigwa unaweza ukawa kwa watu wengine! Unawafanya wengine waone kile unachofanya, unachosema, unachifikri, na jinsi unavyojisikia, na matokeo yake wanakufuata kwa sababu wewe ni “Mfano kwa kundi” (1 Petro 5:3)
Wacha tuwe waangalifu na wenye kusudi la kuwa mfano mzuri, wa kimungu, mfano wa Kikristo wa kuigwa ambao wengine wanaweza wakafuata kwa ujasiri. Kuna mambo mengi ya kuwa mfano wa ki-Mungu wa kuigwa. Katika Makala hii, tutangalia moja tu na kisha baadaye tutachunguza mambo mengine. Leo, tunataka tuangalie inamaanisha nini kuwa…
Mfano wa kujitoa
Mtume Paulo alikuwa mshauri kwa Timotheo, alimhimiza Timtheo awe mfano wa kujitoa: uwe mfano mzuri kwa waaminio katika kusema, katika mwenendo, katika upendo, katika imani, na katika usafi… zama katika hayo, ili maendeleo yako yaonekane wazi kwa watu wote. (1 Timotheo 4:12,15) kujitoa kunamaanisha “kuchukua maumivu katika vitu hivi; kunyonywa au kufyonzwa nao.”
Tukiwa mfano wa kuigwa wa kiungukatika maisha yetu ya Kikristo na kwa huduma zetu za kichungaji, tunapaswa kuhusisha na kile ambacho Mungu ametuita kufanya. Maisha ya Kikristo ni moja ya kujitoa kikamilifu, ikiwa tutakuwa wanafunzi wa Yesu. Yesu alisema, “Hakuna hata mmoja kati yenu anayeweza kuwa wanafunzi wangu asiyeachilia mali yake yote” (Luks 14:33) inasikika kama kujitoa kwa asilimia 100%, sivyo? Na ni aina ambayo hupata usikivu wa wengine na inashawishi wengine kujitoa kikamkilifu kwa Bwana.
Kwa kweli , kama wachungaji na viongozi wa kanisa, agizo hili linafaa zaidi ikiwa hatujajikabidhi kwa Mungu nani atakayetufuata? Maisha yetu lazima yawe ya tofauti na ya kusisimua sana, ili kwamba watu wengine watambue kuwa tumejitoa kabisa kuwa wanafunzi wa Kristo , maneno, mawazo na vitendo. Tunapaswa kuwa na nidhamu ya kila siku na kujitoa kama wanariadha, wakulima, na maaskari, mtume Paulo anasema (2 Timotheo 2:4-6) Ni tabia zipi za watu hawa ambazo wanaweza kuonyesha katika maisha yetu wenyewe?
Kwanza askari (2 Timotheo 2:4) sharti la askari wazuri ni kujitoa kwao kwa nidhamu katika uvumilivu. Lazima wawe kwenye kazi kila muda. Lazima wawe macho kila wakati kwa ajili ya ishara ya maadui. Hawawezi kulala kazini kwa kusimamia uaminifu wao na utii kwa “Aliyewaajiri (wao) kutumika kama maaskari. Kazi yao ni kutumikia na kulinda nchi yao. Hiyo ni kujitoa kwao bila kujali hali inaweza kuwaje.
Pili, mwanariadha (2 Timotheo 2:5) Tabia ya Msingi ya wanariadha ni ile kujitoa kwao kwa kufanya mazoezi. Wanariadha lazima wawe wenye nidhamu sana katika kujitoa kwa mazoezi ili kuendelea kuwa bora katika mazoezi yao. Wanariadha lazima wajinyime raha nyingi ambazo marafiki zao wanapata kwa sababu ya maisha yao ya kinidhamu. Lazima wapate usingizi wa kutosha, kula chakula kizuri, kuepuka tabia mbaya, na kuacha shughuli zingine (ambazo zinaweza kukubalika kikamilifu ndani yao) ili waweze kutekeleza malengo yao. Kwa kweli wanariadha wameunganishwa na zaidi ya kujitoa kwa mazoezi ya nidhamu. Lakini pia wafungwa na kujitoa kwao kwa utii wenye nidhamu. Wanariadha lazima wajue na kutii sheria kwa ukamilifu.vinginevyo hatari ni kwamba wanaweza kushinda mbio lakini baada ya hapo watagundua kuwa wameshindwa kwa kuvunja sheria za michezo.((Tazama 1 Wakorintho 9:24-27). Pia, juhudi zao zingekuwa bure.
Tatu, mkulima (2 Timotheo 2:6) wakulima ni mfano bora wa kujitoa lazima wafanye kazi kwa nguvu na kujitoa kikamilifu. Wanaweza wakafanya kazi kwa nguvu ili kuzalisha; kuandaa udongo, kupanda mbegu, na kupalilia magugu. Hii inaonyeshe nidhamu binafsi maana hakuna mtu anayeweza kufanya kazi hizi shambani mwake. Angeweza kuamua kuishi kirahisi. Kuchukua wiki chache bila kufanya kazi. kuacha shamba na mazao yajihudumie yenyewe. Lakini matokeo yake ni mabaya. Mkulima aliyefanikiwa ni yule anafanya kazi kwa nguvu na anapomaliza kazi yeke, lazima ategemee, Mungu pekee anatuma jua na mvua ili kufanya mazao yakue. Mkulima amebanwa katika sehemu anayoweza kufanya. Hata kama angefanya kazi kwa bidii, hawezi kufanya mmea ukue ni Mungu pekee anaweza. Hivyo anahitaji kumtegemea Mungu kikamilifu.
Kufuatia mfano huu wa kujitoa kwa (Askari, wanariadha, na wakulima) naomba kukutia moyo utenge muda na nguvu kujiendesha mwenyewe katika kazi yako binafsi na huduma katika jamii kwa kuwa mfano au kielelezo cha kujitoa, kupitia uvumilivu na nidhamu. Wacha wengine waone kuwa wewe una ushuhuda na huduma katika Kristo. Acha wengine waone kuwa unamaanisha kuhusu huduma ya kikristo na huduma yako ya kichungaji kuwa siyo kazi yako ya kawaida lakini ni kazi ya wito.
Usivunjike moyo katika kujitoa katika kazi ya Kristo na huduma. Ujinga hauna sehemu katika huduma ya Mkristo. Yote tunayofanya yanapaswa kuwa katika utukufu wa Mungu, maana yake yale tunayoyafanya kwa nguvu zetu zote, pamoja na ubora na kujitoa kote.
Sehemu Ya III. Storia Ya Kanisa: “Kukumbuka Yaliyopita”
Na: Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin
Profesa wa Historia ya Kanisa na Kiroho Ki-Biblia.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
Kwa nini tunahitaji kukumbuka yaliyopita
Mojawapo ya zawadi nzuri ambazo Mungu amewapa wanadamu ni kukumbuka mambo yaliyopita. Kukumbuka mambo yetu ya zamani ni muhimu yanatusaidia kujua sisi ni nani na kujua utambulisho wetu binafsi. Sote tunajua magonjwa ambayo yanaharibu kumbukumbu ya mtu huharibu uwezo wa mtu kufanya kazi kwa njia zote mhimu hasa kwa kipindi tulichonacho. Ndivyo ilivyo kwa jamii na mataifa mbalimbali. Kama jamii au taifa lolote linasahau lilikotoka hujikuta limechanganyikiwa kabisa na haliwezi kusogea mbele.kama halijui limetoka wapi haiwezi kuweka njia kwa ajili ya wakati ujao. Kiukweli, ni kama zawadi nzuri inapodhurumiwa. Inaweza kumpofusha mtu, hata kama ni jamii, humfanya mtu kuwa na majuto, au kutosamehe au chuki za kulipiza kizazi.
Lakini ikiwa ni kweli kwamba ufahamu wa zamani ni muhimu kwa uhalisia wa maisha ya leo na yajayo, naamini ni ndivyo ilivyo, Uinjilisti wa kisasa unakabili siku zijazo, hakika kwa sisi tunaishi katika siku ambayo ufahamu wetu wa zamani kama injili ya Kristo iliyo chini.wazee wa zamani walikuwa akina nani na waliamini nini? Je, walikuwa na uzoefu gani juu ya Mungu na makanisa walioanzisha, makanisa tulioyarithi? Nini kiliwafanya wawe walivyokuwa na tunaweza kujifunza nini kutokana na maisha na kufikiria kuishi maisha bora kama wakristo wa siku tulizonazo? Wainjilisti wengi sana hawajui na kama wanajua hawajali suala hili, kwa kweli hawatofautishwi kutoka kwa tamaduni ya sasa, ambayo ni ya kupenda upendo wa sasa, na kutaraji kwa hamu siku zijazo, kutojali kabisa siku za nyuma au ikiwa nia ya kupiga kichwa imeonyeshwa hapo zamani hutumika kama gari la burudani. Hakuna ugomvi mkubwa na wa zamani ili kupata hekima kwa sasa au siku zijazo.
Maandiko, kwa upande mwingine, hufanya mengi ya kukumbuka: 5
- 1 Mambo ya Nyakati 16: 12 / Zaburi 105: 5: “Kumbuka kazi za kushangaza ambazo yeye [ndiye Bwana, amefanya] miujiza yake na hukumu alizotamka.”
- Waebrania 13: 7: “Kumbuka viongozi wako, wale waliokuambia neno la Mungu. Fikiria matokeo ya maisha yao, na uige imani yao. “[Kumbuka: wito huu wa ukumbusho unakuja baada ya sura ndefu zaidi katika Waebrania, sura ya 11, ambapo mashujaa wa imani ya Mungu wanakumbukwa].
- Mika 6: 5: “Enyi watu wangu, kumbukeni kile ambacho Balaki mfalme wa Moabu alidhania, na Balaamu mwana wa Beori alichomjibu, na kile kilichotokea kutoka Shitimu mpaka Gilgali, ili mjue matendo ya kuokoa ya BWANA.”
- Kumbukumbu la Torati 24: 9: “Kumbuka kile BWANA Mungu wako alimfanyia Miriamu njiani ulipokuwa ukitoka nchini Misri.” Cp. Luka 17:32: “Kumbuka mke wa Lutu.”
Katika kipengele hiki cha robo mwaka cha jarida hili, tunataka kukumbuka matukio na watu wa zamani, kutoka siku za mwanzo za Kanisa hadi Marekebisho makubwa na kwa matukio ya hivi karibuni na watu. Tunafanya hivyo kwa sababu matukio ya siku hizo yamesaidia kutufanya tuwe leo. Ikiwa matukio ya miaka hiyo hayajafanyika mambo yangekuwa tofauti kabisa leo. Hatukumbuki, sio tu, kupata wazo bora la wapi tumetoka, lakini kwa sababu watu kutoka siku hiyo wanaweza kutupatia hekima kwa wakati huu.
Sehemu Ya IV. Mawazo Ya Ibada
Kuhubiri kwa mamlaka 6
Na: Dr John MacArthur, Mchungaji
Kanisa la Jamii la Neema, Sun Valley, Calif.
“Tangu wakati huo Yesu alianza kuhubiri” (Mt. 4:17)
Mola wetu alitangaza ujumbe wa injili bila shaka. Dhamira yake haikuwa ya kubishana au kupingana na wapinzani wake bali kuhubiri ukweli wa wokovu. Hakutangaza tu ukweli fulani, lakini alifanya hivyo kwa mamlaka makubwa (soma Mathayo 7:29).
Waandishi hawakuweza kufundisha kwa mamlaka kwa sababu walikuwa wamechanganya maoni na tafsiri nyingi za kibinadamu na ukweli wa kibinadamu kiasi kwamba hisia yoyote ya mamlaka kwao ilikuwa imepotea tangu zamani. Kwa hivyo ilishangaza sana wakati watu waliposikia tena mmoja kama Yesu akihubiri kwa mamlaka halisi, kama nabii walikuwa halisi (taz.Mat 7: 28-29).
Yesu pia alihubiri sawasawa kabisa na kile Baba yake alichomwagiza kutangaza, ambavyo bila shaka ilizidisha nguvu yake. Alishuhudia ukweli huu moja kwa moja, “Sikuongea kwa hiari yangu, lakini Baba mwenyewe aliyenipeleka amenipa amri ya nini cha kuongea na cha kusema” (Yohana 12: 49; taz. 3: 34; 8:38).
Kwa msingi wa mamlaka hii ya Kimungu, Kristo hututuma ulimwenguni kama mabalozi wake kwa kusema, “Nimepewa mamlaka yote mbinguni na duniani. Basi enendeni mkafanye mataifa yote kuwa wanafunzi “(Math. 28: 18b-19a). Waumini wote ambao ni mashuhuda waaminifu kwa injili watatangaza ukweli fulani wa Mungu kwa mamlaka yake - na kwa nguvu zake.
Jiulize: Mamlaka ya Yesu ambayo iliyosajili na watu wa nyakati zake pia ilikuwa na kitu cha kufanya juu ya uhalisi wake. Ikiwa watu hawaonyeshi heshima kwa Mungu na Neno Lake leo, ni kiasi gani, je, hiyo ni kwa sababu ya ukosefu wa mamlaka katika watu wake? Omba kwamba tutoe ukweli wake uliojaa neema ijaayo uhalisia.
Sehemu Ya V. Muhtasari Wa Mahubiri
Na: Dk Roger Pascoe,
Rais wa Taasisi ya Mahubiri ya Kibiblia
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Kusudi la kukupa muhtasari wa mahubiri katika Jarida la Wachungaji la NET ni kukusaidia na maandalizi yako ya mahubiri. Mara nyingi, moja ya sehemu ngumu zaidi ya maandalizi ya mahubiri ni kugundua muundo wa kifungu unayaenda kuhubiri. Katika maswala ya baadaye ya Jarida la Wachungaji la NET nina mpango wa kujadili kwa undani jinsi ya kwenda kutafuta muundo (au, muhtasari) wa kifungu kama mwandishi wa biblia alivyokusudia.
Muhtasari huu wa mahubiri unakusudiwa kukuonyesha matokeo ya kumaliza ya muhtasari mwingine wa mahubiri yangu. Natumai utakuwa na uwezo wa kuona jinsi wanavyohusiana moja kwa moja, na kutoka moja kwa moja kwa kifungu cha Maandishi yenyewe.
Sehemu kuu katika muhtasari huu wa mahubiri ni taarifa za kanuni ambazo zinafanywa katika kifungu hicho, yote ambayo yanahusiana na mada moja ya kifungu. Hizi kanuni zimetamkwa kwa njia inayowaunganisha wasikiaji wa mahubiri. Kwa kutumia njia hii ya kusema mambo kuu, mahubiri sio hotuba juu ya kipande cha historia ya zamani, lakini ujumbe kutoka kwa Mungu kwa wasikilizaji wako leo. Wanaposikia mambo haya kuu katika mahubiri yote, huchorwa kwenye mahubiri kwa sababu wanaona kwamba kanuni za kifungu zinahusiana na maisha yao - shida zao, tabia zao, maamuzi yao, mitazamo yao, hali yao ya kiroho, familia zao nk.
Nitaanza na safu ya maelezo juu ya Injili ya Yohana. Maelezo haya hayatakuwa katika sura na mlolongo wa aya lakini yatagawanywa na; Kwa sababu mahubiri haya ni kumbukumbu kwa wasikilizaji wa redio (sio huduma za kanisa), utagundua kwamba kuna mahubiri kadhaa ya kukamilisha muhtasari mmoja.
Tafadhali jisikie huru kutumia muhtasari huu mwenyewe. Unaweza kuzitumia kama vile zinavyochapishwa au unaweza kuzirekebisha ikiwa unataka. Ikiwa utatumia muhtasari huu au la, tumaini langu ni (na madhumuni ya kuyachapisha ni) kwamba utaona kanuni zinatoka wapi katika kifungu cha Maandiko na jinsi ya kuyatamka kwa wasikilizaji wako wa sasa.
Kisha, hapa kuna muhtasari wa mahubiri matatu kwa vitendo saba vya asili vya Yesu.
1. Yohana 2: 1-11, Yesu Anabadilisha Maji kuwa Mvinyo
Mada: Imani Katika Matendo
Kidokezo # 1: Imani Inaonyesha Usadikisho usio na mwisho (2: 1-5)
1. Kujiamini kwamba Yesu anajua juu ya hali zetu (2: 3)
2. Kujiamini kwamba Yesu anajali shida zetu (2: 4)
3. Kujiamini kwamba Yesu anajibu mahitaji yetu (2: 5)
Kidokezo # 2: Imani Hujibu Kwa Utii Usio na shaka (2: 6-8)
1. Utii katika vitu visivyo na akili (2: 7)
2. Utii licha ya kile wengine wanaweza kufikiria (2: 8)
Kidokezo # 3: Imani Inatambua Baraka Zisizostahiliwa (2: 9-11)
1. Imani inatambua ni wapi baraka zisizostahili zinatoka (2: 9-10)
2. Imani inatambua kile baraka isiyostahili kuashiria (2)
2. Yohana 4: 46-54, Yesu Anamponya Mwana wa Nobleman
Mada: Imani katika Neno la Mungu
Asili / mpangilio: 4:46
Kidokezo # 1: Hitaji letu la Mungu Unaonyeshwa Na Tamaa Yetu ya Binadamu (4: 47-50a)
1. Tunaona mahitaji ya mwili ambapo Mungu huona mahitaji ya kiroho (4: 47-48)
2. Tunaendelea bila ujinga ambapo Mungu anapinga kwa busara (4: 49-50a)
Kidokezo # 2: Imani Katika Mungu Ni Suluhisho La Kuangamizwa Kwa Kiroho (4: 50b-53)
1. Imani huanza na kuamini Neno la Mungu (4: 50b)
2. Imani inatenda kwa utii kwa mapenzi ya Mungu (4: 50c)
3. Imani inathibitishwa na ushahidi wa kazi ya Mungu (4: 51-52)
4. Imani imethibitishwa na hakika juu ya ukweli wa Mungu (4:53)
3. Yohana 5: 1-47, Yesu Anamponya Mtu Mlemavu huko Bethesda, sehemu ya. 1
Mada: Jibu kwa Mamlaka ya Yesu
Asili / mpangilio: 5: 1-5
Kidokezo # 1: Ishara ya Mamlaka ya Yesu (5: 6-9, 14)
1. Yesu anauliza swali la kutafuta: “Je! Unataka kuponywa?” (5: 6-7)
2. Yesu anatoa amri ya kusisimua: “Inuka, chukua mkeka wako utembee” (5: 8-9)
3. Yesu anatoa onyo kali: “Usitende dhambi tena ...” (5:14)
Kidokezo # 2: Mzozo juu ya Mamlaka ya Yesu
1. Mzozo juu ya hatua ya Yesu siku ya Sabato (5: 10-13, 15-16)
2. Mzozo juu ya madai ya Yesu ya uungu (5: 17-18)
1 Joseph Parker, aliyetajwa katika Stephen F. Olford, Preaching the word of God (Memphis: Taasisi ya Mahubiri ya ki-Biblia, 1984), 34.
2 Haddon W. Robinson, Biblical teaching: The Development and Delivery of Expository Messages (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980), 20.
3 Stott, Between Two Worlds (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1982), 126.
4 Iliyofafanuliwa kutoka The Westminster Directory 1645
5 Marejeleo yote ya Maandiko ni kutoka ESV.
6 John MacArthur, “Jesus’ Authoritative Preaching” in Daily Readings from the Life of Christ (Chicago: Mood publisher, 2008), Januari 29.
Related Topics: Pastors
Jarida La Mchungaji Wa Net, Swa Ed, Toleo La 2, Msimu Wa Baridi 2012
Msimu Wa Baridi Toleo La 2012
Dk. Roger Pascoe, Rais,
Taasisi ya Mahubiri ya Kibiblia
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
“Kuimarisha Kanisa katika Mahubiri ya Ki-Bibilia na Uongozi”
Hii ndio toleo la pili la Jarida la Wachungaji la NET. Tunatumai kuwa nakala juu ya huduma mbali mbali za kichungaji zinasaidia kwa huduma yako na zinakutia moyo
Dhamira yetu hapa katika Taasisi ya Ufundishaji wa Kibinadamu ni “kuimarisha kanisa katika mahubiri ya Kihistoria na Uongozi” na tunatumai kuwa uchapishaji huu wa Kielektroniki utafanya hivyo tu tunapojaribu kufundisha, kusaidia, na kutia moyo watu katika huduma ulimwenguni kote.
Mungu akubariki katika huduma yako kwake. Vifungu hivyo vinaweza kukusaidia kuhubiri kwa uaminifu na kufundisha Neno la Mungu na kuwa chanzo cha msukumo na kutia moyo katika uongozi wako kwa watu wa Mungu.
Sehemu Ya Kwanza: Kuhubiri: Kwanini Tunahubiri?
Na: Dk Roger Pascoe, Rais,
Taasisi ya Mahubiri ya Bibilia,
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Katika toleo la mwisho (ya 2011) la Jarida la Wachungaji la NET, tulijadili kuhubiri ni kitu gani. Tulihitimisha kuwa kuhubiri ni kutangaza neno la Mungu kwa nguvu za Roho Mtakatifu, lengo lake ni kutoa majibu ya kubadilisha kiroho kwa wasikilizaji katika:
1. Kutafsiri kwa usahihi maana yake
2. Kuelezea ukweli wake wazi wazi
3. Kutangaza ujumbe wake kwa mamlaka na
4. Kuhusisha kwa vitendo na maisha ya kisasa
Vitu vikuu vya mahubiri ya bibilia, ni kama ifuatavyo:
1. Ujumbe hupata chanzo pekee katika maandiko. Hii inamaanisha kweli, kwamba mahubiri ya kibibilia yanahitaji kujitolea bila masharti kwa upande wa mhubiri kwamba Bibilia ni Neno la Mungu na, kwa hivyo, ndio mamlaka pekee na chanzo cha kuhubiri.
2. Kifungu cha Maandiko kinaeleweka kupitia uchunguzi wa kina na hufasiriwa kupitia kanuni zilizowekwa vizuri za tafsiri ya bibilia, kwa kuzingatia:
a) Muktadha wa kifungu
b) Muundo wa sarufi ya kifungu
c) Maana ya kihistoria ya maneno
d) Mpangilio wa kitamaduni wa kifungu
e) Maana ya kitheolojia ya kifungu
f) Maana iliyokusudiwa ya mwandishi kama ingekuwa inaeleweka na watazamaji wa asili
3. Ujumbe unakuzwa kwa kuainisha kanuni za wakati ambazo zinafundishwa katika kifungu hicho.
4. Ujumbe unajumuisha:
a) Maelezo ya wazi ya kile kifungu kinavyosema na kinamaanisha nini
b) Uhusishi mzuri wa kifungu kwa maisha ya wasikilizaji wako
Tunapochapisha matoleo ya baadaye ya Jarida hili la Wachungaji la NET, nitakuwa nikishughulika na mambo haya ya mitazamo ya mahubiri ya Bibilia.
Kusudi la jumla tu, na kuhubiri bibilia ni kuwasiliana ujumbe kutoka kwa Mungu unaotokana na Neno la Mungu, Maandiko. Kusudi maalum la mahubiri ya bibilia ni kuwasiliana ni ujumbe maalum unaotokana na maandishi maalum (au vifungu) vya maandiko, ambayo ujumbe huelekezwa kwa hadhira maalum na wito kwa majibu maalum kwa ujumbe huo.
Katika Mhubiri na Mahubiri: Kurekebisha Sanaa hiyo katika Karne ya Ishirini, “Kwanini Uhubiri?”, JI Packer anasema: “Madhumuni ya kuhubiri ni kuelimisha, kushawishi, na kutoa mwitikio unaofaa kwa Mungu ambaye ujumbe na maagizo yake yamefika... Hatuzungumzii juu ya kupeana somo kutoka kwenye kitabu, lakini tunazungumza kwa ajili ya Mungu na kuwaita watu kwa Mungu “(uk. 9). Ndio maana tunahubiri - kuongea kwa ajili ya Mungu na kuwaita watu kwa Mungu. Inaweza kuwa ujumbe wa kiinjili ambamo injili hutolewa au inaweza kuwa ujumbe wa kujenga kwa mwili wa Kristo. Lakini kusudi la jumla ni kupeleka ujumbe kutoka katika Neno la Mungu kwenda kwa wasikilizaji wako ambao ujumbe unawaleta kukutana uso kwa uso na Mungu.
Kwa hivyo, kujiamini katika Maandiko kuwa Neno la Mungu ndio uti wa mgongo muhimu wa mahubiri ya kibiblia. Ni Neno la Mungu kwamba lazima litafsiriwe kwa usahihi, kuelezea wazi wazi , kuhusisha kwa vitendo, na (kwa sababu ni Neno la Mungu) kutangaza kwa mamlaka na uhakika wa nguvu na uwepo wake wa kudumu.
Neno la Mungu ni la muhimu sana watu wanahitaji kulisikia. Kwa hivyo, mahubiri ya kibibilia ni kile kinachohitajika katika ulimwengu na kanisani. Zingatia maandiko haya ambayo yanazungumza juu ya umuhimu mkubwa na kazi ya Neno la Mungu:
- Kumbukumbu la Torati 32: 46-47, Neno la Mungu ni “maisha yako”
- Zaburi 119: 11, Neno la Mungu hutukinga na dhambi
- Efe. 6:17, Neno la Mungu ni “upanga wa Roho”
- Warumi 6:17 na Kumb. 27:10, Neno la Mungu linahitaji kujitoa na utii (taz. 2 Thes. 1: 8; 1 Pet. 3: 1; 4:17)
- Kumbukumbu la Torati 30: 15-16, Neno la Mungu huamua maisha na utakatifu
- Kumbukumbu la Torati 8: 3, Neno la Mungu linatupa chakula na kutulisha (taz. Mathayo 4: 4)
- Warumi 10:17, Neno la Mungu ndilo njia ya imani
- Ebr. 4:12, Neno la Mungu linafunua hali yetu ya ndani
- 2 Tim. 3: 16, Neno la Mungu linamwimarisha mtumishi wa Mungu kwa huduma zote
Changamoto yangu kwako katika toleo hili la Jarida la Wachungaji la NET ni hii:
1. Unapohubiri, unahubiri nini? Kuna sauti na maneno mengi ulimwenguni siku hizi. Watu hawahitaji maneno mengi, wanahitaji mamlaka ya Mungu, Neno la mwisho. Neno la Mungu huonyesha tofauti.
2. Je! Neno la Mungu lina umuhimu gani kwako?
3. Inaleta tofauti gani katika maisha yako?
4. Kujibu maswali haya itakusaidia kuona ni kwanini mahubiri ya kibiblia ni muhimu sana.
Sehemu Ya II. Uongozi: Kuwa Mfano Wa Kimungu
“Kuwa Mfano binafsi katika Kufikiria, Neno, na Tendo”
Na: Dk. Roger Pascoe, Rais,
Taasisi ya Mahubiri ya Bibilia,
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Katika toleo la mwisho la Jarida la Wachungaji la NET, tulianza safu hii juu ya uongozi wa Kikristo juu ya mada ya kuwa mfano wa kuigwa wa Ki-Mungu. Ikiwa wewe ni kiongozi wa Kikristo, basi wewe ni mfano wa kuigwa ikiwa unajua au la. Watu wa karibu na wewe (Wanaokuzunguka) wanasikiliza jinsi unavyotenda, kuangalia jinsi unavyopokea, jinsi unavyotenda, jinsi unavyofikiria, jinsi unavyohusiana na wengine, vipaumbele vyako ni nini, na jinsi unavyotumia muda wako na pesa. Ikiwa wewe ni mchungaji, kusanyiko lako lote linakuangalia, hasusani vijana.
Mtume Paulo anawahimiza kwa kurudiarudia watu wengine kuiga mfano wake (mf. 1 Kor. 11: 1), na kuwa mifano kwa wengine wa kuiga. Kuwa mfano wa kuiga inamaanisha kuwa tunamwiga Kristo maishani mwetu kwa njia ambayo wengine wanapotusikia, humsikia Kristo; wakati wanatuona, wanamuona Kristo. Kuwa mfano wa kuigwa inamaanisha kwamba kile wengine wanaona na kusikia katika maisha yetu ya ki-Mungu ni ya kuvutia kwao na yawe ya kweli sana kwamba wanataka kutuiga. Hiyo ndiyo nguvu na ukweli wa kuwa mfano mzuri wa kiungu. Kwa njia tu ya mwenendo unaweza kuwa na athari kubwa kwa maisha ya mtu - iwe nzuri au mbaya. Mfano wa kuiga wa kiungu una athari nzuri kwa wale waliokuzunguka
Sehemu ya kwanza ya kuwa mfano wa kuigwa wa kiungu ambao tuliangalia katika toleo letu la mwisho la Jarida la Wachungaji wa Net lilikuwa mfano wa kujitoa. Sasa, acha tuangalie nyanja zingine mbili za kuwa mfano mzuri wa kiungu:
Kuwa Mfano Wenye Msimamo
Akiliandikia kanisa la Thesalonike, mtume Paulo aliwahimiza kuiga mwenendo thabiti wa mitume: “7Maana ninyi wenyewe mnafahamu jinsi mnavyopaswa kuiga mfano wetu. Sisi hatukuwa wavivu tulipokuwa nanyi 8 wala hatukula chakula cha mtu ye yote pasipo kulipa. Bali tulifanya kazi kwa juhudi usiku na mchana ili tusimlemee mtu ye yote kati yenu. 9 Hatukufanya hivi kwa sababu hatukuwa na haki ya kupata msaada wenu, bali tulitaka tuwape mfano wa kuiga.”2 Wathesalonike 3:7-9
Kwa Paulo, mwenendo thabiti wa Kikristo unajumuisha maadili yetu ya kazi na pia nidhamu yetu. Kuwa Mkristo thabiti kunamaanisha kuwa (1) uwe na nidhamu wewe mwenyewe, sio mtu asiye na utaratibu au sio mwaminifu katika njia yako ya maisha; (2) wewe ni mfanyakazi mwenye bidii, sio wavivu au wa kubweteka; na (3) unapata pesa yako mwenyewe, usichukue fursa ya ukarimu wa watu wengine.
Kwa mara nyingine, Paulo anaandika, “10 Ninyi ni mashahidi na Mungu pia ni shahidi yetu kwamba tulikuwa watakatifu, wenye haki na wasio na lawama kati yenu mlioamini. (1 Thes. 2:10). Kiongozi thabiti wa Kikristo ni yule anayejulikana kwa maisha ya kiungu, uungu; mtu ambaye ni mwenye hofu ya Mungu na mwenye haki katika mahusiano yako yote na wengine; mtu ambaye wengine hawawezi kumnyoshea kidole cha kumshtaki.
Zaidi ya hayo, kiongozi Mkristo thabiti ni yule ambaye neno lake linaaminika, ni wazi, moja kwa moja na halijifichi “Neno letu kwako halikuwa ndio na hapana” (2 Kor. 1:18), Paulo anaandika. Viongozi wa kimungu waliopo husema wanamaanisha nini nini wanasema. Hii ni uthabiti katika maneno yako. Huwezi kusema kitu kimoja leo na ukajipinga kesho. Hauongei kwa njia ambazo ni za kukusudia.
Hapa kuna ABCD zangu za msimamo wa Kikristo:
- • Matendo yetu lazima yalingane na yale tunayokubali
- • Tabia yetu lazima iendane na Imani yetu
- • Mienendo yetu lazima iambatane na Kukiri kwetu
- • Vitendo vyetu lazima vilingane na Mafundisho yetu
Mtu alisema “Ubunifu ni kitendo cha kuishi kulingana na kile unachoamini” (David Jeremiah, Living With Confidence in a Chaotic World, uk. 163).
Mkristo thabiti ni yule “aliyeeshikamana ndani ya Kristo” - umekaa, uko salama, unajiamini kama wewe ni nani, na kwa hivyo, uthabiti katika jinsi unavyoendelea (taz. Jn. 15: 1-7; 1 Yoh. 2:28). “Kushikamana” inamaanisha kuwa thabiti, kuwa na msimamo thabiti, mahusiano, hotuba, mawazo, na mwenendo. Inamaanisha kuwa haujitahidi, unashida, unapigania kuwa mtu flani au kitu fulani, lakini umwamini Kristo tu, shikamana ndani yake.
Mkristo thabiti ni mtu anayejulikana kuwa anayeweza kutegemewa, anayeaminika, thabiti. Sio mtu ambaye anapotea kwa urahisi (taz. Efe. 4: 14), au mtu ambaye mhemko au tabia yake hubadilika bila onyo au sababu, lakini mtu ambaye njia yake ya maisha na mtazamo wao unatabirika; mtu ambaye ni mkimbiaji wa umbali mrefu wa kiroho sio mpikaji; mtu ambaye anaweza kuhesabiwa bila kujali; mtu ambaye ana mazoea ya kutosha na ambaye maisha yake yamepangwa vizuri na yenye nidhamu kiasi kwamba wengine wanajua utafanya kile unachofanya kila wakati na kuhudumia mahitaji ya watu kwani unawahudhuria kila wakati. Huu ni msimamo na ni sifa nzuri ya viongozi wa Kikristo wa Mungu.
J. C. Ryle wrote this: “Nothing influences others so much as consistency. Let the lesson be treasured up and not forgotten.” (“Day by Day with J. C. Ryle,” ed. Eric Russell, Christian Focus Publications, 2007)
Je! Unaweza kufikiria juu ya watu unaowajua ambao tabia yao bora ilikuwa “msimamo”? Watu ambao wakati mwingine tunawaita “waaminifu”? Huwa wapo kila wakati. Unaweza kutegemea kila wakati. “Ikiwa mtakaa katika neno langu (Yesu alisema), nyinyi ni wanafunzi wangu kweli” (Yohana 8:31). Ustahimilivu mkali katika neno la Yesu ndio ufunguo wa msimamo thabiti katika huduma yake.
Viongozi wa Kikristo wa Mungu wanapaswa kuwa mfano wa msimamo katika mfano wa Kristo. “Yeye asemaye anakaa ndani yake (Kristo) anapaswa pia kutembea kama yeye (Yesu) alivyotembea” (1 Yohana 2: 6). Aina hii ya uthabiti ni alama ya kuzingatia mara kwa mara juu ya Yesu - juu ya kifo chake, ufufuko, na kurudi mara ya pili haraka.
Viongozi wa Kikristo wa Ki-Mungu wanapaswa kuwa mfano wenye msimamo katika kujali “Yeye ampendaye ndugu yake hukaa katika nuru” (1Yoh. 2:10; taz. 1Yoh. 3:23; 4: 7-8).
Viongozi wa Kikristo wa ki-Mungu wanapaswa kuwa mfano wa uthabiti katika utii wetu. Utii unamaanisha yule “... anayefanya mapenzi ya Mungu” (1 Yoh. 2: 17), yule ambaye ni mtiifu kwa mapenzi ya Mungu kama inavyofunuliwa katika neno la Mungu (Warumi 6:17). Siri ya kushikamana ndani ya Kristo ni kuifanya neno liishi ndani yako - “Ikiwa kile ulichosikia tangu mwanzo kinakaa ndani yako, wewe pia utakaa kwa Mwana na kwa Baba” (1Yohana 2:24). Hii ndio ufunguo wa utii thabiti.
Motisha ya msimamo ni kurudi kwa Kristo. “Na sasa, watoto wadogo, kaeni ndani yake ili aonekane ...” (1 Yn. 2: 28; taz. 1 Pet. 1: 8-9). Tuishi kila siku katika nuru ya Kristo kwa kuzingatia kurudi kwake, tukijitahidi kuwa thabiti katika kutembea na Kikristo.
Kuwa Mfano Wa Kujiamini
Sisemi juu ya kujiamini kibinafsi (i. rasilimali na uwezo wako mwenyewe), lakini kujiamini kama wewe ni nani kama Mkristo, ujasiri katika msimamo wako mbele za Mungu, zawadi zako kutoka kwa Mungu, na wito wako kwa Mungu. Mkristo anayejiamini ni mtu ambaye moyo wake hauwahukumu (1Yohana 3:21), kwa sababu wanaishi kwa uwazi mbele za Mungu, baada ya kukiri na kuhukumu dhambi yoyote katika maisha yao.
Kiongozi wa Kikristo anahitaji kuwa mfano wa kujiamini katika yale unayoamini. Je! Una imani thabiti kuhusu Bibilia na mafundisho yake? Unajiamini kabisa kuwa Bibilia ni neno la Mungu, lililovuviwa, lisilo na kosa, na linaaminika kabisa? Je! Unajua unaamini nini na kwa nini unaamini? Je! Neno la Mungu linachonga mawazo yako, huunda maadili yako, na huamua mtazamo wako? Je! Unaamini katika neno la Mungu?
Kama ilivyo kwa mfano wa uthabiti, ndivyo pia wakati “neno la Mungu linakaa ndani yako” (1 Yoh. 2: 14), una nguvu ya ndani, ujasiri. Tunahitaji kuwa na ujasiri katika kile tunaamini kama viongozi wa Kikristo. Kuna “njaa katika nchi” (Amosi 8:11) kwa njia zaidi ya moja. Kwa kweli kuna njaa kadhaa kuhusu mambo ya kiroho. Watu wanamuacha Mungu na neno lake. Kuna machafuko juu ya nini cha kuamini kwa sababu kuna sauti nyingi zinazojaribu kutuvuta kwa tofauti mwelekeo. Kuna madai ya uwongo juu ya messia. Kuna shinikizo ya kufanya Bibilia iambatane na mageuzi na nadharia zingine za kutokuwepo kwa Mungu kuhusu asili ya mwanadamu na kuishi.
Ili kuwa mfano mzuri kwa wengine, viongozi wa Kikristo wanahitaji kuwa na ujasiri kabisa juu ya kile wanaamini na kwa nini wanaamini. Hii inamaanisha kusoma neno la Mungu kwa bidii, kulielewa vizuri, na kulitii kwa furaha.
Kwa hali hiyo, viongozi wa Kikristo wa Mungu wanahitaji kuwa mfano wa ujasiri katika uhusiano wako na Mungu. Je! Unajiamini kuwa wewe ni nani mbele ya Mungu - ya kuwa wewe ni mtoto wake mpendwa, ambaye alimpenda sana hata akamtuma Mwanae wa pekee kufa kwa ajili yako? Je! Unajiamini kama wewe ni mtu - jinsi Mungu alivyokuumba na kukupa vipawa kwa huduma yake? Je! Unajiamini kama wewe ni Mkristo - usalama wa milele ndani ya Kristo, aliyekubaliwa na Mungu katika Kristo? Je! Unajiamini juu ya utunzaji na udhibiti wa maisha ya Mungu? Unajiamini katika maisha yako ya baadaye - unaenda wapi utakapokufa? Mkristo anayejiamini ni kama “mti uliopandwa kando na maji” (Zab 1) - unasimama thabiti kwa Kristo kwa sababu una mizizi ya kiroho. Mkristo anayejiamini anasimama kidete katikati ya machafuko na shambulio, sio “kutupwa huku na huko” (Efe. 4:14).
Kwa kweli, tunahitaji kuwa mfano wa ujasiri katika kuja kwa Kristo. Kwa hakika kwamba tunamtazama na kumngojea, kwa bidii “tukilitazamia tumaini lenye baraka na mafunuo ya utukufu wa Kristo Yesu, Mungu mkuu na Mwokozi wetu; (Tito 2: 13). Kujihakikishia kwamba tutakubaliwa na yeye na kupongezwa na Yeye, ili “atakapotokea tuwe na ujasiri (au, hakika) na asiwe na aibu mbele yake wakati wa kuja kwake” (1Yoh. 2:28).
Je! Una “aibu” - unaogopa kile atakachokuta kipindi atakapokuja? Au je! Una uhakika - ujasiri wakati wa majaribu kwa sababu “aliye ndani yenu ni mkuu kuliko yeye aliye katika dunia” (1Yohana 4: 4)? Uhakikisho unatoka kwa “kukaa ndani ya Kristo” kupitia sala na Neno lake. Wale watakaokuwa na aibu ni wale ambao kazi zao zitachomwa. Ili “kutojaribiwa” inamaanisha kuweka nguvu juu ya Mungu kupitia sala, kukiri, utii, kutazama na kungoja wakati tunafanyia kazi.
Sehemu Ya Tatu. Historia Ya Kanisa
“Kukumbuka Ya Zamani,” Kifungu Cha 2
Na: Dr Michael A. G. Haykin
Profesa wa Historia ya Kanisa na Utu wa kiroho wa Kibiblia.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
Matokeo ya William Tyndale
Mnamo 1994 Maktaba ya Uingereza ililipa kiasi cha zaidi ya dola milioni mbili kwa kitabu ambacho Dk. Brian Lang, mkurugenzi mkuu wa Maktaba wakati huo, alielezea kama “hakika kupatikana muhimu katika historia yetu ya miaka 240.” kitabu? Nakala ya Agano Jipya. Kwa kweli, haikuwa nakala yoyote tu. Kwa kweli, kuna Agano Jipya moja kama hili lililopo, na hiyo, ambayo iko kwenye maktaba ya Kanisa kuu la Mtakatifu Paul, London, inakosa sabini na moja ya ukurasa wake. Agano Jipya ambalo Jumba la kumbukumbu la Briteni lilinunua liliwekwa kwa miaka mingi katika maktaba ya seminari ya zamani zaidi ya Baptist ulimwenguni, Chuo cha Bristol Baptist. Ilichapishwa katika mji wa Worms wa Ujerumani (hutamkwa “joto”) kwenye waandishi wa habari wa Peter Schoeffer mnamo 1526 na inajulikana kama Agano Jipya la Tyndale. Agano Jipya la kwanza kuchapishwa kwa Kiingereza kutoka kwa Kigiriki cha asili, ni kitabu muhimu sana. Mtafsiri wake, ambaye jina lake alitajwa, alikuwa William Tyndale (1494¬-1536). Kwa umuhimu wake katika historia ya Kanisa, nakala hiyo juu yake katika toleo maarufu la kumi na moja la Encyclopædia Britannica inasema kwamba alikuwa “mmoja wa nguvu kubwa ya Matengenezo ya Kiingereza,” mtu ambaye maandishi yake “yalisaidia kuunda sura hiyo.” walidhani juu ya chama cha Ma puritan huko England.
Tofauti kabisa na vyombo vya habari vya Ukatoliki vya Roma Katoliki ambapo kuogopa kulikuwa kulenga utendakazi sahihi wa tamaduni fulani za nje, Tyndale, kama Watafiti wengine, alisisitiza kwamba moyoni mwa Ukristo ni imani, ambayo ilionyesha uelewa wa kile kinachoaminiwa. Ujuzi wa maandiko kwa hiyo ilikuwa muhimu kwa hali ya kiroho ya Kikristo. Kwa hivyo, Tyndale angeweza kusema: “Nili..pata uzoefu, jinsi isivyowezekana kuanzisha watu waliowekwa kwa ukweli wowote, isipokuwa andiko lilipowekwa wazi mbele ya macho yao kwa lugha yao ya mama.”
Kuazimia kwa Tyndale kuwapa watu wa Uingereza Neno la Mungu kumnyakua kiasi kwamba tangu katikati ya miaka ya 1520 hadi kuuawa kwake mnamo 1536 maisha yake yakaelekezwa mwisho huu. Kilicho nyuma ya maono haya ya nia moja ilikuwa mtazamo fulani wa Neno la Mungu. Katika “Utangulizi” wake kwa tafsiri yake ya Mwanzo, ambayo aliandika mnamo 1530, Tyndale aliweza kusema: “Andiko ni nuru, na linatuonyesha njia ya kweli, nini cha kufanya na nini cha kutumaini; na ulinzi kutoka kwa makosa yote, na faraja katika shida ambayo hatukata tamaa, na kutuogopa kwa mafanikio ambayo hatutenda dhambi. “Licha ya upinzani kutoka kwa viongozi wa kanisa na kuuawa kwa Tyndale mnamo 1536, Neno la Mungu likawa katikati kabisa Marekebisho ya Kiingereza. Kama David Daniell amebaini katika wasifu wake dhahiri wa Tyndale, ni tafsiri ya Tyndale iliyowafanya watu wa Kiingereza “Watu wa Kitabu.”
Sehemu Ya IV. Mawazo Ya Ibada
Mkate wa Asubuhi
Na: Stephen F. Olford
Ikiwa wewe na mimi tungejadili jambo hilo kibinafsi, labda ungesema kuwa ni jambo la kupendeza sana kwa kila Mkristo kuwa na mkutano wa kila siku na Mungu kupitia Neno la Mungu, Bibilia, na maombi. Na ungekuwa sahihi, kweli. Isipokuwa kwamba ushirika huu wa kila siku, “wakati huu wa utulivu” na Mungu, ni zaidi ya shughuli ya kupongezwa; ni muhimu sana kwa maisha ya kiroho endelevu, ufanisi na upendo. Ni barometer ya maisha ya Kikristo. Wacha niendelee kushikilia msimamo huo. Yesu alisema, “Watu hawataishi kwa mkate tu, lakini kwa kila neno linalotoka kinywani mwa Mungu” (Mathayo 4: 4). Soma kwamba bila kulinganisha mawazo hasi na utaona mwanadamu ni namna gani ataishi. “Mtu ataishi kwa kila neno litokalo kinywani mwa Mungu.” Kwa kweli ni: “Mtu ataishi kwa kila neno linalosemwa kutoka kwa Mungu.”
Hiyo sio Bibilia ya kukariri, wala Bibilia kwenye maktaba yako ya vitabu au kwenye masomo yako. Ni neno ambalo Mungu huzungumza na roho yako mahali pa utulivu pa kutafakari juu ya Biblia. Ndivyo mwanadamu anaishi. Unaweza kuwa sawa na mafundisho, lakini bado umekufa kiroho.
Jambo ambalo linahifadhi maisha ni neno hai la Mungu ambalo husemwa kwa roho yako kila siku. Wakati wa utulivu ni muhimu kwa afya ya kiroho, ikiwa umeongoka au Mkristo mkomavu (Tazama 1 Pet 2: 2 na Waebrania 5:14).
Wakati wa utulivu ni muhimu kwa utakaso wa kiroho. Hapo awali umesafishwa dhambi na damu ya thamani, hiyo ni kweli, tena na tena lazima tena urudi msalabani ili urejeshewe tena. Lakini utakaso wa siku kwa siku wa fikira mbaya na kuishi ni kutoka katika Neno la Mungu (Tazama Zab. 119: 9; Warumi 12: 2; Flp 4: 8).
Wakati wa utulivu pia ni muhimu kwa ushauri wa kiroho. Kamwe huwezi kujua kanuni za kweli ambazo huamua maisha ya utakatifu na haki bila kuruhusu Neno la Mungu “kukaa ndani yako kwa utajiri” (Tazama 2 Tim. 3:16 na Pesa 73:24).
Wakati wa utulivu pia ni muhimu katika kukupa wewe mgogoro wa kiroho. Mfano mkubwa ni Bwana wetu Yesu Kristo alipokutana na Shetani jangwani. Ninahisi hakika kwamba kwa siku arobaini na usiku alikuwa amelisha nafsi yake kwenye kitabu cha Kumbukumbu la Torati, na kwa hiyo angeweza kutengeneza upanga Wake unatoka kutoka kwa uzoefu wa kibinafsi wa Neno lililoandikwa. Baadaye Paulo aliwahimiza waamini huko Efeso ‘wachukue [upanga] wao upanga wa Roho, ambao ni neno la Mungu (Efe. 6:17).
Muhimu kama vitu hivi vyote, hata hivyo, kichocheo kikubwa cha kuwa na wakati wa utulivu kila siku sio hitaji lako mwenyewe, kubwa kama hiyo, lakini ukweli kwamba Mungu anataka kukutana nawe. Kwa hivyo, sio jukumu tu; ni haki na heshima. Mungu katika Kristo, Bwana wako, ana mahali pa kutegemea nawe. Moyo wake unasikitishwa ukishindwa kuweka makubaliano. Yeye anatamani, kama vile alivyofanya na mwanamke wa Samaria, kunywa upya upendo wako, kujitolea, na kuabudu (Tazama Yohana 4:23, 24). Ningekuonya kwamba kuanzisha wakati wako wa utulivu sio rahisi kamwe. Kama mhudumu, nitakiri kusema wazi kuwa ni ngumu kwangu kuwa na wakati wangu wa utulivu sasa kuliko ilivyokuwa wakati nilibadilishwa kwanza. Sababu ya hii ni kwamba kile kinachohesabu gharama. Utagundua kwamba mashambulio mabaya zaidi ya adui yataelekezwa kukunyang’anya wakati huo wa kila siku na Bwana wako. Na itabidi uilinde bila woga ikiwa utaitunza. Kwa vyovyote huduma yako - kama mchungaji, mwalimu wa shule ya Jumapili, mmishonari, au Mkristo ofisini au nyumbani - nakupa tumaini dogo la kuishi kwa mafanikio isipokuwa unafanikiwa kutunza wakati wako wa utulivu.
Sehemu Ya V. Maelezo Ya Mahubiri
Na: Dk Roger Pascoe, Rais,
Taasisi ya Mahubiri ya Kibiblia
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Kusudi la kukupa muhtasari wa mahubiri katika Jarida la Wachungaji la NET ni kukusaidia na maandalizi yako ya mahubiri na uwasilishaji. Mara nyingi, moja ya sehemu ngumu sana ya maandalizi ya mahubiri ni kugundua muundo wa kifungu unachoenda kuhubiri. Maelezo haya ya mahubiri yamekusudiwa kukuonyesha matokeo ya masomo yangu mwenyewe katika kuandaa mahubiri ya vifungu hivi. Natumai utakuwa na uwezo wa kuona jinsi wanavyohusiana moja kwa moja, na kutoka moja kwa moja kwa kifungu cha Maandishi yenyewe.
Sehemu kuu katika muhtasari huu wa mahubiri ni taarifa za kanuni ambazo zinafanywa katika kifungu hicho, yote ambayo yanahusiana na mada ya jumla ya kifungu. Hizi kanuni zimetamkwa kwa njia inayowaunganisha na wasikiaji wa mahubiri. Kwa kutumia njia hii ya kusema jambo kuu, mahubiri sio hotuba juu ya kipande cha historia ya zamani, lakini ujumbe kutoka kwa Mungu kwa wasikiaji leo. Wanaposikia mambo haya makuu katika mahubiri yote, huchorwa kwenye mahubiri kwa sababu wanaona kwamba kanuni za kifungu zinahusiana na maisha yao - shida zao, tabia zao, maamuzi yao, mitazamo yao, hali yao ya kiroho, familia zao nk.
Mfululizo huu wa kwanza wa mahubiri ni kutoka Injili ya Yohana. Muhtasari huu sio katika mlolongo wa sura na aya lakini umewekwa na:
1. Matendo Saba Ya Nguvu Ya Kiungu Ya Yesu (miujiza yake)
2. Mijadala Saba ya Yesu (mazungumzo yake na watu binafsi)
3. Matangazo ya Saba ya Yesu (taarifa zake “mimi”)
Ninajua kuwa bila kusikia mahubiri kweli, unaweza kupata shida kufuata tu muhtasari wa mahubiri. Kwa sababu hiyo, tunachapisha kwenye mahubiri yangu ya sauti ambayo yanaambatana na maelezo haya (bonyeza tu kwenye kiunga hapo juu cha muhtasari wa mahubiri ili usikilize). Kwa sababu mahubiri haya yalirekodiwa kwa wasikilizaji wa redio, baadhi ya maonyesho ya mahubiri yamefunikwa katika mahubiri kadhaa ya sauti.
Tafadhali jisikie huru kutumia muhtasari huu wa mahubiri mwenyewe. Unaweza kuzitumia kama vile zilivyochapishwa au unaweza kuzirekebisha ikiwa unataka. Ikiwa unatumia muhtasari huu au la, tumaini langu ni (na madhumuni ya kuyachapisha ni) kwamba utaona ni wapi kanuni zinatoka katika kifungu cha Maandiko na jinsi ya kuyatamka kwa wasikilizaji wako wa kisasa.
Katika toleo la mwisho la Jarida la Wachungaji la NET nilichapisha maonyesho yangu matatu ya kwanza katika safu ya “Matendo ya Kiimani ya Yesu” katika injili ya Yohana, kama ifuatavyo:
- Maelezo ya mahubiri # 1: Yohana 2: 1-11, Yesu anabadilisha maji kuwa divai
- Maelezo ya muhtasari # 2: Yohana 4: 46-54, Yesu anamponya mwana wa mtukufu
- Muhtasari wa mahubiri # 3: Yohana 5: 1-47, Yesu anamponya mtu waombolezaji huko Bethesda, Pt. 1
Sasa, hapa kuna muhtasari wa mahubiri mawili yanayofuata katika safu hiyo hiyo, “Matendo ya Kiimani ya Yesu.”
Maelezo ya Mahubiri # 4
Yohana 6: 1-14, Yesu anawalisha wale elfu tano.
Mada: Je! Mungu wako ni mkubwa kiasi gani?
Kidokezo # 1: Swali rahisi linaonyesha ujinga mkubwa (5-9)
1. Yesu anauliza swali moja rahisi (5-6)
2. Wanafunzi wanatoa majibu mawili ya kufunua (7)
(1) Jibu la kwanza ni bidhaa ya sababu (7)
(2) Jibu la pili ni bidhaa ya ukweli (8-9)
Uhakika # 2: Amri rahisi inaonyesha ukweli halisi (10-13)
1. Mungu anaweza kugeuza kikapu cha chakula cha mchana kuwa karamu kubwa (10-11)
2. Mungu anaweza kugeuza chakula cha mchana kidogo kuwa mabaki mengi (12-13)
Muhtasari wa Mahubiri # 5
Yohana 6: 16-21, Yesu Atembea Juu ya Maji
Mada: Kugundua Yesu ni nani
Uhakika # 1: Shida zinaibuka wakati wa kutotarajiwa (17)
1. Shida zinaibuka tunapokuwa tukimtii Mungu (17a)
2. Shida zinaibuka wakati hatuwezi kuzishughulikia (17b)
Hoja # 2: Shida zinaibuka kwa ugunduzi usiotarajiwa sana (19)
1. Tunagundua kuwa Yesu ndiye Mungu wetu wa milele (20a)
2. Tunagundua kuwa Yesu ndiye Mfariji wetu wa neema (20b-21a)
3. Tunagundua kuwa Yesu ni Mkombozi wetu mwenye nguvu (21b)
Coordonat de ...
The Institute for Biblical Preaching
(Institutul pentru Predicare Biblică)
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
“Consolidarea Bisericii în Predicarea Biblică și Lidership”
Aceasta este a doua ediție trimestrială a Jurnalului Electronic pentru Păstori. Nădăjduim că articolele care tratează diferite aspecte ale slujirii pastorale vă sunt de folos în slujire şi o încurajare pentru dumneavoastră.
Misiunea noastră, a celor de la Institutul Biblic pentru Predicare Biblică este: “Consolidarea Bisericii în Predicarea Biblică și Lidership” sperând că această publicație electronică va ajuta la împlinirea acestui scop în timp ce căutăm a învăța, ajuta și încuraja oamenii implicați în slujire în toate colțurile lumii.
Dumnezeu să vă binecuvânteze în slujirea dumneavoastră pentru El și fie ca aceste articole să vă ajute să predicați și să transmiteți Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu într-un mod credincios, fiindu-vă totodată o sursă de inspirație și motivare în conducerea oamenilor lui Dumnezeu.
Partea I. Predicarea: De Ce O Facem?
Dr. Roger PASCOE, Președintele Institutului Biblic pentru Predicare
Cambridge, Ontario, CANADA
În ultima ediţie (toamna 2011) a Jurnalului Electronic al Păstorilor, am discutat despre ceea ce este predicarea. Am ajuns la concluzia că predicarea este proclamarea Cuvântului lui Dumnezeu, în puterea Duhului Sfânt, al cărui obiectiv este de a genera un răspuns spiritual care să transforme viața ascultătorilor prin:
1. Interpretarea corectă a sensului Scripturii
2. Explicarea în mod clar al adevărului din Scriptură
3. Declararea cu autoritate a mesajului scriptural, şi
4. Aplicarea mesajului Scripturii într-un mod practic și relevant pentru viaţa contemporană a ascultătorului.
Principalele elemente ale predicării biblice, sunt prin urmare:
1. Mesajul are singura sursă în Scriptură. Aceasta înseamnă, desigur, că predicarea biblică presupune angajamentul necondiţionat din partea predicatorului că Biblia este Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu şi, ca atare, aceasta este singura autoritate şi sursă pentru predica.
2. Pasajul din Scriptură este înţeles printr-o exegeză atentă şi este interpretat prin principii de interpretare biblică bine stabilite, luând în considerare:
a) Contextul pasajului
b) Structura gramaticală a pasajului
c) Semnificaţia istorică a cuvintelor
d) Contextul cultural al pasajului
e) Implicaţiile teologice ale pasajului
f) Însemnătatea mesajului pe care autorul a vrut să-l transmită auditoriului original
3. Mesajul este dezvoltat prin identificarea principiilor veşnice care sunt învățate în pasaj.
4. Mesajul este compus din:
a) O explicare clară a ceea ce spune şi înseamnă pasajul
b) O aplicaţie relevantă a pasajului pentru viaţa publicului
În timp ce vom publica ediţiile ulterioare ale acestui Jurnal Electronic al Păstorilor, voi trata toate aceste aspecte diferite ale predicării biblice.
Prin urmare, scopul general al predicării biblice este de a comunica un mesaj de la Dumnezeu, derivat din Sfintele Scripturi, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu. Scopul specific al predicării biblice este de a comunica un mesaj specific, derivat dintr-un anumit text (sau texte) al (ale) Scripturii, mesaj care se adresează unui public specific şi care solicită un răspuns specific la acel mesaj.
În Predicatorul şi Predicarea: Trezirea Artei în secolul XX, “De ce să Predici?”, J.I. Packer afirmă: “Scopul predicării este de a informa, a convinge, si a atrage după sine un răspuns adecvat față de Dumnezeul al cărui mesaj şi instruiri sunt transmise ... Noi nu vorbim despre comunicarea unei lecţii dintr-o carte, ci vorbind pentru Dumnezeu şi chemăm oamenii la Dumnezeu”(p.9). De aceea noi predicăm - pentru a vorbi de Dumnezeu şi pentru a chema oamenii la Dumnezeu. Evanghelia poate fi transmisă printr-un mesaj de evanghelizare, sau poate fi un mesaj edificator pentru trupul lui Hristos. Dar, scopul principal este de a transmite un mesaj din Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu pentru a duce audienţa faţă în faţă cu Dumnezeu.
Prin urmare, încrederea în Scriptură ca, Cuvânt al lui Dumnezeu este coloana vertebrală necesară a predicării biblice. Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu este cel pe care noi trebuie să-l interpretăm corect, să-l explicăm clar, să-l aplicăm practic, şi (fiindcă este Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu) , să-l declarăm cu autoritatea izvorâtă din încrederea în revărsarea puterii şi prezenţei sale.
Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu este de o importanţă supremă. Este ceea ce oamenii au nevoie să audă. Prin urmare, predicarea biblică este ceea ce este necesar în lume şi în Biserică. Luaţi în considerare aceste texte care vorbesc despre importanţa şi funcţia supremă a Cuvântului lui Dumnezeu:
Deut. 32:46-47, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu este “viață”
Psalmul 119:11, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu ne protejează de păcat
Efes. 6:17, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu este “Sabia Duhului”
Rom. 06:17 şi Deut. 27:10, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu cere supunere si ascultare (cf. 2 Tesaloniceni 1:8;. 1 Petru 3:1;. 4:17)
Deut. 30:15-16, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu determină viaţa şi sfinţenia
Deut. 8:3, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu ne hrăneşte (cf. Mat. 4:4)
Rom. 10:17, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu este norma pentru credinţă
Evrei. 4:12, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu pătrunde în cel mai adânc loc al ființei noastre
2 Tim. 3:16, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu echipează într-un mod temeinic slujitorul lui Dumnezeu în toate aspectele legate de slujire
Provocarea mea pentru tine în această ediţie a Jurnalului Electronic al Păstorilor este aceasta:
1. Când predici, ce predici? Există atât de multe voci şi cuvinte în lumea de azi. Oamenii nu au nevoie de mai multe cuvinte, au nevoie de Cuvântul final și plin de autoritate al lui Dumnezeu. Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu face diferenţa.
2. Cât de important este Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu pentru tine?
3. Ce impact are în viaţa ta?
4. Răspunzând la aceste întrebări te vor ajuta să vezi de ce predicarea biblică este atât de importantă.
Part II. Lidership: A Fi Un Model Dumnezeiesc – “Fiți O Pildă – În Gândire, În Cuvânt și În Fapte”
Dr. Roger PASCOE, Președintele Institutului Biblic pentru Predicare
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
În ultimul număr al Jurnalului Electronic al Păstorilor, am început această serie a Conducerii Creştină centrată pe ideea de a fi un model după voia lui Dumnezeu. Dacă eşti un lider creştin, atunci ești un model, chiar dacă ești conștient de asta sau nu. Oamenii din jurul dumneavoastră ascultă modul în care vorbiți, se uită la cum vă comportați, cum reacţionați, cum gândiți, cum vă raportați la alții, care sunt priorităţile dumneavoastră, şi cum vă petreceţi timpul şi banii. Dacă sunteţi un pastor, întreaga dvs. congregaţie este cu ochii pe dvs., în special tinerii.
Apostolul Pavel încurajează în mod repetat pe alţii să imite exemplul lui (de exemplu, 1 Cor. 11:1), şi de a fi exemple pe care alţii să le imite. A fi un model de om evlavios înseamnă a-l prezenta pe Hristos în vieţile noastre astfel încât atunci când alţii ne aud, să-L audă pe Hristos, atunci când ne văd, să-L vadă pe Hristos. A fi un model de om evlavios înseamnă ca trăirea după voia lui Dumnezeu pe care alţii o văd şi o aud în viaţa noastră să fie atât de atractivă şi atât de autentică, încât în urma observării a acestora aceștia să dorească să ne imite. Asta e puterea şi realitatea de a fi un model după voia lui Dumnezeu. Doar ținând cont de modul în care vă comportați puteți avea un impact puternic asupra vieţii cuiva - fie pozitiv sau negativ. Un om evlavios model are un impact pozitiv profund asupra celor din jurul său.
Primul aspect în a fi un model de creștin evlavios la care ne-am uitat puţin în ultima noastră ediție a Jurnalului Electronic al Păstorilor a fost exemplul dedicării. Acum, vom privi la două noi aspecte în ce privește a fi un model după voia lui Dumnezeu:
Fi Un Exemplu Al ConsecvenȚei
Scriind bisericii din Tesalonic, apostolul Pavel îi încurajează pe creștini să imite comportamentul consecvent al apostolilor: “Voi înşivă ştiţi ce trebuie să faceţi ca să ne urmaţi; căci noi n-am trăit în neorânduială între voi. N-am mâncat de pomană pâinea nimănui; ci, lucrând şi ostenindu-ne, am muncit zi şi noapte, ca să nu fim povară nimănui dintre voi. Nu că n-am fi avut dreptul acesta, dar am vrut să vă dăm în noi înşine o pildă vrednică de urmat”(2 Tesaloniceni 3:7-9).
Pentru apostolul Pavel, o trăire creștină consecventă implică atât etica muncii noastre cât și auto disciplinare. A fi un creștin consecvent înseamnă (1) a fi auto-disciplinat, nu dezordonat sau indisciplinat în modul de viață, (2) a fi un om muncitor, nu leneş sau delăsător, şi (3) a câştiga cele necesare existenţei personale prin muncă, nu prin profitarea de pe urma generozității altora.
Din nou, apostolul Pavel scrie:“Voi sunteţi martori, şi Dumnezeu de asemenea, că am avut o purtare sfântă, dreaptă şi fără prihană faţă de voi care credeţi (1 Tes. 2:10)”. Un lider creștin consecvent este cunoscut pentru pietatea și evlavia sa; un om corect şi echitabil în toate relaţiile cu ceilalţi și o persoană pe care alții nu o pot arăta cu degetul în ce privește trăirea.
Mai mult, un lider creștin consecvent este un om al cărui cuvânt este de încredere, clar, direct și explicit. “Cuvântul nostru nu a fost și da și nu” (2 Corinteni 1:18.), scrie Pavel. Liderii consecvenți evlavioşi spun ceea ce gândesc și gândesc ceea ce spun. Aceasta înseamnă consecvență în vorbirea ta. Nu spui astăzi un lucru pentru ca a doua zi să te contrazici singur. Tu nu te exprimi în mod intenționat în cuvinte care sunt ambiguu.
Acestea sunt Elementele de bază ale consecvenței creștine:
· Acţiunile noastre trebuie să fie în concordanţă cu ceea ce noi cunoaștem
· Comportamentul nostru trebuie să fie în concordanţă cu Credinţa noastră
· Conduita noastră trebuie să fie în concordanţă cu mărturisirea noastră
· Faptele noastre trebuie să fie în concordanţă cu doctrina noastră
Cineva a spus că “Consecventa este actul de a trăi cu adevărat ceea ce crezi” (David Ieremia, Trăind cu Încredere într-o Lume Haotică , p.. 163).
Un creștin consecvent este unul care “rămâne în Hristos” – ești pecetluit, în siguranță, încrezător în cine eşti, şi prin urmare, consecvent în modul în care te comporți (cf. Ioan 15:1-7; 1 Ioan 2:28..). A “rămâne” înseamnă a fi consecvent, a fi ferm în atitudine, relații, vorbire, gândire şi comportament. Aceasta înseamnă că nu te lupți, nu te zbați, nu încerci să fi altcineva sau să pari altceva decât ceea ce ești, ci pur şi simplu te încrezi în Hristos și te apropii de El.
Un creştin consecvent este o persoană cunoscută ca fiind de încredere, de nădejde, neschimbătoare. Nu cineva care este uşor clătinat (cf. Efeseni 4:14.), nici cineva a cărei stare de spirit sau dispoziție se schimbă fără avertisment sau fără motiv, ci mai degrabă o persoană a cărei viziuni și perspective asupra vieții este previzibilă; o persoană care este un alergător pregătit pentru o cursă lungă, nu doar un sprinter, cineva pe care omul se poate baza indiferent de circumstanțe; o persoană a cărei vieți este într-o rutină bine definită și disciplinată, astfel încât ceilalți să știe, pe măsură ce îi slujește, că aceasta se va îngriji de nevoile celorlalți la fel cum a făcut-o și până în prezent. Aceasta este consecvența, un atribut minunat al liderilor creştini evlavioşi.
J.C. Ryle a scris aceasta: “Nimic nu influenţează pe alţii atât de mult ca și consecvența. Această lecție trebuie preţuită şi nu uitată.” (“ Zi de zi cu JC Ryle, “Ed. Eric Russell, Christian Focus Publications, 2007).
Puteţi să vă gândiţi la persoane pe care le cunoașteți a căror caracteristică remarcabilă a fost “consecvența”? Oamenii pe care uneori îi numim “credincioși”? Ei sunt mereu acolo. Puteţi conta întotdeauna pe aceștia. “Dacă rămâneţi în cuvântul meu (a spus Isus), sunteţi într-adevăr ucenicii Mei” (Ioan 8:31). Perseverența constantă în cuvântul lui Isus este cheia consecvenței în slujirea Sa.
Liderii creştini evlavioşi ar trebui să fie un exemplu de consecvență în asemănarea cu Hristos. “Cine zice că rămâne în El (Hristos) trebuie să trăiască şi el cum a trăit Isus “(1 Ioan. 2:6). Acest tip de consecvență este marcată de concentrarea atenției asupra lui Hristos - pe moartea sa, învierea, şi, în curând revenirea Acestuia.
Liderii creştini evlavioşi ar trebui să fie un exemplu de consecvență în dragoste. “Cine iubeşte pe fratele său, rămâne în lumină” (1 Ioan 2:10;. Vezi, de asemenea, 1 Ioan 3:23;. 4:7-8.).
Liderii creştini evlavioşi ar trebui să fie un exemplu de consecvență în ascultare. Ascultarea se referă la “... cine face voia lui Dumnezeu” (1 Ioan 2:17.), cel care este ascultător al voii lui Dumnezeu revelată prin Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu (Romani 6:17). Secretul pentru a rămâne in Hristos este de a lăsa cuvântul să rămână în tine - “Ce aţi auzit de la început, aceea să rămână în voi. Dacă rămâne în voi ce aţi auzit de la început, şi voi veţi rămâne în Fiul şi în Tatăl.”(1 Ioan 2:24.). Aceasta este cheia pentru ascultarea consecventă.
Motivaţia pentru consecvenţă este întoarcerea lui Hristos. “Şi acum, copilaşilor, rămâneţi în El, pentru ca, atunci când Se va arăta El ...” (1 Ioan 2:28;... Cf. 1 Petru 1:8-9). Haideți să trăim fiecare zi în perspectiva revenirii Domnului Isus Hristos, străduindu-ne să fim consecvenți în umblarea noastră creştină.
Fi Un Exemplu De Încredere
Eu nu vorbesc despre încrederea în sine (de exemplu, în resursele tale proprii şi abilităţi),ci despre încrederea pe care o ai ca și creştin, încredere în umblarea ta înaintea lui Dumnezeu, și a chemării tale din partea lui Dumnezeu. Un creștin care are încredere este unul al cărei inimă nu-l condamnă (1 Ioan 3:21.), pentru că el trăiește în mod transparent înaintea lui Dumnezeu, mărturisindu-și păcatele din viața sa .
Un lider creştin evlavios trebuie să fie un exemplu de încredere în ceea ce crezi. Ai convingeri ferme despre Biblie şi învăţăturile sale? Eşti pe deplin convins că Biblia este cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, inspirat, fără eroare, şi pe deplin demn de încredere? Știi ceea ce crezi si de ce crezi asta? Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu îți modelează gândirea, îți formează valorile și determină o viziune clară asupra lumii în care trăiești? Te încrezi tu în Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu?
Ca şi în exemplul consecvenței, atunci când “Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu rămâne în voi” (1 Ioan. 2:14), ai o forță interioară, încredere. Noi ca lideri creştini trebuie să avem încredere în ceea ce credem. Există mai multe tipuri de “foamete în ţară” (Amos 8:11). Există cu siguranţă o foamete cu privire la lucrurile spirituale. Oamenii se îndepărtează de Dumnezeu şi de Cuvântul Său. Există confuzie asupra a ceea ce să credem, deoarece sunt multe voci care încearcă să ne atragă în direcţii diferite. Există afirmaţii false cu privire la mesianitate. Sunt presiuni care se fac pentru ca Biblia să fie în concordanţă cu evoluţionismul şi alte teorii ateiste ale originilor omului şi existenţei sale.
Pentru a fi un exemplu eficace pentru alţii, liderii creştini trebuie să aibă încredere absolută în ceea ce ei cred şi de ce ei cred în ceea ce cred. Acest lucru înseamnă studierea cuvântul lui Dumnezeu cu sârguinţă, înţelegerea acestuia în mod clar, şi supunere față de acesta cu bucurie.
În această privinţă, liderii creştini evlavioşi trebuie să fie un exemplu de încredere în relaţia lor cu Dumnezeu. Ești încrezător în statutul tău înaintea lui Dumnezeu? Ești sigur că eşti copilul lui drag, pe care El l-a iubit atât de mult încât a trimis pe singurul Său Fiu să moară pentru tine? Ești sigur despre cine eşti ca persoană – ști cum Dumnezeu te-a făcut unic şi cum te-a înzestrat pentru slujirea Sa? Ai siguranță cu privire la cine eşti ca și creştin? Ești sub protecția eternă a lui Hristos, acceptat de Dumnezeu, în Hristos? Eşti încrezător în grija lui Dumnezeu suveran şi de control din viața ta? Eşti încrezător în viitorul tău? - Cunoști locul în care vei merge atunci când vei muri? Un creştin este convins că “un copac plantat lângă ape” (Ps. 1) - va sta ferm în Hristos, pentru că are rădăcini spirituale adânci. Un creștin încrezător stă în mijlocul haosului şi al atacurilor, nu “plutind încoace şi încolo” (Efeseni 4:14).
Desigur, trebuie să fim un exemplu al încrederii în ce privește venirea lui Hristos. Atât de convinși suntem de revenirea Sa încât ne uităm după El “aşteptând fericita noastră nădejde şi arătarea slavei marelui nostru Dumnezeu şi Mântuitor Isus Hristos. “(Tit 2:13). Avem nădejdea că vom fi acceptați şi apreciați de către El, astfel încât “atunci când Se va arăta El, să avem îndrăzneală şi, la venirea Lui, să nu rămânem de ruşine şi depărtaţi de El” (1 Ioan 2:28.).
Ți-e rușine ? Ți-e teamă de ce va găsi El atunci când va veni? Sau ești încrezător în fața opoziţiei şi a ispitei, deoarece “Cel ce este în voi este mai mare decât cel ce este în lume” (1 Ioan 4:4.)? Asigurarea vine prin rămânerea “în Hristos” prin rugăciune şi prin Cuvântul Său. Cei care vor fi de rușine vor fi cei ale căror lucrări vor fi arse. Pentru a “nu fi făcuți de rușine”, trebuie ținută relația cu Dumnezeu prin rugăciune, mărturisire, ascultare, veghere şi aşteptare, în timp ce lucrăm pentru El.
Partea III. Istoria Bisericii: “Rememorarea Trecutului”, Articolul 2
By: Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin
Profesor de Istoria Bisericii şi Spiritualitate Biblică
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky
Impactul Lui William Tyndale
În 1994 Biblioteca Britanică a plătit echivalentul a peste 2 milioane de dolari pentru o carte pe care Dr. Brian Lang, directorul executiv din acea vreme a Bibliotecii a denumit-o “cu siguranță cea mai importantă achiziție a noastră în întreaga istorie de peste 240 de ani”. Cartea? O copie a Noului Testament. Bineînțeles, nu era orice fel de copie. De fapt, mai există doar un singur alt Nou Testament ca și acesta, copie care este în biblioteca din Catedrala Sfântul Pavel (Saint Paul Cathedral), dar căreia îi lipsesc 71 de pagini.
Noul Testament achiziţionat de Muzeul Britanic a fost depus pentru mai mulţi ani, în biblioteca celui mai vechi Seminar Baptist din lume, Colegiul Baptist Bristol (Bristol Baptist College). A fost tipărit în oraşul german Worms, în anul 1526 cu presa lui Peter Schoeffer și este cunoscut sub numele de Noul Testament Tyndale. Primul Nou Testament care a fost tradus din limba greacă originală în limba engleză și tipărit este cu siguranță o carte de neprețuit. Traducătorul acestuia, după cum traducerea îi poartă numele, a fost Willian Tyndale (1494 - 1536). În ediţia a unsprezecea a celebrei enciclopedii britanice: Encyclopaedia Britannica se afirmă pe bună dreptate, că el a fost “una dintre cele mai mari forţe ale Reformei engleze,” un om ale cărui scrieri “a ajutat la modelarea gândirii partidului Puritan din Anglia.”, fapt ce denotă importanța majoră avută de acesta atât în istoria Bisericii cât și în afara ei.
În contrast puternic cu catolicismul roman medieval în care pietatea s-a axat pe îndeplinirea corespunzătoare a anumitor ritualuri externe, Tyndale, ca şi ceilalți reformatori, a subliniat că inima creştinismului a fost credinţa, care presupunea o înţelegere a ceea ce a fost crezut. Cunoaşterea Scripturilor a fost, prin urmare, esenţială pentru spiritualitatea creştină. Astfel, Tyndale - ar putea afirma: “Am … perceput prin experienţă, faptul că era imposibil ancorarea oamenilor simpli în orice adevăr, fără punerea Scripturii înaintea ochilor lor, în limba lor maternă.”
Determinarea lui Tyndale de a oferi oamenilor din Anglia, Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, a fost atât de ,are încât de la mijlocul anului 1520 până la martiriul din 1536 viaţa sa a fost îndreptată doar spre acest scop unic. În spatele viziunii acestui om a fost imaginea specială a Cuvântului lui Dumnezeu. În “Prologul” său la traducerea lui a cărții Geneza, pe care a scris în 1530, Tyndale - ar putea afirma: “Scriptura este o lumină, care ne arată adevărata cale, atât în ceea ce să facem cât şi în ce să ne punem speranța; o apărare în fața tuturor greșelilor, pace în mijlocul greutăților pentru a nu dispera, şi reverență în prosperitate pentru ca să nu păcătuim .” În ciuda opoziţiei din partea autorităţilor bisericeşti şi martiriul lui Tyndale, în 1536., Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu a devenit absolut crucial în Reforma engleză. David Daniell a remarcat, în scurta sa biografie a lui Tyndale că traducerea lui Tyndale a fost cea care a făcut din poporul englez un “popor al cărții.”
Partea IV. Gânduri DevoȚionale
Mana de dimineaţă
Dr.Stephen F. Olford
Dacă noi am avea o discuție personală pe tema părtășiei, probabil că mi-ați spune că cea mai lăudabilă practică a unui creştin este de a avea o întâlnire în fiecare zi cu Dumnezeu, prin Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu, Biblia, şi prin rugăciune. Și tu ai avea dreptate, desigur. Doar că această comuniune din fiecare zi, acest “timp liniştit” cu Dumnezeu, este mai mult decât o practică lăudabilă, este absolut vital pentru o viaţă de spiritualitate susţinută, eficace, şi cu dragoste. Acesta este un barometru al vieţii creştine. Permiteţi-mi să prezint această poziţie. Isus a spus, “Oamenii nu trăiesc numai cu pâine, ci cu orice cuvânt care iese din gura lui Dumnezeu” (Matei 4:4). Fără acea comparație negativă omul nu poate înțelege cu adevărat din ce ar trebui el să trăiască. “Omul va trăi prin orice cuvânt care iese din gura lui Dumnezeu.” Practic, aceasta este: “Omul va trăi prin fiecare cuvânt rostit care vine de la Dumnezeu”
Acesta nu este Scriptura memorată, nici Biblia de pe raftul sau din biroul tău. Acesta este cuvântul pe care Dumnezeu îl vorbeşte sufletului tău, în timpul liniştit al meditaţiei din Cuvânt. Acesta este modul în care omul trăieşte. Puteţi fi corect doctrinar, şi totuşi să fiți mort din punct de vedere spiritual.
Elementul care menţine viaţa este Cuvântul viu al lui Dumnezeu, care este vorbit sufletului tău în fiecare zi. Timpul liniştit este vital pentru sănătatea spirituală, fie că sunteţi nou convertit sau un creştin matur (vezi 1 Pet. 2:2 si Evrei. 5:14).
Timpul liniştit este vital pentru purificare spirituală. E adevărat că inițial sunteţi curăţat de păcat prin sângele preţios al lui Hristos, dar din nou şi din nou va trebui să reveniți la cruce pentru restaurare. Iar această întoarcere zilnică la cruce pentru curățarea gândurilor greşite şi a vieţii este din Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu (vezi Psalmul 119:9;.. Romani 12:2;. Filipeni 4:8).
Timpul de liniște, de asemenea, este vitală pentru sfătuirea spirituală. Nu poți cunoaște niciodată adevăratele principii care determină o viaţă de sfinţenie şi de neprihănire, fără a lăsa Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu “să locuiască în voi din belşug” (vezi 2 Tim 3:16 şi. Psalmi. 73:24).
Timpul de liniște este de asemenea vitală în echiparea ta pentru conflicte spirituale. Exemplul suprem este Domnul nostru Isus Hristos, atunci când s-a întâlnit cu Satana în pustie. Sunt sigur că pentru patruzeci de zile şi patruzeci de nopţi El și-a hrănit sufletul din cartea Deuteronom, şi a putut prin urmare, ascuți sabia prin experiența personală a Cuvântului scris al lui Dumnezeu. Pavel i-a îndemnat mai târziu pe credincioşii din Efes “luați ... [-le] sabia Duhului, care este cuvântul lui Dumnezeu” (Efeseni 6:17).
Oricât de importante sunt cele de mai sus, trebuie menționat faptul că cea mai mare motivație a ta pentru a avea timpul de liniște nu sunt nevoile dvs., oricât de mari ar fi ele, ci faptul că Dumnezeu vrea să se întâlnească cu tine. Prin urmare, nu este numai o datorie, este un privilegiu şi o onoare. Dumnezeu, în Hristos, Domnul tău, are un loc special de întâlnire pregătit pentru tine. Inima lui este mâhnită atunci când nu reuşești să onorezi întâlnirea. El doreşte, ca și în cazul femeii din Samaria, de a bea din nou din dragostea ta, devotamentul tău, şi din închinarea ta (a se vedea Ioan. 4:23, 24). Aş dori să vă avertizez însă că stabilirea momentului vostru de liniște nu este niciodată un lucru uşor. Ca slujitor, vă mărturisesc sincer că este mai greu pentru mine acum să am timpul meu de linişte decât a fost atunci când am fost proaspăt convertit. Motivul pentru aceasta este că, ceea ce contează costă. Veţi găsi că atacurile cele mai vicioase ale adversarului va fi direcţionat spre jefuirea timpului liniștit din fiecare zi cu Domnul tău. Şi va trebui să-l păziți cu îndârjire, dacă vreți să-l păstraţi. Indiferent de domeniul dvs. de slujire - ca pastor, profesor la școala duminicală, misionar, sau creştin la birou sau acasă - îți dau speranțe mici de a trăi victorios dacă nu reușești să menții cu succes timpul tău de liniște cu Domnul.
Partea V. Schițe De Predici
Dr. Roger PASCOE, Președintele Institutului Biblic pentru Predicare
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Scopul de a vă oferi schițe de predici în Jurnalul Electronic al Păstorilor (The NET Pastors Journal) este de a vă ajuta în pregătirea și expunerea predicilor dvs. De multe ori, una dintre cele mai dificile părți ale pregătirii unei predici este descoperirea pasajului din care veți predica. Aceste schițe de predici au menirea de a vă arăta rezultatul propriului meu studiu în pregătirea pentru predicare a acestor pasaje. Sper că veți putea observa modul în care acestea se referă direct la și reies direct din pasajul din Scriptură.
Punctele principale in aceste schițe de predici sunt declarații ale principiilor prezente în pasaj și care au legătură cu tema centrală a pasajului. Aceste principii sunt formulate într-un mod prin care ascultătorii se pot conecta la predică. Prin folosirea în acest mod a punctelor principale, predica nu este o prelegere cu privire la o perioadă a istoriei antice, ci un mesaj din partea lui Dumnezeu pentru ascultătorii din ziua de azi. În timp ce ei ascultă aceste puncte pe parcursul predicii ei sunt atrași de mesaj deoarece pot observa principiile pasajului se relaționează cu viața lor – cu probleme lor, cu comportamentul lor, cu deciziile lor, cu atitudinea lor, cu spiritualitatea lor, cu familia lor etc.
Prima serie de schițe de predici sunt din Evanghelia după Ioan. Aceste schițe nu sunt în ordinea capitolelor și versetelor ci sunt grupate astfel:
1. Cele Șapte Fapte (Minuni) Supranaturale ale lui Isus
2. Cele Șapte Dialoguri Semnificative ale lui Isus (discuțiile avute cu persoane individuale)
3. Cele Șapte Declarații ale lui Isus despre Sine (Declarațiile “Eu sunt”)
Sunt conștient că fără ascultarea predicii s-ar putea să întâmpinați dificultăți în a urmări schița scrisă a predicilor. Pentru aceasta, vom publica pe site-ul acesta predicile mele audio care corespund cu aceste schițe de predici (dați click pe linkul de deasupra pentru a asculta). Pentru că aceste predici au fost înregistrate în prima fază pentru ascultătorii radio, câteva predici sunt împărțite în mai multe părți.
Aveți libertatea de a folosi aceste predici. Le puteți folosi exact așa cum sunt sau le puteți modifica. Fie că veți folosi sau nu aceste schițe de predică, speranța mea (și scopul pentru care le public) este ca dvs să observați de unde provin principiile din Scriptură și modul de formulare a acestora pentru audiența dvs contemporană.
În ultima ediție a Jurnalului Electronic al Păstorilor am publicat primele mele trei schițe de predici din seria celor “Cele Șapte Fapte (Minuni) Supranaturale ale lui Isus” din Evanghelia după Ioan, după cum urmează:
Schița de predică nr.1 Ioan 2:1-11, Isus Schimbă Apa în Vin
Schița de predică nr.2 Ioan 4:46-54, Isus vindecă fiul unui slujbaj
Schița de predică nr.3 Ioan 5:1-47, Isus vindecă slăbănogul de la scăldătoarea Betesda Partea. 1
În continuare sunt două schițe de predică din aceeași serie : “Cele Șapte Fapte (Minuni) Supranaturale ale lui Isus”
(To listen to audio sermons of these outlines click here: John 6:1-14; John 6:16-21)
Schiţă Predica # 4
Ioan 6:1-14, Isus Hrănește Cinci Mii De Oameni
Subiect: Cat de mare este Dumnezeul tău?
Punctul # 1: O întrebare simplă arată o ignoranţă profundă (5-9)
1. Isus pune o întrebare simplă (5-6)
2. Ucenicii dau două răspunsuri revelatoare (7-9)
(1) primul răspuns este rezultatul rațiunii (7)
(2) Al doilea răspuns este rezultatul realității (8-9)
Punctul # 2: O simpla poruncă dezvăluie o realitate profundă (10-13)
1. Dumnezeu poate transforma un coş pentru o masă de prânz într-un banchet generos (10-11)
2. Dumnezeu poate transforma un prânz sărăcăcios într-o mulţime de resturi (12-13)
Schița De Predică Nr. 5
John 6:16-21, Domnul Isus Merge Pe Apă
Subject: Descoperind cine este Isus
Point #1: Probleme apar în momente neaşteptate (17)
1. Probleme apar când suntem ascultători de Dumnezeu (17a)
2. Problemele se ridică în momentele în care putem să le tratăm cel mai puţin (17b)
Point #2: Troubles arise for the most unexpected discoveries (19-21)
1. Descoperim că Domnul Isus este Dumnezeul nostrum etern (20a)
2. Descoperim că Domnul Isus este Mângâietorul nostru (20b-21a)
3. Descoperim că Domnul Isus este Eliberatorul nostru puternic (21b)
Related Topics: Pastors
Testing Tongues (Selected Scriptures)Related Media
June 15, 1986
The summer of 1969 I lived near UCLA in Westwood. In Westwood village that summer a number of smiling, energetic young people would approach you on the streets and ask if you knew about chanting. They would then launch into testimonies of how their lives had been changed by chanting. I remember a wholesome looking girl who told me that she had chanted for a new Corvette and had gotten it. She had been alienated from her parents, but since she started chanting the relationship had been restored. Some of my friends went to their meetings, which reminded them of Campus Crusade’s “College Life” evangelistic meetings. The room was filled with happy, singing people of all ages who testified how chanting had changed their lives. They were members of the Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist sect, and they all chanted a prayer in some foreign language.
I tell that story to make the point that we live in a day when experience is seen as the supreme test of reality. “If it’s real for you, then it’s real.” “If it feels good, do it.” “If I experienced it with my own senses, then it must be real.” These are some popular expressions of our existentialist culture. Truth is seen as relative to a person’s experience.
There was no doubt that these people were having a spiritual experience which was greatly affecting their lives. The problem was that their experience was not based upon the truth of God’s Word, and thus was demonic and dangerous.
The Bible claims to be the infallible and absolute guide for how we ought to think and act. It is the final authority and test of reality (Matt. 4:4; John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). With regard to any experience, the question is not, did I have an experience, but rather, did I have a biblical experience? This is especially true with regard to speaking in tongues. Many are having this experience. The question is, are they having a biblical experience?
Speaking in tongues is not strictly a Christian phenomenon. Non-Christian cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons claim to speak in tongues. Article Seven of the Mormon Articles of Faith states, “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.” (James E. Talmage, A Study of the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1972], p. 217.) The Encyclopedia Britannica cites many instances of tongues speaking in pagan cults. One man reports that in East Africa, many people possessed by demons speak in fluent Swahili or English, although under normal circumstances they do not understand either language. Ecstatic speech is found among the Mohammedans and the Eskimos of Greenland. The Roman poet Virgil (70-19 B.C.) refers to the tongues speaking of the Sibylline priestess on the isle of Delos (these examples cited by Joseph Dillow, Speaking in Tongues: Seven Crucial Questions [Zondervan, 1975], pp. 172-173).
Since at least some tongues speaking is not from the Holy Spirit, we need to be careful to test any experience of tongues by the Scriptures to determine if it is valid. We are told to test the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 John 4:1). Concerning prophetic utterances we are told to examine them carefully and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thess. 5:19-21).
Tongues must be tested for validity against the biblical criteria.
I want to give you some biblical guidelines by which you can test any experience of tongues speaking to tell whether it is of the Lord or not.
Tests for biblical tongues:
1. Biblical tongues are foreign languages, not gibberish.
I consider this to be a major point which undermines most current tongues speaking. Since I developed this last week, I am not going to go into it in depth here. But let me briefly review.
First, the tongues in Acts 2 are clearly foreign languages, not ecstatic utterances. Men from various locations, visiting Jerusalem for the Day of Pentecost, heard the band of disciples speaking in their own languages, even though the speakers had never learned these languages (Acts 2:4, 6, 8, 11). It was not a miracle of hearing, but of speaking.
If the tongues in 1 Corinthians are substantially different from the tongues in Acts, then the burden of proof is upon those making that claim. Paul and Luke (the author of Acts) were close friends, both familiar with the tongues at Jerusalem and at Corinth. Yet both use the same Greek words to describe the events, without any explanation of differences.
The Greek word used for tongues means foreign languages in every other New Testament and Greek Old Testament occurrence. The word “interpret” used in connection with tongues means to translate or give the sense of something. Ecstatic utterances do not make sense to anyone. Only language, which has structure and grammar, has meaning and thus can be translated. Interpreting tongues as foreign languages fits consistently with every occurrence of the word in reference to the gift of tongues in the New Testament. So I believe that if tongues are valid, they will be translatable foreign languages, not meaningless nonsense syllables.
It is interesting that 73 percent of those who speak in tongues claim that their tongue is a foreign language (Dillow, p. 178). In his book, They Speak With Other Tongues (Spire Books, 1964, pp. 17-20), John Sherrill tells of Harald Bredesen, a Reformed Church pastor, speaking in Polish and in ancient Arabic. I have read and heard of other accounts of tongues speakers speaking in foreign languages.
However, Dillow (writing in 1975) states that every study to that date had failed to turn up a legitimate instance of a foreign language by those who speak in tongues. Dillow spoke in a Sunday School class Marla and I attended in Dallas. Three of his friends who spoke in tongues allowed him to tape record them. He played the tape for us. One speaker, we all agreed, sounded like he was speaking in German, another in French, and the third in Chinese.
Dillow took the tapes to experts in these languages and asked if there was any resemblance. The experts replied that there were occasional syllables which sounded like words in those languages, but that the tongues speaking was just meaningless gibberish.
J. Rodman Williams, a modern charismatic scholar, admits that there are no concrete data (from tape recordings, for example) of tongues being an unlearned foreign language (in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology [edited by Walter Elwell, Baker, 1984], p. 206). He argues that biblical tongues are neither foreign languages nor ecstatic utterances. Rather they are what he calls “spiritual” languages. If someone says that he heard a person speaking in his own language, this occurs because the Holy Spirit immediately interpreted what was said. Thus it was not a hearing of but a hearing in one’s own language. The tongues both in Acts and 1 Corinthians were utterances of the Holy Spirit, understood only when interpreted by the Holy Spirit (ibid.).
He claims that speaking in tongues is not irrational but suprarational utterance. He is not disturbed by linguists who claim that tongues speaking has no observable language structure, for if such were the case, speaking in tongues would not be spiritual but rational speech. He sees tongues speaking as transpsychical, belonging to the realm of the spirit (ibid., p. 207).
But Williams is begging the question. His view allows no way to verify any experience of tongues speaking, because the one doing it can say, “It was a ‘spiritual’ utterance, and if you didn’t understand it or thought it sounded like gibberish, you just weren’t in tune with the Holy Spirit.” It doesn’t seem to fit God’s character and power to have such a crucial miracle, which served to substantiate the authenticity of the apostles and the gospel message, be a totally unverifiable thing that took place in the heads of those present, not in the actual languages spoken.
Williams calls tongues “the vehicle of communication par excellence between man and God ... the language of transcendent prayer and praise” (ibid., p. 206). But if it is “communication” and “language,” it should have the mark of language, which is structure. A linguist can readily discern the difference between meaningful communication and nonsense syllables, even if he doesn’t know the particular language. To call meaningless gibberish a “language” or “spiritual communication” stretches credulity.
Furthermore, Williams has to bend the obvious meaning of the account in Acts 2:4-11 to say that the speakers really weren’t using translatable foreign languages. As I pointed out last week, a number of verses in 1 Corinthians 13 and 14 also fit better with translatable languages, not ecstatic utterances or “spiritual” utterances, as Williams calls them (cf. 13:1; 14:10-11, 21).
So the first test of biblical tongues is that it must be translatable foreign languages, not gibberish. If Williams is correct in stating that there are no concrete data of an unknown language being spoken, most of the tongues speaking in our day is invalidated.
2. Biblical tongues are not pushed as a necessity for every believer.
This point is so obvious, biblically, that I find it incredible that anyone could disagree. Note 1 Cor. 12:30: “All do not speak with tongues, do they?” The Greek text requires a negative reply. In the context of chapter 12 Paul is arguing that the body is many members, not one member. While we are one body, we all have different gifts, sovereignly bestowed by the Holy Spirit (12:11, 18, 24, 28). One member of the body is not to envy another member: “If they were all one member, where would the body be?” (v. 19). Paul puts the gift of tongues at the end of the list (12:28, 30) to show its relative importance to the body, and then takes all of 14:1-25 to argue that prophecy is more important than tongues, because it builds the body.
In spite of this, many charismatics argue that speaking in tongues is for every believer. The way they get around the obvious meaning of 1 Corinthians 12 is to say that not all Christians have the gift of tongues to be exercised in the church meetings. But all can and should have a “prayer language” for use in personal devotions, received when the believer receives the baptism of the Spirit.
There are two matters to sort out here: the baptism of the Spirit, and the so-called “prayer language.” The charismatic movement believes that the baptism of the Spirit is a distinct experience, either at the moment of salvation or subsequent to salvation, when the believer is filled with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit (Williams, ibid., p. 205). Williams writes, “Baptism with the Holy Spirit is understood to result from ‘the gift of the Holy Spirit,’ wherein the Spirit is freely ‘poured out,’ ‘falls upon,’ ‘comes on,’ ‘anoints,’ ‘endues’ the believer with ‘power from on high.’ This event/experience is the moment of initiation into the Spirit-filled life” (ibid.).
I believe in the absolute need of every believer for the enabling and power of the Holy Spirit. I believe in the need for the Spirit’s anointing for us all. But I think that to call that anointing “the baptism of the Spirit” is a misnomer. It is not just a quibbling over words, though, because it is important that we use biblical words as the Bible uses them. Let’s briefly look at how the term “baptism of the Spirit” is used in the Bible.
John the Baptist predicted that Jesus would baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11). Just before His ascension, Jesus told the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5). That baptism took place on the Day of Pentecost (even though the term is not used in Acts 2).
In Acts 8, the Samaritans believed through Philip’s preaching. Peter and John were summoned from Jerusalem. When they arrived, they prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. Although the text doesn’t say so directly, we can safely assume that they spoke in tongues as the manifestation of receiving the Spirit (Acts 8:17-18, “saw”).
In Acts 10, the Gentiles at Cornelius’s house believe, receive the Holy Spirit immediately, and speak in tongues (10:44-46). In Acts 11:15-17, Peter is giving an account of this event, and he equates it to the same thing that happened to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost, and ties both into Jesus’ words about the baptism of the Spirit.
In Acts 19:1-6, Paul comes upon some men who had been baptized with John’s baptism, but had never heard of the Holy Spirit. They were “Old Testament” believers. When Paul told them of the Lord Jesus, they were baptized in His name, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Charismatics use these passages to argue that the baptism of the Spirit is in some cases subsequent to salvation, and that it is always accompanied by the sign of speaking in tongues. But I think they are misunderstanding these Scriptures.
If these were the only verses in the Bible on the subject, I would have to agree with the charismatic interpretation. But there are some other verses that we must integrate with Acts. In Romans 8:9 Paul states that if you do not have the Spirit dwelling in you, you do not belong to Christ. In 1 Cor. 12:13 he states that we all (including the carnal Corinthians) have been baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ. Furthermore, we are never commanded to be baptized with the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is commanded as an on-going, repeated experience (Eph. 5:18; Acts 2:4; 4:31). But the baptism of the Spirit is not an experience at all. It is a spiritual fact in which the believer both receives the Holy Spirit and is baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation. If you believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, then you have been baptized in, with or by (same Greek word) the Holy Spirit.
How then do I explain the Book of Acts? Acts is a transitional book, linking the old dispensation of the law with the new dispensation of the Spirit. In the old dispensation, not all believers received the indwelling Spirit. Those who did receive the Spirit could lose Him (Ps. 51:11; 1 Sam. 16:14). But in the new dispensation, all believers receive the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2 we see the Jewish believers receiving the Spirit; in Acts 8 the Samaritans; in Acts 10, the Gentiles; and in Acts 19, those away from Palestine, in a pagan city, representing “the uttermost part of the earth.” This is the pattern laid out by our Lord in Acts 1:8. It was necessary for the apostles to be present because the keys to the kingdom were given to the apostles through Peter (Matt. 16:18-19).
Thus in the case of the Samaritans, the Lord did not give them the Spirit at the moment of believing because the apostles were not present. Their authority was required to open the age of the Spirit to this new people group. In Acts 10, with Peter present, the Gentiles received the Spirit immediately upon believing. In Acts 19, the men were not really believers in the Lord Jesus until Paul spoke to them, at which point they received the Spirit.
In each case, tongues was the authenticating sign of a new group receiving the Spirit. But there is no indication of that sign accompanying any other conversion in Acts (such as the women at Philippi, the believers in Thessalonica, or the islanders on Malta). Once the Spirit was given to the Jews, the Samaritans, the Gentiles, and to those outside of the Jewish nation (Acts 19), the transition from the old dispensation of God working solely through the nation Israel under the law to the new dispensation of God working through the church composed of every tongue and tribe and nation was complete. The authenticating sign of tongues to affirm the transition was no longer needed as the sign of the baptism of the Spirit.
Even if we assume that Acts is normative for the baptism of the Spirit and tongues, modern charismatic practice does not conform to it. In Acts, all the believers received the baptism at once, and seemingly all spoke in tongues at once. But Paul forbids the Corinthians to speak all at once (1 Cor. 14:27). Furthermore, except for Acts 2, none of the groups were seeking the baptism or tongues as an experience subsequent to salvation. It was a sovereign act of God. The Bible gives no command (except for the exceptional event at Pentecost) for believers to seek the Holy Spirit or the gift of tongues. (Jesus’ words in Luke 11:13 were spoken before Pentecost.)
The other matter which I need to speak to is the so-called “prayer language.” Charismatics argue that while not every believer has the gift of tongues for public ministry, every believer can and should have a personal prayer language for private devotions. This seems to be based on Paul’s private use of tongues (1 Cor. 14:18-19, 28--see last week’s message) and on Rom. 8:26: “And in the same way the Spirit helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Concerning the private use of tongues, I think we must say that it is legitimate for those who have the true gift (foreign languages). This person is exhorted to pray for the ability to interpret his tongue, so that he will be benefited even more (1 Cor. 14:13).
Concerning Rom. 8:26, it is far from clear that the verse is referring to tongues. If it is, it is the only verse in Romans to do so, and neither tongues nor spiritual gifts are anywhere in the context. There may be some commentators who take it as tongues, but I could not find any who do so. Also, it is not the person who is speaking in groanings too deep for words, but the Spirit Himself, interceding before the Father. The word “groanings” means an inarticulate groaning (cf. Rom. 8:22), not a foreign language. To build a whole central doctrine of the spiritual life (that every believer is to have a prayer language) on one unclear verse, especially when the doctrine contradicts the specific, clear teaching of Paul elsewhere that tongues are a spiritual gift only for a few, seems risky at best.
Thus biblical tongues are foreign languages, not gibberish; and they are not pushed as a necessary experience for every believer.
3. Biblical tongues are not to be sought as a means to spirituality.
The Corinthians spoke in tongues but were carnal and immature. If tongues were a means to spirituality or spiritual growth, somewhere the Bible would command us to seek the gift. But it does not. As I mentioned last week, Paul’s wish that all believers spoke in tongues (1 Cor. 14:5) does not contradict what he stated a few verses earlier, that all do not speak in tongues (12:30). He is merely expressing a wish because speaking in tongues is a legitimate gift of the Spirit, just as in 7:7 he expresses his wish that all could be single, because that gift enables a person to have more time to serve the Lord. If everybody should seek the gift of tongues, then everybody should seek the gift of celibacy!
The Bible does not teach that spiritual maturity comes through a supernatural experience with the Spirit which instantly transports us to a higher plane of spiritual victory (such as the so-called “baptism of the Spirit”). That notion is very appealing, to be quite frank. But it is not biblical. Neither does the Bible indicate that spiritual growth comes through continued speaking in tongues.
How does spiritual growth take place? We are exhorted to walk (not leap, run, or fly) by means of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16). We are told to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness (1 Tim. 4:7-8). There is effort and steadfastness required on our part (1 Tim. 4:10,15, 16). It is an on-going, gradual process which will not be complete until we meet Jesus Christ face to face (Phil. 3:12-14).
At the same time we are assured that we all have been made complete in Christ (Col. 2:10). Every believer has been enriched with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3). “His divine power has granted us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). “We were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13).
While we need to learn to appropriate all the riches which are ours in Christ Jesus, we do not need to tarry or wait or plead with God for the gift of the Spirit or tongues. It is not a mark of spirituality which we must seek. If God gives it, He gives it sovereignly to some according to His purpose, for the building up of the church.
Many godly saints in the past were mightily used of God but did not speak in tongues: our Lord Himself, John the Baptist, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, George Whitefield, George Muller, Hudson Taylor, D. L. Moody, and Billy Graham, to name a few. You are not missing one of God’s blessings if you do not speak in tongues.
Thus biblical tongues are foreign languages, not gibberish; they are not pushed as a necessary experience for every believer; they are not to be sought as a means to spirituality.
4. Biblical tongues in a church gathering must be in conformity with certain guidelines.
Paul spells these out in the passage we will cover next week, 1 Cor. 14:26-40, so I will only mention them briefly now. While I believe that the tongues speaking in Acts and in 1 Corinthians are both the same phenomenon (foreign languages), there are a number of differences in terms of the practice of the gift which are not observed in our day. If Acts describes the transition to the new dispensation of the Spirit, then 1 Corinthians prescribes the order to be followed during that dispensation. In other words, 1 Corinthians, written to the church, is the guide for the practice of tongues, not Acts which describes how the gift came to the church.
In Acts, the tongues were outside the church; in 1 Corinthians tongues were in the church meeting. In Acts, tongues accompanied the initial receiving of the Spirit; in 1 Corinthians, they were subsequent to receiving the Spirit. In Acts, it was a large group all speaking at once; in 1 Corinthians, it was to be one at a time, by two or three at most. In Acts, there is no interpretation recorded; in 1 Corinthians it must be accompanied by interpretation. In Acts, it came on everybody in the group in an uncontrollable fashion and seems a bit chaotic; in 1 Corinthians, not all had it, it was controllable, and it was to be done in an orderly manner. In Acts, there is no mention of love or edifying others; in 1 Corinthians, it can be done only if done in love to edify others.
Many times when I have been in charismatic churches these guidelines are ignored. Everybody speaks in tongues at once for their own edification, there is no interpretation, and it is not orderly. Obviously these folks were having an experience, but it was not a biblical experience!
Also, if tongues are of the Lord, they will not be divisive to the church. When a group of people start pushing tongues on everybody else in disregard of these biblical guidelines, it splits the church. That is not of the Lord, who prayed that His church may be one, that the world would know that the Father sent Him. Churches which exclude someone who practices tongues in line with these guidelines are equally divisive. I know of churches where anybody who speaks in tongues is suspected as being under demonic influence. That excludes the charismatic brother, just as much as those who gather around charismatic gifts exclude the non-charismatic brother. The basis of our unity is not to be our view of the gift of tongues, but rather our common Lord (Eph. 4:1-6).
You may be wondering: If most speaking in tongues today is not the biblical gift, how do you explain it? Why is God seemingly blessing charismatic churches? Why do those who practice tongues seem to get such a blessing from it? I’ve heard testimonies of renewed love for the Lord, new zeal in prayer, new power over sin, all as a result of the “baptism of the Spirit” and tongues.
Again, let me emphasize that the Bible must be our test of reality, not experience. If the tongues experienced in our day are not in line with the biblical gift, they are not valid, no matter what the seeming results. Obviously I cannot deal with every situation here. But let me offer a few observations.
First, God works with imperfect vessels. If He waited for us all to arrive at a point of doctrinal or personal perfection, His work would not get done. Many charismatic brothers and sisters have a sincere love for the Lord Jesus, and He works with them in spite of their mistaken view of the gift of tongues.
Also, many charismatics have a real dependence upon the Holy Spirit, even though their terminology may be incorrect. They call it the baptism of the Spirit; I think that biblically it is the filling of the Spirit. But I would rather have somebody mistaken in his terminology and complete in his yieldedness than correct in his terminology and halfway in his yieldedness. The Pharisees knew the Scriptures, but they lacked reality with God. May that never be said of us! I believe God blesses many charismatic people and churches because they have a fervency for the Lord that non-charismatics have lost. I’d much rather worship in a charismatic church where there is a fervent love for the Lord Jesus than in many non-charismatic churches which have theological accuracy but have lost their first love.
In my opinion, most of the tongues speaking in our day is purely psychological. Some rare cases may be demonic, some rare cases may be of the Lord. I think there are spiritual dangers in the psychologically explained tongues. Satan loves for us to substitute anything counterfeit in the place of Christ. Many who think that they are praying “in the Spirit” (in tongues) are just babbling gibberish, no matter how happy it makes them feel. There is a real danger of substituting that kind of purely psychological activity for the discipline of prayer and Bible study which lead to solid spiritual growth.
One former charismatic pastor who came to question and then to abandon the gifts of tongues and prophecy, wrote about the process of his struggle,
I think I realized (in my heart at least) that my tongues were not a linguistically definable language. And now the argument came to me with renewed force. No one could listen to me speaking tongues and then marvel that the mighty acts of God were being proclaimed in an understandable language. And so this fact alone was enough to invalidate the gift for me.
I suppose that I could have sidestepped this line of reasoning by taking refuge in the idea that tongues are not necessarily a known language. But even so, I still had to admit that the Scriptures teach that tongues are a miraculous gift. What happened on the day of Pentecost was a miracle! ... Therefore, even if tongues aren’t necessarily a known language, I still had to ask myself, “Is there any evidence that my tongues speech is of a miraculous nature? Is there any indication that my utterances originated with the Holy Spirit and not just my own mind? (Neil Babcox, A Search for Charismatic Reality [Multnomah Press, 1985], pp.63-64.)
After he came to the conclusion that his tongues were not of the Holy Spirit, this pastor still had trouble quitting. Speaking in tongues had seemed like such an enriching aspect of his personal devotions. He writes,
However, I soon began to realize that speaking in tongues was not as edifying as I had previously thought. How could it be, since I was uttering words and phrases of my own invention? Therefore, I was beginning to understand that, far from being a deeper dimension of prayer, praying in tongues was an evasion--a failure to grapple with the profundities of prayer (ibid., p. 65).
I don’t share any of these things to club anybody who speaks in tongues. It would be a gross misuse of this message if those of you who do not speak in tongues used it to club those who do. I share it because I believe it is crucial to base our experiences on the Word of God. I believe that the church will be stronger and the Lord’s work will go forth in greatest power when we order our lives in accordance with His Word. Most of you who read this may not practice tongues. Don’t get smug about “having the truth.” Learn from your charismatic brothers to be fervent for the Lord. If you do speak in tongues, I ask you to evaluate your experience by Scripture. Above all, let us all pursue love.
- Do you agree that it is wrong to divide the church along charismatic lines? How can this be avoided in a specific situation where both elements are in a church?
- What would you say to someone who pointed to the obviously good results in his spiritual life due to his experience with tongues?
- Would you rather be in a church that had correct doctrine on tongues but was restrained in devotion for the Lord or one which emphasized tongues but was fervent in devotion for the Lord? Why?
- Discuss: If the Holy Spirit left your life today, how soon would you discover that fact? What about if He left our church? How can we depend on Him more?
Copyright 1986, Steven J. Cole, All Rights Reserved.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible © The Lockman Foundation
2. Victorious Service (Judges 6:25-7:14)Related Media
Gideon, Lesson 2
January 19, 2020
There is a common misconception in evangelical churches that when you become a Christian, you have two optional plans. The most popular plan by far is the Convenient Plan. In this plan, you agree to go to church when it’s convenient, drop a few bucks in the offering when you can afford it, and live for the American dream of accumulating enough money and stuff to live a comfortable life. Under this plan if you have time, you may volunteer to serve at church, but only if it’s convenient. Your goal under this plan is to enjoy yourself, live a good life, and someday to retire and spend your last years finishing your “bucket list.”
The other plan is the Committed Plan. It’s far less popular than the Convenient plan. The Committed plan is only for gung-ho, “Green Beret” types. In this plan, you give up the American dream and any right to your own will for your life. You become a slave of Jesus Christ. Your aim is to seek first His kingdom and righteousness. You give away gobs of money to support the Lord’s work. You may even be called to give up the comforts of America and go live in a difficult or dangerous place to reach people for Jesus. It can be a hard way to go. But, remember, you signed up for the Committed Plan! You’ll have more rewards in heaven!
But Jesus was clear: there is only one plan. He summarized it in Luke 9:23-24: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” The cross was not a piece of jewelry that you wore around your neck. It was a grisly instrument of death. Jesus meant that those who follow Him must die daily to self as they live to serve and glorify Him in whatever circumstances He chooses for them. To put it in other terms, there are no convenience volunteers in Jesus’ army. There are only conscripts who serve because Jesus has bought them and saved them from God’s eternal judgment with His blood. Now they belong completely to Him. They are His slaves.
The story of Gideon and his 300-man army poised to take on 135,000 Midianites (Jud. 8:10) provides some important truths about victorious service for the Lord. These truths are especially important in a time when many pastors drop out of the ministry due to burnout, moral failure, or other reasons and when most churches lack committed workers in various ministries. We need to know how to serve the Lord in victory over the overwhelming forces of darkness that surround us.
In our last study, we looked at Gideon’s calling and saw that he was an unlikely hero to lead Israel in victory over the Midianite horde. Although the angel of the Lord addressed him as a “valiant warrior” (6:12, which he would become), at that spiritually dark time in Israel’s history he was defeated, dense, depressed, down on himself, and doubtful of God’s promises. But God chose him and began to work with him to build his faith. In this section we see Gideon’s conditioning. The principle is:
To serve the Lord in victory over the forces of darkness, obey God’s Word, trust in Him, and seek His glory.
First, we need to understand what this story clearly illustrates:
1. The evil forces of darkness that the Lord’s servants face are many and are strong.
To review, the Midianites were a nomadic tribe that lived southeast of the Jordan River. Because of Israel’s idolatry and disobedience to the Lord, He sent this vast horde into Israel every harvest season. They would devour Israel’s crops like locusts and take their farm animals. Israel was reduced to hiding in dens and caves in the surrounding mountains. After seven years of this, Israel finally cried out to the Lord. He raised up Gideon to deliver them.
Midian is a picture of the evil forces of darkness that we face as we seek to serve the Lord in our current spiritually dark times. We still have it relatively easy in America as far as persecution goes. In the past few years our nation has grown noticeably more hostile toward our faith. But at least we do not face almost certain persecution or martyrdom if we take a stand for the Lord as many of our brothers and sisters in Muslim countries do. And yet we still are surrounded by unseen evil forces that oppose the gospel. The apostle Paul wrote (Eph. 6:12-13):
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
If we try to battle these unseen spiritual forces of wickedness with human strategies or schemes, we will not win. And we won’t see victory if we volunteer to serve the Lord in a rush of emotional excitement without counting the cost. When Gideon sounded the trumpet to call Israel to battle, 32,000 signed up. But when they saw the enormity of the enemy, 22,000 had to admit that they were afraid and returned home. One of the biggest mistakes a general can make in warfare is to underestimate the power of the enemy. Our enemy is evil and he is strong. If we dabble in spiritual compromise or sin, we will be defeated. Our enemy is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). So these principles of how to defeat him are essential for your spiritual survival!
2. To serve the Lord in victory over the forces of darkness, obey His Word.
This is the main lesson in Judges 6:25-35. The Lord begins with a difficult command to Gideon (6:25):
Now on the same night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.”
Gideon’s father, Joash, had built an altar to Baal. Next to it he had erected a pole called an Asherah that represented a Ugaritic goddess who was the consort of El and mother of Baal. But this wasn’t just a private altar because when Gideon destroyed it, the men of the city demanded that he be killed. It was a community worship center for the false gods of the Canaanites. According to Deuteronomy 13, the men of Gideon’s village, not Gideon, should have been put to death because of their idolatry. Gideon’s obedience teaches us five things about obedience:
A. Obedience begins when you begin to follow the Lord as your God.
In verse 26, the Lord commands Gideon to build an altar “to the Lord your God.” Gideon apparently had resisted the example of his father and the townspeople to worship false gods. Following the Lord must be a personal decision, even if it means going against the beliefs and practices of your family or your culture. But following the Lord as your God means obeying Him.
B. Obedience must begin at home.
Gideon had to overcome his fear to tear down the family idol. If he had done it in broad daylight, the men of the town would have stopped him, so he did it at night. An altar to Baal discovered by archaeologists near Ophrah was 26 feet square and four feet high, made of stones cemented by mud (Gary Inrig, Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay [Moody Press], p. 100). So Gideon needed the help of ten servants to tear it down. God also commanded him to erect an altar to the Lord and to sacrifice his father’s seven-year-old bull on it.
Obedience to God’s Word is often a radical action because your example confronts the idolatrous ways of the world around you. Gideon’s obedience could have resulted in his being disinherited, kicked out of his family, or killed. But genuine obedience always must begin at home. As C. H. Mackintosh put it (Miscellaneous Writings, “Gideon and His Companions” [Loizeaux Brothers], 2:36), “Those who see most of us should see most of Christ in us.”
Thankfully, Gideon’s father had a change of heart and came to his defense when the men of the town demanded his death. From this bold act of obedience, Gideon got a nickname, Jerubbaal, which meant, “Let Baal contend against him.” Since Baal didn’t do anything when Gideon tore down his altar, the men of his town probably joined Gideon when he gave the call to battle against the Midianites.
C. Obedience must be total, not partial.
Gideon didn’t compromise by building an altar to the Lord next to the altar to Baal. That would have sent the message to the town, “Both are legitimate options; take your pick.” The Lord is the only true God; He demands total obedience, which means destroying all our idols.
D. Obedience requires courage to confront the idolatrous culture around us.
When you confront the sacred idols of our culture, you will catch flak. I’ve written numerous letters to the editor of our local paper against the abortion movement. Invariably, I catch flak for it from someone because I’m tearing down his or her idol. The same is true when you call the LGBT movement what the Bible calls it: sin. They hate you when you tear down their idols! But we cannot obey God without confronting the idols of our godless culture.
E. Obedience requires decisive, Spirit-powered action, not mere good intentions.
Verse 34 reveals the power for Gideon’s actions: “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him.” (Literally, the Spirit clothed him.) That Hebrew phrase is only used one other time when the Spirit clothed Zechariah to confront King Joash’s idolatry (2 Chron. 24:20-21). He was stoned to death as a result. The Spirit’s clothing these two men was a special anointing for a specific task. While we cannot do anything to obtain such a special anointing, we are commanded to walk by means of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16) and to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). We do this by yielding to the Holy Spirit on a moment-by-moment basis, allowing Him to control our lives.
Once Gideon obeyed the Lord by destroying his father’s idols, he had to rally the troops to go against Midian. This shows us that victorious service is not just individual. We must serve in conjunction with all the saints as we each use our gifts for God’s kingdom. Victorious service begins with obedience to God’s Word.
3. To serve the Lord in victory over the forces of darkness, trust in God.
As Hebrews 11:6 puts it, “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” Remarkably, three very flawed judges, Gideon, Samson, and Jephthah, are all listed in Hebrews 11:32 as men of faith. Gideon’s story teaches us that …
A. God takes us where we’re at and works with us to build our faith.
When the angel of the Lord first met Gideon, he was fearful of the Midianites and wondering why God had abandoned His people (Judges 6:13). The angel commanded Him to go and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian, assuring him that God would be with him and that he would defeat Midian as one man. But now, Gideon says to God (Jud. 6:36-37), “If You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken, behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will deliver Israel through me, as You have spoken.” God graciously granted Gideon’s request on this and on his second fleece request, even though Gideon acknowledged that the Lord had grounds to be angry with him (6:39).
Suffice it to say that putting out a fleece is not an approved method for determining the will of God! This is especially true when God has clearly spoken in His Word. I’ve had young women tell me that it was God’s will for them to marry an unbelieving man (even though God clearly forbids it) because they had prayed about it and felt a peace about it! Just because God was gracious to Gideon’s weak faith does not mean that we should imitate him!
God also built Gideon’s weak faith by gradually reducing his army from 32,000 down to 10,000 and finally to 300 men. This also would have built the faith of the remaining 300 as they saw the odds against them grow beyond any human hope for victory! Then the Lord graciously gave Gideon an unasked-for sign to strengthen his weak faith. He directed Gideon and his servant to go to the outskirts of the Midianite camp where, in God’s gracious providence, they heard a soldier recounting a dream about a loaf of barley bread upending and crushing a Midianite tent (Jud. 7:9-13). Barley bread was the food that poor people ate. And, as C. H. Spurgeon humorously observed (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit [Pilgrim Press], 31:657), “If I had to cannonade an encampment I should not try to bombard it with biscuits.” The dream pictured impoverished, weak people conquering a powerful foe. The Midianite soldier’s friend rightly interpreted the dream (Jud. 7:14), “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.”
The Bible has many examples of the Lord graciously working with His servants to build their weak faith. With the conniving Jacob, He gave the dream of the ladder reaching into heaven. Later, the angel of the Lord wrestled with Jacob and disabled his strength so that he had to trust the Lord in his fearful encounter with his powerful brother, Esau. The gospels reveal how Jesus patiently worked with the often dense and unbelieving apostles to bring them to stronger faith in Him. I confess that when I began to follow the Lord, it was for the very immature and selfish reason of wanting Him to give me a satisfying marriage. But He took me in my weakness and has progressively revealed more of Himself to me over the years.
B. God has to teach us that our trust must be in Him, not in any human methods or techniques.
At first, Gideon probably thought that 32,000 was an insufficient army to battle 135,000 Midianites. But God told him that they were too many. He needed to send the cowardly home (Deut. 20:8). They had their focus on the huge enemy, not on the all-powerful God. And, fearful unbelief is contagious. Gideon probably watched with growing alarm as the ranks dwindled to 10,000. But maybe he still thought, “With God’s help and a good strategy, we can still win.”
But God said, “You’re still too many.” So He had Gideon test the soldiers by the way they drank water from the brook. There is debate about the meaning of this test as to whether it was purely arbitrary or whether it winnowed out the less vigilant. But whatever the meaning, by reducing the army to 300, the Lord was teaching Gideon and the remaining troops that they could not trust in any human methods or techniques. They had to trust in God alone. We are all prone to trusting in the latest methods or techniques, whether for success in ministry, marriage, child-rearing, or whatever. While some methods and techniques may be helpful, be careful to put your trust in the Lord, not in the method.
So to serve the Lord in victory over the overwhelming forces of spiritual darkness, obey His Word and trust in Him. Finally,
4. To serve the Lord in victory over the forces of darkness, seek God’s glory.
It’s easy to get excited about some ministry or cause for Christ and sign up as a volunteer, especially when many others are doing the same. Perhaps the 32,000 hoped to be heroes when they returned home after winning the war. But it’s another thing to persevere over the long haul in the face of huge and frightening opposition. So all the fearful returned home. They probably had reasonable excuses to give to their hometown people about why they returned: “Gideon is crazy to think that he can win with a poorly armed and untrained army against 135,000 experienced Midianite warriors. It’s a suicide mission!” But their focus was not on God and His glory; it was on self-preservation.
To serve the Lord in victory over the forces of darkness, you can’t ride on group enthusiasm. You can’t be focused on protecting yourself. You have to realize that serving the Lord is spiritual warfare against the unseen forces of darkness. Your focus has to be on seeking God’s glory, even if you end up getting wounded or killed in battle. Otherwise, when the battle heats up, you’ll run for cover.
Numbers or human methods don’t matter to the Lord. He can win the battle with no soldiers, as He would later do when King Hezekiah prayed and the Lord killed 185,000 of Sennacherib’s troops in one night (2 Kings 18-19). Or, He can use 300 courageous, trusting men to rout 135,000 Midianites. But however He does it, He wants the glory to go to Him.
During my years of serving as a pastor, I’d often get ads inviting me to some conference put on by a megachurch promising similar results if I used their method for church growth. But if you use a “proven method” that works for others and it works for you, guess where the glory goes? The method gets the glory! If you obey God’s Word and trust in Him when there is no human explanation for victory, then He gets the glory. So my “method” for church growth was to try to do what the apostles did (Acts 6:4), “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
Years ago, Stacey King played on the Chicago Bulls with the legendary Michael Jordan. One night, Jordan scored 69 points and King scored one. He facetiously said later, “I’ll always remember this as the night that Michael Jordan and I combined to score 70 points” (Reader’s Digest [10/1991], p. 22). Well, the Lord is pleased to use weak people to win the victory. As Gideon’s army would shout (Jud. 7:20), “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” But we need to make sure that everyone knows, “The Lord scored 69 points; I only scored one. He should get all the glory!”
To apply this message, the first question to ask is, “Have you put your trust in Jesus Christ and begun to walk with Him as your Lord?” Is the Lord your God? You can’t serve Him rightly until you first have come to the cross as a guilty sinner and trusted in His sacrifice for you.
Then ask yourself, “Where and how am I serving the Lord?” It’s more of a mindset than a formal position of service. Each day, whether it’s with your family, at work, at school, or wherever the Lord has you, yield yourself to His Spirit and ask Him to use you as a channel of His grace to others. As 1 Peter 4:10-11 states,
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
You are a steward or manager of God’s manifold grace. You don’t have to be perfect or have arrived at some high level for Him to use you. Begin where you’re at. Do what His Word commands as it pertains to your current situation. Trust Him, even if what He is calling you to do is way beyond your ability. As you see Him work, your faith will grow to trust Him more. To serve the Lord in victory over the forces of darkness, obey Him, trust Him, and seek His glory above all. He is gracious to work with us in our weakness!
- Why is it important to recognize that you are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against the unseen forces of darkness in heavenly places (Eph. 6:10-20)?
- Where specifically does God want you to obey Him right now? What steps do you need to take to do it?
- What are you trusting God for that is way beyond your human ability to accomplish?
- How should you respond when someone compliments you on how you served in some capacity? Is it always necessary to say, “The Lord did it,” or can you just say, “Thank you”?
Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2020, All Rights Reserved.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation
Related Topics: Christian Life
3. Worshiping, Winning, but Wandering (Judges 7:15-23; 8:22-35)Related Media
Gideon, Lesson 3
January 26, 2020
I enjoy reading Christian biographies, but some biographies from the late 19th or early 20th centuries read more like eulogies than biographies. The authors did not want to expose any of their heroes’ flaws. They thought that to reveal any of their shortcomings would somehow detract from the shining example that they wanted readers to emulate. I read one such biography last year where you got the impression that the missionary walked on water!
But thankfully the Bible paints its heroes’ warts and all. It gives us the glowing stories of their victories, but it also relates the grim reality of their failures. In the story of Gideon, we see him worshiping and then winning a great victory. But the story doesn’t end there. We also see him wandering off the path spiritually, resulting in defection for the people whom he previously had led out of idolatry. Here Gideon is worshiping (7:15); he is winning (7:16-23); but sadly, he ends up wandering (8:22-35). To summarize:
God uses worshipers who trust and obey Him to win great victories, but even worshipers must be vigilant against wandering spiritually.
1. God wants us to become worshipers before we attempt to work great victories for Him.
Gideon’s worship began when he realized that he had seen the angel of the Lord face to face. He was afraid that he would die, but the Lord said to him (Judges 6:23), “Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.” As a response, Gideon built an altar to the Lord and named it, “The Lord is Peace” (6:24). You cannot truly worship God or serve Him until you have peace with Him through trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1).
We next encounter Gideon worshiping after the Lord told him to go down to the Midianite camp just prior to the battle. Because He did not want Israel to think that they had won the victory by their own power, the Lord had directed Gideon to reduce his army from 32,000 warriors first to 10,000 and then to a mere 300 to fight against 135,000 Midianites. With each reduction in forces, Gideon’s faith and the faith of his remaining men had to grow, but the Lord knew that their fear was also growing. So, knowing Gideon’s fear, the Lord directed him to take his servant and go down to the edge of the Midianite camp.
There, in God’s gracious providence, Gideon overheard a Midianite warrior relating to his friend a dream where a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the Midianite camp and demolished one of their tents. His friend interpreted the dream (7:14), “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given Midian and all the camp into his hand.” In response (7:15), “When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. He returned to the camp of Israel and said, ‘Arise, for the Lord has given the camp of Midian into your hands.’”
This incident shows that worship can and should take place anywhere and at any time. It does not need to be reserved for religious services. Jesus told the Samaritan woman (John 4:23-24),
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The Father seeks those who worship Him in spirit and truth. Since that is what God seeks, it should be what you seek. Is your main goal in life to become a worshiper of God in spirit and truth?
But what does this mean? Should we all join a monastery where we spend hours every day in prayer and worship? Obviously, if that were the requirement, few could be true worshipers. In my opinion, one of the best books on worship is John MacArthur’s The Ultimate Priority [Moody Press]. His full definition of worship is (p. 127), “Worship is our innermost being responding with praise for all that God is, through our attitudes, actions, thoughts, and words, based on the truth of God as he has revealed Himself.” His more concise definition is (p. 147): “Worship is all that we are, reacting rightly to all that He is.” He also (ibid.) cites William Temple’s eloquent description of worship: “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, and to devote the will to the purpose of God.”
My own definition, which I worked out before I read MacArthur, is: Worship is an attitude and/or feeling of reverence, awe, gratitude, and love toward God resulting from a realization of who He is and who we are. I came up with that definition after reading A. W. Tozer’s excellent sermon, “Worship: The Missing Jewel of the Evangelical Church” [Christian Publications]. At first, I resisted Tozer’s contention (p. 8) that “worship means to feel in the heart.” But by the end of the sermon, he convinced me. True worship, as MacArthur defines it, is the response of our innermost being (which includes our emotions) to who God is. And when we see who He is as revealed in His Word, we instantly become aware of who we are in His holy presence.
You see this throughout Scripture. When the Lord appeared to Job after all of Job’s trials and rehearsed His mighty power and sovereignty over all creation, Job’s response was to repent and humble himself before the Almighty (Job 40:4-5; 42:1-6). When Isaiah saw the vision of the Lord on His throne with the seraphim crying out (Isa. 6:3), “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory,” Isaiah’s instant response was (6:5), “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” When the Lord Jesus provided the miraculous catch of fish, Peter fell at His feet and said (Luke 5:8), “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” When the apostle John, who had laid his head on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper, saw the risen Lord Jesus in His glory, he said (Rev. 1:17), “I fell at His feet as a dead man.” When we get a true glimpse of who God is, who we are, and His grace for us at the cross, we are overwhelmed with reverence, awe, gratitude, and love for Him. That’s worship!
In our text, Gideon saw God’s mighty power in bringing him into the Midianite camp at just the moment that the soldier was relating his unusual dream. At the same time, Gideon saw how he had been doubting God by asking for repeated signs that would confirm that the Lord meant what He had clearly promised. His immediate response was to bow right there in worship. God wanted Gideon to worship before He sent him to work.
Many years ago, before I began to serve the Lord as a pastor, Marla and I were privileged to hear the godly pastor, Alan Redpath. Dr. Redpath told about a time in his fifties when his ministry was thriving as never before. He had many important speaking engagements lined up. But then he had a major stroke. As he lay in the hospital, he kept asking the Lord, “Why? Why did You allow this to happen to me just now, when I have all of these wonderful opportunities to serve You?” I don’t recall if he heard an audible voice, but he said that the Lord clearly told him, “Alan, you’ve gotten your work ahead of your worship!”
That statement impacted me for life! Although I haven’t always practiced it and there is a sense in which we’re always growing to know more of who God is and who we are as we study His Word, I have always come back to that profound insight: God is more interested in my worship than in my work. I pray that the Holy Spirit will burn that priority into your heart as well!
2. God can win great victories for His people through a remnant who worship, trust, and obey Him.
It’s interesting that up to this point, the Lord has given specific instructions to Gideon regarding his initial sacrifice (6:20); tearing down his father’s idolatrous altar to Baal and constructing an altar to the Lord in its place (6:25-26); calling together his troops and then thinning them out (6:34; 7:2-7); and, going down to the Midianite camp to hear the prophetic dream (7:9-14). But now, regarding the specifics of how to conduct the battle, there is no specific word from God. Many commentators assume that the Lord told Gideon to use the pitchers, torches, and trumpets. Maybe He did, but it’s not recorded in the story.
My observation from this fact is that the Lord is willing to work with a man who is a worshiper. He allows His holy name to be placed beside that of a man who worships Him. When the 300 warriors smash their pitchers, blow their trumpets, and wave their torches, they cry out (7:20), “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” Probably the Midianite warrior’s dream and its interpretation had spread through the camp to such an extent that there was some fear among them at the name and reputation of Gideon’s God and of Gideon.
So the startling wakeup in the middle of the night with smashing pitchers, blowing trumpets, waving torches, and the war cry of 300 men surrounding the camp sent the Midianites into full panic mode. In the dark of night and utter confusion, God set the Midianites’ swords against one another (7:22). Thousands were slaughtered. The survivors fled into the night. Gideon sent out the call for more soldiers to pursue them. By the time they had crossed the Jordan River, only 15,000 of the 135,000 remained (8:10).
What can we learn through this great victory story? Some commentators spiritualize it by observing that we are the pitchers who must be broken before God can use us. When we are broken, the fire of the Holy Spirit and the light of Christ shines through us and the trumpet of gospel preaching sounds forth. While those are all biblical truths, I doubt that the Lord meant for us to read all those insights into this story. The main point, as I stated in the heading of this section, is that God can work great victories for His people through a remnant who worship, trust, and obey Him.
God could have brought about this victory by striking all the Midianites dead in the night, as He later did in response to Hezekiah’s prayer with Sennacherib’s army that was surrounding Jerusalem (2 Kings 19). But normally, God uses His weak, outnumbered people who worship, trust, and obey Him. We see this in Israel’s history when King Asa with an army of 580,000 men faced a million-man Ethiopian army (2 Chron. 14:11):
Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, “Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”
In response the Lord routed the Ethiopians (2 Chron. 14:12). But the Israelite army had to fight to win the battle. In the story of Gideon, after the Lord brought confusion and had the Midianites slaughtering off each other, Israel still had to rally more troops and pursue them in the mop up operation. So God uses means, but we should never trust in the means. And, we often tend to overrate numbers. The Lord can deliver great victories through a small remnant of those who worship, trust, and obey Him.
So never discount what the Lord can do through you as you trust in Him! A familiar quote from E. M. Bounds (1835-1913) is relevant (by “men,” I’m sure that he would have included women; from: goodreads.com/author/quotes/942850.E_M_Bounds):
What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men—men of prayer.
The most effective prayers come from hearts of worship, trust, and obedience to the Lord.
So Gideon and his few men won a great victory for the Lord. If the story had ended there, it would be like a fairy tale that ends, “And they all lived happily ever after.” But there is a sad ending to the story that serves as a warning to all who serve the Lord:
3. Even worshipers who see God win great victories must be vigilant against wandering spiritually.
After the initial rout of the Midianites, Gideon had to face the unwarranted anger of the men of Ephraim, who challenged him for not including them in the original battle. Gideon could have answered them harshly, but instead, he wisely replied with a gentle word that turned away their wrath (8:1-3). He also had to contend with the Israelites of Succoth and Penuel, who refused to help with provisions as he sought to finish pursuing the Midianites (8:4-17). Commentators are divided on whether he dealt with them properly or too harshly. Then we read (Jud. 8:22-23):
Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.”
So far, so good! It would have been a great temptation for Gideon to have accepted their offer. It would have appealed to his pride to establish a dynasty in Israel. He could have reasoned that the people needed a man of strong faith like himself to preserve the victory over Midian and to stop the idolatry in Israel. But Gideon must have realized that the people had not sought the Lord for guidance on this major new proposal. In fact, they wrongly attributed the victory to Gideon (8:22), when he knew that the Lord had given the victory. So he wisely refused their offer.
Later, when Israel asked Samuel the prophet appoint a king for them, their reason was so that they could be “like all the nations” (1 Sam. 8:5). The Lord gave permission to Samuel, but explained (1 Sam. 8:7), “for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.” He directed Samuel to appoint King Saul, who proved to be an unfaithful king. The Lord probably chose Saul to discipline Israel for rejecting God before He finally chose David, the man after His own heart.
But even though Gideon rightly rejected the offer of becoming their king, his subsequent lifestyle looked like that of a king. Against God’s design for marriage, Gideon imitated many pagan kings by procuring a large harem. His wives provided him with 70 sons and no doubt many daughters (8:30). After his death his son by a concubine, Abimelech, slaughtered all but one of his other sons. Abimelech means “my father the king;” He tried to become king over Israel (Judges 9), which perhaps he learned from his father’s lifestyle (Leon Wood, Distressing Days of the Judges [Zondervan], p. 229).
To support that many children, Gideon had to have an income like a king. He may have gotten the start to his wealth when he asked his fellow warriors to give him their gold earrings from the spoil. He collected 1,700 shekels of gold (between 40-70 pounds; 8:26). With some of that gold, Gideon made an ephod, which was like a vest or apron worn by the high priest (Exod. 28:6-14). The Urim and Thummin were in the ephod, which the priest used to determine the will of God.
We don’t know Gideon’s motives for doing this. Perhaps he thought that the high priest in Israel lived too far away at Shiloh and the people needed a priest closer at hand. Shiloh was in the territory of Ephraim, which had been hostile toward Gideon after his victory. So perhaps he didn’t want to go there to inquire of the Lord. Perhaps he sincerely hoped that he would be able to keep the people from Baal worship by acting as a localized priest. The text doesn’t reveal his motives.
But it does tell us the tragic outcome of his ephod (Judges 8:27): “All Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household.” “To play the harlot” is a phrase that refers to idolatry. Perhaps when he wasn’t wearing the ephod in some “worship” capacity, Gideon set it up on public display. Israel began to treat it like an idol. Probably they prayed to it to try to get whatever they wanted. They worshiped it rather than the Lord. But Gideon had no warrant for acting as a priest for his city or tribe. The tabernacle, where God’s presence was manifested, was at Shiloh, not with Gideon and his ephod in Ophrah. Even if Israel’s priests were not acting as they should, Gideon had no basis to offer an alternate place of worship in his town. He should have stopped the people from their idolatrous worship of the ephod.
I conclude with seven lessons that we should take away from Gideon’s sad failure:
(1) Don’t trust in spiritual leaders, even if they have accomplished great things for God. Trust in God alone! While God uses gifted leaders, they are vulnerable to pride, lust, greed, selfishness, and many other sins. If you trust in them and they fall into sin, you may be disillusioned and fall away from the Lord.
(2) Pray for Christian leaders to walk daily with the Lord. There are no spiritual blowouts; only slow leaks. A man who walks daily with the Lord in His Word and in prayer, judging his own sins on the heart level, will not fall into serious sin that leads his family and the family of God into idolatry.
(3) Past performance is no guarantee of future faithfulness. I would like to think that when I’ve followed the Lord and seen Him work great victories through my faithfulness, I build up immunity against sin. But David’s horrible fall with Bathsheba shows that that is not true.
(4) Pray for yourself and guard your heart by walking in reality with the Lord every day. Proverbs 4:23 commands, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Sadly, Solomon who wrote that did not follow his own advice. He allowed his many foreign wives to turn his heart away from the Lord (1 Kings 11:4).
(5) Follow God’s Word, not any humanly devised religion. The ephod that Gideon set up lacked a means of atonement for sin, which is at the heart of how sinners must be reconciled with the holy God. It produced an outward form of religion, but it could not provide forgiveness for their sins or lead them to know the Lord personally.
(6) Good things used the wrong way can subtly lead to serious defection later. The ephod was a good thing if used properly by the high priest at the tabernacle, but used wrongly by Gideon it became an idol and snare. It was external religion that people elevated above a heart relationship with God. Even good things like Bible reading, prayer, or evangelism can become external activities that lead to pride because we do these things.
(7) Success is more spiritually dangerous than failure. Gideon had worshiped God when the angel appeared to him. He worshiped again when God let him hear the dream of the Midianite soldier about Gideon’s victory. But now that he won the victory, there is no report of worship on his or the people’s part, except for the false worship of the ephod. Be on guard if you enjoy success!
You cannot serve God before you come to the cross of Christ as a guilty sinner and trust in His death for your sins. Once you’ve trusted Him, He wants you to become a worshiper who wins spiritual victories by trusting and obeying Him.
- Why is worshiping God in spirit and truth the foundation for all work for Him?
- Where is the balance between using good methods and yet not trusting in the methods?
- Discuss with a friend: There are no spiritual blowouts; only slow leaks.
- Practically, what does it mean to guard your heart always?
Copyright, Steven J. Cole, 2020, All Rights Reserved.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, Updated Edition © The Lockman Foundation