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8. Treasure in Jars of Clay (2 Cor. 4:7)

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This message on 2 Corinthians 4:7 was preached at Arbor Oaks Bible Chapel in Dubuque, Iowa (November 20, 2011). What are you most thankful for? What do you value most? This message deals with most valuable treasure that believers have.

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Discipleship, Glory, Soteriology (Salvation)

9. Down but Not Out (2 Cor. 4:8-12)

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This message on 2 Corinthians 4:8-12 was preached at Arbor Oaks Bible Chapel in Dubuque, Iowa (2012). This message deals with the overcoming power of the glorious gospel in the believer's ongoing life. Trials come upon weak "jars of clay," but in all situations God can be trusted. His grace is sufficient.

Related Topics: Glory, Grace, Spiritual Life, Suffering, Trials, Persecution

10. Perseverance through the Eternal Perspective (2. Cor. 4:13-18)

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This message on 2 Corinthians 4:13-18 was preached at Arbor Oaks Bible Chapel in Dubuque, Iowa (2012). This message deals with the question of what fueled Paul's courage and perseverance? Conviction that is rooted in Biblical truth, and maintaining the eternal perspective on our circumstances fueled Paul's courage and perseverance. Do we have that same conviction and eternal perspective?

Related Topics: Comfort, Discipleship, Spiritual Life, Suffering, Trials, Persecution

11. Confidence in the Face of Death (2 Cor. 5:1-10)

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This message on 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 was preached at Arbor Oaks Bible Chapel in Dubuque, Iowa (2012). This message deals with the fact that we are all going to die. Are we ready? Knowing how to die gives us courage and perspective for living here and now.

Related Topics: Christian Life, Discipleship, Soteriology (Salvation), Spiritual Life, Suffering, Trials, Persecution

12. The Motivation of Fear and Love (2 Cor. 5:11-15)

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This message on 2 Corinthians 5:11-15 was preached at Arbor Oaks Bible Chapel in Dubuque, Iowa (2012). This message deals with motivation. What should motivate us in our daily life and walk with God as believers?

The Time of Jesus’ Death and Inerrancy: Is Harmonization Plausible?

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Introduction

The differences in the gospel record on the time of Jesus’ crucifixion have long been an enigma to Bible scholars. Mark 15:25 reads that Jesus was crucified at the third hour. Under a Jewish or common reckoning time system, which started the day at sunrise, Jesus was crucified at about nine in the morning. However, in the Gospel of John, John writes that Jesus was at his final trial before Pilate at “about (ὡς)” the sixth hour (John 19:14). If John was using the same time reckoning system as Mark, Jesus was not yet on the cross around noontime that day. On the face of it then the gospels appear to present a chronological contradiction of when Jesus was lifted up on the cross. Perhaps an alternate title to this paper would be: The Time of Jesus’ Death and Inerrancy: Was Someone’s Watch Broken? This issue has been one that has been used to argue that the Bible has real contradictions that are beyond reconciliation. In his book Jesus, Interrupted, Bart Ehrman referring to the day and time of Jesus’ death states: “It is impossible [italics supplied] that both Mark’s and John’s accounts are historically accurate, since they contradict each other on the question on when Jesus died.”2

Attempts at harmonization of the gospel accounts have included the following views: 1) a confusion of the numerals 3 and 6 in the manuscript transmission of John, 2) John’s use of a Roman time reckoning system of a civil day that started the day at midnight, 3) Mark’s reference to crucifixion as a general statement that included some event(s) that led up to the actual lifting of Jesus on the cross and, 4) the times being loose approximations that can be reconciled due to the fact that modern systems of time accuracy did not exist at the time in which the events occurred.

While a harmonization of these two accounts defies a definitive solution at least a few solutions are feasible such that the time of Jesus crucifixion is not a decisive proof text against inerrancy. While one cannot prove what an actual harmonized solution might be, neither can one prove an actual nonharmonistic view either. Indeed what Ehrman calls “impossible” is in fact possible within any standard evangelical definition of inerrancy including the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.3 And more than possible, this paper suggests that plausible harmonizations can be made consistent with about any inerrancy definition.

Methods of Ancient Time Reckoning and Framework of the Crucifixion Day

In the modern age people reckon time in hours, minutes, and seconds with clocks, watches, or phones. But time reckoning in the ancient world was reckoned with hours of sunlight based on sundials. If a sundial was not available rough times were based on eyeing the sun or one’s own shadow or even just the shadow from a stick in the ground.4 Sundials were introduced into Greece as early as the 6th century BC from the Babylonians according to Herodotus (Hdt 2.109). But it was not until the 3rd century BC that they were commonly used. For night-time hour calculations there were “water clocks.” Water clocks used a steady flow drip into a container and they were in use by Roman soldiers to mark watches on the night as early as the 5th century BC. 5 Hours of daylight were divided into twelve equal parts starting at sunrise. The result was that the first hour of the day (i.e., sunrise) would be different in absolute time depending on the location on the globe and time of year. Also, an “hour” was one twelfth of the total amount of daylight time. Since the length of daylight would change depending on location and time of year, an “hour” as one twelfth of the daylight could be anywhere in from the 40’s to the 80’s in terms of minutes.6

Assuming the day of the crucifixion Friday April 3, AD 337 the sunrise in Jerusalem would have been at 5:25 a.m. according to NOAA’s (National Oceanic Association and Administration) Solar Calculator.8 Solar noon would have been at 11:41 a.m. and sunset would have been at 5:59 p.m. One “hour” on the sundial would have been equal to 62 minutes on that day. The first break of light (astronomical dawn9) would have added as much as an hour to an hour and a half of some light before a 5.25 am sunrise. So, the first “hour” of that day on a sundial would have been 5:25-6:27 a.m.

Time references from the Gospels on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion are as follows.

Event

Time Indicator

Passages that Support

Peter’s denials

Before the Rooster Crows

Matt 26:74-75; Mark 14:72; Luke 22:60-61; John 18:27

Jesus delivered to Pilate the first time

Early in the morning ( πρωῒ)10

Matt 27:1; Mark 15:1; John 18:28-29

Jesus with Pilate just before the final decision (2nd time)

About the sixth hour

John 19:14

Jesus Crucified

The third hour

Mark 15:25

Darkness falling over the earth

The (about (ὡσεὶ) = Luke) sixth hour to the ninth

Matt 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44

Jesus Dies

The (about (περὶ) = Matt) ninth hour

Matt 27:46-50; Mark 15:34-37

With the exception of the issue at hand (John 19:14 and Mark 15:25), what one notices is the consistency among the gospel writers as to the other chronology of events when a time indicator is given. There is agreement that Peter denied Jesus before the rooster crowed in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. There is agreement between Matthew, Mark and John that Jesus was initially delivered to Pilate very early in the morning.11 There is agreement between Matthew, Mark and Luke that darkness fell over the earth at or about the sixth hour until the ninth. And there is agreement between Matthew and Mark (Luke implicitly) that Jesus died at or about the ninth hour. These points help set the chronological background needed to start examining the various views of reconciliation between Mark and John.

Proposed Views of Harmonization

The proposed views of harmonization will be taken in the general order in which they developed over time.

View One: John 19:14 Had an Original Reading of the Third Hour which was Confused for the Sixth.

In the modern era, Sabastian Bartina and C.K. Barrett raise the possibility that John 19:14 had an original reading of the third hour and an early transcriptional error between the letters of gamma (Γ= 3) and digamma (F = 6) account for the time discrepancy in the accounts.12 There is a small amount of fairly late Greek external evidence in the manuscript tradition in which John reads τριτη (3rd). The evidence for τριτη as listed in Nestle Aland 28th edition is א
(2nd corrector; 7th), Ds, L (8th), Δ (9th), Ψ (9th-10th) and l 844 with everything else on the other side. For εκτη (6th) Metzger gives some of the support in his textual commentary: P66, א*, B, E, H, I, K, M, S, U, W, Y, Γ, Θ, Λ, Π, f1, f13 and most minuscules. Most if not all the early versions support εκτη (6th) which are are: Old Latin, vg, syrp, syrh, syrpal, copsa, copbo, arm, eth, geo, pers, and al. Metzger, while noting the possibility of an early transcriptional error based on support from the church fathers, argues in favor the reading of εκτη based on the “overwhelming” manuscript evidence and sees the reading of τριτη as an “obvious attempt to harmonize the chronology with that of Mark 15:25.”13 In support of the argument of harmonization as the reason for the variation, Metzger also notes that a very few manuscripts in Mark 15:25 read εκτη (Θ, 478, syrhmg, eth), which shows some tendency of Markan scribes to harmonize with John.14

While a view of reconciling Mark and John based on early transcriptional error does not have much Greek evidence for it or any evidence from the early versions, it is the testimony of the church fathers that stands out as something that at least needs further consideration and also a closer look at how an early transcriptional error could have occurred. In fact the earliest testimony in the church record for a reconciliation between Mark and John comes on the basis of a textual error in the manuscripts of John. Metzger and Bartina suggest that the view of a textual variant being a harmonization solution to the problem goes back to at least a second/third century church father named Ammonius15 from whom Eusebius and Jerome seem to have derived their views as well.16

It should be noted that the sometimes church fathers can be difficult to assess in that at places later editors many have modified the writings. This may be the case in the longer version of Ignatius, cited below.17

Ignatius. One section of Ignatius reads: “On the day of the preparation, then, at the third hour, He received the sentence from Pilate, the Father permitting that to happen; at the sixth hour He was crucified; at the ninth hour He gave up the ghost; and before sunset He was buried” (Ignatius, The Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, 9 (longer version)).18

Ammonius. Ammonius writes, “‘Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, about the sixth hour: and he said to the Jews: Behold your king’. The Evangelist referred to the hour because the resurrection happened on the third day. The penman/copyist (καλλιγραφικός)19 instead of the Gamma element that marks the third, wrote episemon, which the Alexandrians call gabex, which signifies sixth, having much similarity [in form?]. And because of the writing error there came the discrepancy. For instead of third hour he wrote sixth”20 (Ammonii Alexandrini, Fragmenta in S. Joannem 19:14).21

Eusebius. Eusebius states, “Mark says Christ was crucified at the third hour. John says that it was at the sixth hour that Pilate took his seat on the tribunal and tried Jesus. This discrepancy is a clerical error or an earlier copyist. Gamma (Γ) signifying the third hour is very close to the episemon (ς) denoting the sixth. As Matthew, Mark and Luke agree that the darkness occurred from the sixth hour to the ninth, it is clear that Jesus, Lord and God, was crucified before the sixth hour., i.e., about the third hour, as Mark has recorded. John similarly signified that it was the third hour, but the copiest turned the gamma (Γ) into the episemon (ς) (Eusebius, Minor Supplements to Questions to Marinus, 4).22

Peter of Alexandria. Peter of Alexandria 23 indicates that the correct reading of “third” in John can be verified with the original extant manuscript, “‘For Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us,’ as has been before said, and as that chosen vessel, the apostle Paul, teaches. Now it was the preparation, about the third hour, as the accurate books have it, and the autograph copy itself of the Evangelist John, which up to this day has by divine grace been preserved in the most holy church of Ephesus, and is there adored by the faithful” (Peter of Alexander, Fragments from the Writings of Peter 5.7).24

Later fathers that follow the view of Ammonius include Jerome,25 Severus of Antioch (465-538 AD), and Theophlact (Byzantine exegete c. 1050/60).26

In order to understand the nature of a potential early transcriptional error one must consider the nature and shape of the digamma (also referred to as episimon or gabex) as compared to that of a gamma. During the Koine Greek era (and even before that in Attic Greek27) the digamma fell out of regular use in the Greek alphabet with the exception that it was retained for the number 6. It took the form of several shapes and therefore it could be subject to greater confusion than the more well-known Greek letters. Common early shapes prior to the Byzantine era in the classical period were an F shape as well as a square C (Greek Digamma angular.svg). It is not hard to see how either of these shapes could be confused with a gamma (Γ) as its only one small stoke of a portion of a letter. The third century papyrus P115 contains an early digamma as a rounded C seen in the image below28. It is the final letter of the number of the beast here written as 616 (Rev 13:18).

Red arrow points to χιϛ (616), "number of the beast" in P115

Bartina cites an even earlier papyri (nonbiblical) dated to AD 42 (Papyrus Berolinensis 8279) shown below that contains both the gamma and digamma used as numbers.29

Bartina compares the letters, which he transcribed below. The first is the gamma, the second is the digamma, the only difference being the little hook at the bottom of the digamma. What is perhaps also significant about this example is the numbers in the papyri are written superscripted over other letters they are going with. This would raise the possibility that the lower part of the number could accidently connect with the upper part of another letter. One could see how this might make gamma and digamma hard to distinguish as well, since the difference between the two is a small stroke on the bottom of the digamma.

Bartina concludes that in all probability the original reading of John was “third”. He writes, “Propter omnes quae praecedunt rationed, ex contextu Evangeliorum ex critica textuali atque ex sufficientibus antiuitatis testimoniis petitas, clarum apparet, multo probabilius Io 19, 14 originaliter habuisse horam tertiam, non sextam.”30 Based on this evidence from the church fathers and the closeness of letters between gamma and digamma the theory of a textual variant (perhaps a hard to read original manuscript) as being the solution to a reconciliation with Mark is plausible.31 But based on the Greek manuscript and early evidence from the versions, it would have had to happen very close in time to the original writing.32

View Two: John is Using a Roman Civil Reckoning that Started the Day at Midnight John 19:14.

Going back to at least the 1700s, another view of reconciliation began to develop that John was using a different time reckoning system than the other gospel writers based on a day and hour reckoning that started at midnight.33 This view was picked up and brought into prominence by no less a New Testament scholar than B. F. Westcott and was carried forward by A.T. Robertson and Ben Witherington III, as well as the Holman Christian Standard Bible.34 The primary lines of argument for this view are: 1) there is good evidence that the Roman “civil” day was reckoned from midnight to midnight similar to our modern system; 2) internal evidence from John’s use of hours in the gospel fit better with a Roman civil reckoning of time than a sunrise reckoning; and 3) there is some nonbiblical evidence from Asia Minor that may suggest a Roman midnight time reckoning there.

The Roman Civil Day. There is ample evidence in the historical record that the Romans reckoned a civil day from midnight to midnight. This point is generally agreed upon. One testimony to this comes from Pliny the Elder: “The actual period of the day has been differently kept by different people: the Babylonians count the period between two sunrises, the Athenians that between the two sunsets; the Umbrians from midday to midday; the common people everywhere from dawn to dark; the Roman priests and the authorities who affixed the official day, and also the Egyptians and Hipparchus, from midnight to midnight.”35 Another writer, Plutarch (c. AD 46 – 120), asks the question, “why do they [the Romans] reckon the beginning of the day from midnight?”36

Another Roman writer Macrobius, citing an earlier source Marcus Varro (116 – 27 BC; his work, now lost, was entitled, Human Antiquites), writes, “People born in the twenty-four hours that run from one midnight to the next are said to be born on a single day.”37 Later, also Macrobius states, “The civil day as (the Romans called it) begins at the sixth hour of the night.”38 Lastly, Macrobius has commented on how Roman magistrates might see the day. He writes citing Varro: “But there are many proofs to show that the Roman people counted from one midnight to the next, just as Varro said: the Romans' sacred rites are partly diurnal and partly nocturnal, and those that are diurnal . . . , while the time from midnight on is devoted to the nocturnal rights on the following day. The customary ritual for taking auspices39also shows that the reckoning is the same: since magistrates must both take the auspices and perform the action to which the auspices were a prelude all on a single day, they take the auspices after midnight and perform the action after sunrise, and thereby are said to have taken the auspices and to have acted on the same day.”40

The Time of Martyrdoms in Asia Minor. Westcott and others also cite the time of the martyrdoms of Polycarp and Plotinus to support the view of a midnight reckoning of hours in the Roman Province of Asia Minor, the same province to which John was likely writing. Such martyrdoms, it is argued, normally took place in the morning.41 Polycarp is said to have been martyred at Smyrna at the eighth hour (Mart. Poly. 21) while a later Christian Pionius was killed at the tenth hour also at Smyrna.42

Other References to Time in John and the Synoptics. From the biblical text there may be some indication to support the day starting at midnight in the Roman conception. Matthew records “As he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent a message to him: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man; I have suffered greatly as a result of a dream about him today [italics supplied]” (Matt 27:19). Pilate’s wife, presumably Roman, refers to a night dream she had as being that day, the day of Pilate’s meeting with Jesus. Westcott contrasts this statement with a “Jewish” conception of a day based on Jesus’ statement, “Are there not twelve hours in a day?”
(John 11:9).43 Robertson adds the following passage to show that there is indeed a contrast with the Synoptics on how John views the “day” on the night of the resurrection. In Luke on the road to Emmaus, two disciples urge Jesus, “Stay with us, because it is getting toward evening and the day is almost done” (Luke 24:29 cf. v. 36). After dinner, Jesus travels about 7 miles to Jerusalem where he meets the eleven disciples. In John the same day referenced in Luke extends into the evening. John writes, “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the disciples had gathered together and locked the doors of the place because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19). Robertson considers this argument as “conclusive” that John is using a Roman conception of the day.44

John makes reference to hours of time in three places in addition to John 19:14
(John 1:39; 4:6, 52). These some have argued better support a view of time reckoning that starts the day at midnight. 45 In John 1:39, two disciples come and meet Jesus after which they stayed with him “that day (τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην).” John adds it was the 10th hour when they met him. Under a normal Jewish reckoning this would be 4 in the afternoon an unusual time to begin a days stay. Under a midnight reckoning the time would be 10 in the morning.

In John 4:6, Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus had left Judea and wearied from his journey he came to the well. John said this was about the 6th hour. While one could imagine being weary at about noon or at six p.m.,46 the distance from Jerusalem to Sychar is well over 30 miles. Walking at a normal pace of about 3 miles per hour and assuming no overnight stops, it would have been difficult to get there by noon. Also, it is argued that a more natural time for drawing water and the assignment of the disciples to go for purchase of food would be toward evening than at noon. 47

Lastly, there is the noblemen from Capernaum who comes to Cana to meet Jesus and requests that Jesus heal his son, which Jesus does at the “seventh hour.” Jesus does not go to Capernaum but speaks a word of healing from Cana. The nobleman does not make the return journey about 20 miles until the next day. It could be reasoned that if the time was only one in the afternoon he would have returned that day to see his son, but a Roman reckoning from noon would have made it seven in the evening, too late to return that night.48

While these arguments may be initially impressive, there have been serious counterarguments that make a midnight time reckoning less than definitive and many have rejected it for ultimately a lack of convincing evidence. The main arguments against John using a reckoning of time from midnight can be summarized into four areas.

First, though it is acknowledged that a Roman civil day reckoning from midnight was the way Romans viewed whole civil days, there is no direct evidence that day-hour reckoning was done other than by daylight hours as seen in the literature and sundials. W. M. Ramsay colorfully writes, “This [Roman] supposed second method of reckoning the hours is a mere fiction, constructed as a refuge of despairing harmonisers, not a jot of evidence for it has ever been given that will bear scrutiny.”49 Ramsey also points out a reading in Codex Bezae (Acts 19:9) in which Paul taught at the school of Tyrannus at Ephesus from the fifth to the tenth hour. He feels it would have been better suited for post vocational work time which ceased one hour before noon.50 It is also worthy of note that though the early church fathers such as Eusebius were aware of the apparent conflict of times in John and Mark and living in the Roman era, none of them wrote about a “Roman” reckoning as the solution.51 In addition to the Synoptic gospel writers, Josephus and Philo appear to use a normal daylight reckoning of hours.52 Also, as the earlier quote from Pliny indicated the “common people everywhere” reckoned the day from dawn to sunset. It could be asked, wasn’t John writing to the common man?

The other piece of evidence to consider is from the sundials. Morris calls attention to Roman sundials that mark noon with the number 6 as opposed to 12.53 While Morris’ point is valid it must be qualified at least in two ways. First, based on Gibbs’ catalogue of existing sundials from the Greco Roman world from the 3rd century BC to the 4th century AD, most of these do not have the number markings rather just lines representing the twelve hours of daylight. Also, for ones that have markings, at least in one case of a Ptolemaic era sundial, Gibbs notes that the numbers probably have been added later in the Byzantine era.54

C:\Users\James\Desktop\James Files 2011\Time of Jesus' Death\Ephesus Sundial.jpg

The sundial above was discovered in the 1800s at Aphrodisias, Turkey, in the ancient Roman Province of Asia Minor. It is dedicated to Roman Emperor Caracalla (Marcus Aurelius Severus Antonius (reign from 161-180 AD) and his mother Julia.55 One should notice the Greek digamma mark (= 6) in the middle of the dial.

Second, the evidence of the time of martyrdom of Polycarp is at least debatable and a case can be made that he was martyred in the afternoon after the games were over. Ramsay attempts to make the point that closer reading of when Polycarp was martyred indicates the games were over and this would have been unlikely if the eighth hour were eight in the morning. But looking at this again the text only says that after the crowd asked that Polycarp be fed to a lion that the wild animal parts of the show were over not that all games and festivities were over.56 The fact that the whole crowd and the magistrate were all in the stadium suggests that some festivities were still taking place. Another possibility, as Ramsay noted was his first interpretation of the passage, was to understand that the wild animal exhibitions had taken place on a previous day.57 So though this piece of data is still a possibility for supporting a midnight reckoning of time, its ambiguity undermines the midnight time reckoning view.

Third, though the reference to time in hours in John may favor a Roman civil reckoning of time, the data is not conclusive because it must be framed in probabilities and not absolutes. 58 And fourth, some have also pointed out that a final verdict by Pilate at about 6:00 a.m. would not have allowed enough time for all the events that precede the verdict.59 These events include Pilate sending Jesus to Herod Antipas (Luke 23:6-12) and the flogging of Jesus
(John 19:1) before he was brought out for Pilate’s final verdict. But this final argument does not hold up that well. Jesus is brought to Pilate before sunrise in the range of 3-6 if πρωῒ is considered the fourth watch of the night, or if it starts with dawn, perhaps at hour to an hour and a half between the break of dawn and sunrise. Jesus did not respond to Antipas therefore he probably did not stay with him that long. Indeed a noon reckoning for John may allow too much time (over six hours) between Jesus’ first and second appearance before Pilate.60

View Three: Mark’s Reference to Crucifixion is a General Statement that Included Some Event(s) that Led Up to the Lifting of Jesus on the Cross

Augustine may have been one of the first to articulate and record that a closer look at Mark may be the solution to this issue. He considered that Mark was indicating that the cry to crucify Jesus by the Jewish nation is what took place at the third hour and thus they were the ones truly responsible for Jesus’s death. He writes, “Then Pilate in his judgment seat judged and condemned him, about the sixth hour, they took the Lord Jesus Christ and led him out. ‘And carrying a cross for himself, he went out to that place which is called Calvary, in Hebrew Golgotha, where they crucified him.” What is it, therefore, that the Evangelist Mark says, ‘Now it was the third hour and they crucified him,” except at the third hour the Lord was crucified by the tongues of the Jews, at the sixth hour by the hands of the soldiers?”61

In a similar vein, Mahoney interprets the time reference in Mark not when Jesus was lifted on the cross but at an earlier event of the dividing of Jesus’ garments.62 To support this, he repunctuates the reference to the third hour to go with the preceding phrase as opposed to the following. His translation is the following: “And they crucify him, and divide his garments, casting lots upon them, what each should take (but [καὶ] it was the third hour). And they crucified him and the inscription . . ..”63 Miller suggests the possibility that the aorist tense for “crucify” (ἐσταύρωσαν) might be ingressive stressing the beginning of the action (they began to crucify him).64

While these views are worthy of consideration, a few significant objections can be raised. In regard to Augustine, it would require to take the term crucifixion metaphorically in
Mark 15:25, but literally in the same passage in Mark 15:24. In addition, the referent to “they” would have to shift from the Romans in verse 24 to the Jews in verse 25, without much indication that a shift has been made (Then they [Romans] crucified him and divided his clothes, throwing dice for them, to decide what each would take. 25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when [and] they [Jews] crucified him. Mark 15:24-25). Mahoney makes a good point that many translations bias the interpretation by translating the καὶ as “when.” But the case of Mahoney would be better supported if the only reference to crucifixion followed the reference to the third hour. In this case a statement of crucifixion occurs both before and after the reference to the third hour. One must also ask the question of why give a parenthetical time comment for less important event of the dividing of the garments as opposed to the lifting of Jesus on the cross. While these views are possible, it is hard to make the case they are probable and they have not gained any measure of general acceptance.

View Four: Time Approximation Allows for Adequate Harmonization of Mark and John

What appears to be the currently prevalent view in the evangelical literature of those arguing for harmonization is that time approximation can account for a reconciliation of the two passages. Modern standards can speak of time in terms of minutes and seconds. Sundials presented times in terms of hours, while eyeing the sun or shadow length perhaps one could say early morning, midmorning, midday etc. Köstenberger writes, “since people related the estimated time to the closest three-hour mark, anytime between 9:00 a.m. and noon may have led one person to say that an event occurred at the third (9:00 a.m.) or the sixth hour (12:00 noon).”65 Similarly, Morris writes, “People in antiquity did not have clocks or watches, and the reckoning of time was always very approximate. The ‘third hour’ may denote nothing more form than a time about the middle of the morning, while ‘about the sixth hour’ can well signify getting on towards noon. Late morning would suit both expressions unless there were some reason for thinking that either was being given with more than usual accuracy. No such reason exists here.”66 Stein commenting on Mark concludes, “If we recognize the general preference of the third or sixth hour to designate a period between 9:00 a.m. and noon and the lack of precision in telling time in the first century, the two different time designations do not present an insurmountable problem.”67

While everyone agrees that ancient methods of time reference do not carry modern precision and that time approximation is taking place, the question remains how much approximation is being used by the gospel writers, and are approximations loose enough to account for a reconciliation of the two passages. For example, John refers to actual events with the seventh hour and the tenth hour (John 1:39). He is not using three hour increments but perhaps rather one hour increments. Matthew refers to the eleventh hour in a parable (Matt 20:9). One hour increments would be consistent with normal ancient sundial measurements. If both Mark and John used time tolerations of plus or minus an hour, time approximation would not produce a reconciliation. In Mark, Jesus would be on the cross as late as about 10:00 a.m., while in John Jesus would be before Pilate about 11:00am. But one has to ask the question, especially about Mark, if his time is coming from a sundial or is it a more general approximation based on eyeing the sun or a shadow. If this is the case, perhaps a two hour time tolerance is reasonable which could place the crucifixion as late as about 11:00 a.m.68 Greater allowance for time approximation for Mark seems warranted when his references are compared with Matthew and Luke. For example Mark says “when the sixth hour had come (γενομένης ὥρας ἕκτης), darkness fell over the whole land” (Mark 15:33). But in Luke the darkness is said to come about the sixth hour (ὡσεὶ ὥρα ἕκτη) (Luke 23:44). Similarly, Mark says that Jesus was at his last moments of death, crying out why God had forsaken him, at the ninth hour (τῇ ἐνάτῃ ὥρᾳ; Mark 15:34). Matthew though says the last moment of Jesus took place around/about the ninth hour (περὶ δὲ τὴν ἐνάτην ὥραν (Matt 27:46). It is significant that both Matthew and Luke interpret these times as approximate while Mark does not give an explicit time approximation qualifier. For the sake of argument, if Jesus was before Pilate at 10:30 and crucified shortly thereafter, perhaps one writer could say it was midmorning and another about midday with a reasonable time approximation. The time approximation view of reconciliation is feasible but also it is strained.69 Also, it would have to be time approximation for at least one of the gospel writers without a sundial level of accuracy.

The Time of Jesus’s Death and Inerrancy

The time of Jesus’ death has truly been a puzzle for anyone who has looked at this issue. All of the views for reconciliation have good arguments against them, but good arguments are not the same as decisive arguments. At least three resolutions (confusion of letters of gamma and digamma, Roman civil reckoning of John, and time approximation) in this writer’s view are plausible. In considering how the time of Jesus’s death relates to the doctrine of inerrancy, the evangelical can look to a standard definition of inerrancy as articulated by the Chicago statement in particular articles 10, 13 and 14. These read:

Article X We affirm that inspiration, strictly speaking, applies only to the autographic text of Scripture, which in the providence of God can be ascertained from available manuscripts with great accuracy. We further affirm that copies and translations of Scripture are the Word of God to the extent that they faithfully represent the original. We deny that any essential element of the Christian faith is affected by the absence of the autographs. We further deny that this absence renders the assertion of Biblical inerrancy invalid or irrelevant.

Article XIII We affirm the propriety of using inerrancy as a theological term with reference to the complete truthfulness of Scripture. We deny that it is proper to evaluate Scripture according to standards of truth and error that are alien to its usage or purpose. We further deny that inerrancy is negated by Biblical phenomena such as a lack of modern technical precision, irregularities of grammar or spelling, observational descriptions of nature, the reporting of falsehoods, the use of hyperbole and round numbers, the topical arrangement of material, variant selections of material in parallel accounts, or the use of free citations.

Article XIV We affirm the unity and internal consistency of Scripture. We deny that alleged errors and discrepancies that have not yet been resolved vitiate the truth claims of the Bible.70

Conclusion

In summary, inerrancy applies to the original autographs of the Bible, does not require “modern technical precision,” and is not negated by differences in parallel passages that have not been resolved. So, while the time of Jesus’ death as a case study does not prove the doctrine of inerrancy neither does it disprove it either. One area that could use further research would be to look at ancient Roman court records for hour reckonings to see if they indeed reflect a Roman civil day or if they refer to daylight hours.

Regardless of one’s view to a potential solution, exegetes and Bible translators need to be cautious that they do not communicate to English readers times and other measurements that express a greater level of precision than is really there. In regard to times, this is certainly the case. For example if someone sees 9:00 a.m. in a commentary or Bible translation they probably assume it does not mean 8:50 or 9:15. Even when the first hour started and how long an hour lasted in the ancient world lasted was dependent on location and time of year; this convention has great variance with the way modern time is communicated and most Christians are completely unaware of this point. Another point of encouragement would be for Bible translations to put the textual variant of “three” in John 19:14, something to the effect that a few manuscripts have it. This seems warranted due to the possibility of a transcriptional error and testimony of the church fathers. All would agree that the gospel writers place much more emphasis of what Jesus did rather when he did it. The few time indicators that we have though fit their purpose in communicating those critical events the day Jesus died. And for their accounts of this day in history we are eternally grateful.


1 This paper was presented on November 21 at the 2013 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in Baltimore, Maryland.

2 Bart D. Ehrman, Jesus Interrupted – Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Dont Know About Them) (Harper One, New York, 2009), 29.

3 Formalized in 1978 by numerous and prominent evangelical Christian leaders at a conference sponsored by the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy is perhaps the most thorough explanation on the meaning of inerrancy that has been able to muster a broad consensus in the evangelical scholarly community. The original copy of the manuscript is contained in the archives at the Dallas Theological Seminary Library.

4 The reference to the use of one’s shadow or even a stick in the ground as a common technique was given to me by Frank King, President of the British Sundial Society in a personal email dated October 15, 2013.

5 Simon Hornblower and Anthony Spawforth, eds., The Oxford Classical Dictionary (3rd ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 350.

6 Gibbs writes, “Greek and Roman sundials always marked the 12 seasonal hours of daylight from between sunrise and sunset. But while the seasonal hours were of equal length during a given day, their length varied during the year, being shortest at the winter solstice and longest at the summer solstice.” Sharon Gibbs, Greek and Roman Sundials (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1976), 4. Gibbs also notes that over 30 sundials have been excavated at Pompeii in various public places and homes indicating how common they were in a city of that size in the first century. Ibid., 5.

7 See Harold Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ (Academie Books, Grand Rapids: 1977), 114. The two major views on the year of the crucifixion are 30 and 33 AD. But the time of the sunrise is more dependent on the day of the year and location than the year itself.

8 http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/solcalc/sunrise.html (Date accessed September 28, 2013).

9 Astronomical dawn is defined at the point in time when total darkness is first broken, the sun being 24 degrees under the horizon. Nautical dawn would be the sun 18 degrees under the horizon and civil dawn would be the sun 12 degrees under the horizon. At the equator, length of times for these various stages would be the shortest on the earth at 24 minutes each. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn (Accessed October 18, 2013). In Jerusalem which is north of the equator these time spans of dawn would be slightly longer.

10 BDAG defines as the noun Πρωΐα “early part of the daylight period, (early) morning”, and the adverb πρωῒ as “the early part of the daylight period, early, early in the morning,” BDAG, 892. Louw and Nida define πρωῒ as “the early part of the daylight period - `early morning.’” Πρωῒ appears to be the term used before sunrise daylight hours (first hour etc) are used and can refer to the timeframe when it is still dark. See Mark 1:35 Καὶ πρωῒ ἔννυχα λίαν ἀναστὰς ἐξῆλθεν καὶ ἀπῆλθεν εἰς ἔρημον τόπον κἀκεῖ προσηύχετο.

11 The phases of Jesus’ trial can be tabulated as follows: 1) An initial inquiry before the former High Priest Annas (John 18:13) 2) An evening examination with Caiaphas presiding.
(Mark 14:55-64; Matt 26:59-66); 3) A morning confirmation before the entire Sanhedrin
( Mark 15:1a Matt 27:1; Luke 22:66-71); 4) An initial meeting with Pilate (Mark 15:1b-5; Matt 27:2, 11-14; Luke 23:1-5; John 18:29-38); 5) A meeting with Herod Antipas (Luke 23:6-12); 6) A more public trial before Pilate; Luke: 23:13-16; Matt 27:15-23; Mark 15: 6-14; Luke 23:17-23; John 18:39-40). Darrell Bock, Luke (BECNT; Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 2:1793.

12 Sebastian Bartina, S.J., “Ignotum Episemon Gabex,” Verbum Domini 36 (1958), 16-37. C. K. Barrett, The Gospel According to St. John – An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text (2nd ed; Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1978), 545.

13 Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (2nd ed; Stuggart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994), 216.

14 Metzger does not give the reading selected a rating of certainty (A, B, D, or D). Ibid., 99.

15 Perhaps Ammonius Saccus (AD 175-242) the supposed founder of Neoplatonism or perhaps another Ammonius that predated Eusebius. Eusebius credits a man from Alexandria named Ammonius with being the forerunner of his Eusebian canons which was a systematic effort of a numbering system that would show parallel passages in the gospels. See F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingston, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997) 52-53, 573-574. See also Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece (28th ed.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft: 2012), 89-90.

16 Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 216. Sebastian Bartina, S.J., “Ignotum Episemon Gabex,” Verbum Domini 36 (1958), 30.

17 Joel C. Elowsky, ed., Ancient Commentary on Scripture John 11-21 (Vol IVb; Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2007), 304.

18 Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers (10 vols; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994), 1:70. Joel C. Elowsky, ed., Ancient Commentary on Scripture John 11-21 (Vol IVb; Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2007), 304. Holmes dates the letters of Ignatius sometime around 110 AD. Michael Holmes, ed., The Apostolic Fathers (2nd ed; Grand Rapids, Baker Book House, 1989), 82

19 Liddell and Scott indicate that this word can refer to a penman or copiest. They note another passage where a copyist error is referred to (Steph. In Hp.2.407). LSJ, “καλλιγραφικός,” 867.

20 Authors own translation using the Greek and the Latin.

21 The Latin translation reads: “Erat autem parasceve Paschae, hora quasi sexta, et dicit Judaeis: Ecce rex vester. Horam evangelista denotavit propter resurrectionem tertio die factam. Insignis autem scriba pro Gamma elemento, quod tertiam signat, aliud signum posuit, quod Gabex Alexandrini vocant, et sextum denotat, magnamque inter se habent similitudinem: et ex errore scriptionis ista irrepsit diversitas lectionis. Nam pro tertia hora sextam scriptsit.” J. P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, LXXV, col. 1512.

22 Quote taken from Joel C. Elowsky, ed., Ancient Commentary on Scripture John 11-21 (Vol IVb; Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2007), 304. See also P.G. Migne Patrologia Graeca, XXII, col. 1009.

23 Peter of Alexandria’s death is dated about 311 AD. He was bishop of Alexandria starting in about 300 AD. Cross and Livingston, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1263-64.

24 ANF, 6:282.

25 P.G. Migne, Patrologia Latina, XXVII, col. 1108c.

26 Joel C. Elowsky, ed., Ancient Commentary on Scripture John 11-21, 304. Cross and Livingston, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1491, 1607.

27 Herbert Weir Smyth, Greek Grammar (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1920), 125.

28 Image taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digamma. (Date accessed November 1, 2013).

29 Bartina, S.J., “Ignotum Episemon Gabex,” 37.

30 A rough translation is as follows: “Due to of all that has been reasoned before, from the context of the Gospels, from textual criticism and from sufficient ancient testimony, it appears clear, it is more probable that Jn 19, 14 originally had the third hour not the sixth.” Ibid.

31 Even some like Hodges and Farstad who hold almost exclusively to the majority of manuscripts note, “Occasionally a transcriptional consideration outweighs even a preponderance of contradictory testimony. . .” Zane C. Hodges and Arthur L. Farstad, The Greek New Testament according to the Majority Text (2nd ed.; Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers: 1985), xxii.

32 McClellan notes that early textual critics Theodore Bezae and J.A. Bengel adopted this view. John Brown McClellan, The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (London: Macmillan, 1875), 738.

33 Ibid., 740.

34 B. F. Westcott, The Gospel according to Saint John (London: John Murray, 1908. Reprint; Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980), 324-26. A. T. Robertson, A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life of Christ (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1950), 286-87. Ben Witherington, III, Johns Wisdom – A Commentary on the Fourth Gospel (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995), 294. The Holman Christian Standard Bible reads: “It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was about six in the morning. Then he told the Jews, ‘Here is your king!’” (John 19:14 HCSB).

35 Pliny, Natural History 2.77 (188). Loeb Classical Library, 319. Pliny later states in the same section: “A. Gellius, iii. 3, informs us, that the question concerning the commencement of the day was one of the topics discussed by Varro, in his book “Rerum Humanarum:” this work is lost. We learn from the notes of Hardouin, Lemaire, i. 399, that there are certain countries in which all these various modes of computation are still practised; the last-mentioned is the one commonly employed in Europe.”

36 Plutarch, Questions, 84.

37 Macrobius, Saturnalia, 1.3.2. Loeb Classical Library, 23.

38 Ibid., 1.3.10.

39 i.e., asking advice or guidance from the gods.

40 The text goes on to say that a slave, if he has left after midnight and returned before the next midnight, is only considered to be absent one day. Ibid., 1.3.8. Witherington who sees a Roman time reckoning as “likely” makes the point that Romans “were known for dealing with such matters the first thing in the morning, and Pilate is likely to have followed the same practice.” Ben Witherington, III, Johns Wisdom – A Commentary on the Fourth Gospel, 294. In a footnote he writes, speaking of Pilate’s decision and the time of it, “What may be significant is that this particular form of Roman recognition was used in official documents and for legal purposes. We have seen the interest of the evangelist throughout in presenting the story of ‘Jesus on trial’ and there is a certain fitness to have it close with a sort of time marker used in Roman legal proceedings.” Ibid., 400.

41 Philo is sometimes cited as evidence for this view. the spectacle of their sufferings was divided; for the first part of the exhibition lasted from the morning (πρῶτος) to the third or fourth hour, in which the Jews were scourged, were hung up, were tortured on the wheel, were condemned, and were dragged to execution through the middle of the orchestra; and after this beautiful exhibition came the dancers, and the buffoons, and the flute-players, and all the other diversions of the theatrical contests” (Philo, Flaccum, 1:85). Translation taken from Bibleworks 9.0.

42 McClellan, The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 742.

43 B. F. Westcott, The Gospel according to Saint John, 324-25.

44 A. T. Robertson, A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life of Christ, 286-87.

45 See Norman Walker, “Reckoning of Hours in the Fourth Gospel,” Novum Testamentum 4 (1960), 69-73.

46 Köstenberger cites a case in Josephus (Ant. 2.11.1) were some one was wearied at about midday. Andreas Köstenberger John (The Baker Exegetical Commentary of the New Testament; Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 2004), 147.

47 Norman L. Geisler and Thomas Howe, The Big Book of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992), 376.

48 Walker, “The Reckoning of Hours in the Fourth Gospel,” 69-70.

49 W. M. Ramsay, “About the Sixth Hour,” The Expositor 4.7 (1893), 220.

50 Ibid., 223. Tischendorf records this variant. See Constantinus Tischendorf, Novum Testamentum Graece (8th ed.; Lipsiae: Giesecke & Devrient, 1872), 2. 166.

51 J. A. Cross, “The Hours of the Day in the Fourth Gospel,” Classical Review 5.6 (June 1891), 245. Johnny V. Miller, “The Time of the Crucifixion,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 26.2 (1983), 165.

52 One clear passage from Josephus is from Life where a lunch (ἀριστοποιέω) is said the be at the sixth hour (Life, 279). One place in Philo is the reference to Jewish persecutions in the third or fourth hour which are probably to be reckoned from the first hour of the morning. See Philo, Flaccum, 1:85.

53 Leon Morris, The Gospel according to John (NICNT; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), 158.

54 Gibbs, Greek and Roman Sundials, 304.

55 Ibid., 169.

56 This proclamation having been made by the herald, the whole multitude both of the heathen and Jews, who dwelt at Smyrna, cried out with uncontrollable fury, and in a loud voice, “This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, and the overthrower of our gods, he who has been teaching many not to sacrifice, or to worship the gods.” Speaking thus, they cried out, and besought Philip the Asiarch to let loose a lion upon Polycarp. But Philip answered that it was not lawful for him to do so, seeing the shows of wild beasts (τὰ κυνηγέσια) were already finished (Martyrdom of Polycarp, 12:2). Also, Philo notes that in the shows which started with the persecution of Jews the first portion of is lasted from the first (πρῶτος) to the third or fourth hour (Philo, Flaccum, 1:85). Translation taken from Bibleworks 9.0.

57 Ramsey, “About the Sixth Hour,” 221, footnote 2.

58 A. Plummer, The Gospel According to St. John (Cambridge: University Press, 1906), 342.

59 See Craig S. Keener, The Gospel of John – A Commentary (2 vols.; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003), 2:1130.

60 Finegan in his Handbook of Biblical Chronology adopts the Roman civil reckoning view in its first edition. Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1964), Sec. 453. But Finegan in the second edition changes to the view that Mark and John are irreconcilable with Mark being an “interpolation.” Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology (Revised ed; Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998), Sec. 614.

61 Augustine, Tractates on the Gospel of John 117.1. Translation taken from John W. Rettig trans. The Fathers of the Church – Tractates on the Gospel of John 112-24-Tractates on the First Epistle of John (Washington D.C. The Catholic University of America Press, 1995), 33.

62 Aidan Mahoney, “A New Look at the Third Hour of Mk 15,25,” CBQ 28 (1966), 292-299.

63 Ibid., 294.

64 Miller though opts for time approximation and being the best solution to this issue. John Miller, “The Time of the Crucifixion,” JETS 26.2 (June 1983), 165. Miller also notes that there is a textual variant in which D, it, samss read εφυλασσον (they guarded) which supports the time reference being something other than the actual lifting of Jesus on the cross.

65 Andreas Köstenberger, John, 538.

66 Leon Morris, The Gospel according to John, 801.

67 Mark Stein, Mark (BECNT; Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 713.

68 Mark’s only time references in regard to the “hour” are on the day of the crucifixion. Mark 15:25 (Jesus crucified; third hour), Mark 15:33 (darkness fell; sixth hour) and Mark 15:34 (Jesus died; ninth hour).

69 One that for those used to looking at the sun for time indicators solar noon would be one of the easier times to identify.

70http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/icbi.html (Date accessed November 8, 2013).

Related Topics: Apologetics, Bibliology (The Written Word), Christology, Crucifixion, Cultural Issues

Lesson 9: The Study of the Church

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The true Church can never fail. For it is based upon a rock. ― T.S. Eliot

Introduction

What are reasons that people do not go to church? One Christian website lists 10 reasons.1 Perhaps you have heard some of them:

  1. Christians are judgmental and negative.
  2. Church is boring.
  3. The church is exclusive.
  4. Christians are homophobic.
  5. 'I don't like organized religion.'
  6. Churches are full of hypocrites
  7. The church just wants your money.
  8. Life is better without religion.
  9. Christians live on another planet.
  10. I don’t have time.

In spite of these types of objections, Jesus stated, “I will build my Church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matt 16:18). The study of the church in theological terminology is called ecclesiology. What is the church? When did it start? What is its purpose? How should it operate and be organized? How does the church relate to Israel? How important is it to go to church? These are some critical questions that this lesson is designed to cover.

What is the Church?

The word translated church in the New Testament is from the Greek word ekklesia which means an assembly or congregation. It does not refer to a building rather it refers instead to people. In the New Testament, it generally refers to believers Jew or Gentile who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ and have received the Holy Spirit following Pentecost in Acts 2. It may refer to a local assembly such as the church at Thessalonica (1 Thess 1:1) or the universal church of all believers in Jesus Christ in this age everywhere.

Metaphors for the Church

Metaphors are expressions of figurative language that are used to communicate truth through analogies. There are several metaphors that are used in reference to the church, which helps to define what the church is and how it functions. The first is that the church is the body of Christ. There are two good passages that teach this both of them written by the Apostle Paul: 1) “He [Christ] is the head of the body, the church,” (Col 1:18) and 2) “The husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church – he himself being the savior of the body” (Eph 5:21-22). As a physical head directs the physical body so also Christ directs the church. The body of Christ image also communicates our connection to Christ and to each member of the church. We are members of the same body and joined together. When Paul was persecuting Christians and on the road to Damascus Jesus appeared to him. Jesus didn’t ask Paul why are you persecuting Christians or the church? Rather he asks Paul, “Why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4). Christ is so connected and identified with the church that a persecution against the church is directly equated to a persecution against him.

A second metaphor of the church is the description of the church as the bride of Christ. John writes in Revelation: “Let us rejoice and exult and give him glory, because the wedding celebration of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. She was permitted to be dressed in bright, clean, fine linen” (for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints)” (Rev 19:7-9). The imagery of a bride communicates both intimate relationship and purity.

A third metaphor is that the church is a temple. “So then you are . . . members of God’s household, because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph 2:19-22). In the Old Testament, the Temple was the place where God dwelt among the people of Israel (Exod 40:34-35).2 The church as a temple then would communicate that holy God indwells it and even individual members of it (1 Cor 3:16).3

Fourthly, the church is also referred to as a royal priesthood. Peter writes, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people” (1 Pet 2:8-9). Royal suggests the idea that the church rules or will rule, while priests suggest that those in the church are God’s ministers or servants.4

Lastly, the church is referred to as a flock. Paul tells the Ephesians elders: “Watch out for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son” (Acts 20:28). Sheep imagery for God’s people is seen in both the Old and New Testaments (cf. Ps 23; Is 53:6). Jesus said he was the good shepherd and that his sheep follow his voice (John 10). Sheep communicate the need for a shepherd who will lead, feed and protect. Sheep are vulnerable and one could say dumb animals which need steady care.

When Did the Church Start?

While some people define the church as God’s people of all ages, there are strong implications from the Scriptures that the church did not begin until after the death of Jesus in conjunction with the inauguration of the New Covenant and descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. There are several passages that one can point to that support this view. First, Jesus spoke of the establishment of the church as a future event in his life. “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 16:18-19). The term key suggests that Peter would open up the kingdom in the form of the church, which he did at Pentecost in Acts 2. Secondly, the church was “obtained” by the finished work of Christ on the cross. In the verse that we looked at above the church of God is said to be “obtained with the blood of his own Son” (Acts 20:28). This also implies the church was not in effect until after the death of Christ.5

Lastly, the church is defined by the “body of Christ” and members of the body of Christ are placed there by the baptism of the Spirit. Paul states, “For just as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body – though many – are one body, so too is Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Whether Jews or Greeks or slaves or free, we were all made to drink of the one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:12-13). This baptism of the Spirit was predicted in the Old Testament (e.g., Joel 2) but occurred in Acts 2. The formation of the body of Christ formed by the baptism of the Spirit can be supported by the following verses. John the Baptist stated that the Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8). This was predicted as a future event. Jesus later stated that the baptism would take place “not many days from now in Acts 1:5. The Holy Spirit descended in Acts 2. In hindsight this event in Acts 2 is referred to as the “baptism of the Spirit” by Peter. Peter states, “Then as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as he did on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, as he used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 11:15-16).6 All of these are good reasons to see the start of the church after the death of Jesus and specifically in conjunction with the descent of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.

The Purpose/Function of the Church

The purpose or function of the church can be summarized into three broad areas: worship of God, edification of the church itself, and evangelization of the world. The worship of God is the highest calling of man. God created us for this purpose and failure to do so will leave a God shaped hole in our lives. Jesus stated, “But a time is coming – and now is here – when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such people to be his worshipers. God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). The early church shifted the day of worship from Saturday (= the Sabbath) to Sunday (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2) most likely to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus, which occurred on the first day of the week (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1).

Secondly, the church as the body of Christ is to edify itself in the community of faith. Luke records this basic practice of the church in Acts. “They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). Paul supplements this idea: “It was he who gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God – a mature person, attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature” (Eph 4:11-13).

Thirdly, the church is to evangelize the world. Two passages illustrate this well. The first is referred to as the Great Commission. Matthew is one gospel that records it: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt 28:19-20). Luke also gives Jesus’ instructions to the disciples just prior to his departure to heaven called the ascension. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Whether worship, instruction, or evangelism, the overarching purpose of all that the church does is to glorify God (1 Cor 10:31). It’s not about us but it is about him!

The Ordinances of the Church

Water baptism and the Lord’s Supper (also referred to as Communion) are two mandates that Jesus gave to the church. The Catholic church and some Protestants refer to these mandates as well as others as sacraments. The word sacrament is used due to the Catholic church’s teaching that participation in these ceremonies will convey grace to the participant with or without faith on the part of the participant.7 Other Protestants have emphasized that the performance of these mandates should be referred to as ordinances and are merely are acts of obedience. Also, they are not grace bearing or meritorious in regard to one’s eternal status of salvation in any way.8

The purpose of water baptism is to identify with Christ and his message. Symbolically, in baptism there is identification with Jesus’ death and resurrection (cf. Rom 6:3-4) as well as purification and cleansing (cf. Acts 22:16). Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). While the church has had differing practices on the modes of baptism (sprinkling, immersion, etc), the practice of infant baptism is hard to substantiate from the practice of the early church as seen in the New Testament. People were baptized after they believed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The purpose of the Lord’s Supper (also known as communion) is to remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. This is also a mandated practice for the church. Paul tells the Corinthian church. “[T]he Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread, and after he had given thanks he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, he also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, every time you drink it, in remembrance of me’ (1 Cor 11:23-25). Like baptism, there are different views on the nature of the Lord’s supper. Referring to the bread, “This is my body” and the wine as, “This is my blood” historically led to debate on what “is” means during the time of the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic View is termed Transubstantiation, which means that the elements turn into the actual body and blood of Jesus. The Lutheran View (i.e., Martin Luther) is termed Consubstantiation, which means that Jesus is with, in, under and around the elements but they do not actually turn into the body and blood of Jesus. The Reformed View (i.e., John Calvin) is termed the Spiritual Presence View, which means that Jesus is spiritually present during the ceremony. Lastly, the Memorial View (i.e., Huldrych Zwingli) sometimes called the Remembrance View, is that the Lord’s table is simply a symbol used for remembering Christ’s death.9

The Organization of the Church

One thing that most people are aware of is that there are different kinds of churches. Some differences relate to the history and doctrine of the church. Other differences relate to different types of church government.10 The table below gives a description of the major types of church government.

Type of Church Government

Description

Examples of Churches

National Government

Churches that are headed by the Secular National Government of the Country

Anglican Church of England or Lutheran Church of Germany

Hierarchical Government

The body of clergy is divided into various ranks reporting eventually to a single person like the Pope or Archbishop

Roman Catholic Church, Episcopal and Orthodox and Anglican (in part).

Regional Federal Government

Synods and General Assemblies appoint pastors and determine doctrine

Presbyterian, Lutheran and some Reformed

Congregational Government

Ultimate authority for the church rests with the members themselves, ministry, budget, choosing leaders etc

Some Baptist churches

Local Federal Government

Elders/Pastors in the local church are ultimately responsible for governing the church

Brethren, Bible Churches Some Baptist and Reformed

The apostles were the highest authority of leaders in the early church. But as one theologian states, it would seem unwise to give someone that title today.11 The apostles were part of the foundation of the church (Eph 2:20) and today’s church is being built on this foundation. In addition when one looks at the criteria of an apostle, the New Testament makes it clear that 1) the person had to have seen the resurrected Jesus (Act 1:22; 1 Cor 9:1), and 2) he must have been appointed by Christ (Matt 10:1-7; Acts 1:24-26).12

Leadership in the church today according to the New Testament consists then of two offices: Pastor/Elder and Deacon. Pastors/Elders are men who are willing to lead and are spiritually qualified to lead the church (Titus 1:6-9; 1 Tim 3: 1-7). Paul tells Titus to appoint such leaders in the church. Paul states: “The reason I left you in Crete was to set in order the remaining matters and to appoint elders in every town, as I directed you” (Titus 1:5). They are responsible to shepherd the flock of God (1 Pet 5:20). The New Testament also indicates that multiple leadership or a team of elders are to be present in each church. This is seen in the plural use of the term. For example, James tells the sick person to call for the “elders” of the church (James 5:14) or Peter who exhorts the “elders” among the church (1 Pet 5:1-2). All of the New Testament examples that we have indicate a plurality of male elders who oversee the church.13

The second church office is the office of deacon. These individuals are also to be spiritually qualified (Acts 614; 1 Tim 3: 8-13) and they are responsible to serve the needs of the church under the leadership of the pastors/elders. Acts 6 reads: “Now in those days, when the disciples were growing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Greek-speaking Jews against the native Hebraic Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the twelve called the whole group of the disciples together and said, ‘It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to wait on tables. But carefully select from among you, brothers, seven men who are well-attested, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this necessary task’” (Acts 6:1-3). The tasks of these men was to assist the apostles in serving the church by meeting physical needs so that the apostles could focus on the spiritual needs of the church. One question surrounding the office of deacon is whether or not the office is to be held by men only or also includes women. In the Acts 6 passage they are men, but in 1 Tim 3:11 women who are deacons may be in view. Another interpretation is that these refer to deacon’s wives.15

The Distinction between Israel and the Church

How do we distinguish between Israel and the Church? Or should we? In short, the Bible indicates that while there is a clear distinction between Israel and the church that needs to be maintained, there is also a relationship that needs to be understood. One can start to examine this issue by comparing basic definitions. The church is both Jew and Gentile in the current age who believe in Jesus and are baptized into the body of Christ. This baptism took place with the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts 2. Israel (used 2515 times in the Old Testament and 68 in the New Testament) refers ethnically to the descendants of Abraham that came though Isaac and Jacob. Sometimes the concept of circumcised of heart (Deut 10:16; 30:6; Rom 2:29; Phil 3:2-3) or the phrase Israel of God (Gal 6:10) is used to reflect the idea of saved ethnic Israel. There is no place in the New Testament or entire Bible where the term Israel refers to or means the church.16 The distinction between Israel and the church is also seen in statements that contrast them after the establishment of the church.17 One good verse for this is 1 Cor 10:32 which states, “Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God.” Here the “church of God” is distinguished from “Jews.”

In regard to the church’s relationship with Israel, Paul states that Gentiles are grafted into the olive tree (= a symbol for Israel) to participate in blessings while natural branches (= unsaved Jews) are broken off (Rom 11:17). God told Abraham that “in you” all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen 12:3). The promise God gave to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 is referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant. In line with this covenant as Gentile members of the church we are a part of the blessing God gave to “all nations” though the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Paul also states that we are “sons of Abraham” by faith (Gal 3:7). It is important to understand though that Israel was under the provisions and requirements of Old Covenant while the church is under the New Covenant. The Old Covenant included: animal sacrifices, prescribed festivals, dietary laws, Sabbath keeping which included meeting on Saturday, moral laws and penalties for violation. The church on the other hand is under the provisions of the New Covenant and directly stated requirements for it are included in the gospels and epistles. There is both continuity and discontinuity in the relationship of these covenants to each other, that is some requirements of the Old Covenant are carried into the new while others are not. Paul clearly states that Christians are not under law as a system of requirements but under grace (Rom 6:14).

Lastly, there is a future for national Israel in which all the remaining Old Testament promises that God gave to them will be fulfilled: “For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written, The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’ In regard to the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but in regard to election they are dearly loved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:25-29). This does not mean that Christians have to agree with everything that modern day Israel does but it does mean that God has not abandoned his commitments of a future political and spiritual restoration of the that nation.

Importance of Meeting in Church

The lesson started with reasons why people do not go to church. Now, it would be good to conclude with reasons that we should go to church.

  1. The church is God’s ordained organization for spiritual growth in this age.
  2. We were made to worship God.
  3. We need to learn from God’s Word.
  4. We need to use our spiritual gifts to help others.
  5. We need to be encouraged by others in our relationship with God.
  6. We need to set an example to our families and friends and provide for their spiritual welfare.
  7. We need to give financially so our hearts will not be ruled by greed.
  8. We need to have an eternal perspective and not a temporal one.
  9. We need a break from our normal daily routine of work.
  10. We need to set an example to the world that Christians love one another.

The author of Hebrews says, “And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near” (Heb 10:24-25). Penguins are one of the few warm blooded animals that live in Antarctica during the winter. They can even breed in temperatures of -22°F and winds of 125mph.18 How can they survive in such harsh conditions? One of the main ways is that they huddle together, sometimes with thousands of penguins. Those on the outside of the circle as soon as they are faced with freezing to death move in toward the center while those in the center work their way to the outside. It’s only by sticking together that they survive. Any penguin that gets isolated will die. Is there an application for Christians? I think so. God designed us to survive and thrive spiritually by the encouragement we gain from each other.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some things the church is doing that is not part of its mandate and what things is it not doing that it should be doing? How about the local church that you are in?
  2. Is there a difference between a church ordinance and a church sacrament? If so, what is it?
  3. How is the modern church different than the early first century church? How much should the modern church adapt to its culture?
  4. What are some reasons that some Christians give to not go to church? What are some biblical responses you can give to these reasons?
  5. How can the church better connect with society?
  6. How can I be more involved in the life and ministry of my church?
  7. How should our view of the Bible affect our views on national policies toward Israel?
  8. Should the church worship on Saturday? If not, why not?

1 This is a slightly edited list based on Pete Brookshaw, http://www.petebrookshaw.com/2012/08/10-reasons-why-people-dont-go-to-church.html#.UOStWnexm4k (Date accessed Jan 2, 2013).

2 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle (Exod 40:34-35).

3 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If someone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, which is what you are (1 Cor 3:16-17).

4 Robert Saucy, The Church in God’s Program (Chicago, Moody Press, 1972), 38-39.

5 One could also supplement this with the point that the new covenant did not start until the shed blood of Christ as well (1 Cor 11:25).

6 One passage that is sometimes used to indicate that Old Testament Israel was also a part of the church is Acts 7:38 (cf. Heb 2:12) which refers to people of Israel in the time of Moses as the “ekklesia.” But this term can generally refer to an assembly or congregation in secular usage which later came to be applied to the church as the body of Christ a more specific technical referent. See Robert Saucy, The Church in God’s Program, 15.

7 See Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 976 for a more detailed discussion on this topic.

8 One should emphasize that both water baptism and the Lord’s supper (communion) are acts of obedience but are not in any way a condition of reception of eternal life (Eph 2:8-9).

9 Peter Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago: Moody Press, 2008), 371-374.

10 Charles Ryrie, Basic Theology (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1986), 405-411.

11 Grudem, Systematic Theology, 911.

12 Ibid., 906-911.

13 For an excellent resource on church elders see Alexander Strauch. Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Church Leadership. Littleton CO: Lewis and Roth Publishers.

14 The men in Acts 6 are not specifically called deacons but they probably serve as a prototype of what the later office of deacon would become.

15 See Grudem for a discussion on this topic. Grudem, Systematic Theology, 918-19.

16 Sometimes Galatians 6:10 is argued that the “Israel of God” refers to the church. It reads, “and all who will behave in accordance with this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God (Gal 6:10).” But even here the “Israel of God” as a reference to the whole church is doubtful for two lexical reasons. First, the last “and” (Gk. και) would have to be translated as “even” which is possible but much less likely lexically for the meaning of this conjunction. Second, one would have to find a meaning of “Israel” here that is not seen for the usage of the term in Paul’s writings, the rest of the New Testament or the whole Old Testament.

17Ryrie, Basic Theology, 399.

18http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/science/cold_penguins.htm (Date accessed November 27, 2012).

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Ecclesiology (The Church)

La Revue Internet Des Pasteurs, Fre Ed 9, Edition de l’automne 2013

Edition de l’automne 2013

Sous la direction du

Dr Roger Pascoe,

Président de l’Institut pour la Prédication Biblique

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

www.tibp.ca

C:\Users\Roger\Documents\My Documents\Institute for Biblical Preaching\Forms, Binder Cover Page, Logo\IBP Logos\IBP Logo.jpg

Renforcer les capacités de l’Eglise dans la prédication biblique et le leadership

1ère Partie: La Prédication : La Préparation Du Prédicateur

“Le prédicateur et l’œuvre de Dieu” 3ème partie

Par: Dr. Roger Pascoe,

Président de l'Institut pour la prédication biblique,

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Dans les éditions du printemps et de l'été 2013 de la Revue des Pasteurs (publié sur ce site), nous avons discuté de la préparation spirituelle et personnelle du prédicateur. C’est ce sujet que nous poursuivons dans la présente édition. Ce que nous avons appris, c'est que le pré-requis pour prêcher la Parole avec puissance, précision et crédibilité, c’est d’être qualifié au plan spirituel et personnel pour le faire. L’apôtre Paul appelle «homme de Dieu» une personne qui est qualifiée pour prêcher la Parole.

Nous avons également souligné que, pour être qualifié pour le service du Seigneur dans le ministère, les quatre principaux domaines auxquels nous devons donner la priorité sont: (1) protéger notre vie morale ; (2) diriger notre vie familiale ; (3) nourrir notre vie intérieure, et (4) discipliner notre vie du ministère. La dernière fois que nous avons clos notre discussion sur le thème « Protéger votre vie morale». Dans la présente édition, nous allons examiner les trois autres aspects de la vie d’un homme de Dieu.

Dirigez Votre Vie De Famille (1 Tim 3:5)

Le véritable caractère, les valeurs et le style de vie d'un homme sont manifestés à la maison.  C'est là qu'il est vraiment lui-même. John MacArthur a dit: «Puisque le pasteur doit être un leader de l'église du Seigneur et un parent rempli d’amour pour la famille de Dieu, de quelle façon peut-il mieux se qualifier qu’en faisant preuve d’un leadership spirituel dans sa propre famille? » Si un homme ne peut se comporter bien et convenablement vis-à-vis de sa femme et de ses enfants, s'il ne peut pas bien «gérer» sa maison, comment peut-il diriger l'église? (1 Tim. 3:5). Un leadership en famille qui honore Dieu est un pré-requis pour le leadership dans l'église. Le leadership serviteur et sacrificiel que vous attendez de quelqu'un qui dirige l'église doit être évident d’abord dans sa maison.

Par conséquent, votre vie de famille doit être caractérisée par l'équilibre, le bonheur, la soumission à la Parole, la discipline, l'obéissance, l'amour, la spontanéité, le service, le sacrifice pour les autres, le respect mutuel, etc. Ainsi donc, dédiez suffisamment du temps et de l'attention à votre conjoint et votre famille et prenez la responsabilité de donner le ton et la direction spirituelle dans votre maison en donnant un bon exemple de spiritualité. Vous avez la responsabilité de définir la priorité spirituelle et l'orientation dans votre foyer. Puisque vous prêchez et insistez sur la priorité des Écritures et de l'obéissance à Dieu, assurez-vous que vous êtes un modèle en cela dans votre propre vie de famille.

Si vous ne donnez pas l'exemple et n’instaurez pas le respect des principes bibliques par votre conjoint et vos enfants à la maison, comment pouvez-vous le faire à l'église, dans une agence de mission, ou dans un ministère interdénominationnel?

Ainsi, je vous encourage à mettre de côté le temps nécessaire et approprié pour votre conjoint et vos enfants. Ne les placez pas à la deuxième place après votre ministère ou l'église. Vous pourriez probablement reprocher à quelqu'un d'autre dans votre congrégation de le faire, mais ne le faites pas vous-même. Montrez à votre famille que vous êtes prêt à mettre de côté d'autres questions urgentes parce que vous les appréciez beaucoup. Soyez accessible à eux, soyez à leur disposition par votre présence, dans votre esprit et dans vos émotions.

Prenez la responsabilité du bien-être spirituel, physique, émotionnel et mental de tout le monde dans votre maison. Si vous ne prenez pas cette responsabilité à la maison, comment pouvez-vous le faire dans votre ministère avec un certain degré de crédibilité ou de réussite?

En somme, les hommes de Dieu doivent être des maris et des pères affectueux et fidèles.

1. Soyez Un Mari Affectueux Et Fidele (1 Tim 3:2 ; Eph 5:22-33 )

Je voudrais vous encourager à laisser votre épouse développer et exprimer sa propre identité, exercer ses propres dons, plutôt que de chercher à faire dériver son identité de vous et de votre vocation en tant que pasteur. Toutefois, elle doit être un soutien pour vous dans votre rôle en tant que pasteur et sa vie doit renforcer ce que vous faites, et non pas y nuire.

Il ya tellement de sources de stress pour les femmes de pasteurs :

  • Elles sentent parfois qu’elles occupent une place de second choix après le ministère de leur mari, ce qui peut conduire au ressentiment.
  • Elles peuvent se sentir isolées, sans amis proches dans l'église, ce qui peut conduire à la solitude.
  • Elles peuvent voir leurs maris recevoir l'attention d'autres femmes dans l'église, ce qui peut mener à la jalousie et la suspicion.
  • Elles sentent la contrainte de toujours paraître parfaite, ce qui les amène à essayer de garder une fausse apparence, à s’efforcer de plaire à tout le monde.
  • Elles vivent dans une sorte d’ «aquarium » spirituel à l’église, ce qui peut entraîner de la fatigue spirituelle.
  • La plupart du temps les pasteurs ne gagnent pas beaucoup d'argent, ce qui peut amener leurs épouses à subir des pressions financières.
  • Parfois, il ya une rupture dans l'intimité et la convivialité dans le mariage ainsi qu’un  manque de soutien mutuel en raison des exigences du ministère, ce qui peut conduire à la froideur, la colère, l’anxiété, la dépression et la privation sexuelle.

Toutes ces sources de stress peuvent conduire à des difficultés conjugales. Soyons donc affectueux, sensibles, solidaires, et fidèles à nos épouses.

2. Soyez Un Pere Affectueux Et Fidele (1 Tim 3:4 ; Eph 6:4)

Soyez gentil et doux envers vos enfants (cf. 1 Thess. 2:7, 11). Par votre relation avec leur mère et votre témoignage chrétien montrez à vos enfants ce que c'est que d'être un chrétien pieux et mature. Si vous vous attendez à être utilisé par Dieu pour être un leader spirituel de l'église, commencez par être un leader spirituel pour vos enfants.

Rappelez-vous de ne jamais utiliser vos enfants pour des illustrations à la chaire, même s’ils y consentent. Les enfants ont tendance à accepter facilement de telles choses, mais quand ils sont exposés en public ils peuvent se sentir frustrés.

Ne négligez pas passer du temps avec vos enfants. Permettez au temps de «qualité» de compenser en quelque sorte le manque de temps en «quantité». Ce dont vos enfants ont besoin, c'est de votre temps et de votre attention.

Votre famille est d'une importance primordiale. Lorsque vous avez des enfants c'est une responsabilité qui vous est confiée. Vous ne pouvez pas vous en dérober. Réveillez-vous donc et assumez cette responsabilité comme un leader qui craint Dieu.

Ne laissez jamais vos enfants sentir qu'ils prennent la deuxième place - pas même après le ministère - sinon ils vont rapidement éprouver du ressentiment. Si le ministère et les responsabilités familiales sont en conflit de façon régulière, il suffit de rajuster votre programme du ministère.

Donnez à vos enfants la capacité de devenir les individus que Dieu les a créés pour être. Bien souvent, les enfants élevés dans des familles de pasteurs ressentent la pression de paraitre parfait. Si votre femme a l’impression qu’elle vit comme dans un « aquarium », à combien plus forte raison vos enfants ! Ainsi donc, n’aggravons pas cette pression en cherchant à les conformer aux attentes des autres. Nous pouvons les aider à y faire face en maintenant le caractère privé (intime) de nos foyers et en les aidant à vivre une enfance aussi normale que possible.

Enfin, aidons-les à ne pas devenir cynique en ne discutant pas des problèmes de l'église en présence de nos enfants.

Nourrissez Votre Vie Interieure

Dans le ministère vous dépensez une énorme quantité d’énergie sur le plan émotionnel, spirituel, mental et physique. Non seulement le ministère demande l’implication de la personne tout entière, mais il peut facilement devenir complètement absorbant. Avant que vous vous en rendiez compte, vous n’avez plus de vie ou d’intérêts en dehors de votre ministère. Pour cette raison, vous devez vous discipliner pour prendre soin de votre bien-être personnel. Vous devez réserver du temps pour :

1. Votre restauration spirituelle

Si vous êtes pasteur d’une église locale, vous donnez tout votre temps à votre congrégation – pour encourager, exhorter, avertir, conseiller, prêcher, enseigner. Si vous faites cela assez longtemps sans être nourri spirituellement vous-même, vous finirez par vous dessécher spirituellement. À une occasion, Jésus a demandé à ses disciples de venir avec lui dans un lieu désert pour un temps de repos.

Vous devez vous nourrir spirituellement. Comment pouvez-vous faire cela? Une des options c’est de laisser quelqu'un d'autre vous aider. Écoutez d'autres prédicateurs, lisez des livres de méditation, assistez à des conférences, ou invitez régulièrement des prédicateurs pour prêcher à votre place - c'est bon pour l'Église mais aussi pour vous. Quelle que soit la façon dont vous décidez de recevoir la restauration spirituelle, disciplinez-vous pour y rester engagé de façon assidue afin que vos batteries spirituelles ne se déchargent pas.

2. Votre rajeunissement mental

Une bonne santé mentale exige de la relaxation mentale ainsi que de la stimulation. La relaxation mentale peut prendre différentes formes telles que des vacances régulières, des promenades avec votre conjoint(e), une soirée de communion avec des amis avec lesquels vous pourrez vous détendre et être vraiment vous-même. Et n'oubliez pas de prévoir du temps pour être seul - la solitude est une bonne chose, surtout pour la détente mentale.

L'inverse est également nécessaire - la stimulation mentale. L'apôtre Paul a écrit: « Au reste, frères, que tout ce qui est vrai, tout ce qui est honorable, tout ce qui est juste, tout ce qui est pur, tout ce qui est aimable, tout ce qui mérite l’approbation, ce qui est vertueux et digne de louange, soit l’objet de vos pensées.» (Phil. 4:8 ). Toutes ces choses stimulent votre esprit par de bonnes réflexions et des questionnements qui vous édifient.

Ne devenez pas paresseux dans la réflexion ou impur dans vos pensées. Vous pouvez garder votre esprit alerte et stimulé par :

  • la lecture de bons livres sur une variété de sujets
  • la communion avec des gens qui partagent les mêmes idées que vous et qui ont une capacité intellectuelle et une maturité spirituelle, qui peuvent s'engager dans des conversations stimulantes sur des sujets consistants
  • l’écoute de la bonne musique qui peut vous édifier
  • l’écoute ou la lecture de bons sermons
  • l'amélioration continue de vos compétences professionnelles en participant à des séminaires et des cours - en particulier ceux sur la prédication et le leadership de l'église
3. Le renouvellement physique par le sport

Dans 1 Timothée 4:8, l'apôtre dit : «car l’exercice corporel est utile à peu de chose» - c'est à dire qu'il y a quand même une certaine valeur. Chaque pasteur a besoin de prendre du temps pour les loisirs manuels et physiques pour compenser les exigences mentales et spirituelles de la prédication. Ne vous trompez pas à ce sujet, la prédication et le ministère pastoral c’est un travail assidue. Le fait de passer toute la journée à des réunions, à donner des conseils, à administrer et à étudier requiert que vous prévoyiez du temps pour faire quelque chose de physique ou d’actif.

L'activité physique est bonne non seulement pour le corps mais aussi pour votre esprit. Prendre soin de notre corps est une chose qui est tout aussi importante que la gestion de notre argent, de notre temps, et de nos dons spirituels. Paul a enseigné que le corps doit être consacré (Rom. 12:1); préservé (1 Thess 5:23.), exercé (1 Tim 4:8.) et discipliné (1 Cor 9:24-27). Et rappelez-vous, « votre corps est le temple du Saint-Esprit » (1 Cor. 6:19-20 ). Par conséquent, nous devons faire attention à la manière dont nous l’utilisons. Nous devons le garder pur pour la gloire de Dieu. Nous devons maintenir sa santé. Il faut « glorifier Dieu dans votre corps et dans votre esprit, qui appartiennent à Dieu » (1 Cor. 6,20).

Une partie du processus pour bien prendre soin de votre corps consiste à faire de l'exercice physique. Essayez de vous discipliner pour ce faire. Quand vous prendrez de l’âge, vous serez heureux de l’avoir fait.

4. Récupération émotionnelle

Les pasteurs sont très visibles et audibles - tout le monde voit ce que nous faisons et entend ce que nous disons. Certaines choses que nous disons et faisons généreront :

  • les critiques de ceux dont la conscience réagit à ce que nous disons
  • des conflits et peut-être la condamnation de ceux qui sont en désaccord avec nous
  • des inquiétudes pour ceux dont nous prenons soin physiquement, émotionnellement et spirituellement

Les conflits et les critiques ont un lourd effet sur ​​nous émotionnellement. Par conséquent, nous avons besoin de récupérer émotionnellement de temps en temps. Comment pouvons-nous faire cela? Voici quelques suggestions:

  • communiez avec des amis qui vous encouragent et vous aident à vous réjouir
  • rencontrez les autres pasteurs qui peuvent vous donner des conseils sur la façon de faire face aux situations difficiles
  • Lisez des livres sur le ministère pastoral - vous verrez que vous n'êtes pas seul, même les prédicateurs les plus connus souffrent de conflits et de critiques

Disciplinez Votre Vie De Ministère (2 Tim. 2:1-6 , 15)

Un leader ou prédicateur qui craint Dieu a le devoir solennel suivant : « Efforce-toi de te présenter devant Dieu comme un homme éprouvé, un ouvrier qui n’a point à rougir, qui dispense droitement la parole de la vérité. » (2 Timothée 2:15 )

Cette exigence de la prédication biblique est décrite précédemment dans ce chapitre à travers trois images - la discipline quotidienne et l'engagement du soldat, l’athlète, et de l’agriculteur (2 Tim 2:1-6.). Les images qui sont utilisées dans ces versets décrivent la discipline, le devoir, la dévotion, qui, lorsqu'ils sont est manifestés, apportent une récompense.

1. Leaders pieux doivent avoir le focus d'un soldat (2:3-4 )

Tout d’abord, le focus d'un soldat est de toujours être disposé et prêt à souffrir (2:3) – à «endurer les difficultés». Il faut s’attendre à la souffrance dans le ministère à cause du combat spirituel (cf. Eph 6:1-20) et des mauvais traitements.

Deuxièmement, le focus d'un soldat est d'être toujours disposés et prêts à se sacrifier (2:4 a). Vous ne pouvez pas être préoccupé par les « affaires de cette vie » si vous voulez être toujours en service et disponible. Ceci est un appel à vous sacrifier - à vous dégager de toute autre tâche qui pourrait vous distraire de votre tâche principale. Ce n'est pas qu'il y ait quelque chose de mal avec les «affaires de cette vie », mais si elles ont tendance à vous distraire, elles doivent être mis de côté. Tout ce qui pourrait nous priver du temps nécessaire avec Dieu (dans la prière et la Parole) et du temps pour Dieu doit être sacrifié.

Troisièmement, le focus d'un soldat est de toujours être disposé et prêt pour le service (2:4 b) - « s’il veut plaire à celui qui l’a enrôlé ». En tant que soldats de Jésus-Christ, nous devons être prêts à servir Celui qui nous a engagés à son service. Nous sommes permanemment en service.

Un soldat authentique est marqué par une sincère consécration à son devoir, un engagement complet, sans aucune retenue. La récompense d'un soldat c’est l'approbation de son supérieur. C'est ce que pour quoi nous travaillons - l'approbation du Seigneur.

2. Les leaders pieux doivent faire «l'effort intense » d'un athlète (2:5 )

Un athlète fait preuve d’un effort intense à l’entraînement et lors de la compétition. Afin de gagner, un athlète doit s'efforcer d'atteindre trois objectifs :

  1. Viser l’excellence. Cela implique un travail soutenu, de l’exercice, de l'effort, de l’entrainement, de la diligence, de l'engagement, de la compétition, du travail bien fait. Les prédicateurs doivent faire leur tâche avec excellence et diligence.
  2. Se battre loyalement. Il s'agit de respecter les règles, d’être honnête. Connaître les règles et les respecter, même quand personne ne regarde. Les prédicateurs doivent avoir une telle intégrité.
  3. s'efforcer de gagner. La récompense est d'être couronné, d’être victorieux, de ne chercher que l'approbation du Seigneur. La récompense du prédicateur est l'approbation du Seigneur maintenant, puis sa couronne plus tard. Un athlète doit avoir de la discipline afin de participer à la compétition et de gagner à la loyale. Et la récompense est d'être «couronné» vainqueur.
3. Leaders pieux doivent avoir la « persévérance constante » d'un agriculteur (2:6)

L'agriculteur laboure longtemps et durement, sans aucun signe ou une garantie de succès. Cela demande beaucoup d’auto-discipline, de  la persévérance. Après avoir préparé le sol puis planté la graine, il doit attendre la récolte. Cela demande de l’assurance – de la confiance en Dieu, car seul Dieu peut faire pousser une graine et produire une récolte. Les agriculteurs ont besoin de travailler durement et de rester dans la dépendance à Dieu.

Les prédicateurs peuvent préparer les meilleurs sermons et enseignements bibliques et les livrer avec une grande ferveur, mais les résultats appartiennent à Dieu qui donne vie à ceux qui étaient morts (Eph. 2:1).

Conclusions

Ce n'est que par le travail acharné, l'engagement sans réserve, et l'auto- discipline que nous pouvons nous présenter «approuvé par Dieu», des ouvriers qui n'ont point à rougir (2,15). Il est si facile dans le ministère de devenir paresseux, de baisser son niveau d’engagement, et de se décourager.

Disciplinons-nous à mettre le temps et l'énergie nécessaires pour obtenir un travail bien fait. Conduisons-nous de sorte à ce que les gens voient que nous sommes attachés à notre témoignage et notre ministère chrétien. N’ayez pas un cœur partagé dans votre vie chrétienne et ne soyez pas satisfait de la médiocrité dans votre ministère. La prédication et le leadership de l'église sont un travail dur! Tout ce que nous faisons doit être fait pour la gloire de Dieu et cela implique que nous le fassions avec toutes nos forces et avec excellence.

Au niveau personnel, la mesure du ministère chrétien pour l'homme de Dieu signifie, d'une part, d'être diligent pour se présenter approuvé par  Dieu, et d'autre part, d’être un ouvrier qui n'a point à rougir.

Sur le plan pratique, la mesure du ministère chrétien pour l'homme de Dieu signifie avoir une prédication et un enseignement exact, approprié et rempli d’autorité – c'est-à-dire dispenser droitement la parole de la vérité.

2ème Partie: Le Leadership : être un modèle selon le cœur de Dieu

« Votre sanctification personnelle »

Par: Dr Roger Pascoe

L'Institut pour la prédication biblique

Cambridge, Ontario

Nous poursuivons le thème de la sanctification personnelle entamée dans notre dernier numéro de la Revue internet des pasteurs. La dernière fois nous avons discuté de la pureté dans nos vies sociales. Dans cette édition, nous allons nous pencher sur la pureté dans nos pensées, nos motivations, et nos paroles.

La Purete Dans Vos Pensees (2 Cor. 10:5 )

Nos pensées peuvent être si subtiles et coupables, n’est ce pas? Parfois vous vous demandez d’où viennent certaines de vos pensées. Cela ne fait pas de doute qu’elles jaillissent de notre nature pécheresse, activées par Satan et les tentations qu'il met sur notre chemin.

Pour maintenir la pureté dans nos pensées, nous devons faire attention à l’objet de nos pensées. Nous devons discipliner notre esprit afin de contrôler les pensées que nous entretenons. Lorsque nos pensées ne sont pas contrôlées, nos fantaisies peuvent si facilement prendre le dessus. Et les fantaisies qui sont incontrôlées ont tendance à devenir réalité. La Bible dit que «l’homme est comme les pensées de son âme.» (Prov. 23:7). Nos pensées façonnent notre caractère et notre comportement. Toute action ou habitude commence par une pensée.

Faisons donc attention à l’objet de nos pensées. Si vous vous surprenez en train d’avoir des pensées malsaines ou pécheresses, priez Dieu de les bannir de votre esprit. Ca marche ! Dieu nous délivre du mal, car la puissance de Dieu est plus grande que Satan ou toute tentation terrestre.

Nos pensées sont souvent générées par des choses que nous avons lues ou vues. Donc faites attention à ce que vous regardez, parce que ce que vous regardez entre dans votre cœur et affecte vos désirs. « Puis la convoitise, lorsqu’elle a conçu, enfante le péché ; et le péché, étant consommé, produit la mort.» ( Jacques 1:15 ) . C'est ce qui se produit lorsque nos pensées ne sont pas contrôlées.

Probablement ce qui se passe dans l'esprit est le plus dangereux de tous (plus que même les actions extérieures) parce que personne ne peut voir vos pensées. Personne ne peut vérifier ce que vous pensez, parce qu'ils ne peuvent pas le savoir. Mais rappelez-vous ce que Jésus a dit: «c’est du cœur que viennent les mauvaises pensées, les meurtres, les adultères, les impudicités, les vols, les faux témoignages, les calomnies.»(Matthieu 15:18-20). Ce qui entre dans votre esprit finira par sortir – sous forme de bonnes ou de mauvaises pensées. Et ces pensées vont former la base de ce que vous êtes et de ce que vous faites.

La Purete Dans Vos Motivations

Les motifs impurs c’est lorsque nous faisons les bonnes choses pour de mauvaises raisons - faire quelque chose pour atteindre le résultat souhaité, mais pour les mauvaises raisons. Donc, posons-nous la question: Pourquoi faisons-nous le ministère ? Quelle est notre motivation? Nous devons faire les bonnes choses et pour les bonnes raisons.

Dans Apocalypse 2:2-3, l'église d'Ephèse a fait les bonnes choses, mais avec un motif impur – c'est-à-dire, ils ne le faisaient pas par amour pour le Christ. L'avertissement est que s'ils ne se repentaient pas de leur motif impur, Dieu enlèverait leur chandelier (leur témoignage public en tant qu’église). Dans quel but faisons-nous le ministère ? Pour quoi vivons-nous?

Faisons-nous le ministère pour notre propre gloire comme ceux qui « se recommandent eux-mêmes», et qui «en se mesurant à leur propre mesure et en se comparant à eux-mêmes, ils manquent d’intelligence » ? (2 Cor. 10.12)

Vivons-nous pour notre propre gain personnel, comme ceux qui croient que « la piété est une source de gain. » ? (1 Tim . 6:5 )

Cherchons-nous à nous auto-promouvoir? Jésus a dit: «Je suis au milieu de vous comme celui qui sert « (Lc 22,27). Paul a dit qu'il servait «le Seigneur en toute humilité, avec larmes, et au milieu des épreuves « (Ac 20,19) .

Dans son livre « Paitre l'église », Joe Stowell écrit: « Ceux qui servent pour Sa gloire et son gain trouvent leur plus grande joie non pas dans les félicitations à la porte juste après le sermon, mais dans une vie qui, au fil du temps, est totalement changée par le ministère de proclamation. Une vie qui à présent donne plus gloire à Dieu que dans les temps passés. Une vie qui donne du crédit à Dieu - pas à nous - pour ce que Dieu a fait dans leurs vies à travers nous ». Oui !

Les motifs purs nous amènent à servir pour la gloire de Christ et pour le bien de son royaume. Le motif de Paul pour le ministère était le suivant : «Christ sera glorifié dans mon corps avec une pleine assurance, soit par ma vie, soit par ma mort ; car Christ est ma vie, et la mort m’est un gain. » (Ph 1,20). Paul dit: «je suis le moindre des apôtres, je ne suis pas digne d’être appelé apôtre» (1 Cor. 15:9 ). Le motif de Jean Baptiste était que  « Christ croisse, et que je diminue. » (Jn 3,30).

Examinons nos propres cœurs pour voir quels sont nos motifs en tant que dirigeants du peuple de Dieu.

La Purete Dans Vos Paroles (1 Tim 4:12 ; Tit 2,7)

Nos paroles peuvent être le domaine le plus dangereux et le plus facilement violable. Ce que nous disons (les mots et les expressions que nous utilisons) et comment nous le disons (langage corporel, ton de la voix) peuvent soit renforcer notre leadership, soit le paralyser. Vous pouvez donner un sens totalement différent aux mots que vous utilisez juste en mettant l'accent sur ​​certains mots ou par le langage corporel.

Nous devons faire attention à notre choix de mots. Je remarque de plus en plus de mots et d’expressions inappropriés dans la bouche de chrétiens (et de prédicateurs) – des mots qui autrefois, n'auraient jamais été utilisés par les croyants. J'ai entendu des pasteurs et leaders chrétiens dire des choses qui me font grincer des dents. Parfois, ils utilisent des expressions qui sont courantes dans notre société, mais qui ne devraient pas faire partie de notre communication. J'entends des leaders dans l'église utiliser tout le temps des mots vulgaires qui sont dérivés de jurons (et je ne pense pas qu'ils le savent).

Les mots glissent si facilement et ne peuvent être rétractés. Quand ils sortent, ils sont comme de l'eau répandue sur le sol – l’eau ne peut pas être ramassée (2 Sam. 14:14 ). . Quand les mauvais mots sont dits, il est déjà trop tard, le mal est fait.

Les mots sont comme la matière première pour les dirigeants chrétiens. Notre travail s'articule autour de l'utilisation des mots. Par conséquent, il nous incombe d'être des experts dans leur utilisation - et non seulement sur la chaire, mais dans toutes nos interactions. Nous devons être des maitres de la parole qui choisissent savamment les mots qu’ils utilisent afin qu'ils transmettent fidèlement ce que nous voulons dire.

L’exactitude et la sincérité ne sont pas suffisantes. «Que votre parole soit toujours accompagnée de grâce, assaisonnée de sel. » (Col. 4:6). « Dites la vérité dans l'amour » (Ep 4,15). « Soyez lent à parler et prompt à écouter » (Jacques 1:19).

Ainsi donc, évitez le jargon vulgaire ou l’argot - cela peut vous causer des ennuis. N’utilisez pas des mots durs ou grossiers (Eph. 5,4) - ce ne serait pas conforme à l’exemple du Christ. Essayez de ne pas utiliser des mots qui ont des significations doubles. Autant que possible, utilisez intentionnellement des mots polis, constructifs, positifs, et bien choisis.

Méfiez-vous des ragots, de la calomnie, du mensonge, de la tromperie, des déductions, des insinuations, des séductions, des murmures, des plaintes, de la vantardise, de l’exagération. Ils découlent tous de la mauvaise utilisation ou de la mauvaise application de mots (cf. Eph 4:25 , 29, 31 ; 5:4 ; Col. 3:8-9 ; 4:6 ; Matt 15:11 17-20). Abstenez-vous des mots qui peuvent avoir des connotations impures.

Servons-nous de «paroles saines» (Tite 2.8) qui rendent témoignage aux autres des « paroles de grâce » qui sortaient de la bouche du Seigneur, de la pureté de la parole que nous voulons que les autres adoptent, et des mots qui pointent les autres vers Christ.

Nos enseignants avaient l’habitude de nous dire : «les bâtons et les pierres peuvent casser mes os, mais les mots ne pourront jamais me faire du mal » - ce n’est pas vrai ! Les paroles dites dans la colère, les plaisanteries, les taquineries, les critiques peuvent blesser beaucoup plus que les blessures physiques et causer des blessures profondes dans les relations chrétiennes. Les mots que nous utilisons sont importants, choisissons-les donc avec grand soin.

3ème Partie : Meditation

«Le ministère des vases de terre (2ème partie): La motivation pour le ministère » (2 Cor.4 :16-5 :9)

Par: Dr Roger Pascoe

Institut pour la prédication biblique

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

Dans l'édition d'été de cette revue, nous avons commencé à étudier le sujet suivant : «Le ministère des vases d'argile» (2 Cor.4 :16-5 :9). Nous avons regardé 2 Corinthiens 4:7-16 qui traite le sujet de «La nature du ministère ». Maintenant nous continuons avec la section suivante, 2 Cor.4 :16-5 :9, qui traite le sujet de « La motivation pour le ministère ». L’apôtre Paul souligne trois motivations pour le ministère : (1) la motivation de la transformation future (4:15-5:8 ) , (2) la motivation du jugement de Dieu ( 5:10-13 ), et (3) la motivation de l'amour du Christ ( 5:14-17 ). Dans ce numéro de la Revue des Pasteurs, nous allons couvrir seulement LA MOTIVATION DE LA TRANSFORMATION FUTURE (4 :16-5 :9) .

L'apôtre développe ce sujet du ministère de vases de terre autour de quatre paradoxes du ministère. La dernière fois nous avons porté notre attention sur le premier paradoxe du ministère: la faiblesse du messager comparé au puissant message. Maintenant, dans le cadre de la motivation pour le ministère (en particulier, la motivation de la transformation future), nous abordons les trois paradoxes restants.

Le second paradoxe du ministère est: la décroissance à l'extérieur comparé au renouvellement intérieur (4:16-17). Pour le chrétien, le paradoxe est que «même si notre homme extérieur se détruit, notre homme intérieur se renouvelle de jour en jour « (16b). Il ya une différence entre l’extérieur et l’intérieur - l’extérieur se détériore et l’intérieur se renouvelle. D'une part, nous souffrons de la désintégration progressive de notre être physique. Notre «homme extérieur » (ce qui est visible - notre corps physique et les facultés) est en «décomposition » (de façon constante et irréversible se dirigeant vers la mort). D'autre part, notre être intérieur est progressivement renouvelé à l'image de Dieu. Notre « homme intérieur » (c'est ce qui est invisible - notre nouvelle vie en Christ, notre être spirituel, notre ressemblance à Christ ) « se renouvelle de jour en jour » (est sanctifiée, transformée à l'image de Christ ) .

La réalité pour le non-chrétien c’est la détérioration. Ils ne subissent qu'une décroissance à l'extérieur sans renouvellement intérieur, parce qu'ils n'ont pas de vie spirituelle. Le mot «car» introduit l'explication de ce paradoxe du déclin à l'extérieur comparé au renouveau intérieur « Car nos légères afflictions du moment présent produisent pour nous, au delà de toute mesure, un poids éternel de gloire» (17). Notez les éléments contrastés du paradoxe chrétien :

  • souffrance actuelle pour l'amour de Jésus = légères afflictions du moment
  • gloire future dans la présence de Jésus = une gloire éternelle qui dépasse de loin toutes nos souffrances présentes ou problèmes

Paul n'enseigne pas que la souffrance physique est récompensée par le mérite spirituel. Il n’est pas en train de prôner l'ascétisme. Au contraire, Paul traite toujours de la question de savoir comment la gloire et la puissance de Dieu sont manifestés dans des vases de terre (7); la question de la mort spirituelle (et peut-être physique) avec Jésus (10a), la question de la vie de Jésus manifestée en nous (10b), la question d'être livrés à la mort à cause de Jésus afin que la vie de Jésus soit aussi manifestée en nous (11).

Le thème de Paul tout au long de cette épître est que la fragilité du corps humain et l’affliction qu’il subit pour la cause de l'Evangile, augmente, en raison de l'étonnant contraste, et offre la possibilité d’expérimenter la gloire toute-transcendante, et la puissance, et la grâce du Dieu Tout-Puissant. «Peu importe la gravité de la souffrance physique pour l'amour de Christ» (souffrance supportée et endurée au nom de Jésus pour la cause de l’Evangile). Elle est « légère » et « momentanée » par rapport à la «gloire éternelle» qui nous est réservé dans les cieux.

Le troisième paradoxe du ministère dans ce passage est le suivant: le visible contre l'invisible (4,18). Les yeux de la foi ne se préoccupent pas de ce qu’on voit, mais de ce qu’on ne voit pas. «Nous regardons, non point aux choses visibles, mais à celles qui sont invisibles ». Nous ne nous concentrons pas sur notre faiblesse humaine, la souffrance, la mort (c’est à dire la désintégration de notre existence extérieure, physique), et des circonstances difficiles, mais plutôt, nous regardons aux «choses invisibles ». Le non-chrétien est centré sur le coté physique, l’extérieur et le présent (les trésors sur la terre, les choses périssables), mais le chrétien est centré sur le spirituel, ce qui est intérieur et éternel. Nous nous concentrons sur les réalités spirituelles (par exemple la vérité, la vie dans le Christ). Nous nous concentrons sur la puissance intérieure, le renouvellement du Saint-Esprit. Nous nous concentrons sur la gloire éternelle - une perspective future, céleste où nous serons pleinement et définitivement comme le Christ. Nous allons de l'avant sans regarder en arrière (Phil. 3:14 ). Nous supportons le présent dans l'assurance de l'avenir. Nous savons que ce qui est transitoire cédera la place à ce qui est permanent. Nous nous attendons à voir les afflictions temporelles remplacées par la gloire éternelle.

Le quatrième paradoxe du ministère est: notre tente terrestre comparé à notre édifice céleste (5:1-8). L'explication de ce paradoxe précédent suit maintenant : «Car nous savons ... » La base de notre point de vue sur la souffrance actuelle et la décomposition est notre connaissance de la glorification future, la rédemption de notre corps et de nos âmes, l’espérance certaine de la gloire. La seule incertitude est de savoir si nous allons mourir avant le retour de Jésus - «si cette tente - lit. notre tente, habitation sur la terre- est détruite...» (5:1).

Le corps dans lequel nous vivons aujourd'hui est temporaire et transitoire, ce n’est pas notre habitation permanente. Mais même si elle est détruite par la mort, «...nous avons dans le ciel un édifice qui est l’ouvrage de Dieu, une demeure éternelle qui n’a pas été faite de main d’homme.» L'image d'une «tente» contre un «édifice» est une allusion au tabernacle des Israélites dans le désert contre le temple permanent à Jérusalem (cf. Heb. 11:8 et suiv.). Comme dans le désert, nous sommes des pèlerins et des étrangers sur la terre, juste de passage - notre citoyenneté est dans les cieux. Et quand nous serons au ciel, nous aurons des corps adaptés à cette existence céleste - «pas fait de mains d’homme» (pas comme les créations de ce monde ici bas), pas temporaire, pas soumis à la pourriture, pas affecté par le péché, mais permanent, éternel, glorifié, un corps de résurrection à l’image du corps glorieux du Christ (Phil. 3:21 ).

«Car» (explication du verset 1) « dans ce corps nous gémissons (cf. Rom. 8.23) soupirons en nous-mêmes, en attendant l’adoption, la rédemption de notre corps « (2). Dans notre présente habitation terrestre actuelle nous gémissons (parce qu'elle est soumise à la pourriture, à la souffrance, à la douleur). C'est pourquoi nous soupirons après nos corps glorifiés (notre habitation qui est du ciel), qui sont considérés comme étant revêtu sur nos corps terrestres (cf. 1 Cor 15:53). Afin qu'il y ait à la fois la continuité et transformation - nos corps terrestres seront couverts et modifiés par nos corps glorifiés. Ce pour quoi nous soupirons vraiment c’est la possibilité («... si du moins », verset 3) de recevoir nos corps glorifiés sans mourir («... après avoir été vêtu ») - d'être en vie à la venue du Christ afin que, « ayant déjà revêtu nos corps glorifiés, nous ne soyons pas trouvés nus »(3). L'espoir exprimé ici est que nous ne soyons pas dépouillés de notre corps à la mort, que nous ne connaissions jamais l'expérience d'un état ​​désincarné du tout, que nous ne mourions pas avant d’avoir reçu nos corps glorifiés, revêtus de « notre domicile céleste» (2b).

«Car» (plus d'explications) nous qui sommes dans cette tente (cette existence physique temporaire, en décomposition) gémissons, accablés, non pas parce que nous voulons être dépouillés, mais parce que nous voulons être mieux vêtus, afin que la mort soit  engloutie par la vie «(4). Nous gémissons à cause de la charge de nos corps actuels, pas parce que nous voulons mourir (être dévêtu et que nos corps reviennent à la poussière ), mais parce que nous voulons être revêtus de nos corps glorifiés (organismes adaptés à la gloire), de sorte à ce que nos corps mortels (nos corps actuels en décomposition) soient avalés par (repris par , absorbés dans, revêtus de) la vie éternelle au retour de Christ, afin que nous ne mourions jamais et que nous n’expérimentions jamais la corruption.

C'est ce qui va arriver à ceux qui sont encore en vie au retour du Christ. Nous ne serons pas « dépouillés « (nus, désincarnés), mais « mieux vêtus » en portant nos corps glorifiés sur nos corps mortels. Lorsque cela arrivera, nos corps mortels, liés à la terre seront immédiatement absorbés et transformés en notre état ​​glorifié, afin que notre chair mortelle (notre vie terrestre, corps mortels) soit engloutie (disparaître à l’intérieur, absorbé, intégré en, digéré) par (ce qui sera vraiment) la vie.

Ainsi, l'image en 5:1-4 est que nos corps mortels sont comme un vêtement qui recouvre l'âme, qui, à la mort devient nue car elle sera séparée du corps. D'autre part, à la venue du Christ nos corps immortels sont rendus semblables à un vêtement qui revêt (ou recouvre) nos âmes, ou, pour ceux qui sont en vie à ce moment-là, nous revêt davantage – c'est-à-dire est mis par dessus nos corps mortels.

« Et celui qui nous a formés pour cela, c'est Dieu » (5a). Dieu lui-même nous a façonnés pour la réception (le revêtement) de nos corps glorifiés. Cette transformation finale dans notre état ​​glorifié est entièrement et uniquement l'œuvre de Dieu. Cela nous rassure, car ca ne dépend pas de nous, mais de Dieu et donc cela va sûrement se réaliser. Ce que Dieu a commencé, il l’achèvera (Phil. 1:6 ), car il «...nous a donné les arrhes de l’Esprit (comme garantie) » (5b). Non seulement nous avons les instructions de l'apôtre sur cette certitude future que Dieu va accomplir notre transformation finale, mais dès maintenant nous avons le dépôt interne (l'acompte) de l'Esprit comme garantie que Dieu va sûrement le faire (cf. Eph. 1,14; cf Rm 8,11 et suiv). Le Saint-Esprit nous rassure constamment que la puissance qui a ressuscité Christ d'entre les morts nous ressuscitera dans la gloire (Ephésiens 1:9-20 ).

Quelle assurance et quelle motivation cela nous donne, en particulier dans la souffrance et dans la vieillesse ! Nos corps se détériorent à l'extérieur, nous souffrons de notre mortalité, mais plus spécifiquement pour l'amour de Jésus. Mais tout cela est perdu dans l'assurance et l'espoir de notre transformation à venir à la ressemblance du Christ, car cela n’est pas comparable à la gloire à venir. «Ainsi» (suite à cette assurance que Dieu le fera et qu’il nous a donné son Esprit comme garantie), «nous sommes toujours confiants ... « (6a) - notre confiance dans la réalisation de notre transformation par Dieu est inébranlable et constante - « ... sachant que (la confiance est basée sur la connaissance) alors que nous sommes dans ce corps ... « (vivant dans cette tente terrestre) « ... nous sommes absents de la présence de Dieu. Car (parce que) nous marchons par la foi, non par la vue (cf. He. 11,1). Nous sommes confiants, et même bienheureux être absents du corps (c'est-à-dire de mourir) et d'être présent avec le Seigneur (6b -8). Bien que la mort soit notre ennemie finale, cela ne nous fait pas peur. Au contraire, nous sommes pleins de confiance et de motivation.

Dieu est au contrôle à la fois dans la vie et dans la mort. L'Esprit de Dieu nous donne l'assurance intérieure que Dieu va compléter notre transformation. Notre vie temporelle est un rappel constant que nous ne sommes pas encore dans la présence du Seigneur - en effet, dans cet état, nous vivons par la foi et non par la vue. Notre désir est de laisser notre vie terrestre actuelle et d'être avec le Seigneur, même si nous aimerions entrer dans une période de nudité en attendant d'être revêtu avec nos nouveaux corps. Ce n'est pas un désir de mort, mais l’expression de notre volonté que le désir d'être avec Christ puisse surpasser l’obstacle de la mort (cf. Phil. 1.21).

Mais la meilleure de toutes les circonstances serait d’être en vie lors de son avènement, transformés pour être avec Christ sans la mort (cf. Phil. 1:21-13) .

Conclusion : «C’est pour cela aussi que nous nous efforçons de lui être agréables, soit que nous demeurions dans ce corps, soit que nous le quittions.» (9). Quelque soit ce qui arrivera, que nous soyons ici, chez nous dans le corps lors du retour de Christ ou absent du corps à ce moment, notre objectif et notre motivation pour le ministère c’est d’être trouvés agréable au Seigneur.

4ème Partie IV. Plan De Predications

Jean 4:19-42 - Le dialogue de Jésus avec la Samaritaine, 2ème partie

Pour la version audio anglaise de ces messages, cliquez sur ces liens : Link 1 - Jean 4:19-22; Link 2 - Jean 4:22-26; Link 3 - Jean 4:27-30; Link 4 - Jean 4:31-42

Titre: L'approche d'évangélisation du maître, 2ème partie

Sujet: Surmonter les obstacles spirituels et sociaux dans l'évangélisation

(Suite du point n°3 entamé dans la dernière édition de cette Revue.)

Point n°4 : Tourner l’attention vers la personne de Dieu (4:19-24 )

1. Grâce à une réaction qui éveille la conscience (19-20)

a) Au sujet de qui est Jésus (19)

b) Au sujet de comment trouver Dieu (20)

2. Grâce à une réponse qui éclaire (21-24)

a) Au sujet du lieu où l’on peut trouver Dieu (21)

b) Au sujet de la façon dont Dieu est adoré (22-24)

Point n°5: Révéler la divinité de Jésus (4:25-26 )

1. En découvrant ce qu'ils savent à son sujet (25)

a) Au sujet de sa seconde venue

b) Au sujet de sa révélation de la vérité

2. En révélant ce qu'ils ne savent pas à son sujet (26)

Point n°6: Susciter la foi chez les autres (4:27-38 )

1. Susciter la foi chez les autres à travers votre témoignage (28-30)

a) En démontrant que Dieu change les vies (28)

b) En invitant les autres à l’expérimenter par eux-mêmes (29a)

c) En déclarant que Christ a fait (29b)

d) En mettant l’accent sur qui le Christ est (29c -30)

2. Susciter la foi chez les autres à travers une théologie correcte (31-42)

a) L'œuvre de Dieu dans le monde est la mission du Christ (31-34)

- de faire la volonté de Dieu

- pour achever l’œuvre de Dieu

b) L'œuvre de Dieu dans le monde est une mission «inattendue» (35)

- la moisson spirituelle se produit aux moments les plus inattendus

- la moisson spirituelle se produit dans les endroits les plus inattendus

c) L'œuvre de Dieu dans le monde est une mission d'équipe (36-38)

- L'équipe de Dieu est composée de semeurs et de moissonneurs

- Les membres de l'équipe de Dieu sont tous importants

- Tous les membres de l’équipe de Dieu travaillent pour le même résultat

Point n°7: Conclusions - Les résultats (4:39-42 )

1. Certains croiront à travers votre témoignage (39-40)

2. Beaucoup d'autres croiront à travers la parole de Dieu (41-42)

Related Topics: Pastors

Jurnalul Electronic Al Păstorilor, Rom Ed 9, Ediţia Toamnă 2013

Ediţia Toamnă 2013

Produs de ...

Dr. Roger Pascoe, Preşedinte,

The Institute for Biblical Preaching

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

www.tibp.ca

Întărind Biserica în Predicare Biblică şi Conducere

Partea I: Predicarea: Pregătirea Predicatorului

“Predicarea şi Lucrarea lui Dumnezeu” Pt. 3

De: Dr. Roger Pascoe

The Institute for Biblical Preaching

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

În ediţia de primăvară şi vară 2013 a acestui Jurnal al Păstorilor (publicat pe acest website), am discutat despre pregătirea spirituală şi personală a predicatorului. Vom continua acest subiect din nou în această ediţie. Ceea ce învăţăm este că înainte de a predica Cuvântul cu putere, acurateţe şi credibilitate, trebuie să fii calificat spiritual şi personal. Persoana calificată pentru a predica Cuvântul este numită „omul lui Dumnezeu” de către apostolul Pavel.

De asemenea observăm că, pentru a fi calificat să slujeşti Domnului în lucrare, trebuie să ai în atenţie patru domenii principale: (1) păzeşte-ţi viaţa morală; (2) condu-ţi viaţă de acasă; (3) îngrijeşte-te de viaţa personală; (4) disciplinează-ţi viaţa de slujire. Ultima data am discutat despre „Păzeşte-ţi viaţa morală”. În această ediţie vom privi la celelalte trei aspecte ale omului lui Dumnezeu.

Condu-ţi viaţa de acasă (1 Tim. 3:5)

Caracterul adevărat al omului, valorile şi stilul de viaţă se vad acasă. Acolo se vede cin este el cu adevărat. John MacArthur spune: „De vreme ce păstorul trebuie să fie liderul bisericii Domnului şi un părinte iubitor pentru familia lui Dumnezeu, unde se poate califica mai bine decât în conducerea spirituală a propriei lui familii?1 Dacă un bărbat nu se poate raporta corect la soţia şi copii lui, dacă nu îşi poate conduce propria lui casă, cum va putea să conducă biserica? (1 Tim. 3:5) Conducerea spirituală în casă este premisa pentru conducerea în biserică. Aceeaşi conducere jertfitoare şi slujitoare pe care o aştepţi în conducerea bisericii trebuie să fie evidentă acasă.

De aceea, viaţa ta de familie trebuie să fie caracterizată de echilibru, bucurie şi supunere faţă de Cuvânt, disciplină, ascultare, dragoste, spontaneitate, slujire, sacrificiu pentru ceilalţi, respect reciproc, etc. De aceea, dedică timp adecvat şi de calitate şi atenţie faţă de soţia ta şi familie, iar apoi ia asupra ta responsabilitatea ritmului şi direcţiei spirituale fiind un exemplu duhovnicesc. Tu eşti responsabil de stabilirea priorităţilor spirituale şi concentrare asupra căminului. De vreme ce predici şi înveţi prioritatea Scripturii şi ascultarea de Dumnezeu în viaţă ta de slujire, fii sigur că eşti un exemplu al acestor lucruri în viaţa ta de familie.

Dacă tu nu aşezi un exemplu, dar ceri respectul soţiei şi copiilor, cum vei putea face aceasta în biserică, sau într-o agenţie de misiune sau într-o slujire para-bisericească?

De aceea vreau să te încurajez să pui deoparte timp adecvat şi potrivit pentru soţia şi copii tăi. Nu îi pune pe locul secund, după slujire sau biserică. Posibil că ai criticat pe cineva din biserica ta pentru că a făcut lucrul acesta, aşadar nu o fă şi tu. Arată familiei tale că eşti gata să laşi deoparte orice altceva pentru că îi preţuieşti pe ei. Fii accesibil, fii disponibil pentru ei prin prezenţa ta, în mintea şi emoţiile tale.

Fii responsabil de bunăstarea spirituală, fizică, emoţională şi mentală a tuturor din familia ta. Dacă nu îţi iei această responsabilitate acasă, cum o vei putea face în slujirea ta, dovedind credibilitate sau succes?

Aşadar oamenii lui Dumnezeu trebuie să fie soţii şi taţi iubitori şi credincioşi.

1. Fii Un Soţ Iubitor Şi Credincios (1 Tim. 3:2; cf. Efes. 5:22-33)

Te încurajez să-ţi laşi soţia să să-şi dezvolte şi să-şi stabilească mai degrabă propria ei identitate, să-şi exercite darurile ei, decât să-şi derive identitatea ei din identitatea ta şi din vocaţia ta ca pastor. De asemenea, ea trebuie să te sprijine în rolul tău de păstor şi viaţa ei trebuie să-ţi dea având, nu să te frâneze.

Sunt atât de multe surse de stres pentru soţiile păstorilor:

  • Câteodată se simt pe locul doi, după cerinţele lucrării soţului şi asta poate duce la resentimente.
  • Se pot simţi izolate, fără prieteni apropiaţi în biserica, lucru ce poate duce la singurătate.
  • Văd că soţii lor primesc atenţii de la alte femei din biserică, lucru ce poate duce la gelozie şi suspiciune.
  • De multe ori simt presiunea de a fi perfecte, lucru ce duce la o imagine falsă, în încercarea de a mulţumi pe toată lumea.
  • Pot trăi într-un „acvariu” spiritual la biserică, lucru ce poate duce la oboseală spirituală
  • Câteodată păstorii nu câştigă mulţi bani, lucru ce poate face ca soţia să cadă sub presiune financiară
  • Câteodată există o întrerupere a intimităţii în căsătorie şi o lipsă a sprijinului reciproc din cauza cerinţelor lucrării, lucru ce poate duce la răcire, mânie, anxietate, depresie şi îndepărtare sexuală.

Toate aceste surse de stres pot duce la dificultăţi în familie. Aşadar haideţi să fim plini de dragoste, sensibili, susţinători şi credincioşi soţiilor noastre.

2. Fii Un Tată Iubitor Şi Credincios(1 Tim. 3:4; Efes. 6:4)

Fii binevoitor şi blând cu copii tăi (cf. 1 Tes. 2:7, 11). Fii într-o relaţie bună cu mama lor şi prin mărturia creştină arată copiilor tăi ce înseamnă să fii un creştin evlavios şi consecvent. Dacă vrei să fii folosit de Dumnezeu ca lider spiritual al bisericii, începe prin a fii un lider spiritual al copiilor tăi.

Ţine minte să nu foloseşti copii tăi pe post de ilustraţii de la amvon, chiar dacă ei sunt de acord. Copii tind să agreeze repede aşa ceva dar atunci când reflectoarele sunt pe ei, s-ar putea să apară resentimente.

Nu neglija timpul petrecut cu copii tăi. Nu există acel timp de „calitate” care să compenseze lipsa „cantităţii”. Copii tăi au nevoie de timpul tău şi de atenţia ta.

Familia ta este de o importanţă supremă. Este o responsabilitate cu care te-ai încărcat când ai primit copii. Nu poţi scăpa de ea. Aşadar ia această responsabilitate ca un lider evlavios.

Nu lăsa ca copii tăi să simtă că sunt pe locul doi – nici chiar după lucrare – pentru că vor fi frustraţi. Dacă lucrarea şi responsabilităţile familiale sunt într-un conflict continuu, atunci ajustează-ți agenda lucrării.

Oferă copiilor tăi spaţiu pentru a creşte ca persoane, aşa cum Dumnezeu i-a creat să fie. De multe ori, copii crescuţi în casele păstorilor simt presiunea de a fi perfecţi. Dacă soţia ta se simte ca într-un acvariu, cu cât mai mult copii tăi! Aşadar, haideţi să nu punem presiune, obligându-i să se conformeze aşteptărilor celorlalţi oamenii. Îi putem ajuta să treacă peste asta, menţinând o intimitate continuă în casele noastre şi oferindu-le o copilărie normală.

În cele din urmă, haideţi să-i protejăm de cinism prin a nu discuta problemele din biserică în faţa copiilor noştri.

Hrănește-Ți Omul Din Lăuntru

În lucrare folosești foarte multă energie emoțională, spirituală, mentală și fizică. Nu numai că slujirea îți acaparează întreaga personalitate, dar într-un mod foarte ușor ajunge să absoarbă totul. Înainte ca să îți dai seama, nu mai ai viață sau interese în afara slujirii. Din acest motiv, trebuie să te disciplinezi și să te îngirijești de persoana ta, punând timp deoparte pentru:

1. Restaurare Spirituală

Dacă ești pastorul unei biserici locale, dai totul pentru biserica pe care o slujești – încurajare, îmbărbătare, mustrare, avertizare, consiliere, predicare, învățătură. Dacă faci acest lucru suficient de mult timp fără ca să te hrănești tu însuți din punct de vedere spiritual, în cele din urmă vei rămâne gol. Într-un moment Domnul Isus le-a spus ucenicilor să vină în deșert pentru o perioadă de odihnă.

Trebuie să te hrănești din punct de vedere spiritual. Cum poți să faci acest lucru? O modalitate ar fi să ai pe altcineva care să te încurajeze. Ascultă pe alți predicatori, citește cărți devoționale, participă la conferințe, sau invită predicatori într-un mod regulat ca să predice pentru tine – este bine pentru biserică și pentru tine. Indiferent de varianta pe care o alegi pentru a fi restaurat din punct de vedere spiritual, disciplinează-te astfel încât aceasta să fie făcută în mod regulat pentru ca bateriile tale să nu ajungă descărcate.

2. Reîmprospătare mentală

O viață mentală sănătoasă necesită atât relaxare cât și stimulare. Relaxarea mentală poate lua diferite forme cum ar fi vacanțe obișnuite, plimbări cu soția, o seară de părtășie alături de prieteni cu care te poți relaxa și să fi tu insuți.

Și nu uita să îți programezi timp pentru a fi singur – solitudinea este bună, în special pentru relaxare mentală.

Opusul acesteia este însă și el necesar – stimularea mentală. Apostolul Pavel scria: „Tot ce este adevărat, tot ce este vrednic de cinste, tot ce este drept, tot ce este curat, tot ce este vrednic de iubit, tot ce este vrednic de primit, orice faptă bună, și orice laudă, aceea să vă însuflețească(Filip.4:8). „Tot ce este vrednic” stimulează mintea cu gânduri

“Aceste lucruri” iti stimuleaza mintea cu ganduri bune si subiecte provocatorare care te vor edifica.

Nu devenii inactiv sau necurat in gandirea ta. Iti poti tine mintea treaza si stimulata astfel:

  • Citind carti bune pe subiecte cat mai diverse
  • Asociindu-te cu oameni care impartasesc aceleasi idei privind abilitatile intelectuale si maturitatea spirituala, care se pot angaja in conversatii antrenante despre subiecte esentiale
  • Ascultand muzica buna care sa te ajute
  • Ascultand predici bune
  • Imbunatateste-ti in mod continuu abilitatile profesionale prin participarea la cursuri si seminarii – in mod special la cele despre predicare si conducerea bisericii.

3. Recreerea Fizica

In 1 Timotei 4:8, apostolul spune: Exercitiul fizic ajuta putin– i.e. are ceva valoare. Fiecare pastor are nevoie sa isi ia timp pentru munca fizica afara si pentru recreere fizica pentru a compensa responsabilitatile menatale si spirituale ce vin din predicare. Nu intelege gresit, predicarea si slujirea pastorala inseamna munca grea. Sa iti petreci toata ziua la intalniri, consiliere, administrare, studii inseamna sa iti planifici timp si pentru ceva activ.

Activitatea fizica este buna nu doar pentru trupul tau dar si pentru mintea ta. A avea grija de trupurile noastre este o administrare la fel de importanta ca administrarea banilor, a timpului, si a darurilor spirituale. Pavel a crezut ca trupul trebuie sa fie consacreat (Rom. 12:1); pastrat (1 Tes. 5:23), antrenat (1 Tim. 4:8), si disciplinat (1 Cor. 9:24-27). Nu uitati, trupul vostru este templul Duhului Sfant (1 Cor. 6:19-20).Asadar, trebuie sa avem grija cum il folosim. Trebuie sa il pastram in curatie pentru gloria lui Dumnezeu. Trebuie sa ii mentinem sanatatea. Si trebuie sa il glorificam pe Dumnezeu in duhul si trupul nostru care sunt ale lui Dumnezeu (1 Cor. 6:20).

O parte din acest proces de a avea grija de trupul nostru il reprezinta angajarea intr-o forma de exercitii fizice in ideea de a-l mentine in greutate si sanatate. Incearca sa te disciplinezi in acest domeniu. Pe masura ce vei imbatranii o sa fi multumitor ca ai facut-o.

4. Recuperare Emotionala

Pastorii sunt foarte vazuti si auziti – toata lumea vede ce faci si aude ce spui. Unele lucruri pe care le spunem si le facem vor genera:

  • Critica din parea celor al carui cuget va reactiona la ceea ce spunem
  • Conflict si, poate, judecata din partea celor care nu sunt de acord cu noi
  • Ingrijorare pentru cei pentru care suntem responsabili fizic, emotional si spiritual

Conflictul si critica au un cost emotional ridicata. De aceea, din cand in cand avem nevoie sa ne recuperam emotional. Cum putem face acest lucru? Cateva sugestii

  • Bucura-te de partasia cu prietenii care te incurajaza si te ajuta sa razi
  • Intalneste-te cu alti pastori care te pot sfatuii cum sa tratezi situatiile dificile
  • Citeste carti despre slujirea pastorala – vei descoperii ca nu esti singur; chiar si predicatorii remarcabilii se confrunta cu conflictele si critica.

Disciplinarea Vietii De Slujire (2 Tim. 2:1–6, 15)

Un lider / predicator bun are solemna responsabilitate de a se infatisa inaintea lui Dumnezeu ca un om incercat, ca un lucrator care nu are de ce sa ii fie rusine si care imparte drept Cuvantul adevarului. (2 Tim 2:15)

Acest standard al predicarii biblice este descris mai sus in acest capitol prin trei imagini privind efortul disciplinarii - disciplina si angajamentul zilnic al unui soldat, al unui atlet, al unui agricultor (2 Tim. 2:1-6). Imaginile care ne sunt trasate in aceste versete zugravesc disciplina, datoria si devotamentul, care, atunci cand sunt manifestate, aduc rasplata.

1. Liderii evlaviosi trebuie sa aiba acea „tinta unica” a unui soldat (2:3-4)

In primul rand, principala tinta a unui soldat este aceea de a fi gata intotdeauna de a suferi (2:3) – de a „indura greutati”. Suferinta este de asteptat in slujire datorita razboiului spiritual (Ef. 6:1-20) si a tratamentelor rele.

In al doilea rand, principala tinta a unui soldat este de a fi gata de sacrificiu (2:4a). Nu poti fi preocupat cu „treburile vietii” daca vrei sa fi intotdeauna la datorie si disponibil pentru lucrare. Aceasta este o chemare la sacrificiu – sa de debarasezi de orice alta datorie care te-ar putea distrage de la principala preocupare. Asta nu inseamna ca este gresit in “treburile vietii” insa acestea au tendinta de a ne incurca, si pentru aceasta ele trebuiesc puse deoparte.

Orice ne-ar fura din timpul nostru necesar cu Dumnezeu (in rugaciune si in Cuvant) si pentru Dumnezeu trebuie sacrificat.

In al treilea rand, principala tinta a unui soldat este aceea de a avea intotdeauna dorinta si de a fi gata pentru oaste (2:4b) – „dacă vrea să placă celui ce l -a scris la oaste. Ca si soldati ai Domnului Isus Hristos, noi trebuie sa fim gata sa il slujim pe Cel care ne-a inscris in oastea Sa. Suntem intotdeauna de serviciu.

Un soldat adevărat este marcat de devotiune din toata inima pentru slujire, angajament total si care nu are nimic care sa il tina pe loc. Rasplata unui soldat este aprobarea ofiterului superior. Pentru aceasta lucram noi – pentru aprobarea Domnului.

2. Liderii evlaviosi trebuie sa aiba „efortul intens” al unui atlet (2:5)

Un atlet An athlete displays strenuous effort in training and competing. In order to win an athlete must strive toward three objectives:

  1. Tinteste excelenta. Aceasta implica exercitiu, efort, antrenament, intelepciune, angajament, competitie, si acestea facute bine. Predicatorii trebuie sa faca lucrarea lor cu excelenta si intelepciune.
  2. Tinteste dupa randuieli. Aceasta inseamna sa te supui regulilor, in mod sincer. Cunoscand regulile si urmandu-le, chiar si atunci cand nimeni nu se uita. Predicatorii trebuie sa aiba o asemenea integritate.
  3. Tinteste sa castigi. Rasplata este de a primi cununa, de a fi victorios, cautand doar aprobarea Domnului. Rasplata predicatorului este acceptarea din partea Domnului acum si cununa sus in cer.
    Un atlet trebuie sa aiba o discipina totala daca doreste sa participe in competitie si sa castige dupa reguli. Iar rasplata este acea de a fi „incoronat” ca si castigator.

3. Liderii evlaviosi trebuie sa aibă „perseverenta continua” a unui fermier (2:6)

Fermierul lucreaza mult si din greu fara a avea vreun semn de succes. Aceasta necesita foarte multa auto-disciplina si perseverenta. Dupa pregatirea terenului si plantarea semintei, ei trebuie sa astepte recolta. Aceasta necesita incredere – incredere in Dumnezeu, pentru ca numai Dumnezeu poate face ca o samanta sa creasca si sa produca o recolta. Fermierii trebuie sa munceasca din greu si sa fie dependenti.

Predicatorii duhovnicesti pot pregati cele mai bune predici si studii biblice si sa le transmita cu mare pasiune dar rezultatele, de a aduce pe cei morti la viața, ii apartin Domnului (Ef.2:1).

Concluzii

Numai prin munca asidua, angajament din toata inima, si auto-disciplina putem sa ne infatisam ca niste lucratori „vrednici inaintea lui Dumnezeu” care „nu au nimic de care sa se rusineze” (2:15).

Este usor sa devii lenes in lucrare, sa iti pierzi angajamentul si sa devii descurajat.

Haideti sa ne disciplinam in a pune timp si energia necesara pentru a ne face treaba bine. Sa ne comportam astfel incat oamenii sa vada ca noi suntem dedicati marturiei crestine si slujirii. Nu fi cu inima impartita cu privire la viața ta crestina sau sa fi satisfacut cu mediocritate in slujirea ta. Predicarea si conducerea bisericii inseamna munca grea! Si tot ceea ce facem trebuie facut pentru gloria lui Dumnezeu iar asta inseamna sa o facem cu toate puterea noastra si cu excelenta.

La un nivel personal, masurarea slujirii crestine pentru omul lui Dumnezeu inseamna, pe de-o parte, a fi cu luare aminte pentru a fi gasit fara pata inaintea lui Dumnezeu, si pe de cealalta parte, a fi un slujitor care nu are nimic de ce sa ii fie rusine.

La un nivel practic, masura unei slujiri crestine pentru omul lui Dumnezeu inseamna predicare si invatatura corecta, appropriate, si cu autoritate – impartind corect cuvantul adevarului.

Partea A-II-A. Lidership: A Fi Un Exemplu Crestin

“Sfintirea Ta Personala”

By: Dr. Roger Pascoe

The Institute for Biblical Preaching

Cambridge, Ontario

Vom continua tema sfințeniei personale din ultima noastra editie a Jurnalului Electronic al Păstorilor. Ultima dată când am discutat puritate în viețile noastre sociale. În această ediție, ne vom uita la puritate în gândurile noastre, motivele, și cuvinte.

Puritate In Gandire (2 Cor. 10:5)

Gandurile noastre pot fi atat de pacatoase, nu-i asa? Cateodata te gandesti de unde iti vin anumite ganduri. Fara indoiala ele izvorasc din natura noastra pacatoasa, activate de Satan si de ispitele pe care el le pune in calea noastra.

Pentru a ne pastra puritatea in ganduri trebuie sa fim atenti cu privire la lucrurile la care ne gandim. Trebuie sa ne disciplinam mintea astfel incat sa controlam gandurile pe care le alimentam. Cand gandurile noastre sunt necontrolate, fanteziile pot usor sa preia controlul mintii noastre. Iar fanteziile care sunt necontrolate tind sa devina realitate. Biblia spune, „ceea ce omul gandeste, aceea el este” (Prov. 23:7). Gandurile noastre modeleaza caracterul si comportamentul nostru. Fiecare actiune sau obicei incepe cu un gand.

Deci,trebuie sa fim atenti la ce ne gandim.

Dacă aveți în minte gânduri nesănătoase sau păcătoase , rugați-vă lui Dumnezeu să le alunge din mintea ta . Aceasta funcționează ! Dumnezeu ne eliberează de rău , pentru că puterea lui Dumnezeu este mai mare decât Satan sau decât orice ispită pământească .

Gândurile noastre sunt de multe ori generate de lucruri pe care le -am citit sau văzut . Deci, fi atent la ceea ce te uiți, pentru că ceea ce te privești pătrunde în inima ta și are un impact asupra dorintelor tale . “Apoi pofta, cînd a zămislit, dă naştere păcatului; şi păcatul odată făptuit, aduce moartea.” ( Iacov 1:15 ) . Acesta este modelul , dacă gândurile noastre merg necontrolate .

Probabil că ceea ce se întâmplă în minte este mult mai periculos decât toate celelalte ( mai mult chiar decât acțiunile exterioare ), pentru că nimeni nu poate vedea gândurile. Nimeni nu te poate trage la răspundere pentru ceea ce gândești pentru că nimeni nu le știe. Dar Isus a spus : “ce iese din gură, vine din inimă, şi aceea spurcă pe om. Căci din inimă ies gîndurile rele, uciderile, preacurviile, curviile, furtişagurile, mărturiile mincinoase, hulele. ( Matei 15:18-20 ) Ce se întâmplă în mintea ta va ieși la iveală - . Fie gândurile bune fie cele rele . Și aceste gânduri vor sta la baza a ceea ce esti si ceea ce faci .

Puritate In Motiv

Motivele impure sunt atunci când facem lucrurile corecte pentru motive greșite – când facem ceva pentru a obține un rezultat dorit, dar pentru un motiv gresit. Deci, haideți să ne întrebăm: de ce facem lucrarea? Care este motivația noastră? Noi trebuie să facem ceea ce trebuie si pentru motivele corecte.

În Apoc. 2:2-3 biserica din Efes a făcut lururile bune dar dintr-o motivație greșită. – mai exact, ei nu au făcut lucrarea din dragoste pentru Hristos. Avertismentul este că, dacă nu se vor pocăi de motivele lor necurate, Dumnezeu va îndepărta sfeșnicul de la ei (mărturia lor publică ca biserică). Pentru cine facem lucrarea? Pentru ce trăim?

Facem lucrarea pentru propria noastră glorie asemenea celor care se laudă singuri care se măsoară cu ei înşişi şi se pun alături ei cu ei înşişi, sînt fără pricepere. (2 Cor. 10:12)?

Trăim pentru câștigul nostru personal, cum ar fi cele care “presupun că evlavia este un mijloc de câștig” (1 Tim. 6:05)?

Căutăm noi propria noastră promovare? Isus a spus: Sunt printre voi ca unul care slujește (Luca 22:27). Pavel a spus că el a slujit Domnului cu toată smerenia, cu multe lacrimi și încercări (Faptele Apostolilor 20:19).

În cartea sa, “Păstorind Biserica,” Joe Stowell, scrie: “Cei care slujesc spre slava și câștigul Lui găsesc cea mai mare bucurie a lor nu în afirmația ce ar putea veni la ușă, după predică, ci într-o viață care, în timp, este schimbată prin intermediul slujirii de proclamare. Într-o viață care aduce acum mai multă slavă lui Dumnezeu decât în vremurile de demult. Într-o viață care dă credit la Dumnezeu - nu noi - pentru ceea ce a făcut Dumnezeu în viețile lor prin noi “Da.!

Motivele curate ne fac să slujim pentru slava lui Hristos și de a beneficia de împărăția Lui. Motivația lui Pavel pentru lucrare a fost că “Hristos va fi proslăvit în trupul meu, fie prin viață sau prin moarte. Căci pentru mine a trăi este Hristos și a muri este un câștig “(Filipeni 1:20). Pavel a spus, “Eu sunt ultimul dintre apostoli și nu merit să fiu numit apostol” (1 Cor. 15:9). Motivul lui Ioan Botezătorul a fost că Isus Hristos trebuie să crească, dar eu să mă micșorez” (Ioan 3:30).

Să ne verificăm inimile noastre să vedem care sunt motivele noastre ca și lideri ai poporului lui Dumnezeu.

Puritate In Cuvant (1 Tim. 4:12; Tit. 2:7)

Discursul nostru este un domeniu care poate fi cel mai periculos și cel în care se pot strecura greșeli cel mai ușor. Ce spunem (cuvintele și expresiile pe care le folosim) și cum le spunem (limbajul corpului, tonul vocii), poate să împuternicească rolul nostru de lider sau să îl imobilizeze. Puteți da un sens total diferit cuvintelor pe care le utilizați doar prin punerea unui accent în mod diferit sau prin limbajul corpului.

Trebuie să fim atenți cu privire la alegerea cuvintelor noastre. Am observat din ce in ce mai multe cuvinte și expresii seculare nepotrivite folosite de creștini (și predicatori), cuvinte care în alte vremuri nu ar fi fost niciodată folosite de creștini. Am auzit pastori și lideri creștini spun lucruri care mă fac să mă pitesc. Uneori, ei folosesc expresii care sunt comune in societatea noastră, dar care nu ar trebui să fie parte din limbajul nostru de comunicare. Am auzit lideri din biserică folosind cuvinte de argou tot timpul, care sunt derivate din cuvintele de blestem (și cred că ei nici macar nu știu asta).

Cuvintele sunt spuse atât de ușor și nu pot fi retrase. Când au ieșit, ele sunt ca apa care s-a vărsat pe pământ - nu pot fi ridicate din nou (. 2 Sam 14:14). Atunci când cuvintele gresite sunt spuse, e prea târziu, răul a fost făcut.

Cuvintele sunt fondul de comerț pentru liderii creștini. Lucrarea noastră se învârte în jurul utilizării cuvintelor. Prin urmare, este de datoria noastră să fim experți în utilizarea lor - nu numai de la amvon, ci în toate interacțiunile noastre. Noi trebuie să jonglăm cu cuvintele, să alegem cu grijă cuvintele pe care le folosim pentru a transmite cu exactitate ceea ce vrem să spunem.

Dar acuratețea și adevărul nu sunt suficiente. Vorbirea voastră să fie totdeauna cu har, dreasă cu sare (Col. 4:06). Spune adevărul în dragoste (Efeseni 4:15). Fi lent în a vorbi și grabnic în ascultare (Iacov 1:19).

Deci, încercați să evitați limbajul ușor sau cel de stradă – vă va aduce numai probleme. Nu folosiți cuvinte dure sau aspre (Efeseni 5:4) - nu este modelul lui Hristos. Încercați să nu folosiți cuvinte cu dublu înțeles.. Atunci când este posibil, fiți atenți pentru a folosi cuvinte politicoase, constructive, bine alese.

Feriți-vă de bârfă, calomnie, minciună, înșelăciune, concluzii, aluzii, seductie, murmurări, nemulțumiri, laude, exagerări. Ele toate provin din utilizarea și aplicarea greșită a cuvintelor (cf. Efeseni 4:25, 29, 31,. 5:04, Coloseni 3:8-9, 4:6;. Matei 15:11, 17-20) . Stai departe de cuvinte care pot avea conotații necurate.

Să folosim “vorbire sănătoasă” (Tit 2:08), care este o mărturie pentru alții a “cuvintelor pline de har”, care ieșeau din gura Domnului, a purității în exprimarea pe care ne-o dorim ca alții să o adopte, și de tipul de cuvinte care îi îndeamnă pe alții la Hristos.

Profesorii obișniuau să ne spună: “bețele și pietrele pot să imi rupă oasele, dar cuvintele nu-mi vor face niciodată rău” - nu este adevărat! Cuvintele rostite în furie, glumă, tachinare, critică poate răni mult mai mult decât durerea fizică și produce o suferință de nedescris în relațiile creștine. Cuvintele pe care le folosim sunt importante, asa ca alege-le cu grijă.

Partea A-III-A. Gânduri Devotionale

“Slujirea Vaselor de Lut, Partea a-2-a: Motivarea pentru Slujire” (2 Cor. 4:16-5:9)

By: Dr. Roger Pascoe

The Institute for Biblical Preaching

Cambridge, Ontario, Canada

În ediția de vară a acestui jurnal, am început să studiem subiectul “Slujirea vaselor de lut” (2 Corinteni 4:7 - 5:21). Ne-am uitat la 2 Corinteni 4:7-16, care se ocupă cu tema “Natura Slujirii”. Acum vom continua cu următoarea secțiune, 2 Corinteni 4:16 - 5:8, care se ocupă cu tema “Motivația pentru Slujire “. Apostolul arată trei motivații pentru lucrare: (1) motivația pentru transformarea viitoare (4:15 - 5:8), (2), motivația dării de seamă înaintea lui Dumnezeu (5:10-13), și (3) motivația dragostei lui Hristos (5:14-17). În această ediție a Jurnalului păstorilor, vom acoperi doar MOTIVAȚIA PENTRU TRANSFORMAREA VIITOARE (4:16 - 5:9).

Apostolul dezvoltă acest subiect al slujirii vaselor de lut în jurul a patru paradoxuri ale slujirii. Ultima dată am observat primul paradox al slujirii: mesagerul slab versus mesajul plin de putere. Acum, în legătură cu motivarea pentru slujire (specific, motivația pentru transformarea viitoare) avem următoarele trei paradoxuri.

Al doilea paradox al slujirii este: decăderea exterioară versus reînnoire lăuntrică (4:16-17). Pentru creștini paradoxul este că, chiar dacă omul nostru de afară se trece, totuş omul nostru din lăuntru se înoieşte din zi în zi.(16b).

Există o diferență între exterior și interior - exteriorul se degradează, iar interiorul se reînnoiește. Pe de o parte, suferim de degradarea progresivă a ființei. “Omul nostru de afară” (de exemplu, ceea ce este vizibil - corpul nostru fizic și abilitățile noastre) „se degradează (de exemplu, în mod constant și ireversibil se îndreaptă spre moarte). Pe de altă parte, ființa noastră interioară este progresiv reînnoită după chipul lui Dumnezeu. “Omul nostru din lăuntru” (de exemplu, ceea ce este invizibil - noua noastră viață în Hristos, ființa noastră spirituală, asemănarea noastră cu Hristos) “se înnoiește din zi în zi” (adică sfințiți, transformați în imaginea lui Hristos).

Realitatea pentru cei necredincioși este înspăimântătoare. Ei experimentează doar degradare exterioară fără nici un fel de înnoire interioară, pentru că ei nu au viață spirituală. „Căci” introduce explicarea acestui paradox al degradării exterioare versus reînnoire lăuntricăîntristările noastre uşoare de o clipă lucrează pentru noi tot mai mult o greutate vecinică de slavă.(17). Observați elementele contrastante ale paradoxului creștin:

  • suferința prezentă de dragul lui Isus = lumină și probleme aleatorii
  • gloria viitoare în prezența lui Isus = o slavă veșnică, care depășește cu mult toată suferința sau problemele noastre actuale

Pavel nu ne învață că suferința fizică este recompensată cu merite spirituale. El nu este favorabil asceticismului. Ci mai degrabă, Pavel încă se confruntă cu problema modului în care slava și puterea lui Dumnezeu sunt afișate în vasele de lut (7), problema spirituală (și, probabil, fizică), moartea împreună cu Isus (10a), problema vieții lui Isus manifestată în noi (10b), problema de a fi dat la moarte din pricina lui Isus ca astfel încât viața lui Isus să se arate în noi (11).

“Tema lui Pavel de-a lungul acestei epistole este că fragilitatea cadrului uman și suferința pe care o susține în cauza Evangheliei mareste, din cauza contrastul uimitor, și oferă posibilitatea pentru a experimenta, transcendenta glorie, putere și harul Dumnezeului Cel Atotputernic”2. Nu contează cât de severe pot fi suferințe fizice “pentru Isus” (de exemplu, suferința, care este îndurata și suportate pentru Isus in slujirea Evangheliei), este “usoara”și “trecatoare” în comparație cu “slava veșnică” care este rezervata pentru noi în cer.

Al treilea paradox al slujirii în acest pasaj este : vizibil versus invizibil (04:18) . Ochiul credinței nu este preocupat de ceea ce se vede , ci cu ceea ce nu se vede . “Pentrucă noi nu ne uităm la lucrurile cari se văd, ci la cele ce nu se văd.” Noi nu ne concentram pe slăbiciunea noastră umană, pe suferință, pe moarte ( adică pe decăderea fiintei noastre exterioare, fizice ), și pe situațiile dificile, ci, mai degrabă , ne uitam la “lucrurile care nu se văd.” Necreștinii se concentrează pe elementele fizice, pe comorile exterioare, și prezent (comorile de pe pamant, lucrurile pieritoare), dar creștinul este axat pe lucrurile spirituale, launtrice, și eterne. Noi suntem axati pe realitățile spirituale (adevăr, viața în Hristos). Noi suntem axati pe puterea interioara, reînnoirea Duhului Sfant. Suntem axati pe slava veșnică - o perspectivă viitoare, cereasca, când vom fi in cele din urma pe deplin ca si Hristos. Noi alergam inainte, fără să ne uitam înapoi ( Filipeni 3:14 ). Induram prezentul pentru asigurarea viitorului. Noi știm că cele tranzitorii vor face loc celor permanente. Noi cautam ca necazurile vremelnice să fie înlocuite cu slava veșnică.

Al patrulea paradox al slujirii este: cortul pamantesc versus casa cereasca (5:1-8). Explicația pentru acest paradox anterior urmează acum: “Caci noi știm...” Fundamentul perspectivei noastre asupra suferinței și degradarii prezente este cunoștințele noastre cu privire la glorificarea noastra viitoare, răscumpărarea trupurilor noastre, precum și a sufletelor noastre, o anume speranța a slavei. Singura incertitudine este daca vom muri înainte de venirea lui Isus - “dacă se desface casa pămîntească a cortului nostru trupesc...(5:1).

Corpul în care trăim acum este temporar și trecător, nefiind locul nostru permanent de adăpost. Dar, chiar dacă acesta este distrus în moarte, “... avem o clădire în cer dela Dumnezeu, o casă, care nu este făcută de mînă ci este vecinică”. Imaginea “cortului” versus “casă” este o aluzie la Cortul Intalnirii al Israelitilor din pustie vs templul permanent de la Ierusalim (cf. Evrei 11:8 ff.).. Ca și ei în pustie, noi suntem străini și călători pe pământ, doar in trecere - cetățenia noastră este în ceruri. Si atunci când vom ajunge în cer, vom avea corpuri potrivite pentru că existența cerească - “nu este făcut de mâini” (nu din aceasta lume, creații legate de pământ), nu temporare, care nu sunt supuse la putrezire, nu sunt afectate de păcate, ci trupuri permanente, eterne, glorificate asemenea trupului glorios înviat al lui Hristos (Filipeni 3:21).

„Si ( explicarea v. 1) gemem in cortul (trupul) acesta” ( cf. Rom . 08:23 ), plini de dorinţa să ne îmbrăcăm peste el cu locaşul nostru ceresc ... ( 2 ). În cortul nostru pamantesc noi gemem ( pentru că este supus la putrezire, suferință, durere). De aceea tanjim dupa trupurile noastre glorificate ( locuința noastră , care este din cer ), care sunt privite ca hainele ce vor fi puse peste trupurile noastre pământești (cf. 1 Corinteni 15:53), astfel încât exista atât continuitate cat și transformare – trupurile noastre pământești vor fi acoperite și schimbate de trupurile noastre ceresti. Ceea ce dorim cu adevarat este posibilitatea ( “...dacă într-adevăr” , v. 3 ) de a primi trupurile noastre glorificate, fără moarte (“...a fost îmbrăcat”) - să fim în viață la venirea lui Hristos , astfel încât , “fiind deja îmbrăcati” cu trupurile noastre glorificate , “nu vom fi găsiţi desbrăcaţi de el “(3). Speranța exprimata aici este că noi nu trebuie să fim separati de trupurile noastre la moarte, ca nu am experimenta o stare în afara trupului, ca nu murim înainte de a primi trupurile noastre glorificate „îmbrăcați cu locasul ceresc “( 2b ) .

Caci (ca explicații suplimentare), noi, cei care sunt în acest cort (existență fizică temporara in degradare) gemem apăsaţi; nu că dorim să fim desbrăcaţi de trupul acesta, ci să fim îmbrăcaţi cu trupul celalt peste acesta, pentruca ce este muritor în noi, să fie înghiţit de viaţă (4). Gemem din cauza poverii trupurilor noastre actuale, nu pentru că vrem să murim (să fim dezbrăcați și trupurile noastre sa se intoarca in tarana),ci pentru că vrem să fim îmbrăcați în continuare cu trupurile noastre glorificate (trupuri potrivite pentru glorie), astfel că trupurile noastre muritoare (trupurile noastre prezente aflate in degradare), pot să fie înghițite de (preluate, absorbite, îmbrăcate cu) viața veșnică la reîntoarcerea lui Hristos, astfel încât să nu murim niciodata și sa nu experimentan coruperea.

Aceasta se va întâmpla cu cei care sunt în viață la venirea lui Hristos. Noi nu vom fi “dezbrăcati” (goi, fără trup), ci “îmbrăcati”, prin punerea trupurile noastre glorificate peste trupurile noastre muritoare. Când acest lucru se întâmplă, trupurile noastre muritoare, legate de pamant vor fi absorbite imediat și transformate in starea noastra glorificata, pentru ca trupul nostru muritor (viața noastră, pământească, dar cu trupuri muritoare) va fi “înghițită” (dispărea în interiorul, absorbita, integrata in, digerata) “de” (ceea ce va fi cu adevărat) viață”.

Deci, portretul prezentat în 5:1-4 este că trupurile noastre muritoare sunt asemenea unui vesmant care acoperă sufletul, care la moartea devin goale, pentru că vor fi separate de trup. Pe de altă parte, trupurile noastre nemuritoare sunt asemănate la venirea lui Hristos cu o haina care re-imbraca (sau acopera) sufletele noastre, sau, pentru cei care sunt în viață în acel moment, vor fi “imbracati”- adică vor fi puse peste trupurile noastre muritoare.

Acum, El, care ne-a pregatit pentru aceasta, este Dumnezeu (5a). Dumnezeu însuși ne-a modelat pentru primirea (îmbrăcarea) trupurilor noastre glorificate. Această transformare finală în starea noastra glorificata este în întregime și numai lucrarea lui Dumnezeu. Acest lucru ne dă incredere pentru ca aceasta nu depinde de noi, ci de Dumnezeu si prin urmare se va împlini cu siguranță. Ceea ce a început Dumnezeu, El va finaliza (Filipeni 1:06), pentru că El “...ne -a dat arvuna Duhului.” (5b). Nu numai că avem instructiunile apostolului cu privire la aceasta certitudine viitoare a faptului ca Dumnezeu va realiza transformarea noastră finală, dar acum avem aceasta garantie interna (plata jos) a Duhului ca si garanție a faptului că Dumnezeu o va face cu siguranță (cf. Efeseni 1:14;... cf. Romani 8:11 și urm.). Duhul Sfânt în mod constant și continuu ne asigură că puterea care L-a înviat pe Hristos din morți ne va ridica si pe noi în slavă (Efeseni 1:9-20).

Ce încredere și motivație ne dă acest lucru, în special în aceste timpuri suferință și bătrânețe! Trupurile noastre exterioare se degradeaza, suferim de mortalitatea noastra, dar mai ales de dragul lui Isus. Dar totul se pierde în increderea și speranța transformării noastre viitoare în asemănarea lui Hristos, caci nu se poate compara cu slava care va fi. “Deci (ca un rezultat al acestei asigurări că Dumnezeu va face acest lucru și a arvunii date prin Duhul Sfant), “suntem mereu încrezatori...(6a) – increderea noastra in împlinirea lui Dumnezeu a transformării noastre este de neclintit și constanta - “... stiind ca ( încrederea este bazată pe cunostinta), dacă sîntem acasă în trup ... “(care trăiesc în acest cort pământesc ) “... pribegim departe de (prezența ) Domnul. Pentru că umblăm prin credință , nu prin vedere ( cf. Evr . 11:01 ). Suntem încrezători, da, și ne place mult mai mult să părăsim trupul ( adică să murim) și de a fi prezenti cu Domnul “( 6b - 8 ) - când vederea vor înlocui credința . Deși moartea este dușmanul nostru final , nu este un motiv de teamă . Mai degrabă , suntem plini de încredere și motivație .

Dumnezeu este în control, atât în viață cat și în moarte. Duhul lui Dumnezeu ne dă asigurarea interioara ca Dumnezeu va încheia transformarea vietii noastre. Viata noastra temporara este amintirea noastră constantă că nu suntem încă în prezența lui Dumnezeu - într-adevăr, în această stare trăim prin credință, nu prin vedere. Dorinta noastra este de a parasi viața noastră pământească prezentă și să fim cu Domnul, chiar dacă am intra intr-o perioadă de goliciune, așteptand să fim îmbrăcați cu noile noastre trupuri. Aceasta nu este o dorinta de moarte, ci o expresie a dorinței de a fi cu Hristos care pune în umbră obstacolul mortii (cf. Fil. 1:21).

Dar cea mai buna din toate circumstanțele ar fi să fim în viață la venirea lui, transformati și schimbati pentru a fi cu Hristos, fără moarte (cf. Fil. 1:21-13).
Concluzie: “Deaceea ne şi silim să -I fim plăcuţi, fie că rămînem acasă fie că sîntem departe de casă.” (9). Indiferent ce se întâmplă, fie că suntem acasa in trup in momentul venirii lui Hristos sau despartiti de trup in momentul cand Hristos vine, scopul și motivația noastra pentru slujirea noastră este de a fi „placuti Domnului.

Partea A-IV-A. Schițe De Predici

Ioan 4:19-42, Dialogul Domnului Isus cu Femeia Samariteancă, Partea a-2-a

Pentru versiunea în limba engleză a acestor mesaje, facți click pe aceste link-uri: Link 1 - Jn. 4:19-22; Link 2 - Jn. 4:22-26; Link 3 - Jn. 4:27-30; Link 4 - Jn. 4:31-42

Titlu: Metoda Stăpânului în Evanghelizare, Partea a-2-a

Subiect: Învingând bariere sociale si spirituale în evanghelizare

Continuare de la punctul 3 din ediția precedentă a jurnalului

Punctul 4: Îndrumă persoana spre Dumnezeu (4:19-24)

1. Printr-un răspuns trezitor (19-20)

a) Despre cine este Domnul Isus (19)

b) Despre găsirea lui Dumnezeu (20)

2. Printr-un răspuns care aduce lumină (21-24)

a) Despre unde Dumnezeu poate fi găsit (21)

b) Despre modul în care ne închinăm la Dumnezeu (22-24)

Punctul 5: Revelează Dumnezeirea Domnului Isus (4:25-26)

1. Prin a găsi ceea ce ei cunosc despre El (25)

a) Despre venirea Lui

b) Despre revelarea adevărului

2. Prin descoperirea lucrurilor pe care ei nu le cunosc despre El(26)

Punctul 6: Dezvoltă credința în alții (4:27-38)

1. Dezvoltă credința în alții prin mărturia ta personală (28-30)

a) Prin demonstrarea faptului ca Dumnezeu schimbă vieți (28)

b) Prin invitarea altora de a vedea ei înșiși (29a)

c) Prin proclamarea a ceea ce a făcut Hristos (29b)

d) Prin arătarea a cine este Hristos (29c-30)

2. Dezvoltă credința în alții printr-o teologie corectă (31-42)

a) Lucrarea lui Dumnezeu în lume este lucrarea lui Hristos (31-34)

- de a face voia lui Dumnezeu

- de a termina lucrarea lui Dumnezeu

b) Lucrarea lui Dumnezeu este o lucrare „neobișnuită” (35)

- recolta spirituală iese în momente când nu te aștepți

- recolta spirituală iese în locuri în care nu te aștepti

c) Lucrarea lui Dumnezeu este o lucrare în echipă (36-38)

-Lucrarea lui Dumnezeu este compusă din semănători șu culegători

- toți membrii din echipa lui Dumnezeu sunt la fel de importanți

- toți membrii din echipa lui Dumnezeu lucrează pentru același rezultat

Punctul 7: Concluzii – Rezultatele (4:39-42)

1. Câțiva vor crede prin mărturia ta personală (39-40)

2. Mai mulți vor crede prin Cuvântul lui Dumnezeu (41-42)

 


1 John A. MacArthur, Rediscovering Pastoral Leadership – Redescoperind Conducerea Pastorală (Dallas: Word, 1995), 91.

2 Philip Hughes, 2 Corinthians in “The New International Commentary on the New Testament,” 157.

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